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Art of Close-up Magic - Volume 2 Review

May 28th, 2010 12:04pm
Reviewed by Thomas Sciacca
This review pertains to both Volumes of Art of Close-up magic. It seems uneccessary for me to point towards specific effects, as everything in these books is time proven gold. Naturally, there are items I don't see myself using, but that's due to taste, and in some cases, complexity. There are effects that
I was able to learn and perform rather quickly, and others which are going to take study, and substantial practice. Like the Stars of magic book, I felt that deep satisfaction that these two books have THE BEST CLASSIC closeup miracles, from the MASTERS...and that, I wouldn't need to look much further beyond these pages for magical GOLD. Again, I'm speaking in general terms, but this review would grow quite lengthy if I do otherwise. In short, these are books to spend years with.
Besides the effects, Volume 1 opens with a chapter that defines close up magic, but more, the kinds of micro details related to storage, presentation,
prop accessabilty, and practice. I felt my mind being read, as Ganson writes about the temptation magicians have to open up their cases of props, wanting then to play with everything! He wisely advises to focus on A routine, and to literally put all other props away. Something that made sense even before I read it, as my eyes tend to get overwhelmed by too many available props. The details contained in this chapter are NOT for amateurs, but rather for the magician who is ever involved in honing and perfecting his work. Just very practical insights and advice, that made me think several times 'sure-that DOES matter-I didn't think it did, but here's HOW paying attention to certain details can enhance performance.' There are even a few paragraphs on how to deal with the issue of whether or not to have props examined by spectators. No stone left unturned.
One premise for both volumes, was the exclusion of card magic, which I totally appreciated. The one card effect that does turn up, focuses on the colors of the backs of the cards, an oil and water effect by the magician named Rink. Another, is the routine which was commercially marketed (and is out again in new form) called Voodoo. Cards, but with pictures of voodoo dolls on them. So, there are classics, but also some bizarre and unusual effects as well.
For me, it was and is a thrill and challenge, that these pages contain Dai Vernon's version of Johnny Ramsey's cylinder and coins. While Vernon had no desire to change the routine, he apparently wanted to make it more accessible to American magicians. Coins are replaced with poker chips, the cylinder going from paper, to a bill. While Vernon's 'version' is still a challenge, at least to me, it did not make my head spin as did Ramsey's original routine. Accessible effects, but also, ones that deserve study, practice and time.
These days, the production of magical dvds seem to be slowly but surely reaching oceanic proportions...and then, there's another ocean of online tutorials. And, don't get me started on CARD books and dvds. Forget ocean, it's like a pasteboard TSUNAMI. I search, but I AM relieved when I find reasons to STOP searching-for material, and performance insights. There is so much temptation, to consume new effects, that if thats all any of us did, MASTERY would remain elusive. Put another way, if all magic publishing were to have hypothetically stopped at the production of these books, there's enough in here to last generations of magicians for many many many years to come. It's more than enough.

Product info for Art of Close-up Magic - Volume 2

Author: Ganson, Lewis
Publisher: L&L
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $30.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

This timeless material finally gets the treatment it deserves. The greatest collection of close-up tricks ever assembled between two covers, and Volume 1 has no card tricks included. Volume One's opening chapter, The Presentation of Close-Up Magic, embraces the whole approach to close-up performance. Hundreds of original illustrations by Dennis Patten. Volume Two features Phoa Yan Tiong's fantastic Cut and Restored Silk, Al Spackman's eerie and very baffling Miniature Rapping Hand, Rink's fabulous acrobatic Paper Clips and One Cup, Two Balls, Horace Bennett's Dissimilar Coin Thru Table, Bobby Bernard's terrific coin routine, Melted and Mirage, Jens Korth's brilliant Gambling Routine with Poker Chips, Lewis Ganson's tribute to Dai Vernon - Three Rings for Vernon. Hardbound, printed on acid-free paper, matching endsheets.

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