‘520 Years Later’; Worth the wait…
by Wouldn't you like to know?
HAIL TO THE KING, BABY
I’m back, motherfuckers. I thoroughly enjoyed my time off, breaking into magic stores and masturbating over their books so everyone has a little bit of me in their libraries (whether they want it or not). It looks like even Justin and the Mule took a break. Looking forward to their new shit (i.e. hurry the fuck up and post something awesome guys, or I’ll shit slap you). You have been warned.
So, anyways, I am pretty stupid. As most of you know, I’m not a computer person. While I ooze the class of a thousand monocles covered in ranch sauce and bees, the internet was not made for me, and I tend to fuck up anything and everything I post online. I try to be nice. I really do. But sometimes I’ll have a finger slip on the keyboard and BAM. Pure essence of my asshole opinion gets spouted across the internet. Sometimes I even google my own name and comment on where ever it may be.
Anyways, FOR SOME REASON BEYOND MY OWN MENTAL FACULTIES AND SELF-CONTROL, I stuck my dick into my router. I tend to get into shitty situations pretty easily. After waking up 4 days later, I had a sudden moment of clarity; I am a gigantic asshole. Then I remembered how much I don’t give a fuck and laughed about it. C’est la vie.
While nursing my burnt penis with Bengay and giggling to myself how awesome I am, I remembered I’d received a certain package from a certain someone (Monsieur Babycakes). The boys from TSD and The Magic Pebble had come together for ‘The False Deal’ convention and had made a set of notes called ‘520 Years later: Columbus Discovers TFD’ to commemorate the event.
The content of the notes ranges from a shitload of card tricks to.. well.. just card tricks. You get to see material from some fucking awesome guys magicians, like Allan Ackerman, Jack Carpenter, Rich Aviles, Jared Kopf, John Guastaferro, Ben Train, Caleb Wiles, Tyler Wilson and more. Not only are the layout and production quality excellent, but the contents, research and crediting are fucking brilliant.
Ok.. Deep breath.
WAKE-UP CALL – Rich Aviles
If you guys haven’t noticed, I have a solid (erect) man crush on Rich Aviles and his book. I like to reminisce about the times he and I spent in the French Riviera….. WAIT WHAT THE FUCK?! Sorry, must be the painkillers, Bengay and burnt dick fragments talking. Rich has taken the standard Veeser ‘Spectator cuts the Aces’ plot and changed the effect slightly. Normally, by the time you’ve reached the fourth ace, people have stopped giving a shit. Rich takes this weak point and turns it into an effect of not only cutting the aces, but also fixing where he fucked up. I like the effect, I like the method but there’s this weird point at the end to bring the effect to a resolution. I’ve done this for lay people and they’ve enjoyed it, but some other magicians have bitched about producing the last ace, saying it doesn’t make sense. For those people, there is an easy fix to make this perfectly fine effect more homogenous so they can shut the fuck up. When you go to turn over the packets, simply place the cards in your hand onto the second pile from your right. From here, you can do a Bo-top change, a Clipshift or another side-steal type colour change to make the final ace appear. Or, you could just fucking leave it alone. Rich also suggests an alternate ending where a Royal Flush is produced. Good shit.
BOLD CARD TO WALLET – Brent Braun
Unfortunately, I’d never heard of Brent before this (Sorry Brent), but this has made me consider looking into his work. Without giving away the secret of this gem, Brent has taken a ballsy, yet brilliant switch from a classic ‘Stars of Magic’ effect and turned it into a technique that allows you to load a card into a wallet (no palm) with the spectator staring at your hands. If you do any table-hopping work or parlour work, look into this. Worth it’s weight in signed semen-covered Larry Horayne books.
FAR-FLUNG COLLECTORS – Jared Kopf
Jared’s material is awesome and he has the chops to go with it. Not only has he authored the lecture notes of Norman Beck (Another one of the most underrated magicians out there who deserves more praise), but he also has created some excellent effects (Muckless Muck, available through Gary Plants) and written his own set of notes, released at Magic Con 2012. This effect was originally published in Jared’s notes, but has been re-written for ‘520 years Later’. As with all Collectors routines, three selections are lost into the deck. The four Aces are dealt one at a time into the spectators open hands. The spectator then covers the aces, trapping them between their hands. After some audience interaction, the spectator holding the cards can spread the Aces to find the three selections interlaced. It is very direct and a little ballsy, but the way that Jared suggests putting yourself and the spectators in the most optimum positions to help the method make this a great effect and an example of how to properly choreograph yourself and your tools to assist the method.
