Let's talk about Aaron Fisher's "The Paper Engine"

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/18/02 07:33 AM

Forum readers: I received my copy of "The Paper Engine" in the mail the other day. If you are a card magic fanatic, this book is a stunner. The reviews by Swiss and Close were both effusive in their praise, and the book lives up to it.
Has anyone else received a copy yet? What do YOU think?
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Postby Guest » 09/18/02 08:19 AM

Actually I placed an order for both the book and the video with Aaron (from his website) and it should arrive any time. I am looking forward to checking it out as well. Nice to see one of the "local guys" succeed.
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Postby Doug Brewer » 09/18/02 08:42 AM

I just got back from the Las Vegas Invitational and had the pleasure of seeing Aaron lecture (and perform). The sleights and routines he covered in his lecture were great, practical and fun to watch. Since I've only had a chance to view his book peripherally on the flight back, I can't vouch for everything in it, but for the material I have seen (and read) the book is a must buy and nicely produced. It has the look and feel of the LePaul book (which Aaron said was his intention).

On a side note, this year's invitational was outstanding, with a great line-up of talent. A lot of big names were just hanging out with everyone else. It was really cool, for example, to see Chris Kenner in a corner doing variations on 3 Fly. The performance highlights for me were Nate Kranzo (funny guy, original magic), Bob Fitch (the yoda of theory and motivation!), and Apollo Robbins (some great coin magic from a pickpocket - who'd have thought). Eric Mead was great too (and I didn't know he could juggle - and I mean really juggle!). Aaron Fisher is kind of a mix of Vernon, Opie and Jay Leno - classic magic from a happy, (young) and fun guy who loves what he's doing.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 09/18/02 08:55 AM

I thought it was interesting, and bold, for Aaron to describe some really cool sleight and then to say that he DOESN'T use it for some reason or other. I also greatly enjoyed his Afterthoughts (to use Harry Lorayne's word) as they were extremely original, unlike what one usually encounters.
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Postby Guest » 09/18/02 09:27 AM

Actually I placed an order for both the book and the video with Aaron (from his website,with a great price) and it should arrive in one week or two!
Have you seen Chris Korn in Las Vegas??Any comment?
Thank you
Simon
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Postby Guest » 09/18/02 11:03 AM

I heard that Chris Korn had one of his routines on DVD for sale at the convention, did anyone pick it up?
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Postby Guest » 09/18/02 02:31 PM

To both Mark and Nabet

Having seen the video (I was behind Aaron's table helping sell his notes after the lecture!), I will tell you that you will not be disappointed in what you see. Yes, so I may be biased, but I had only met the guy the night before (thanks to Paul Wilson) and had never seen him perform. After the lecture, I wish I had seen him perform some more. Everything fooled me - badly - and I did not see his half-pass (if you know what I mean!)

You could not ask to meet a nicer person who is so technically gifted and also a great performer - DAMN, I HATE THAT LITTLE GIT!!!

Personally, if the book is available at the IBM British Ring Convention in Eastbourne next week, I'll be buying it instantly.

Peter
:)
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Postby Guest » 09/18/02 02:37 PM

Ok ! we waiting the book!! But Kris Korn?? any comment??
Thank you
Simon.
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Postby Guest » 09/18/02 06:38 PM

I saw Chris Korn, but to my knowledge he was not selling a DVD of any sort. From what I noticed he was selling some old notes. By the way, the lecture (his first in the United States), was good.
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Postby Guest » 09/18/02 08:44 PM

Chris was selling lecture notes on material he lectured on (and created in the 80's). He did not tip or have for sale any of his newer stuff.

On the last night Chris did his act with the card comming out of his rear end, not to mention other extremely risque stuff (that had the audience roaring). I don't know if he did all that stuff at FISM - but I heard about the ass thing before, it was funny to see.
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Postby Guest » 09/19/02 12:04 AM

I picked up the Fisher book at the LVMI. I have already read it and it must be said that this is a very important book for magicians. The book has the feel of something written ages ago... literally. There is a certain texture it posseses as it sits in your hand. The material is top, and some of the material you will be able to do right away. The pictures are very clear and they seem to guide your eyes exactly where Aaron wants you to look. This sort of focus hasn't been seen in a card book. I think we all should thank Aaron for putting quality (not quantity) back into magic books.
As for the rest of the LVMI... fun, fun, FUN. Chris Korn's lecture was outstanding. He is very clever and it is nice for a real working pro to share his work. Some of the most interesting stuff was just glanced over quickly in the lecture. Like when he talked about "planting" little surprises all over his clients' house. Impromptu miracles can happen anywhere with a little preperation.
Other surprises at the convention were the "Jam" sessions. Attendees had a chance to do some stuff for the pros. I saw some great ideas and performances. Oh yea... everyone stayed up VERY late for this one!
-DS
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Postby Dave Egleston » 09/19/02 04:50 PM

