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Review of Paint the Roses Red by Lewis Leval

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Review of Paint the Roses Red by Lewis Leval

Paint the Roses Red by Lewis Leval

This DVD is not easy to categorize. It’s something of an offbeat collection of five close-up effects with cards and one with coins, and two moves. Two of the card tricks are mentalism style effects that involve lots of dealing and counting of cards. I wouldn’t call these routines commercial - the kind of hard-hitting and direct effects that I look for to perform in my walk around gigs, but I know that they have appeal to some magicians.

In the Cards

Harmony is probably the DVD’s best effect. You allow a spectator to shuffle and cut a deck and then name a suit. As the spectator deals, you are able to predict the order of all of the cards in the named suit. This one fried me and I discovered that it’s not difficult to learn and perform and doesn’t even require any sleights. If you’re thinking stack, you’re on the right track and the spectator does have to shuffle using a standard riffle shuffle.

While lay-people will enjoy this one, I think that this is mostly a magician-fooler that will be best performed for magicians who can follow the specific directions and shuffle correctly. You’ll need a table for this one and the spectator does have to deal through most of the deck. While this sounds as if it could be tedious, the anticipation of each card in the named suite is enough to maintain interest. And hearing a magician explain that he doesn’t actually understand how this one works doesn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence.

With Binary, a spectator finds his or her selected card using an unknown prediction card from another deck. The prediction is then revealed to bear the same value as the selection and to predict its numerical position in the deck. This one only requires a fundamental card sleight that most magicians already know. This is a good one for the lay public.


Curiosity is a coin effect where a spectator provides coins and secretly conceals them in various locations: left pocket, right pocket and one in his or her closed hand. At the end, the performer is able to identify the location of every coin, as well as the date on the third coin. This is an offbeat mentalism effect that can play strong.

Rather out of place on this DVD, Off with his Head offers a gambling expose that apparently demonstrates cheating techniques with cards. You seemingly showcase skills at second and bottom deals (but you’re not actually performing these difficult sleights). At the end, you deal a royal flush. While the title refers to the “Alice in Wonderland” theme of the DVD, I have no idea what this has to do with the effect.


Hack offers a method to force a number by applying seemingly random events to a spectator’s cell phone. Unlike the rather well known system attributed to Marc DeSouza that employs a calculator and works with calculator apps on phones, this one relies on a phone’s dialing system to force a three digit number. On the one hand, I like the direct nature of this force - there are no mathematical functions to deal with and no systems to recall. Spectators simply tap the phone’s screen as they look away. However, I found that when using my iPhone, at least with its existing settings, this method would not work. There’s far more to this method than what’s taught in the explanation and one will have to test phones before borrowing and employing them for this effect.

Moves and More

The DVD offers two sleight of hand moves. The Caterpillar Control is a card control that brings the selected card from a hand-held spread to the top during the action of putting the deck back together. This is a control where you know the card’s identity which makes it good for routines such as “Ambitious Card.”

Wardrobe Change is a color change that occurs as you briefly cover the cards with your T-shirt (you’re pulling the bottom hem of the T-shirt that you’re wearing to momentarily cover the cards). I’ll pass on this one. And I’m sure that a good “Cardini Change” can accomplish the same thing and you can perform a spectacular change with far less cover - the best sleight of hand artists only need to wave their hand over the deck. De Val himself tells you not to take this one too seriously.

“Paint the Roses Red” is being touted as the first magic instructional DVD available in Blu-Ray (it’s also available in old-fashioned DVD). But one could have used a two-camera shoot in its performance segments. As it stands, the single-camera shoot has to zoom in and out and swing around to capture the action. So what’s the point with the high-definition Blu-Ray? While the promo video shows De Val performing for general audiences, the performances on the disc are for a fellow magician so you can’t gauge responses from real audiences.

The DVD also features discussions and other resources that offer insights into performing magic. There’s some good advice here, but overall, I find the DVD to be a rather mixed bag.

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