Yes, I have two fantastic new sleights to work on and explore, but I have a deeper insight into how to create a magical experience for people and that is far more valuable. — Alan Buckley
It is Saturday morning and I’m in a hotel lobby in London. I’m here 15 minutes early and have asked the receptionist to let my host know that I’ve arrived. “Mr Lucero will be down to meet you in 5 minutes,” comes the reply.
As I pace around, I’m wondering, “where is everyone else?” I’m starting to get nervous and I haven’t felt like that since I was a teenager. Whilst I’m confident in my own ability, I’m here to learn from reputedly one, if not THE, finest handlers of cards.
What have I let myself in for?
The lift (elevator) bell rings, the doors open and I get my first glimpse of Armando Lucero in the flesh. I had only seen Armando in photographs and from an internet video on his site, but as soon as you meet him you know that there is something magical about him. Armando greets me with a broad smile. "I’m sorry Alan, it’s just you and me today! Two other people were going to come but they couldn’t make it.”
Now I’m nervous!!
Making our way to the room where we will be for the day, we talk of a mutual magician friend in California. By the time we get to the room, I am totally at ease. Even though we have just met, I know that I am in safe hands.
We make ourselves comfortable and Armando outlines the day’s agenda and how we are going tackle the material.
Although the day is based around learning two particular sleights and their applications, with Armando patiently demonstrating and going to great lengths to explain them, you quickly realize that there are greater secrets to learn from your time with him. The day is punctuated with talk of structure, timing, creating the magic ‘moment’ and of portraying what emotions you feel as a magician when you perform.
As we conclude the day’s scheduled events, I feel that I have learnt more in the six or so hours that I have spent in Armando’s company than I could have realistically imagined. Yes, I have two fantastic new sleights to work on and explore, but I have a deeper insight into how to create a magical experience for people and that is far more valuable.
Armando kindly invites me to go with him for a coffee and to meet up with a couple of magician friends who are visiting London from Korea.
“Before we go, would you like to see something with coins?” Armando asks. Now that’s another story!
Armando Lucero is a master in the highest sense of the word. His devotion to the art of magic is without parallel. Not only is he a gifted inventor – a brilliant, creative mind – and a technical wizard when it comes to executing difficult sleights. — Alex Stone
Armando Lucero is a master in the highest sense of the word. His devotion to the art of magic is without parallel. Not only is he a gifted inventor – a brilliant, creative mind – and a technical wizard when it comes to executing difficult sleights, but he has the soul of a poet and a deep intuition for beauty and consistency in magic.
I enrolled in the workshop expecting to learn one of the greatest close-up routines ever created. And I did. The five-phase Coin Menagerie is one of the most amazing and elegant close-up effects of all time. As much a work of art as a piece of magic, it slays even the most jaded spectators. The method behind the Menagerie, it turns out, is pure genius – not to mention a knuckle-buster – but the real secret, I learned, has less to do with moves and mechanics than with the philosophy and psychology behind the magic. Rather than the conventional “step one-step two,” paint-by-numbers approach familiar to me from most magic books and DVDs, Lucero speaks about things like conditioning, persistence of vision, and false memories. Ultimately, what distinguishes a beguiling performer from a merely serviceable one is his control over the mental con game that sells every illusion. A master magician must possess not just an arsenal of sleights but an instinct for how people see things. Lucero’s training in mime and his highly-developed visual brain seems to have endowed him with a heightened kinesthetic sense, an uncanny intuition for how the mind perceives motion. The result is a powerful system of legerdemain that completely transforms one’s way of thinking about magic.
I recommend studying at Lucero’s workshop to anyone who is serious about learning magic at its most sublime, although deep down inside I secretly hope nobody does, so that his powerful teachings might remain in the hands of a select few.
In the workshop, students do not only learn about magic, we learn about philosophy theatre, art and life. — Anson Chen
Armando is a real artist who has mastered his art of magic. His artistic approach to magic allows him to present magic in the highest sophistication and make his audience emotionally touched. His unique presentation, constructions of routine, techniques and creative ability distinguish Armando from other magicians. Armando puts in enormous amount of thought in every piece of magic he does and I can say they are all the best I have ever seen. Learning from a master like Armando is without a doubt the best thing a serious student of magic can do.
I had been emailing Armando since our first meeting in Hong Kong. I found out that his artistic approach to magic is very unique and his experience from performing over the years makes him a real master. This made me decide to spend my summer to learn from Armando, so I emailed him and told him about my desire to learn from him.
