Reviews of Magic Tricks, DVDs & Books
- All Reviews: Books (48)
- All Reviews: Cards (223)
- All Reviews: Close-Up (182)
- All Reviews: DVDs (196)
- All Reviews: Magic Sets (8)
- All Reviews: Mentalism (57)
- All Reviews: Stand-up/Stage (82)
- All Reviews: Tricks (163)
- Easy Magic Products for Beginners (54)
- New Magic Products (6)
- Reviews: Kid Shows (11)
- Spooky Magic (5)
- The Magic Junk Drawer (4)
The 2013 Magic.about.com Gift Guide for Magicians
Need to buy something for that magician on your holiday list? Or if your magician, what's worth asking for? Here's our 2013 Magic.About.com Gift Guide for Magicians.
2012's Top Ten Magic Products
So here are the best DVDs, books and tricks for magicians for 2012. After reviewing just under 100 products during the year, I've whittled the stack down to those that are the most innovative, as well as to material that is useful to magicians and connects with spectators.
Best Magic Products - Readers' Choice Awards
So what is the best magic product? I'll be compiling your nominations and identifying the top five submissions, and ultimately, crowning a winner. Let your opinion be known for "Best Magic Product."
Review of Minotaur The Final Issue
"Minotaur The Final Issue" offers a lot of useful effects with a variety of props, and while most of the material is for close-up, there are some for stand-up. The props are varied and include: cards, coins, orange juice, popcorn, toothpicks, mardi-gras beads, brown bags and more. Best of all, you get the benefit of material from the brilliant...
Review of Deception Vol. 1 by David Forrest
"Deception Vol. 1" features David Forrest's newest card effects that are strong, visual, commercial and varied. The collection includes a couple sandwich effects, brilliant work with mint and card boxes, a few sleight of hand moves and more. I think there's something for just about everyone.
Review of the Retro Gravity Levitation
Retro-Gravity relies on a diabolically clever method that allows you to modify your shoes to achieve a two to four inch levitation. Angles are far better than the "traditional" method and there are no covers - jackets and such - needed. Also, there's no need to wear special clothing or pants.
Review of Calen Morelli's "Function 9"
Taking magic to the streets, David Blaine style, in "Function 9," Calen Morelli offers first rate effects that employ cards, water bottles, cell phones, rubber bands and more. Some routines are practical for walk-around and restaurants, but many work best "on the street."
Review of MatriXpress by Shawn Farquhar
When it comes to laying coins onto a table and causing them to magically move around while shrouded with playing cards, Shawn Farquhar's excellent "MatriXpress" offers an impressive effect with a clever and convincing gimmick-based method. Best of all, this one is not overly difficult to learn and perform.
Tell us about your favorite iPhone Magic Tricks and Apps
Know of a great iPhone magic app? Whether you're a magician or a creator/publisher, here's a place where you can tell us about your favorite app. Feel free to include links to websites and online videos. If you know of a great magic-related app, I want to hear about it. See submissions
Submit Your Reviews of Magic Products
Want to give your opinion on a commercial magic trick or instructional DVD? You can write a review and it will be given its own page here at Magic.About.com. See submissions
Review: Spot On
Here's a simple but effective prediction effect that is easy to learn and perform and is perfect for beginners. It’s based on a well known magic principle but the clever props and theme that relate to dominoes helps to shroud the method.
Review of Smart Ass by Bill Abbott
This effect by Bill Abbott is a powerful prediction effect that relies on a very fair (or seemingly fair) selection of a playing card. The effect, which is interactive and entertaining, is great for stage. And even if you don't care for the effect, which is unlikely, you'll love the force.
Easy to Master Magic Tricks by Las Vegas Greatest Magicians
This DVD features a line-up of great magicians teaching 13 easy magic tricks. The tricks are mostly generic, and if you follow this stuff, as you may here on this site, you'll already know most of them.
Review of NEVERmind by Jon Maronge
Here's an easy packet card effect where four cards turn into four aces. ThereÂ’s no sleight of hand or tricky moves as the effect happens courtesy of gimmicked cards. Also, this one can play strong and work to different themes.
Review: Jokers Wild by Rodger Lovins
In what amounts to a mechanical card or color change, in Rodger Lovins' latest, "Jokers Wild," a joker visually and seamlessly turns into the spectators selected card. This one is easy to learn and perform and the simple mechanism is reliable and repeatable.
Spooky Magic Kit by Scholastic Ultimate Magic Club
The Ultimate Magic Club magic sets are designed for kids between the ages of seven and 12. Indeed, at a reasonable price of ten dollars and with a good mix of tricks, as well as a detailed and colorful instruction book and a DVD that shows performances of all tricks, this is a first rate magic set. "Spooky Magic Kit" is one of ten titles marketed by Scholastic.
Review: Colour Burn by David Forrest
Here's a stunning color change where you transform the back of a playing card from blue to red. The catch here is that spectators see the card change in stages.
