Before I get to the review of the lecture I want to post how I became aware of Jamy Ian Swiss and
why he is the most influential magician to me and my magic. For those who know me on the forums
(sirbrad) it is probably no surprise that I am posting a review for this lecture, as I posted a lot
about Jamy and his work and insights often on the forums. I first saw Jamy on the magic documentary
"The Art of Magic" back in 1997 on PBS. It was perfect timing, almost like "magic" as I had been
doing magic full-time for many years and was burnt out from doing so many shows, and contemplating
retirement as it seemed like the "magic" was no longer as strong as it used to be. Then one night
this magic documentary just happened to come on and it forever changed the course of my life and
career as a magician and professional. At the time there were not many magic documentaries out
there, and not many videos except some VHS tapes that I ordered from old black and white catalogs
with vague product descriptions, line drawings, and had to wait 6-8 weeks for them to arrive.
I also saw the "The Story of Magic" which was also great, and came out about the same time and
another one which I forget the name of. But I loved The Art of Magic a lot as the performances were
well done, and I was especially mesmerized by Jamy Ian Swiss and his card and coin handling ability.
Not only that, but hearing him talk about magic and magic theory in a very intellectual, passionate,
energetic, and sophisticated manner. Before that I had never really saw anyone talk about magic like
that, nor anyone that highly skilled in close-up. This was before the internet was popular and long
before YouTube so I did not have a lot of exposure with other magicians except occasionally at clubs
and shows as there were no other local magicians in my area. So I never saw anything like it as most
other magicians that I saw did stage shows and kids shows mostly. Even magic on TV was mostly stage
shows until David Blaine came along and revolutionized close-up magic on the street dubbed as
"Street Magic" and shifting the focus on the spectators and their reactions instead of the magician.
Before that though we did not see very much close-up magic. "The Art of Magic" brought that genre to
Not only was Jamy very adept and proficient at performing, he was also a great
speaker and thinker, and his discussion of magic theory, history, and psychology beamed with
enthusiasm. His presentation was loud, bombastic, confident, and in your face and his passion and
energy for the art seemed endless. He was gonna fry you and there was nothing you could do about it.
His smooth patter matched every difficult move, and you could tell that he cared deeply for the art
and that he wanted to be the best magician possible and provide the best experience possible for the
audience. When he "locked himself in a room for a year" in preparation to go pro it surely paid off.
As did working in the trenches as a "magic bartender" for years, which is a tough venue to work, and
you would need to be very proficient to be able to continue doing both jobs at the same time. I was
blown away how well Jamy did the riffle pass, even though it is not meant to be a trick in itself
but more of a hidden move, it looked like pure magic even though I knew what was happening.
I remember working on it in the mirror all day and night trying to get it to look like his, and
fooling myself with it once I got it down. Like Jamy I am from the "old school" of learning and love
practicing the hard stuff and still do. Seems like many beginners today want everything to be easy,
self-working, examinable, astonishing, no prep work or arts and crafts, and ends clean. In other
words "real magic" with no work involved. We all know that is just a fantasy though and not reality.
But after see that movie Jamy instantly became my favorite magician, and till this day is still the
most influential to me and my magic after 36 years. His essays and talks inspired me to write my own
essays based on my own experiences, which I then became known for from about 2003 on, when posting
on the Penguin and Cafe forums among others.
I loved his style and his impeccable sleight
of hand which I tried to emulate every day after seeing him perform. Jamy's talks and performances
gave me renewed inspiration along with Eugene Burger, Jeff McBride, Max Maven and others. I loved
Burger's creepy, spiritual style and storytelling a lot as well. I thought I was very good with
cards/passes until I saw Jamy's, then I knew I had A LOT of work to do. So that inspired me a lot to
excel even more so. I loved his "One-Coin Routine", including a "slow motion vanish" segment created
by Geoff Latta which ends with a jumbo coin; as he talks about "magicians having the same problems
with money as the rest of the world does," and inflation etc. This is coin sleight of hand magic at
its best! He also demonstrated his card sleight of hand prowess with his "Four Principles of Card
Conjuring" in which he made black and red aces change places visibly in the pack face up, and also
with perfect patter, as well as "The Ambitious Card" and "Card Under The Glass" Routines. You can
see these awesome segments on Jamy's YouTube channel and the entire movie on YouTube as well. So it
is a special film to me. I am glad it is on YouTube so I can save on my two sets of VHS tapes. So
yeah it really needs a DVD release.
So that is the "short version" of my history with Jamy
and how I discovered him, and then later on began reading all of his reviews in Genii Magazine and
bought his awesome book "Shattering Illusions" and "Live In London" DVD back then and loved them. I
also bought all of the Antinomy Magazines as well for his contributions and liked many of the other
contributions as well, and I have most of his other stuff as well and cover issues of Genii.
Now as far as the lecture goes it was awesome as well! I actually told Penguin long ago that
they should get Jamy for it and they said they would look into it, so I am glad it finally happened!