This is Armando’s reply:
“Hi Anson, I have a card and coin workshop this month, you are welcome to attend. The technical material is difficult but the philosophy you can handle. As for the rest of the time, it would be my pleasure to share my knowledge with you.” I immediately enrolled and booked my tickets to Las Vegas. (I was not even familiar with either Coin Menagerie or Empanada before I signed up. All I wanted to learn is Magic.)
After ten minutes of the Coin Menagerie workshop, I knew the decision of attending the workshop was correct. He started the workshop by performing the baffling Coin menagerie, although I had seen it once in Hong Kong, my mind was still blown away when Armando performed for us at the workshop. Then he began to explain his artistic vision about magic and take us to the magical world of Coin Menagerie.
It takes enormous amount of effort just to memorize the sequence of this masterpiece that took Armando 15 years to perfect. Every single step and gesture in the routine is carefully planned. Armando patiently guided us until we can do the basic sequence, and stressed the importance of avoiding bad habits. The technical part is extremely demanding, being able to just do the moves was a challenge for both Jan and I. Personally, I find the psychological and philosophical aspects built in the routine even harder to absorb. Armando tried to share as much information as he could however we stopped him, because our brains were all overwhelmed. Dividing the workshop into five days and having breaks in between was a great idea as it really allowed us to refresh ourselves both mentally and physically.
According to Armando, our class learnt relatively fast. We were able to finish about one phase a day, which was very rewarding. We learnt the entire piece by the end of the fourth day, and were able to perform for each other on the last day. It was amazing how both Jan and I, who both were not very technical competence at the beginning (Jan might still not be, since he’s a mentalist) were both able to perform one of the world’s most perfect and technical demanding routine. Time passed really quickly in these five days, the positive atmosphere and Armando’s humour made the workshop an extremely enjoyable experience.
Attending Armando’s coin and card workshops is the best thing I’ve ever done in my 6 years of learning magic. Armando passed on his philosophy on magic to us through exploring the masterpieces he developed over the years. His sophisticated approach to magic changed my entire thinking on magic and all kinds of theatrical performances.
I would recommend Armando’s workshops to all serious students of magic. As the workshop is not just about the routines, and the routines were not the truly challenging part. The real challenge is to Integrate Armando’s philosophies into our own art. I have no doubt if a student follows the directions Armando gives, he/she will eventually have spectacular achievements in magic.
In the workshop, students do not only learn about magic, we learn about philosophy theatre, art and life. And most importantly, we all get to meet a very sincere friend and mentor in life- Armando Lucero
As someone who makes his living solely as a magician, the workshop was and is the best investment I’ve made as a sleight - of - hand performer, period. — Ben Seidman
The Coin Menagerie is a lifetime of knowledge and experience condensed into an inspirational five days. Regardless of your skill level, you will emerge a changed magician. The lessons learned apply to everything conceivable in the art of magic, and your newfound knowledge will jumpstart your creative process. If making your magic stronger is a priority, take Armando’s workshops immediately. As someone who makes his living solely as a magician, the workshop was and is the best investment I’ve made as a sleight - of - hand performer, period.
I’ve often asked myself, what is the perfect move? In an age of skepticism and hyper - sensitive audiences, I believe that perfect sleights can be:
In Armando’s card workshop a number of original moves are taught which fit ALL of the aforementioned criteria. While learning and understanding these sleights, you will gain access to a number of straight forward and deeply fooling routines - ALL of which are strong enough to use as closers!
Adding these tools to your skill set is invaluable to the serious close - up magician.
Armando Lucero is a lucid teacher who helps you define what magic is. — Bj Bueno
Dear Magician Before I say ‘magician’ lets get one thing straight - that is what you are. If you don’t believe it, you soon will find out. Armando Lucero’s workshops go beyond learning tricks and breaks past the illusion of your image of a magician and magic. Beyond learning how to really make coins VANISH, Armando will help you discover where they go. Armando Lucero is a lucid teacher who helps you define what magic is. The techniques you will learn are sleight - of - hand masterpieces. The timing you will develop will be perfection and most importantly you will find the true rhythm to your own magic. How? Armando Lucero has developed philosophical tools that help your mind grasp difficult magic concepts that build stronger effects. Soon you will begin to use your new magical technology to create real MAGIC. I found much joy and continued reward in this workshop. It is an honor to learn from a true living master.
