Tuesday 19 February 2013


Sunday, February 17th, 2013 (4-6pm)

A Review by "Boychick" Pan

Shane Cobalt is a dedicated "student" of magic in the very best, truest sense of the word.

During his two hours-plus lecture given to a full room at The Browser's Den he demonstrated it repeatedly through his passion for magic, his commitment to advancing the Art and his encouragement of those less experienced than himself.

Shane promised that "everyone will be able to walk away with something you can do" and that his lecture would contain "no crap". He fulfilled those promises admirably while presenting a mixture of his favourite easy and more demanding card effects as well as a couple outstanding coin moves for good measure.

To assist in all of this, The Den went "high-tech" during Shane's lecture. Shane brought along a high definition wide screen TV and camera. The room was thus able to watch his moves in detail on the big screen - a simple but incredibly useful innovation for close up lectures that can so easily become unwatchable beyond the first few rows.

His positive attitude towards learning difficult tricks should be applied outside of magic too! "No one told me LePaul was hard so I just worked through it". ("The Card Magic of LePaul" is his top recommendation for value and quality of instruction. It's available in paperback at The Den.) I liked his dive-in and go-for-it approach. Too many of us put barriers up before we even begin. "It's too hard" we say to ourselves. Shane would argue that such thoughts are irrational as well as self-defeating and usually based upon poorly worded explanations. Result: an unclear understanding of what we really need to do. For example, on palming: "Everyone thinks their hands are too small; it's nothing to do with your hand size". He reminded us that - assuming you are prepared to put in the practice - there is always more than one way to achieve an effect and to use whatever method works best for you.

I also liked his philosophy that magic should look good as well as impossible. Shane talked a lot about "finesse" - making magic look beautiful. When he gracefully passes his hands over a face up deck of cards changing the identity of the visible card over and over again you realize he not only talks the talk but walks the walk. It's one of the most visually elegant card effects I have ever seen.

A memorable portion of the lecture for me was his introduction of a professionally-made rarely-seen secret piece of high precision apparatus. These are used to make specific modifications to help facilitate certain card effects. Shane owns such a device, worth many thousands of dollars, and gave each of us a specially-made gaff using it with which he proceeded to perform a small miracle. Now everyone who attended can also perform that miracle, described by Shane as "one of those secrets that are meant to stay a secret". As a result we all came away with an unexpected gift worth many times the price of admission about which I can say no more.

Personally I would have liked to see more of his coin work but time raced by too quickly and the afternoon was soon over. Shane then had a number of items for sale including lecture notes that moved briskly among his growing number of followers.

This brief review does not do justice to the quality of information that Shane shared so articulately. For more of his thoughtful insights, I would suggest bookmarking his blog, www.chasingdovetails.com. There is much to learn from this outstanding "student" of magic.

Thank you Shane Cobalt for an exceptionally fine lecture and thank you Jeff Pinsky for hosting another highly enjoyable Browser's Den special event.