Tag Archives: Card Manipulation

Lecture Review: Nathan Kranzo Workshop, St. Louis S.A.M. Assembly 8, 17SEP2014

When Nathan Kranzo came through and lectured for S.A.M. Assembly 8 earlier this year, I was a bit annoyed because of getting held up with day-job work stuff, so when I found he was doing a workshop, I was quite happy and immediately signed up as soon as I heard. That was definitely a good decision on my part.

Now, Nathan did admit there was a little cross-over between his lecture and his workshop but he minimized that and only went through a couple of things that were in the initial lecture. As part of the package, there were two DVDs (one covering a gaff Nathan has developed from an older gaff concept) and a good number of downloadable files including pdf lecture notes and a video of a routine and explanation.

The main thing I found really cool about what Nathan was presenting in this workshop was how he developed a number of routines using gaffs that have been around for quite some time. His opener routine that he gave us was a coin routine that used and milked a gaff that probably most magicians who do coin work have picked up and used along the way. What he focused on was using manipulations in addition to the gaff to build a routine around a number of tricks that flowed from the start of production to finishing clean. Yeah, I know I’m keeping it vague on what he presented, but I’d rather not name any of the gaffs discussed just in the event that laypeople actually read this blog.

What the first routine (and really, the subsequent routines, as well) reminded me of was of watching Boris Wild about probably his biggest contribution so far to magic tools. In both cases, we have serious manipulation skills combined with a creative knowledge of using the gaffs employed. When Boris discussed his gaff, he referred to it as jazz, taking the gaff and playing with it and finding new ways to use it. In both the case of Boris and Nathan, in addition to classic routines and premises, we had additional new and off-beat premises shown to where the gaffs involved. Coming back around to Nathan, if anybody during the discussion asked where he got a trick from, unless he was naming a specific move, he would list off a number of magicians whose ideas had been implemented. In some cases, it was material developed for a different tool completely but had enough shared DNA with what Nathan was using that in was adapted.

Now, I’m sure that for an awful lot of magicians, this isn’t anything new, but I also know enough magi who, once they get a gaff or gimmick, play it only really the way it is presented in the instructions that came with it. For me personally, it timed perfectly. I had just recently started playing with a gaff that I had picked up well over a year ago and, pretty much after seeing only minor variations of Don Alan’s routine with the gaff performed, I pretty much put it down figuring it was probably locked into that one presentation, and I’d rather put my own spin on it. Nathan’s workshop inspired me to look at other gaffs that had enough matching DNA that I started jamming with the gimmick running a few manipulations that were more for the other gimmick. I’m now seeing the potential.

It’s not a case, really, of when you discover how to use a hammer everything is a nail, but rather, learning that in addition to pounding a nail into a board, a hammer can pull or straighten a bent nail (and though I’m a big horror movie fan, I won’t drag this analogy further into “Toolbox Murders” territory). I personally generally dislike gimmicks that can only be used for one trick and that’s it. I’m always looking for at least three phases to each routine, if not more. Hell, even though in general there’s only really one move to a good operation of the Three Shell Game, a great presentation gets creative in the implementation.

Now, I must say, for the routines and tricks Nathan performed, I will say that if I was to adapt one routine for my own, it would have been his finisher. In this case, there was no gaff used. It was a series of coin though silk manipulations that, for being close-up magic, plays big. Yeah, we all find our favorites, and for what he presented us, this was definitely mine. For busking, it is perfect, but all in all, like anything else, once I start working with it, it will be a path of discovery until the routine has DNA in Nathan’s routine (in addition to so many others) but its final presentation is mine.

All in all, my final take-away from Nathan’s workshop, for all the technical information he dropped on us, it was a tent-revival for my creative side.

