Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
Roger M.
Posts: 1424
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Roger M. » February 19th, 2015, 2:36 pm

Aaron, I don't let any previous forum interaction inform my future forum interactions. The fact you and I previously disagreed means nothing to me other than we simply didn't agree previously on a specific issue. No harm, no foul.

I have spent 35 years of my life working deeply in the technical end of the performance arts. Opera, Dance, Theatre, Music have been the focus of my entire working career.

As a result of the above, I've been exposed to tens of thousands of performers, many of whom simply aren't "artists" in any sense of the word.
In fact, Opera and Dance are notoriously brutal for their direct approach to telling (largely pre-teens and teens) to give up their hopes of being a dancer or an opera singer. They do this because there is no point in encouraging a person to waste a large portion of their life on trying to accomplish something that they have no hope of ever accomplishing.
Those dance teachers and singing teachers are quite pointedly saying "you'll never succeed in this field, you should give it up".

It's harsh ... but it's honest.

With regards to your post commenting on never saying "never", unfortunately there are a large number of people involved in magic that will never achieve any artistic integrity whatsoever, that will never experience an audience member truly enjoying their efforts.

That's simply a fact, sans any editorial on my part.

It gets a bit bold of me to say it out loud, but I often wonder if magics "problem" is simply that 95% of the people who practice it don't have one iota of artistic talent or ability.

I suspect there might be great truth contained somewhere within my ponderings ... and I suspect I'm not the only one who ponders such things.

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4100
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Brad Henderson » February 19th, 2015, 2:54 pm

Aron, on a core point we agree - our values and attitudes as magicians hold us back.

we disagree on how to change that.

it seems you have read a lot about magic and thought a lot about it. For that you are commended. However experience provides a lot of information and context and it seems, from your posts, that you are drawing conclusions from sometimes good data but are missing important elements of that data from lack of experience.

magic theory is drawn from practice. it is valuable only so far as it reflects and can reliably inform practice. knowing the theory is never enough, because in magic our theoretical foundations are really still in a fledging state compared to so many other arts. Our theories are still being derived. So I encourage to reach out both to the books as you have done but also listen to those who have seen these trends develop over years.

theory is an incompete picture of reality.

listen to those who lived the reality.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5206
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Bill Mullins » February 19th, 2015, 2:55 pm

The harsh criticism Roger describes seems to be based on the premise that if you can't do something at a very high level, you shouldn't do it at all. That may be true for Opera or dance, but I don't think it is true for magic.


Our local club has ~15 members, with one full-time pro. The pro and 3 or 4 other members are pretty good. The rest of us are dilettantes at best. But we have fun, and when we have an audience (family member, co-worker, etc), they enjoy it as well. (Usually).

As long as a magician recognizes his limitations, there's room below the very top level.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25116
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 19th, 2015, 3:09 pm

Perhaps we should differentiate between the hobbyist and the professional. That might help the conversation.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8155
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 19th, 2015, 3:16 pm

Aaron Sterling wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:...Someone might be 50 in earth years, and still be magically 14...


... and perhaps proud of it, advertising it and offering it as product too.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

User avatar
Fredrick
Posts: 59
Joined: February 20th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Eugene Burger
Location: Kitsap Peninsula

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Fredrick » February 19th, 2015, 3:18 pm

Good idea Richard. A build on that would be to differentiate between full time, part time and hobbyist. I have professionals at all levels of magic.
"Try to find the humanity in the magic..." ~ Michael Moschen
The Jinx Companion

Roger M.
Posts: 1424
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Roger M. » February 19th, 2015, 3:42 pm

I know a few magic "hobbyists" who are true artists, and could go pro at the time of their choosing. They simply choose not to.

So I'm not sure that the breakdown between professional and amateur is the appropriate breakdown to move this specific conversation forward.

How about something like:

In the field of magic, there are a few "artists" at every level, from hobbyist to amateur to professional, but there are also folks at every level who will never be artists regardless of how much they practice, or how badly they want to be considered an artist.

To provide a bit of framework to the above statement, I know some pros who aren't remotely artists now, and will never be artists.
They buy a bunch of effects and endlessly do kids birthday parties with absolutely no artist intent. They're confident, they're always on time ... but they're never artists.

