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David Ben LIVE (Penguin LIVE)

Theatrical and artistic magic in the modern world. SUPPORT LIVE MAGIC. DOWNLOAD THE FULL LECTURE TODAY.
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"Give David Ben an optical inch and he’ll take an illusionary mile." - Toronto Stage

"Talk about jaws dropping: Ben’s legerdemain is a can’t-miss crowd-pleaser." - The Globe & Mail

"The man is magic; that’s all you need to know. Minute for minute, it’s probably the sleekest, smartest, most appealing family entertainment you’ll find."The Toronto Star

"Ben keeps raising the bar…the result is amazement! David Ben is superb." - CBC Radio

"Dry wit, fast fingers and a serious haircut: David Ben will leave you in stitches and mystified. Somehow, he’ll manage to do both at the same time." - Jazz FM

"David Ben has single-handedly taken the ‘ick’ out of magic." - Eye Magazine

"David Ben’s mastery of technique is indisputable; so is the charm of his stage personality. Obviously he leaves nothing to chance, but his act is smooth, witty, and urbane in the best tradition of a master showman." - Stage and Page

"David Ben captures audience imagination, makes them laugh and wonder. Even a skeptic would be hard-pressed to explain most of Ben’s illusions, as he lives up to the reputation as a master trickster. The audience gave Ben a standing ovation, and though he may be a pro, he seemed to appreciate it." - SceneandHeard.ca

"A constant delight of wonder and amusement. Ben is a charming, easy-going performer who makes you feel you’re in his own living room, while dazzling the senses with his sleight of hand. It is one of those shows you can see again and again." - Classical 96.3 FM

"And David Ben, as anyone who has followed his career will know, is a highly engaging performer. Rather than the braggadocio or self-aggrandizement of some stage magicians, Ben’s bookish, low-key approach creates the unintimidating atmosphere of a performer sharing some of his talents with a group of friends. Because Ben’s style is so understated, the effects he produces seem all the more surprising." - Stagedoor

What will he teach?

The Knives David Ben's work on an effect Max Malini used to wow crowds with using nothing but two ordinary table knives. This effect was later used by Charlie Miller to great success and David has received numerous requests to tip his work on this stunning piece of magic. It's finally released here.

Everyone's Card, III David causes one card to change into another and then change back. He then causes a single card selected by a spectator to change into three thought of cards by people in the audience. Finally, the card is changed back into the card originally selected by the spectator. This is an amazing piece of stand up card magic that is a true lesson in magic.

Extension of Credit P. T. Selbit's "Elongated Lady" brought up to date using credit cards. This is a cornerstone of David's close-up repertoire. Watch as a credit card visibly stretches and then slowly reduces back to is originally size.

Coins Through the Table David's incredible handling of Al Baker's Coins Through The Table.

Spirit Card Trick A spooky yet stunning card revelation. David takes a simple plot and turns it into a stand-up masterpiece using multiple people from the audience.

Just Another Packet Trick An amazing effect in which a borrowed bill vanishes in a flash and appears in a borrowed cigarette or sugar packet. This is an effect you can carry with you and perform close up or on stage for a larger audience. Includes all of the tips and insight from years of refinement. It also includes David's important timing on how to produce and verify the bill with maximum impact.

Ringing In The Gaff A Matrix/assembly routine performed with 3-dimensional objects (BTW there are not extra objects- just the four objects and two cards). This is the perfect after dinner effect.

Torn & Restored Cigarette Paper This is the routine that everyone is talking about. David finally tips all. If you have seen video of David featuring this incredible piece of magic in any of his one man shows you will want this lecture for this piece of magic alone. First, David takes you through Ross Bertram's "Berttram's Bounty." This is a stunningly elegant version of the Torn and Restored Cigarette Paper plot that is widely overlooked. David then goes into his handling of Nate Leipzig's "Tear-Up With A Twist." Finally, he discusses how he ties these two pieces together to create a masterpiece.

