Another delay since my last review. Old age is getting to me.
HAHA Just kidding, I fucking hate all of you.
But really, the main reason for all these delays between posts is because I locked myself in my bathroom and survived off toilet water and shampoo for sustenance. Turns out I’d forgotten that the door handle turns the OTHER way. Fuck.
I’ve been getting some feedback that for future reviews and thoughts, I should try and focus on books or notes that are available/easily accessible. To those people, I say “Fair point” and “IT’S MY F@CKING BLOG, I’LL POST WHATEVER THE F@CK I WANT @RGFH*#(F*(hf8984…>>)”. If you want to see more rants with random letters and symbols, check out my Cafe posts.
So, to appease the masses, I’ve decided to review Rich Aviles’ “Above the Fold”, a small book on his card magic, beautifully produced and published by Vanishing Inc.
First off, it’s a damn good book. The paper smells great, the inks are clear, and the smooth texture feels amazing on my haemorrhoids. But really, it’s beautifully produced as with all V-Inc books. I can find nothing wrong with this book, for the production quality or the content. I’m just pissed off that he isn’t in my basement, making his stuff just for me. By stuff, I mean card work, not his…. y’know.. “stuff”. No homo.
There’s 12 items in total in the book, 5 of which are moves only, and 7 effects, plus a 13th bonus item… a DIY Fire wallet. Worth the price of the book. No shit.
So let’s have a look at the:
MOVES (No pants required)
Fax Machine –
A colour change where a card passes through the deck face up, like something going through a fax machine, and comes out the other side as a different card. I really like this move, it’s a really nice change and is perfect for anyone working in close up/walk-around settings where tables aren’t readily available and people can get handy. Being a colour change that happens gradually rather than all at once, you can apply it to a lot of effects, even changing the back design/colour of a card, or as Rich suggests, changing a squiggle on a card to a signature, or prediction. The great thing is from the moment you start and end the visual change, it’s a single card. Also, the whole change occurs one handed. It’s badass.
Comic change –
A two handed variation of ‘Fax Machine’ using identical mechanics for the change, but getting into it is slightly different. I like the idea behind it, but prefer ‘Fax Machine’ over this one. But I know some effects where this would fit better overall for the handling of the card before and after the change.
Riffle Revolve –
An interesting approach to reversing a card secretly during an in the hands riffle shuffle and bridge. It’s a nice idea and may be your cup of tea but I wasn’t a huge fan of it. Practical, but just not my thing.
Ballerina change –
A colour change and reversal. You’ll actually learn two moves in this colour change. The first is Jack Parker’s Ballerina Double (see ’52 Memories’, Andi Gladwin, p.45. RIP Jack) , and the second being Rich’s colour change from the ending position of Jack’s move. The move itself is a little knacky, like a Stuart Gordon Double, and you’ll need to experiment a lot to find the right amount of pressure exertion to get this looking smooth. Overall, it’s not a practical move but it is very elegant and allows you to change a card twice with very little work.
Replica control –
Using the standard card popping out of the fan gag within a control. I like the idea behind this control, but I’m not a huge fan of the gag itself. It’s just been one of those things that everyone does (badly) so for this to have merit, the move as a gag needs to be done perfectly. The combination of the gag as an actual method is something noteworthy and should give a lot of people ideas. Rich also references Chad Long’s Second control, which is in a similar vein of covering a control within a gag.
Vanilla Extract –
A really nice technique that allows you to produce a selected card from the case. Think Matt Schulien’s move, but better. There isn’t that moment when your hand goes flat and both wrists turn during the move. Plus I’m white, so I like the title.
Razor Burn Switch –
A combination of a little Marlo and something Vernon which overall makes a very practical and nice switch. If you already do a the Kosky/Marlo switch, then it’s improving the overall smoothness of the method and adds in the idea of being able to show both sides of the sandwich and it’s copacetic, all single edges. If you love anything to do with sandwich routines, you’ll like this.
Overall, the moves section is fucking awesome. Most of them are widely applicable, while the single use ones are more updated handlings/alternatives to what already exists.
I’m just going to stop right here, and let’s have a break while I have a positive rant about this book overall.
The book is written exceptionally well for the methods, but two major points stick out when I read this which has made it one of the books I love; the humour and the crediting.
There is some fucking funny shit in here, some of it that made me do a double take and other parts that actually made me laugh out loud, which is very hard for a book to achieve on someone as jaded as me (remember, I created humour.. so it takes a lot to get to me). It’s very off the wall, but awesome humour that flows well with the descriptions, methods and crediting.
