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A New Kind of Learning Experience

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Close-up Clinic
Class of 2003
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  David Ben offers some personal instruction

David Ben workshop on Impromptu Magic  

  David and Jamy giving a joint presentation

David Ben and
Jamy Ian Swiss

  Jamy performs at the sold-out Friday night public show

Out to dinner  

  A late-night session

ScottyYork, "The Silver Fox," lectures at Close-up Clinic  

  Hands-on instruction from David Ben

David and Jamy share a laugh and a teaching session  


        "A phenomenal experience and the best investment I've made in magic. I am a college student on a very limited budget, Close-up Clinic cost me about 1/2 of my bank account - and the lion's share of my summer paycheck. It was a major investment for me and the decision to attend was a serious one. Was it worth it? Was the opportunity to work with Jamy and David for three days worth eight weeks of labor?
        "It was not only worth the investment, in the end it turned out to be a bargain. These gentleman are both conjurers in the richest sense of that word; they understand their art on every level - technical, theatrical, and artistic. Many of the insights that they freely shared would have taken me years of hard work to come to on my own - if I would have come to them at all. Both men were extremely generous with their expertise; both shared insider technical information that has not been published and may never be published. But, more importantly, both were equally generous with their time and patience -- they were always available and would answer any question.
        "The critique session was phenomenal. It is very difficult to find sources of honest and qualified criticism in the magic world. The opportunity to see David and Jamy, to work with two masters, was invaluable. On the last night of the clinic a visibly exhausted Jamy Ian Swiss treated me to a one-on-one session. I was sitting across the table from an expert - one who had every right to be sleeping instead of working with me - and I was receiving expert advise that was precisely tailored to my needs. Where else can you have that kind of experience? Where else will a performer of this caliber give so much of his time and energy solely to make you better?
        "It was this generosity and dedication to the student that was the hallmark of Close-up Clinic. I cannot guarantee that you will have an exceptional experience if you attend the clinic, but I can assure you that you will get out of it as much as you are willing to put into it. Books and DVDs will always be available - an opportunity of this kind probably will not be.
        "I wish there were some way for me to adequately articulate the kinds of discoveries I made and the nature of the riches that were handed to me. Suffice it to say that I have made a very serious study of magic these last few years - but that I probably learned more about magic in those three intense days with Jamy and David than I had learned in my life to that point. I have spent a lot of time studying the writings of folks like Eugene Burger, Tommy Wonder, and John Carney; but it was over this weekend that I finally "got it." Watching and studying with David and Jamy - and particularly getting their feedback on my performance - made all of the pieces come together and now, at least at the intellectual level, I think I really understand conjuring and the proper role of the conjurer. It will literally take me a lifetime to apply this understanding to my work - and there is certainly always more to learn - but Jamy and David have given me a rock-solid foundation to build upon, they have pushed me off on an exciting journey of self-discovery and, hopefully, eventual excellence in the performance of magic. You may never have a chance like this, take it if it comes!"

Nathan Marsh
Annapolis, MD

        "This course can be very dangerous to a languid life. For days after being immersed in it you will find that there is jet lag. That one remains in cyber-magic space because re-entry to the 'real' world is so banal, empty and flat-and-that happened to me even though I had to leave each evening to attend social functions at home. So, it is not just the time immersion that counts but the wonderful and exciting intensity-and yes, even affection-of the leaders. Total impression: Can a thing be more wonderful?"

Marty Kaplan
Media, PA

        "Close-up Clinic in Philadelphia was, to say the least, inspiring. Jamy Ian Swiss and David Ben were extraordinarily open and giving with their knowledge, energy and enthusiasm for magic. Two very passionate men who know their stuff and held nothing back. They gave 110%.
        "'Three days that will change your magic forever' is not just the tag line. It's not to just put butts in the seats. Jamy means it. If you show up with specific questions or issues, if you come to it with specific goals, whatever they are, you will not be disappointed. I wasn't.
        "Do you want improve your magic? Do you want to change and grow as a magician? Then my advice to you is: bug Jamy. Pester him to organize another Close-up Clinic. Then show up. You won't be sorry."