I just got the book yesterday - This, I predict, is going to be a book that will be talked about for years - Right out of the wrapper the book is visually stunning - absolutely beautiful!
I've read the first 28 pages and have thumbed through the rest of the book - This is what magic books should be - great descriptions of the sleights and very good photos and the sleights are harder than algebra - Everything closet performers love - It'll be another week before I can finish this and several months before I can truly appreciate the work described
I would like to congratulate this young man on a wonderful product

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Postby Guest » 09/20/02 08:53 AM

I've just got to know---what does Chris Korn have to do with Aaron Fisher?
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Postby Guest » 09/20/02 09:56 AM

Nothing other than they are both good magicians and both were at LVMI and both are mentioned in this thread.

The Chris topic looks like a tangent that started after Aaron's LVMI lecture was mentioned.

The tangent looks dead to me so I would assume further posts would be on Aaron's book.
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Postby Charlie Chang » 09/20/02 12:25 PM

The Fisher book is important for several reasons.

It tips some excellent routines and showcases Aaron's excellent construction. The book also describes Aaron's handling of several classic sleights and introduces a few new ones too.

All of this makes for a great book but it is Aaron's attention to detail and his determination to convey more than the mere handlings of his work that makes this book special.

In short, Aaron has explored his thinking to a depth rarely seen today.

Aaron's lecture at LVMI was truly excellent but I confess to being quite upset to see him finally telling all about his work. I have been fortunate to be "in" on many of his techniques, including his half pass for a long time. I only hope that his work will be treated with the same respect and be equally valued by those who buy the book. There's nothing worse than hearing "Oh, that's just that old thing" just because a great secret has been released.

Buy this book. Read it. Aaron worked hard to explore our art from his viewpoint. If you have any interest in cards, you'd be a fool not to.
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Postby Guest » 09/20/02 03:53 PM

I just picked up the book and I am going to have a good weekend. Don't worry RP, whats the phrase "the best way to hide something is to put it in print." Only time will tell.

Noah Levine
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Postby Jim Morton » 09/23/02 09:01 AM

I picked up a copy of this book on Thursday. it's definitely a keeper. I like the LePaul structure of the book, and the photos and explanations are well done. It's a nice looking book too. It's not very big, but it contains more than enought stuff to keep me busy for months.

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Postby Matthew Field » 09/23/02 09:39 AM

Just my two cents to comment on the physical qualities of the book. It is a beautiful production by Stephen Minch, reminiscent of an old volume. The foil stamped cover is handsome and I like the smaller size -- like one of the Harry Stanley/Supreme volumes of old that grace my library.

As to the contents -- I've just started reading.

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Postby Guest » 09/23/02 10:34 AM

Picked up a copy of The Paper Engine this weekend. It's all that AND a bag of chips.

As Doug has said the design is reminiscent of the LePaul book and Mr. Fisher and Steve Minch are to be commended for making a book that is like that classic tome in more ways than simply it's aspect. There is stuff in here that will stay with you for life.

I've found most half passes awkward or too "big" for use with a small packet of cards. The (Gravity) half pass is remarkably easy to do with a small packet and the action is totally unobtrusive and natural.

I know I'll be using this technique for a long time. Like the classic pass, it's simply the right solution to a common problem and I am certain that it will stand the test of time.

I'm also sure that I'll be returning to the text to reflect on his thoughts about card handling.

Plus, there's at least one killer commercial routine in the book: The Omen.

Anyone else have a favorite yet?
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Postby Guest » 09/23/02 12:28 PM

I liked revolver and I am working on a presentation of it that I am looking forward to testing. I had a question for all of you who have seen Mr. Fisher do the gravity pass. What angle did he do it from.was the top of the deck tilted towards the audience a great deal? I am still a bit confused about this.

