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Getting Started in Magic

If you are just starting out in magic, here's where you can find easy beginning tricks and read tips on how to learn and perform magic.

Magic & Illusion Spotlight10

Stunning Card Transpositions?

Wednesday April 23, 2014

Review of "FaceShifter"

Transpositions are among the strongest elements that one can present in a card trick. And FaceShifter offers a transposition that allows you to show a card until the very last minute, before it somehow trades places with another card.

You can watch my video where I employ the gimmicked card here. (Note that I changed the handling a bit for this demonstration.)

Making the Trade
You show two cards and lay them onto the table.
You prove one card is where you say you put it. And then the cards trade places. If you like, you can perform this so the magic occurs in a spectator's hands.

The magic is accomplished with some fundamental sleight of hand and a gimmicked card that comes in the kit. The gimmicked card is practical and effective and works as it should. It's much like a flipper coin in function (but not mechanics).

Best yet, the kit provides materials to repair the gimmick or make your own out of other cards. The process of making a gimmick is not difficult, but it's work at a tiny scale.

Trade Off?
Face Shifter has value and allows you to perform a stunning transposition, but it means that you are not left clean. The gimmick can't withstand examination but looks normal at a glance. On the other hand, traditional sleight of hand leaves you clean, but you don't get that cool display at the very last second. It's a trade-off.

More Reading:
Review of Audio Transposition by Daryl
Review of Chardshark by Daniel Chard

Review of Simplex Monte

Monday April 21, 2014

While "monte" is part of the name, Simplex Monte is not just another magic version of classic three card monte. Like many of the marketed packet effects, this one relies on gimmicked cards, but it offers the means to make some visual transformations that just can't be done with the other methods out there.

Follow the Face Card
In classic Monte tradition, you invite a spectator to follow the "different" card - a face card among two jokers, but it just can't be done. And at the end, the "different" card vanishes and appears in another location. It's a strong three-phased routine with the first two in the hands and the third on table.

You can watch my video of the trick where I perform two of the three phases.

This one is not difficult to learn and perform, the cards do most of the work. The gimmicked card can't be examined but it hides itself nicely. There's one routine that leaves you clean. The effect relies on a well constructed gimmicked card. The gimmick will no doubt wear out with use and the kit provides no materials to create new gimmicks.

There are lots of Monte routines out there that rely on gaffed cards: Bob Sheets' Killer Kitson Miracle (based on a Pat Page gimmick), Michael Skinner's famous version and Garrett Thomas' Stand-Up Monte.

Perhaps all have equal impact on lay spectators. But none look like and play like Simplex Monte. Again, check out my video to see the effect in action, here.

Ballet With Classic Manipulation

Saturday April 19, 2014

I just came across this fascinating video. Here, a dancer combines ballet with classic magic manipulation. (The routine starts at 0:34.)

Is it a winning combination or simply a gimmick? It's innovative and definitely worth watching.

You can watch the video here.

More Reading:
Book Review: Theatrical Magic by John Pyka
DVD Review: Incredible Dancing Paper Napkin

Review of Twisted Queens by Sansmind

Wednesday April 16, 2014
"Twisted Queens" sounds like a "twisting the aces" type of packet card trick, but it's actually a torn and restored playing card with an unexpected kicker at its end.

You have a spectator freely select a playing card from the deck. Let's say that it's the queen of hearts.

In the classic "torn and restored" process, you tear up the card and place the pieces into the spectator's hands, which he covers. When the spectator opens his hands, the card has restored itself. But wait, the queen couldn't see what she was doing and has mismade herself in the process (see picture).

This is not a piece-by-piece restoration of a playing card, the type that is so popular these days. Obviously, this one works by switching the torn pieces for the different card that features the warped image.

This one is not difficult to learn and perform and the DVD teaches a routine with a lighter that is used as able misdirection. You can give away the restored card and you end clean. Also, this one can be performed under a variety of conditions and the angles are wide.

Queen for a Queen?
The kit comes with ten cards for ten performances. However, to perform the trick, each time, you'll have to tear up a queen of hearts of your own. I think that these should have been provided with the trick. Be warned.

I think that this one can play strong. It's definitely something different from the typical torn and restored card.

More Reading:
Review: Make Amends by Wayne Fox
Trick Review: Ripped-Up by Peter Egglink
Torn 2 Pieces by Shawn Farquhar
DVD Review: Treasures Vol 2 by Alexander De Cova

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