Armando also teaches “presence”, the art of turning a card trick into a mystical experience. — Chuck Rubey
I’ve been an amateur magician for more years than I wish to count. My favorite form of magic is with cards. As a result, when I saw Armando perform his Empanada card effect at “Magic Live” two years ago, I was not only amazed but eager to learn how such an effect could be done. As all card magicians seem to do I toyed with the basic idea these past two years trying to achieve the same results. When I learned he was teaching a workshop including this effect, I immediately enrolled. I must say it’s was the best thing I have done in a long time, learning both the card effect and any number of additional new skills which I can utilize in my other card routines. Armando also teaches “presence”, the art of turning a card trick into a mystical experience. The bottom line for me is that the class was an overall wonderful experience.
Metal Quirks is both an incredibly strong routine, and the perfect introduction to Armando's techniques for the serious student. — David Jones
I have been a fan of Armando Lucero's magic since I saw him performing at FISM in 2003. Since then I have taken his card workshop and the Coin Menagerie workshop, as well as several refresher workshops. Just recently I took his Metal Quirks workshop and I would like to write a few words about it. In Metal Quirks, Armando has done for Coins Across what his Coin Menagerie has done for Matrix, elevated it from a good trick, into a beautiful and stunning piece of magic.
The routine is no longer just three coins travelling from one place to another, one by one. Metal Quirks has an opening that sets the scene, then a first phase consisting of three iterations, followed by a second phase with a further three iterations, followed by a stunning finale where a two for one transposition between an odd coin and two regular coins takes place in the spectator's hand. Apart from being a powerful routine which takes Coins Across into entirely new directions, Metal Quirks provides a wonderful introduction to the thinking and techniques which make Armando's magic so stunning and deceptive.
The routine is far more accessible to the student than Coin Menagerie, it contains fewer difficult techniques, with most of the sleights being fairly standard moves. In some places the magic is created purely by very clever choreography. Metal Quirks is both an incredibly strong routine, and the perfect introduction to Armando's techniques for the serious student. I recommend it unreservedly to anyone interested in taking their magic to a higher level.
Armando is a great teacher. Very pedagogically, he manages to convey extremely complex principles that make up the foundation of his magic. His views and passions for magic are contagious. — David Tholander
One ‘trick,’ $3500, seven days, over 5300 miles from home (If you wish to retain metric, 8600 km)
The first time I made the acquaintance of Armando Lucero and his Coin Menagerie was in the summer of 2003 at the Den Haag FISM. He introduced me to some of the most outstanding work in the magic world. During the first couple of nights, Armando performed for 20 – 30 people at a time in a corner of the Convention Center basement. Many of us were able to see the routine several times, but we could never figure it out. Armando moved his stage during the week and ended up with audiences of over 100 people for every performance! The reputation of ‘the man with the coins’ spread like wildfire. At the final gala show of the convention Armando was honored as, “Surprise of the Year,” and what a surprise he was!
In the summer of 2006, I was fortunate enough to participate in a 5 hour workshop held by Armando in Stockholm, Sweden. There were three of us participants, each representing a different continent. The workshop introduced us to Armando’s card work, but it was more than just tricks and moves. Then, in the summer of 2008, I left Denmark for my (thus far) greatest magic adventure; to participate in a seven day Coin Menagerie workshop in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
The Coin Menagerie is a five phase Matrix – type routine. Four coins travel invisibly between four cards. The routine is composed like a sonata with an introduction, exposition, development, recapitulation and coda. As the course of the routine is simplified phase by phase, the means by which this is accomplished seems more impossible phase by phase.
According to Armando, the basic premise for the routine emerged about 25 years ago. He desired a performance piece featuring every magic principle and philosophy at his disposal. Using the Matrix – like plot as his foundation, he has after 25 years developed his Coin Menagerie. Working like a sculptor he began paring away large pieces off the foundation to give it rough shape. Year after year, layer by layer and finally for the past fifteen of those years, chip by chip the pieces discarded or refined became smaller and the details of finer grade. Of course, ever the artist, Armando intends it will never be ‘complete.’ To him, the possibility for refinement is ever present. The culmination of 25 years’ work, Armando has created art – a work that demands acrobatic precision for successful presentation. Now and again, a tear will trickle down the cheek of a spectator, much as some experience when viewing the work of Van Gogh or a sculpture by one of the Masters. This work of art though, consists of nothing but, “four cards, four coins, two hands and one mind,” as Lucero himself expresses it – and he is telling the truth!
The workshop was held in a back room of a Las Vegas mall. Due to the cost of $3500, the number of participants adjusts to an intimate number. The upper limit for any of these workshops was seven, but ours – the second one taught – had three participants, one ‘right hand man,’ and Armando.
