Posts Tagged ‘XCM’

Would Paul LePaul be a flourisher?

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Paul LePaul is a historic figure in magic for many reasons. The creator of the LePaul spread, LePaul bluff pass and author of “The Card Magic of LePaul” is respected and admired for his love of performance and his precision manipulations. When we look for magic quotes to publish on our Facebook and Twitter pages, we visit his work often.

In fact, we printed one of his quotes yesterday on our Facebook page:

“Much of the charm and beauty of card magic lies in the skillful and adroit handling of the pasteboards. Flourishes, therefore, are a very essential part of the stock-in-trade of every manipulator. Do not underestimate their value; they play a very important role in arousing interest and have a terrific appeal to the imagination of an audience.”

A couple of people were quick to point out that LePaul was talking about basic flourishes, such as fans, cascades, spreads. That kind of thing. The point being that LePaul wouldn’t dive into the world of non-magical flourishing, what with all those crazy cuts, throws and such.

That got us thinking: Would he?

If LePaul were alive today, would he be a flourisher?

Man, do we wish there was performance footage available today. We’d love to be able to watch him perform. Judging from research by the Conjuring Arts Research Center, LePaul was a polished performer who prioritized precision and panache, all with an eye on pleasing his audiences. He didn’t talk much, and didn’t use complicated displays.

In “Card Magic,” published in 1949, Robert Parrish writes that he could play to a small room or a large room with equal aplomb, because he had enough showmanship to make a small card trick play big. When writing about LePaul’s version of a Ten Card Trick, he wrote that “…When three cards disappear from a packet held by a spectator and are found among ten cards of differently colored backs, to the accompaniment of fine comedy, the effect is as impressive as that of a major stage illusion.”

LePaul was also known for his manipulations. From the vaudeville circuit to the hotels and nightclubs he filled, his act was based on his manipulation routines.

Whenever we get chances to dive into card magic history, we see two major paths that magicians can follow. One is that of Dai Vernon, who is a self-assigned protege of S.W. Erdnase and who brought casual, non-flashy, efficient yet subdued moves to the card magician. The other is LePaul, who showed that expert manipulation, which clearly pointed to practice and skill, could indeed be magical. (These two paths are very close together, have plenty of spots where they intersect and both lead to the same place, so we don’t advocate choosing one over the other.)

The most revealing passage of Parrish’s preface to “Card Magic” deals with how much importance LePaul gave to practicing:

“LePaul was a successful professional magician from the beginning of his career because he found a medium and style which suited his personality and because he spent a great deal of time practicing his manipulation. He realize that even to layemen who could not appreciate technical accomplishments, his work would appear the most magical if his sleights were executed with absolute precision.”

Parrish also noted that his two main idols were Nate Leipzig and Howard Thurston — Thurston is significant because, like Jim Steinmeyer, we believe that he bested Houdini for the claim of greatest magician in the world.

And that gets us back to the main question: Would LePaul flourish non-magically? What would he do with Sybil, or an Anaconda Dribble, or Daniel Madison’s Cardistry?

We think he would embrace those moves. And perform then magically.

We don’t think LePaul would ever abandon magical presentations. LePaul was a brilliant magician because he was a brilliant performer. His innovations were based on simplicity, and he carefully chose his material for each audience. So if he were alive today, we’d like to think that a handful of flourishing’s modern moves might appear in some of his routines. But never at the expense of his love for precision and performing.

It’s worth your time to research him. The Conjuring Arts Research Society has recently opened up a display of LePaul’s personal notebook. And if you haven’t read “Card Magic” yet, do so.

Ekaterina’s challenge to flourishers: Perform live

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

We love watching manipulators and flourishers do incredible things with cards. Only problem is that we wish we saw more of them doing their thing live.

Apparently, Ekaterina Dobrokhotova agrees. We found this vid of her on TheCuso’s Youtube page (his study session is pretty slick, too) challenging viewers to give more live performances during the new year. To show that she walks like she talks, she performs for some random folks at a mall. We love the reactions she gets. Seriously: She’s half performing and half demonstrating in this video, and the guys watching are floored.

We back her up in her challenge. Hey, manipulators and XCMers: Why are you not performing live? You pour hours and hours of practice into your craft. Share it with the world.

If this is something you want to learn, De’vo’s Xtreme Beginners is the best place to start.

Handlordz’ World XCM Champions cram new 2-DVD set with insane new moves

Monday, October 18th, 2010

It’s good to see the Handlordz crew putting out some new work. And who better to be featured on their latest DVD than two former champions of De’vo’s World XCM Tournament?

Max Vlassenko and J.S. Lin, two of the past champs, are featured in this 2-DVD set, which is filled with 50 impossible-looking maneuvers and manipulations. Jerry “The Flourishman” Cestkowski also makes an appearance. If you’re wondering about what it means to be a world champion, just watch a few of the first round of entries from the current tournament. And the stuff these guys can do made our eyes bug out.

De’vo tells us that this is a video meant for intermediate and advanced manipulators, so consider yourself warned. If you’re just getting started, Xtreme Beginnerz is the place to begin.

World XCM Champions is now available for purchase, for those of you ready to take on a new level of XCM. See for yourself:

Gold Arcanes, BabyKat and a blade? We’re in.

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Girl did it again. Ekaterina Dobrokhotova, one of our favorite magicians and flourishers to watch, worked her magic with a deck of Gold Arcanes. Yes, that is a freaking butterfly knife. We’re not entirely sure that she didn’t manipulate those cards directly over an ocean, but we trust her to keep the cards safe.

In case you forgot, she blew our minds once before with the white and black Arcanes. Check out her Facebook page to see what she does with the Golds.

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Company shines new light on pen spinning

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Attention pen spinners: Fletcher Nelson of Fletch Creations is your new best friend.

Check out his creation: These LED inserts for your favorite spinnin’ pen light up in different patterns based on how fast you go. Nailing combos triggers different light patterns, and the lights dim as you slow down. Based on his ComboSense technology, these lightweight circuit boards react to physical movement.

“If the pen is dropped, the color fades back to the original color and then disappears,” Nelson said in an e-mail. “Similar to the Nintendo Wii, the ComboSense insert detects movements which changes the color, not a timer.

Fletch is one of the more respected flourishers in the XCM community. We always liked him for this review of our decks of playing cards. A change in employment led him to devote his time and energy into these unique inserts that will give a lot of flash to your fingerwork.

Watch his engineering expertise in action:

If pen spinning lights a fire for you, learn the basics and more in XB2.