Posts Tagged ‘playing cards’

Let the cards do the talking: Flourishes can speak volumes without words

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” In a general sense, he’s right.

But that doesn’t exactly work for us magicians. At some point we have to speak — to introduce ourselves, deliver patter or respond to a spontaneous moment. But there’s ways we can speak less.

Better yet, we can let our cards do the talking for us.

During our recent podcast with Adam Wilber, the creator of Pyro, he proposed trying an experiment: The next time you perform, introduce yourself for one group with a good card spring, then for the next group, introduce yourself without the spring.

The results should be revealing, Wilber said, and skew toward the side of better reactions from the first group.

“The biggest thing for a crowd is to win them over quickly, so that you’re not the corny magician they have seen before. Something as simple as springing the cards from hand to hand can make you a professional in the audience’s eyes.”

We’ve talked about the balance between either showing or hiding proficiency with cards. Some magicians lean more toward Dai Vernon’s Erdnase-inspired philosophy of casual, non-flashy movement, others lean toward Paul LePaul’s idea that expert manipulation could generate magical reactions from spectators. Starting off with a flourish definitely puts you on the LePaul side of that line.

But think about what a flourish says, without speaking a word:

  • • Not everyone can do a flourish. Heck, not everyone gets to SEE flourishes very often. It’s easy for magicians to forget that, because we watch performance videos and cardistry displays like they are Super Bowl commercials. But most people rarely get to see such a thing live. That rarity is compelling, and is a tremendous advantage.
  • • Some magician’s disapproval of flourishes rests in the idea that a spectator, upon seeing a flourish, would instantly recognize it as a display of skill, then go on a Fezzini-inspired rant of logic to deduce that any of the magic they see from you CLEARLY isn’t magic, because you’re capable of such precise manipulations, etc. In our experience, a flourish wakes up an interest in spectators. They make the deduction that you are good at cards, but instead of discounting what’s to come, THEY CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT COMES NEXT. Like Adam said, they recognize you are a professional, and build interest in seeing what you can do.
  • • Flourishes can speak from across a room. We’ve been out in public, just fanning cards, then been approached by people who are curious about what we’re doing. Eight times out of 10, it takes less than a minute for them to ask, “Are you a magician?” In those cases, all the hard work of introducing yourself has been done by them.
  • • Flourishes aren’t limited to just cards. There are rolls and walks you can perform with coins or rings. Or maybe you have a favorite object, such as a lighter, cellphone, money clip, etc. Play with it. Manipulate it. Figure out a trick. Those are basically the same thing as a fan or spring, and can have the same effect.

There are even more ways that a flourish can speak for you, but we’ll let you discover those on your own. Adam and Peter McKinnon teach a series of basic flourishes in How to Do Miracle Card Tricks, and Daniel Madison goes next level with hardcore hand candy in Cardistry.

FOUR POINTS: These are the biggest hazards that threaten your new cards

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

So, you got some cards for the holidays. And not just any cards, but some of the custom playing cards designed by Ellusionist. You were awed over the art and amazed at how they glided and snapped — definitely a step up over those cards you bought at the big-box retail store.

Whether you spoiled yourself or got a thoughtful gift, chances are you’re going to be packing a deck with you everywhere you go — if you weren’t already. Who are we kidding — OF COURSE you’ve been packing a pack. You’ve been carrying around those boring red-backed cards for weeks, and now you have some world-class design to show off. Besides, you know you need to practice, and you take every chance you get to do so. You’ve already learned some incredible things, and that practice can be thrilling and addictive in the pursuit of a new move.

That means you’ve likely learned some hard lessons about taking care of cards.

How did you lose your first card? Did you drop it in some liquid? Get food on it? Did some goobsmack bend it like Beckham trying to keep you from spying its identity, leaving it looking like an Ozarks hillside? Whatever that was, you learned an important lesson about keeping decks together. You learned that even the best cards are still made of paper, and that there is much more deck-buying in your future.

Don’t fret: There’s plenty of things you can do with an incomplete deck, and we’ll cover that in a future blog post. For now, you’re probably interested in keeping your new deck alive as long as you can, while carrying it as long as you can out in the field. It’s a noble goal: You can get so much more out of our decks when you care for them properly. And the best way to do that is to always keep an eye out for these four hazards to playing cards. Spotting these red flags will keep your deck golden.