Since the participants must sign a confidentiality agreement (or declaration of secrecy – whichever you call it, Armando) at the beginning, there are limits to what I can share about the actual content of the workshop. Instead I will share some of my thoughts regarding my own participation in the workshop. During the seven days of the workshop I was introduced to an approach to magic that was very different from that to which I’d been accustomed.
Among those who know of Armando, it is usually for his Matrix – like routine, Coin Menagerie. The way I’ve come to see it though, what really makes him stand out is the foundation of his work with, “four cards, four coins and two hands,” his way of thinking. One of his significant departures from the magic norm is his view on secrets. Very few people in the world know the secrets of the Coin Menagerie. Even close friends from our field have had to participate in the workshop (paying the same admission cost) if they wish to have a share in this secret.
In many ways, the teachings attached more importance to the philosophy and principles which make up the foundation of the routine. Initially, the purpose of the routine was to function as a template in which these philosophies and principles were to be ‘stored.’ A performance of the routine would then serve as a summation of what had been taught. For me, the actual point was not the ‘trick’ we’d been taught, and so I feel that Armando’s instruction was quite successful.
Trying to give my impression of the content and this workshop’s impact is all but impossible. Imagine; we’d spent seven days learning a five minute piece of magic. About half the time I went home at day’s end with a minor headache. There was so much great information, all vying for space inside my head. Consequently, what follows will cover a most limited (achingly so) series of impressions of this seven day period, which has sown almost limitless inspiration.
17.884, 86 Danish Kroner excl. transportation, board and lodging.
The price of Armando’s workshops has made some see him as arrogant, someone who is too concerned about money – a mistaken view, in my opinion. The tendency in magic today is to lavishly distribute secrets by download, DVD sales, text or by spoken word. There are benefits, given that inspiration and knowledge are easily obtainable and so within anyone’s range. If you want it, you can get it.
Truly though, there is a downside to this ease of acquisition. First, there is a loss in value as it becomes available to any and all. Our recent experience in magic reminds us of examples from a masked magician revealing our secrets on television to a museum in Wisconsin exposing the secrets of Houdini. Obviously, the problem didn’t start there.
Secrets were already accessible to the public. They have been published in many books, for decades. When a book is published, it is available to the public. Is it then right for us to be angry when our secrets are revealed (again)? The issue is further complicated by the ambivalence between being credited for one’s work and being remembered for it. Publication of a trick becomes a doubled edged sword. The price can be high if one wants to be credited as the creator. The creation then belongs to anyone for the price of a book or magazine. On the other hand, one can keep the secrets but if the idea is stolen or created independently by another, the creator has just lost his ‘baby.’ If a magician is successful in keeping his secret(s) to himself, the end result could be that the secrets go to the grave, leaving no legacy for the creator or his work.
For good or ill, culture today fosters little appreciation for that which comes too easily, with too little sacrifice. This is likely one of the reasons that a man wearing a mask while exposing magic tricks to an uncaring public will not do any lasting damage to magic. A few months later, people will have forgotten most everything. They sacrificed nothing for the secrets, so to them there was little or no value. The price needn’t necessarily be financial or material, either. If the value is there, desire and sacrifice will help us focus on its real worth to us.
Another advantage to letting people search out their own secrets is that it gives them the necessary time to think about what they have seen. As we are immersed in that problem/solution process, (a sacrifice of time and effort) we are rewarded with not only the solution, but with new tools at our disposal. These are tools that will be used to solve other problems, to create new effects. Great reward comes from great sacrifice.
The Happy Medium
Armando is known for keeping his secrets … well, secret. Over time, he has found benefit in sharing his work on a limited and exclusive basis. His thinking was that he could both pass on his magical legacy and be credited for his work. The teaching of his effects in a workshop setting allows him to control the quality of instruction and the quality of the students’ comprehension. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he is able to impress his workshop attendees with the importance of a rite of passage and the necessity of continued confidentiality.
Armando is a great teacher. Very pedagogically, he manages to convey extremely complex principles that make up the foundation of his magic. His views and passions for magic are contagious. What Armando creates are not mere ‘tricks.’ While he calls them, “Compositions of Legerdemain,” most others call them miracles. I see them in many ways as works of art. During the course of a workshop one doesn’t just learn handling and moves, but principles and philosophies which are universally useful in magic. These not only have to do with a matrix – type routine, but would improve already existing magic and would act as an aid in developing new magic. In my opinion, a lot of the philosophy applied as well outside of magic.