So you have:
1) Artists
2) Non-artists who may one day become artists
3) People who will never become artists

It would seem to me that magics dirty little secret is that the greatest number of people calling themselves magicians fall into category #3, and that therein lies one of magics biggest hurdles in establishing itself as a credible art form in which magicians respect other magicians work, but are artistically astute enough to be influenced by other magicians, while having no desire and no need to duplicate other magicians original creations.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25116
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 19th, 2015, 4:13 pm

My point in differentiating between hobbyists and professionals is the way in which their magic is used. Professionals are the ones usually performing for the lay public in formal situations and on TV. Hobbyists are usually doing tricks for family and friends.

Hobbyists are unlikely to cause any ripples no matter what tricks they do: if the hobbyist wants to recreate a trick he's seen a pro do, where's the harm?

Professionals are the face of magic to the public. If I were a pro, I would avoid doing someone else's original material that has not been published either in printed form or on DVD.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5206
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Bill Mullins » February 19th, 2015, 5:03 pm

Roger M. wrote:It would seem to me that magics dirty little secret is that the greatest number of people calling themselves magicians fall into category #3 [People who will never become artists]


Isn't this the case with every field of creative endeavor? Painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians, writers . . . .

The bookstore has a lot more Harlequin Romances than it does Pulitzer Prize winning novels.

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4100
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Brad Henderson » February 19th, 2015, 8:16 pm

Perhaps the difference is those who do magic to please themselves as opposed to those who do magic to please others.

Roger M.
Posts: 1424
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Roger M. » February 19th, 2015, 8:59 pm

Bill, an amateur artist (to be called a "painter" for example) actually has to create a painting starting with a blank canvas.
Writer starts with a blank page, dancer stands on an empty stage, etc.

Magic however, see's the same level of amateur magician go to the internet and order the latest trick from Joe's online magic shop, then proceed to perform it artlessly.

I see a distinct difference, others may choose to see no difference at all.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8155
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 19th, 2015, 9:29 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Perhaps the difference is those who do magic to please themselves as opposed to those who do magic to please others.



Is there something nice in Latin that translates to "magician fool thyself"?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25116
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 19th, 2015, 9:43 pm

Yes, Bill, indeed there is a distinct difference between magic and all other performing arts (you can't compare it to a non-performing art).

There are no other "push-button" performing arts. Even ventriloquism requires much more practice from the novice than doing magic.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5206
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Bill Mullins » February 19th, 2015, 9:50 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Yes, Bill, indeed there is a distinct difference between magic and all other performing arts (you can't compare it to a non-performing art).


My comparison was meant to show that any art can be done artlessly, and mostly is (Sturgeon's Law, and all)

There are no other "push-button" performing arts. Even ventriloquism requires much more practice from the novice than doing magic.


Ever been to a karaoke bar?

And any damn fool can tell a joke, but very few can create what Richard Pryor could.

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1629
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Joe Mckay » February 20th, 2015, 5:48 am

Richard is right. Some of the best tricks in magic are easy to do.

And magic either fools you or it does not.

So if a simple card trick fools a spectator. The reaction isn't too dissimilar to watching the Statue of Liberty disappear.

Since - you are fooled in either case. It is pretty binary. Fooled or not fooled. There is no such thing - really - as being slightly fooled or mostly fooled.

Magic is a great field - but too many magicians are in denial about the fact that it is easy for a novice to get a similar reaction to an expert. Take a great trick that Jay Alexander tipped in a recent issue of GENII.

It was a presentation for the Brainwave Deck that he put together for a Robin Williams show that he couldn't attend. He gave video instructions over camera as he had three people chosen at random. Those people were used to come up with a random playing card.

The helper (stooge) who was showing the film footage of the "magician" giving the instructions - then took the deck of cards which had been hanging from the ceiling.

He then separated the cards at the right spot to show that the freely chosen card was the same as the one that the "magician" had placed in the deck before the performance.

Now - let's think about this trick. The Brainwave trick is probably the strongest card trick in magic. And - in my opinion - this version of it is the best one I have come across.

But what is really cool - for this discussion - is that the "magician" gets to perform one of the strongest tricks possible - with nothing but a few instructions given to a camera (and a stooge).

In no other field would such a "free lunch" be available to those who were not prepared to spend years mastering the art. I think one of the things that makes magic hard for those seriously interested - is trying to balance the goals you create for yourself with the easy answers that can be found in any magic shop.

