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Oh No, Not Another Card Trick by Ed Solomon -book
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Written by Ed Solomon, with Foreword by Robert Neale- This books is for card magicians with a sense of humor OR storytelling magicians who think they would never do a card trick OR the person who is a little bit of both OR The avid, passionate card worker who really wants to get ticked off.
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very good for a specific audience Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on July 21st, 2012
I'm at a point where I'm far more interested in learning showmanship and presentation than mechanics; entertaining with cards has far more to do with what you say and how you engage your audience than the actual trick, in my opinion. So the description of this book intrigued me greatly... but I was surprised that after scouring the internet, I couldn't find a single review. Eventually, I decided to buy it blind.
It's not what I expected; I expected a more abstract book of theory. It turned out to be a collection of twenty-some effects (all requiring very basic card skills, many self-working or just needing a force... I noticed one Elmsley Count) with fairly specific and elaborate story and presentation.
The explanations of the "tricks" are skimpy. A couple just say "the card work is well known" or reference Tarbell for explanation. This isn't so bad because, well, it is pretty well known stuff when he does this; but if you're so green that you don't know some forces and common plots, you might get lost occasionally. In many cases he describes homemade gaffs or props to use in the presentation. For several he uses tarot cards for sake of a better story. Because the specific stories and presentations are the whole point of the book, you'll only be able to use these with the appropriate tarot deck.
This book was not for me personally, as most of my performing is meant to be lighthearted and humorous and done in a bar or party setting. (I'm strictly amateur.) His are an odd mix of almost maudlin heartwarming stuff (like a five minute story about brotherly love that concludes with about five seconds of magic trick) and bizarre/occult (many references to Crowley, a long story about Rasputin). I appreciate the message of "stop doing pointless card tricks," although he's really kind of borderline nasty in his criticism; but even if I agree with the sentiment, the kind of performer/performances who can use his style of presentation might be a little narrow. It isn't for restaurant table-hoppers, stage, or street. HOWEVER, parlor magicians doing fairly elaborate presentations that are either really touching (weddings? gospel?) or occult-flavored will find this to be a gold mine.
In conclusion, it's very difficult to give this a star rating. There are going to be a number of magicians who can't use most of this, but there are going to be some who find it the best value they've ever gotten for their magical dollar. My three-star rating is almost arbitrary and meant to split the difference.
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