Tom Craven’s Second Night Lecture Rocks!

Tom Craven

Let me begin by admitting to you that I have a life outside of magic. I do have friends who aren?t magicians and I have a job that doesn?t require false-shuffling or sleights of any kind.

I tell you this because I attended my second Tom Craven lecture in as many days. Last night I raved about Mr. Craven?s strong lecture and praised his energy and innovation. I gave him five our five stars ? the Inside Magic?s Highest Rating.

I need to revise my review to be considered a credible critic. As good as I thought Mr. Craven?s lecture was yesterday, his lecture this evening was 27 to 31 percent better.

Mr. Craven lectured last night at Carlos Blades? Garden City Magic Shop on Stand-Up Magic. He was incredible in his ability to teach and excite the audience of magicians. I praised him accordingly.

Tonight, Mr. Craven brought a new lecture to the area, making his first appearance at the prestigious Ann Arbor…

Tom Craven

Let me begin by admitting to you that I have a life outside of magic. I do have friends who aren?t magicians and I have a job that doesn?t require false-shuffling or sleights of any kind.

I tell you this because I attended my second Tom Craven lecture in as many days. Last night I raved about Mr. Craven?s strong lecture and praised his energy and innovation. I gave him five our five stars ? the Inside Magic?s Highest Rating.

I need to revise my review to be considered a credible critic. As good as I thought Mr. Craven?s lecture was yesterday, his lecture this evening was 27 to 31 percent better.

Mr. Craven lectured last night at Carlos Blades? Garden City Magic Shop on Stand-Up Magic. He was incredible in his ability to teach and excite the audience of magicians. I praised him accordingly.

Tonight, Mr. Craven brought a new lecture to the area, making his first appearance at the prestigious Ann Arbor Magic Club. From the ?get-go? as we say in the South, it was different in kind but similar in quality to last night?s lecture. Mr. Craven told us it was his goal to provide ?good value? in his lectures.

Each of the effects he presented were worth the price of admission. Each effect was thought out, well-practiced, and commercial. You could literally take any one of the effects presented and taught tonight (or last night, for that matter) and have a new feature for your show.

Enough of the generalizations. Let?s get down to the brass-tacks.

Mr. Craven began with an effect that he proclaimed would allow him to relax while an audience member performed ? thus allowing Mr. Craven to warm-up for the rest of the lecture.


Super Speller

I hate spelling tricks. I don?t know why I do. Maybe I was attacked by someone armed with one of those ?self-working? card tricks book. Maybe, the solution to the spelling tricks seem too obvious. You might be different than me. You might like them.

Mr. Craven?s rendition of Super Speller used the Jim Steinmeyer Remote Control principle to achieve a minor miracle. Here?s the basic effect. An audience member is asked to take a pile of cards and then, select one, and then provide answers to questions asked by spelling the answers out with the cards face down on the table.

For instance, one of the questions asked was ?Do you think we will find your card?? The spectator could have said ?yes? and dealt three cards face down; or ?no,? and dealt two cards. But this spectator answered with the unequivocal ?uh-huh.? He spelled out the answer and his card was revealed to be the last card dealt.

This is after he had spelled his way through many open-ended questions. There seemed to be no way the deck could have been controlled and yet Mr. Craven was able to show the selected card was the last card dealt at the end of the questioning.

As usual, Mr. Craven?s patter was outstanding, casual and only added to the impression that he could not have any control over the cards. Clearly, Mr. Craven knows what he is doing at all times, but his demeanor and approach seems so fair and open that control appears impossible.

As with his other effects, the secret to the trick was simple, required little skill and thereby allows the performer to focus

focus on the presentation.



The Stock Answer

Tom Craven and Assistant

If you are a member of the Ring2100 or SA

Mtalk listserve, you?ve probably seen Mr. Craven?s email messages soliciting Aces of Spades. I had to admit I had no idea why he wanted so many red or blue-backed Bicycle Ace of Spades until I saw this effect tonight.

