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This revolutionary CD-Rom/Ebook includes routines straight from Michael's act at the Houdini Lounge in the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
-The Luckiest Cards in Las Vegas
-The Shuffles Routine
-The Dumbest Casino in the World
-The Cheating Lessons
-The Trick that Lance Burton Showed Me ...and much more.
* Text provides the information
* Photographs clarify the text
* Video shows the perfected sleights
This ebook offers unparalleled instruction by allowing text, photographs, and video clips to do what they do best and can be printed out to produce a spectacular 8.5 x 11, 179-page book.
Each routine is described in complete detail in Michael Close’s clear, easy-to-read style. It’s almost like having private lessons with Michael Close.
Three Essays on Magic Theory and Michael’s Presentation & Handling of: Dean Dill’s Box & Gary Plants Magnetized Cards.
Works on both PC & MAC.
Closely Guarded Secrets in More Detail
Closely Guarded Secrets in More Detail:
The 179 pages of Closely Guarded Secrets contain 18 chapters. The ebook begins with two introductory chapters. The first is casual in nature, allowing me the opportunity to fill you in on what’s been happening in my life. The second chapter is more formal; it explains the theory behind the ebook. In this chapter I also discuss my desire to make my performances feel theatrically real to my audiences. It is not my goal to make my spectators believe that I am doing real magic. But during my performance I never want to take the audience “out of the show” by reminding them that I’m doing tricks. I do this by creating handlings that (as much as humanly possible) match the way I would handle the props if I had the power of a real magician. You’ll find that this philosophy has been applied to every routine in CGS.
The next three chapters detail the three routines that were the backbone of my Houdini Lounge set.
The Trick that Lance Burton Showed Me
demonstrates what happens when you live with a trick for 15 years. This is my handling and presentation for Dan Garrett’s Four Card Reiteration. I discussed this trick on one of the Very Very Close videos, but there is new work in this ebook.
Presentation for Gary Plants’s Magnetized Cards
is my handling of this superb marketed effect. Many professionals have asked permission to perform this, but until now I have selfishly kept it to myself.
The Luckiest Cards in Las Vegas
is the strongest memorized deck trick I have ever developed. It is stack independent, and is very forgiving in terms of estimation. This chapter begins with an overview of memdeck work, offered in the hopes that a few misconceptions will be cleared up.
Next is an essay titled
On Venue & Evolution.
The Shuffles Routine
has been in my repertoire for more than 30 years. You may already have a similar routine in your repertoire, but there are stratagems offered here that I think you will find very useful. I performed this at my 51st birthday party in front of a room full of some the best magicians in the world, and it got roars of laughter.
The Cheating Lessons
is a gambling demonstration. I have designed this to be a lesson in elegant card handling. You’ll also discover a very useful patter line and an easy method for obtaining a surprise kicker at the end of the routine.
The next chapter is titled
. It begins with an essay on how to practice. In this chapter I discuss False Shuffles (Faro and otherwise), the Pass, and the Multiple Top Palm. The focus of the chapter is on stratagems for changing the moment, rather than on revolutionary new techniques. If you have ever hesitated using the Faro shuffle in your work, you will find two ideas here that may well be worth the price of the ebook.
The Dumbest Casino
in the World is a new approach to a familiar plot. The presentation is very funny, and the method will fool laymen and magicians.
The Famous Detective Collectors
is my handling of Larry Jennings’s Distributraction. Of particular interest is the elimination of ATFUS. I believe that when cards have been removed from the deck they should never be counted back onto the deck. This handling achieves that. Incidentally, this is one of the most difficult card tricks I’ve ever performed. If you want a challenge, you’ll find it here. (The good news is that to the spectators, no manipulation is visible.)
The next three chapters deal with
Magic for Magicians
. There is an essay that includes several interesting approaches, followed by two tricks that you can use to fool your buddies.
includes a variety of ideas that I have never really used in my professional work. However, they are all practical and useful. Many came about as I played with items that were sent in for review. Tim Trono has commented that my suggestion for the marketed effect Pyro Perceptions is worth the price of admission.
Sideswiped Meets the Bammo Deck Walloper
is a combination of two excellent marketed effects by Simon Aronson and Bob Farmer. Combining these two routines solves some problems and produces a climax that fools everybody.
My presentation of
is next. The third phase of this routine is different than Dean’s and really leaves the spectators with a strong memory of what has happened.
The final chapter is titled On the Workers Series. In this chapter I answer some questions about the evolution of the series, plus I provide some updates on several of the routines.
