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Wayne Kawamoto

Magic & Illusion

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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).

Restoration
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

Review of Last Prediction by Kneill X and Big Blind Media

Tuesday April 15, 2014

This is not only a "last prediction," it's an open prediction with playing cards - one that you clearly make before any proceedings. And the process is seemingly fair and practically self-working.

The Last Process
You bring out a deck of cards and openly write a prediction of a single paying card. Everyone gets to see and acknowledge it. This is left in plain view. You hand a deck of cards to a spectator who mixes it and openly deals cards face up onto the table until he wants to stop.

At the stopping point, the chosen card is not revealed and is attached face-down to a card box with a rubber band. After dealing through the remaining cards face up, it's noted that the prediction card has not been dealt. The selected card is released from the card box and it is the predicted card.

Self Working
This one relies on a gimmick that is included. Once you know the secret, you can easily create gimmicks out of your own cards and decks.

This is a good effect that is easy to learn and perform and that should play well. It's great for beginners. The accompanying DVD instructs you on everything that you need to perform the effect and also teaches a triumph effect.

Is it indeed the "Last Prediction?" It may not be the final word in predictions but should serve you well.

More Reading:
Review: Spot On
Review: Inside Thoughts by Haim Goldenberg
Trick Review: Mind Twister

Is Magic Disrupting the 'Tempest' Narrative?

Sunday April 13, 2014
In a Los Angeles Times review descriptively titled "Magic breaks the spell of 'The Tempest' in Vegas," the writer indicates that the production's magic is disruptive to the presentation. This production is notable to the magic community because of the involvement of Teller.

"The legerdemain (Johnny Thompson is the wizard behind the magic design) is thankfully a good deal less hackneyed," says the review. "Actually, the populism eclipses the poetry, but then lyrical imagery hardly stands a chance when every few minutes agog spectators are clapping at some levitating mystery."

I think it's the age-old issue of whether magic can be incorporated into a theatrical narrative to enhance it without calling attention to itself and taking audience members out of the moment. Having not seen the show, I don't know if the reviewer dislikes magic and reacted negatively as a result, or if the employment of magic was truly jarring in its use in this production.

You can read the entire story here.

More Reading:
Three Magic Shows to See in Las Vegas: Copperfield, Mac King, Penn and Teller
Las Vegas Magic Shows

Review Follow-Ups: Voucher, M-Case and The Romero Box

Friday April 11, 2014

Reader response has been positive to the videos that I have been posting on my YouTube channel to supplement my reviews. Here are some follow-ups with information on some new reviews and answers to readers' questions.

Vouching for Voucher

I can describe Sansmind's Voucher in print, but nothing compares to a video to show you what the fake coupon book looks like in practice. As a result, you can watch my new video of Voucher here and read my review here.

Switching Bicycle Boxes
A reader asked about my comparison between the two switching card boxes disguised as Bicycle boxes: M-Case and The Romero Box. After watching my video, the reader rightfully pointed out that I didn't show the boxes after the switch.

The inside of both boxes may be casually displayed, just as they were at the beginning of their videos. The Romero Box looks identical after the switch as it does before. The M-Case is actually more convincing after the switch is made. You can read my review here.

Also, via Facebook, none other than Justin Miller kindly reminded me not to forget his marketed Legend effect that features its own, powerful switching card box.

Keep those questions and comments coming via Facebook ("friend me at "Wayne Kawamoto"), Twitter and GooglePlus.

The Five Greatest Magicians I saw Live - Nick Lewin

Wednesday April 9, 2014

It was probably tough to choose, but Nick Lewin writes in his blog about the five greatest magicians that he has seen live.


"What was so amazing was the sheer impossibility of everything that Slydini performed," says Lewin in his blog. "It was one of the few occasions when what I saw didn't look like tricks but truly appeared to be magic. A great deal is made of the fact that in order to perform Tony's magic you need to adopt some of his style and mannerisms to make it work. Unless you actually saw Slydini perform live it is easy to fail to appreciate how incredibly natural his movements and performance were when he did them."

You can read the entire list here.

More Reading:
The Top Ten Magicians of Our Time
The Top Ten Magicians of Our Time - 2013
Famous Magicians

Great Card Switching in a Bicycle Card Box

Monday April 7, 2014

Review of M-Case by Mickael Chatelain

If you want to switch one card for another in a box, you may want to consider Mickael Chatelain's M-Case, a powerful card switching case that resembles an ordinary cardboard Bicycle card box. Just as you can with a conventional card switching box, you can swap cards for various card to box, torn and restored card, color changes and more. And the box will also handle business cards and currency.

