Carisa Hendrix is more than an accomplished magician and world-record fire-eater, she is also a Persuasive Calgarians according to a great profile in today’s Calgary Herald newspaper. But magic was not her first choice. She was “seduced by the ‘glamor of magic.'”
Like many of us, she watched David Copperfield on television with her family. She was able to “think outside the box” and correctly guess how the illusions were being performed.
Her intended career was to be a teacher. But the lure of fire-eating and card magic proved strong.
“It’s never had to be a career; just what I did to survive. “
“The 32-year-old Calgary-born wizard is at the top of her game today, performing in iconic clubs – in her sexy personality Lucy Darling – setting a Guinness World Record for Eating Fire, inviting Penn and the TV show Teller and co-hosting Shezam, a popular feminist podcast on magic.”
Her abilities have been noted not only by her peers in the magic community (a tough crowd) but also magic clubs. She no longer needs to send audition videos.
“I wouldn’t exist if not for the other magicians who encouraged me, paid me to be their assistant when I was 16 and 17. It was money between hunger and no.”
Three years later, “I did everything – fire, acrobatics, chair dance, magic – whatever he wanted. I was making money until it was no longer scary.”
Ms. Hendrix is looking forward to a possible Canadian television tour to her North American club appearances.
“The magic has to be proven directly,” she says. “It’s just so powerful.”
InsideMagic.com has been a little quiet lately. We believe that is mostly attributable to the writers and editors that staff our site and occupy our .0025 x .0015 room (in hectares) office here on Hollywood Boulevard. They are taking vacation time in keeping with Hollywood tradition.
That tradition began with the studios back in the 1920s when Mary Pickford granted all of United Artists about two-weeks’ vacation at the end of the year. Other studios adopted the tradition and soon all of Hollywood and the companies that served them observed the same policy.
It is now essentially law and if there is one thing readers of InsideMagic.com know, we follow the law without obvious or documented exception.
So, it is just us in this spacious office suite overlooking the street now festooned with holiday flags, banners, and things that are neither. It is a glorious sight, despite the incessant rain. It never rains in the greater Los Angeles area but this week is an exception. So nature does not follow our policy in observing tradition or the law. That is to be expected, we suppose.
Nature seems to follow its own course without regard for the lives of those affected by its vagaries.
We grow old, nature just changes with little care. We make plans for events that are important in our lives, nature gives not even a nod. Weddings are washed out, buildings are felled by earthquakes, skywriters are booked with a non-refundable reservation fee, and nature covers the sky with thick, opaque clouds to obscure the writing or ground the planes.
So what does this have to do with magic?
Our wonderful art is one that is thought to rise above nature, to be supernatural. But the individuals that make the supernatural happen are human and ultimately subject to nature’s whims.
In the past six weeks we have learned of deaths and illnesses occurring to members and members’ families in our community. More than a few Broken Wand ceremonies have been had.
We have also learned of births of children to magicians (and variety artists) and with the births come hope that our art will continue to grow and expand. We’ve seen incredible development in the skills of young magicians around the world (even assuming camera positioning in the most perfect way).
The youth of our ranks will serve magic well. Many (like us) will invent effects that have already been invented.
At the tender age of 13, we invented the Downs Palm and two sleights previously created by Cardini. We were fortunate that our mentor did not ridicule us for such an audacious claim but used encouraging words to encourage us to read more to learn about those magicians who preceded our entry onto the scene.
Like nature, magic ebbs and flows.
We have seen dry times and, we suppose, wet times. We couldn’t think of an appropriate match for “dry times.”
Doug Henning and David Copperfield reminded lay audience how exciting magic was; and encouraged thousands of young people to pursue it as a hobby or even a profession.
Now the excitement is created and driven not just by the big-time professionals but also the contributors to YouTube, Twitter and other avenues. We’ve seen young magicians watching on-line videos over and over as they practiced or attempted to imitate the moves shown. It always makes us smile.
Magic is an art with a great history. It has survived claims of witchcraft, and devil worship. It often led the variety shows that moved from town to town and was the fertile ground from which sprang Houdini, Thurston, and Blackstone.
Nature doesn’t acknowledge those who perform what seem supernatural acts. It just bides its time. Allows for births, relationships, deaths, and mourning. After all of that it continues in its unpredictable but self-sure way.