Why spend three years creating a trick if the impact is not going to be too dissimilar to a trick which can be learned in 10 minutes and bought for 20 bucks from a magic shop?

Spectators can clearly see the difference between a professional comedian and a guy telling a few jokes. The same is true of the difference between watching somebody do karaoke versus being a trained singer.

Magic is fundamentally different. Just look at David Blaine in his first TV special. He created more impact than just about any other magic special - by doing simple tricks with no presentation.

I wish good magic was harder to do. Since a lot of damaged people use magic as an easy crux to fix their personality problems. But it is what it is. It adds to the strange charm of this field.

JHostler
Posts: 519
Joined: September 27th, 2008, 8:34 pm

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby JHostler » February 20th, 2015, 7:11 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:My point in differentiating between hobbyists and professionals is the way in which their magic is used. Professionals are the ones usually performing for the lay public in formal situations and on TV. Hobbyists are usually doing tricks for family and friends.

Hobbyists are unlikely to cause any ripples no matter what tricks they do: if the hobbyist wants to recreate a trick he's seen a pro do, where's the harm?

Professionals are the face of magic to the public. If I were a pro, I would avoid doing someone else's original material that has not been published either in printed form or on DVD.


That Richard and I are this much in agreement is a trifle disturbing. :shock: I offered a similar observation in a post deleted after about 60 seconds (for fear of sparking yet another interminable round of armchair philosophy). Most of what we consider outright "theft" occurs at the hobbyist level... a level often so deficient in skill that the their material would be unrecognizable when well executed. Fortunately, only friends and family are typically subject to this "singing in the shower."
It's a Firkin great day at http://www.absurdulous.com!

IanLand
Posts: 57
Joined: November 28th, 2014, 12:20 pm
Favorite Magician: Marlo
Location: Hastings, UK

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby IanLand » February 20th, 2015, 7:50 am

JHostler wrote:Most of what we consider outright "theft" occurs at the hobbyist level... a level often so deficient in skill that the their material would be unrecognizable when well executed. Fortunately, only friends and family are typically subject to this "singing in the shower."


That's largely true, but not necessarily in card magic, which has always seemed to attract relatively large numbers of hobbyists who are technically very adept, but completely useless as performers (either because they are too young to have had much life experience, or simply spend lots of time practising card sleights because they aren't very good with people anyway). I can speak confidently about this, since that's exactly what I was like as a 13 year old :-)

If you look at the YouTube links posted above, all of those guys are at least technically competent. They can do a reasonably convincing Zarrow and reasonably smooth riffle stacking (although the first guy needs to work on that). These are skills which require effort to learn. I have seen worse done by some working pros, to be honest. Where they are lacking is in any ability to communicate anything, because they don't realise that a very large part of performance is personality, rather than technical ability. There is nothing enjoyable about watching these people because I don't care about them as people, they don't make me laugh or intrigue me, they don't appear to have a personality of their own.

A lot of working pros know that their audience management and performance abilities mean they can get away with the occasional stumble or technical fluff, so they fret about technical excellence less than they might (not always true, of course, plenty of pros are supreme technicians, but I think many seasoned workers who concentrate on working for the public rather than lecturing or writing for magicians are quite pragmatic about what they do being good enough, rather than obsessing with making things perfect). A lot of these YouTubers are only really interested in technique, and earning applause from their peers for that rather than for being entertaining.

Good discussion, this.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8155
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 20th, 2015, 8:03 am

Hi Joe, folks

Agreed about the "push button" aspect of some tricks in magic. Then again a car is supposed to start when you turn the key - that alone hardly makes one an expert driver. One can teach a parrot to recite the punch line to a joke. Or teach an average person to walk through the procedure for one of many tricks. But so what? There's still basic audience rapport, presentation theme/customization as suited to the occasion and countless outs and precautions one discovers when actually attempting to do magic for others regularly and reliably that keep life interesting.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1629
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Joe Mckay » February 20th, 2015, 8:38 am

We all know that magic, performed in person, is much more visceral than watching it on TV.

But consider that most laymen go through life without ever witnessing a single magic trick live.

As such - they have nothing to compare the experience to. As magicians ourselves (with lots of experience of watching magic), we will spot the flaws in a performance.