Here is the premise: every deck of cards produced by the United Playing Card Company has a batch number that is stamped on the Ace of Spades for quality control purposes. Mr. Craven listed about ten of these multi-digit batch numbers on a placard and asked his assistant to select any one of the batch numbers.

It was a free-choice, no equivoque or force, and when the deck of cards that had been before the spectator the entire time was spread and the Ace of Spades was located, the batch number matched exactly the number freely selected.

Let me stop right there.

Can you imagine how this could be possible? Think about the effect. Any of the numbers were selected and the one selected matched exactly the batch number on the Ace of Spades in the deck.

I won?t tip the secret but it is ingenious and could be a reputation-maker. The method is not difficult, there are no tough sleights to master and the deck could be a borrowed deck (with some preparation).

Incredible, just incredible.



Gorby Prediction Redux

Gorby Prediction

I mentioned in my review of Mr. Craven?s lecture last night that the Gorby Prediction was one of the more startling and beautiful effects I?ve seen. He performed it again this evening but was missing one key prop that would allow for the kicker ending. Nonetheless, it killed. Mr. Craven was joined with a delightful young girl and his interplay with her was great.

For those of us who had seen the Gorby Prediction last night, we realized the kicker was missing but for those who had not seen it performed before, it was still a devastating effect. This only proved the power of the effect. Even if Mr. Craven ended the effect before its true finish, it was still a complete routine and brought great applause from the packed house of magicians. This is a strong effect.



Datebook Miracle

I was called up to assist in a true miracle. I?ll describe what I did and what I saw. A spectator was asked to name a month out of the year. Another was asked to name a date in that month. Tonight, the date was August 12th. Now, I shuffled a deck of cards, Mr. Craven shuffled his deck, and another spectator shuffled his deck. Three decks all mixed up.

I selected a card from my deck without seeing it. The other spectator selected a card (again without looking at it) by dealing down the cards to spell ?LUCK? and Mr. Craven dealt 20 cards for the sum of the month (August = 8) and the date (12 = 12). He placed his card between our two cards. I turned my own over first and showed the Eight of Hearts.

The other spectator turned over his card and revealed the Eight of Hearts and Mr. Craven revealed the same Eight of Hearts as his selection. A spectator was then asked to open a date book that had been in full view of the audience since before the effect began. When the spectator turned to August 8th, the card written on the date was, you guessed it, the Eight of Hearts. If August 7th or 9th had been selected, they would have been different cards.

The sleights are not difficult but absolutely incredible to watch. I do the original version of Bob Cassidy?s Chronologue and I think this might be even stronger.

Blue Collar Aces

This is a beautiful ace assembly done to music.

I am a sucker for ?Danny Boy? being Irish. It used to make my grandmother cry. She was Ireland and passed that love of the Old Sod to me. I even sang ?Danny Boy? at a Karaoke bar and made many people cry but probably not for the same reason my Grandmother would.

Anyway, Mr. Craven performed the Blue Collar Aces to ?Danny Boy? and it was beautiful to behold. He did not teach the trick. If I wanted to learn it, I would have to buy it. I did. It?s as good as I?ve seen and perhaps the easiest Ace Assembly I?ve ever seen.



Conclusion

I have left out several of the effects taught tonight. Not because they were lacking in some way but because I now realize my writing about Mr. Craven?s lectures is taking on a kind of scary-stalking tone.

I could not have guessed tonight?s lecture would top last night?s but it did. Here comes the scary part, if Mr. Craven was going to stay in the area to do a third lecture, I would follow him to the next location and gladly pay to learn even more.

Mr. Craven is special in his abilities to teach, to innovate and to entertain. I promise you that you will feel the same as I do if you witness Mr. Craven?s lecture. You?ll be amazed, entertained and educated. Even more than that, you?ll be inspired. That?s quite a bit from two nights of lectures.


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