These effects and many more are taught in an amazing lecture you will not want to miss.

Throughout the lecture David tips his mitt sharing secrets, advice, moves, and insight that has previously been held very tight and only shared with a select few. You will gain incredible insight that will make you a better magician and you will learn incredible secrets revealed for the very first time.

Who is he?

Educated at the University of Toronto (BA), the University of Western Ontario (LLB), and the London School of Economics (LLM), David retired from practicing tax law to pursue his passion for creativity, performing and community. As a magician, he was the sole protégé of Ross Bertram—one of the great sleight-of-hand artists of the twentieth century. In his four-decade career, David has performed throughout the United States, Canada, England and Japan.

David was the co-writer (along with Canadian broadcast icon Patrick Watson), performer and producer of The Conjuror (Shaw Festival, Theatre ROM, Isabel Bader Theatre) and The Conjuror’s Suite (Salon ROM, Charlottetown Festival), Tricks (Artword Theatre), Natural Magick (Luminato Festival), Card Table Artifice (Luminato Festival). David also created and performed in shows for Soulpepper Theatre for three consecutive years with the most recent being Hocus Pocus.

David has made numerous television appearances and was also the subject of an award-winning documentary film “A Conjuror in the Making” that aired on Breakfast with the Arts on the A&E Network and on Adrienne Clarkson Presents on the CBC.

David is the author of six books. His first, Advantage Play, examines magicians, card cheats and psychics as models of creativity and pragmatic problem solving and was published by Key Porter Books. His second, Tricks, was a how-to book for magicians published by Squash Publications. His third book was Dai Vernon: A Biography, the first volume of a long-awaited portrait of the life and times of the most influential magician of the twentieth century. The fourth, a landmark book, Zarrow: A Lifetime of Magic, a portrait and technical retrospective of one of magic’s most revered arrangers, Herb Zarrow. David also wrote the business biography of Allan Slaight, exploring the media-mogul-turned-philanthropist’s journey who pulls the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, again and again. The most recent title is The Experts at the Card Table, an ambitious re-imagination of the pivotal card cheating book, The Expert at the Card Table by S.W. Erdnase, adding 750 photos and reordering the text to introduce “The Erdnase System for Advantage Play."

David is also the author of several articles and essays published in several journals including the Canadian Literary Review, Genii, A Conjuror’s Magazine and Magicol: A journal of magic history and collectibles.
David is a consultant for a variety of film, television, print and theatre projects including The Shaw Festival’s production of Ragtime, Soulpepper Theatre’s production of Tom Stoppard’s Travesties and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Brian Johnson’s short film based on Denis Lee’s book of poetry Yes/No, and Michael Ondaajte’s award winning novel, Divisadero.

David is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Magicana a performing arts organization and registered charity dedicated to studying and promoting magic as a performing art. He spearheaded My Magic Hands, a program designed to use the process of learning, practicing and performing magic as an introduction to creativity and the arts for underprivileged and disadvantaged children; and Senior Sorcery an inter-generational initiative to bring live theater to isolated seniors in their homes and community.

In addition to performing magic, David acts as a keynote speaker on creativity, innovation and problem solving. A feature presenter at The Walrus Talks (Performance), IdeaCity, and a two-time presenter at the Smithsonian, David has addressed a broad range of associations and corporate clients in the United States and Canada.

Where can you see the greatest creators and performers share their magic in front of a live audience and then teach you to do it? Only Penguin LIVE!

Magicians flock to see workers give talks. Why? Because these guys see and learn things that you won't find in any book or video. Yes, you'll be learning some incredibly powerful A-material, but the INVALUABLE stuff will be the insight you learn along the way.

Want VIP access to EVERY FUTURE Penguin LIVE we film? Check out the new Penguin LIVE: All Access Pass!


