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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All in the cards » » What set-up do you most often have prepared? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Terrible Wizard
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I'm thinking more for casual performing than any paid work, but what self-working deck set-up or arrangement is most often 'ready to go' in your deck?

I have Further Than That most often pre-arranged. I like that it is a funny, multi-phase trick with a built-in catch phrase - I often have it pre-arranged because it's too big a stack to arrange in front of people (with my skill level).

Obviously, given the forum, I'm not interested in non-self working or gaff set-ups Smile
Vlad_77
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On Apr 24, 2014, Terrible Wizard wrote:
I'm thinking more for casual performing than any paid work, but what self-working deck set-up or arrangement is most often 'ready to go' in your deck?

I have Further Than That most often pre-arranged. I like that it is a funny, multi-phase trick with a built-in catch phrase - I often have it pre-arranged because it's too big a stack to arrange in front of people (with my skill level).

Obviously, given the forum, I'm not interested in non-self working or gaff set-ups Smile


Mine would be Henry Evans' Perfect Triumph. I'm kind of surprised that this effect which in my estimation is a perfect closer doesn't get much mention.

I love that you mentioned Further Than That, TerribleWizard as I believe there is never enough conversation about Stewart James.
Terrible Wizard
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I don't know much about either James or the effect, Vlad - but I certainly think it's a nicely constructed trick. Is Stewart James someone who gets overlooked in card magic?
captainsmiffy
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I leave a deck set for Up The Ante and this gives me the option of either performing that straight away or, with the same setup, I can go straight into TNT by Tamariz (AKA neither blind nor stupid), followed by OOTW.....following OOTW, as you pick the deck up it is so simple to set yourself up for Shuffleboard in that delicious golden moment when the punters are too busy trying to sort out how you just achieved the red and black separation! I also leave a stranger card in the cellophane wrapper of a bicycle deck (I have a red deck in a blue box and vice versa) and this leaves me virtually set at any time for chicago opener. Now that is one hell of a hard hitting set......
Have you tried 'Up The Ante' yet?? The ultimate gambling demo....a self-working wonder! See the reviews here on the cafe.
Poof-Daddy
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My "Ready to Go" is always set up as follows:
inside the cello but not in the box (back side) 3 blanks and a joker set up for Alex Elmsley's "4 Card Trick"
inside the box is a regular deck (complete)
Top of (face down) deck is a dupe with same back as the now 3rd card. example - 10 of Spades, 5 of hearts, 10 of Spades all the same backs as the deck.
Bottom of face down deck is a dupe of the bottom card with a contrasting back to the deck

I generally will open with the 4 card trick (put them back in cello) pull out the deck face down and do a quick 2 card transpo in their hand Smile (top 3 cards)put the dupe in the empty box other two back in deck and go into Red Hot Mama after a couple false shuffles. dump the dupe with the odd back in box when done and go on with "whatever floats my boat" at the time (I am wide open with a regular deck of 52 cards at this point. As well as a vast amount of non gaffed effects in my repertoire. Smile
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landmark
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If you're relatively new to card magic (or even if you're not), then I would suggest trying out a Si Stebbins stack. Very easy to learn, some amazing tricks possible, and as a bonus, you can do some of the red-black tricks that captainsmiffy references above as well.
Vlad_77
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On Apr 25, 2014, Terrible Wizard wrote:
I don't know much about either James or the effect, Vlad - but I certainly think it's a nicely constructed trick. Is Stewart James someone who gets overlooked in card magic?


I've often thought of starting a thread devoted to Stewart James! Yes, in my estimation he does get overlooked, or more precisely, he doesn't get mentioned in the same breath as Vernon and Marlo. While it is true that James was not an aficionado of many sleights; he considered most sleights useless and remarked to Francis Haxton that he would use more sleights if he found more of them useful. Yet, James created so many classic effects in card magic and magic in general.

