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June  2018


Jamy Ian Swiss Lecture

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This was followed by a veritable masterclass on the cups-and-balls, using a wand to great effect, proving Daryl's comments about the power of misdirection and reinforcing Vernon's observation that confusion is not magic.  Jamy spoke of Don Alan's 'elimination of non-moments', every move being important, and the advice from David Williamson and Charlie Miller about acting on the off-beat.  Jamy made a lot of the 'interior narrative' as an effect progresses, and was not afraid to challenge popular theory.  He cautioned against the over-use of the story, making the point that even Eugene Burger only used it sparingly while his own cups-and-balls introductory narrative only lasted for three minutes, after which the action was focused on the effect.

Card-on- ceiling (or on the wall) was also explored, apparently using a drawing pin or thumb tack and revealing how the wax could be surreptitiously added.  Jamy stressed the importance of writing down a script for modification, and the role of continuous editing.   

It was a privilege to be in the company of Jamy Ian Swiss for over three hours of exploration and instruction.  As one member commented: "I didn't know anyone could be so good!"

                                         Brian Lead

On June 3rd MML members plus a few guests warmly welcomed our international guest lecturer Jamy Ian Swiss - a name, indeed, to conjure with.

Jamy opened with an 'ambitious card' sequence, followed by his 'remote card in impossible location', recalling versions from Hoffmann's pocket watch, through ball of wool and wallet to Eugene Burger's match-book.  Four ladies (the Queens) found the Four of Hearts sandwiched between them, while a card was 'shot' into the pack to locate a chosen card with a miscalled subtlety as a convincer. This was 'The World's Most Difficult Card Trick'.

Jamy moved on to a time-travel theme, using a squeeze-purse from the 1970s, first for a card-in purse and then a coin-in-purse to wrong-foot those who thought the same effect was being repeated.  This led to a discussion on the card in ring box of Fred Kaps and the Scotty York refinement using a thread.  Jamy himself had developed 'The Big Apple'; a candy jar which could show the folded card moving around inside among the sweets before being tipped out.  Jamy spoke about the tendency to over-prove the innocence of props, referring us to the Al Baker comment that there is no need to run if you are not being chased.

Indeed, the afternoon was full of wise sayings, from Dai Vernon's assertion that it should be possible to describe any effect in a single phrase to Al Goshman's observation that 'the magic is you.'  You can add to this Jamy's own 'magic does not fool the eyes, it fools the mind', stressing the importance of logic. We were alerted to Burger's phrase 'presentation is when you put yourself into your magic' and Michelangelo's 'detail makes for perfection, but perfection is no mere detail.'  Details included Slydini's advice to sit back and relax when executing a move rather than sitting forward tensely.

When we had enjoyed Jamy's performance of his signature effects it was time for him to 'show the strings on the puppets' as Rene Levand put it, and we were treated to a short treatise on the benefits of the three-way fold, mentioned by Erdnase, as opposed to the more popular Mercury card-fold.  

J.C. Wagner's 'Factory Misprints' effect was presented, followed by some immaculate coin work using silver dollars in a coins-across sequence which met Jamy's description of 'what real magic would look like.'