Questions About Obscure Sleights

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 06/16/07 05:43 PM

Hello, I have a few questions about various sleights.

I want to learn a control called the "Cascade Control", where a card is replaced in the deck, the cards cascaded from one hand to the other, and the chosen card controlled to the top during the cascade. The book I am referred to is "Card Finesse 2", by Jon Racherbaumer. How is it compared to the first (which I have)? Does it have other practical moves in it? I really don't want to spend $40 for a sleight. Another option would be Ian Kendall's DVD, "b***** Hard Moves Made Easy", but I don't know if shipping from the UK would be worth it (I am in the US).

I have been meaning to pick up the magic magazine backissue that has the "Digital Revolve Pass" in it. Is this sleight worth learning? I could not find a video of it on the internet.

Another sleight that looked interesting to me was the Ricky Smith Cherry Control. I am also unable to find a video of this, but was told by a friend it was worth learning. It is in an old issue of Penumbra; number 5. Does anyone have thoughts about getting this? Practical or not?

Also, where is a good place to find hard hitting impromptu card magic, like in Minch's "By Forces Unseen" or "The Paper Engine"? A lot of materials I have are full of gaffed tricks, which are impractical for a hobbyist like me, as I don't want to carry gaffs with me when showing people magic, or effects with more than a few set up cards. I just need a big book or DVD of good quality tricks to use everything I am learning. I don't want to sift through filler effects, or effects gaffed to the moon and back. I just want visual, reasonably impromptu card magic. Any recommendations?

Many thanks.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/16/07 06:01 PM

TL, the Cascade Control is Charlie Miller's and is extremely difficult to do. I don't believe a completely satisfactory explanation has appeared in print yet--it's hard to tell because the sleight is so difficult (it originally appeared in Magicana in Genii).

Card Finesse II is an excellent book. Not quite as good as Card Finese, but still a good buy for the bucks.

If you want good impromptu card magic, I can do no better than recommend my two books The Complete Works of Derek Dingle and The Secrets of Brother John Hamman. Each book has about 80 routines in it. A few use gaffs, but the great majority of material in the books does not--and it's kick-ass hard hitting material that will slaughter both magicians and laymen.
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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 06:15 PM

Mr. Kendall says the version taught in his DVD is refined to make it easier and more sure-fire. Do you care to comment on how much easier? While it looks like a nice control, maybe my hours would be better spent learning tricks out of the books you mentioned? No use in being a move-monkey if I can't do magic, after all.

Do you have any opinions on the Digital Revolve or Cherry Control? I have heard very good things about them from one friend but no one has anything to say about them either way.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/16/07 06:45 PM

I don't know the Digital Revolve, however The Cherry Control is excellent.

I've seen Ian Kendall do some of the material on his video and it, too, is excellent. Can't recall seeing him do the Charlie Miller sleight, but if he says his method is simpler, than perhaps it is. There are lots of variables in the Charlie Miller control, including pressure, gravity, the quality of your cards, etc. Difficult.

Don't worry about being a move monkey--practicing your ass off by learning sleights is good for you as long as you don't neglect to learn tricks in which to also use them.
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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 07:02 PM

Do you have any suggestions on how to polish sleights? I feel terrible doing some things in front of people. Sure, it will fool them, but I want to know how to have the polish that Marlo and Vernon have. When I really look at some of my movements, they all seem crude and unrefined. I've been trying practice and mirror work but I am not impressed by the results. I may toss around titles like "By Forces Unseen", and talk like a magician, but I would be ashamed to show even my double lift to a real magician, let alone a simple trick like Chicago Opener or Triumph. I know I can't shortchange the practice, of course, but do you have any tips on what to look for, or what to do? I aim to reach a state where I don't need to think about sleights, or worry if my double will stay together, and be able to concentrate on the magic.

Edit: Mr. Kendall uses an improvement on the control by Paul Chosse.
Double Edit: Do you mind describing what the spectator things is happening the Cherry Control?
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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 08:35 PM

What is seen during The Cherry Control: You retrieve the spectator's card and insert it outjogged into the deck. The card is pushed flush, the deck squared, and then a thumb fan of the deck is made. At this point, the selected card is on top.

