Charlie Frye’s Sleightly Absurd – Review

I’m finally wrapping up reading Charlie Frye‘s magic book Sleightly Absurd. I picked this up at Hocus Pocus in Fresno way back in October when I was visiting their shop.

Charlie Frye's magic book Sleightly Absurd

This book is a fun read and it has a lot of “non traditional” magic book feeling routines in it. The routines have endings to them, which is something that lacks in many magic books by magicians who aren’t out there working. The other thing is that Charlie isn’t a “I do easy stuff so I can concentrate on performing” type of person. He’s doing things with whatever level of difficulty that the trick requires to make the trick the best. Sometimes that’s means hard sleight of hand and sometimes it’s a math principle. I totally respect that approach!

One of the interesting things for me is towards the back of the book there’s Charlie’s approach to Any Card at Any Number. It’s a fairly standard approach where you use a memorized deck and a variety of techniques to get the card at the desired number. He does a great job of breaking down his thought process how determines the best way to go about it and describes many scenarios.

For me the best part is how he calculates the stack number backwards (from the face of the deck).

any card at any number

I had to read that part about half a dozen times for it to make sense for me and once I did, it made total sense! I also figured out a way to get rid of having to remember the pairs, they all all up to 3 or 13, so there’s no memorization of the five pairs, just remembering one rule. This is a game changer for me, it makes the doing the math from the face of the deck insanely easy! This one little thing is worth the price of the book if you use a memorized deck!

This is a great book and totally worth the $75 it sells for!

– Louie

Emergency Show to the Rescue!

Week two of the school assembly tour starts today, I was off on Monday due to the holiday. This show was written for elementary school audiences and is a language and literacy themed show.

On Friday of last week, at my second show of the day was for a small school, so they invited all grades, kindergarten through 12th grade! That’s a huge swing of kids. When I learned of the age range, I went to my car and grabbed my emergency show prop bag.

I took out the deck of cards and did ACAAN as the warm up and won over the high school kids.

One cool thing that I noticed was that elementary school aged kids were who the show was written for, it mostly works for high school aged kids. There’s some silly stuff that wouldn’t get laughs if I was doing it just the high school kids, but the every trick got a good reaction from the older kids. That means the magic in the show is strong!

This is something I’ve always said that a lot of kid shows are missing…strong magic!

-Louie

Don’t Tell Me…

Lately I’ve been popping into virtual open mics and there’s something that drives me crazy. It’s when performers say, “If you were here I’d have you ____” and usually fill in the blank with something like, “shuffle the cards” or whatever. It’s been almost two years since we’ve moved to virtual, you don’t need to say that. If you haven’t figured out how to do the trick without someone in the room yet, virtual performing may not be for you.

HOWEVER, I do think there is a place to mention that “if it was an in person show, I’d have you _____” and that’s to cover a method. More specifically to rule out a method. A good example of this in an in person show is when Kreskin does the linking finger rings and he exposes the gimmick and says he doesn’t use that.

In a virtual show context, you could say, “If you were here I’d have you shuffle the cards, but you’re not, so I’ll shuffle them…” then you do a false shuffle. The key would be to put a little bit of distance between the false shuffle and a crazy revelation that would only be possible with a deck that was in a special order. Doing a false shuffle and then doing something like Any Card At Any Number would probably be fine without putting in any time misdirection.

To sum it up, don’t tell the audience how you would do things if conditions were different…they aren’t attending an in person show and they know that.

-Louie

ACAAN???

One trend in magic that I’ve noticed lately is that whenever someone puts out a new gimmick, or principle one of the routines they come up for it is an Any Card At Any Number. The problem with this is that none of these are truly an ACAAN. as there’s a limitation at some point. … Continue reading “ACAAN???”

One trend in magic that I’ve noticed lately is that whenever someone puts out a new gimmick, or principle one of the routines they come up for it is an Any Card At Any Number. The problem with this is that none of these are truly an ACAAN. as there’s a limitation at some point.


A good example is the Mental Dice that just came out. You are using the dice to get information, but unfortunately with 3 dice you can’t make any number between one and fifty two. You could use one die for the tens place and the other for the ones place, but that still won’t get you all the numbers from one to fifty two.


In the book Body Mentalism, which teaches a really cool technique for forcing a person, one of the effects is an ACAAN. Unfortunately it’s really an Any Card at Number, there’s not a free choice of number. It’s very limited, in this method. I’m all for brainstorming ideas and including them, but people need to stop passing off a Card at a Position as an Any Card At Any Number.

Body Mentalism by Juan Pablo Ibanez

I may be a bit biased as I’m a fan of the ACAAN trick, and have done it on TV, my live show and published several variation of the trick. It’s one of those things that in my opinion have a very specific set of rules for it to be an ACAAN.

Ambitious Card…

A couple weeks I performed at Wonderground in Las Vegas.  This is a monthly magic/variety show put on by Jeff McBride.  It’s a very fun show and if you get the chance, I highly recommend doing it!   The one thing that stresses me out about this show is the close up, I’m fine with … Continue reading “Ambitious Card…”

A couple weeks I performed at Wonderground in Las Vegas.  This is a monthly magic/variety show put on by Jeff McBride.  It’s a very fun show and if you get the chance, I highly recommend doing it!

 

The one thing that stresses me out about this show is the close up, I’m fine with the stage show.   It stresses me out because there aren’t a lot of original plots in my close up set, sure I have my own twists on things, but at it’s core it’s Ambitious Card.

 

About a week before  I performed at Wondgeround I was visiting with Nick Lewin and we chatted about the close up stressing me out.

My concern was that the Ambitious Card was too common of a trick for the audience there.  Not all of the audience there are magicians, however they are magic fans, so they’ve seen it.    Nick commented that it’s the “greatest card trick” and I agree…that’s why it’s so common.  The plot is simple and when done right it’s impossible!

 

I ended up doing a trick where someone feeds me marshmallows.  It played well!
Louie Foxx at Wonderground in Las Vegas

Personally I think there is one trick when done correctly that might be better than the Ambitious Card, and that is Any Card at Any Number. It’s got a simple plot:

Name a card, name a number, count down to that number and the card is there.

The problem with ACAAN is that is gets mucked up when people try to make it easier.  They limit selections or use convoluted processes to make the trick work.  Also what I think most of people who do this for a non-magician audience misses is repeating it.  You need to do it twice.

 

So that’s my thoughts on the best and close second for card tricks.