Which scenario seems less suspicious and more direct for secretly positioning a selected card to the top (or bottom) of the deck: Simply having a selected card pushed back into a deck, or having a selected card pushed back into a deck and then having the magician shuffle off (or fiddling with the deck with both hands for no apparent reason)? If you said the first scenario, then Losing Control might be just what you’re looking for.
To me, this innocuous but devilishly subtle and powerful control qualifies – to quote Max Maven – as a “terrifying thing of beauty.”
While it certainly passes my Erdnase Test, “. . . the most critical observer would not even suspect, let alone detect, the action,” like the Pass, Losing Control does require (and for me, the fun part) a brief moment of misdirection. However, the handling is much more subtle and elegant than either a Pass or Shuffle Control, yet it still meets the purpose of both while trimming away any extraneous fiddling or finger fluttering.
In essence, it directly, seamlessly, and secretly places a spectator’s (if you wish, signed) selection on top of the deck before (in their mind) the trick has even begun -- a powerful place to be.
1) Clarity. Losing Control was created with the reader in mind. It is professionally laid out and pleasing to the eye, has plenty of white space for notes at the bottom of each section (if you decide to print it out), and is easy to read in a (mostly) 11 point Ariel font. The photos are crystal clear and their corresponding instructions are on the same page, so no need to constantly page up and down. The .PDF also includes small sidebars of pertinent information and, for the viewer, five embedded video links.
2) Video Section. I particularly like the video link section so that I can literally see the instructions in action. The sleight is powerful because of its brazenness. It’s out there for anyone to see BUT ONLY IF THEY’RE FOCUSED ON IT. (That’s why -- like a Pass or Shuffle Control -- it should only be done in the expository phase, allowing for time misdirection.) In fact, because it’s sometimes hard for me to think like a spectator anymore, I found that if I glance away at the crucial moment (you’ll know when) as when properly misdirected, the experience is simply jaw-dropping. Doing this can help to give you the confidence and timing for when and how you decide to make use of this elegant sleight.
3) Brief yet thorough. At only 22 pages (including photos) Losing Control completely covers the control without being too wordy. It is broken into easy-to-digest sections, including a concise-and-helpful introduction, brief history, and clear methodology. It includes a dynamite convincer from Alan Ackerman, two variations (one for use with a table and one for allowing the spectator to see all the card faces at eye level), and Mr. Asher’s personal tips for the control. Mr. Asher wraps it all up with proper credits and interesting tidbits, thank you’s, and thoughts on how to proceed.
4) Affordable. At $13.99 (as of this date) Losing Control is quite reasonably priced when compared to the cost of a book or DVD that covers Passes or Shuffle Controls. When re-engineered into a routine, the sleight can easily pay for itself many times over via paying gigs; (I think it is clean and unique enough to help set one performer apart from another.)
5) Additions and Variations. The Alan Ackerman Addition provides another subtle layer of conviction; the card is on top of deck before the “selection” is pushed in. The tabled version gives an innocent hands-off feel, and the vertical version is suitable for standing venues.
PERSONAL TIP: Having read and understood the differences between a regular and reversed spread, I have found that it is also possible to control a selected card to the BOTTOM of the deck by reversing the process.
NOTE: Mr. Asher admonishes the reader to not be eager with using the control for an Ambitious Card sequence. I tend to agree. This move is like seasoning -- a little goes a long way, but too much ruins the dish. It is a little-known sleight, and I prefer to use it sparingly. I do confess, however, that I love using it once in my own opening sequence of David Regal’s AC routine.
NEGATIVES: In one place Mr. Asher writes about the control as if the reader will become nervous executing the move. For me, this seemed a bit presumptuous. However, for those who would have been nervous anyway, Mr. Asher continues with how to overcome any possible jitters.
Also, I wish I were the only other person who knew about this.
