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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workers » » Structure of Chicago Opener (35 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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martyjacobs
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Quote:
Wouldn't it just be easier to learn the double lift? It takes practice, but it isn't really that hard. Pound for pound, it gives you more worth for your investment than most moves.


Yes, it would. I only mentioned Roy Walton because he had a similar view to Eugene when it came to this particular move. The DL is over-used and often misunderstood. I use the DL/DT (especially when performing packet tricks). You need to invest the time in the technique so that it looks like a natural action. I'm a big fan of a Vernon-style double.
Bob G
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Pop,

I think I agree with Marty. I've been working on the DL for more years than I care to admit, and I'm finally beginning to have a decent one. So for me, at least, the DL has been, and continues to be, a big investment. (The main problem for me is catching a break indetectably, and doing a strike DL consistently.) Worth it, though. And if you're not willing to do a packet DL you might as well not to packet tricks -- that's what it looks like to me, anyway. But I'd like (eventually) to have variety of tricks that use a variety of techniques.

Bob
NicholasD25
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On Feb 5, 2021, Pop Haydn wrote:
Wouldn't it just be easier to learn the double lift? It takes practice, but it isn't really that hard. Pound for pound, it gives you more worth for your investment than most moves.


I totally agree with Pop on this. I learned Chicago Opener in 1973, when I first became interested in magic. I've used it ever since, mostly in restaurant work. Over the years, as my arsenal of skills got better, I went through various phases: which double lift? I did pinky pull downs, riffle up doubles, Vernon style turnovers, hit doubles, stud doubles, push off doubles, Bro. Hamman doubles. which force? Riffle, slip cut, under the spread cull force ( technically, my favorite BTW ).

After all that, I came to the realization that I was over analyzing the trick, as many of us tend to do. As a result, I went back to the basics. For the double, once the stranger card is on top, I spread a few cards, making some comment about the odd card, close the small spread, picking up a two card break and do a simple book style show of the double. I don't feel that it's wise to do a fancy double lift of any kind here. With regard to the force, while I've not cared much for the Hindu shuffle, for this trick, I consider it the most efficient move. I don't remember where I first saw this, but on the Hindu shuffle, when the spectator says stop, I immediately turn the right hand palm up and using my left thumb, I pull the "stopped at" card onto the left hand packet, outjogged halfway, then place the right hand packet face down, sandwiching the face up card. This sort of reinforces the idea in the spectator's mind that the card came from the center of the deck.

I am always gratified at the response I get from this effect.
martyjacobs
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This is what I wrote in my notebook about my variation:

Unlike most versions of "Chicago Opener", this one doesn't rely on the Double Turnover. There is a lot of heat on the odd-backed card when it appears, making this the worst possible moment to perform the sleight (or any other for that matter). There are two ways to deal with this problem: remove tension by delaying the move, or remove the sleight from the trick entirely. I decided it was better to do the latter.

There's nothing wrong with the original handling, so long as you time it right and your DL technique is up to scratch.

Here's another more recent variation that I've just discovered that I like a lot by Michael O'Brien:





And some good tips from Michael on your DL technique:

The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On Feb 5, 2021, Pop Haydn wrote:
Wouldn't it just be easier to learn the double lift? It takes practice, but it isn't really that hard. Pound for pound, it gives you more worth for your investment than most moves.


There's an interesting viewpoint on profanity that Jerry Seinfeld has. At one point he had a joke that had a swear word in it, and he got a laugh. Later, he took it out just to see if it would get the same laugh, and it didn't. At that point he realized the easy power that came with profanity, and he decided to remove it entirely from his act. Other comics have tried letting him know it wasn't the profanity that got the laugh, it was the emotion that was injected into it, but regardless, he made that choice.

What does that have to do with this? Well, there's a really smart magician by the name of Tyler Erickson out of Minnesota who had something similar to say about the DL. The DL has a whole lot of easy power in it, that sometimes it's hard to know if the trick using one is inherently strong, or if it's just strong because of the DL. In other words, there's potentially a lot of bad magic out there that we don't fully recognize as being bad just because at some point there's a DL in there, and it's that step that fools them, rather than the entire trick being constructed correctly and deceptively.