Dennis Kyriakos
New York, NY

        "With Close-up Clinic several weeks in our wake, I have had some time to reflect on the experience. Without question, I learned more during the course of this one weekend than I had during any similar period of time in the past. The clinic was a non-stop barrage of valuable insight and hard information; thoughts and material that I will be considering for many years to come. Jamy and David did an incredible job preparing and presenting the material for the Clinic. The effort that you both put forth in organizing the event was evident throughout. Your energy and enthusiasm were impressive. And your decision to concentrate on the classics of sleight-of-hand magic was inspired . I left with new enthusiasm for material that is often forgotten while we search for the 'latest thing.' The interaction with fellow clinicians and the chance to meet and learn from 'Mystery Guest,' Scotty York, were beyond any expectations which I brought to Philadelphia. The performances given by Jamy, David and Scotty were, by themselves, worth the trip.
        "If I am successful in developing just one of the routines which you taught as my own, it will have been worth the price paid. But I know that the benefit will be far greater than just that, because our discussions at the clinic helped me change the way I think about our art. The printed materials which you provided will occupy an important place in my library and will serve as a springboard for further study and research. Your thoughtful approach to the entertainment which you present have altered my thinking and will be a source of inspiration for years to come. Without question, I left Philadelphia a more dedicated student of the art of magic."

Rich Gensheimer
North East, PA

        "On the proverbial scale of 1 to 10 you guys were an 11+. The balance between theory, performance and teaching technique was excellent. I felt I got my money's worth and then some. Bottom line: Great job!
        "It was the best magic weekend I have experienced - and that covers 20+ years. It was intense in the most positive sense. Jamy and David were totally focused on meeting our needs. They provided a great balance between performance, theory, and practice. BTW intense also means 24+ hours of formal class room work and for the die-hards who stayed up until 4AM, they added another 8 hours with Jamy and Ben there for most of those extracurricular 8 hours!"

Bill Belknap
Ridgewood, NJ

        "Having participated in the inaugural Card Clinic, let me just state that the learning experience has been brought (nearly) full circle. If you went to David Ben's lecture at the 2002 SAM, think of that event expanded over three days. Here's David demonstrating and commenting on so much of the material learned first-hand from Ross Bertram! There's Jamy Swiss tipping and teaching moves, AND providing individual hands-on attention. In walks Scotty York to do a morning-long lecture (and hangs out with the group through the next day)!
        "The generosity of Jamy and David in tipping so many of their own techniques and sleights was remarkable. To witness demonstrations of what they've incorporated into their own professional, working routines was rare in terms of a magic lecture situation. Next, the analysis of all the Ross Bertram technique and theory that David learned first-hand was a unique learning opportunity. The pages of the Bertram books and Stars of Magic (as well as the Bertram edition of Genii) came alive. Third, any chance to be in the same room as Scotty York has to be treasured by serious students of close-up. The spirits of Malini, Leipzig, Vernon, Charlie Miller, Ross Bertram, and so many other giants of the art were present from start to finish. Finally, the care and attention to even the most (seemingly) minuscule details by Jamy and David provided for the next best thing to private lessons. The limited attendance allowed for more individual attention than I could have believed possible.
        "Then again: so much material, so little time. The scope and depth of the subject matter made time budgeting a daunting endeavor, but the leaders couldn't have handled it better. Learning by immersion is often taxing - especially for a jaded, middle-aged guy such as I. It's very easy to become overwhelmed by the agenda, but I don't believe anyone was pushed beyond his limits or capacities. How do you sift when it's all wheat, and no chaff? Even the elements to which I had been previously exposed were either rediscovered or reviewed beyond satisfaction. For instance, I have probably read 'Good Trick, Bad Trick' three or four times, and have been at two other Swiss lectures on the themes. But it never fails to motivate my consciousness, and I was grateful for its inclusion here.
        "It was clearly obvious that the leaders were extremely careful in their planning to provide maximum balance between tricks and technique, theory and performance tools. Please bear in mind that I do not attend such a learning event to learn tricks, subscribing as I do to Eugene Burger's axiom that we are "drowning in tricks." A well-organized and structured colloquium, Close-up Clinic allows me to chart my path in magic by assessing the present state and framing a view of what the "desired state" might look like. The comprehensive balance of the elements in this branch of magic offer the student the proper foundation for synthesizing all of the "stuff" he consumes over time from books, lectures, teaching videos, articles, and general observations.
        "I was a participant at the inaugural Card Clinic, and as stated then: we are given pathways to progress, the tools for continuous improvement. Both Clinics were stunning accomplishments, and were entirely complementary in terms of providing a strong foundation for comprehensive learning. It has been my privilege to be involved in both Clinics, and no matter where my magic takes me, I'll always have (and utilize) the benefits derived from them. What a tremendous, well-planned, comprehensive learning event. Save your dough, and maintain hope that Swiss and Ben do another one!"

Bill McFadden
Annapolis, MD