To sum up, Losing Control makes magic stronger by shortening the expository (non-inherently interesting) phase of having a card selected and returned to the deck, while at the same time raising the conviction that the selected card is in the middle of the deck (it’s not; it’s on top) in preparation for the (inherently) magical phase – however you may interpret what that is. (Thank you, Darwin Ortiz)
Thus, Losing Control eliminates the need to yammer on and on (not unlike this review) just to cover any shuffle control or to pointlessly bring one’s hands together just to execute a pass.
It is fast, it is fun, and it efficiently and innocuously places the spectator’s selection on top of the deck before the trick (in their mind) has even begun -- without all the fiddling -- and at a reasonable price.
This classic con has deceived the public for many years – and taken their hard-earned cash. It appeals to our impulse to acquire easy money but we constantly lose as the hand is quicker than the eye. The concept is great for the performing magician and when presented well teaches a valuable lesson in the context of an entertaining sequence.
Catch 33 teaches more than the basic moves required for such a demonstration. It includes well-researched techniques which I had not previously encountered. The list of standout magicians contributing to this work is long and impressive. Lee Asher has woven various methods into a visual treat of dodges and swindles. He demonstrates how to structure a delightful routine which can be performed close up, in a small venue or at a trade show.
As usual, Lee Asher’s writing is accompanied by excellent illustrations and by on-line video. John McLachlan
The first time you see the demo video, you wonder where the sleight is. I din't see anything unusual. The second time you might notice, that the handling looks a little strange. When you look again after reading the description you will say: This is never going to fool anybody! But it just did! With the Ackerman Addition it is even more convincing. This is a daring move. But the explanation and the fotos are very clear and easy to follow. The videos give you a clear picture of the timing and flow. It will take some work to make it look smooth and natural, but it should be within reach of anybody.
Have this awesome ace production on Lee Asher's 5 Card Stud DVD and this is a great companion for easy reference points. Well written as all of Lee's PDF's are, easy to understand and when you get this production down... BOOM... you have a reputation maker. With as much as Lee has given to the magic community over the last decade or so, I have never found anything with his name on it disappointing. Just buy it.
This is by far the best book I have read on the Three Card Monte. Lee presents a routine that is action packed and entertaining the entire time. Loads of photos and embedded videos provide you with all the details you need. The torn corner ending is a real kicker. This is probably the most commercial version of a Three Card Monte exposed that I have ever seen. Highly recommended. It will take some practice to get this down, but it is well worth it. Once you get the routine pat, you will have a real worker.
Normally, I'm not a fan of three-card monte routines. They normally seem to belie the whole reasoning of magic because of the dependence on dexterity. There's no magical explanation, the hands are just quicker than the eye. This is what street hustlers depend on. Well, that and accomplices. In any case, a project I'm working on needs some gambling-based routines, so I thought I'd revisit the plot. Being familiar with Lee Asher's other work, I know his attention to detail and quality is high. Catch 33 is no exception (aside from one thing I'll mention later).
This routine has the same basic plot - find the one different card and you win. Except Asher plays a bit with the construct, and adds a kicker that makes the routine more like magic and less like hustling.
The instruction and photography is clear throughout. In the section titled 'The Hype', though, I think some of the sentences were transposed, so following along requires some deciphering. It's nothing too challenging, but you should be aware of it. Hopefully Asher will edit this section for clarity in a later edition.
This is a routine for intermediate card handlers, and there's no instant reset, but if you're willing to put in the time and effort, you'll be rewarded. Asher provides some solid magical thinking and nuance to the routine. Some of the moves and subtleties are quite clever, and you may be able to migrate them to other routines. The 'out' Asher provides is extremely good as well - though you probably won't need it, it's good to have insurance. Finally, the background and references provided are good. Overall, it's a great handling of something that many others have failed to deliver.
Am I a convert to three-card-monte routines? Probably not. Will I incorporate Catch 33 into my project? Yes. Now, back to practicing the toss...
When I watched the video, it did not fool me at all. But when I learned the moves I tried it on my wife, the "Oh NO! Not another card trick?!?" type of audience. She was absolutely fooled. It took her several times before she caught on and felt foolish for not seeing it at first. I applaud Mr. Asher for his insight and downright brazen approach to bringing a card to the top of the deck.