But to a layperson it is a unique experience. It is like giving somebody a tab of LSD for the first time. An experienced drug user may complain about the quality or the strength of that particular batch of drugs. But - to the person experiencing it for the first time - it will make no difference. To them it will pretty much blow their mind.

[Apologies for the strained analogy - drugs are not my area.]

If the public were as educated/experienced about magic as they were about music, film and comedy - it would be a lot harder for a novice to impress them. But as it is - watching a competent magic trick (as opposed to a gag like pulling off your thumb) is so rare to most laypeople that they have nothing else to compare it with.

And it is in this way - that a novice can impress a layperson after just a week of practice much more than a musician or comedian could after spending just a single week practicing their art.

None of this is of any real importance to those who are serious about magic. It is just an interesting curiosity about the field of magic. The same could be said about comedy and music - if those areas were rarely seen by the public, and if magic had constant exposure in the daily lives of most people.

Still - it is deeper than that. Since magic is not a display of skill. But an attempt to fool people. And when you are successfully fooled - you are at a complete loss as to what the explanation could be. As such - people are far more likely to credit you with other worldly expert skills than would ever be attributed to a musician or comedian who has only studied the art for a single week.
Last edited by Joe Mckay on February 20th, 2015, 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger M.
Posts: 1424
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Roger M. » February 20th, 2015, 9:39 am

Interesting thinking being posited that magic is such a rare commodity, and is so rarely seen by such a large percentage of the population (some folks having lived their entire life without ever seeing live magic), that folks simply have nothing to use as a yardstick as to what's good (artistic) magic, and what's bad (artless) magic.

Uncle Bill the magician may, in fact, live his entire life without meeting any other magicians, and therefore even Uncle Bill the magi has no benchmark in order to determine just how good his skills and presentation are.

Uncle Bill with his worn out old counting card trick gets labeled as a "magician" by family and friends simply because in the life of his family and friends, he's the only demonstrator of live magic they have ever, or will ever meet.

Essentially, Uncle Bill and everybody he knows live in a magic vacuum, and because art simply can't exist in a vacuum (art invariably needs a "viewer" "listener", etc) the entire concept of being art or artless is simply moot (at least to Uncle Bill, and his family and friends).

One day, while on the internet, perhaps Uncle Bill comes across the Magic Cafe or Genii Forum, and begins to expand his horizon somewhat by reading what some other folks are doing. Having no skills to draw upon, Uncle Bills initial process is to simply mimic all this new material he see's onlilne, expanding to the unlimited candy store of the online magic shop sometime thereafter.

Art, skill, blocking, patter, artistic intent simply don't enter into the equation.
That said trick is likely to be performed poorly is never recognized, as if it's a "fooler", it's served its purpose, and the performer and spectators leave happy.
Last edited by Roger M. on February 20th, 2015, 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

IanLand
Posts: 57
Joined: November 28th, 2014, 12:20 pm
Favorite Magician: Marlo
Location: Hastings, UK

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby IanLand » February 20th, 2015, 10:04 am

Joe Mckay wrote:Still - it is deeper than that. Since magic is not a display of skill. But an attempt to fool people. And when you are successfully fooled - you are at a complete loss as to what the explanation could be.


As a sideline, one thing I find interesting is how much card magic has changed in the last 30 years. When I started out, in the UK at least, very few people where doing gambling demonstrations outside of a tiny niche circle. But now, with the explosion of popularity of poker here, it's much more common to see pseudo-gambling demonstrations. And these, of course, even if they are essentially magic tricks disguised as card table artifice, are presented as examples of skill rather than magic. I think a lot of the YouTube move monkeys are tapping into this aspect of popular culture. Hence the endless contextless videos of second deals, push throughs, strip outs, tabled faros, blah blah blah. Moves in the service of nothing other than showing off how good they are at the move.

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4176
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby erdnasephile » February 20th, 2015, 10:24 am

A few random thoughts:

-- I think Michael Close pointed out once that because we are possibly the only encounter with live magic for much of the general public, we represent magic every time we perform for them. He felt this impacted professionals because if we are terrible, that makes those people less likely to consider hiring a magician for events in the future. Therefore, it behooves us to be the absolute best we can be.