Armando’s first student reportedly took a year to master the Coin Menagerie. The first six months he worked eight hours per day on the effect! No matter the monetary cost, most participants of the workshop will never master the feat. On the other hand, they learned so much more and who knows – perhaps ideas even more magical to them.
Five new Coin Menagerie workshops are scheduled for 2009. I would prefer that no more be held, so that my experience would remain as exclusive as possible. What each attendee takes from this experience though is truly unique. For me it will always be the most inspiring and learning experience I’ve had in many years of magic. I am grateful beyond words and I’m sure most of us are the same in this regard. Was it all ‘worth’ it in the end? Yes, and more – so much more!
At Magic Live #2 in Las Vegas, I saw Armando Lucero perform an effect called Empanada. I cannot recall a magic effect that had more impact on me than this effect. — Frank Klein
I first became interested in magic at the age of 10 when the Blackstone magic show came to San Antonio, TX and lit the fire. Since then, I have been performing magic professionally for 40 years. My focus is on strolling magic and dinner/stage shows for corporations/organizations.
At Magic Live #2 in Las Vegas, I saw Armando Lucero perform an effect called Empanada. I cannot recall a magic effect that had more impact on me than this effect. I couldn’t get it out of my mind for the longest time, actually two years. It was just pure magic.
When I met Armando at Magic Live #3 this summer (2007) and found out about his upcoming card seminar (which thankfully included Empanada) I jumped at the chance to attend, even though I have not specialized in card magic.
The seminar took place in late October 2007 and we had six students, so actually there was plenty of personalized one - on - one instruction. Armando was very patient and detailed in his instructions of the sleights he was teaching us. The students were of varying skill levels and he took the time to ensure everyone understood and could perform a particular sleight before he continued. The handouts were most complete and detailed, including photographs. The videos we had access to on his website for follow - up and review were most helpful.
The seminar was not inexpensive, but I think it was well worth it. I have some new sleights and card effects, but most importantly an understanding in Armando’s approach to performing magic. Ultimately, I have a magic effect that will take me time to master, but I will devote the time and effort to it because it is worth it. Empanada is that great. I just wish he wouldn’t have anymore seminars that include it. It really IS that great!
Quite possibly the most impressive, most magical, most impossible, most entertaining piece of card magic theatre I’ve ever seen, and in Armando’s hands a work of enduring beauty and mystery. If Mozart had created card tricks, this is what they’d look like. — Ian Rowland
"Quite possibly the most impressive, most magical, most impossible, most entertaining piece of card magic theatre I’ve ever seen, and in Armando’s hands a work of enduring beauty and mystery. If Mozart had created card tricks, this is what they’d look like”.
“When you get into magic, you hope that if you live long enough, travel far enough, and spend enough late hours in enough bad bars you’ll one day see some real magic. Not something ‘clever’ or ‘flashy’ or merely very skillful, but something so magical, so impossible, so ‘No way!’ that you are transported to a world where magic is real and nothing is impossible. I’ve had maybe a dozen such moments in my life. Three of them were seeing Armando Lucero perform Empanada. It’s THAT good. The first time I ever saw this routine; I had to travel halfway round the world to see it. It was worth it. When Armando performs this routine, you are seeing real magic. It’s a creation of lasting beauty and mystery that will haunt me forever.”
I now use Empanada as a closer for my close up show. It’s that strong!!! — Jason Flores
“The experience, the psychology and the moves from Armando’s card workshop are worth every penny. When it comes to using these moves to create routines, he taught us that the sky is the limit. I personally use these moves the most when performing card magic. They are extremely powerful. I will treasure the experience and the moves from the workshop for a very long time. I now use Empanada as a closer for my close up show. It’s that strong!!! I highly recommend this workshop for serious card workers.”
The” Coin Menagerie” by Armando Lucero is literally breathtaking. Quite simply, it was the most profound and perfect piece of magic I had ever witnessed. — Jerome Finley
For the last decade I have performed exclusively as a mentalist, but at one time I was a magician. I never really thought I would pick up magic again; for me, it had been lost.
Over the years I had learned hundreds of “tricks”, but very little MAGIC. Mentalism allowed me the intellectual and psychological stimulation I once got from close up sleight of hand performances; it was the more refined art… and I love it dearly.
All of these views would soon change with only four coins and four cards.
The” Coin Menagerie” by Armando Lucero is literally breathtaking. Quite simply, it was the most profound and perfect piece of magic I had ever witnessed. I simply had no clue, but even better, I found myself headstrong in the experience of true MAGIC. To see such a flawless execution of any material is rare and this piece was so romantic, so harmonic, and so elegantly perfect… it brought tears to my eyes. I felt magic swelling up inside of me and, for the first time in many years, the urge to learn something new.
