Sometimes you find things you weren’t expecting when you are searching for other things on the internet. I ended up finding a video clip of me performing an early version of the final version of my “invisible deck routine“, which I call Choices
Here it is:
It’s not really an invisible deck, but that’s how I describe the routine to other magicians as that gives them an easy idea of what the effect is. Before I go further, yes I understand the trick would be stronger if I said, “Name a card” then it was reversed. HOWEVER, that’s not what I’m going for. First of all, I’m trying to get a little bit more time out of the routine.
The video above starts about 45 seconds into the routine, so that gives me a routine that’s about 4 minutes. It also allows me to involve more than a couple people from the audience. The trick also reveals some personal information about me (that’s at the beginning of the routine that’s not in the video). The routine is a lot more personal than, “I had a dream someone picked a card and when I work up I flipped it over“.
I’m happy with how this routine has progressed since that was recorded in October. -Louie
Last night I was playing with a deck of cards while I watched the final couple of episodes of Dexter New Blood and came up with a little pop out of a card from the deck. It’s pretty easy to do:
Hold the deck in your right hand in biddle grip.
Swing cut the top half into your left hand into mechanic’s grip
Your left thumb side jogs the top card about half an inch to the right
As your righthand approaches the left hand, the back of the right hand’s middle fingertip contacts the side jogged card. The right hand continues moving forward and slightly up. That will cause the side jogged card to flip face up. When that happens, your right hand moves down to put the two halves of the pack together.
That’s it. It’s not much, and it feels really familiar. I think it’s a mix of a lot of thing that I already know and that’s what makes it feel like it’s something I already know.
After playing with it with one card, I started thinking about producing a second card. That ended up being a four card production:
While not the greatest or flashiest four ace production, it was fun to come up with last night! -Louie
One of the challenges was figuring out how to do Daryl’s Triumph Display with the deck in the condition that the deck is in for my routine. It’s basically the same as Daryl’s except the final two blocks of cards are hand hand and you rotate your hands palm up to show the face up and face down blocks.
I’m glad I figured out how to do the final display, it just took sitting around and playing until I worked it out, and the solution was soo simple!
One thing I love is seeing people do unusual things. A couple days ago I got to see my friend Terry Godfrey do the Al Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper. It’s a great trick and it’s also a fun, special moment when he gets on the floor with the cards. It’s a break from what Terry normally does and when he does it, it feels like he’s showing you something special, and he is!
Seeing him do that trick in early 2020 is what inspired me to come up with this trick:
My trick is essentially Cards Thru Newspaper, however it’s changed a lot. Goshman’s trick used a simple gimmick, mine is a little more complex and of course I eliminated the big sheet of newspaper and changed all of the props!
Last week I was in New York City for Christmas. We went to check out some shows, one of them was Stomp NYC.
If you don’t know what Stomp is, it’s a show that’s percussion based and they use “everyday objects” for their instruments and there is no talking or singing.
There’s a lot to learn about performing from this show. For me the huge thing was relatability. The characters were relatable, but the bigger thing was all of the props were relatable. They were things we all see and touch almost every day in our lives. From things like a recycle bin, to a plastic chip bag, everyone has a point of reference for all of the props. This makes the show soo much more relatable than if it used some strange percussion instrument that was invented for and only exists in this show.
When you look at the props in your show, looking at relatability for your props is important. Keep in mind you don’t need to use things that exist in real life, that’s an artistic choice you are making. However when you do, I think they should be things that actually are when they look like, versus things that pretend to be something in real life. Once again this is an artistic choice An example of something pretending to be something real would be an illusion that’s painted to resemble a cardboard box. Everyone knows it’s not a cardboard box, they know it’s a stage prop.
If you look at my two appearances on Masters of Illusion last season, both use “everyday objects” that people have seen or interacted with before.
The first used a paper bag and some toy animals:
And the second used a inflatable dinosaur costume
The props in those two routines were much more relatable than had I used props that were created just for magic tricks. It gives them a simpler feeling than fancy props and that’s the vibe I’m going for. I’m an everyday guy, not someone solves problems with money. In the end it all boils down to your artistic choice for your show. I’ve made some very intentional choices, and while I don’t expect you to make the same choices, I do hope in my heart that whatever you choose to do, it’s intentional.
