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The Burnaby Kid
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St. John's, Canada
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I find I'm having difficulty clarifying as well. It's all good.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
Alan Wheeler
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Two related issues:

1) Face: When the performer truly seems to lose control and lose face people can
feel uncomfortable. Though I think it is equally valid--especially in Asian cultures--this issue is different from Tommy Wonder's concern
that the audience will feel cheated when the trouble turns out to be
false.

2) Taste: The melodramatic and tongue-in-cheek presentations sometimes used to
let the audience in on the act (and so avoid the problems of playing the failure or trouble too realistically) may not be to everyone's liking.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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Patrick Differ
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I have eliminated all "Gee, I can't tell. Is the Magician in Trouble?" plots from my working sets. They just don't work for my character.

What does work for me is when I tell them in advance, with a wink and a smile, that I "always mess up this trick." That way they can develop a reasonable expectation of what's about to happen. That way they're aren't going to feel "tricked" when I magically save my own sorry butt. That way I can act out the piece assuredly, elaborating on the facets of the "magician in trouble" (yeah, right!) plot.

I figured out how this works for me by actually messing up a trick that I "always mess up." Does this sound familiar? Does this sound ironic? It sure didn't feel either of those ways when I messed it up.... but I digress...

I was doing the Spectator Spells to His Own Card After the Magician Fails Miserably trick. I was using a break and just a break to keep track of the whole thing, and while during the shuffle, I lost the darn break! The break vanished into thin air. I knew I was in deep doo-doo.

I remember the wave of emotions that washed over me. I remember the heat. I remember the sweat on the back of my neck and palms of my hands. I remember the speechlessness and my eyes wandering, flicking around the layout while my mind raced for a solution that was nowhere in sight. I remember the tunnel-vision. I kept saying, "Really, guys, I goofed this one. It's gone. It's goofed. It's gone." We sat there a good two minutes (a lifetime!) with nothing to say or do.

And then, as fortune would have it, the stars lined up, the clouds opened and the sun shone down on the deck still in my hand. The deck split open in my hand and I was able to look at one card. That one card told me instantly where the other card was, and I was able to bring the trick to a successful conclusion, flying by the seat of my pants.

I can attest that it was the strongest trick I did that night. They talked about that one, not the others, for the rest of the night. They said, "I really thought you messed that trick up!" I told them, "I did! I did!" We laughed about it until sun-up.

That experience taught me how I should do this MIT plot. It is the only way I'll do it. Ever. Nothing else works for me.

What's this got to do with the price of Bicycle decks at Wal-Mart? I'll tell you. The Magician in Trouble plot is a strong plot. It is a powerful plot. It is a plot that will get people talking for a long time. The only problem with it, (and it's a doozy..) is that there are infinitely more ways to mess it up than there are ways to get it right. When it's right, it's a KO. When it's wrong, it's, at best, contemptuous, and at worst, downright insulting.
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
tommy
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A quick trick:

Force a blank faced card on them and say “I seem to be having some difficulty in reading your mind.”

I presume that’s an old one?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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That strategy has been used to much greater effect in other routines.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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Already? Wow they are real quick stealing my ideas. Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Ossining, NY
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Quote:
On 2008-10-25 17:26, tommy wrote:
Already? Wow they are real quick stealing my ideas. Smile


They're reading the Café very carefully for good ideas and it's kinda hard to stop them since they use time machines to establish prior art. Hey Leonardo - how about if she's not quite smiling, huh, huh, it'll be a classic. I mean where do you think those wanabee's like Hofzinser and Marlo got their ideas?

Anyway that use of a card and a force is very good. Congrats if you invented it on your own. Take the idea further and see what sorts of byplay you can have with the volunteer as they look at the card - maybe not showing it to others or perhaps after others have seen (not) it.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Alan Wheeler
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Patrick Differ's story reminds me of a couple of my own.

One:

A few years ago when I first learned some false cuts and the Zarrow shuffle, I performed Sam the Bellhop for some friends at a restaurant and the trick went out of control for a couple of rounds. My friends could see I was sweating and making lines up on the spot to make the story work out. We were all laughing and having a great time as I sweat it out. By the end the stack was back on track and I finished up with a happy ending for the magician in (real) trouble. I remember thinking at the time, "I'll bet this is what happened to Doc Eason! I'll bet it played so strong for him that he arranged for the mistakes to happen every time."

Two:

This fall so far I have performed Roberto Giobbi's "Card to Lemon" more than eight times. (Sorry, I perform it with an Easter egg to avoid the mess and to have a much quicker reset.) If you know the routine from his lecture or from Card College, you know that it's scripted for the magician to pull a wrong card out from under the silk handkerchief two times before finding the lemon there.

Somehow--out of the 8-10 times I have done the effect--I have just by chance pulled out the right card on the second attempt. To stay on track I have just miscalled it and continued on.

The second time this happened was at a banquet with four or five round tables of people watching. When I got back to my table where my family and friends were sitting, someone asked me why I was laughing and I told them the truth, how I was supposed to get the wrong card but had actually pulled out the right card. We all had a good, strong laugh and the experience was much better for the ones who shared in my true "magician in trouble" plot.


I am not sure how to make a theory or principle from these experiences, but there they are.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
A BLENDED PATH
Christian Reflections on Tarot
Word Crimes
Technology and Faith........Bad Religion
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