We are merely here to accept its place in our lives and the lives of those we love and have learned from. We can’t fight nature and its way but we can enjoy what it provides and hope to preserve its supportive, if always surprising manner.
Last week we did a short performance of our card artistry for a nice group of people. They were so nice that we decided to add a new trick to our routine that has been developed over the years that have passed from when we were just 13-years-old.
It is the same routine. Nothing has changed. We used the same routine when we successfully auditioned for The Magic Castle to become a Magician Member (one of the highlights of our magic life). We will add a new joke every once in a while and then it gets folded into the the ever stable dough of our routine. The dough does not rise or fall. It is the same dough we have been kneading since we had a corduroy three-piece suit and a fez.
The costume was our regular wear back in those days. We were a huge Tommy Cooper fan — hence the fez — and we were very poor — hence the corduroy suit. It was a bright brown with lapels wide enough to hide a deck of cards on one side and a thumb tip on the other. The pockets were cut to allow access from the inside and outside. The breast pocket was without a bottom so we could have things travel from it to our lower outside pocket. It was an ugly suit on the outside but an incredibly functional suit on the inside.
The fez was perfect for the Sucker Sliding Die Box, that’s all. Plus, none of our party audiences back then had ever heard of Tommy Cooper and there was no YouTube to which we could use as evidence that a magician could wear a fez.
But we got a new suit when we became a lawyer and we abandoned the fez (it no longer fit our now ego-inflated skull). Our act was now stripped to the same five card tricks, neatly folded into a souffle of card magic.
Back to our point. We sometimes wander far from the topic. We don’t know why. The path we take doesn’t usually end up at a bountiful country scene; replete with joyful animals and calm lakes. We usually end up lost in a dark corner of a big city of conversation or discussion to which we have never been. Those listening or reading feel helpless and not comforted. Perhaps they worry that our train of thought has no tracks but is actually like a cartoon train that has jumped its track and is now running down cartoon animals and about to become submerged in the placid but deep lake.
Anyway, as we were saying.
We do the same five card effects each time. We don’t change their order because each effect sets up the next part. We don’t change our methods because they’ve worked well over the years, decades.
But last week we changed our routine and that led to our self-assessed downfall and failure.
The audience claimed to be delighted and that was nice, but we knew the truth. The transition was unacceptable. It seemed unpracticed compared to the first four effects and because we wanted it to fit the over all routine, it seemed forced.
Our routine is essentially second dealing and false shuffles and lucky forces. To this routine we tried to include Lennart Green’s Stolen Cards. We love the effect and love the simplicity. By itself, it is a wonderful 12 minute routine. We tried to make it a four minute routine and that is not possible. In the midst of performing the four minute version of the routine, we knew it wouldn’t fit. We had practiced it by itself many times and performed the 12 minute routine many times. But now we were making it a component of a 15 minute routine. It required a different deck and when it was done, it required a further deck change.
We wondered the whole weekend following the show, why we would try to change our act on the fly. Was it pride? Was it an homage to the great Lennart Green? Was it a chance to make our life-long routine to something new?
All of those reasons do not justify what we tried to do.
Pride goeth before the fall. Lennart Green doesn’t need our homage. Changing our routine could not be for the benefit of the assembled audience — they had never seen our routine.
Our father, a great magician and fine teacher of great magic, had some great advice for us as we were starting in this wonderful art: 1) when you are not being chased, don’t run; 2) when there is nothing to do, do nothing; 3) stick with what works.
We broke all three rules.
The audience didn’t notice — we think — but we did. We learned an important lesson.
You know the Ace Hotel New York even if you have never been there. Check out their website to see the iconic building with tons of history and literary connections. If we are not mistaken (and their is a very good chance we are), our very favorite short story writer, O. Henry lived in one of the rooms of the building way back in the day.
Zach Alexander, Michael Karas and RJ The Magician will be appearing in their show The New Face of Magic tomorrow, December 14th in Liberty Hall at Ace Hotel New York.
So there is a fine mixture of the past and future awaiting you. Once you are seated and watching the show, it will then be the past, present and future. We suppose that goes without saying and so . . .
The title of the show is fitting for performances by new magicians that push the art of the craft forward.