Review: Time Machine and Touches by Kenton Knepper
Instead of a prediction in the vein of an Al Koran Medallion-style effect, Kenton Knepper has turned a prediction into a theme of time travel in the spirit of H.G. Wells. It is truly inspired and brilliant work.
Review: Wounded by Robert Smith
If you've ever wanted to bleed from the middle of your palms or cry tears of red blood, you may enjoy the freakout fest that is Robert Smith’s "Wounded." This one is definitely not for everyone and the DVD teaches clever methods that range from fairly conventional to outright outlandish.
Review: The Enlightenment by Ben Harris
Here's a professional and well made gimmick that can make a freely selected card rise and float above the deck about an inch. The floating card is entirely under your control and the spectator can hold the deck as the levitation occurs.
Review: Inside Thoughts by Haim Goldenberg
"Inside Thoughts" offers a gimmicked envelope that allows you to predict a good range of possibilities, up to nine, and with some work, 18. The predictions can be numbers, celebrities, colors or anything that you wish.
DVD Review: Bob Does Hospitality - Act 2 by Bob Sheets
This is the second act in Bob Sheets' "Hospitality" DVDs. The three close up routines are designed to be easy to carry in your pockets and none are knuckle busters.
Review: My Precious by Haim Goldenberg
Four people place their finger rings into four coin purses as the magician looks away. The magician then takes out each ring and identifies its owner. This one is a bit of pseudo psychometry.
DVD Review: Shellraiser
This DVD with the clever title teaches you how to perform near miracles with coins with an equally clever and well known gimmick. This is the instructional DVD that I would have wanted when I was starting out in my coin magic. And the routines here reflect much of what I do with coins today in my professional work.
Review: Postmentalism by Alvo Stockman
Here's a prediction effect that has the potential to be very strong. A prediction that you send through the mail before an event is found to be correct when it arrives.
Review: Cabaret Card Magic by Bill Abbott
Playing cards have the potential to pack small and play very big, and this is the premise behind Bill Abbott's Cabaret Card Magic. In this first rate book, Abbott shows how to entertain and mystify large audiences with card routines and provides themes and detailed scripts for some well known effects.
Review: Presto Pad
For table hoppers, the Presto Pad, by Hampels Magic Center, offers an attractive and useful portable close-up pad that not only provides a plush and soft surface to work on, but offers convenient pockets so you can carry cards, coins, pens and more.
Review: Bob Does Hospitality - Act 3 by Bob Sheets
In his "Bob Does Hospitality" DVD set, which comes in three separate volumes, Sheets offers nine close-up effects, three per DVD, which are designed for strolling or table hopping. Act 3 covers the three ball trick and offers a great mind-reading/prediction effect with cards and color-changing deck.
Review: Branded by Tim Trono
You show a painful looking blister on your thumb. A spectator selects a card and concentrates on it while gazing into the flame from your lighter. You pinch the flame and the blister morphs into symbols that represent the chosen card. Tim Trono offers an innovative and practical method for the blister effect.
Review: Bob Does Hospitality - Act 1 by Bob Sheets
Act 1 in Bob Sheets' "Bob Does Hospitality" offers three effects to make up an entire ten-minute act. The closer, a card packet effect, is a great trick. The second is offbeat and the opener is something that almost all magicians already know how to perform.
Review: Magic At The Edge (3 DVD SET) by Jeff McBride
A true magic master, Jeff McBride is a soaring authority on sleight of hand, conjuring methods and presentation. This three DVD set is notable not only for its collection of strong effects that require minimal props, but it's worth studying McBride's philosophy towards magic.
DVD Review: Uncovered by John Luka
On this DVD, John Luka teaches some key effects from his excellent book, "Uncovered (Secrets of the Serious Magician)." This is a first rate DVD that features visual and commercial effects that only require fundamental skills.
Review: Master Card Routines by Chris Priest
A second winner from magician Chris Priest, this time it's his take on playing cards. I thoroughly liked Priest’s sponge ball routine as taught on his "Protons" DVD. This title offers his commercial and entertaining routines with playing cards that feature lots of audience interaction.
Review: The Castle Routine by Ed Ellis
This DVD tips Ed Ellis' visual and entertaining 10-minute card routine that he performed at Hollywood's Magic Castle. He bills himself as the "world's fastest hands" and who's to argue? The routine is flashy, impressive and magical, and just about anyone can carry away some new moves and techniques.
Review: The Professional Repertoire of Etienne Pradier
Sometimes a trick or DVD just speaks to you. And this is the case for me with "The Professional Repertoire of Etienne Pradier." On this DVD, Pradier teaches excellent effects for walk around and strolling and the collection goes beyond the standards that you often find on most DVDs. I found some fresh new ideas here that are also thoroughly commercial.
Review: Tear Down by Andrew Mayne
I've been performing a newspaper tear for years. It used to be my stand-up opener. The tear, based on a popular method, has served me well, but I may well be tossing it to employ Andrew Mayne's excellent "Tear Down," an impromptu effect.