TWIST OF FATE – John Guastaferro
John G is one of my favourites. I love 99.9% of his published work because he has some direct methods, clear effects and some strong magic for the amount of work involved. I’m planning to review his DVDs and published works coming up (when I find time to), but I can honestly say that buying any of his magic is something you will never regret. This effect’s premise relates to ‘The Spectator does a Trick’ by Al Leech, and the earlier reference I was given by Tyler, ‘Predestination’ in the German magic book, ‘Ein Speil Karten’ (translated, ‘A Deck of Cards’) back in 1853. For more history/variations, see the effect ‘In Between’ in the review of ‘8 Effects and a Sleight’. John G takes this premise of the value and suit of two separate cards predicting a selection and makes it awesome. This has become one of my favourites. It’s also possible to change the main ‘move’ to something else. It’s a damn good effect.
SUPER DUPER CARD – Max Nelson
So, I kind of jizzed a bit when I read this. A multi-purpose gaffed card that is relatively cheap to make AND isn’t shit? Back the fuck up and let me rub my face on the pages. I won’t go into the specifics of the gaff out of respect for Max, but it makes me want to take a fiery shit on the many gaffs this replaces. Since you make it yourself, it matches the back design of the deck you’re using and allows you to use it as a key, as a standard utility gaff (not saying which), a card switch and even some gags. It also does have another utility built in that is explained and should be blatantly obvious but I’ll leave it out because you will understand once you’ve read the method and construction. Awesome shit.
A SILVER COATED MYSTERY – John Carey
OK.. I lied, it’s not all card tricks. John just HAD to put in a fucking coin trick. BUT!!!….. It’s using coins in the manner of a card effect, specifically Alex Elmsley’s ‘Between your Palms’/ Bro. John Hamman’s ‘The Signed Card’. If you are a card purist and your soul is weeping right now, FEAR NOT. You can just rip up pieces of a business card or use small Nacho chips and have them signed and you still have not touched a coin! FUCK YEAH! It’s a nice idea, and as mentioned in the credits section, there’s another routine like this in Tyler’s book, ‘Reinventing the Real‘, which you should all own by now. If not, you are scum.
A MYSTERIOUS SIGNATURE – Shannon Clark
This is another name that I wasn’t familiar with. Now, he’s on my stalking list. Shannon has taken the previously mentioned ‘Signed Card/Mystery Card’ premise and combined it with the ‘Fusion/Anniversary Waltz’ premise. Two cards are selected and lost in the deck. A pair of Aces cleanly find the first selection. A mystery card held by the spectator WHILE SHE WAS PICKING AND SIGNING HER CARD with her other hand, turns out to be the selection she just signed moments ago. One of the aces is then signed and fused to the signed selection, leaving them with a keepsake of bullshit-awesome crazy magic. Roll that premise around in your head for a bit. The method and effect are both excellent. I highly recommend looking into this.
YAM FRIES – Caleb Wiles
This is an interesting packet effect using a ‘Monte’ style plot. As per the credits, Caleb’s effect is an ungaffed approach of Danny Archer’s ‘Connoisseur’s Special’. The Queen of hearts jumps from place to place, turns face up, face down and then vanishes completely. The economy of the moves, as Caleb mentions, is very fluid and easy to do. I enjoyed running through this a few times, and if you like Ascanio style spreads and doubles then this is a good lesson in how to displace cards naturally using this style of handling.
THE GARDEN PATH – Ryan Swigert
This effect was originally published in Ryan’s ‘Subtle Methods‘ notes in 2010, which have since been updated to pdf format. This updated version published in ‘520 Years Later’ adds in some great points. It’s good for messing with magicians and also with laymen who are familiar with magic. There’s also some really nice ideas on how to reveal the selection at the end, including a suggestion by Tyler Wilson. The effect reminded me of something in the Dani DaOrtiz DVDs where the performer makes the routine seem very stringent in procedure, but handles the cards sloppily or too fast which makes it funny but also adds to how impossible the effect is. Good shit. Also, check out Ryan’s ‘Kickback‘ if you haven’t heard of it or seen it. You won’t be disappointed.
