Sunday, 30 April 2017

21st Century Canasta

Bleeding-edge mentalism designed in the image of Chan Canasta.

A participant takes a borrowed deck and shuffles it. You never touch it. Ever. They turn over the top card - it is the Jack of Clubs. Your phone has been on the table the whole time and you tell the participant to open the Facebook app on your home screen. The most recent item on your feed is from a few minutes earlier: it is a photo of you holding a playing card - it is the Jack of Clubs. Boom! Thanks Chan!!

And it DOESN'T have to be a photo, it can be just a regular status update: "Someone is about to pick the Jack of Clubs. Who knew? I DID!" or whatever damn thing you want it to say. And yes they could check it on their own phone too.

  • No special app required.
  • No assistant required, this is an entirely self-contained method.
  • No sleight-of-hand required because you NEVER touch the deck!
  • Any deck, no dupes, no preparation.
  • No stooges, instant or otherwise.
  • No dual reality.
  • No fiddling with your phone - it is on the table from the start and THEY check the prediction. You NEVER touch the phone!
  • Nothing extra to buy or learn.
  • You're a mentalist and don't use cards? Prefer to use star signs? No problem.
I know, right?

And the ad copy is 100% accurate - you never touch the deck or phone.

This is effectively 'The Trick That Cannot Be Explained' taken to the max. Oh, and I also include a version where the prediction is revealed BEFOFRE the selection is seen!


"21st Century Canasta is another elegant, practical slice of creative mentalism from the wonderful mind of Mark Elsdon. What you'll love is the clarity, the apparent simplicity and the 'hands off' nature of the baffling effect. What's more, it's bang up to date: a piece of smartphone magic that just uses a regular phone with no stooges, special apps, programming or technical tricks." Ian Rowland

"Mark has given some classic methods a TOTALLY new twist and created a physical and technological impossibility that would no doubt have fooled Canasta himself! It certainly fooled me!!"
- Michael Murray 

“Great addition to the jazzing repertoire! I will be performing this often.” Jason Messina

"Mark's taken my favourite plot and created a up-to-date revelation! What I like most is the flexibility and the ability to get creative AND there's no special tech/app to learn or buy!" - Bill Abbott

“Mark has created a chimera; an intensely fooling effect that uses an ordinary smartphone but is somehow delightfully low-tech. Requiring no expensive special app, or even any sleight of hand, your spectators will never stand a CHANce!”
– Steven Brownley

“I just wanted to thank you for 21st Century Canasta. It was the thing I was looking for to make ***** from ***** ***** a better effect. It is not often I add new things but your stuff seems to find a home in my sets.” Matthew Crabtree

“Thanks Mark. The effect is brilliant!”
Greg Glau

"21st Century Canasta has a wonderful feel to it, simple, professional, and easy to do. … a completely hands-off method and presentation, this is one of the best effects for the cell phone I have seen! Definitely a user!"
R. Lee Davis

21st Century Canasta is available as a printed booklet or as an eBook*, priced at £21.

* The eBook is usually sent within two hours max. Very often much quicker, and very, very occasionally a bit slower.

Equivoque Virtual Workshop

I'm very pleased to announce that the Equivoque Workshop is now available to those who are unable to travel to London to attend in person, via the brand new Equivoque Virtual Workshop. I filmed the last live Workshop and the footage has been edited to produce a 3-DVD set. These 3 DVDs and the accompanying booklet comprise the main part of the Virtual Workshop and the final is a 60-minute follow up one-to-one Skype session with me.

The goal of the Workshop is to make each student into an expert practitioner of Equivoque, providing them with an overview of its history, an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses, full instruction on several of my personal unpublished effects and the ability to construct powerful, original Equivoque effects for themselves.

The feedback from the live Workshops has been universally excellent. Here are a few testimonials to whet your appetite:

"I was lucky enough to attend the first Workshop Mark held, it delivered all that it promised to and more. Yes, you will get some great routines that you can add to your repertoire that are exclusive and powerful; but more importantly you'll get a huge toolbox of ideas and linguistic techniques that have been developed and honed by Mark through hundreds of performances, and countless hours of research. I have now adopted these methods and am using them both in my impromptu casual performances and in my professional TV and corporate work. I 100% recommend the workshop and hope you enjoy it as much as I did." - James Went