-- While I agree no material harm will likely come to Mr. Jay if a hobbyist apes his routine for family and friends, I do think there is at least one negative consequence. Namely, hobbyists who promulgate this habit further the notion that creators' rights don't matter (or even exist). They and their ilk help make possible the ad I received announcing those disgusting "Dean's Boxes" made in China. When hard work and originality are devalued, I can't help but feel there is "harm" going on.

-- Lastly, IMHO, my generation is perhaps at least partially responsible for the fellas in those videos. In this day and age of "information wants to be free", those guys probably don't think they are doing anything wrong. Just as Swain needed Sheridan (and I needed Daryl) to teach an important lesson about magic ethics, so do the neophytes today. If we fail to pass along this ethos, where will they learn it from? It's just one more fallout from the demise of the B & M shops and the graying of our magic clubs.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8155
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 20th, 2015, 11:25 am

erdnasephile wrote:...In this day and age of "information wants to be free", those guys probably don't think ...


That notion is part of last generation's mindset: https://medium.com/backchannel/the-defi ... d95427641c

Here's something closer to today's thinking on the matter:
Check out Cory Doctorow's latest, Information Does Not Want to be Free.
http://boingboing.net/2014/12/19/listen ... ds-in.html
http://techcrunch.com/2014/11/09/worse-than-nothing/
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4100
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Brad Henderson » February 20th, 2015, 5:53 pm

magic is so much more than just fooling people. many things fool us but are not magic.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8155
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 20th, 2015, 7:01 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:magic is so much more than just fooling people. many things fool us but are not magic.


It's simpler to talk about a thing in terms of what distinguishes it from other things. Magic without the effective deception is another kind of performance art. Perhaps by analogy consider a black art act that simulates juggling with assistants and rods on the florescent painted props. Impressive and amusing though not the same as watching a performance of juggling.

We tend to focus on the technical behind-the-scenes in our discussions. It's like saying the ethereal (broom) suspension is all about the stool. Astute if you're critiquing advanced choreography/blocking but not all there is to the magic.

[JT - fixed name of R-H trick and typo]
Last edited by Jonathan Townsend on November 17th, 2015, 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4100
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Brad Henderson » February 20th, 2015, 7:19 pm

I agree that deception is critical. I take issue with the oft held notion that fooling is the most important part of magic, nor 'entertainment'.

it IS beneficial to attempt to understand magic in terms of its difference(s) with other arts

However if we wish to be artists it behooves us not to loose sight of the (more important) common elements that we share, those that make for art.

paulsunday
Posts: 16
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 1:55 am

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby paulsunday » September 9th, 2015, 11:57 pm

Regarding the Erdnase patter discussion, Michael Skinner also used this patter with an assembly not just Lewis and Jay. From what I have read, if you studied with Vernon, you read Erdnase. Not sure if Skinner ever performed with this patter on TV, but that shouldn't be the decisive factor in claiming ownership. Skinner was fond of rhyming patter in general, using the old Gene Gordon (Buffalo, NY) patter for cups and balls. Skinner was born in 1941, 7 years before Jay, not that that proves anything. He moved from Western New York to LA in 1967. Both Jay and Skinner performed on Carson in the early 70s, I think Jay may have been first on Carson, probably throwing cards.

Ron Giesecke
Posts: 13
Joined: October 11th, 2015, 9:23 am
Favorite Magician: Tommy Wonder

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Ron Giesecke » November 17th, 2015, 12:44 pm

Being the wordy type, I actually wrote what I call my "Erdnase Paraphrase" performing the McDonald's "queens" to an equally-atrocious presentation. I perform it as a tribute to Erdnase. And while I would have liked to have performed, as Richard suggested, a different assembly, the rhythmic requirements worked best with this one.

Just my extremely-belated two-cents.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8155
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 17th, 2015, 12:49 pm

Ron Giesecke wrote:Being the wordy type, I actually wrote what I call my "Erdnase Paraphrase" performing the McDonald's "queens" to an equally-atrocious presentation. I perform it as a tribute to Erdnase. And while I would have liked to have performed, as Richard suggested, a different assembly, the rhythmic requirements worked best with this one.

Just my extremely-belated two-cents.


Why go fourth rate to honor secondary sources? The Hofzinser routines are around. The power of doubt?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Ron Giesecke
Posts: 13
Joined: October 11th, 2015, 9:23 am
Favorite Magician: Tommy Wonder

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Ron Giesecke » November 17th, 2015, 2:43 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Why go fourth rate to honor secondary sources? The Hofzinser routines are around. The power of doubt?