(more…)

Shoot like Kings: Instagram users make incredible art with latest deck

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

It’s not long now. The Kings deck, a collaboration between Daniel Madison and Peter McKinnon, will soon be available to Black Club members, and then the rest of the world.

But a handful of people, who are close friends and associates with DM and p:m, have already had some quality time with the Kings. And the artistic work they have posted to Instagram is simply breath-taking.

From the impossible flotations of Jeremy Griffith to the subtle shadows of Benoit Pervier, from the inspired etchings of Tomas Hlavaty to the devious destruction of Praxis Control creator Chris Ramsay — these artists, magicians and creators have taken this incredible new deck and transformed it into works of art.

Some of our favorites are below, others can be found on Instagram. Each one deserves your follow and many likes. While you’re there, make sure to follow us.

(more…)

Almost gone for good: Last of the Gold Arcane decks won’t be hoarded

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Not everything lasts forever. One of the most treasured decks of cards on the market is about to be gone for good.

“Hunger for gold is made greater as more gold is acquired.” Prudentius

There’s nothing like gold. The precious metal found in nature and forged in fire has become a symbol of beauty, desire, excellence, power and wealth. Wars have been fought over it, lives have been lost in pursuit of it. Part currency, part rarity, gold has been formed into all sorts of things, from coins to chandeliers. It is the ultimate allegory in stories and philosophy. The thirst for gold is unquenchable; the more we have, the more we want.

In 2010, a few months after the release of the Arcane deck, we teased our fans with a glint of gold on a playing card. Soon after, we released the Gold Arcane deck out into the wild.

The creation of the deck was just as much a challenge as its predecessor. While printing the original black Arcane in 2009, decks and decks were destroyed because the quality and color wasn’t exactly right. The incredible level of detail on the Arcane deck challenged the staff at U.S. Playing Card Co., who rose to it and printed what they call one of the most stunning decks they had ever printed.

There was only one way to up the ante: Gold ink.

We added gold details to the back and slathered the indicies and the pips of the hearts and diamonds of the faces with gold, using metallic ink. The result was one of the most stunning decks ever printed by USPCC — the first casino-grade deck ever printed with such a look. Because gold should be a treasure, we had only 5,000 decks printed. After that, the printing plates were destroyed.

“Mystery is a resource, like coal or gold, and its preservation is a fine thing.” Tim Cahill

Since then, the Gold Arcane deck has been one of the most sought-after decks of playing cards in this new era of custom playing card creation. A quick scan through ebay.com reveals that it’s hard to find one for less than $100. But the deck has never been up for regular sale at Ellusionist. For a while, it was the subject of a contest series on our Facebook page: A lucky winner on Gold Wednesday would claim one for themselves. The deck was also a prize for other contests, and was given away through other promotions.

Those days are nearing an end. Our supply of Gold Arcane decks has been reduced to less than 500. But unlike others, we don’t plan on hoarding our gold.

Your last chance to secure a Gold Arcane deck from Ellusionist is coming soon…

SUITABLE FOR FRAMING: Artist gives court cards modern looks

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Tomas Hlavaty appreciated how Daniel Madison altered the faces of Rounders and Dealers to include his friends. But the clothes they all wore seemed outdated and out of character.

So he changed the cards to give them modern looks.

“I like the fact that Daniel put himself and his close friends into the design of the deck,” Tomas said. “I was thinking, how would he look on a card with his apperance closer to reality. And that’s how it all began.”

Tomas, 24, of Bratislava, Slovakia, is well prepared to do that. Working as a graphic designer, he has been an artist since an early age, and is a Deviant Art member with a large portfolio. That means he knew instantly how he would alter a card to match current appearances with all the details that inspire him on modern cards.

A King of Diamonds from a Dealers deck features an updated DM, complete with hair sans crown, V-neck and chest tattoo. And that was one of the first he did: A portrait of Laura London on the Queen of Clubs features a necklace and a full showing of her red hair. And a Jack of Spades features Gianni Vox with an Iron Man chest plate (a nod to G’s Tony Stark look).

(more…)

custom essay