I'll second Richard's recommendation of the Hamman book for great card material. I've performed more material out of this book than any other (by a wide margin), and still have several routines in it on my "learn to do" list.
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Postby Mark Collier » 06/16/07 08:39 PM

In Ricky Smith's 'Cherry Control' it looks like you fan the deck, replace the selection into the fan and close it. No cuts. No jerky moves. Just close the fan.
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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 09:02 PM

Since Mark and I have posted different descriptions of The Cherry Control, let me reiterate that the method published in Penumbra has the cards being fanned after the selection is returned to the deck, and the cards squared.
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Postby Mark Collier » 06/16/07 09:24 PM

Oops. Sorry about that. We posted at the same time and I was going from memory.

Thanks for the correction.
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Postby Guest » 06/16/07 11:13 PM

Actually, Mark, I was really hoping that you were going to provide a different reference for the control you described, as it sounds like something I'd like to learn! :)

Oh, well...
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Postby Guest » 06/17/07 03:43 AM

TL,

if you want a book with great magic thats easy, then get card collage light by roberto giobbi. no moves, just pure brilliance. and if you want books on moves, get card collage 1/2/3/4/5. these are all the moves you'll need.

i agree on the brother john book, its a must have book.another book i love is nick trosts.

i also love emlsley, but im scottish so maybe biased. (that man is a true genuis).
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Postby Guest » 07/10/07 08:40 AM

After reading your post I thought I would respond to some of your points. Im not trying to be rude, but why try to learn all these hard sleights and then say you are struggling with your double such that you would be ashamed to show to a real magician?

I think as I have grown in magic I finally saw that learning sleights is fun but routines are where it is at for me. If a routine looks great and has impact I would set out to learn it even if it had some hard sleights in it. However, I dont think I would learn something mediocre in effect just to learn a harder sleight or a harder sleight by itself all the time. I have read this kind of advice many times where you let the routines dictate the sleights you learn. And hopefully those routines fit you, are customized, and have great impact in your hands.

I wouldnt worry about the double lift with other magicians because no matter how nice it looks they will probably know it is a double. Just do it and over time you will get the feel and finesse down as well as confidence. Dont be afraid to spend time on the basic stuff, the stuff that will blow lay people away when you show it. Have you ever seen Whit Haydns take on Chicago Opener? I wouldnt say it would destroy every magician because we all know the work on these kinds of things, but it sure can be entertaining. So if you want to reach that state where you can concentrate on the presentation, maybe narrow your focus for a while and really dedicate yourself to a few good routines and sleights. Remember that you dont have to learn every move to be entertaining.

I'll also second the Card College Light book for some nicely routined effects that you can use as a starting point. They have virtually no "moves" so that you can learn to focus on presentation and gain some confidence as well. Good luck.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 07/10/07 09:31 AM

On the subject of the Cascade Control; I reconstructed the move several years after reading the description in CF2 and seeing the move done once (by Steve Hamilton). My version is slightly different from Paul Chosse's (different fingers are in play) but I've since had a play with the original handling, with which I have been reaquainted.

I think there are bits in my handling that take away the uncertaintly, but Paul's refinement of the Miller original has the advantage of half a second or so less delay in the total time. Over the last couple of years since BHM came out I've been combining the two handlings, and now things are a lot smoother.

There is no postage on BHM - it's included in the price.

When learning any sleight like this, it's always beneficial to get as many different descriptions as possible and then amalgamate them into something that suits _you_. Your hands will be differnt to mine, so there's a good chance that you could take my lesson and run with it to produce another useful move. Toby Vacher did this.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Jeff Haas » 07/10/07 10:40 AM

Steve Ehlers does the Cascade Control extremely well and shows it on his DVD, "The Arizona Card Expert." Unfortunately there is a bad camera angle during part of the explanation, but if you've studied the move from other descriptions then you can fill in the missing info.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/10/07 12:41 PM

TL: No one wants to tell you about it 'cause they want to keep it to themselves. Every one of my books was written just for you! You might want to check the review of my book, BEST OF FRIENDS 3. It's in Lights/Lamp, etc. Again, written just for you. HL
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Postby Guest » 07/10/07 01:05 PM