I was fortunate to have seen it many times both in Armando’s hands and also performed by world class magician Paul Vigil. “If I’m ever going to do another piece of magic, let it be this!”
I intended to become a student in Armando Lucero’s first coin workshop. He was charging a lot of money to learn his work, but, truth be told, I would have paid $10,000.00 to learn just this one piece.
The workshop was a few months away and I never stopped thinking about the “Coin Menagerie”.
I look back and remember talking on the phone with Paul as he was learning the routine. I would call him at 3:00 a.m. just to talk, “What are you doing?” Inevitably, the answer was always the same, “Busting on the Matrix”.
Later, when I saw Paul, he performed the routine for me. I usually have a lot to say after watching magic of any sort, but not this time. What was there to say? I was shattered on the inside, in a sublime way. I didn’t want to say a word; I just gave Vigil a well deserved hug and sat astonished.
Within the hour, we were on the phone with Armando to discuss my intent to learn with him. I signed up immediately for the Coin Menagerie workshop – 5 days, $2,500.00, Vegas. That’s all I needed to know!
The workshop wasn’t to be held for a few months, which would give me time to prepare. Trips to Vegas allowed me to spend time with Armando beforehand and watch him perform. The man is a power house. His magic is clear, elegant, and beautiful to watch; it resonates with spectators. I must have seen the Coin Menagerie 100 times and it was still as perfect then as it was the first time I seen it; essentially, I just hadn’t a clue to how this was possible.
I made all the money for the coin and optional card workshop through performing extra gigs. I was considering this a wise investment; I didn’t know, at the time, that it would become the wisest investment I would ever make in my career and magic to this point. During the wait, I often had dreams of Lucero’s “Matrix” - it impacted me on levels that deep.
When the workshop started, I felt giddy inside. This excitement lasted over the entire 5 days of learning and I’m still as excited and passionate about it now.
The workshop was small and intimate, just 4 people to kick things off. There was a prime setting picked to learn in, which allowed each of us to pick Armando’s bright mind at any time. Lucero has a real knack for teaching … over the days, and through the hours, all of us would receive not just the real work lying beneath the menagerie’s structure, but would also become schooled in Armando’s way of thinking and his unique philosophies surrounding the Art of close up magic. The “how” was secondary to the “why”. I learned very soon that Armando was paying his art and magic a special attention to detail that I had never seen before.
The Coin Menagerie became a tool with which to convey the theory, philosophy, motivation, timing, sleights and use of multiple methods and impenetrable walls of misdirection, intersecting moments and psychology behind ANY performance, using its layering’s as a model for TEACHING. From a hypnotist’s point of view, this seemed like the perfect way to teach a group of people; borrowing from all auditory, visual and kinesthetic modalities.
Each of us were given all the tools necessary to learn … repeated EXQUISITE performances by Armando, in depth teaching, hands on learning and assistance and brain bleeding discussions about every little portion, subtlety and nuance. Nothing was left out! To supplement our learning there would be a miniature book, written by Paul Vigil, which Armando calls the “Coin Menagerie lecture notes”.
Photographs and written instruction with microscopic detail were all there. Further, we had access to videos online of the Coin Menagerie performances. At any time, we could log on and view the routine, read from the notes and practice, practice, practice what we had learned in person. Armando was present 110% of the time and ready and willing to help anyone with anything. He moved slowly and patiently while teaching and allowed the vast information to sink in before proceeding.
In the end we would not only have the most perfect piece of close up magic I have experienced, but also a near perfect model with which to check our own magic routines and repertoire against. This was a good and bad thing; as I left Vegas missing half of my professional repertoire! I began to apply his teachings immediately and started stripping the fat away from all my material. In other cases applying the concepts would make everything I did even better, more invisible, stronger.
To say the Coin Menagerie workshop was “worth it” would be an enormous understatement. The Coin Menagerie workshop is “IT”! I feel like I have grown by leaps and bounds since attending. For awhile I felt as if I had hit a plateau in many ways and then a great teacher like Armando comes along and breathes new life into your art, thinking and performances. The workshop is NOT about the Coin Menagerie, but what is learned while learning the coin menagerie.
The small classes and intimate setting made it possible to really bond with the other participants. We were all in this together, helping one another and providing encouragement along the way. Later, we would perform the Coin Menagerie for each other with Armando coaching us from the side lines. This was invaluable.
