Joshua Jay - Session:The Magic of Joel Givens

Joshua Jay - Session:The Magic of Joel Givens

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Joshua Jay - Session:The Magic of Joel Givens


by Joel Givens and Joshua Jay

This book is geared toward magicians (sorry normal people) and details the magic of an incredible talent: Joel Givens. He’s also a longtime friend.

We bucked all the trends and did something very different. You see, for nearly five hundred years, magic has been conveyed "recipe style" in books. Tricks are a list of materials and steps to follow. But can a magic book tell a story?

Session is my answer. It’s not for everyone, and I’m sure there will be readers who can’t be bothered with plot and context. But for those who have always wanted to curl up with a magic book and just read, I think Session will be a welcome addition.

Each trick is set within a scene—protagonists, antagonists, hecklers, and a cute waitress—it’s all here, and it’s all explained.


Michael Kras
Session: The Magic of Joel Givens by Joshua Jay

EFFECT: A collection of hardhitting, original close-up and bar magic from the mind of Joel Givens.

REVIEW: You've probably heard of Joel Givens by now, but I'll bet you would have never known of him at all last year. Now, he is known by many magicians in out community, and with good reason... his magic is the most creative and mindblowing magic I have seen in a long time.

Session, a magic novel written by Joshua Jay, tells the non-fictional story of the private magic session shared between Jay and Givens at the Sawmill Pub. The book focuses on a near 8 hours of sessioning and the story is actually quite interesting and it is written so well that you will actually appreciate the story in its entirety before jumping to each effect. Basically, the way this novel is written is moreso written as a magic book, and it gives thorough explanations of 38 effects and routines straight from Givens repertoire of over 20 years.

I will not personally tell much if not any of the story during this review, so why don't we just cut to the chase and bring you what you are looking for... A review of each effect in Session! They are as follows, in order.

Sweet Straw: At a restaurant, the magician suddenly removes a sugar packet from the tray on the table, and tears it open. He then cleanly and visually removes a 3 inch stirstick or straw right from inside the tiny sugar packet! Even magicians are thrown through a loop when they watch the magician visually shrink the stirrer down to not even a half inch in length! It is then gently tucked into the sugar packet for storage. This is an excellent effect to do at a restaurant, and although the initial effect may not fool some people, the shrinking of the stirrer at the end definitely will. ****

Cup O'Joel: The coffee arrives, and the magician prepares to open a creamer and dump the contents into the coffee. He does open the creamer, but instead of dumping it into the coffee he dumps it into his clenched fist! The magician slowly opens his hand to reveal the cream has vanished! Well, not vanished, just invisible. The magician cups the invisible cream in his hand, and slowly dumps it into the coffee. Surprisingly, the coffee slowly fills up with cream!!! As if that weren't enough, the magician immediately reseals the creamer with no swtiches in full view! This is a clever effect, and I absolutely love the kicker ending. Unfortunately, there is a longish set-up but if your coffee buddy goes to the bathroom you should have plenty of time. ****

Laser Aces: After a fancy Cutting The Aces effect, the packets cut from the deck are surprisingly revealed to be stuck together into clumps even though the magician has been fairly using the cards for the entire time! This looks like a great version of Paul Harris' Solid Deception. ***

Silly Psychic: This is one of the cleanest, most creative book tests I have ever seen! ****

Matches All Gone: The spectator, using a wrapped straw as a magic wand, makes all of the matches out of a matchbook vanish and reappear inside the wrapped straw! This has to potential to really surprise someone. ***

Kicking Ace: A flashy, instantaneous Four Ace production that seems quite similar to Richard Sanders effect. However, there are some chages made and this is a a VERY beautiful production! ***

Sponge Aces: This is one of my favourite effects now. It is one of the most visually stunning instantaneous transpositions in existance. Basically, the four aces, instantly transpose with two selected cards! I love this! *****

Givens on Hofzinser: A fantastic impromptu variation of the classic Hofzinser Ace Problem plot. ****

Brain Cleaner: This stunning stunt involves the magician visually shoving a full Q-Tip into his ear! This never fails to make people cringe because it looks so REAL! Just make one simple gimmick and you're on your way. ****

Identification Cards: This effect, even though it uses one of the most commonly seen plots in beginner's card magic, has fooled some really advanced card workers! Basically, you locate as many free selections as you want. These cards are not forced, and there are no breaks, crimps, or psychological techniques used. I love it and use it often! *****

