MC2 :: Day Two

Sorry for the time delay in getting up these posts, Magic-Con and travel got much busier than expected. But, without further adue, let’s get to the conference. I’ll do these day-by-day so check back soon for the next two.


Morning Session
Everyone waited in anticipation as magic-con 2011 started. Our host for the morning was Max Maven. It started out with Helder Guimaraes and he talked about the mental pathway of him creating new things. The mental pathway was essentially the steps he took to creating his effects; like what the effect was, how it should be performed, and what method would be best used to go with the performance. Next was Mike Caveney who gave a great lecture on the adaptation of magic though out the years. He explained that we started out as street peddlers with little tables or Gibecieres (fancy fanny packs), but as crowds got bigger and rapped around we adapted and thrived in this environment. Then eventually we moved to the big stage where wings and tap doors could be utilized. Magicians took advantage of these new assets and again thrived in a foreign environment. Next was street magic the way David Blaine revolutionized it which contributes to most spectators view of magic today. Then to end it off he pull a chicken out of an empty coat taken form the audience which, needless to say, blew us all away.

Then came a change in the schedule; Lennart Green was unavailable at this point so Derek Hughes gave a performance that amazed us all and brought on hysterical laughter. A.Bandit was next, which is a group started by conceptual artist Glenn Kaino and the well known magician Derek DelGaudio. They talked about how they are bridging the gap between magic and art whilst creating a medium. It was a very interesting speech and made a lot of valid points, both about magic and the art world. Lastly was Bill Kalush who spoke about Gibeciere, a Journal that is sent out biannually to the subscribers. It is filled with translated texts about magic history, articles written by many guests, and a wealth of other information.

Mike Caveny

Afternoon session
This round of talks started with Paul Wilson and he gave a speech on how the world views magicians as cheap, dispensable, and quick to turn on each other. He said the truth is there are a lot of magicians like that and they can reflect on us as a whole. It’s our job to counteract that and prove them wrong with a combination fo morals and good magic. Next was Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik. They are the authors of the book Sleights of Mind and gave a fascinating lecture about how our mind works and why our brains allow us to be fooled by magic and optical illusions.

Mike Caveney started off the after noon with a spin on the Benson bowl routine by using a plunger instead of a bowl. He found that the plunger could hold the sponge balls on the inside lip of it with ease; proving his speech of how magicians adapt over time. He took a classic trick and transformed it into something that looked fresh and original with an object all laymen are familiar with. Next, Richard Kaufman performed several different passes and spoke a bit about what situation they could all be useful in. You know your pass is good when you can do it right in front of a camera for a room of over 300 magicians invisibly.

Dai Vernon

The special event/guest lecture for that evening was a video recording of the The Professor lecturing back in 1973. Only 30 people had ever seen the footage before this showing at Magic-Con. Dai Vernon had wonderful advice that still rings true today. He spoke about things that you hear from all of the “greats” today. Vernon explained things like overproving your “empty” hands during some tricks kills the effect or making too big of a deal out of a small motion is detrimental, not helpful. The lecture contained invaluable information that our generation was lucky enough to witness.

The evening lecturer was Helder Guimaraes. I was excited for this one all day. Helder performed and explained a few of his personal effects. When watching the explanations the crowd smiled at his ingenuity multiple times. Helder’s passion for magic is apparent in every trick he performs. His methods also showed that his audience is his number one priority, not cramming as many new moves in as he can. We could all learn a lot from Helder’s mental path and his unique approach to magic.

All in all the first day of presentations was a great success. There was a balanced amount of theory and effects with a wealth of information that no other conference can offer. And this was only the beginning.

Some Images from

Posted: April 13th, 2011
at 10:07pm by Robin Carey

Categories: Magic Con 2011

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Here’s an awesome YouTube video that Allan Hagen and Dan Buck did together. This was a project they did to commemorate the first deck of Magic-Con Cards opened, and I’d say it turned out pretty nice. Allan also posted an interesting clip on Twitter showing the before and after effects of the color grading he did.

