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A review by Jamy Ian Swiss in The Lyons Den 11/27/2019
Everything I’ve written about The Ultimate Ten-Card Poker Deal is equally true, if not more so, of The Dream Card Revisited. This booklet also addresses a single routine, at a slightly higher price than that asked for the Ultimate Ten-Card Poker Deal. In return for that slight difference, you get a book twice the length, that is nothing less than a master class in conjuring thinking, given by a master magician. That’s right: one hundred and fifty-eight pages dedicated to one routine. And a book filled with priceless teaching.
“Teaching” is the operative word. You don’t just get the instructions to a trick. You get every conceivable detail, and I cannot imagine a student completing study of this book and feeling that anything has been left out or any unanswered questions are left to linger. There are, for example, thirteen pages devoted to palming, describing multiple techniques, countless fine details, and superb theoretical discussion about misdirection, along with the author’s thoughts about other palming experts who have influenced his work, including the legendary Michael Skinner, and a contemporary, John Carney.
“The Dream Card” is a neo-classic take on the card-to-wallet plot, devised by Darwin Ortiz and first published in 1988 in his first and excellent book, Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table. It remains among his best-known routines—and for good reason. It brings a different approach to the standard card-to-wallet routine, invoking not just the effect of transposition, but also of a kind of time travel (not unlike Alex Elmsley’s “Between Two Palms”). The routine achieves a deep mystery with fairly minimal requirements: an extra card; a force (in Malek’s version); a palm; and a Balducci-style wallet. The original routine has been used by countless magicians (I’ve used it myself on the trade show floor), and it’s sparked variations, notably including Jim Swain’s terrific “Airmail Card” (Miracles with Cards by James Swain; 1996).
Malek considers Ortiz’s trick to be “a one-of-a-kind brilliant card trick,” that he has been performing professionally for more than twenty-five years. In that period, the author has devised a number of “ideas that preserve the effect while, at the same time, make other areas of the routine stronger.” I believe these claims are accurate, and reasonably made—grounded in real-world experience, not armchair theorizing, or vaporous wishful thinking of the kind that fuels the instant download market.
Purchasing this book will deliver a reputation-making, career-supporting, miracle routine to your repertoire—assuming, of course, you put in the necessary study and practice, and all-around effort required. But that’s not why you should buy this book.
You should buy this book because David Malek is both an excellent thinker, and an excellent teacher. When I think about some of the greatest influences, teachers, mentors, and colleagues I’ve known in the course of my life in magic, the one thing they all had, or have, in common, is the level of detail in their thinking. Dai Vernon, Johnny Thompson, Michael Skinner, Tommy Wonder, Juan Tamariz … these men, and others like them, have expanded my thinking—about not only what to think, but also about how to think, and about what is available to think about, and is worth thinking about. Every phone conversation, letter and phone call I ever exchanged with Michael Skinner served to further expand my universe of thought about magic.
That’s exactly the level of detail you get in The Dream Card Revisited. This isn’t just a book about a trick; it is a guided tour and a teaching course in expert thinking about conjuring. I believe, above all, that that is what you stand to learn from its pages. And that’s the kind of lesson that is impossible to put a price on.