Archive for July, 2014

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.

Almost gone for good: Last of the Gold Arcane decks wont be hoarded

“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.

Almost gone for good: Last of the Gold Arcane decks wont be hoarded

“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…

Longtime forum leader makes U.S. performance debut in NYC

Thursday, July 17th, 2014


Longtime forum leader makes U.S. performance debut in NYC

Arvind Jayashankar has performed shows across the world — all over Europe, in Asia and in South America. While he’s traveled to the U.S. before, he’s never performed a show in the states.

Until now.

One of Ellusionist’s longest-running Performance HQ Forum leaders will make his U.S. performance debut with a special one-night-only, off-Broadway fundraising show Monday, July 21, in New York City. “”Reality: Surrender to Wonder” will feature his brand of mentalism featuring mind reading, mind control, hypnosis and more. The show will benefit Life Vest Inside, a grassroots non-profit with the aim of spreading kindness and helping people realize their potential and increase their self-esteem.

Arvind connected with the group through helping a friend promote and market a local leg of a worldwide flash mob called “Dance for Kindness.” Through that connection, he met Orly Wahba, the founder of Life Vest Inside.

“I learned more about the goals and visions of the group and was deeply impressed by them and their highly motivated team,” Arvind said. “They run various programs, such as educating people about kindness and make extensive use of social media aiming to inspire acts of kindness, charity and human connection. In a way, when we perform magic, I think we also share similar goals.”

“Reality” differs from what Arvind has performed in the past. It includes his take on classic effects and some favorites from earlier shows.

“It is a mentalism-themed show that aims at making you question whether what you are experiencing is real or not, in addition to giving you a different perspective of reality,” Arvind said. “I’ve tried my best to design this from the ground up based on my past experiences.”

All the proceeds for the show will benefit Life Vest Inside. Tickets are available from Eventbrite — use the code “Summer14″ for a discount. If you’re near New York City, DO NOT MISS this chance to see one of our longest-running, most respected forum members work his magic.

FOUR POINTS: FIFA World Cup filled with lessons for magicians

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014


FOUR POINTS: FIFA World Cup filled with lessons for magicians

The 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament is getting close to its finish. As of now, eight teams remain in contention to call themselves world champions in a game played in virtually every country of the world.

This year’s tournament has been especially thrilling. Football is close to a religion in many countries, and the game’s popularity has surged even in the “soccer”-shy United States.

Because we have magic on our minds almost all of the time, we haven’t followed much of the action. Our staff is international, but there hasn’t been much trash-talk between us. We can’t help it — the things we are seeing in the magic world are just too awesome to ignore, and we have so many incredible irons in the fire.

But there are a few things about this year’s tournament that inspire our sleight of hand. It might seem counterintuitive for something played with feet to influence an art that depends a lot on our hands, but we found some important lessons that the beautiful game can teach the beautiful art of magic.

PATIENCE

Haters point to the low scores of matches and think the sport has no excitement. Obviously, they’ve never sat down to watch a game, and understood the thrill of watching a successful defensive stand or a brilliant scoring shot.

Magic is much the same way. If we hurry through a trick and rush it past our spectators, we risk losing the impact needed for that incredible reaction we crave. The old saying of how the hand is quicker than the eye leads us to assume that speed is king in magic, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Slow down. Let your play develop. The perfect opportunity for maximum impact will present itself.

MISDIRECTION EVERYWHERE

One of the daily Google searches we check is for “magician,” and we can’t tell you how often that terms is associated with players. We didn’t really understand why, until we watched a few highlights from the tournament. We saw top players displaying a dizzying level of proficiency moving the ball, whether they moved into position or took a shot on goal. They are always juking, dodging, faking and making other moves to make defenders think the ball is headed elsewhere.

Every move we make has to be similarly structured. We must display the same amount of proficiency, in order to keep spectators guessing about where we are going. The advantage we actual magicians have over a player on the pitch is that we get time to plan and structure everywhere we want to go, everything we want to do.

INCREDIBLE SAVES

Even before Tim Howard’s record-setting performance in the U.S. loss against Belgium, we have been impressed with the efforts of keepers. Goofs happen to us, whether it’s a dropped card or a lippy spectator. Those are shots on our goal. Part of our skill as magicians is to deflect those shots on our goal. We learn how to cover a goof, how to handle a rowdy audience member, how to transition off a failed trick.

PERFECT PRACTICE TIME

The perfect time to absorb all those lessons is during a match, which runs about as long as a movie. That’s also the perfect time to practice your moves, especially the ones you’ve recently learned, and are looking to advance them to an instinctual level. Remember that practicing while your eyes are focused elsewhere is great conditioning for muscle memory — you start to feel when things are right or wrong.

FOUR POINTS is a regular feature that celebrates magicians’ favorite number by highlighting four critical bits of importance, awesomeness or otherwise. Send your suggestions to joe@ellusionist.com.