Thing is, a thread about James would have to be placed in the magicians of the past section of The Café and sadly wouldn't receive the same exposure as it would here. James, in my estimation, is one of the greatest magical creators who ever lived and big names such as Max Maven, Micheal Weber, Steve Beam, and many more wuld agree - and stated it long before I ever did. Smile
Terrible Wizard
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That's really interesting - a great card magician who wasn't a heavy-duty sleights man! You don't hear about those everyday Smile

Where could I find out more about him, his thinking and his work?

I'd be interested in reading a thread about him. Indeed, I'd be interested in reading a thread about many of the 'greats' Smile I'm just starting to enjoy the history and personality side of this wonderful hobby, currently reading Hiding the Elephant and watched that Dai Vernon documentary that was on Youtube Smile
Vlad_77
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On May 8, 2014, Terrible Wizard wrote:
That's really interesting - a great card magician who wasn't a heavy-duty sleights man! You don't hear about those everyday Smile

Where could I find out more about him, his thinking and his work?

I'd be interested in reading a thread about him. Indeed, I'd be interested in reading a thread about many of the 'greats' Smile I'm just starting to enjoy the history and personality side of this wonderful hobby, currently reading Hiding the Elephant and watched that Dai Vernon documentary that was on Youtube Smile


I think part of the reason is that Stewart James was more of a creator than a performer. Also, there is, in my opinion an unfair privileging of method that favors sleights. As I had stated, James felt that a lot of sleights were not really useful. I love sleight of hand but I also love any method that enhances the impact of the trick or routine. And looking at many of the art's great card magicians you will notice that virtually all of them, in addition to sleight heavy tricks, also created stunning tricks that were sleightless or near sleightless. Usually when we think of names like Vernon, Marlo, Ackerman, Ortiz, Jennings, etc. etc., we think of really advanced sleight of hand, yet, all of them created quite a few presentational showpieces whose method relies little or not at all on sleight of hand.

James did study sleight of hand and he was much more than a great creator of card magic; he was a great creator of magic in general and mentalism as well! When he did use a sleight, he would think beyond its original function and come up with really cool ways of employing the sleight in ways that were so beautifully devious. One of his favorites was the K***y B****m P*******t/O****e M****r M**e. In correspondence with Francis Haxton - another superb creator that gets little mention here or elsewhere - James stated that this move, found in Tarbell 5 could accomplish virtually everything that other sleights did. James' applications of this move were emblematic of his propensity to think in a transcendent manner as Rick Johnsson stated.

Getting into James' thinking is a bit tricky because it depends upon how deeply you want to study - and how much you are willing to spend.
THE primary sources for Stewart James' magic also happen to be the second largest and the largest monographs ever published in magic: Stewart James in Print: The First Fifty Years and The James File respectively. In these massive volumes you will get a peek into the mind of a creator who was really ahead of his time and in many ways as revolutionary as Jerry Andrus IMHO. The first book was a compilation of James' effects that had seen print from the 1920s to the 1970s. This project was undertaken by P. Howard Lyons of Ibidem fame. As Lyons was working with James, he found over 400 MORE tricks that had never been published. Lyons died shortly before Stewart James in Print was published.

Enter Allan Slaight. He asked James about the possibility of collating these tricks and routines into another work. By this time, James was 86 years of age and had stated that he really didn't want to take on such a massive project, but he did give Mr. Slaight permission to create the work. Slaight's "consigliere" as he puts it was none other than Max Maven who knows a thing or two about magic and mentalism. So the James File was eventually published and it is SO massive it is split into two hernia inducing volumes. The James File is in my estimation the better resource for understanding James' thinking. Additionally, there are variants to the tricks by other magicians and the list is like a who's who of the best of the best. (I realize "best" is a dangerous word to use on the Café).

The tricky bit is that to get all of the James books, you are looking at a minimum of 300 USD - still a bargain for over 1000 tricks PLUS variants.