The group’s camaraderie was incredibly strong. I consider each of those guys my brothers and friends in life, art and magic now. It was a joy seeing all of us progress through the performances, lectures, discussions and training together. In less than a week, 4 people grew and grew right before my eyes. Armando was creating giants!
THE COIN MENAGERIE WILL BE MINE! Already, I feel it within my grasp.
Armando Lucero is a very kind and gentle person. He has more integrity than many people I know, magician or not. One can tell his mind is on fire, in love with his art. His performances are faultless and he is always calm and ready to “bust”. Armando also has a great sense of humor and is very easy to be around. With many interests and talents outside of magic, I found him a complete person and teacher as well as an expert, veteran performer. I cannot speak more highly of him.
I also attended Armando’s card workshop which was just as great, albeit short (1 day compared to 5). The card techniques, just as the coin work, are flawless. He provides the participants with new tools to use and create their magic with. Two things are certain, that Armando’s workshop(s) has changed my life; by transforming my thinking and approach to magic and mentalism, and that the man himself is one of the crown jewels of magic. I am proud to call him a friend and teacher.
I would recommend the Coin Menagerie Workshop AND the Card Workshop to any serious student of Magic, Art and Theatre. Even if I never performed the Coin Menagerie routine (which I most definitely WILL), this workshop would still be worth what I paid for it, tenfold. The workshop was top notch and the materials were EXCELLENT. It was a true learning experience that is all but unknown these days.
I am a mentalist, but I do perform one piece of magic - I could not be more happy or grateful because of it - The Coin Menagerie.
One thing for sure, neither I nor any of the other attendees were bored for even a minute. — Jerry Serlin
I attended the Coin Menagerie (five days) and Pasteboard Devices (one day) workshops held by Armando Lucero in Las Vegas in 2007.
I am an amateur, who took up close-up magic after retiring as a partner in a law firm in March of 2000. I have taken lessons from other magicians, but nothing like the length and intensity of these six days. I had not seen Armando perform previously, and I can tell you that to see him live is quite a treat. I never thought of close-up magic as an art form, but after watching Armando perform, I have changed my mind.
As an instructor, Armando did an absolutely terrific job presenting his effects, explaining in great detail the sleights and rationale behind each move, and describing why he selected one approach over another. He also presented, particularly in the coin workshop, his theory and methods of misdirection and the routining of effects to make them more magical and difficult to uncover the secrets. One thing for sure, neither I nor any of the other attendees were bored for even a minute. The one hour lunch break was a working lunch, so we were able to benefit from his 30 years of experience and originality. His high energy level never declined throughout the six days. His passion for the art of magic was apparent.
The card workshop, as explained on his website, presented two sleights used in his card effects. Those sleights are not easy; I expect it to take me many months before using them in performance, but those sleights enable one to perform some amazing feats of magic with a normal deck of cards. One day was really insufficient to gain a real understanding of the use of the sleights in not only Armando’s creations, but their applicability in other card effects as well. In addition, one day does not allow the participants to gain an understanding of the underlying concepts he uses to misdirect and avoid detection by even the most astute observer. I would like to have had more time in this workshop, and I believe he is looking at incorporating that into upcoming card workshops.
This workshop provides tools, routines and philosophies for serious performers. — John Dahlinger
You are paying for more than just two moves, which could have been explained in a single DVD and sold for $35. You are paying for exclusivity and private instruction. Imagine if no one else knew that you could turn over 2 cards as one, or that one could hide a playing card in your palm. You would perform miracles for the ignorant. Most laypeople see (well-structured) magic that way, using one or both of those sleights. Unfortunately, all laypeople can also very easily access information on those sleights via the internet. In Armando’s workshop, you receive two sleights that only a handful of magicians know, and not a single layperson. You also receive insight into the mind of a very creative magician. Armando’s style is theatrical and mysterious. The magic is clear and mind-bending. The price tag is set to maintain that exclusiveness and to attract the serious.
I admit that I am still working on the moves and routines, 3 months after the workshop. I expect it will be some time before I am ready to perform them, but that is Ok with me. Learning anything worthwhile takes time and effort. I practiced magic for a long time before I performed for laypeople because I am serious about performing well. This workshop provides tools, routines and philosophies for serious performers. Armando is a wonderful teacher and the lessons he imparts go much deeper than the moves. I appreciate his willingness to share and look forward to more, if it can be coaxed out of him.