Mr. Alexander has been featured on ABC Morning News and is a member of our art’s very secret society, The International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Joining Mr. Alexander will be RJ the Magician. He truly is part of the coming generation of magicians. His objective is not only to entertain but also “prove that magic and civic engagement can help contribute to modern society.” He is a member of the International Association of Black Magical Artists; and was the winner of their 2018 “Rising Star” Award.
Mr. Karas is an international award-winning juggler. He has toured the world for more than a decade with his very unique and comedic juggling routine.
If we were in New York, we’d stay at the Ace Hotel if only for the history and O. Henry’s legacy (assuming we’re correct about his residence there) but if we had a choice of nights to stay, it would be tonight and tomorrow to catch The New Face of Magic show.
If you are anywhere in the vicinity of New York city, you should check out the show and see these three amazing performers.
You can read more about the show and the performers here.
Proof of his multi-talented skills is evidenced by his new show Robert Ramirez: The Musical Theater Magician live through Jan. 5, 2020, at Pittsburgh’s Downtown’s Liberty Magic.
By the way, Downtown’s Liberty Magic has a great website. We don’t normally comment on the quality of websites because we feel inadequate about the layout of InsideMagic.com — and we didn’t just mention InsideMagic.com to boost our position in Google ratings — and we didn’t just mention Google to associate Google and its Google Search Engine with InsideMagic.com. We were just making a point why we point out great websites when we see ’em and instantly compare them with our site dedicated to providing the latest magic news for the professional performer here on InsideMagic.com.
Mr. Ramirez’s musical abilities including the ability to play the piano and tap dance; plus perform magic tricks at a level that brings unsolicited praise from fellow magicians.
He became interested in our art when he was merely 8-years-old, after his parents divorced. He then branched into playing the flute, being involved in musical theater in high school and college and even took classes at the very prestigious L.A. based Upright Citizens Brigade. As if that wasn’t enough, he found time to promote creative writing for children in California’s elementary schools through a program called the Imagination Machine.
We would posit that this was sufficient; but no. He went on to star in the touring company of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights from 2011 to 2012.
Holy cow. We can only do magic and really only with cards and really only with cards that we have prepared before performing and really only with one type of a deck in one color and whilst seated and without any potential bad angles and with special sticky stuff on our fingers. Forget doing music or dancing.
Now here’s the strange part. Once he finished the tour, he found it tough to get auditions. He hit a dry spell — like our hands and that is why we need the sticky stuff on our fingers but he was using the term “dry spell” as a metaphor not a physical sign of aging and dry fingers.
“I had realized I’m going to have to create my own work if I want to get out of this little rut,” he says. “So I started doing more magic and I started doing weddings or I started doing strolling gigs when I could.”
He served as a magic consultant on “America’s Got Talent” and appeared at the world-famous Magic Castle in Los Angeles and the Chicago Magic Lounge. Soon his unique combination of skills brought him to the forefront.
“Now in the last two years, I got to a point where now I have to set time aside to do a theater show, do a musical, and then audition for that show,” he says.
Did we mention he also has a comedy background and uses comedy in his performance? We realize we shouldn’t ask readers to go back through this post to determine whether we mentioned it when we clearly could do it if our Tandy X1000 running WordStar 1.25 had an easy way to scroll back up.
“I don’t want to set that expectation because you may not get my brand of humor. Everybody loves magic, and there’s kind of not a ‘brand’ of magic. Either it’s going to feel whimsical and feel like magic or it’s not,” he says.
He is in to magic history and history in general “Magic’s been popular for hundreds of years,” he says. “I think, when all of these historical events were happening in the world, what was happening in magic?”
Following the lead of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the show, In The Heights, to construct a show that he wanted to see, Mr. Ramirez put together an act that he would want to attend. “Now all I do is I create magic that I want to see, something that I wish I was in the audience to laugh at.”
If you are in the Pittsburgh area, check out “Robert Ramirez: The Musical Theater Magician.” Various times. Now through Jan. 5. 811 Liberty Ave., Downtown. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org
You’ll see it all in one place. Visit Mr. Ramirez’ website here.
We had a chance to chance upon a puzzle the other day. We love puzzles and seek them out, so maybe it wasn’t a chance situation.