Review: Liquid (Card Through Window) by Taylor Lewis
This card through window offers an angle that I have not seen before. With a gimmick, a spectator's selected card not only isolates itself from the rest of the deck, but appears to pass through the glass. The spectator can tap his finger on the card to verify that the card is "on the other side." It's an intriguing concept, but the effect feels rather insecure to me.
Review: 52 Ways to Cheat at Poker by Allan Kronzek
Paul Simon said in a song that there are 50 ways to leave your lover, and Allan Kronzek proves in his excellent book that there are 52 ways to cheat at poker. This book will appeal to anyone who is interested in card magic, card cheating and/or poker. There were some techniques that I was already familiar with and many that were new to me.
Review: King of Custard by Paul Megram
Paul Megram, AKA "Colonel Custard," is a successful kids magician in the UK. This DVD offers his secrets to running a successful magic business and covers topics such as: handling phone calls, dealing with clients, creating a corporate image, starting the party, games to play at parties with kids, receiving pay, getting repeat bookings and more.
Review: DIVINE2 by Stathi Zaf
There are many ways to apparently read a spectator's thoughts, and Stathi Zaf offers a diabolical and clever device that you can make that effectively does the job. For close-up work where you and your spectators are standing, Zaf's DIVINE2 prop can be an excellent addition to your mentalism arsenal.
Build Your Own Card Fountain For Under $20
With card fountains priced anywhere between $60 for a basic model and $130-$500 for an upper-end, radio controlled version, you can save some bucks by making your own device. And if you're so inclined and have the time and tools, this DVD shows you how.
DVD Review: Bish Bash Bosh by Magic Dave
This DVD showcases the routines Dave Allen, many of which are prop-based (in order to perform the effect, you'll have to buy the magic prop). Allen has a great rapport with kids and I thoroughly liked his silent puppet routine. If you're putting together a show for younger kids, you'll probably find some great ideas on this DVD.
Trick Review: Zero Gravity by Jay Sankey
Jay Sankey calls "Zero Gravity" the ideal opening effect when you walk up to a table. Indeed, he makes a compelling argument. The effect is fast and garners attention and there's no need to explain what just happened, it's quite apparent. Despite this, I find the effect to be offbeat and simply can't warm up to it.
Review: Accuracy by Andrew Gerard
As the name implies, "Accuracy" offers a solid, reliable mind reading effect. But with its method, you must be sure that you perform it under the right conditions. Furthermore, as written, this is a routine that you can perform for family and friends or may work in formal close-up shows under controlled conditions.
Trick Review: Wipe The Slate Clean by Chris Webb
This color change effect relies on a heavily and cleverly gimmicked card, but it takes work to make the gimmick pass the scrutiny of close-up crowds. And in the end, most of what you can do with the gaff can be accomplished with sleight of hand.
DVD Review: Into the Abyss by Oz Pearlman
This is the third Oz Pearlman DVD that I've reviewed and with this title, he's three for three with me. His Stealing Pips featured some amazing card magic while his 21st Century Phantom explained a stunning mentalism effect with an outrageous revelation. With "Into the Abyss," Pearlman offers another excellent DVD with three stunning close-up mentalism gems.
DVD Review: Protons by Chris Priest
Christ Priest offers a visual and stunning routine that uses sponge balls. Here you'll learn a powerful and commercial routine that slays and entertains lay spectators.
Review: Card Stab (World's Greatest Magic)
This DVD offers seven different and entertaining ways to find a selected with a knife that fall into five categories. It's a great overview and if you're interested in the effect, you'll probably find a method that you can use.
Review: Hypervisual (With Cards) by Jay Sankey
Sankey's DVD explains some impressive tricks that you can perform with its set of gimmicked cards, but the bulk of the DVD is devoted to teaching color change techniques. It's a great way to learn these moves.
Trick Review: Secrets Of The Octopus Deck Revealed by Bill Abbott
A cool mentalism prop that has the potential for as much if not more impact than a standard tossed-out deck routine, Bill Abbott's Octopus Deck offers an intriguing gimmicked deck. This giant slayer is a complete mind reading routine with three phases. Wait until you get your tentacles on this one.
Trick Review: Timecard by Gordon Bean
Here's another brilliant trick from Gordon Bean. It's a powerful and surprising prediction effect that's been combined with a card revelation. And as the name implies, it's about time.
DVD Review: Pure by Peter Eggink
Demonstrating and teaching six routines that he uses in his pro sets, Peter Eggink offers commercial pieces that play well to lay audiences. The routines are solid and entertaining and can form the foundation of a good strolling set. And these close-up routines will work almost anywhere under a variety of conditions.
DVD Review: Color Changing Knives (World's Greatest Magic)
Color changing knives are gimmicked knives that with the right moves, change colors. The trick is visual and easy for spectators to follow. This DVD offers routines by well known pros.
Trick Review: Wild Poker Trick by Boris Wild
Another poker-related title that capitalizes on the game's recent popularity is Boris Wild's Wild Poker Trick. This effect offers a visual and spectacular transformation where a poor poker hand suddenly turns into a royal flush in spades.