Noah Levine
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/23/02 12:51 PM

Noah, when I've seen Aaron do his Half Pass I was standing close to him and looking down at his hands--typical conditions for "intimate" close-up magic. I saw nothing. Very rarely do I see nothing. I, too, am busy learning the Half Pass. I wonder if Jennings would have learned it and given up The Christ Twist?
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Postby Guest » 09/23/02 12:59 PM

Also would he have given up the Creeping reverse. I believe you mentioned in Jennings 67 that he prefered the creeping reverse over the half pass whenever possible, but you would know better then I. I liked Mr. Fisher's addition of gravity to the creeping reverse. Just to check on the move (Gravity pass and creeping reverse I guess) it isn't a move where they are going to see your right fingernails? Thanks

Noah Levine
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Postby Guest » 09/23/02 05:15 PM

Noah:

To answer your question, yes, in front of a group Aaron tilts the top of the deck toward the audience, at an approximate 45 degree angle (a side view would look something like this:

\

(the backslash keystroke being a somewhat steeper angle then the top of the deck to the floor).

--Randy Campbell
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Postby Guest » 09/23/02 05:41 PM

Thank you Randy that is very helpful.

Noah Levine
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Postby Guest » 09/23/02 06:58 PM

Randy,
I hope that's
magician\ audience
and not
audience \magician

;)
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Postby Guest » 09/23/02 07:06 PM

With all the hype about this book and move :rolleyes: , remember that the move is not impervious to flashing while it's in its deathgrip.

Caveat magicor.
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Postby Guest » 09/24/02 04:28 PM

Granted the Gravity Half-pass is a killer move which I am trying to acquire. To me the Undercover switch seems like a very practical move.

Question: How does this switch compare to Swain's handling of the Vernon Strip-out addition?

The routine Simpatico seems simple yet very commercial. Though I think one needs to frame the effect carefully similar to Freeman's Time Machine.

So far I'm enjoying the book immensely. The thoughts and commentary sections seem to be full of valuable lessons. Actually, I cheated and read all the Thoughts and commentary's before I read all the technical stuff. Its all enlightening and between the lines kind of stuff. Not be overlooked.

Cheers,
Rich Kameda
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Postby Matthew Field » 09/25/02 12:46 PM

I've just begun reading "The Paper Engine" and am very much enjoying it.

However . . .

I was anxious to read Aaron's "Gravity Half Pass" because there was so much advance talk about it. I've got to admit I think folks have passed by another move which is invisible and accomplishes the same thing, and that's Harvey Rosenthal's Half Pass which is in Karl Fulves's "Packet Switches 3" (a book devoted to Harvey's card magic which contains lots more than packet switches).

One reason Harvey's technique kills is that you have absolute control over the portion of the deck which is revolving, something Aaron's handling lacks when it is used for, example, just a single card. Aaron alludes to this when he says his action is easier with more cards revolving -- in fact, he teaches it with 51 cards, using only the top card of the deck as cover. With a single card, gravity is much less reliable (at least for me). I've seen Harvey do his Half Pass and there's no tell-tale tensing of the musculature, at least when he performs it.

Please don't misunderstand. I think Aaron's book is seriously written and valuable. The critical reader will have reactions which may change with time, and this was an early one of mine.

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Postby pduffie » 09/25/02 01:21 PM

My new website update this coming Monday will probably feature Harvey Rosenthal's Half Pass from the 1977 Fulves book that Matt mentions above. So those who are unaware of this seminal technique, will be able to read it there.

Best Wishes

Peter
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Postby Guest » 09/26/02 12:20 AM

I heard that a distributor is buying out the first printing of The Paper Engine and a second is in the works.

I'm not surprised. It's a great book.

Actually I am a bit surprised that a book so far on the edge of magic would be so widely popular. The book's primary appeal is the very dedicated, very serious students of the craft. Usually for something to be this successful it has to be a video of a bunch of self-working tricks, not something at the very cutting edge of technique. I think what we're seeing is that every dedicated, serious card magician is buying the book.

Kind of makes you wonder what Aaron's going to do for his second book.

Peter Duffie:

Will you be including a video of HR's Half Pass, or just the text? Either way I can't wait to see it.
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Postby pduffie » 09/26/02 06:18 AM

Hi Pete

Probably just the text, though I may make a short video.

Best Wishes

Peter
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Postby Guest » 09/27/02 06:39 PM

Yo Lee:

The way I read Matt Field was in context, that is:

"Please don't misunderstand. I think Aaron's book is seriously written and valuable. The critical reader will have reactions which may change with time, and this was an early one of mine."(my emphasis added.)

... which I translate into "my first struggles with this move have not supplanted my preferred Harvey Rosenthal technique."

Lee, I see you working, you've got your boy's back. But I don't believe Matt was attacking, merely reacting and starting a conversation.