We found a box at an antique shop here in Los Angeles. It was plain on the outside, looked like it was made of oak or some sturdy wood. We don’t know our woods well but what we do know is the difference between what we would call “Oak” and “Pine.” It wasn’t Pine so, in our book, it had to be Oak.
It was exactly square and had a small hasp with a small lock but the lock had no keyhole. It apparently was keeping the box shut but there were no lines in the wood indicating that the box opened at the location of the hasp and lock.
There were seams and lines on the bottom of the box and on one side. The rest appeared to be carved or derived from one piece of wood, Oak-type wood.
We asked the dealer about it and he said he was told it was from a salvage done at some place in the Arizona desert. We asked what was in it and he said he didn’t know because he had never played with it enough to try to open it. We asked how much he wanted for it and that’s when it got interesting.
He said $250 for the box sounded about right.
We said we were thinking more about $10 bucks. We asked how he could justify $250?
He said that because it could be holding gold coins from the Old West or at least silver coins.
We shook the box but heard no rattles and certainly no clings or clangs indicating coins were within.
The box was relatively heavy, about five pounds. We figured that Oak — if it was really Oak and not just our binary classification of all woods — would not weigh five pounds by itself. That caused us to think there must be something inside with the weight of at least a pound.
Gold could weigh at least a pound, silver was less likely and lead could weigh more than a pound.
We mentioned to the bespectacled antique store owner that because neither one of us knew what was in the box — if anything — we should probably try to figure a price that includes the risk that it would contain nothing of value.
He countered that we should figure a price that includes the risk that it probably had something of tremendous value.
We asked that if he thought it had tremendous value, why would he price it at only $250? Why not $2,000?
He said he didn’t think he could sell it at $2,000 but at $250, it was priced right to match the risk.
How could we be sure that he hadn’t already opened the box and thus knew its contents.
He said he didn’t have time to do something like that, he wasn’t good at puzzles, and his store dealt mostly in furniture and artwork. This was a strange item he picked up but hadn’t “messed with.”
His store was filled with chairs of different eras, quality, fabric and evidence of use. He had beautifully framed paintings hung on the walls of his small but maneuverable space.
We offered $15.00 and hoped he would come down. He didn’t budge. He did, however, lift his glasses and wiped them with the tail of his shirt, conveniently not tucked into his jeans. He replaced his glasses and gestured to take the box back for an inspection. Still saying nothing.
“I could let it go for $200, I suppose,” he said without looking at us.
He handed the box back to us and kept his eyes down. We thought he might wipe his glasses again. But he didn’t. He was just waiting for our response.
“$200 is way out of what we would call a ballpark,” we said. “How about $30?”
He shook his head and said $200 was the best he could do. He reminded us again that it might contain gold and that he had never opened it.
“If it could contain gold, why not open it and see?” we asked.
“It would ruin it,” he said.
We were amazed he had this much time to dedicate to this philosophical negotiation. He had other customers in the shop and while they didn’t look like they needed his help, we imagined that part of being a shopkeeper was helping people find items they didn’t know they needed to buy.
“How would it ruin it?” we asked. “Right now it is just a box that could contain gold or could contain sand and rocks. But when we shake it, there are no sounds.”
“Well,” he said, finally looking at us, “it’s your choice. $200 is my last and best offer.”
We had $200 on us — we just returned from the Poker Room at the Bicycle Club and had a good day. But we didn’t want to waste it on something that could be nothing. We didn’t think there was gold in it and we couldn’t see a way to open it without destroying it. We figured we should just pass on it. It would make for an interesting story one day; maybe today.
So those were our thoughts and deeply held beliefs. We were going to pass. But what we heard us say was, “How about $100.00?”
He extended his hand, we shook it, he gave us the box and we gave him a freshly minted $100 bill. We looked at the image of Benjamin Franklin as we handed it to the antique store owner. Mr. Franklin seemed to shaking his head in disapproval or maybe it was just our hands shaking the bill.
We walked out of the store into the bright southern California sunshine and squinted. The store was apparently much darker than we thought. We looked at the box in the light, hoping to find the secret to opening it without destroying it.
Then we started thinking crazy things. Maybe there was gold in it. Opening it would answer the question but not knowing for sure had value as well.
