Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Devious December Knight

Photo: Eric Henning

Gasps and nods of approval went around the room as salt poured out of the light bulb, which, just moments before, had been lit. Ring 50's December 2 meeting featured the unusual and clever methods of Pittsburgh's Devin Knight, a full-time professional mentalist. Devin was a protege of the late Al Mann, and has the same knack for creating devious foolers. In a direct, unadorned style reminiscent of the late Del Ray, Devin presented a number of his original magic and mental pieces, which had caused such a sensation at the recent Mindvention.

After Knight's opening gambit with the Salt from Light Bulb, he moved into mental magic, with "Poker Tells," in which a spectator correctly sorts the four Aces by suit sight unseen, and the performer reveals he predicted the outcome.

The one knuckle-buster came next, with Knight doing a slow-motion bare hand vanish of the four Aces one at a time, only to find them in his coat pocket. This "Dissolving Aces" was a beautiful piece, reminiscent of Slydini.

In the comedy magic realm, Knight offered his "Baby Gag on Steroids," in which the prediction actually does come out right at the end. The stand-up workers and emcees were very interested in this one.

Going into pure mentalism, Knight performed "Predictionary," in which a spectator's though-of word is found to be the only word circled in magic marker in a pocket dictionary. When Knight signed the page and gave the book to the helper to keep, it stunned the crowd.

Next came "Farsight." An audience helper freely chose one of twelve face-up cards, covering the remaining cards with a bandanna and placing the chosen card on top, then turning it face down. Despite the fact that his back was turned the entire time, Knight correctly identified the chosen card.

Next came "Spray Paint Surprise," in which a borrowed ring vanishes and is heard inside a can of spray paint. Knight "sprayed" the ring onto an index card and then squeezed the ring out of the card. This was a quirky piece that could be a feature in a parlor set.

"Out of Sight" is Knight's take on the David Hoy "Tossed-Out Deck," with a twist: a spectator examined and thoroughly shuffled the deck before Knight tossed it out for cards to be peeked. As usual, the method was devious and unexpected, and the necessary bits could be easily made up of things the average magician has lying around.

Perhaps the strangest item in an already-strange set was "Retro-Sight," in which printed flash cards were reflected in a mirror - and the printed words reversed themselves and could be read in the mirror!

"Around the Square" breathed new life into the venerable "Squircle," turning it into an ESP card revelation. When it was obvious that the helper had chosen the circle, but Devin had cut a square into the newspaper, he unfolded the paper. When the square cutout visibly and instantly changed to a circle, an audible gasp went around the room.

In "Deal or No Deal," Knight revealed the duplicate of a freely-chosen card inside a simple ungaffed cardboard box. This example of ultra-clean mental magic has been making the rounds of the message boards, and it really is as good as it it sounds.

Knight closed with "Food for Thought," in which a helper's menu choice is revealed to match the performer's, and "Chess Gambit," a super-clean prediction of a chosen chess piece.

Although each routine was available for purchase, Knight did explain in detail how to construct all the necessary apparatus, so it was not essential to buy anything. However, Ring 50 members swarmed the sales table at the break and again at the end of the evening.

For Knight, it was the end of a two-month, 24-city tour. For some Ring 50 members, it was the beginning of their work in mentalism.

NEWS: Click here to read the December 2009 Magi-Gram.