Pocket Money "72.
Smart Money 76
Erdnase Top Palm
Maximum Risk 80
The Zen Master 102
Hitchcock Travelers —- 112
Neal Elius Multiple Shift Palm Change Steal Houghton Pocket Load Loewy Palm Mario Poctat Transfer
The Quick © The Dead Vernon Tof> Palm
Fastest Gun Alive 124
Dak^ CenUr Double Lift One-Hamiefi Toji Palm
Cannibal Holocaust 126
Vernon Add-On (Derfik Dingle 5 handling)
James/Ellis Loading Move Four-As-Flue Count CatTiey s Versa Switch
The New Back OH 136
Ace in the Packet 144
Darwin's Ambitious Card 148
Dingles Two-Card Pickup
Ultimate Oil £3 Water 158
Krenzel Pressure Hideout
Joshua Jay's Rihhtmspread Hideout
Ultimate Fusion 168
Pass the Garbage 174
The Color oi Money 180
Walkaround Triumph 190
Orttz Biased Pressure Fan
Triple Cross 192
Beat the Devil 1%
Fred Kaps' Hammm Cmmt Shuffle The Flushfcratum Count
Appointment in Samarra 202
Showing or Hiding Skill 209
"Whit do I ask of a painting? I ask it to astonish, disturb, seduc«, conumce."
I consider Darwin Ortiz to be one of the great influences in modern card magic. He is, first of all, a magician with a lot of performing experience. And he has at least as much familiarity with teaching on many different platforms. His books and videos are among the top titles of our craft- And his excellent lectures, not only lor magicians but above all ior real-world casino executives and personnel, have given him that rare experience required to undertake any serious know-how transfer in a professional way,
AH of this can be seen in many nuances and details within each description given in Scams Fantasies with Cards: fine points on how to handle spectators; under what circumstances to perform a particular routine and under which not to; what to say and why; how to bridge potentially boring passages such as dealing procedures by conveying interesting information in the meantime; and many other things. This is the mark ol the professional and it cornea through m this entire book.
In an age where» just in English, we're given at least one book per week on card magic, it's almost impossible to read everything, even if you had the entire day to wade through this excess of information. At such a time it's important to know and trust the author not to waste our time. Darwin knows this and presents in this work a collection of solid routines in which he oilers us the result of many years of study, practice, and performing know-how» This is of immense value. Not only does it give us new material we might be searching for, but above all it offers strategies for how to choose strong effects, how to streamline procedures, how to create an elegant dramatic and psychological construction, how to select the best methods among so many available nowadays, how to deal with potential technical failures and difficult spectators.
Darwin addresses these fundamental problems and several more in the careful description of his routines and techniques. As an intelligent coach with much aiiinity to teaching procedures he does so not by overloading each description with all these concepts. Instead, he wisely distributes his savvy among various explanations, repeating them here and there with different applications, as a wise instructor does, so the reader does not get bored but reinforces the acquired knowledge in different contexts and thus eventually absorbs them. This makes the know-how transfer between author and reader an elegantly communicative process imperceptibly accompanied by pleasure, the fundamental motivational emotion, which is the basis of true learning and insight, as the "Professor" Dai Vernon always told us.
On the Book, and its Audimce,
Scams© Fantasies with Cards is neither a book ior kids nor beginners. The reader is expected to have done his or her homework in the past few years and to have attained a certain degree oi proEciency before immersing himself in the wonderful world of card magic Darwin has created with this latest book.
This is a book with an academic scope, albeit lull of practical material won from years of personal experience "in the trenches." It requires at least the willingness and commitment to move out of the "commercial comfort zones" that are so often created by semi-professional and professional performers who perform a lot. Those among us catering to corporate, trade show, or TV markets are quick to say: "Yeah, but this is of no use where 1 work." And as always in life we would at the same time be right and be wrong. We would be right, because some of the routines in this book will not fit the bill ior being long and "intellectual." And we would be wrong because it is in this type oi intelligent, structurally well balanced, and methodically complex routines that we can charge our batteries, solidify our performing structures that working solely in commercial markets might have made artistically shallow, and create a fresh backlog of resources from which to help ourselves ad libitum when need arises in the real world - and the need always arises.