We got on the Santa Monica bus with the box in our lap. A woman next to us asked about it.
“It is a box from an archaeological dig. I was told there might be gold in it.”
“Oh, that’s nice,” she said and reached out to feel the wood. “Is that maple?”
“Could be,” we said. “Maybe oak.”
“We’ll its very pretty. Where did you get it?”
“Right over there at that store,” we said as we turned to point out the shop but as we did we couldn’t find it. There were so many stores in the strip mall, it could have been that we lost track of it.
We don’t know the website “Looper” but it caught our eye today with a story on the behind the scenes of the wildly popular magic-oriented television show, Penn & Teller’s Fool Us.
We love logistics. Perhaps our love is in the extreme. We love to be at the back of the theater to see how props are packed and unpacked. The huge trucks and the many workers who move the props into their show-ready position. We really love it. Ask anyone who knows us — that’s about three people (or 2.2 people in metric, we think).
Looper takes readers inside and behind the filming of Fool Us and the time expended to film a season’s worth of shows in just a couple of days in front of an audience that could understandably be less enthusiastic as the taping goes on for hours.
One of the burning (literally — but that’s due to a Voodoo curse we received in New Orleans when we refused to pay for what we considered inadequate Voodoo practice — guess Madam Etouffee proved us wrong. We know experience physical burning sensations each time we obsess on some random thought. But that’s our problem, not yours, we hope) — trying to figure out why the delightful Alyson Hannigan wore the same lovely but repetitive dress for each show.
The Looper knows and explains.
We also wondered why there were many more female magicians fooling Penn & Teller — again, The Looper knows. It is an encouraging reason and promises good things for our beloved art. (“Beloved Art” was also the name of our sister’s fake lover — according to some court documents detailing the catfishing efforts of someone who wasn’t really name “Art” and certainly shouldn’t have been beloved by our innocent little sister). Louise took it stride — meaning she ran and kicked the fake Art to break off their relationship. Louise is now working in Hollywood as a freelance conjoined twin for some of the biggest stars in the business. She has beautiful red hair all down her back — unfortunately, none on her head, just down her back.
So our sister Louise shares the redhead / red-hairy back trait with Ms. Hannigan.
The story goes even further behind the scenes to reveal how Penn & Teller’s guess at the method of the trick is checked by a magician who knows the secret. There have been times when Penn & Teller disagreed with the off-stage judge but the judge’s ruling is final. How many times have we heard that phrase in our errant attempts to become Mr. California, Mr. Hollywood, Mr. North Hollywood, Mr. single block between Melrose and Santa Monica, Mr. Living Room in an apartment over a dog food bakery on Santa Monica? Many times, that’s how many. We still have our sash for third prize (“Mr. Congenital”) but it doesn’t mean so much to us now that we know what “congenital” means.
Long-time readers of Inside Magic are already familiar with this story. Almost all of it nearly true.
It was Thanksgiving dinner years ago. The family was gathered around the table. We have a large family both in girth and number. Our now departed grandfather and the magician scion of the Hardy clan (our family’s stage name) was seated at the head of the elongated table created by pushing three wooden tables and one card table into a long row.
Grandfather Hardy (his real last name from which we took our stage name) clutched the family bible in his liver-spotted hands and gazed over his progeny with pride. Assembled were five magicians and their families as well as non-magicians and their families. He was waiting for all to cease their conversations, the passing of plates and the taking of places.
Once all were quiet, Grandfather Hardy turned to his favorite passage from the holy book on Thanksgiving day, John 10:10 “I have come to give you life and life more abundantly.” He spoke for a few minutes about the abundant life God had provided and a tear formed in his right eye, his voice cracked and he looked down at his amply filled plate. “We have much abundance and for that we should always be thankful.”
He crossed himself and we all followed – even those around the table who did not customarily cross themselves in their faith.
We began to eat.
There was clanging of forks and knives on Grandmother Hardy’s prized china and the occasional sounds of chomping from those in our family who had no manners and could not close their mouths whilst eating. We thought nothing of it, though. This was a time of family dedicated to giving thanks.
Then Grandfather Hardy brought out a deck of cards.
The mood around the table changed.
Some of us were excited. Some showed signs of ennui and others just averted their glance from the old man and his preparation to show a card trick.
