Performance Tips

^ This effect could, of course, be presented as a demonstration of clairvoyance. My presentation is slightly different. It's based on conveying a Zen-type union between the "warrior" and his "weapon," I don't mean real Zen, a subject I neither know nor care anything about. I mean the popular notion of Zen as reflected in martial arts movies and David Carradine TV shows—in other words, the entertaining kind of Zen.

In phases one and two, the spectator's card will sometimes be near the bottom of the deck. Rather than have the spectator count through virtually the entire deck, I handle it this way. Ribbonspread the deck on the table. Point out that the bottom card is the fifty-second card from the top. Then count backwards from the bottom of the spread, touching each card as you count it. When you reach the previously announced number, push the card partway out of the spread. Gather the cards below it and drop them at the top end of the spread. Gather the deck, except for the outjogged card, and place it aside. After revealing the card, you have only to drop it on top of the deck and the cards are all in sequence.

I do this only with very high numbers. (Forty-two is my cutoff point,) Otherwise, I think its more effective to have the spectator deal irom the top. In phase three, I have the spectator count from the top regardless of the number. Otherwise, you lose the dramatic impact of having the face-up card appear on the predicted number.

Until you've tried this, you may fear that you'll have trouble holding the audience's attention during the repeated cutting of the deck. As I mentioned at the outset, however, this is something to do alter you've hooked the audience with other strong effects so you no longer have to fight for their attention.

Furthermore, you'll find that the extended cutting will itself hold people's attention simply because they'll be wondering what the hell is going on. (In Strong Magic I termed this mystery-curiosity suspense). In fact, if you handle it right, you can generate a fair amount of amusement Irom your requests for more and more cutting. After the first phase, the spectators will be so astonished you won't have any trouble holding them.

^ I mentioned the idea of switching out the gaffed card case in order to end clean. It's just as easy to switch in the gaffed case whenever you want to perform Th& Zen Master. (Switching card boxes is a heck of a lot easier to get away with than switching decks. It's an idea I use often in my work.)

& In the first two phases I U3e two different methods of preserving the order of the stack through the dealing process. (The usual procedure would, of course, reverse the order of the dealt-off card6.)

In the first case the cards are dealt face up and in the second case they're handed to me. 1 like to have them dealt face up the first time to let the audience see the 'random" order. That having been established, I preier to eliminate the distraction of face-up cards the second time. If, however, this minor inconsistency of procedure bothers you, you can use the same approach both times.

The reverse count in the last phase destroys the memorized stack. If you want to preserve the setup you can use the approach of having the spectator hand you the cards as she counts. (I don't think having the spectator deal face up is a good idea this time as it presents a confusing picture when she reaches the face-up selected card.) I don't bother because I almost never perform another effect after The. Zen Master.

The Health Zen

The Health Zen

There's no magic bullet that will make you slim down without trying. No particular diet that lets you eat a big amount of food and drop pounds quickly. No ab-machine or exercise bike that you see at three fifteen in the morning on an infomercial is truly going to make that much difference to you.

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