Hope y’all had a great Christmas/New Years/Whatever the fuck this world is going through right now is called.
Just before Christmas, I woke up in a drunken stupor, after butt-chugging Mojitos through a funnel, to find a message from Paul Vigil about something he’s putting out; a piece of magic he’s been using in his regular set, but felt it was time to release it to be enjoyed by the magic community. This is where shit kicked into fifth gear.
If you’ve ever had the blessing of seeing Paul perform, you’ll know that he doesn’t fuck around with mediocre bullshit “filler” magic. I can’t succinctly put into words what it’s like watching Paul do his thing. It’s other worldly; his gaze, voice and demeanor alone immerse you into this sense that what you’re seeing, hearing and feeling is truly happening. This is what experiencing real magic would (Could, Should) be like.
Paul has also released a few books recently, outlining his working acts in his amazing books ‘Classic Fantastic’ (OOP, find it if you can) and ‘Doors of Deception‘ (Limited but in print, get it from Paul!). When the price tag was announced for these two books ($200+ a pop), a lot of people stuck their nose up a the idea.
Why the fuck would you pay $200 for his book when there’s other magician’s books out there for $30-60 each?
The reason is because you’re not paying for the usual mish-mash of ideas, effects and methods, forcing you to find the good material among the more academic “filler” included, like with most magic books, where they invite you to “use your favorite method” or make up some other bullshit to omit pertinent information like their ideas are fucking state secrets.
You’re getting the whole nine yards; methods, finesses, presentation and all. Paul holds nothing back. He’s talking you through what he has had to painstakingly create, perform, refine, revisit and perfect in front of a paying audience night after night to get it to a final product. You’re getting a fully fleshed out act that KILLED at the Castle. These aren’t pipe dreams. Also, as a good friend and confidante with some of the greats of our generation, like Tom Mullica, Michael Weber, Teller and Johnny Thompson, what he has to say, how he thinks and what he does is worth every cent.
Aside from his latest larger book releases, Paul also releases some of the crazy shit he performs in his working set as one-off releases, like ‘Diplopia‘ and ‘Sympathy for the Devil‘ which would flit around the underground with an air of mystery that make you need to know what the fuck was happening.
The new piece he’s released from his working set is another great piece of strange; Any Card at Any Phone Number ², Paul’s take on the ACAAN using two randomly chosen phone numbers. Now that may seem weird to use phone numbers since there’s more numbers than a deck has cards.. so let’s see what he has to offer.
A card is selected from a tabled spread by a spectator and isolated. A phone book is introduced and a phone number chosen at random by the decisions and choices of one or many spectators. The selected phone number is called on loud speaker, the stranger on the other end is asked to name any card. The stranger on the phone precisely names the selected card that has been isolated since the start of the effect.
The selected card is then lost back into the shuffled pack and another spectator at random is asked to call someone they know will pick up, like a family member, friend or even a work colleague, to name a number between 1 and 52. The selected card is found at the named number.
My first time reading through this method, it was a weird moment of clarity. The curtain had been pulled away from the Wizard. The method is not complicated in any way, extremely direct and simple to follow. It looks and feels like real magic to an audience because it feels like nothing overt is happening, which is pretty much the reality of the situation. It just looks and feels that direct.
So what’s deal? Well, for the method, there are two extra things you will need to perform the effect as described; a fairly standard and easily found gimmicked deck and an app, which unfortunately is only available for Iphone users. The nature of how and when the app is used will make sense as to why it’s not viable for Android users. How the effect and performance is structured allows the performer to utilise both in full view of the audience, making it not feel like it’s just some “app” trick or a trick deck. It plays off the strengths of each of the items without taking any heat on their drawbacks. It’s borderline perfect.
For the write up and what you get, you receive a 9 page PDF from Paul outlining the method, presentation and history of the effect and where Paul has been to come to the final product. Paul goes over the script of his performance, even with lines and phrases I can imagine coming out of his mouth, smirking slightly while he unblinkingly locks onto his spectator’s eyes. It’s a great balance of concise content with enough descriptive language to allow you to not just take away the bare-bones and have to run with it. Paul talks you through what a performance is like, even putting in some by-play which may seem irrelevant to the effect/method, but shows how to engage the audience throughout.
Is it worth it?
Of course. Every time I’ve had the pleasure of sitting with Paul, or seeing him perform, I come away feeling better about magic; not my magic, but magic in general. His approach and philosophy in magic is an eye opener because of two reasons; he either makes you re-affirm your existing understanding of what makes good magic, sometimes throwing curveballs OR he completely disproves bullshit paradigms and misconceptions that people still get told and hold onto while learning and performing. This effect, along with all his other releases and ideas, is something that plays extremely strong for any audience and looks and feels like real magic
Currently, you can only get the PDF for this effect directly from Paul (email him here) for $25 USD. Paypal him the cash with the comment/subject line of “Card at Any Phone Number” to get it.
Now, back to figuring out how to tan the underside of my balls,
P.S. If anyone happens to find an Android equivalent app, please reach out to Paul and let him know.