It reminds me of the jokes and style in Tyler Wilson’s work (which I’m a HUGE fan of, and will be doing a write up for. Maybe. Possibly. If I can be fucked) This alone isn’t enough to make me like Rich Aviles. It’s also the amount of stuff you can see he’s learnt, worked with and read before even considering creating anything, which shows in the exceptionally deep crediting in the book.
I remember reading somewhere about the amount of “glut” on the market in magic, and how shitty it was, and so it means poor content, poor production quality, and mostly a lack of understanding of what existed before/already. The depth of crediting and insight is astounding in this book. Again, it reminds me heavily of Tyler’s work and not only gives a direct reference to previous published sources/inspirations, but also some thoughts on the development or history.
As an example, in his effect “Oops, I did it Again”, he uses a technique which he adapted to use for this effect. When he was almost finished writing the book, he found that it was already in print by Ben Harris, where he gives full credit and reference although it was a case of independent creation. He then gives a reference for a Roger Klause mock pass from Epilogue which was what inspired him to go down that route. This may not be your kind of thing, but I fucking love this kind of shit. Because you can read what has come now, and then the original and see what leap of logic or use has come between the two. A great example of this is in Tony Chang’s DPS videos, where he discusses the many uses of the one move in context of a colour change, a delayed change etc. as well as Tony’s use of something like Ricky Smith’s Cherry Control in the context of an Inversion routine.
Anyways, sorry to get sidetracked….
Actually, fuck that. I’m not sorry. I can say what I want.
Let’s proceed, shall we?
EFFECTS: (Pants Required)
Pocket Protectors –
An updated, streamlined handling of an Elmsley effect. Reading the original Elmsley method VS Rich’s method, I have to say that he’s cut out a tonne of the “fat” from the method but retained the effect and made it much clearer. In a nutshell, the audience sees you put two cards in your pockets, they shuffle the deck and take out any card, you then show the previously pocketed cards match the selection. I remember someone showing me this before I had managed to get this book, and it was one of those moments where I had to double take, but I had nothing to backtrack on. It’s that good. It’s hard to find anything, magic or otherwise, that gives you that feeling. The presentation is great and you can adjust it if you want to make it all bizarre and make a mentalism effect out of it (Fuck Bizarre magic).
Oops I Did it Again –
A two card transposition with 3 changes in total in the routine. This reminds me of Tivo 2.0 by Dan and Dave Buck for the visual component, but overall they are entirely different method-wise. A card is left out jogged in the middle and the top card is turned over. They change places. Then change back. Then change places again. This effect utilises the unique characteristics of his Ballerina Change previously explained. Overall, it’s a nice transposition effect, very to the point but just needs you to be able to do the Ballerina change well.
Middle Man –
This is my favourite effect in the whole book. Period. It’s based on Jack Parker’s “Trial Separation” from his 52 Memories book (p.95), which I love, but this is just simply another excellent way to achieve the same effect. Not only do I love Rich’s presentation but also how directly he accomplishes the effect. A card is left out jogged in the centre of the deck about halfway. Two spectators pick a card, one from the top half, one from the bottom. The half above the out jogged card is then turned face up and spread through; the first selection has vanished. The half below the out jogged card is turned face up and spread through; the second selection has also vanished. There is only one card left unseen, the out jogged card that split the top and bottom halves which has been in view the whole time. It’s turned over, and is actually both spectator’s selection. They’ve somehow managed to pick the same card which has been in view the whole time. Also, there’s an unpublished Tyler Wilson move in there, so it’s full of bad-assery.
“You’ve made it this far… Here are a few sandwiches to tide you over”
(His words, not mine).
From here, Rich has put in a few of his Sandwich routines, and if you’re like me, you’ll want to make man-mayo all over these sandwiches.
The magician needs to take his mandatory break every hour from doing card tricks (Union rules) which allows you to do a pretty clean sandwich effect while the cards are in the spectator’s hand. Some of you may read the method and think “blah” and skip over it. The presentation is great and the method is solid. Read it, see if it’s something you might use, and move on.
“I’ll need to borrow a number 3 pencil, a red shoelace and a hedgehog”. You really need these things for this effect to work. I’m just fucking with you. The effect is based around the idea that nobody’s perfect, even magicians. The selected card is found sandwiched by two Jokers. The alleged selected card still in view from the start turns out to be it’s mate. The Jokers then turn into the other mates, showing you had a few backup plans just in case. This was also published in “East Coast Super Session Book One”, the handling being identical.
