Long before the internet and even computers. In fact, way back in 1911, the first "hack" occurred and it was by a famous magician. It happened when Nevil Maskelyne, son of John Nevil Maskelyne and father of Jasper Maskelyne, part of a famous magic dynasty, interrupted a demonstration of Gugliemo Marconi's "secure" wireless telegraph. The story forms the basis of an informative article on "patent trolling."
You can read the story here.
Here's a great routine with a casino theme that employs a standard mentalism method. I like Thom Peterson's routine which can strongly connect with spectators.
In the routine you virtually take a spectator to a casino. As they imagine a game of craps, you write a prediction down on a napkin or post-it note and crumple and drop it into an empty cup. You then ask him to name the total that appears on the pair of dice in his mind (it's a free choice). This process is followed in a similar manner where you write down a prediction and then the spectator tells you the result of a virtual spin of a roulette wheel, and then the dealer's "hole" card in a game of black jack. At the end, you show your predictions and they prove to be correct.
If the process sounds familiar, the routine is based on a classic mentalism approach that's been enhanced with a means to accurately number the predictions for additional verification. I appreciate the work that fortifies the standard effect. The instructions are well written and the props are first rate. Also, the effect is not difficult to learn and perform and requires no difficult moves.
When you purchase the effect, you not only learn the routine but receive a gimmick that allows you perform it. However, the gimmick is well known to almost all magicians. In fact, most magicians already own a version of the gimmick. As a result, this routine could have been published in a magazine to allow magicians to learn and perform it.
I think Pit Boss Jr. is a great routine. But I think that magicians who purchase it should be warned that the gimmick, while altered slightly from its standard format, is not unique and likely something that you already have. That said, at a reasonable $15, you'll be buying a first rate routine and paying about the same as you would for the pre-made standard gimmick from a dealer. In fact, you may really like the cool gimmick that you receive that comes in its own case and can be used in other effects.
"Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay," a documentary film about Ricky Jay, is receiving positive reviews. The latest is a write-up in the Los Angeles Times.
"This documentary provides an elegant, enthralling peek behind the curtain and into the you-won't-trust-your-eyes world of this celebrated contemporary conjurer," says the review.
You can read the review here.
To promote "Now You See Me," his newest movie, Jesse Eisenberg attempts to perform a card trick for David Letterman on national television. Eisenberg is game but his magic skills leave lots to be desired and Letterman, the ever tough host on magicians, doesn't help. Letterman's intrusions aside, it's typical for a magic beginner to completely over-estimate his skills of magic and persuasion.
You can watch the segment here.
I also like the court cards that are printed with metallic ink. Overall, I found the deck to be just about everything that is stated in the ads. If you like to employ "designer" decks of cards in your magic or enjoy collecting them, this is a cool deck to consider.
Doc Dixon recently submitted to me some materials for review. Starting strong, the first product I looked at was his "Psychic Cents" ebook. For ten bucks, you receive an ebook that explains a fantastic prediction effect that is baffling as well as practical for many close-up situations, including strolling. Best of all, the effect has some built-in humor that makes it a clear winner.
You bring out a business card wallet that contains an envelope with some pocket change in it. You ask two spectators to name a number between one and nine to form a two-digit number. When you empty the envelope into their hands, the amount of change is found to be two-cents short of the freely formed number. You then show an additional item still in the envelope, a note that reads "I.O.U. two cents." Your prediction was correct.
The effect takes practice but it's not hard to learn and perform and there are no difficult moves. Reset is fast and you can do this as you walk to another location. By the way, if you're thinking "swami," this does not rely on one.
I really like this one and am looking forward to trying it out. Well done. You can reach Doc Dixon's site here.
If you've never seen this illusion, it's a mind-blower.
You can watch the illusion here.
Criss Angel recently filmed an illusion on Fremont Street in Las Vegas for his new Spike series, "Criss Angel BeLIEve," which debuts in October. According to an article by Mike Weatherford in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the illusion seemed "oddly familiar." In the illusion, Angel is tied to a table with several swords dangling from above. Swords are randomly selected by spectators and allowed to fall. All of the swords are positioned to miss Angel's body, but one is aimed at his heart. Somehow, in this variation on Russian Roulette, Angel escapes injury and death.
"An illusion Criss Angel is staging on Fremont Street for television cameras today sounds extremely familiar to Riviera magician Jan Rouven [who performs a similar illusion in his show at the Riviera in Las Vegas]," says the story. "I think Criss Angel saw it at the Clarion," Rouven is quoted as saying. "He really liked that one. ... We had a fun conversation about it," but Angel never asked for permission to perform it.
You can read the story here.
So what does it take to balance magic with story, characters and plots? What are the challenges of featuring and filming magic in a movie? What's the back-story on how this film came together? Read all this and more.
You can read my interview here.
By the way, if your magic club or group would like to arrange a screening of this film in your area, you can do so. Also, you can check for local screenings that have already been organized. For more information, click here.
Two cards are folded - one lengthwise and the other width wise - and the longer folded card is placed inside of the other. And in the classic Roy Walton effect, you push one card through the other and it appears to turn over. It's a strong, visual illusion.
If you have ever wanted to improve your routine by applying an intriguing theme, or would simply like to explore an amazing collection of variations and approaches on the effect, you'll like Jeff Pierce's "The Cardwarp Tour."
You can read my review here.