DVD Review: Captured by James Clark
In Captured, a spectator selects a card and then you bring out a Polaroid camera and take a picture of the spectator. You hand the Polaroid picture to the spectator and as the picture slowly develops, the spectator not only sees his or her image, but a picture of the selected card as well. This is high-impact magic with lots of possibilities.
Trick Review: Falling Angel by Christopher Gustin
Falling Angel is a gimmicked card effect that makes it look as if you are removing an angel from the back of a Bicycle-based ace of clubs and placing it onto the front of the card. It's a good effect, but the handling is probably too difficult for a good number of beginning magicians.
Trick Review: ESP Mind Set by James Biss
Here's a great stand-up and stage effect that offers a stunning prediction, a bit of pseudo-psychometry, lots of interaction with five audience members who join you on stage and an intriguing ESP theme. I especially like the strong two-phased ending.
DVD Review: Greg Otto - New Comedy Routines for Magic
Greg Otto is a comedy magician who performs entertaining magic using straight-forward methods. Most magicians will already know versions and methods for the classics that he presents on this DVD. This DVD is notable for its comedy bits and the way that it shows what a worker such as Otto uses in his act.
Trick Review: Snap Shot by Thom Peterson
A fun card revelation where a blurry picture mysteriously develops on a blank card, Thom Peterson's "Snapshot" offers a strong walk-around and close-up effect that leaves a souvenir with spectators.
Trick Review: Bikers by Gordon Bean
There are lots of packet tricks on the market and Gordon Bean's "Bikers" is the finest that I've reviewed. Here, four jokers visually turn into four kings in four phases. And the last card changes as it's held in a spectator's hand.
Trick Review: Puzzle Paradox by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
This is no simple puzzle, but a strong mentalism routine that involves a jigsaw puzzle. Somehow, a spectator’s freely chosen piece from a bunch of random ones is the very piece that's missing from an almost fully assembled puzzle. It's a compelling routine for stand-up or stage that features good audience interaction.
Review: Casino Cut Card by Thom Peterson
Something different, you show a blank card that represents "an old style casino cut card." Like a "wild card" routine, the "cut card" takes on the identity of three freely selected cards. At the end, the "cut card" becomes a mish-mash card that displays parts of many cards. It's a good, if offbeat effect that entertains.
Trick Review: Lottery Card by Peter Eggink
An intriguing and offbeat card effect, Peter Eggink's Lottery Card allows you reveal a spectator's selection in an unusual manner. The player's chosen card is turned into a virtual lottery card that allows you rub off a revelation on its back with a coin. It's different, but is probably not a stunner.
Review: I Hate David Copperfield Trick by Geoff Williams
Despite the name, I like David Copperfield as well as this trick from Geoff Williams. Here a single card mysteriously changes location in a three card pack. I don’t know if this part of a new trend, but Williams previously released this effect on his Miracles for Mortals Volume One DVD. It's the exact same footage.
Trick Review: Infallible by Al Lampkin
Here's an easy packet trick with playing cards that offers a strong prediction and an easy, straight forward method. The instructions leave something to be desired as there are effectively none, but there is a good demo on the enclosed DVD that will allow magicians with some basic knowledge of card techniques to piece together the routine.
Review: Kings Fool by Kipp Sherry
To promote your magic business, Kipp Sherry's "Kings Fool" provides you with artwork and everything you need to make and distribute a simple trick that is essentially a business card.
DVD Review: The Naked Zombie Ball by Raymond Crowe
This DVD teaches a routine where you make a silver ball appear to float in the air. However, unlike the usual zombie routine, you don't rely on a gimmick, nor to you employ the traditional foulard. The routine sports two phases, the first with the ball floating from your hands, and the second, where it floats around a small hoop. The DVD also offers an excellent introduction to studying and applying movement.
Trick Review: Magic Bingo by Mark Wilson
As the name implies, "Magic Bingo" is much like conventional Bingo - the first player to get five numbers in a row wins - except for one major difference, everyone who's playing wins at the same time on the exact same number. It's an interactive affair that involves audiences, allows you to emphasize a theme or product and lets you use the Bingo cards as giveaways that have your name and number.
Review: Point Blank by Michael Ammar and Jordan Cotler
You bring out a deck of cards, shuffle it and spread it face-up on the table. The spectator can see all the cards and then freely selects one. You pick up the cards in the spread and then immediately show that they are all completely blank. You take back the spectator’s card, and then show that it has turned blank as well.
Trick Review: Texas Fool'Em by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
Seizing on the interest in poker these days, Larry Becker and Lee Earle have come up with a strong and entertaining mentalism/prediction effect that relies on a poker theme and props. The decisions on the part of spectators are fair ones, yet somehow, you manage to predict several outcomes in a magazine article.
Review: Super Clipped by Cosmo Solano
This close-up effect is a strong enhancement of a well known, classic trick that we called "The Clipped Card," which is based on an optical illusion. "Super Clipped," which starts as "The Clipped Card," results in a stunning five card change.