Frequently I’m asked to make little promo videos for events that I’m performing. Here’s one a made for a gig a few days ago:
They wanted me to thank the sponsors and to do a quick trick. One of my “go to tricks” for situations like that are flap cards for a quick color change. I do the first change in the glass (which as far as I know I’m the first to do) which I think adds to the impossibility of it changing. Then the second is just the toss change.
Having a quick and visual trick you can do for things like this helpful. Also essentially having a formula for doing videos for events, so you’re not reinventing the wheel every time. I just grab my glass and card and I’m good to go!
I’ve been fascinated by the idea of using the old card production where you drop the deck of cards on the table and the top card flips over as a “clean up” for card trick triumph. By clean up, I mean the last thing you have to do in my sequences where you need to reverse one card…or half of the deck.
In the past I’ve published a fairly complex version of Triumph that used a stripped deck and had a kicker ending, but used the flip over production to clean up the deck for the reveal. About a month ago, I think I finally hit on a sequence that makes sense, and it’s pretty simple, I’m surprised I didn’t think of it earlier. Here it is:
Card is selected and returned to the deck, but secretly controlled to the top.
The bottom half is flipped face up and you are going to do a modified zarrow shuffle. You will shuffle all but the top card (selected card) of the face down half into the bottom half of the face up cards. Then run about a quarter of the face up cards, drop the final face down card, and run the remaining face up cards.
You will now strip out the face up cards, but add the face down selection to the face up cards, so they to on top.
Find the natural break between the face up and face down halves. Side jog the face up half and drop it on the table. They should flip over, giving you deck that’s all face down except for the face up selection!
That’s it. While the shuffle procedure reads fairly complex, it’s not. If you can do a Zarrow Shuffle, you can do this. -Louie
The amount of magicians that complain when people want to show them a magic trick is staggering. I don’t get it, why not let the person show you? The person will be the star for a minute, and I think that’s where the problem is, most magicians have a ego that won’t let them step away and let someone else into the spotlight.
At a gig the other night a someone wanted to show me a trick and I say “yes”.
They did the trick with the glide where at the end the slap the cards out of your hand and one card is left in your hand and it’s the selected card. When I let her do it, she nailed it! That’s going to be one of the memories from the party for the dozen people that say it, and something they’ll talk about longer than my roving set.
I’m not saying you should 100% always let the person show you the trick. There are times when it’s inappropriate, like in the middle of a ticketed formal show. but if you’re roving or after a show, why not? It’s not going to hurt anything.
Having a gig where I’m doing 66 shows at all month is a great opportunity to work on new material. I’m still working on my idea for the Invisible Deck. It’s coming along. I’m now using Phoenix Large Index Cards. The bigger index makes it play a row or two further back.
One thing I’m realizing is that this trick is going to be limited to the size of room it can play. I’m going to need to figure out a way to scale the trick back up to either a Phoenix Parlour sized deck or a jumbo deck. It’s interesting how the process works, I had to shrink the trick to figure out why I need to enlarge it!
So why not just go back to using the Vernet 52 B’Wave?
The main reason is the routine I was doing required 3 jumbo decks and didn’t really have a routine for it. By changing the method, I ended up finding a presentational hook for the trick, which ultimately helps the routine. Yes, I could do my routine with the 52 B’Wave, but now that’d bump it up to travelling with four jumbo decks, and that’s a lot of weight in case for a card trick!
I think the method may end up being some sort of hybrid method, where the reveal deck is similar to the 52 B’Wave deck, but with different reveal cards, and reveal cards that aren’t gimmicked, so they can be shown more freely.
Another reason I’m playing with a different method is that there’s a sense of pride I have when I perform with original methods.
As I still keep working on my version of the Invisible Deck, I think I have the technical end worked out. The biggest challenge is the elimination process. I needed to figure out how to remove any confusion as to what side people are selecting. What I have settled on is having people point to a side of the room. If they point to my hands, I can’t tell which side they are pointing at. So having them point at the left or right wall clears that up.
Next up is figuring out the presentation. As I’ve been doing it, as the elimination process happens I’ve organically been saying, “that’s what I would have done”. I’m kinda using that as the base for the routine. Here’s what I wrote last night: “Whenever I leave the house, my wife tells me to make good choices. I’m gonna tell you, I only make the best choices! Like the time I made my own penicillin from sour cream…or when I knitted my own seatbelt…or the time I went to Wyoming.”
It’s a starting point. Maybe I could say say their “choices are better than the time I…” and then say something funny. I think I’m not at a point where I just need to write and try out the jokes.