Ninja Coin: The magician visually and slowly melts his finger through a solid coin. This takes the Karate Coin effect to a whole new level. ****

Across Coins: A clever Coin's Across effect with a backfire climax. ***

Dave's Proposition: The bartender at the Sawmill Pub showed a fantastic bar stunt involving water defying gravity! ***

Tubular Bills: A borrowed bill with a corner removed totally vanishes and reappears rolled up inside a clear straw! and the corner matches! I like this a lot... so simple, so effective. ****

More Memory Man: This is without a doubt the best effect in the book as well as being the best Memorized Deck effect I have ever seen. Not only is the entire deck memorized witin ten seconds, but the magician can also tell the spectators the exact position of their freely selected card! Not only that, but he also tells the audience exactly which card is missing since a spectator removed one fairly at the beginning right after shuffling the deck. And cutting to this missing card's 3 mates is the icing on the cake. This is a real impromptu worker's piece that involves no stacks or marked decks. *****

Heckler Stopper: This is specifically designed to be performed on a really bad heckler. It may be a tad mean, but if the heckler really deserves it then they have it coming. Basically, the magician secretly makes it look to other spectators as though the heckler is really trying to screw up a card trick. It turns the spectators against the heckler while the heckler remains in a confused state. This is the big guns, and the real work on heckler magic. ****

Monte 101: A great, surprising 3 Card Monte routine that card workers will enjoy. ***

It's a Tie: After two out of three selected cards are located, the third card impossibly appears clipped under the magician's tie bar! This is a surprising effect that requires some good misdirection. ***

The Magidoodle: In the spirit of prediction effects, the magician has impossibly predicted a freely chosen card on an Etch-A-Sketch style toy. This is a great effect for kids and adults alike and will even fool magicians! ****

Easy Time: This is a brilliant impromptu Ring Flite effect in which a borrowed ring immediately appears on the magician's wristwatch. And it's really on there to! ****

The Human Slot Machine: Playing the part of a slot machine, the magician goes through an entertaining routine ending with an impossible no-sleeves 20 coin production. This is very clever and will fool just about anybody. ***

Slop Machine: This is a Triumph effect with an Inversion climax. While this effect isn't the bast Triumph in the world, it is still very smooth and has a great kicker ending. ****

Hungry Cannibals: In this take on the classic Cannibal Cards plot, the four kings literally eat the ink off of eachother in a small section, then the routine takes a shocking turn when the magician suddenly takes a big bite out of the corner of the deck! This is a clever and humorous take on an entertaining plot. ***

Collectors For Collectors: Card workers will love this to bits! It is a clever take on Roy Walton's Collectors in which the four aces never touch the deck! *****

Backstage Pass: This is a sleek, smooth Pass technique. ***

Rubbed Away: One of the cleanest Face-Up Rubaway Vanish techniques I have learned! I use this frequently. *****

Hover: The deck hovers for a brief moment about 2 inches above the magician's hand. This is a very creative idea, but I just can't seem to get it to work. ***

Whitewashed: After four mates are impossibly located from a deck, the entire deck turns blank! This is pretty startling and a nice self-working effect. ***

Lean Time: In a cross between an impossible balancing feat and a levitation, an ungimmicked deck is balanced at the edge of the flat palm and cards are even removed from it while in its balanced state! This is clever and very clean. ****

Uncrossed Cross Cut: This is an ingenious card force that is a true fooler. *****

New Way Pop: After a riffle shuffle, the deck is bridged and during mid-bridge, the selected card pops into view instantly. I can't get this to work as it is a very knacky move but it surely has potential. ***

EZ Colour Change: The magician blows on a card and it changes. I am not too fond of this really. ***

EZ Change Aces: Using the EZ Change to produce the four aces in a startling away. I must admit this looks stunning. ****

Quadruple Open Prediction: The spectator freely selects four cards, and the magician reveals to have predicted each one via their mates, which have been face down on the table in full view from the start! This one is not explained, which I am not happy about because it looks so good!

So there you have it. A review of each effect from Session. The book is extremely well produced and the story is very intriguing. For the magician's convenience, there is a Trick Index in the back of the book for those wishing to read over a specific effect. Overall this book provides a great story, brilliant magic, and one of the most entertaining and imformative magic books of the year. I give this book a solid 10/10 for reasons stated above. Close-up workers will love this, and there is something for everyone here. Highest Recommendations.

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