  1. Purchase this Penguin LIVE product. This is your ticket.
  2. On Sunday, July 30th, anytime after 12:00pm Eastern, click the MyPenguinMagic area at the top of the Penguin site. You'll see the "learn" button appear next to this lecture.
  3. Sit back and watch over 2 hours of amazing magic from the comfort of your own home.

This lecture is for everyone, from the beginner to the professional, and for magicians and mentalists alike. Don't miss it!

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Featured Magic Tricks

Customer Reviews (showing 1 - 10 of 12)
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Watch magic taught as a revered art form Report this review
Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on July 6th, 2017
I attended this lecture live. These are real world effects that you can perform under many circumstances. This is a fantastic lecture, and the sincere reverence with which David Ben teaches and lectures on magic, elevates it to a place we should all strive for and be proud of for the betterment of our art.

His passion and love of the idea of magic is very apparent. What he is doing to preserve the art and history (and teaching) of some of our best performers and their/his magical techniques (many of which are long forgotten or so long ago performed that they almost seem new now) is a treasure for us all.

Everyone's card, Extension of Credit, some shuffling and card revelation techniques, and his snow effect routine at the end are worth the price of the lecture alone...but there are more included that you'll enjoy as well.

Seeing David perform using his understated, almost sophisticated but friendly manner makes the climax of a seemingly normal trick come across as more impressive or delightful than it may actually be...and that's a powerful thing to get to observe and learn from while watching David. He talks about things/theories/advice that I haven't heard in other lectures and that was refreshing as well.

While the tricks taught are good and workers, some of the most interesting parts of the lecture were the stories and backgrounds, and David made you feel as though you were being let into some secret society that you'd normally never had access to without him! Don't miss out...this was a fun lecture with some wonderful effects and I was sad when it came to an end...even after 4 hours!
7 of 7 magicians found this helpful.
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Exceptionally Good Lecture Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on August 24th, 2017
This lecture gets away from the rubber band and bottle cap brigade and enters the realm of polished professional presentations.

Anyone who works at their magic will understand that it takes a lot of work to get and effect to where you can perform it for an audience. After a few performances you realise that you are only 70% of the way there. Perhaps there’s a few things you aren’t fully happy with. Maybe a move feels a tad uncomfortable. It’s OK but you know it could be better.

If you have ever worked at making it better and ironing out the snags, you will know it takes far longer to get to 90% than it took to get to the 70% in the first place. That extra 20% is what separates most working magicians from those who really excel at their craft. Weeks, months, or even years of worry, trial, error, and experimentation can pass before the solution hits - usually so obvious you wonder why you didn’t see it in the first place.

This lecture is crammed with such effects, where the research, experimentation has been done and the snags eliminated. You have a silver platter of solid professional routines that have been honed over years in front of paying audiences.

Every effect is simple, clear and direct. The methods are not always easy but they are as simple as possible. For example, Ben’s presentation of The Universal Card has none of the twiddly moves that fill the literature. It is so far ahead of how magicians normally do card tricks that I felt I was in a mid-1800’s Viennese salon watching old JNH himself.

Every routine is treated with the same attention to detail. An Erdnase Table Shift is explained, and Mr. Ben must have spent ages figuring out the correct misdirection that makes the move seamless and totally invisible.

Then he goes off on tangents, explaining thought processes and suggestions for working on your own routines. These alone are worth the price of admission.

Even if you never do any of the routines or tricks explained, you will discover a goldmine of ideas and suggestions that will help you further along the road, regardless of your skill level.

Two friends of mine (both working pros), one in Dublin and one in London, both of whom bought and watched this before I did, each told me independently that it was the best lecture they had seen.