Darwin is not only constantly concerned about giving the reader a good card trick from the point of view of effect and method; he also worries about the psychological and emotional staging. The psychological aspects make sure that the secret underlying the trick cannot be penetrated by the spectator's analytical mind; che emotional framing makes the presentation meaningful. Both are absolute prerequisites for a memorable performance experience.
One more thing. There might be effects you won't care for in the book. Not because they're bad, hut for the same reason somebody wouldn't care for a New York Prime Cut Steak if he1« a vegetarian or doesn't listen to Hildegard von Bingen's Canticles of Ecstasy because he prefers Pink Floyd. Fair enough.
In these cases I would still recommend you read Darwin's presentation of this individual feat you would otherwise have ignored and the comments he usually places under the unassuming tide of "Performance Tips." I think you will be grateful you did. Because in both of these categories you'll find invaluable conceptual thinking, strategic approaches to problems that you will notice occur in the material you are using yourself. As a conse quence you might ask a question or two about a trick you've been performing lor years that has one or two moments you've never been happy with. And you might find that Darwin's thinking about his trick will trigger exactly the solution you've been intuitively or even consciously seeking.
Suddenly, rather than having caught just another iish, you have improved your fishing skills. There are so many tricks out there nowadays that finding new material is no longer the major problem it was for past generations of magicians. But a new challenge ha9 arisen. The more tricks there are out there, the more one realizes that it's not the quantity of trickst the large repertoire, that makes a magician, but his savoir-faire, his intuition, his experience, his commitment to excellence, his ability to deal elegantly with people and so many more things you know. ^
At least since the publication of Strong lfcagic (Kaufman and Greenberg, 1994), the magic world must have realized that Darwin knows how to ask the right questions and more often than not finds the well-designed solutions. It is in the scripts and the discussions after the trick description that Darwin gives so much invaluable information on how he arrived at the final solution he just described and which looks so simple, as anything that used to be difficult looks simple after the Master has touched it. For example, just reading the script of The Color of Moneyr Darwin's interpretation of "Follow the Leader," will tell you more about how to give meaning to an otherwise just "pretty trick" than a whole essay on the subject could do. This is a typical case of learning by example. Since time immemorial this has been one of the most effective didactic stratagems in the pedagogue's arsenal. We must thank fate that Darwin is such a delicate and intelligent teacher and that he chose magic as his passion and profession.
Each reader will and should find his own favorites. The point of the following paragraphs is to call attention to a few ideas that I hope will whet your appetite and induce you to undertake your personal perusal of Darwin's magical offerings.
Some routines are technically speaking remarkably straightforward. In Déjà vu Poker, for instance, all you need is the ability to execute 2 perfect faro shuffles and you have a gem of a gambling routine that doesn't even require a good table surface, something that is most often an indispensable condition, because the techniques take place in the hands.
Those among you who don't shy away from using expert card technique, such as riffle shuffle run-ups, together with practical mental methods, such as mnemonics of various degrees, will enjoy the subtle complexity of Shark Attach which will hurt the spectator at least as much as the title promises.
Many of the routines presented in Scams & Fantasies with Cards are best suited for formal performances that require an intelligent, sober, and attentive audience. Several of the author's contributions, however, will also cater to more 'commercial" venues like walk-around magic or individual magic done at the tables as a pri vate show, commonly called "tahle-hopping" (arguably the most denigrating technical term for magic ever created), An example is Walkaround Triurofh, a practical version oi Dai Vernon's Triumph plot that can be done standing, surrounded, and entirely in the hands.
Whether you're already using one of the published memorized stacks or just waiting for the apotheosis of Juan Tamariz, you will want to look at Th& Zen Master, which is practically self-working. Yet you'll find its impact on any audience to be inversely proportional to its simplicity.
In this book Darwin shows he's much more versatile than some readers might have thought. Known primarily for his sleight-of-hand expertise, he doesn't shy away from using duplicates^ gaffed cards, a special gimmick, or even special cards such as Tarot cards. It's been said that more than one card trick would benefit if the cards used were replaced by Tarot cards. I think you will agree when you study Darwin's Beat the Devil where Tarot Cards are used in the context of a powerful presentation. While this presentation will require a mature and experienced performer, anybody with a sane professional instinct will want to try this out in a formal setting. Especially when he learns from Darwin that Fred Kaps's genius is attached to this piece of devilish card chicanery. As the author himself points out, only rarely do you find an effect that can be linked to a story without one weakening the other. Beat the Devil is the perfect example of how you can take an already strong plot, in this case Wild Card, and blend it with an emotionally appealing story containing a wonderfully absurd mixture of mysticism, dry humor, and poetry, 1 would not be astonished if several readers find this to be their pick of the book.