Posted: April 12th, 2011
at 3:56pm by Robin Carey

Categories: Interesting Tidbits - Videos

Comments: 1 comment


One Response to 'Dusk/Dawn'

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  1. Thanks for sharing, Robin! Appreciate it!

    Allan Hagen

    13 Apr 11 at 3:34 am



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Bee [red] Stingers by Theory11 :: Review

This is the first section to my review for one of the latest decks released by Theory11, Bee [red] Stingers. You can find these at Theory 11 or on Dan and Dave’s site. I write each of my reviews in two sections; the first one when first I get the deck and have worked with it a bit. Then I’ll write the second piece a while after the cards have been completely broken in as well as used in live performances.

Feel: The new edition of Stingers does not disappoint. The stock used for these is wonderful. The Aristocrat has a great snap to it while still being flexible. If you snap your cards a lot like I do you’ll love the noise they make. The stock also makes them extremely durable. I have a deck of Black Stingers that have been without a box for over a year and a half. They are basically my practice deck, I use them constantly; they get dropped, put on the floor, lost, you name it. Yet after all this for over a year they still fan, spread, and handle like new. Most other decks of cards go bad after a few months of normal use. Stingers not only last, but come out feeling great after extensive handling way past what other cards can take. That’s what I call durability. The only issue I’ve had so far is some clumping. To be clear, this is with the out-of-the-box Red Stingers. Clumping could only be a problem because the cards aren’t broken in so I’ll definitely touch on that more in the second piece of this review.


Design: Stingers have a one-of-a-kind back design. Mixing the diamond style back with a fade-out to the borders makes for an eye-catching look. Make it in red and you’ve got yourself one smooth looking deck. Putting the style of the original Stingers together with a darker shade of red was a great, but overdue, idea. Now that we’ve got them though, fun color-changing effects like the Chicago Opener.

Court Cards

Court Cards: The Red Bee Stinger deck’s court cards are devoid of any clashing oranges or bright blues. In their place are shades of black, gray, and red. The color scheme complements the backs nicely, giving the Stingers a stunning overall look.

Spot Cards

Spot Cards: The spot cards have the standard look and layout of Bee and Bicycle decks of playing cards. The only notable difference is the deeper red which matches the rest of the deck. There seemed to be a trend of making smaller pips for a while, but I’m glad the pips on these and the Titaniums are normal sized.

Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades, Jokers, and Box: I’ll take the same approach as I did in my Bicycle Titanium Edition review and talk about all three of these at once. The Ace of Spades and Jokers are standard Bee cards with no alterations. The box is also the same as most bee decks, the difference being that the Stinger design is on the back. As you can see in the pictures it’s the same box as the original Stingers, just in red. One little thing I noticed was that the box has small silver metallic accents on almost every side. These little finishing touches and details are one of the many details that separates Theory11 from the competition.

So here are the ratings:
Feel- 9/10
Design- 9/10
Overall- 9/10

The Bee [red] Stingers are the combination of an already awesome deck of cards and good customer service. Theory11 listened to what we had to say about the black Stingers. They took this information and made all the changes possible, from stock to finish. The end result is a deck that’s not only visually appealing but handles like a dream. The Red Stingers are perfect for the card collector, the magician, or anyone who appreciates high-quality playing cards.

After a few months I’ll be writing the second piece to this review. It’ll cover feel after the deck has been completely broken in, and I’ll also talk about performance pros and cons.

Posted: April 11th, 2011
at 5:37pm by Robin Carey

Categories: Cards - Reviews

Comments: 4 comments


4 Responses to 'Bee [red] Stingers by Theory11 :: Review'

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  1. These look really awesome!


    17 Apr 11 at 11:52 pm


  2. Jevon,
    They’re great cards, they handle just as good as they look. Make sure you pick some up while you can!

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    18 Apr 11 at 6:45 am


  3. I’m buying some tomorrow, I was unconvinced until I read this review. Thanks!


    21 Apr 11 at 3:22 pm


  4. Glad I could help! You won’t be disappointed.

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    21 Apr 11 at 3:34 pm



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Bicycle Titanium Edition by Theory11 :: Review

This is the first section to my review for the latest deck released by Theory11, Bicycle Titanium. I write each of my reviews in two sections; the first one when first I get the deck and have worked with it a bit. Then I’ll write the second piece months later after the cards have been completely broken in as well as used in live performances.