Another route to consider is a much smaller book titled The Essential Stewart James. This book which is readily available is a distillation that contains 50 of James' effects. You will find well known classics plus a few like Ten Nights in a Card Room that are not as well known. This routine uses no sleights and no gaffs and yet, it looks like a real gambling demonstration that will make your spectators NEVER play cards with you.

A third way is to dig through classic journals like The Sphinx, The Jinx, Phoenix, etc.

I really want to share an anecdote that I've shared before and I think bears repeating. As you may be aware, Dr. Persi Diaconis is an absolute genius. He is a mathematics professor and a fine magician. He was visiting James in his home at Courtwright, Ontario - James was very reclusive and his life was a very sad one indeed - and Diaconis asked James if he had a pack of cards around because he wanted to show James a new idea he was working on. James apologized stating that he had no cards around. Diaconis was taken aback and asked James how he could come up with such intricate stacks and methods without cards. James replied that he was sure that Agatha Christie didn't have to murder someone to be able to write a murder mystery. Smile

Here's a partial list of contributors to The James File:

Michael Weber, Stephen Minch, Charles Hudson, Roy Walton, Peter Duffie, Jack Avis, Gordon Bean, Martin Gardner, Steve Beam, Tom Baxter, David Ben, Bob Farmer, David Harkey, J.K. Hartman, Ken Krenzel, Harry Lorayne, Wesley James, Bill Miesel, Richard Osterlind, Robert Parrish, Mike Skinner, Paul Swinford, Michael Ammar, Gary Plants, Jon Racherbaumer, Ed Marlo, Michael Close and MANY more and as you can see, ALL heavy hitters. Smile

Interestingly, James was much like Marlo in that he would record every method for his effects and if you are a Marlo reader you will have a sense that James would work an idea to exhaustion.

The real treat with James is the hunt in the big books. Some have remarked - incorrectly - that very little of James' work was FASDIU. James' created FASDIU, intricate (I mean REALLY intricate stack work), diabolical subtlety as well as sleight of hand when needed.

Stewart James IS one of the towering figures of magic; he is every bit as important as more familiar names like Marlo, Vernon, Lorayne, Slydini, and others too numerous to mention. It saddens me that most magicians are only aware of one or two effects from the mind of this remarkable creator.

Slainte,
Vlad
Terrible Wizard
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Wow - thank you for the effort and time out into that post. Loads of interesting stuff, and your passion shines through Smile I'm glad the Café has people like you, vlad, your extensive knowledge and generosity are very valuable.

Have you considered writing a book? Your command of the written word is pretty good Smile. And it sounds like you've got things to say ...
Vlad_77
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On May 9, 2014, Terrible Wizard wrote:
Wow - thank you for the effort and time out into that post. Loads of interesting stuff, and your passion shines through Smile I'm glad the Café has people like you, vlad, your extensive knowledge and generosity are very valuable.

Have you considered writing a book? Your command of the written word is pretty good Smile. And it sounds like you've got things to say ...


Thanks Terrible Wizard for the very kind words! Smile

As far as writing a book, I thought about it for a few nanoseconds a couple of years ago and concluded the following:

1. I would never write a magic book because I'm a hack and there are many GREAT teachers out there. Besides, I would probably write a book that wouldn't be widely accepted in the magic community because it would contain more essays than tricks. Smile
2. I am working on two non-magic books albeit slowly as non-academic writing is still very new to me. One is a sort of high fantasy novel, and the other a narrative on endangered species as told from the perspective of those species and it is a book aimed specifically at adults.
3. I am desperately trying to find a way to get home again with all of my magic and musical instruments with me so that has taken priority over everything.

Thank you VERY much again! Your words really hearten me in a rather dark period of my life; today is a bit brighter thanks to you.

Slainte,
Vlad
Terrible Wizard
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No worries Vlad Smile

Hope all the moving stress and fiction writing works out for you.

But don't totally blow off the magic book ... Essays are what I'd be interested in, and you being a hack is what would make it interesting and different. I'm interested in what those outside the 'magic inner circle' think. Smile

All the best.
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