Because I happen to have a scripted place in my act where I acknowledge the book's value to magicians and card-cheaters alike, and perform the routine as "the author may have envisioned it performed, 114 years later, with the sometime-extreme license by me."

I just bought "Non Plus Ultra." I'm not sure my treatment qualifies as "fourth rate," though.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25116
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 17th, 2015, 2:55 pm

Jonathan didn't mean that you're "fourth rate." He's oblique more often than not.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Ron Giesecke
Posts: 13
Joined: October 11th, 2015, 9:23 am
Favorite Magician: Tommy Wonder

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Ron Giesecke » November 17th, 2015, 3:32 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Jonathan didn't mean that you're "fourth rate." He's oblique more often than not.


Yeah . . . I thought about that after the fact, although I wasn't offended. Johnathan has always been really straightforward.

I would appreciate an elaboration on the "power of doubt" thought :)

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8155
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 17th, 2015, 3:44 pm

Ron Giesecke wrote:... I'm not sure my treatment qualifies as "fourth rate," though.


First, kudos for working on scripts and your routines. Finding your own voice in making a trick (four of a kind cards wind up together) is a good thing.

Working while tiptoeing around other people's claimed versions of an item limits your work and forces it into context defined by their work. The fourth rate comment comes from working at three removes from the trick's source. It looks like the trick/format/method was Hofzinser's. Others "borrowed" via Art of Magic. Then we have the Vernon/Garcia "McDonald's" routine becoming a "thing" - with no ref to where it came from or using only one hand. Just after that folks worried about avoiding ire from copying Ricky Jay (who's use of the quoted text from erdnase has worked as a signature piece for a long time).
Hofzinser (1) -> "others" -> (2) - erdnase patter / copy issue (3) - >your version (4)

Find your own vision of the trick and be first rate. :)
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8155
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 17th, 2015, 4:09 pm

Ron Giesecke wrote:... I would appreciate an elaboration on the "power of doubt" thought :)


I was thinking about the routine as done with regular cards. When you first put down the four Queens. It's really all about how much faith they have in your startup display/dealdown sequence. Confidence or faith - in that they believe those are the four and only four Queens. Play up the transformations all you want it's still about their convictions set up at the start.

So we're kind of depending on that initial power of belief/faith. Okay maybe there's something there to explore. In procedure: What if one puts the four Queens face down to start using an action that looks like a glide? And maybe some card displacements between those tabling actions? Now for folks looking for a trick there's some doubt about what's on the table. Later, say by the second transformation, there's going to be some serious garden path opportunities. It might be fun to turn the plot at a moment where you do show the bottom card of third packet. Maybe partway into the procedure/fuss/handling process with the cards as you did with the other two packets prior to showing four spot cards. As far as the routine goes we've gotten to the moment. They had their doubts - now there's an opportunity.

Option 1 - bluff proceed with the counting etc and tell the volunteer they now have all four of a kind. Then thank them for playing along and another wave of the hand... make their cards aces, hearts - something - and you now have the queens.

Option 2 - you openly switch packets with them - in process side steal out that Queen you had displayed... yeah that's not beginner's handling. Not sure who to credit for that strategy of having an extra card in that packet (five) and ... you know the rest. Monte Hall says you should switch.

Option 3 - more presentation driven - the idea is to "accidentally" let them see the face card and use that fact as the determinant of the magic - an oops moment close to what Jerry Deutsch writes about as perverse magic. The one they were so sure (and any others suspected) under their hand has magically appeared in yours. Watered down that might make a cute moment where you trade a card with them. You saw the Queen of hearts... oh, tell you what, I'll trade you that for a card from your pile. Just thinking. Gotta try that with an audience or two.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 8155
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Alaskan Poker by Ricky Jay

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 18th, 2015, 7:11 pm

[quote="Dustin Stinett"]“[M]agicians are not unique in their absence of creativity.” — Teller

"I'll say." — Dustin

Image

A TV program on art included some discussion of that Leonardo fresco. Seen as intended in the dining room it looked even more striking. As design it merits its status as icon. Has anyone in magicdom done a similar design work with folks at a table watching a trick? Maybe some others watching in awe, others fidgiting with props or writing notes, someone on a cellphone recording?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time


Return to “Close-Up Magic”