Feel: Imagine Bicycles, but on steroids. They have the Air-Cushion finish but it definitely feels like improvements have been made. The cards fan and spread wonderfully out of the box, as expected by a custom deck. The impressive thing is that they still have this nice smooth, even feel to them even after an hour or two of use. Aerials are decent considering that the deck is still fairly new and slippery. The Titaniums are about the same thickness as a regular deck of Bicycles.

Bicycle Titaniums

Design: The design is one that people have come to know and love for over 125 years. Using the Rider Back design is a good idea too because spectators will be familiar with the deck, they’ve seen it a million times. The metallic is the best part though. Theory 11 did it just right; the metallic is noticeable enough to give the cards an elegant, distinct look but not so overboard that they’re distracting. It’s extremely hard to capture the metallic backs on camera as it’s a lighting thing but take my word for it, they look phenomenal. The red deck is closer to maroon while the blue deck looks silver in the right light.

Deck Boxes

Court Cards: Theory11 has always had the sense to get rid of the hideous orange that Bicycle throws in the court cards. The Titanium decks have shades of metallic gold and a bluish silver instead. Just like the backs, the metallic ink on the Court Cards is just right. When they catch the light it looks incredible. This design complements magic in a special way; the metallic is elegant and fleeting. It’s a hard thing to try and articulate but once you have them in your hands it’s obvious.

Court Cards

Spot Cards: The black spot cards are the standard Bicycle Rider back cards. The red ones, however, have the metallic ink. The maroon and reflective look contrasts with the black cards to give the deck a dynamic look. I’m glad they went with the metallic on the faces, it’s really what makes this deck look different. Titaniums will be awesome for any kind of red black separation effects.

Spot Cards

Ace of Spades, Jokers, and Box: I’m going to lump all three of these sections together because there’s not a whole lot new. The Ace of Spades and Jokers are exactly the same as any standard deck of Bicycles. One thing worth mentioning is that there’s no guarantee joker so they’re identical. I always hated that guarantee text when I was trying to use them as duplicates. The box is also the same as it’s common counterpart. The only difference being the shade of red and the metallic accents.

So here are the ratings:
Feel- 9/10
Design- 9/10
Overall- 9/10

When Theory11 announced these playing cards I was a little skeptical, as I’m sure many of you were. There are so many things that could go wrong when using a metallic deck… especially printing it on the faces. I’m happy to say that Theory11 went above and beyond what I expected and completely disproved everything I was unsure about. The Bicycle Titanium deck is the first of it’s kind and I certainly hope it’s not the last. These cards feel superb and look elegant. I’m excited to see how spectators will perceive the aesthetic twist on such a classic back design. If you haven’t ordered any of these yet, what are you waiting for?

After a few months I’ll be writing the second piece to this review. It’ll cover feel after the deck has been completely broken in, and I’ll also talk about performance pros and cons.

Posted: April 9th, 2011
at 7:33pm by Robin Carey

Categories: Cards - Reviews

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They’re Here!

The Bicycle Titaniums and Bee [red] Stingers have arrived! The first thing I thought was ‘Wow’. These look incredible. When I first read that the Titaniums were going to be printed with metallic ink I was a little worried. As I talked about in one of my previous posts, the metallic has to be just right. If not the cards would end up to bright or not noticeably different. Theory11 did an outstanding job, yet again, and got it just right. I’ll talk more about the Titanium Bicycles in my review. The Stingers look even better in red than in black. There are also some metallic accents on the Stinger box, a nice little addition.

Remember to vote for which review you’d like to see first.

New Cards!

Posted: April 8th, 2011
at 8:11pm by Robin Carey

Categories: Cards - Interesting Tidbits

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