Trick Review: 10 Below Zero by Andrew Normansell
Andrew Normansell always offers solid material on his DVDs. On this one, the cold theme relates more to the set than to the tricks. But he delivers a range of commercial close-up effects, many with cards, which have lots of impact.
Trick Review: Smashed by Jay Sankey
If you could borrow a quarter and then punch a pencil through the coin, it would look just like Jay Sankey's "Smashed." Like classic "Karate Coin," the pencil appears to completely penetrate the coin, and as in some versions, you can see the jagged and ragged edges of the coin where the pencil was forced through. This trick is a re-release of Sankey's like-named effect that was published in the 1980's.
Trick Review: Chinese Choice by John Archer
I like Chinese food and "Chinese Choice" offers a fun mentalism routine for stand-up or close-up. I agree with Archer that it's not opening or closing material, but a good mid-act routine that offers lots of audience interaction.
Trick Review: Hypno Aces by David Penn
An impressive packet trick that's easy to learn and perform, four "hypno" cards, playing cards with standard "Bicycle" backs and a hypnotic swirl on the front, almost instantaneously turn into four aces. It's an astonishing change that relies on a couple of basic sleights and gimmicked cards.
Trick Review: 21st Century Phantom by Oz Pearlman
I frankly didn't have a hint as to the powerful magic to be found within 21st Century Phantom. But I found the incredible effect that lay within to be an audience shocker and pleaser. I've been performing it over the weekend for regulars at my gigs and found that it gets a fantastic response.
DVD Review: 23rd FISM World Championships of Magic 2006 - Stockholm
Every three years, the magic community comes together to compete in its version of the Olympics. This excellent DVD presents an entertaining look back at the 23rd FISM World Championships of Magic 2006 that was held in Stockholm.
Review: Freaky Body Illusions by Kevin James
An amazing and comprehensive collection of "freaky body illusions," this latest from Kevin James and Marvin's Magic offers a zany series of magic tricks that use body parts. Many are well known standards and the kit comes with quality props as well as a professional DVD that explains the techniques and use of the props. Study the moves and you can almost appear to be a flexible and malleable cartoon character.
DVD Review: Bill Abbott Performs Magic For Kids
This Deluxe Edition DVD set re-releases excellent material from Bill Abbott that includes re-shot and re-edited performances and explanations for routines from his "Bill Abbott Performs Close-Up For Kids" and "Bill Abbott Performs Stand-Up For Kids." Throughout, Abbott offers outstanding, commercial routines and comprehensive instruction and the two-disc set is a great value.
DVD Review: Magic Circus by Mark Wilson
Before Criss Angel, David Copperfield and Doug Henning, Mark Wilson pioneered the presentation of magic on television. His Magic Circus shows from the early seventies have aged well, are historically significant and an absolute blast to watch. This is great magic entertainment for any era.
DVD Review: Voracity by Corey Burke
This first rate DVD by Corey Burke offers an eclectic mix of close-up effects with coins and bills, and a routine with miniature (4-inch) linking rings. The tricks are commercial and visual for lay audiences and will also impress your magician friends. There's lots to like.
DVD Review: Stealing Pips by Oz Pearlman
A refreshingly different DVD on card magic that teaches innovative moves and then shows how to use them in excellent routines, Stealing Pips: The Card Magic of Oz is a winner. The DVD's routines are commercial and strong, and throughout, Oz Pearlman offers thorough instruction. Learn the moves and you'll be able to perform Pearlman's bafflers, and you'll also gain some new moves to apply to existing routines.
Review: Past Midnight (3 DVD Set) by Benjamin Earl
This three-disc DVD set was a pleasant surprise. I had never before heard of Benjamin Earl, but he's an accomplished card worker with impressive techniques and routines. There's lots to like about this DVD set which will appeal to those who love advanced card techniques and sleights.
Review: Falling For You by Andrew Gerard
As card tricks go, "Falling For You" is a decent effect with a different revelation, but the ad copy deliberately misleads. The effect is a card revelation where you drop cards, one by one, onto the floor, and the spectator's selected card takes a decidedly different path to indicate that it's the chosen one.
Trick Review: Bling by Adam Topham
An entertaining card revelation where individual jewels end up spelling the name of the spectator's card, Bling has lots of possibilities. Perhaps most notable for its hip and clever name, the effect can handily entertain close-up audiences and fits well into a theme of extravagance and luxury.
Book Review: Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe
Scripting works well in theater, television and movie production, so why not magic? Pete McCabe drives this home in his excellent "Scripting Magic," a thorough 450-page book that offers scripts for well known effects by skilled magicians and insightful interviews and essays. With "Scripting Magic," McCabe has created a must-read book that will inspire you and help script and burnish your magic routines.
