Sundry Drive No. 2

Sometimes I wonder if I want to be associated with a group where, at one point in time, Rudy Coby was unironically calling himself the "coolest" member of said group. Or was he doing this as a goof? Like when you call a fat guy, Slim? Or was it seriously enough just to put on sunglasses to be considered "cool" in the early 90s?

I haven't seen The Supernaturalists which is Criss Angel's new live show with Banachek, Krystyn Lambert, and a bunch of other people I've never heard of. No, I haven't seen it, but I'm just going to guess that maybe it's not the most intriguingly written magic show considering there were precious view quotes that were pulled for this review of the show, and these were three of them:

  • "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. How are you doing this fine afternoon?"
  • "How are you guys doing Foxwoods?"
  • "Are you guys ready for the second half of the show?" 

Sounds like a compelling show!

Do you know anything about creating custom decks of playing cards? If so, drop me a line, I have some ideas. What's the smallest reasonable run I can do, on decent stock, without them costing me like $20 a pop?

As someone who likes watching magicians crash and burn, nothing delighted me more than watching a guy I know try the effect Utsukushii by Fraser Parker on a woman we were hanging out with at a coffee shop. If I was doing one word magic reviews, my review for this would be: Itsukshitty. It was, without hyperbole, one of the worst effects I've ever seen. Anyone associated with it is completely suspect in my book until they come out and say, "You know, my intentions were good, but then I got my head stuck up my ass a little bit and was so wound up in the method that I forgot the effect itself had turned into cat shit."

Wait, is Utsukushii Japanese for cat shit?

Imagine an effect where a spectator does a multi-multi-step mathematical process to come up with a "random" number. Then you "divine" their PIN number by saying. "So... is the first number in your PIN higher or lower than your secret random number? Higher... oh, by how much? Ok... now is the next number in your PIN higher or lower than the previous number? Lower? Lower by like... one or two? Oh... three?" And so on. At this point it's not even magic anymore, it's just arithmetic. Am I exposing the method? Well, I'm telling you exactly what the spectator sees. If that exposes the method then perhaps it's not a very good method?

[Later that evening I was making fun of my friend for fucking up the trick. And he said, he didn't. And I said, there's no way the method is to ask the precise difference between all the numbers. He insisted it was and I bet him $50 he had misread the method. Well, he hadn't.]

Oh! But it's completely billet-less! It's also charmless, pointless, and -- for the person I saw it performed on -- effect-less. She genuinely didn't know what she was supposed to be reacting to at the end because it was so convoluted. When he said "And your PIN is 3979." She said, "Yeahhh...?" And he said, "You don't find that odd that I could know your PIN?" And she said, "But that was after I told you the relationship between all the numbers." And he was all, "Well, but how would I even know where to start?" And she said, "Didn't I tell you the first number I was thinking of?" She was misremembering part of the effect. Because in part of it you DO just ask someone point-blank what number they are thinking of. He tried to clarify this to her, but I stopped him. There was no turning this around. She didn't have the exact method down. But she didn't need to. Sometimes you don't have to connect all the dots to see the picture.

I spared my friend by saying, "Nah, he's just fucking with you. He had to confuse you with that stuff so he could really read your mind." Then I had her write the name of the dog she had in her childhood on a napkin which she rolled into a ball and held onto. Then my friend asked her to bring up a memory of calling out to her dog and replay it in her mind and he told her he would step into that memory and try to hear her calling the dog's name. After a little bit of cold reading to try and establish where this memory took place, he concentrated for a while and said, "I hear you calling for him... you're're saying 'Shadow.'" She threw the napkin and shrieked, my friend jumped back a little and pushed the table slightly which caused his iced-coffee to spill all over his legs. My head was bouncing all around watching this play out like an OK Go video, howling like a mad man. My friends pants were soaked, the girl had her hands over her mouth and tears in her eyes either from laughing or perhaps some bittersweet dog memories. I was like a combination of both of them, laughing and also nearly soaking my pants, but with piss. It was a great moment.

Ah yes, but not good mentalism because she -- heaven forbid -- had to write something down! It's funny how on the Cafe mentalists are always asking, "How do I justify having them write something down?" But not, "How do I justify them having to calculate the volume of a oblate spheroid in order to sort of tell them their PIN code?"