THE SPECTATOR CUTS 12 WAYS – Steve Reynolds
The method reads a little heavy, but the handling is actually doable. Steve is very thorough with his crediting and how he describes the effect, to give you a good idea of how he came to the final product. It’s essentially a ‘Spectator cuts the Aces’, but also cuts another 2 four of a kinds (such as the Kings and Queens). There is a little more preparation involved than a standard ‘Spectator cuts the Aces’, but the payoff can be revealed as an effect, as Steve has written it up, or utilised in such a way that allows you to do some crazy shit to fuck with other magicians (such as floating keys). Also, this has a weird credit; Ed Marlo’s ATFUS move is noted as being ‘unfortunately published in New Tops’. I’m not sure what is so unfortunate about it… Maybe Caleb or someone else can comment on this?
WATER TRANSPO – Ben Train
Inspired by the now-standard transposition that John Scarne performed in the Schaeffer beer commercial, Ben has taken the effect and turned it into something weird (but still awesome). A card is placed in a full glass of water, which is covered with a coaster, turned upside down onto a table and covered with a napkin. A second card is shown which starts to drip water. The card that was originally in the glass is now in your hand, and vice versa. This is something I can see being used in a parlour show, but not a normal walk around event. It’s pretty ballsy because if you don’t tip the glass over with the coaster on there JUST right, there will be water everywhere and you’ll like like an asshole who spilt his drink. I like the effect though. It reminds me of an effect where a deck of cards is thrown into a pool of water and every card sinks except for the selection (Joshua Jay, ‘In Sink’ in September 2011 issue of MAGIC Magazine). The methods have nothing to do with each other but you would utilise the idea Josh Jay used when performing Ben’s effect and it will save you ruining all your cards and your favourite corduroy pants. Fuckin’ hippy.
CROSSED FLASH (+TRIUMPH) – Richard Hucko and Caleb Wiles
The first part of this effect is a very easy, but worthwhile method for cutting to a four of a kind. The reason it’s worthwhile is because of the position it leaves you in at the end. Richard’s submission for the notes was just the cutting sequence, and Caleb saw that you could utilise this position to go straight into a triumph style effect, where you can then re-produce the same four of a kind with a little twist. If you like this kind of discrepancy, I also recommend checking out John Bannon’s ‘Aces Over Easy’ in ‘Card Magic USA‘.
THE VANISHING – Jack Carpenter
This is a strange effect. As Caleb describes it, it has an almost ‘Cannibal Cards’ feel to the effect, but the method and the surprise ending are awesome. Four cards are placed on the table in a row. The four Kings, as a packet, is dropped on each card, which vanishes leaving only the four Kings. This is repeated for the remaining cards. For the last card to vanish, the Kings turn into the Aces. Depending on our situation and how well versed you are with certain techniques, Jack gives two ways to do the main effect as well as a cleanup. Love this.
THIRTY MINUTE MEMORIZED DECK & BONUS CULL – Allan Ackerman
Mr Ackerman is a machine. He has so many variations and such a broad knowledge of different plots and methods that it scares me. I went trick for trick with him and by the time I ran out, he was just getting started and continued to brain-fuck me for a few hours. Mr Ackerman has taken a hidden-in-plain-sight quote from Erdnase and used it as an exercise to create a stack that is able to be learned in just 30 minutes. With memorised deck work, it really is a preferential thing. Some people hate calculations, while some dislike the idea of using a stack such as Mnemonica because there’s no intuitive ‘logic’ behind it. Having read through all kinds of stacks, such as Joyals’, Aronson’s, Tamariz’ and Vincent’s (Merci), it comes down to what kind of person you are and the card magic you do. I have seen some of the most amazing work done by someone using the Aronson, and then 5 minutes later, I have seen someone butcher perfectly good routines using the same stack because they were a terrible performer and it didn’t suit them. That being said, I feel that Ackerman’s contribution is more of an academic exercise, but still usable as a stack. While it may not replace Mnemonica, Aronson or Vincent’s stack, the thinking behind it is worth reading, and the cull technique is something that can be used with other stacks, but will need to be tweaked depending on your stack.