Trick Review: Kanpai by Ginjiro
In Japanese, Kanpai means "cheers." And Ginjiro brings a glass and liquid production that is worth cheering about. The holdout provides the means to effectively produce a glass with liquid that you can immediate drink or pour out-the glass is not gimmicked. This kit comes with the glass and everything that you need. If you’ve always wanted to make a glass of wine appear out of seemingly nowhere, Kanpai is worth a look.
Trick Review: iKnow by Jason Palter
With the popularity of iPods and MP3 players, it's a natural to perform magic with these ever present devices. With iKnow, Jason Palter has created a solid mentalism effect that allows you to determine the exact song that a spectator has selected at random and is listening to, without looking at the iPod.
Trick Review: Mutanz by Bob Farmer
Yet another packet effect, Mutanz starts with the usual cards that turn face-up and face-down. The difference comes in the trick's ending when the cards mutate into mixed-up cards: two face-to-face and two back-to-back cards. Reset is fast and this one is great for strolling situations.
Review: The Royal Scam - John Bannon
A great packet card effect, John Bannon's The Royal Scam offers two powerful phases and leaves you clean at the end. If you're adept with basic card sleights, you have the skills to perform this winner.
Review: Funny Business - Niagara Comedy Magic Seminar 2007
If you're an aspiring comedy magician or want to learn how the pros perform comedy magic, this DVD offers helpful interviews, informative panel discussions and hilarious performances from the Niagara Comedy Magic Seminar in January 2007.
Review: Szechuan Sampler 2.0 by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
A baffling bit of mentalism with a Chinese restaurant theme, Szechuan Sampler allows for completely free choices on the part of four participants and ends with a powerful prediction. The effect is self-working and straight-forward to learn and perform.
DVD Review: Heiny 500 by Karl Hein
If you could really perform real magic, it would look like that in Heiny 500. You count and hold five one dollar bills in your hands and then simply fold them in half. Right in front of spectators' eyes, the ones have turned into $100 bills, which you show and count. Fold the bills again and they turn back into one dollar bills.
DVD Review: Time and Space by Justin Miller
How about a card trick that alters time and space? Such is the premise in this excellent Justin Miller effect. It's something of a powerful card sandwich routine that's been combined with the merging of several cards into a souvenir that spectators can take with them. It's got the Miller touch because it adds a significant kicker that occurs after spectators think that the effect is effectively over.
DVD Review: X Marks The Spot by Justin Miller
When Justin Miller marks a spot with an "X," he's not messing around. This effect is a stunning baffler where a spectator's signed card changes from a red-backed card into a blue-backed card, and the entire deck suddenly sports "Xs" on the back of each card. Miller brilliantly creates two stunning phases that amazes audiences.
DVD Review: Impromptu Miracles of Bob Read "The Lost Footage"
What a treat to discover this DVD that features the work of Bob Read, a funny and commercial magic entertainer. The theme, "impromptu," is apparent in the powerful and entertaining routines, many of which can be performed with borrowed props. I particularly liked the bottle production and glass transposition effects and Read takes the time to thoroughly explain each effect so you have all the tools to adapt them to your personality and act and perform them.
DVD Review: Loops Vol. 1/2 by Yigal Mesika & Finn Jon
On Loops Volume 1 and 2, Yigal Mesika and Finn Jon share some of their thread-based effects. For anyone who wants to animate and suspend objects in air, this DVD set offers useful information, but this set should have probably been sold with Mesika's Reflections DVD.
DVD Review: Reflections by Yigal Mesika & Finn Jon
If you want to perform animations and levitations with thread, Yigal Mesika and Finn Jon are two experts that you want to learn from. This DVD has some useful information and intriguing effects, but it should have probably been sold with Mesika's Loops DVD set.
Review: Pop Card by Steven and Michael Pignataro
The motivation to perform ever-more impossible "card to impossible location" drives us this effect. As the name implies, In Pop Card, you produce a spectator's signed card from inside of a gooey Pop-Tart.
Review: Bone Saw by Michelangelo
Part geek magic and part card trick, Bone Saw never really succeeds as either. The "geek" aspect is an illusion where a card appears passes through your finger and the card trick simply offers the setup for the penetration. While the effect appears fairly convincing, I find the combination of the card effect with a penetration to be a mixed and confusing approach. And the spectators in the demonstration portion of the DVD don't seem all that freaked out or even impressed.
Exploring Magical Presentations by Eugene Burger
When it comes to entertaining with magic, presentation is more important than the trick itself. And to help improve presentation, Eugene Burger offers his "Exploring Magical Presentations" where he discusses themes that may be applied to tricks, as well as teaches some intriguing effects and presentations.
Review: Inner Change by Steve Shufton
With "Inner Change," a marked coin vanishes and reappears in a nest of envelopes that a spectator was previously holding. While the vanish of the coin may make novices nervous, the method to load the coin into the nest of envelopes is innovative and brilliant. I'm not much for the marked coin to impossible location plot, but this one is good.