Yep, the gratuitous fan-boy shot with Nathan Kranzo

Yep, the gratuitous fan-boy shot with Nathan Kranzo

Daily Dose of Magic – Richard Turner “The Cheat Double Signed Card Routine”

Richard Turner (richardturner52.com) is a wonder when it comes to card cheats and manipulations. At the top of his class, it’s even more impressive when you consider he’s been blind since he had scarlet fever at age nine. In addition to being one of the world’s foremost card sharps and card magicians, Master Turner earned the ranking of Sixth Degree Black Belt in the Wa Do Kai karate, which just further demonstrates how amazing he is. A documentary is in the works about Richard called “Dealt,” and information about it can be found on his website and at http://dealtmovie.com. This video demonstration was shot with his wife, Kim, and his son, Asa, assisting him and I found it on Asa’s YouTube channel.

Richard Turner “The Cheat Double Signed Card Routine”

Daily Dose of Magic – Richard Ross “Théâtre de l’Empire Paris April 1982”

Richard Ross (1946 – 2001) was an amazing talent and two-time FISM award winner. In the magic community, his Linking Ring routine (also in this video) is considered one of the most beautiful presentations of the rings. This video also includes Richard’s other signature effect, The Multiplying Watches, and is a study in the artistry that he applied to his magic.

Richard Ross “Théâtre de l’Empire Paris April 1982”

Daily Dose of Magic – Shawn Farquhar “Shape of My Heart”

I’ve mentioned Shawn Farquhar (www.magichampion.com) a few times before in this blog, but I just realized, even though I may have posted links to some of his routines on Facebook, I haven’t had any of his performances as a Daily Dose. This is one of his signature pieces, “Shape of My Heart,” and it is one of my favorite card magic performances. He used it as the finale to his performance at the 2013 IBM Ring 1 President’s Banquet, and it was a perfect closer to the show.

Shawn Farquhar “Shape of My Heart”

Daily Dose of Magic – Channing Pollack

Last night, Harry Monti related a number of stories from this year’s History of Magic conference. He showed me a number of photos he took of a collection of Channing Pollack’s (1926-2006) props. That brings us to today’s Daily Dose, which is taken from the 1959 movie, “European Nights.” Pollack was an example of the classic magician, with style and class. “Sophisticated” and “charismatic” are two words I find that are used when describing Pollack, and I can only agree.

Channing Pollack in “European Nights”

Daily Dose of Magic – Vladimir Danilin “1991 FISM Grand Prix Act”

In 1991, Russian magician Vladimir Danilin took the FISM Grand Prix prize in Lausanne, Switzerland with this imaginative stage act. In the beginning, it looks more like a cabaret act, but as it progresses, the twists and turns the routine takes add to the magic and make it all the more fun to watch. On a personal note, I give it additional bonus points for using Andreas Vollenweider’s “Angoh!” in his musical selection.

Vladimir Danilin “1991 FISM Act”

Daily Dose of Magic – Ma Yanyan “Ballet Magic”

Chinese magician Ma Yanyan took a second place at the 2009 FISM in Beijing. There is quite a bit of card manipulation of the sort that begins to feel monotonous to me after a while, but she’s added a bit more, both stylistically and in a few of her productions that I don’t find myself getting bored. It’s really the first production that pulls me in.

Ma Yanyan “Ballet Magic”

Daily Dose of Magic – Juliana Chen “Masks and Cards”

Women in magic are sadly underrepresented. International award-winning Julianna Chen (www.julianachen.com) is another example of (to me, at least) card manipulation that keeps getting better as the act continues. The beginning mask routine is just classy, yet fun.

Julianna Chen – “Masks and Cards”

Yu Ho Jin – Card Manipulation

Yu Ho Jin (http://www.the-hojin.com) was the 2012 FISM Grand Prix winner in stage magic. This routine is another example of how magic can be such a beautiful art form. Sometimes, when I watch card manipulation routines, I find myself getting pretty bored. I see a lot of skill, and I can certainly appreciate that, but very little artistry. This is certainly an exception.

Yu Ho Jin – Card Manipulation