TRIPLE WHAMMY – Mike Powers
My first exposure to Mike Powers was his handlebar moustache, mullet and a frilly shirt on the back of his book ‘Top Secret Stuff’. It’s like Lawrence from ‘Office Space’ had sex with one of Bruce Cervon’s favourite shirts.
All that aside, I generally like Mike’s material. This effect feels a bit ‘meh’. The Ace of Spades is shown and placed aside. Three cards are selected and lost, the Ace of spades is put into the deck and it rises to the top, then the spectator inserts it face up into the middle of the deck. The deck is spread, showing two of the selections around the reversed Ace of Spades. The Ace of Spades then turns into the third selection. This feels like a reversal of the plot by Larry Jennings ‘Triple Discovery’ (‘The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings’, 1986, p.163). In the Jennings effect, two Jokers find the first selection, and then the Jokers turn into the other two selections. Overall, I prefer the Jennings/Aviles handling (See ‘Speedo’/’Invisible Sandwich’ in Rich’s ‘Above the Fold’).
NOT YET NAMED CONTROL – Andy Moller
This is an interesting card control. There is a trade off, as the cards need to be face up for the first part and the selection is seen by the magician. BUT the control looks very free. I can’t say much more without giving it away.
COLOR CHANGING INVERSION – Ed Oschmann
As the title implies, this is the ‘Inversion’ plot with a colour changing ending. The great part about this routine is that you see the back design of the initial colour (i.e Red) so many times before the colour change ending. The routine feels like Aaron Fisher’s ‘ Revolution No. 9’/ ‘ Helter Skelter’. I recommend comparing Ed’s routine to Aaron’s routine and picking and choosing which parts you like.
GRIMACE – Tyler Wilson
To quote Tyler,
“Two-deck tricks suck. Using two decks is confusing, bulky and totally lame.
Here’s a trick with three decks.”
I really love this, because while it DOES need preparation, it DOESN’T suffer from the same issue as Phil Goldstein’s gaffed work in ‘Focus’, which is the ‘HOLY FUCK THAT IS SPECIFIC’ complex. The stuff needed you will already have OR can easily find/make yourself reasonably cheap. It’ll become one of those showpieces that will be packed in it’s own little case. The presentation is excellent, and a little off the wall, which makes me happy. The effect is that there are three spectators, two of the spectator’s are given a cased deck (one red, one blue) and the third spectator picks a card from a purple deck. Let’s say that it’s the 5 of clubs. Each of the other two spectator’s gets to choose the red cards (Dave) or black cards (Nicole). The performer then finds the 5 of clubs, but that was the easy part. The purple deck’s two halves are spread, showing all the red pipped cards on one side, and all the black pipped cards on the other. Not only that, the back design of these cards is no longer purple; the red pipped cards have the same back design as Dave’s deck and the black pipped cards have the same design as Nicole’s deck.
So where’s the purple deck? Dave and Nicole then open their own decks to find half of their own design, and half of the purple deck mixed through it. After all this, the original 5 of clubs selected is shown to have a green coloured back. Everything is examinable.
That reads REALLY heavily, effect wise. I had to really spell it out to make sure you guys understood the relevance and progression of what is happening. The presentation that Tyler gives makes this very tangible and enjoyable. What Tyler has created is fucking amazing. Not only is the effect great, but the crediting and ideas given blow my mind (and my load). Did anyone else know that the colour changing deck premise was created by someone called William McGrew? Or that the Mechanical Reverse has roots as far back as 1785? Nope. He also gives a presentation for a Rainbow deck routine, and his take on equivoque, dubbed the ‘Lazy Eye Force’, is badass. Also, his advice on how to reset ‘Grimace’ is golden.
What’s the verdict?
These notes are fucking excellent. Period. They’re reasonably cheap, the design and production quality is amazing and the overall, I fucking love the material, because it’s worth studying for the crediting and understanding, but also giving you some good shit to perform or tweak your existing material with.
‘520 Years Later’ can be purchased from Caleb Wiles by emailing him at email@example.com. The cost is $20 plus $5 shipping (in the US). Also, to make the most of it, see if you can get the notes plus Caleb’s book ‘High Spots‘, especially if you live outside of the US. Caleb has some amazing material that fucks with your balls and your brains.