This is the most amazing control I have ever learned. I was familiar with the back spread from performing "The Virginia City Shuffle", but had never even thought of back spreading a whole deck. This is my go to move now for controlling a card to the top of the deck. As always Lee Asher has nailed it and again shows why he is an Einstein of card magic.
So, I bought it and was at first rather shocked it had taken me in so completely. I tried it a few times, and thought I had it down. However, the first person I showed it to wasn't fooled at all. Before I had a chance to finish the trick, he said "my card is on top!" Yikes! Back to the woodshed!
As it turns out, this is one of those "moves" that relies more on smoothness, choreography, and confidence than anything else. Once I understood a couple of key points that Lee covers well in the book, it became (and remains) a favorite of mine.
If it seems over-priced, remember that it includes links to 5 short videos where most books use photos.
This is a very clever move from one of the great minds in magic today. Lee Asher puts out some of the best effects and utility moves you can get. I have nearly all of his PDF's and dvds. All quality stuff and Losing Control does not dissapoint. If you are a beginner, you can do this and the experts can appriciate the simplicity of this great control. Buy it, you cant go wrong.
On the other hand, it's not a control that I would repeat over and over. I use it sparingly, and usually only after I've done a few other items.
Strangely enough, I seem to perform it for the local magicians more than laymen, simply because it does often fly past them, which makes me smile.
Like I said, it's not the last word in controls, but it is a nice little tool to have floating around for when you need it.
The biggest problem is that you'll need to own a machine shop or have a friend who does! Although you could pay a machinist or carpenter to do much of the work, the fact remains that this gimmick should only be built by someone with the skill for careful work and safety. The description on the buyer's pages should have stated such, even if it would scare many buyers away.
The instructions and presentation(s) are explained well. A trained person would have no difficulty in making this. Mr Noble does have some spelling and terminology problems, but nothing which will slow you down.
If you have the skill and follow safety procedures, this might just be the best self-levitation on the market. You literally can perform this close up to your audience. Angles are minor - but there are some. Rehearsal is imperative; this is not something for the idly curious. This is performance magic at its best.
With the description modified in the blurb, to let one know this requires certain skills and equipment, and with a good proofreading and editing, I'd have no hesitation in giving this a full five points. As it is, it loses only one point for its flaws - because the actual method is very, very good.
One more great e-book full of excellent tricks from Paul's professional close-up repertoire. My favourites are: Name Any Card; Impromptu Book Test; Four Card Coincidence; Telepathic Spectator and Signed 2 Card Transpo.
As a long-time fan and avid supporter of ALL of Scott Creasey's work, I was quite excited to check this one out (and thanks to Ray's recommendation above, I also picked up "Number 5" and will comment more on both these releases when I have a little more time).
There's a lot to love about "My Q&A" and though our individual styles, criteria and personal approaches to Q&A are diametrically opposed in many ways, I'm a huge fan of the genre and do my best to consume just about everything released on the subject. To say that I was incredibly impressed with Scott's Q&A method, approach, structure and all the thinking behind and going into it would be a huge understatement. I highly recommend this ebook and for the menial asking price it really can't be beat. Speaking for myself only, I would have been happy paying 10X more for this phenomenal piece of work.
Not only is the structure, timing, framing, presentation, choreography, methodology, the expert use of subtlety, attention to detail, professional nuances and core effect exemplary in this case, it opens wide the doors to innumerable performance options, can be custom tailored for the performer, environment and attending audience - the foundational techniques are, by nature, highly applicable to other mind reading acts and hard-hitting routines of the same high class and caliber.
I'm actually very surprised there's not a WHOLE LOT more talk about the piece in question.
To touch very briefly on just a few specifics, I love that the "gimmick" in this case is not really a gimmick at all (using every day, EASILY AVAILABLE items in sneaky, subtle and spectacular ways)...also that it uses full size 3X5 sized index cards as opposed to smaller half-slips or unruly palm-sized billets, that the dirty work is done right out in the open and the reading process occurs in full sight of your viewing audience members and participants. While the mechanics are all perfectly hidden, there really isn't anything to "hide."
