After a busy month of conventions and travel I’ve finally had some time to check out a few of the latest arrivals. Some months I have a hard time just finding a few items to recommend - not so this month! Lots of great magic has arrived and I had a hard time keeping the list down to just these few. I think every one of these is usable, magical, and pretty darn clever too. I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with a single one from the group.
So starting reading and I think you’ll be clicking that “Add to Cart” button soon after...
- The Magic Square: I’ve always been a big fan of this plot and have toyed with many approaches and presentations. I really think Luis has hit upon a great approach for anyone doing stage or stand up shows. The method is bold but it eliminates ALL math, memory work, and frankly any chance for error. This would NOT be a good method for a close up worker but I could easily see this becoming THE method of choice for any stage act.
- Sharp Impressions: The blister trick has never been big on my list of favorites, although I do enjoy the transformation aspect of Tim Trono’s Branded. The reason Sharp Impressions appears on my current list of picks is the SECOND trick in the routine. I can not tell you how much mileage I’ve been getting from the transformation of the word Sharpie into the name of the selected card. I know it sounds simple BUT the reactions are killer! I think the font choice is what makes it seem so strong...the design seems to make spectator see the transformation occur. Personally, I’m just using it for that effect...but if the blister effect appeals to you then this is a no brainer. Over all I think it’s worth every penny just for the marker!
- Look Sharp: Yes, that right - two Sharpie tricks in one month! Another simple idea that generates very strong response for very little effort. I think any magician who uses a Sharpie to sign a card would find this effect a perfect addition to their act. It can be used in a number of ways and features three routines on the DVD. Of course, I think most performers will find their own path on this one. I personally have been playing with combining it with Sharp Impressions! A one two Sharpie punch! Great stuff...
- Enchanted Ring Improved: The Enchanted Ring has been a popular plot in magic since Anverdi since created it decades ago. There have been some great ones and some painfully poor ones. Dave Powell’s new approach falls in the “great” category. Dave has redesigned the gimmick and made it virtually fool proof. The props can be examined before and after the effect and the actual penetration works smooth as silk. If you’re a fan of the plot, you will be very happy with this purchase. If it’s new to you, you’ll be even more amazed! Not to mention, this is a VERY well made piece of apparatus, high quality parts and finely crafted. Great for the performer or collector.
- Ultimate Wild Card: I’ve long been a fan of the Wild Card routine. I would easily categorize it as one of the most stunning and visual pieces of card magic you can perform. Properly executed it’s a complete mind blower for any lay audience. Vallarino’s routine is BEAUTIFULLY choreographed, sort of like a ballet of playing cards. The changes look astonishing and the audience is convinced that they see every back and front throughout the routine. While not self-working, I certainly would not call this advanced. I think the average card magician will be well versed in every move used. Even if you’re not typically a card worker, you’ll still be fine – Vallarino covers every move and technique on the DVD, no stone is left unturned.
- Desire Test: The Hungarian magician and creator Astor has developed some devilishly clever magic. His Mental Epic is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’m also a big fan of his Astor Mental, Astor's Trio, and Visible Card Frame. Now I can add his Desire test to my list! This is a simple and effective prediction effect that uses no force or complex moves. The use of “desires” adds a level of interest and opens up many presentational possibilities. It also includes a bonus handling from Jeff McBride. You will have to provide you own white board marker but those are easily obtained in any office supply store.
- Any Signed Card to Any Spectator’s Wallet: I love to be surprised. I must admit that when I first saw all the hype for this it all sounded a little too good to be true. I was certain that I would be disappointed. But as I said, I love to be surprised. This is VERY clever and highly practical. It not only allows for its namesake card to wallet approach, but also allows you to control a card under impossible conditions. Jeff Kaylor covers every detail on the DVD and even offers a number of great ideas and insights, including great approach with an idea from Wesley James. I can easily see this becoming a secret tool for frying layman and magicians alike within countless card routines. I don’t want to tip too much but there is a minor clothing requirement. You will need a button down shirt, but that’s the ONLY requirement. If you’ve been on the fence about this, I would say take the plunge. I think you’ll be surprised too!
In just a few days I’ll be heading to Europe for the Nordisch Nobel Congress in Luebeck, Germany, followed closely by the Annual Congress of the Italian Magic Club outside of Padua, Italy. As you know from previous posts, I’m on the road a considerable amount. I think I’ve been to more magic conventions then just about anyone I know and I’m often asked about where to get info on such events. I always start by saying, “Go.”
If you have the opportunity to attend a magic convention, then GO! These events are a huge amount of work and the cost to mount one takes a great deal of expense, time, and energy. Support from attendees like you is the ONLY thing that makes them survive and grow. They tend to be very inexpensive compared with other professional conferences and you’ll have the opportunity to learn and share with a wide variety of performers, creators, and enthusiasts. The experience you’ll gain is invaluable and frankly, IMPOSSIBLE to acquire any other way. To get the most from the event you’ll need to extended yourself a bit and take an active role. You’ll get more from the convention if you participate in the experience and not just act as an observer. Don’t be shy, everyone was or is just like you and the only way to grow is to take advantage of the opportunites around you.
So get your magic buds together, load up the car, and hit the dusty highways. It’s time for a magic road trip! Here are a few places to get your planning started...
Fall is in the air and kids are back in school. Perhaps it’s time for you to consider a bit of “continuing education”. Lots of great items have hit the shelves recently. Why not stretch your mind and magic skills by picking up something new? Here are a few great choices to get you started...
