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Mastering the Double Lift Ebook Review - by Nathan Coe Marsh GENII Magazine

Mastering the Double Lift Ebook Review - by Nathan Coe Marsh GENII Magazine

Review by Nathan Coe Marsh

Of all the products I have reviewed in the five or so years I’ve written columns for Genii, this fills the clearest and biggest need in magic.

As many others have noted, the Double Lift is a paradoxical move. It is taught in virtually all beginner books and every one of us did a less than deceptive version as one of our first sleights.

It seems, to a beginner, like an easy move: you are not hiding anything in your hands. The only way to flash is for the double card to split. Aware of this, the tendency is to clamp down and exert pressure. What should be a casual, unstudied action is tense and clunky.

The beginner’s Double Lift may not be busted in the sense that the audience knows precisely how the trick was done, but it sets off all kinds of subconscious alarm bells that kill the possibility of experiencing wonder.

For the Double Lift to be good enough that the viewer “does not suspect, let alone detect” it requires a soft, casual, and natural action that takes a great deal of attentive study and conscientious practice (or, as a practical solution in many professional contexts, a little bit of the right kind of adhesive).

It is not an easy move. 

This ebook from Michael Close does not simply explain in remarkable detail how to perform an expert Double Lift (though it certainly does that), it teaches it. Close has clearly put as much, or more, thought into how to communicate the information so the student is able to master it as he has into the mechanics of the handling itself (and a great deal of study and analysis has gone into the details of the handling).

Close gives the reader assignments. We are told to do a certain drill until we have it fluid before we read further into the book.

This is critical because there are a lot of things happening in rapid succession. There are so many small details of small movements requiring the least possible force that it is critical that you get completely comfortable with each piece of the puzzle before picking up the next one.

This is a clear, practical blueprint to mastery. I firmly believe that anyone will come away from this able to perform a Double Lift that audiences do not suspect, let alone detect, if that student invests the time and effort to move slowly through this book and put the work into each step exactly as laid out by Close. I cannot think of another book on sleight of hand for which that is true.

The technical instruction is focused primarily on a loose, book-style lift from a break. There is expert instruction on multiple methods for invisibly obtaining the break (and a nuanced handling for maintaining the break as the card is flipped face up onto the deck). Also included is instruction on Close’s MC Spread Double Lift originally published in Workers 2.

The book closes with four strong tricks using the techniques taught. This section begins with a personalized handling, with full presentation, of Vernon’s The Fingerprint Trick, which Close has polished over fifty years of performances. There are fun moments of byplay, and the presentation perfectly justifies the actions of a Double Lift. 

Among the highlights of the Vernon Revelations DVD rerelease, for me, was seeing Steve Freeman perform The Time Machine. It is an elegant, compelling presentation of a two-card transposition that impressed onto me how beautiful a simple, clear effect can be. Close offers a handling that cleans up the initial Center Double Lift with his MC Spread Double Lift. It is a strong, rarely seen, and elegant plot worthy of your attention (and if the plot is new to you, take a look at Freeman’s performance on the Vernon DVD which is the place to start).

The Post-it Transposition solves two of the problems with the classic two-card transposition: how to make the initial situation as clear as possible (“Which is the Queen? Which is the Two?”) and how to motivate flipping the card over twice in the action. It also adds a lovely magical moment that gives a sort of “cartoon logic” explanation for what is happening.

There is also an update to the book (one of the strengths of the ebook format) which adds an extra layer to the deception. 

My Dinner with Guilherme, which is largely the work of Brazilian magician Guilherme Silveira with added details from Close, takes the concepts from The Post-it Transposition and gives the sense that the audience has an astonishing degree of freedom in choosing what will happen. I could see this puzzling many magicians.

While the magic is strong, the core value of this book is that it gives a clear blueprint to, well, mastering the Double Lift.

If there is a deck of cards within arm’s reach of you as you read this, you owe it to yourself and your audience to study this material, actually master it, and unlock the full potential of one of card magic’s most versatile moves.

Highest Recommendation. Pick of the Month.

Mastering the Double Lift • Michael Close • Michael Close Magic ebook • Exclusively through • 98 pages in portrait mode on iPhone XR, 230 pages in landscape • $25

You can download Mastering the Double Lift here.

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