The M-Case is a cleverly gimmicked Bicycle card box that can withstand examination by spectators. It works efficiently and effectively, just as promoted and advertised. And it's easy to work with. Simply drop the box on the table and the switch is made.

M-Case Versus Romero Box
Interestingly, M-Case is one of two card switching boxes in the guise of a Bicycle card box that have recently hit the market. Antonio Romero's Romero Box is a clear competitor that also looks like a Bicycle card box and works in a similar manner. (You can read my review here.) However, there are differences.

For comparison, you can watch my video of both the Romero Box and M-Case here.

First off, the Romero Box, at $60, is nearly twice the price of the M-Case. On the plus side for the M-Case, the switch may be made as you hold the box, as well as when you drop the box onto the table. The Romero Box has to be dropped.

On the plus side for the Romero Box, the reset is slightly easier and feels sturdier. Also, the mechanism is a bit more robust to handle multiple cards.

Out of the Box
These are both card boxes that will wear out so you'll want to treat them gently - you won't want to carry these in your pants pockets. The Romero Box comes in its own protective box that offers limited protection. The M-Case, on the other hand, arrives flat and you have to fold it and use its self-adhesive to put it together. But at this point, it looks just like a regular Bicycle card box, but it's a gimmicked $30 box.

It's rather difficult to recommend one over the other. But if price is a factor, you'll probably want to go with the M-Case as it will definitely do the job. You can purchase M-Case in red and blue versions.

Again, you can watch my video of both the Romero Box and M-Case here.

More Reading:
Demo: The Magic Card Box
Aging a Card Box
A New Card to Impossible Place - Pandora System
Review of Any Signed Card to Any Spectator's Wallet

Paul Draper on Home & Family

Sunday April 6, 2014

Paul Draper recently performed on the Hallmark Channel's Home & Family show. This time, he does an excellent spoon bending routine. You can watch Draper's performance here (scroll down the page a bit to locate his segment).

More Reading:

Paul Draper on Hallmark's Home and Family
Paul Draper's Documentary on Mentalism

How to Make a Crazy Balloon Hat - Version One

Saturday April 5, 2014

It's spring and this crazy and colorful balloon hat with its swirling arch reminds me somewhat of an Easter basket.

If you'd like to make this hat, I provide all of the detailed, step-by-step instructions here.

More Reading:
Learn to Make Balloon Animals
How to Make Balloon Hats (various versions)
How to Make Sword Balloons (various versions)
How to Make a Crazy Balloon Hat - Version 2

Review of The Streets by John Archer

Thursday April 3, 2014

Here's a mentalism effect that's fresh and different. It's essentially a book test but it's done with a book of street maps. The mentalism occurs through the magic of two gimmicked map books: one for Boston and the other for London (sold separately or together).

You can watch my video that shows what the books look like and how they handle here.

Taking It To the Streets
In the main effect, someone randomly picks a city street map in a book and selects any street that they see on the page. Immediately, you can tell them what street they are thinking of. In the second effect, you riffle through the map book's index and ask a spectator to say "stop." The spectator is then asked to concentrate on a street name that you can't see, yet you are able to divulge this information. In the third effect, you can have several spectators freely select a district name ("tossed out deck" style) and you can tell each spectator which district name that they picked.

First Rate Books
The books are easy to work with and you can see in my video that they look like real, full-color map books. In fact, they're eerily convincing. While Archer says that the books can withstand casual examination, I think that they can be closely examined by most and the gimmicking will not be apparent (unless one is a cab driver in one of the cities).

I like the idea of using a map book instead of a regular book. There's a visual nature to using the maps and the choices can feel more random and free. Also, you may happen to have a map book on you because you're planning a trip to a particular city. Or if you're lucky, you're actually performing in that city. I think that Streets makes it easier to justify the use of a book than say carrying around a copy of "War and Peace" for your performance.

The Streets is really good. I like this one. It puts mentalism on a map.

Again, you can watch video that shows what the books look like and how they handle here.

More Reading:
Trick Review: Houdini Book Test
Review: Taylor Made Book Test by David Taylor
Review: Double Coincidence by Devin Knight and Al Mann
Review of Tru Test - U.F. Grant's Modern Magazine Test by Nathan Kranzo

Ethics in Magic - SansMinds

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Apparently, SansMinds recently released a product called "Prince in Disguise" that featured an origami frog revelation that was deemed to be identical to a Michael Close effect that was published in 1991.

As a result, and the reason for this post, is that SansMinds has not only taken its product off of the market, it has destroyed its inventory of the product.

It's hard to always do the right thing (and it's expensive), but SansMinds is to be commended for this step. You can watch a video of the company destroying its inventory here.

More Reading:
Review of Prospect by SansMinds
Review of SansMinds Sharpie
Review of Change by SansMinds

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