- Compressed Deck: It goes without saying that this is one of my new picks. I wrote about it already in my last blog post, so I don’t think there’s much more to say. I am very pleased with this new Elmwood Magic product and I think you will be too.
- On The Mark, Hip Pocket Edition: We sold this item when it was originally released with the full size wallet. It was in Paul’s Picks then and it makes another appearance now. Back then the ONLY issue anyone ever mentioned is that they wished it was available in a smaller wallet. Well, wish granted! This has become a part of my real world work and I personally love the new design. Another winner from Mark Elsdon!
- Wormhole: This reminds me a great deal of an old Bob Solari item called Bookmark Miracle. While similar in method to Bob’s effect, Ali Nouira and the folks at Big Blind Media have really refined the approach and have included some GREAT bonus ideas and effects. The effect is simple and requires virtually no moves at all. I also enjoyed the bonus routines using the blank card and the joker, so don’t pass up those ideas on the DVD. All in all a very nice product for those looking for signed card magic with a minimum of skill.
- All Will Be Consumed: Christopher Wiehl has created a very clever gimmick for doing a signed coin to sealed bottle. This works with almost any plastic bottle as long as the item actually can fit through the mouth. It can be used with a ring, coin, even a Sharpie! The included gimmick will work with a Gatorade bottle but you can easily make another to fit other kinds of plastic bottles. Lot’s of good information on the DVD and some excellent tips and presentations as well. Don’t miss Chris’ idea for how to handle a repeat performance for the same audience…I thought it was GREAT!
- The Regal Ring Chain: David Regal is one clever little man. I love his stuff not just for how commercial and practical it is but also for how diabolical his methods are. The Regal Ring Chain is a worker and I can see it easily making its way into the repertoires of most working professionals. All it will require is the ability to vanish a ring – you can make that moment as simple or as complex as you like – other than that the skills used are just about zero. This makes a nice change of pace from ring flight type effects and can be used at any point in your performance.
- Note: I must admit I was skeptical when I first popped this disk in, it sounded a little too good to be true. But I’ve been very impressed by the other items from Matt Sconce, so I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. This is VERY strong stuff and I could see this be used to really fry someone. The “gimmick” is very low tech and simple to use. You can make just about anything appear on the spectator - a shape, a card, a word, initials - the field is wide open. The DVD covers all aspects and approaches, no stone is unturned. If the effect appeals to you, I think you’ll be very pleased with the method and the product.
- Photosynthesis: I went back and forth on this one. I really love the way it looks and the method. But I’m still not 100% sold on doing this effect one on one. I think it’s best used in a formal show, it could even be used for a small stand up performance. One on one, I think there would be too much heat on the photo which might be an issue. However, I think that could easily be dealt with when staging it for a formal show. I think this looks so weird and the effect seems so impossible that it’s well worth working on...very cool stuff!
If you’re a magician, then there’s a good chance you already know the name Luke Dancy. Luke is one clever dude and has created a boatload of ingenious magic that has received rave reviews from magician’s world wide. He’s currently a creator and consultant for Criss Angel on the hit television series “Mindfreak”. He’s also one of the founders of The Magic Session, an online center for magicians world wide to share ideas, interact with other magicians, and find inspiration for their magic.
I’m proud to be among the first producers to release Luke’s magic to the mainstream and his items have always been very popular. His effects DiVision and Misprint have been long time best sellers for us. Both of these items are visual, offbeat, and strong...the typical traits of any Dancy creation. Recently we introduced a great new item from Luke called Compressed Deck and it is without a doubt another hit! The first folks to see it in all its glory were at the recent Magic Live convention and it had many attendees coming back to see it again and again! It was a complete sell-out by the end of the convention and some folks were buying two just because they liked the custom holder it comes with! When we returned home and made it live on the site - we sold out on every unit in less than 24 hours! I assure you it has been some time since any item caused that kind of wildfire sell out. Luckily, we’re fully stocked again and we’re doing our best to keep the inventory levels up high.
If you haven’t picked up Compressed Deck yet, it is definitely worth checking out. I’ve had a great time performing it and the effect you see in the demo video is just one possible approach. The DVD also features additional ideas and Luke’s fantastic Full Deck routine which uses Compressed Deck as a lead to a Dr Daley’s Last Trick and finishes with the production of a FULL DECK of cards! Every detail of this routine is covered on the disk and I think it’s definitely going to find its way into the act of many working professionals.
“Perspective – Use it or lose it.”
This post is not meant as an attack. Merely some observations...
With exceedingly rare exceptions, the most financially successful magicians make much less than a successful person in almost any other profession. For example, I think it’s safe to say that the average successful magician makes less than a successful lawyer.
The level of fame achieved by magicians, even at the highest level of the game, is far less than the level that can be achieved by performers outside of magic. That is to say, David Copperfield is certainly famous (and I'm one of his biggest fans) but there's no denying that someone like Brad Pit is far more recognizable.
Magicians do not create lasting societal change. As magicians, we do not feed the hungry, clothe the naked, run into burning buildings, cure disease, nor do we create tools for the betterment of man.
While none of these things stand alone as a gauge to the success of a man. They are useful tests in understanding why someone might develop an inflated ego. Since magicians seem to fall short in these tests then why....
...well, I'll just let you do the math.
Keep it in check boys.