Review: Echo by Wayne Dobson
An entertaining routine that is interactive, makes great use of a volunteer and is commercial and very funny, Wayne Dobson's Echo is a winner. This is a version of the "Teach A Card Trick" where a spectator is brought onto the stage and with coaching from the magician, performs a card trick.
Review: Alpha Cards by Jesse Feinberg
Here's an interesting idea, heat sensitive cards that allow a four of hearts to change into a four of spades and back again. The cards are completely reusable and can allow for some fun transpositions and literal color changes.
Review: Toasted by Rodger Lovins
In "Toasted," a spectator's card suddenly pops up from the deck. It’s essentially a fast rising card that is visual and quick.
Review: Mesika's Wallet (Card To Wallet) By Yigal Mesika
If you want to perform "card to wallet" where a spectator's signed card ends up inside your wallet, Yigal Mesika offers a version that is great for producing folded cards. The prop is a quality one that's made of leather and it looks like a regular wallet that most men would carry around.
Trick Review: Enchanted Cube
An intriguing and visual effect, you instantaneously solve a Rubik's Cube right in front of spectators. The cube is clearly mixed at one moment, and, after tossing it up in the air, it's solved with all of the colors matching on each side.
Trick Review: Rainbow Ropes-The Remix by Daryl
A visual and dazzling rope trick that is easy to perform and leaves you clean at the end, Daryl's Rainbow Ropes - The Remix is an excellent effect for stand-up or stage. The high quality ropes are thick and easy to handle and Daryl offers excellent written instructions as well as thorough explanations on the enclosed DVD. I also like the many potential themes that can work for this trick.
Trick Review: Sponge Eyeballs by Alan Wong and Steve Marshall
It's a brilliant idea. Create a set of sponge balls that look like eyeballs and the possibilities are seemingly endless. While the sponge eyeballs look great, I'm not sure how durable they’ll be under constant use. And while the eyeballs come with a full comedy presentation, the routine is almost painful to read.
Trick Review: Final Fusion by Jay Sankey
If you want to reveal a spectator's chosen card in a spectacular manner, how about fusing its image onto a card box? This is what you can do with Jay Sankey's "Final Fusion." The effect is strong and visual and Sankey offers lots of clever variations that you can learn and perform. My only reservation is that the gimmicked card boxes will quickly wear out with repeated use.
DVD Review: Water To Beer
Hardly a trick of Biblical proportions, as the title implies, "Water to Beer" lets you take a glass of water and turn the fluid into real beer. The ads ask, "What would it be like if you could perform real magic?" However, the method and technique hardly look like "real magic," and the resulting beer may or may not taste great (less filling?) or even be all that appropriate for consumption.
Review: ZED+ Wallet
The ZED+ Wallet is a "z"-fold wallet that allows you switch one side of the wallet for the other to execute exchanges, vanishes, appearances and more. Using the wallet you can secretly exchange two cards in your wallet, swap-out written billets, exchange flat objects such as credit cards and business cards, make flat objects disappear, make drawings or writing appear on paper, exchange paper currency and more.
DVD Review: Blank by Kenton Knepper
The theme is "blank" and on this DVD, Kenton Knepper tips two powerful card effects. What Knepper has done is take two simple and well known card tricks that reveal a particular card or set of cards, and created routines that allow the rest of the deck to be shown blank at the end. As a result, the routines have solid initial revelations, where most card tricks would end, and considerable kickers that are downright devastating.
DVD Review: Card To Wallet (World's Greatest Magic)
Card to wallet is one of many standard routines where a spectator's selected card somehow ends up in an impossible place, in this case, the magician's wallet. On this DVD, it's a pleasure to watch the likes of John Mendoza, Alexander deCova, Michael Ammar, Eddie Tullock, Dan Fleshman, Alex Elmsley and Eric DeCamps in action. And if you want to learn such a routine, this DVD offers a good place to begin.
DVD Review: Business Card Card-iographic by Brian Curry
A spectator selects a card and returns it to the deck. You show your business card which has an image of a deck of cards drawn on it. Slowly, and in full view, a drawing of the spectator’s card slowly rises from it. After the rise, you peel off the card and give it to the spectator.
Review: Kidding Around by Chris Capehart
On this DVD, Capehart shows how to present compelling and fun magic for kids that doesn’t insult the intelligence of anyone over six years old, the way that many kids performers do. Capehart is not only an excellent performer, he combines lots of skills, which also involves and entertains the parents who are watching with their kids.
"Hyper-Bent-Elation" is an unusual and refreshingly different card trick that warps spectators into the fourth dimension and leaves them with a souvenir, and if you like, your business card in their hands. The effect applies a well known optical illusion/puzzler to playing cards. It's a brilliant idea that makes for an impressive and entertaining effect, and another great product from Daryl.
DVD Review: Fabulous Three Ball Trick (World's Greatest Magic)
Another in L&L's series of "World’s Greatest Magic" DVDs that compile lessons from noted magicians and their earlier videos, "Fabulous Three Ball Trick" presents various three ball routines. The moves and routines are similar, but it's helpful to compare routines from the likes of Johnny Thompson, Flip, David Roth and more and glean the techniques that you want to learn and apply. If you've always wanted to perform this trick, this DVD offers a powerful reference.
