lecture notes

Every Trick Not In The Book

For my recent lecture at the Sid Lorraine Hat & Rabbit Club, I put together a small set of notes called Every Trick Not In the Book. The reason for the title is the contents is largely essays, although a careful reading will reveal the explanation of a couple of tricks inside. The cover image actually comes from the Hubble Space Telescope. I have a small number of copies left over. If anyone would like one, I broken down and set up a miniature store at www.jamesalan.ca/shop. It's a secret unlisted page that can't be reached through the site's normal navigation bar.

Every Trick Not In The Book


I'm staring at a little present from Bobby Motta. To go along with his lecture at the Browser's Den of Magic last weekend, he produced a set of notes which was available for sale.


The good news is they're gorgeous. They come in an envelope with a wax seal.


The bad news is, they come in an envelope with a wax seal, and I can't bring myself to open them. So I have absolutely no idea what they look like.

Full disclosure: I wrote them, so I know what they say. But I still have no idea what they look like.  They contain five tricks, all of the mental variety. (Actually it could be considered eight tricks; four of them are variations on a theme.) One of them offers an in-depth section on a creation of his, Blackmail, which you would have to own for it to be of use to you. And it also includes the piece which he uses to close his show at Dave & Busters. I'm not allowed to say which one of the five that is; you'll have to go see the show for yourself to figure that out.

The booklets were produced in a very limited number for the lecture (The Browser's Den only fits about 40-50 people before you have to start standing on people's shoulders) so if you're interested in obtaining a copy, you'd probably have to track Bobby down directly fairly soon. They may be reprinted, but if it's done in larger quantities, he might get lazy and the new edition might not look nearly as pretty.*

It's also possible that Bobby won't be around long enough to reprint them after I thank him for his... ahem... generous acknowledgement at the end of the notes. I'm not saying any more here. You'll have to go read it for yourself.

Bobby Motta Lecture

*If you ask me, his wive probably gets most of the credit for how pretty they look. But that's just a hunch.

Reality Based Magic - Notes

Last night, I did a special lecture for magicians at the Joan Caesar Hat & Wand Club in Kitchener, Ontario. To go along with the lecture, I prepared a 50-page booklet describing some of the tricks I taught. I have a few copies of the booklet left over for any magicians that might be interested. The trick includes one piece from Lies, Damn Lies & Magic Tricks, an item from my family shows (yes, I perform for children when asked politely) and from my close up repertoire as well as some smaller card items and three essays.

The booklet was originally going to be titled The Magic of Reality, but before I had a chance, Richard Dawkins stole the title and used it for his book for children. (The book is superb, if you don't have it already.) The theme that draws the pieces (mostly) together is that according to certain systems of magic theory, they are all bad tricks, and yet they work. When I say bad, they're time tested in front of audiences but they violate tenets of standard magic theory about how the methods should work. For me they underscore that "rules" in magic are really just guidelines and that reality is the ultimate arbiter of what works and what doesn't.

To match the spirit of the title, the cover image and chapter titles are images from the Hubble Space Telescope, which are easily more impressive than everything in the book.

If anyone is interested, I have a handful of the books left. I may also re-release them in an electronic format at some point.

The booklet is $20, available from the Ring 17 online store