This is magic of a very high order, rarely seen in lectures, and it has my highest recommendation.
3 of 3 magicians found this helpful.
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Parlor with great close up Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on January 29th, 2018
I have always heard a lot about David Ben, usually in the context of some theater production. That is not my thing. But I had always heard him described as a sleight of hand artist, and that IS my thing, so I ordered this lecture. Man, it did not disappoint. This guy does magic. And he does it eloquently. His cardwork is amazing. He does sleights that I had stopped doing because I didn't think they were deceptive enough. But Mr. Ben adds touches and grace to simple sleights and truly elevates them. This has caused me to revisit my once-discarded moves.

He just has the aura of a magician. He is not a move monkey, but boy has he got moves. But he uses them in the context of magic, not narcissistic sleight display. And it is awesome. In short, I would say this lecture has some great pointers and magic instruction for the sleight of hand guys, but my favorite part was simply watching Mr. Ben work. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 magicians found this helpful.
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Remarkable lessons for the Intermediate to Advanced Magician Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on August 18th, 2017
David Ben doesn't publish his material very often, which is why this lecture is so valuable.

Like the best lectures, the tricks he teaches are great, but in between the tricks come lessons in sleight of hand, misdirection, presentation, and history. In the knives, he teaches how to structure a routine. In the Universal Card, he teaches advanced sleight of hand, audience management, and playing out to big crowds. In the coins through table, he teaches naturalness and timing. And as someone who has never lapped coins because I've had problems with coins hitting the floor, I now have a truly simple and elegant solution. Every single piece taught in the lecture has been worked out fully; there's no filler.

The material here is mostly intermediate to advanced. While Ben teaches everything you need to know, he doesn't go into the basic mechanics of strip out shuffles or the Han Ping Chien. But as long as you're at the level to understand what he's teaching, this lecture is a must-have.
2 of 2 magicians found this helpful.
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Surprising and Terrific Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on August 2nd, 2017
This was sleightier than I was expecting but in a good way. If I called this a "good old fashioned lecture" it would've damning it with faint praise-- but it had all the qualities and content that I enjoy in a lecture. A fine mix of practical theory and effects. Recommended
2 of 2 magicians found this helpful.
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David Ben Live Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on October 3rd, 2017
Full disclosure: I'm a long-time fan, and friend, and have worked with David on a lot over the years. I've also been privileged to watch a lot of these effects evolve over the years.

Still, after all that getting to watch him riff on an effect he is performing, getting a glimpse at what he is thinking about and how he is thinking about, it is a wonderful thing. No matter how much I see him work I'm always amazed, not only at his skill but also the depth and breadth of his knowledge. And above all at his generosity in sharing his hard won magical wisdom.
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
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High Quality Top-Professional Material Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on June 25th, 2019
Please don't buy it!!!
It's too good to be shared :).
Just the torn & restore cigarette paper is a hidden gem.
Amazing classic, top sleight of hand magic.
Loved the nuggets of wisdom, construction and performance.
Get it!
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David Ben LIVE Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on March 6th, 2018
What constitutes a good lecture is of course dependent on the interests of the viewer, but regardless of if your interests are in close-up magic or in parlour magic, David Ben provides valuable lessons. His extensive knowledge of magic history paired with his experience as a card handler and stage performer makes this one of the best, if not THE best lecture I have experienced (and I am no youngster). The lecture is close to 4 hours long and it's full with tips on moves and technique (far more than is shown in the product description)and anecdotes about his magical life, persons he has met and in particular Ross Bertram. I give this lecture my highest recommendations!
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Wow Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on February 17th, 2018
It's hard to imagine that this lecture wouldn't make any magician better. Regardless of your style of magic or your performing venue, the attention to detail and his passion for perfection is absolutely infectious. I'd like to echo another review I saw--please bring him back.
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Wonderful Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on October 25th, 2017
If you don’t know who David Ben is, you should. I saw him live a number of years ago in The Conjuror and he was fantastic. This is a great lecture - entertaining, thoughtful, and informative. It is not for beginners. If, however, you are a student of magic, who is familiar with basic and intermediate sleights, and you are interested in taking your magic to the next level, you should seriously consider this lecture. This is definitely one that I will return to.
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