There are people who eat with their mouths open and people who don’t like card tricks. If you were to draw a Ven Diagram describing those two groups, they would not only connect, they would likely match up exactly in one circle with no evidence of outliers.
Grandfather Hardy asked the youngest of the families to select a card from the deck.
Young Natasha was just four but knew how to select a card and was excited about the attention she was now receiving from not only her Great Grandfather but also the entire crowded table. She pondered the perfect fan of cards before her and made a selection.
“Show it to everyone but not me,” Grandfather Hardy said.
Natasha did as she was told. Our memory may be fading but we think it was the two of clubs.
“Now, Tasha, Grandfather Hardy said with a smile, “sign the card so we’ll know it is yours if we see it again.”
She joined in the smile and looked to her mother, our aunt, as she took the pen she was handed and slowly, very slowly wrote her name on the card. It said, “Tasha.”
Without urging from Grandfather Hardy, she placed the card back in the deck, still spread in a perfect fan. She knew the elements of such a trick.
Grandfather Hardy handed the deck to Tasha’s mother and asked her to help her daughter shuffle it thoroughly. The two shuffled for quite a while – or so it seemed to the magicians around the table. It is difficult to say what the non-magicians thought.
Tasha’s mother returned the deck to her father and he held it fairly in his left hand.
“Tasha,” he said. “Do you remember what your card looked like?”
Tasha turned to her mother with a smile. Her mother whispered something in her ear and Tasha turned back to greet the gaze of her Great Grandfather. “Two of cubs,” she said.
“Indeed?” asked Grandfather Hardy. “And it has your signature on it too.”
Tasha nodded and looked back at her mother for approval. Her mother again whispered something in her ear and she turned again towards the table and nodded with a smile.
“Take a look at the cards and tell me if you see yours,” Grandfather Hardy instructed with a kind smile.
As he turned the deck face up and began to spread them across the tablecloth – one of four covering the assembly of tables – everyone could see that all of the cards were blank. Tasha’s card was gone but so were the faces of all others.
Tasha’s eyes grew wide. She had never seen this trick before. She had been the volunteer for many of the old man’s tricks but this was a new one. She turned to her mother again as if to verify that what she was seeing was not only amazing to her but to others. She saw her mother’s proud smile and her smile increased accordingly.
“Where did it go?” Grandfather Hardy asked.
Tasha shook her head, still smiling.
“Look under your plate, Tasha,” Grandfather Hardy said softly.
Tasha lifted her plate and taking the instructions very literally looked at the bottom of the plate, not the table beneath. Her mother pointed down to the table and drew her daughter’s attention to a single face down card.
Tasha seemed to accept that the trick was over. She was impressed, delighted, amused, and very, very happy. She had no need to turn over the card, she knew it had to be the one she selected and signed.
“Turn it over,” said several of the non-magician family members almost in unison.
Tasha did as she was urged and indeed the card was the same one she had selected and signed.
Her smile grew wider, she looked to her mother and now back to Grandfather Hardy and then her mother again.
She leapt from her chair to give the old man a hug and a kiss. He accepted both and hugged her tightly.
His eyes were filled with tears now.
“Abundantly,” he said with cracking voice. “We have been blessed with abundance.”
A while back we had a regular feature where we would pose an idea for a trick and then ask readers for their ideas on how the trick could be accomplished.
It was a bad idea but a good idea at the same time. Bad because it exposed magic secrets and good because it started a conversation about the types of techniques to accomplish the effect.
The concept was inspired (stolen) from the ACAAN challenge that has puzzled and inspired magicians for years. We can’t claim that today’s challenge will cause such inspiration or education in the thinking and logistical planning needed to bring about such a revolution in card magic, but it couldn’t hurt.
The notion that something may have no positive effect for anyone “but couldn’t hurt,” is ridiculous. Many things don’t hurt but promote not a scintilla of social or even personal value. Plus, the term “couldn’t hurt” doesn’t seem to mean anything more than physical pain. What about the emotional impact or economic devastation suffered by the proponent of this philosophy? We throw this out for something to ponder. It isn’t essential to the post but it couldn’t hurt.
Here’s the concept. It will be non-changeable — just like the original ACAAN challenge.