Wow, why would you want to learn such esoteric moves when you do not have the basics down yet. I would reccomend learning a basic control, force, false shuffle & a DL & master those until they are 2nd nature. I think you will find a whole new world open up to you then.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/10/07 01:11 PM

I learned bass ackwards: difficult stuff, odd sleights, before basic things. Didn't hurt me none because I kept going and learned all the basics, but not in the beginning.
I still can't do a One-Hand Top Palm or a Classic Force, but it really doesn't make a difference to me. There are such an overwhelming number of tricks and alternate sleights, it has never been a problem.
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Postby Guest » 07/10/07 03:56 PM

Actually, Harry Lorayne's Close-Up Card Magic is a brilliant piece of work for stuff like what you're talking about, TL. I'm also partial to Card College 3, and John Bannon's Smoke and Mirrors.

brian :cool:
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Postby Guest » 07/11/07 07:20 AM

Difficult sleights tend to have "knacky" components, which are difficult to explain or convey. Describing the exact degree of tension (of fingers), for example, is like describing pain. Doctors usually ask, "On a scale of one-to-ten how badly does it hurt?" Writers of card books write: "The deck must MORE OR LESS be gripped firmly but not too firmly before you..."

When I read the description of CASCADE CONTROL in Genii, I thought it was impossible to execute with any deceptiveness. It wasn't until I saw Paul Chosse expertly do it that I realized how curiously great this sleight could be. He inspired me to refocus attention on that sleight and include it in CARD FINESSE II. Unfortunately my description does NOT capture or do justice to this sleight and the photograph is exaggerated.

I later saw Bruce Cervon, Ed Marlo, and several others execute this sleight in a deceptive way. There may be only 20-25 cardmen that can now do it and they likely figured out the "knacky" parts on their own.

Cardmen of a certain determined breed love the PROCESS of mastering tough sleights. They may never routinely use them in the real world, but they have the deep satisfaction that they are among the select few that can do this or that sleight...while others happily Double-Cut, Glide, and Elmsley Count into the sunset.

Onward...
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Postby Ian Kendall » 07/11/07 08:39 AM

I started a similar post to Jon's, but lunch got in the way...

There is a perverse joy in approaching a particular move, working on the ins and outs and finally achieving a proficiency that, while not the most practical thing in the world, does give one a warm, pink and fluffly feeling.

The problems, and frustrations, occour if the task is not properly laid out. To quote Mike Close's definition of how to play the piano - hit all the keys in the right order. When the more complicated moves are being discussed, it's vitally important to break the thing down into its constituent parts.

To take the Cascade as the current example; there are three or four things that are happening simultaneously. Now, it would be possible to say (albeit abridged) 'put your finger here and waterfall the cards'. When faced with instructions that combine several parts, as often happens in our field, it is at this point that we have to work out details for ourselves. These are the 'knacks' to which Jon refers.

With the Cascade, the move can be broken down quite easily. Without going into too much detail, you need to be able to waterfall the cards smoothly. Until you practice this on its own, the move will never work. Next, you need to understand the selection procedure, which again needs to be done in isolation. After that, you need to understand the mechanics of the control, again by itself. Once you can do these steps in isolation you can combine them; selection and get ready. When that has been established, selection, get ready and control. When you have that done you can start to assemble all the steps into the whole. Then you start working on the subleties and adapting the move to your hands.

The process is not neccessarily a swift one, but the results are stronger, and one has a better understanding of the move, which allows you to adapt and troubleshoot with more efficiency (this follows the four stages of learning - rote, understanding, application and correlation).

There's nothing wrong with working on the hard stuff alongside the basic moves, but your journey will me much easier if you break things down.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 07/11/07 01:12 PM

Well done, Ian.
What RK said is also interesting. Starting with the knuckle-busters and working backwards may seem odd, but I think that Dai Vernon once recommended the same approach to certain students.
The first time I accurately Faro Shuffled and the cards smoothly meshed, it felt like the aftermath of my first (real) kiss (age 14)...a little shudder, followed by a warm glow...

