I just had the pleasure of seeing Steven Youell (aka The CardGuy) lecture here in downtown Martinez, California at the newly relocated and revamped California Magic & Novelty. Steven Youell is from the Bay Area, but has made his home in Los Angeles and regularly performs at the Magic Castle.
Youells high-energy, comic style made for a very enjoyable lecture experience, enhanced by the lecture venue of California Magics new Club 52 Caf & Magic Theatre. Most magic lectures are held in dreary local halls or hotel meeting roomstypically lacking in many creature comforts.
The Club 52 Caf staff served freshly made cappuccinos, iced mochas, soft drinks and fabulous hand-made cheesecakes from resident chef Joel. There was also plenty of comfortable restaurant-style seating and a small, welll-lit stage to make it easier for audience members to watch Youell perform and teach. Right next to all of this is the California Magic shop itself, which has a variety of fine magic effects for sale. For me it was the perfect setting for a Sunday afternoon card magic lecture. Yes, I was a happy lilcamper.
So back to Steven YouellI can honestly say that this was one of the best lectures on card magic that I have ever had the pleasure to attend. Youells card work is decidedly classic in style being deeply inspired by the work of Harry Lorayne, Ron Bauer, Darwin Ortiz and Ed Marlo.
However, Youell adds his own practical methodological twists as well as wicked comedy and sight gags that made for two hours of amazing entertainment and education. The magical quality of Youells card work and equally its practicality impressed me. Even better, Youell was free with his information and would joyfully go in to great detail on particular moves or approaches.
Another positive is that Youells card work is practical both close-up and on the small stage. No Elmsley Counts or overly complicated one-handed cuts here boys and girls. Youells work uses more workman-like moves like Top Changes, Peeks and Passes combined with way cool use of subtleties and subterfuge.
Youells lecture work is nicely explained in his well-produced notes called Weapons of Mass Destruction (co-written with Andru Luvisi) which I understand will be part of a trilogy of manuscripts on his card magic. The next being called, Weapons of Mass Deception. Sounds like fun to me.
Items that I will use from Youells lecture are his memorized deck that he has dubbed The Hacker Stack (Greatly inspired by Darwin Ortiz & Si Stebbins) and his use of a very practical Marlo Peek. If you get the chance, I highly recommend that you see Steve Youell lecture and also pick up a copy of his lecture notes while you are at it. Available I believe at CardGuy.net :)
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