I was ecstatic to see the email that is was coming and pre-ordered it immediately. Definitely some
stuff and tips in there I can use. Of course I loved the theory talks at the end also.
Card on Spotlight" or I mean "Self-Contained Card on Ceiling" lol. The "Card on Ceiling" was a trick
I practiced a lot as a kid, and my entire ceiling used to be full of cards from practicing the card
on ceiling. It was great magic ceiling-paper lol. It is kinda knacky and unpredictable which you
will see in the explanation when the card fails to stick, but it stuck when it counted during the
performance, and on a spotlight instead of the ceiling. I have had similar "mishaps" and much worse
actually, that I turned into miracles, or had even more amazing things happen that I took credit
for. So it just goes to show how you must be ready for anything, and anything bad that can happen so
that you can make it work in your favor. Although in this case it was not actually bad and as I said
maybe more amazing. A lot of factors are involved, ceiling height, materials used, angle of the
ceiling, ceiling material, etc. Risky but also rewarding when it works. I used to do it a lot and
still do it occasionally. I also love how Jamy brings in the material needed, very clever!
"A Peculiarly Strong Card Trick" a perennial favorite where a signed card is found folded inside
a container of breath mints and that ends clean. This solution is unexpected, organic, and
minty-fresh. I liked this as well, and Jamy did a similar one on his Live In London DVD. I have used
"Card in Box" for a very long time as well and love it. This method is what some would call more
"organic" or using "natural everyday items" which I do not feel is necessary as a magician unless
that is your style. In fact glitzy, glamorous, magical looking props are what attracted me to magic
in the first place as a kid, not natural looking ones. But this is just a small box anyway.
Nonetheless it is great if that is your style. Also it is a little easier to carry a flatter mint
box than a thicker card box. But I never had an issue with a regular card box. So I like both
methods. Also that spectator definitely faked putting the mint in his mouth and held it in his hand
melting the entire time lol. I knew he wold refuse the mint at the end lol.
"SandSwitch" a two-phase “isolated sandwich” routine in which the first selection appears
between two queens, and then, while on the table at a distance, the sandwiched card changes into the
second selection. Another cool effect also with a knacky move and some sleights you will need to
practice, but not too hard to get down after awhile. That is what makes it so much fun though as it
requires some effort.
"Stabbed in the Sandwich" a card tossed into the air is caught
between two selections. The feat of skill is repeated with a tabled deck and surprisingly accurate
results. Another cool effect, this one a card is thrown up and caught between two selections which
is not quite as difficult. The other move is slightly more knacky, throwing a card into the deck
that is tabled which I have done before many times also, not sure where I learned it or was just
something I tried. Many times it will miss, deflect off the deck, or fly over the top as seen in the
explanation section. But Jamy goes over all of that and tips for getting the card to stick in.
Definitely something that needs practiced as you don't want the card to flip over also as you will
see why. But you could also just put the card in the deck quickly and closer to it, or use another
method if you need to so not a big deal.
"Premonition Redux" a clever combination of mind
and moves... any card named is discovered to be missing from the deck, only to be found hidden in
the card case. Loved this one as well. Also loved when Jamy asked if anyone "Did mem (memory) deck
work" and no hands went up lol. Leave the hard stuff to us old school guys, we actually like it lol.
I have used the case reveal for a long time as well which I believe is by Ed Marlo and as Jamy
states often done wrong, or backwards and shows why it is more convincing doing it the other way
with the flap on the bottom. Looks very convincing.
"Me-Fly" no gimmick version of
hand-to-hand coins relying on well-choreographed moments of misdirection and ending clean. Great
sleight of hand coin magic! I don't do a lot of 3-fly coin magic but it looked very visual and some
would swear there were gimmicks being used. But it is added bonus to end clean even if not always
"Two Empty Hands" a beautiful one-at-a-time vanish and re-appearance of four
coins. More great sleight of hand coin magic utilizing a magic wand. Loved this one as well and the
timing and sleights used!
"Free Association" a psychological game of Free Association that
leads to the revelation of two geometric shapes and two words. A cool mentalism effect that is
pretty common and can be hit or miss as shown, but it all comes down to how well you are able to
adapt to misses and make them appear to be hits.
"Solid Glass" Another great routine and
in this case used as a "bar magic" routine with items found around the bar. These can also be
adapted to balls or fruit. I must say I knew what was going on up until the climax which had me
totally surprised, and rarely am I fooled having been in magic now for so long, so if it happens it
is something I like to savor. So that was great. I thought maybe the glass was gonna vanish since it
reminded me of the vanishing salt shaker wrapped up in the paper, so I was watching for that but it
did something entirely different. But Jamy said it also fooled Tommy Wonder so it must be great lol.
I won't give it away you will just have to watch for yourself! So yeah all in all a great lecture
and looking forward to more lectures soon! -SirBrad