Onward...
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Postby Guest » 07/11/07 04:31 PM

The best way to polish your sleights is to have a routine that uses them. Sleights without a context are of little value other than as exercises in manual dexterity. It's basically the same as learning chords on a guitar. If you don't have a place to use them, why bother?

Ricky Smith does a brilliant job of the Cascade Control. If you have a chance to see him work, get him to do the Cherry Control and the Cascade Control for you.
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Postby Guest » 07/11/07 09:42 PM

Amen Bill.

I never would have been able to learn the Diagonal Palm Shift if it hadn't been for John Carney's Card In Balloon handling. It's one of those tricks that is just perfectly direct and methodologically clean, like Carlyle's Homing Card.

Likewise, Vernon's Triumph got me started on full deck false shuffles.

Nothing motivates study like a goal.
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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 01:18 AM

If you don't have a place to use them, why bother?
E.g. as etudes. Why practice scales in every key on the piano if you only need some in A major and f minor for the pieces you are playing?

It also gives you confidence. See the thoughts by Roberto Giobbi on page 501 of Volume 3 of Card College, titled "The Iceberg". They end with:
"For a long time, I didn't understand why it made sense to practice things that weren't needed. Now I think I know."

Denis
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Postby Guest » 07/12/07 05:01 PM

You really aren't going to learn anything here! If I was you learn fron your experiances.
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Postby Guest » 08/10/07 11:35 PM

The reason classical pianists practice all the scales in all the keys is that the good ones also sight read. And none of the really great ones play in only two keys. So the analogy makes no sense at all.

Not only that, in music, if you are playing in C major, you will be able to incorporate segments of many other scales into your improvisations and explorations. However, if you aren't ever going to do coin magic, learning to do the Down's Coin Star can only be as a matter of personal satisfaction or showing off to other magicians.

In the grand scheme of things, you are best served by learning things you will use first. Then expand into the pleasures of sleights for the fun of it.

You can spend four or five years learning Russian, but if you don't speak it for four or five years, you will forget most of it.
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Postby Guest » 08/11/07 02:00 AM

Learn the cool stuff. As much as you can. If you can't entertain a bunch of laymen along the way, then you are doing something wrong. Keep it simple for muggles and difficult for magi... But what do I know??
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Postby Matthew Field » 08/11/07 03:31 AM

There is a certain pleasure, expecially for teenagers (I'm not presuming anything about you, TL) in learning tough moves, or flourishes ala the Buck Twins' stuff. Elusionist is making money from this fact.

Having said that, you'll save yourself a lot of time by learning some great tricks and the moves associated with them instead of concentrating on the moves.

I'll second Richard's reccomendations. I hope you have studied Harry Lorayne's "Close-up Card Magic" or his more recent book which revisits this and other of his classic texts. There is a ton of great material there.

If you want tough stuff, take a look at Cliff Green's "Professional Card Magic," as well as material by Darwin Ortiz, Lennart Green, Steve Draun and Juan Tamariz, and be on the lookout next year for a spectacular book by Tom Gagnon.

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Postby Guest » 08/11/07 06:22 PM

Don't get me wrong. I do know my share of what some consider to be difficult sleights. But I learned each of them with a specific purpose in mind.

The main thing with any sleight, whether it is a card sleight, a coin sleight, a sponge ball sleight or any other sleight, is that it must look natural and possible. And your movements must be consistent.

For example, if you look like you are doing a bad imitation of a ballet dancer every time you do a retention vanish, then you aren't doing it well. If you channel Slydini every time you do an Imp Pass, then you haven't learned how to make it fit you. If you turn a card over a certain way ONLY when you do a DL, but you turn a single card over in a different manner, then you have a very prominent "tell."

So, if you are doing a pass that is supposed to look like you have just inserted a card into the pack and squared it up, practice inserting the card into the pack and squaring it up to see what that looks and feels like when you do it. Then make the sleight look like that.

Practice until it becomes boring. Then practice until it becomes beautiful.
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Postby Guest » 08/12/07 12:04 AM

I love your last sentence.
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