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Variations by Boris Wild

Variations by Boris Wild

Review by Michael Close

Before the pandemic shut everything down, Boris Wild was presenting his lecture, “Sensations,” to magicians around the world. Now that things are slowly returning to normal, Boris is preparing to head out on the circuit again, but with a new lecture, featuring material he created during the quarantine.

The lecture notes accompanying this lecture are titled Variations; seven card routines and one sleight (used in several of the routines) are explained. Variations is not done in an abbreviated, lecture-note style; it is a robust manuscript of seventy-two pages, with thorough explanations and almost eighty black-and-white photos. You will certainly be able to learn the routines, even if you don’t have the opportunity to see Boris lecture on the material.

Although Boris is best known for his card-marking system, none of routines in Variations requires the use of the Boris Wild Marked Deck. However, several routines do have additional information about how the effect can be enhanced if a marked deck is used. Technically, the material is within the abilities of an intermediate card magician. The most difficult move is a single card cull, and Boris explains his handling of this sleight at the end of the manuscript.

The first routine, Zoom 9, is a completely hands-off revelation of a selected card. Based on Jim Steinmeyer’s Nine Card Problem, this effect can be performed in person or during a virtual magic show. The trick provides wide flexibility in terms of both the presentation and the subsequent revelation of the selected card. I think you’ll get a lot of mileage from this trick.

ARCAAN stands for Any Reversed Card at Any Number. A card is named; after some preliminary handling (all of which is justified by the presentation), the card magically appears face up at a number previously named by the spectator. While this does not duplicate the cleanliness you get from other published ACAAN methods (such as Asi Wind’s), this is not difficult at all, can be done with a borrowed deck, and gives you the surprise appearance of the face-up card.

In Any Ambitious Card at Any Number, a spectator selects a card, which is moved to a position near the bottom of the deck where it remains out-jogged. She then names a number (for example, eleven). The out-jogged card is pushed flush. The magician gives a magic gesture and then counts down to the eleventh card; it is the spectator’s selection. The method of card control used here is simple; it could certainly be used in other effects.

As its name suggests, Predicolor is a prediction effect. In this case, the spectator chooses the only red-backed Bicycle (or Phoenix) card in a rainbow deck. This event is predicted by the magician, but at first the prediction appears to be a gag. The change of the deck (which the spectator thinks is a standard deck) comes as a big surprise. This routine provides a lot of magical bang for minimal technical effort.

For the next effect, Invisiquiz, a borrowed deck can be used. A card is freely selected and apparently lost in the deck. The magician asks five questions about the card (some of these are lighthearted, nonsensical questions). The answers to these questions are spelled out; the card falling on the final letter is placed aside. The magician has a positive feeling that the spectator’s card is among those five. He has the spectator withdraw an imaginary card from the five-card packet. The magician shows the packet; there are now only four cards there. This is surprise number one. The spectator shows the magician the face of the invisible card; the magician immediately states, “Yes, that’s it, the (naming the selection).” This is surprise number two. The invisible card is replaced face up into the face-down four-card packet. The packet is spread; the selected card is there, and it is face up (surprise number three).

The Impossible Double Divination is a real magician fooler. (It would also play well in casual situations for intelligent adults.) It is the discovery of two cards selected under test conditions. The only move involved is one faro shuffle, which can be eliminated if you prefer.

Color Changing Chicago is a combination of Al Leech’s Hot Card Trick Number 1 (better known as The Chicago Opener or Red Hot Mama) and the venerable Color Changing Deck effect. A couple of easily prepared gaffs do all the heavy lifting. The backs of the selected cards and the entire deck change several times.

As I mentioned above, the final item is Boris’s handling of the single card cull. He offers a useful hint that will aid in your learning of this sleight.

All in all, Variations offers some fun, practical effects at a reasonable price. Low-intermediate level card enthusiasts will find material that will spark their own creative endeavors.

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