"I recently attended Mark's Equivoque Workshop which was genuinely very helpful. Mark is a very bright guy and brings his clever approach and handlings to many unique effects. The group attending was small (on purpose) which meant Mark could spend time helping each of us understand the different techniques and then use them to suit our own individual presentation. His way of explaining is both in depth and entertaining - I came away with many new ideas and possibilities. In addition we all enjoyed a relaxed lunch and post day drinks which again allowed more time to chat one-on-one. If you are in two minds about attending, then you need Mark's help with your mentalism. A great day, worth every last penny and I strongly recommend you attend." - Roger Curtis 

“I just wanted to thank you for a great day’s workshop. Before I signed up I wasn't sure what the day would bring, but I have to say it was thoroughly enjoyable, if at times, a little challenging. This is a good thing by the way. The more stimulating the delivery, the more the information can be retained.  My train journey back had me scribbling ideas and notes, clarifying the content of the day, trying hard not to lose any of the insights delivered. I really appreciated the one to one practice sessions, allowing me to consolidate the learning. All in all, a good days work.  Many thanks for sharing your expertise, absolutely priceless!” – Allan Clarke

Here is an outline of the Workshop programme:

Workshop Session 1: A complete overview of the subject of Equivoque, discussing its history and its exponents, and explaining how it can be so powerful and why it so rarely is. You will learn a revolutionary approach to Equivoque and the precise mechanics of how to perform it with a 100% success rate. 

Workshop Session 2: You will learn four incredible Equivoque-based effects. Three of these are from my private repertoire and do not appear in the forthcoming Equivoque book. Nor will they ever be available anywhere other than at the Workshop.

Workshop Session 3: Interactive learning sessions to try out the effects and techniques taught in Session 2. I work with each student to make sure that they are incorporating the core techniques properly into their own speech patterns and body language. This one-on-one coaching ensures that everyone is learning the key skills in a way that works effectively for them personally.

Workshop Session 4: You will learn the real work - each of the seven Equivoque strategies that will allow you to create and develop your own professional-calibre Equivoque-based effects. These tools are explained exclusively to Workshop attendees; they are not taught in the forthcoming Equivoque book. Once you understand how to use these strategies you can start to create your own personal impromptu, close-up and stage effects.

Workshop Bonus: I teach the holy grail of Equivoque: EquiFlow.  This incredible tool will allow you to verbally force one single playing card with 100% success in a way that looks and feels entirely fair.

Equivoque Question and Answer Session

The entire programme listed above is split between the 3 DVDs and the 60-minute Skype session.

The fee for the Virtual Workshop is £200* including postage.

The Workshop fee includes the 3 DVDs, the Skype session and the Workshop Notes booklet containing all of the material and techniques discussed. You are also encouraged to take copious notes, particularly during the one-on-one tuition. As soon as I receive your payment I will email you to confirm the dispatch of your DVDs and Workshop Notes booklet and to arrange our Skype session. The Skype session is only available if you buy the Virtual Workshop directly from me.

* Please note: Due to my current time limitations only FOUR Virtual Workshop packages are available at this time and I will remove the Paypal button as soon as they are sold.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Card Tricks Are Fantastic!

After months of work I am VERY pleased to announce this:

Using a fabulous deck of limited-edition Snap cards created by the inexplicable British artist David Shrigley I have concocted some incredible card magic which you will absolutely love to perform. Because card tricks are fantastic!

As well as the Shrigley Deck you will receive a booklet teaching six tricks. Four of them are incredibly powerful pieces of card magic (including the updated handling of my widely-performed PrePreFiguration trick) and two of them are very magical, but as befits the work of the irreverently dark and humorous Shrigley, they have somewhat more surreal endings. One of the tricks even has its own Twitter account! I kid you not!!

All six of them are serious foolers and can be performed alone or routined into a full, killer set.

The 52-card deck comes in a metal tin and the cards themselves are gorgeous and handle like a dream. They are a perfect piece of off-kilter Shrigley art and so the tricks and presentations I have created using them take a similar avant-garde approach. If you want something different that will make you stand out from the crowd and make a statement, this is it!

The deck is made up of 13 different matching sets of four cards, exactly like a regular deck. But with no suits and 13 offbeat Shrigley images and messages instead of values, this means that all the tricks really pop visually! The backs of all 52 cards are identical. Here is what the metal tin and some of the illustrations look like:

Although this release focuses on the six Card Tricks, the creative performer will immediately see the potential for using them for a ton of existing effects as well as creating their own unique material. And of course, they are also perfect for mentalism (wink, wink!)

Card Tricks Are Fantastic is not just a fabulous prop to do killer magic with, it is also a highly collectible piece of art.

Available in a signed, limited edition of 150 copies.  
The price is £50.

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