May I also add, Mr. Lee Asher has created two moves which a cardworker overlooks to his (or her) detriment: Pulp Friction and the Losing Control. After having my eyes (and fingers) introduced to the devilishly beautiful possibilities and value of both moves in a marathon workshop in Vegas, I am a committed believer (and I'm not a leftie!).

The Gravity Half-Pass, Pulp Friction, and the Losing Control are solid, if not seminal, moves developed by Young Turks which I believe will become standard operating procedure.

--Randy Campbell
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Postby Matthew Field » 09/28/02 07:37 PM

Originally posted by Asher:
I would rather hear Matt comment on the material after several months of fine tuning and readjusting. I think that is what the Fisher book is all about.
You are quite correct, Lee, in stating that one has to live with a book on card technique before
reaching conclusions, and I expect to do just that with Aaron's book. I read important books slowly and I'm only about 50 pages in to "The Paper Engine."

I've enjoyed Aaron Fisher's work in his lecture notes and the Labyrinth one-man issue, and I'm enjoying this book. He is obviously a man of great talent and skill. I had an initial reaction to the Gravity Half Pass which I posted, probably because I'd looked forward to it with much anticipation. I'll be working on it.

By the way, I consider Lee a good friend, as well as an extraordinarily talented magician, as he well knows. I take his comments as part of a serious discussion, not as a put-down. If friends can't tell each other what they think, even on a public forum, what good is friendship?

Thanks for your response Lee, and for your friendship. We might not aways agree, but friendship should allow for that.

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Postby Guest » 10/02/02 04:08 PM

Mr. Fisher is performing at the Castle this week. I saw the show on monday night and it was fantastic. Go check it out!
-DS
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Postby Guest » 10/03/02 11:15 AM

I agree with Mr. Schools. I had the pleasure of seeing Aaron perform last night at the Magic Castle. His show consisted of completely new material that does not appear in his book. He has an excellent idea for "Jumping Gemini" and his version of the "Christ Aces" has an ending that slaps you in the face.

Bill Goodwin
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/03/02 11:35 AM

Bill,
Do I really want to be slapped in the face? :)
Knocked upside the head maybe ...
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Postby Guest » 10/03/02 02:19 PM

Billy Goodwin:

Could you please be more specific as to where your posts originate in the "From:" footer on your messages?

How about, La Colonia, homey? :rolleyes:

--Randy Campbell
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Postby Guest » 10/03/02 02:59 PM

I completely forgot that Aaron does perform one trick from his book in the show. He does his version of "The Searchers."
Randy: Just to let you know, I'm writing this from the bowels of Hell.
Bill Goodwin
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Postby Guest » 10/03/02 03:17 PM

HALF-PASSING THE NIGHT AWAY

The term move is precise. (Thus spake Captain Obvious!) Things, after all, move: cards, fingers, hands, arms... Technicians, seeking unattainable perfection, continually work to minimize actual movement while simultaneously ensuring that whatever must move cannot be seen. Also, because moves occur in a real world of three-dimensional space, the choreography of hands and cards in this space can be very tricky when it comes to sight lines and angles of visibility. Speed is another consideration. Noise is another. Everyone who has studied sleight of hand soon discovers all thisusually the hard way.

Perhaps much of modern card technique consists of elaborate footnotes to Erdnase? Hugard and Braue were early fixers and finessers. Vernon refined and uplifted and gave us inner secrets. Marlo offered his revolutionary insights. And during the past forty years their siblings have continued to streamline, improve, evolve, devolve, parse, tweak, and otherwise alter moves

In short, we are dissatisfied seekers.

How many methods for performing the Half Pass have been published so far?

As far as technicians are concerned, there are never enough methods.
In the early days, the Half Pass happened in close quarters; it was tight and nervous.

The Spread Pass opened it up, giving it breathing room, along with righteous ruse.

The Christ Twist was exactly thata twist and guilty all-around square up.

Others tweakers such as Krenzel, Walton, and Rosenthal turned the move every way but loose.

Of course all of them worked. All of them got the job done.

Then

when most of us assumed there was nothing more to add

along came Aaron Fisher.

Ka-Boom!

I suppressed a swoon, yet (in a bad imitation of Walt Whitman) I wandered out into the mystical, moist night air and shouted, Yes!

Then I thoughtThat should hold em!

Hmmmmmm

Maybe not?

Onward
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Postby Guest » 10/03/02 03:21 PM

May be we will find a routine of Aaron in Penumbra Magazine?
;)

Simon
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