Effect: A magician has a spectator (no stooges permitted) select a card from a deck of cards held in the magician’s hands. The spectator is asked if she is satisfied with the selection or if there was any other card in the whole world she could have selected, what would that card be. She names the alternative card. The magician hands her the deck and it is turned over revealing that every card in the remaining pack is the card she would have rather selected.
The deck from which the first card is selected must appear to be the same deck used throughout the effect (this allows for a deck switch but under seemingly impossible conditions).
The deck must not be gimmicked in any manner.
The card selected must be different in image from the other faces of the cards shown.
Non-Conditions (Not Required):
The trick does not need to be repeatable for the same audience.
The trick does not need to require knuckle-busting moves.
The trick must not be a currently available effect.
The trick does not need to have a cutesy or vulgar name.
To keep secrecy, please send your thoughts and solutions and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will announce in 30 days whether there has been progress on the solution. You, the inventor or innovator of the solution will get full credit and we claim no IP rights to any aspect of the effect. We will be happy to provide endorsements of the trick if you decide to market it.
Send your solutions or questions now to email@example.com. All submissions will be kept in the most confidential conditions.
Let us get it out of the way at the start. We receive no endorsement, promise, compensation or promise of compensation (including a free deck of the cards we are about to describe). We will be buying the Purple Monarch deck from Theory 11 is our bottom line.
With those preliminaries out of the way, thus meeting the FTC guidelines for influencers (can be found here), we have long said that we did not understand the hysteria our profession has suffered from the release of custom made cards. We have been using our Bee (blue) decks since we were in utero and have attached a sonogram showing our nascent work on the Charlier Cut in previous posts. But those efforts were always with a Bee (blue) deck — although slightly smaller than poker size for our only then evolving little hands.
Our mother would complain to her OB/GYN that it wasn’t so much the kicking that bothered her during our pregnancy, but the sharp edge of the cards being dropped in her innards during the last trimester (we don’t know what that would be in metric) of her pregnancy with us.
As we grew into what some have described as a young man, we continued to use the poker-sized Bee deck in both red and blue (we were wild as a teen and young adult and frequently lived on the edge as evidenced by our several chain escapes in neighbors’ pools and challenges to schoolmates to tie us up with 100 feet of rope). Fortunately, our parents understood this was normal for a young man obsessed with Houdini. They wouldn’t buy the rope or chains for us so we had to use our show money to buy them and then boxes and boxes of red and blue Bee decks.
Yes, we went the way of the devil on occasion and would try Aviators (because they were cheaper and usually gimmicked) or Fox Lake (same as Aviators but with better gimmicking) or even a set of bridge-sized Hello Kitty cards. But we always returned to Bee (now only blue) decks.
The motivation was simple. Bee decks have no borders and possess what some could consider a busy back. 86 percent of our card routine involves second dealing. The entire middle section (which seems to take about 90 minutes to most audiences) is all second deals.
There are trade-offs, of course. Our double lift is suspect and our performance of Dai Vernon’s Triumph can be easily ruined with the boardless cards. We do the double lift on an off-beat and never do Triumph anymore.
But the point of this post was not what we did but what we will do.
Theory 11 is advertising a new deck of cards called the Purple Monarch deck. It is beautiful and could convince us to move from security provided by one of the several gross packages of Bee (blue) decks to a new deck. We will order one or two or three from Theory 11 and do a review if we like them. It is Inside Magic’s policy to never do a review of something we don’t like. We don’t want to add negativity into our art and we were scandalized in the late 1980s with a negative (with positive points) about a card sword that we described as “it looks neither like a sword or a card sword. A swashbuckler would not buy or steal this object for a sword fight and a magician would have no need to use it to stab cards or even himself in disgust for paying over $50 dollars for an aluminum pipe and a wood handle roughly cut and unfit for the hands of anyone other than a giant or two very normal-sized men working together.”
The sword manufacturer was very distressed by this review and we felt badly. We tried to make it up by retracting the story (that’s why it’s no longer on the site) but that wasn’t enough. We saw him at the IBM convention in Orlando and he ignored us. We cried and overspent at his booth. But the damage was done. Never again.
You can view the Monarch deck here. You can even tell them Inside Magic sent you but remember, we receive nada for the link or the puff. Let us know if you agree that it is a deck about which one could be very excited.