It was the sort of thing where you go, ’Holy f***, I have no idea… — Mac King
The inability to experience wonder is an occupational hazard for career magicians. They can fool an audience, but eventually— even when David Copperfield vanishes the Statue of Liberty— nothing surprises them. Lucero astonished everyone. “I probably saw Armando do that coin trick ten times,” says Mac King, who works at Harrah’s in Las Vegas. “It was the sort of thing where you go, ‘Holy f***, I have no idea.’ ” Magicians arrived from all over to watch Lucero’s four quarters move invisibly across a table. “That’s what magicians get hyped about,” says King. “Two cards, a coin under one. Now it’s under the other with no move. It’s so simple, it’s inexplicable.”
Excerpt from “The Magic Castle” article
Los Angeles Magazine
Issue Date: October 2006
From a personal point of view, my goal was to learn his routine, “The Empanada” at any cost. This routine for me fulfilled all the criteria I look for when selecting powerful material for my professional programs. — Michael Vincent
I first met Armando at The Magic Castle in 2001. Gordon Bean brought Armando to my attention, he asked me to watch his famous “Coin Menagerie”. To say I was blown away would be an understatement.
I would see Armando again at various conventions like The FFFF Convention in 2004 and Ron McMillan’s in the same year. It came to my attention that Armando ran private workshops teaching his attitude and approach to the constructions and design of strong, powerful card magic.
I became intrigued with Armando’s workshop after witnessing his sensational effect “The Empanada”. I made up my mind to save up and invest in his workshop; this took place in Stockholm 2006 during The FISM Convention.
The workshop accommodates about six people who are given the option to drop out after witnessing a demonstration from Armando. What is important to mention here is that Armando is quite willing to allow potential students walk away if they feel this isn’t right for them. For those who stay and take the four-hour class, the experience is a fascinating journey into the very fabric of what makes card magic such a rich subject.
From a personal point of view, my goal was to learn his routine, “The Empanada” at any cost. This routine for me fulfilled all the criteria I look for when selecting powerful material for my professional programs. In learning this routine from Armando, I came away with a lot more than I could have hoped for.
The techniques that he teaches are radical and open up new pathways for the creative process. Also, you are confronted with the issues surrounding secrecy, integrity, purpose, respect for the craft, and your own personal relationship with the subject.
The workshop isn’t cheap and rightly so.
With secrets exchanging hands so easily, this workshop forces the participant to examine their own attitude towards secrecy, so much so, you are asked to sign an agreement to protect your investment and preserve the integrity of Armando’s work. I admire and respect Armando for taking this stance; it means that his contribution to our craft will fall into the hands of people who place the craft above comfort and reward.
This workshop inspired me with a deeper appreciation for card magic and the craft in general. It also raised my appreciation for Armando Lucero as a person. He is someone who deeply cares about our craft and is prepared to hold the craft of magic and the people who attend his workshop to the same high standard he holds himself too.
There is an old saying, “Who you associate with is who you become”. Taking this workshop and aligning yourself with someone of Armando’s stature will do wonders for your magic and your own self-esteem. This entire process has my highest recommendation.
Today, almost three years later, I can confirm that the material is practical and convincing. The sleights can be mastered with thorough practice. — Ralph Cos
Armando did a thorough job of introducing and teaching the secret sleights. They were framed by tricks that ranged from pick-a-card effects to divinations, coincidences, and Aces to Kings. The value of his techniques were illustrated in an impressive manner.
The workshop was a true hands-on experience with – in my case - only three participants. Duration was four to five hours, enough to really get started on the material. Valuable follow-up was provided through secured video files via the internet and Armando’s offer to answer specific questions via email. I probably expected some of this for the solid price. In fact, what I really received was high quality work that went beyond spending a nice and interesting afternoon: the material was relevant to me and in agreement with the introductions on Armando’s website. Since the value of the work would greatly depend my own profile, I contacted Armando by email to gain a better feeling for the class. In case you may seriously consider attending, I can only recommend you get in touch with him, too.
Today, almost three years later, I can confirm that the material is practical and convincing. The sleights can be mastered with thorough practice. They serve as utility moves and may streamline your existing repertoire. They are masterpieces by design. They bear the sort of beauty common to all finished things and I feel privileged to have taken the chance on them.
Having witnessed the miracle on two separate performances, I found myself unable to determine a way to duplicate the feat. — Tim Conover
Having witnessed the miracle on two separate performances, I found myself unable to determine a way to duplicate the feat. I loved the construction, the skill that remains required, and inside secrets that make it all possible.
Thank you for sharing the inside secrets of your wonderful mystery, that is the trademark of all of your work in the magical arts … clarity, skill, simplicity, and impossibility.
It is always inspiring to witness the journey of another Picasso! Thanks.