Scott developed the routine over several years and countless performances as an actual worker, which I respect above all else, and after reading the method and material a few times with the necessary items in and and giving it a formal test-run at my last home party, the results and reactions were far more than I myself was expecting or could have prepared for. While this will in no way, shape or form replace my own Q&A and preferred methods, if you're at all interested in this sort of act and demonstration as a whole, Scott Creasey's "My Q&A" is a definite no-brainer.
Complete with an interactive beginning, ultra-strong middle and memorable, powerful ending I don't feel ANY mentalist worker or psychic entertainer in this day and age would be anything less than ecstatic over their purchase - there's a whole lot of value here, the routine is complete, simple in execution, devastating in effect and would be a startling success in even the most inept hands. I highly, highly recommend this one and that you check it out immediately! Most of the items required I already had and a quick trip to the local office supply took care of that in less than 5 minutes.
To end, I'm a big fan of Scott as a person and his professional offerings as a gifted creator and performer (before these last two purchases I've owned multiple sets of his FIP and BIP BT, both items which I've kept close when needed and used for years now) and again, to piggy back on Jorgenson's spot on review, I'm stoked that Mr. Creasey continues to share his world class thinking, powerhouse routines and professional WORKING GRADE material with the mentalism community.
Now...I'm off to grab up the rest of his stuff and the few things of his I've obviously been missing.
All the tricks in this e-book are very good. All of them are impromptu and all the effects are very strong. They are real workers. My favourites are: Inspector #1953, The Trick That Can't Be Explained (which trick has nothing to do with the Vernon trick which has similar title), CAAN TU and Triple Revelation.
I think this is a fantastic technique from Radek, quick to learn and high impact. Despite the criticism of some elsewhere, I think he has made a fantastic effort to properly credit and direct readers to the sources of his information and inspiration for Eni-Where and in my opinion is a huge credit to this first time author.
My only feedback on this, is that for the sake of completeness and ease of those perhaps not familiar with the specific palm used in the technique, there could have been a more detailed explanation of the getting ins and outs of it as well as some of the subtleties involved in using it.
Definitely worth the purchase however.
An exquisite little book in every respect! I love books that take a very narrow subject area, and dive deeply into exploring that topic........books that are "fetishistic", so-to-speak. If that's your thing, you'll love this one! Great price and a quick read.
This is great! Every beginning magician should read this, and experienced magicians may find it a refreshing statement of truths we know but don't always talk about. I especially like the parts about the lie that everybody loves magic, and the lie that "practice makes perfect." A small price to pay for a large helping of truth.
I wanted to add to my last review as well as raise this to a 5 star from a 4 star. The more I read this little book there are some real gems between the covers. As I mentioned in my last review the edge marking system is worth the price alone. There are several two person codes that are just damn clever. I just finished reading a small section on thumb writing and the new method of thumb writing - I don' t know how I missed it - again presentation needs to be reworked but a very clever idea - it allows you to thumb write right out in the open with them look right at the card. I have not tried it but I will. All in all there is some buried treasure that is just begging to be reworked.
I just got this ebook about a week ago. Because of the month, the venue isn't reachable at this time. But, when it is, I really see this working. It's a very good system. It could make you a great deal of money in a very short time.
Terry G. Smith Mentalist
This book will be of greater value to the magician than mentalist. Devin states that you need a 70-90 minute show that appeals to all ages. I have yet to see even the best mentalism program which meets those requirements. Mentalism is an adult form of entertainment and most children under 12 will just not get it. And 90 minutes of mentalism is just hard to watch. Then there are the kooks who will boycott a mentalism show rather than support it.
Also this book is more for established performers who have "a lot of great references." So, if you are just starting out and think this book will help you break into the market, look elsewhere, as this is definitely for the more experienced performer. Also you will need some cash to invest in the show before you even step on stage-a few hundred dollars actually.
The book has sound advice and a workable- and most likely profitable-plan, but again, more experienced performers with (some handy cash) will find it of greatest value.