I think about food plenty. So when I’m not busy grilling whole fish or discovering the joys of Instant Pot butter chicken, I decompress by not thinking about food at all. Most likely you’ll find me with a deck of cards in hand.
I’ve spent several Last Call columns talking about my obsession with magic, and card tricks in particular. I wrote about this at length for our sister publication, The A.V. Club, about why I never grew out of my childhood hobby. For me, the joy in magic for me is the intellectual challenge, which as I wrote: “Posing something that appeared impossible and working out a logical, surreptitious method to make it so.”
So really, I’m not kidding when I tell you there’s a deck of cards in my hand at least five hours a day, without fail. It’s become an extension of my appendage, and I feel the phantom limb if I’m not grasping a deck of Bicycle cards. It’s a weird tick, but it’s oddly comforting.
As such, I spend a lot of time watching other magicians perform on YouTube. I love all kinds of magic—classic sleight of hand, ones that look like camera tricks, and the cerebral card tricks where you not don’t know how it’s done but believe to be impossible (meaning, tricks that don’t make you say, “oh that was cool” but rather “this is not possible!”).
Eric Mead is one of the magic world’s most respected thinkers and authors, and his performance on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us was my favorite of every trick ever performed on that show. Mead attempted a classic of magic called the Cylinder and Coins. I’ve seen magicians react enough to know that Penn and Teller were not only fooled by the trick, but awed by Mead’s flawless sleight of hand. This is really something to behold.
This next one is a trick called Chink-a-Chink Elements by Patricia Teran, based on a old effect (with a possibly outdated name) called Chink-a-Chink. The editing on this video gets in the way, but I swear to you this is exactly what it looks like in real life. The first time I watched this performed live I jumped out of my shoes.
Then there’s this short film called “Ace” by magician Noel Heath. There’s not much to say except these are two of the most jaw-dropping minutes you’ll spend all year.
Lastly, in the “WTF just happened” category of card tricks, is a trick called “Invisible Die” by Asi Wind, who’s a consultant for David Blaine. The lady’s reaction says it all.
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend, and we’ll see you Monday as we begin The Takeout’s Asian Noodles Week! [Kevin Pang]