Closely Guarded Secrets - Reviewed by John Carney, August 2004 Magic Magazine
Michael Close is magic’s equivalent of Ponce de Leon. He hasn’t found the secret to eternal youth. But he has discovered the secret to good magic. It’s not in a bottle, available from your latest fly-by-night Internet magic store. It does not require batteries, regular oiling, or a king’s ransom. And it is a “secret” out in the open for all to see and discover, if only the seeker has the vision. Come closer, I’ll whisper the secret in your ear: work your butt off.
Talk is cheap and “theory” is cheaper. The Internet is awash with pontificating, self-styled “experts,” only too willing to spin their theories on “our art.” But there is a difference between these sophomoric hypotheses and practical, working theory. Practical theory comes from experience, not the armchair. What makes a pro is what Penn Gillette has termed “flight time.” After his experiments on the battlefield, the pro makes note of what works and why, and tries to use this insight to his advantage in the future. Work comes first; theory comes later, from reflection. We advance through experience. Over the years, Michael Close has taken his lumps and emerged from the fray with the savvy of a street fighter.
It is certainly fitting that Michael’s previous, critically acclaimed, five-volume series was titled Workers. Over the course of performing nightly for years at the club Illusions, he honed many of his most commercial and baffling routines. Workers contains practical, real world material. Closely Guarded Secrets is a sequel worthy of its predecessors.
CGS is a very attractive and well-written book. Here Close describes his latest creations and the thoughtful conclusions drawn from his experience. There are ten card routines described (as well as Michael’s presentation for the baffling Dean’s Box), along with his observations on personal advancement, the proper approach to learning sleights, and much other food for thought. There is also a chapter called Pipedreams, which presents many intriguing bare-bones premises, that the reader may run with on his own, using them as inspiration for his own crafting.
Michael does not teach you what to think, but rather how to think for yourself when developing your own routines. Closely Guarded Secrets will provide guidance and inspiration for those who wish to move their magic forward. It will also teach you some great magic that will entertain people while you fool their pants off.
Closely Guarded Secrets is presented as an innovative ebook disk, using a PDF format, which allows you to read this book on your computer screen. The layout is well organized and beautifully rendered by Lisa Close. Those without laptop computers may have difficulty curling up with this book by the fire, but printing out the book and having it bound at your local copy shop should easily remedy that. Personally, I chose this option, so I could read it away from my desk. Later, I went back to the computer to take advantage of the unique video clip feature. By clicking on links in the document, you are presented a short video of certain sleights in place of static illustrations. Neat!
This would seem to find a middle ground for those who tout books over video learning (a group I find myself in). Study the book, read between the lines, interpret it through the filter of your own imagination, skill level and requirements, and then watch how Michael handles it. Who knows? Your interpretation might offer an improvement. If not, Michael’s capable hands are there to guide you back in the right direction.
The one disadvantage I found to this video clip feature is that it is so stripped from its presentation, that it does not show the moves in context. Serious students take note. Watch Michael’s Very Very Close video series and see how he gets into and out of his moves, and how they are covered with misdirection and presentation. Close is a master of what Francis Carlyle called “management,” with method and presentation seamlessly woven together. Michael stays several steps ahead of the spectator with his thoughtful routining, sometimes planting elements of conviction two or three routines previously.
There is plenty of great magic fully described, but some might object that a few of the routines have not been described in full, containing secrets that are commercially available and therefore proprietary to the inventors. But these people will have “missed the boat.” Michael demonstrates how he took these tricks and made them his own and how you can, and should, do this yourself. If you like these tricks, you can always buy them separately. But regardless, you will profit from learning Close’s thought process. It is a bit perverse how some magicians will pay hundreds for the latest magic toy from their dealers, but will hesitate to buy a book filled with routines for $35. A single practical, commercial routine is worth many times the price of this book to the working performer. With that as criteria, this book is a real value.
For me, presentation is where Michael really shines, with unique premises that take magic out of the “tricks” category, making them more interesting than a mere puzzle. Michael is a disciplined writer, not depending on divine inspiration to strike in performance. He works on his writing as much as his sleights. Each routine begins with a provocative idea or situation that draws people into your performance and entertains them while you confound them. Michael could have well called this book Lessons in Presentation. Personally, I have been inspired by this book to work more on my own presentations, to find greater relevance and theatrical meaning.
I could run down the book trick by trick, but I think it should suffice to say that if you love great card magic, and want to make it more entertaining, this book will deliver “in spades.” Even if you don’t perform all these routines yourself, you will learn much from Michael’s example and experience. I enjoyed Closely Guarded Secrets, and I’m sure you will, too.