For what it's worth, that's just my take on Tyler's take in reference to Seinfeld's take. And I disagree with pretty much everything Eugene Burger has to say on the Chicago Opener with regards to both the DL and the Chicago Opener. I also disagree with Seinfeld's aversion to profanity, although I get it.
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martyjacobs
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That's a good analogy, Andrew. I remember seeing a comedian who was swearing a lot (in a relaxed, friendly way). The profanity was generating laughs without any jokes. The thing is, swearing suited his style and manner. If I did the same thing, it wouldn't work.

Eugene used to say that he didn't pick the tricks, the tricks picked him. Chicago Opener clearly didn't fit his style and he identified two weaknesses in it that he felt were dealbreakers. I'm confident Eugene could have overcome both issues through technique and/or presentational changes, but he didn't think the trick was good enough to bother. The better solution for him was to perform something else. What was wrong for him may well be right for other magicians. I still think you need to address those inherent weaknesses.

Marty

P.S.I saw Tyler Erickson lecture for International Magic in London years ago. He had some very refreshing ideas.
ringmaster
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When I hear experts discuss the DL, I keep remembering a coed saying she didn't like magic based on someone who "... kept turning over two cards as one, and insisting my card had jumped to the top".
I grew up watching Dick Oakley and Frank Everheart, but I never got involved with the pastboards.
One of the last living 10-in-one performers. I wanted to be in show business the worst way, and that was it.
Bob G
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That's pretty funny, ringmaster. Your acquaintance must have seen the DL performed by an incompetent magican. Smile
DerekG
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Quote:
On Feb 12, 2021, ringmaster wrote:
When I hear experts discuss the DL, I keep remembering a coed saying she didn't like magic based on someone who "... kept turning over two cards as one, and insisting my card had jumped to the top".


My guess is that she saw a few, frankly, amateurish handlings of the ACR. I've seen too many people do an ACR that consists of multiple poorly executed DLs that give the trick away. Also, talking with laymen, I find that the DL is one of the most well known card sleights to the world's non-magicians.

I have what I'd call a competent DL. I can do it well, I can do it consistently, I just have to generate enough misdirection to catch a break, which isn't hard, but I feel like it would be obvious if I had to do it over and over in a routine. That's why my ACR uses only one DL in the penultimate phase as a setup to the finale that Tommy Wonder used. I do the other phases with shuffle controls, various passes, and a side steal.

The DL, like any sleight, fails if executed poorly. Exponentially more so if used both poorly and repeatedly.
Bob G
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Derek,

Do you have any advice about how to generate misdirection while catching a break? I'm sure it depends on the trick, but it's clear that you're more advanced than I am, and I thought you might be able to suggest a method or two.


Bob
DerekG
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On Feb 13, 2021, Bob G wrote:
Derek,

Do you have any advice about how to generate misdirection while catching a break? I'm sure it depends on the trick, but it's clear that you're more advanced than I am, and I thought you might be able to suggest a method or two.


Bob


Bob,

I find it so unlikely that I'm more advanced than you that I strongly suspect that you're having a bit of fun with me here. Either way, you are, of course, correct that it depends on the trick. For instance, in my ACR, I need to catch a break to go into the Marlo Tilt/Dai Vernon Depth Illusion. I use a simple thumb off break and the misdirection I use to get away with that is that I hold the selected card high from the deck as I reveal it, which I do at every phase of the performance just so it seems normal the one time I need to do it to catch that break. More to the point of this thread, I don't do Chicago Opener, but I do a different trick with a very similar scheme where there's only one selection, it's signed, and it turns into an odd backed card and then back to the original color. The moment when you do the DL has an identical amount of heat to the CO because of the similarity in structure. The way I catch my break there is less misdirection in the "look here" sense and more that your secret movements are covered by your open ones. Simply put, rather than pickup all the cards with the odd backed card on top, I scoop up the cards up to the odd backed card and I leave them slightly spread as I do, leaving the extra cards on the table. I just catch my break as I'm pushing those cards in to square the packet of cards in my hand and I go straight into the DL from there.

I hope that's helpful to anyone who, like me, can't do a strike DL or even a pinky count to save their life.

Best wishes,
Derek
Bob G
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Thanks, Derek. Just to reassure you: I wasn't pulling your leg. I'm much better at talking and thinking about magic than actually doing it, and I have very little performance experience. I'm finally beginning to succeed in catching that break in Chicago Opener, after *lots* of practice. Everyone says it's easy, but not for me. On the other hand, I can do a strike DL and a pinky count, though not consistently, so what do I know?


Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts about misdirection. I don't know how you handle raising the card high, but I struck me as a good chance for some humor: "And then the card *riiiiiises* to the top..."


Regards,


Bob
Bob G
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P. S. I remember why I decided you're more advanced: passes, side steal... Whew! May I live long enough to learn those. But it doesn't matter, as long as we're having fun.
DerekG
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No worries Bob, I still consider myself an intermediate magician at best. As far as the raising the card up high on the ACR, I really just raise it to eye level, though it could definitely be made into a joke with the right personality. I started doing it because I noticed how many ACRs that use the DL repeatedly always do the turnover on top of the deck. I wanted to move the card away from the deck so that it would be visually isolated and because, in general, the more "open" your body language (i.e. with the left hand out to the left and waist high and the right hand held at eye level to your right) the less suspicious people are of your movements.

As far as passes go, I hate the Classic Pass. It's an awkward, difficult maneuver that, for me, has a high probability of going wrong (the top packet sometimes falls apart when I'm gripping it with my pinky and ring finger to do a classic pass). The Hermann Pass is a much better move, in my opinion. But the Spread Pass and Turnover Passes are even easier if you can justify using them. I start my ACR with a Spread Pass as the spectator returns the card to the deck. My body language is always open as I hold the fanned out cards in my right hand and extend the left hand packet to them to accept the card. As I'm doing that, I keep talking to them and maintain eye contact while I execute the pass under the pretense of just squaring up the deck. All the misdirection is built in to the maneuver and it's a way to hit them hard with the first phase. From there, I normally do a Hermann Pass (catching my break as I insert the card from the rear of the deck by pushing down on the card). Then I do what I call a side steal but isn't a classic side steal. Basically I push the card into the deck from the side so that it's secretly sticking out the other side then I clip it with my fingers of my left hand under cover from my right hand to move it to the top. Then I'll do a Turnover Pass on the next phase, using a line like "What happens if we turn the deck upside down? Does it go to the bottom? No! The top of the deck is still over here."

Don't be afraid to give passes a try. I remember when I first got my hands on The Royal Road to Card Magic and found the Classic Pass insanely difficult to perform, much less to do it secretly. I honestly think I tried it for three straight days before I gave up and thought I'd never learn the pass. Well, while I still can't do the Classic Pass reliably, there are much better passes out there.
slowdini
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You all should look at the jerx take on the double lift. There is no get ready- you just reach down and grab two cards. He did a study where he asked lay people to hold the deck, reach down and turn over a card. The way lay people turn over a card is NOT the fishy looking way you all do it. So after hours and hours of perfecting a two card push over get ready with my thumb- I simply started imitating the way most lay people pick up a card and turn it over. It is the most natural looking thing you can do. Do yourselves (and your spectators) a favor and go over to jerx.com and look up his post on the double lift.
DerekG
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BTW, it's thejerx.com not jerx.com. One is a magic blog, the other is in a language I don't speak.
martyjacobs
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The Neolift is a useful technique for sure, and better than some DLs I've seen. However, Andy is not suggesting people should replace their existing DL with this technique:

Quote:
"I think there are some advantages to it, but nothing so dramatic that it demands you change from whatever you've done in the past."


It reminds me of a bombproof DL the late, great Aldo Colombini used. The only issue I have with the article is that Andy's friend is only demonstrating 50% of the sleight.

There's nothing fishy about most DL when the card is treated like a light piece of paper, rather than a concrete slab.
ringmaster
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[quote]On Feb 17, 2021, DerekG wrote:
BTW, it's thejerx.com not jerx.com. One is a magic blog, the other is in a language I don't speak. [/quote
Try this one:
https://www.thejerx.com/so-youre-new-here
One of the last living 10-in-one performers. I wanted to be in show business the worst way, and that was it.
Nikodemus
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Marty's timeline is fascinating. I had no idea there were so many versions.

I am intrigued by Marty's own version - Two Hot To Trot - is there a performance video available?
I can only think of one way to eliminate the DL, which would be to use the same method in phase 1 as phase 2. This of course would bring its own complications - presumably needing more work to clean up at the end.
Nikodemus
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Another one for Marty's timeline -

JAMES BROWN (from Hide & Seek DVD)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-XRiff2q6I

He uses a Riffle Slip Force in phase 2. But then adds a two more phases. The last one is Signed Card To Wallet - at which point I guess no one is worrying about phase 2!
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