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Project" by Peter Nardi
"iChange Project", an effect by Peter Nardi, is one of those effects that takes an old plot, adds just the right mixture of sleights and gaffs, and ends with a version of a seldom-done classic that is as easy as it is mind-blowing.
In this case, we're talking about the "Travelers" plot, that wonderful theme which seldom really prospered with practitioners, what with being under that dark, sinister cloud called "palming". And most takes on it that eliminated that added more baggage, like more sleights, more gaffs, more gimmickry, more... more, until at last it just wasn't worth doing.
So along comes Nardi, that so-genius-he's-sickening Nardi, who has created one of the cleanest versions of the classic and kept it so straightforward in both method and appearance that this is, to put it simply, a solid winner.
In Nardi's take on the classic, the four Aces and four Kings are shown and the four aces put into four different pockets. The four Kings are now shown front and back. In a flash, the cards are spread to show the four Aces. One by one, the cards are removed from the pockets and shown to be the four Kings. Thus endeth phase one. Next, the cards are given to a spectator to be sandwiched between her two hands. She is asked to name either the Aces or the Kings (for sake of example, let's say she picks "Aces"). When she lifts her hands apart, the Aces are gone from her hands, leaving behind the Kings. Once again, the performer reaches into each pocket and removes the four Aces from the four pockets yet again.
I'm a sucker for that kind of routining and Nardi made matters worse by making this better: your hands are shown front and back to be empty before going into the pockets, there is no palming or stealing, the cards really are placed into the pockets, and at the end the cards can be examined until the cows come home.
This, folks, is a keeper if you're even remotely interested in adding this classic to your toolbox.
Nardi, as usual, goes beyond the pale, also including variations that allow for the use of signed cards (you'll ruin the gaffs in the performance, but there are refills available separately), a version combining Daley's Last Trick with iChange, and a dozen or so other ideas and concepts using the iChange gaffs.
Having said all of that, now come the caveats.
First, the gaffs are only available in red-backed Bicycle designs. Those of us who use blue are left in the cold. However, the gaffs are fairly common and easy enough to duplicate with a little splitting and gluing (a word about that: some folks seem to think these are an invention of Nardi's; I think even he'd admit they've only been around since about the time Columbus sailed the ocean blue, just never put to this use).
Second, there is a sleight that is used that has a tendency to send beginners running, screaming from the room, their sanity pushed to the very brink by the very mention of... the half-pass. My advice is to get over it once and for all and learn the damned thing right (Nardi covers it so well it's a given you'll get away with it) but if you can't, just pass this one by (and regret it for a good, long time).
Third, the reset is nothing major but it will likely require a trip to the restroom to get done. I say "likely" because it's one of those things that just feels like you can reset in front of your audience. Ever had that feeling? Well, I've got it here, that there's a really simple, in the open reset just waiting to be used but I'll be cursed if I can find it. So, lacking that, plan on a trip to the bathroom. But if you come up with it, let me know, please; it's going to drive me nuts.
Fourth, while technically you don't have to use your coat pockets, I'd recommend it. The reason is simply that the pockets in such a situation are easier to get to than shirt pockets or the like. Also, skip the very seductive draw of putting the cards elsewhere, like in wallets or envelopes or the like. Believe me, this one plays better fast and loose and simple.
And there you have
it. "iChange Project" is, simply, a solid effect, easily accomplished,
that deserves a look by any worker worthy of the name.
Project" by Peter Nardi
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