The basis for this handling was also published in “East Coast Super Session Book One” under the title ‘Invisible Sandwich’, however the handling towards the end differs. In “Above the Fold” the Jokers find one selection and then the two Jokers turn into the second selection. In the “East Coast” book, you have 3 selections in total, with the Jokers finding one, the Jokers vanishing leaving the second selection behind on the table and the final selection sandwiched by the Jokers in the deck. Reading the method for ‘Speedo’, you should be able to figure out how to to do the ‘Invisible sandwich ending. Personally, I prefer to use ‘Invisible Sandwich’ because it feels a bit more complete, whereas ‘Speedo’ feels like it ends prematurely (like most of my sexual encounters hyuck hyuck).
“…and that concludes your sandwich break.”
2 Legit –
The Jokers are produced and turn one at a time into two selections then visually change back to the Jokers. This is a perfect effect for a double change/transposition routine such as Chris Kenner’s In-Ten-City. It uses a few standard and not so standard moves for the changes, but I love the control used for the two selections. It’s a John Guastaferro move, based off a JK Hartman move. Definitely worth looking into and picking apart for some utility moves.
Big Black Arrow –
A technologically current presentation for Frank Everhart’s ‘Chicago Opener’/ Al Leech’s ‘A Hot Card’ routine. Two cards are selected, and the magician brings out his smartphone and asks some random questions. An arrow appears on the screen and points in the direction of the answers. When asked where are the selected cards, the arrow then points to the deck, disappears off the screen and appears on the back of the first person’s card. The phone is then asked again where the second selection is but the phone doesn’t reply. The arrow on the card is turned around so it points to the second spectator and the card is turned over showing it to be the second selection. If you own any kind of smartphone with video recording/media capabilities, this is something you can have on you at a moments notice. The BFG (that’s big fucking guy, not Big Friendly Giant) that is Tyler Wilson may or may not have something to do with this effect on his website, http://www.cherryvillain.com, in the members section. Seriously, if you don’t know about Tyler, his work or his site, you need to go fuck the wide end of a broom. Also, this whole idea of the phone responding to questions predates the iPhone 4s and Siri. Steve Jobs must be rolling around in his fucking grave. Eat a dick, bitch.
Two Wrongs –
A handling for Frank Garcia’s ‘Dual Discovery’, originally written up on TSD. Rich independently came up with this handling and found it was a streamlined effect/method that was very close to the mentioned Garcia effect. Two spectators have made selections and are each shown a card. Both confirm that the card they were shown is not their selection, which was then placed in their hand. It turns out that each spectator is actually holding their correct selection, proving that two wrongs can make a right. Also, it proves Frank Garcia actually had some good material. Go figure. This is a good effect, and for some reason reminds me of the duality that Guy Hollingworth uses in his book between a single spectator and the rest of the audience. Totally different effects, but maybe I’m giving you a good reference to go to now. So get the fucking Hollingworth book if you don’t have it already.
Asher Twitch –
Rich’s handling for Lee Asher’s ‘Asher Twist’. While this does not use Lee’s Move, it aspires to have the same visual appearance of the aces somehow turning over when the cards are spread. Rich utilises some interesting displacements and moves for this effect, as well as Jack Parker’s Upscanio move. There’s also two different ways to end this provided and a few extra phases which have the same appearance as Lee’s i.e. you turn over one and they all turn over, which can be repeated. If you’re a fan of technical things, this is for you. Plus the Upscanio move is something worth looking into..
The Forgotten Card –
This is one of my pet peeves, which you’ll see I had a rant about in the “Brass Knuckles” review. It’s an idea for a revelation of a card, with a ribbon that has a pattern which makes up seven diamonds. The ribbon is tied around the spectator’s finger so they don’t forget their selection, and then to show it as a prediction, you point out the seven diamonds on the ribbon, which matches their selection. I cringed a little inside with this.
An Ending for Torn & Restored Card –
If you perform any kind of 3/4 restorations for Torn and Restored, this will be for you. It’s a bit of a visual gag for the last piece, like in Paul Harris’ Ultimate Rip off (Art of Astonishment, vol.1, p.113. See also, Post-Ultimate Rip-Off, Tommy Wonder, Books of Wonder vol. 1, p.90). You finish the third pieces’ restoration, but joke that that piece may look better on the other corner. So, you move the 3rd piece from one side of the card to the other visually. It’s in line with Rich’s kind of humour, but isn’t essential in a torn and restored routine.
DIY Fire Wallet –
You think I’m going to give this badboy away for free? Nuh-uh, Go fuck yourself. Buy the book and enjoy how awesome this is.
So, overall, the book is an excellent read for anyone who loves in the hands card magic. Towards the end, it kind of dragged with the last few items looking like they were ideas attached to a routine, but without the rest of the routine given. I’ll forgive him this time, since he’s tied up in my basement, making me the next batch of his stuff.
Do I recommend this? Fuck yeah.
Go buy it, or I will eat your soul and shit in your letter box for a year.