I will stop listing more effects for fear of taking away all the pleasure that a personal discovery of such items produces in the reader's mind and soul.
This book is both scientific and artistic. It is scientific because it contains many intellectually challenging ideas and concepts regarding the working of magic which were gathered by reading the Classic works, studying the great Masters, assembling years of personal history, and passing all oi this through the subjective meshes of a net woven from an inquisitive mind driven by sharp intelligence, capacity of deep introspection, and true passion for our art. It is artistic because the presentations of the routines reflect parts of the author's personal history, his interests and pet ideas in life, always imbedded in a character that shines through to those who have had the privilege oi witnessing Darwin's work live or on video.
Finally 1 would like to mention that Darwin is very meticulous about crediting the source material that has inspired many of the concepts in this book. This shows that he is not only a consummate professional performer, an intelligent and inspired creator with pasteboards, and a gifted teacher, but a conscientious author as well.
For all of this he deserves our respect and recognition. It is in the name of all present and future readers of this opus» as well as those of all his other outstanding works, that I would like to express my sincerest thanks to Darwin Ortiz for his generosity in sharing an important part of his world with all of us who have taken the invitation. Let's pay back the author by treating his creations with reverence, performing them impeccably and in a personal way,
— Robkkto Giobbi Muttenz, February 2002
Roberto Giobbi is a professional magicum who has a background in natural sciences, linguistics, and literature. His fluency in 5 major languages makes him an internationally sought-afUr performer and kctur^r for private and corporate functions. In the magic community he is highl> acclaimed as performer, lecturer, and author of bfisfc-s« Jl-ing boohs, some of which have been translated into 6 languages. Hfi lives and tuorhs in Mutfcens, SuritserkmcL
Any conscientious magic author has to grapple with the question oi when you've changed an effect enough to justify publishing your version. This is complicated by the fact that sometimes a small change can produce a big increase in audience impact while other times a big change can result in no difference in audience impact. (And audience impact is the only thing that matters to me,)
Many books offer the worst of both worlds, trivial changes that make no difference in audience impact. Often a flawed but popular effect will produce variation after variation altering peripheral aspects of the trick without ever addressing the original effect's one major flaw. It's easy to understand why. If the inventor of the original version didn't solve the problem, it's probably because it's hard to solve. It's much easier to substitute a Jordan count for an Elmsley count. Such variations bring to mind the old observation about "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic."
I've tried to avoid that in this book. My changes, whether large or small, all concern elements of the effect that actually matter. Of course, opinions can differ on what matters, so I've explained my reasoning in the Analysis section of each effect.
The effects in this book embody the qualities I value in magic. They're highly practical in that they have few angle limitations and, while not always impromptu» always end clean. They're constructed to baffle and entertain laypeople, not to fool magicians. Finally, they reflect my ideas of how a magic effect should be structured to maximize deceptiveness and conviction. I believe that, to be fully effective, a magic trick has to succeed on three levels: magically, dramatically, and logically. It has to create a strong illusion oi impossibility. It has to follow sound principles of dramatic construction. And it has to make sense. I've often been struck by how difficult it can be to succeed on all three levels simultaneously. Indeed, strengthening one element often weakens another. I feel that the effects in this book succeed in achieving all three of these sometimes seemingly irreconcilable goals.
Although I've divided the effects into Scams and Fantasies, don't take the distinction too seriously. Every artistic fantasy contains an element of scam. Edmund Wilson wrote, "Every work of art is a trick by which the artist manipulates appearances..." Similarly, Edgar Degas observed, "A painting is something that requires as much knavery, trickery» and deceit as the perpetration of a crime." On the other hand, gambling routines may have scams as their thamfi, but a large part of their appeal is that of wi3h-fulfiliment fantasy.
Some time ago I saw a post in a magicians' Internet message board by a young magician raising some presentational questions. An allegedly more experienced magician advised him to, "Perform more and think less." My own advice to anyone who wants to become a better magician is: perform more and think more, I hope this book provides you with both performance material and food for thought. Most of all, 1 hope it helps you in pursuing our mutual goal of giving the spectator that brief moment of liberation and exhilaration that, of all the arts, only magic can bestow.
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