DVD Review: Transference by Daryl Sato
Ask a spectator to name any playing card and then visualize a deck of cards with their card on top. You snap your fingers and the freely thought of card is residing on top of the deck that you are holding. As the ads state, the trick is impromptu, can be performed with a borrowed deck and requires no gimmicks or duplicates, but this one leaves lots to be desired.
The Best of 2007
We look at the best products of 2007. It was a magical year.
Acting - Naturally (Tibetan Wishing Box) by Allen Zingg
On this DVD, Allen Zingg presents a strong "card to box" routine and tips a couple of great card tricks and billiard ball effects. Zingg markets his Tibetan Wishing Box separately, but you don't need the actual box to perform the DVD's main trick.
Trick Review: Psycolor Change Deck by Kenton Knepper
Here's a card color change effect that is part conventional method and a bigger part psychology. The method is so simple that it will appear to magicians that it could never work, but its simplicity creates a stunning change that also leaves you clean. And unlike most color change effects, there’s no sleight of hand.
Trick Review: Bunko! by Jim Steinmeyer
Here's a great routine with a theme that's not performed very often. It's all about "shortchanging," that con man skill of making change and stealing money in the process. Jim Steinmeyer's "Bunko!" provides an excellent routine that requires no sleight of hand, all you have to do is memorize the sequence and the bills do the dirty work. The trick also comes with two first rate and entertaining presentations.
Trick Review: Compression by Daniel Lachman
You show a common, everyday Bic Pen, and in less than a second, it's smashed down into half its normal length. You then pass the mini-pen for everyone to see. It's entirely normal, that is, if Bic were selling pens that were half their normal length. Daniel Lachman is definitely onto something here with a fast and visual effect that practical to perform just about anywhere.
DVD Review: “Neo Change” by Daryl Sato
A ten-minute DVD that explains a single move, a card color change, "Neo Change" is indeed visual, but comes with certain angle considerations. With the deck held sideways in your left hand, card faces towards spectators, you slowly pass your hand a few inches from the deck and the card visually changes. If you like, there's a second phase that changes the first card into a second one.
DVD Review: Accidental Discovery by Tank
Taking the "card to impossible location" effect to a new level, a chosen card can now be produced from any place that a spectator wishes. While none other than Kenton Knepper and Tank say that this is one of their favorite effects, I have mixed feelings about this one.
Trick Review: Houdini Book Test
This gimmicked book is a powerful tool that lets you perform a disarming and convincing book test with your choice of books. And it’s also an interesting book to read. I thoroughly like the "Houdini Book Test."
DVD Review: Incredible Dancing Paper Napkin
This DVD explains a visual dancing paper napkin that you can perform anytime and anywhere. It uses a real napkin that has been examined by a spectator or has just come out of a restaurant dispenser. And there are no strings, threads or wires. This one is absolutely fantastic.
DVD Review: Sleight Of Hand With Coins by Jay Sankey
For beginning and intermediate magicians, Jay Sankey offers his "Sleight of Hand With Coins" DVD that explains lots of vanishes, productions and coin switches, along with splits, a matrix with playing cards, classic coins across ("Winged Silver") and more. In all, there are 17 effects and 24 sleights.
DVD Review: Daniel Garcia Project #2
Daniel Garcia continues to publish first rate effects in his Project #2. The effects are varied and intriguing and include Garcia’s take on shadow coins and haunted pack, and there’s a stunning sandwich effect. You heard it right, a stunning card sandwich effect. Close-up aficionados are likely to find something to like here.
Trick Review: Ascension by Nick Langham
Here's yet another take on the rising card effect. While most rising cards are much the same - a spectator selects card, returns it to the deck and the magician causes said card to rise from deck - Ascension offers a stronger revelation. Some may prefer the traditional plot, but I’m sure that many would welcome this fresh approach.
DVD Review: Daniel Garcia Project Vol. 1
Iâ€™ve heard a lot positive comments about Daniel Garcia and finally had an opportunity to verify the hype. Garcia is innovative and good. On his Daniel Garcia Project Volume 1 DVD, he teaches a variety of great close-up routines with cards, coins, rubber bands and finger rings.
Trick Review: Autobahn by David Forrest
If you can use a "card at any number" effect - a spectator's freely named card ends-up at a freely chosen number in a deck of cards, David Forrest is definitely onto something here.
Trick Review: Tap It by Rodger Lovins
This is a new take on a classic that most magicians will probably have owned and performed, particularly when they were kids. Lovins has updated the props so they look like real, everyday objects and adds a routine that is a transposition and not just a coin change.
Trick Review: Deep-Rising Card Unlimited
Another card effect where a selected card mysteriously rises out of the deck, Deep-Rising is clumsy and over-priced. The deck and card box are cleverly gimmicked and can withstand a good amount of examination, but the rising is hard to perform while holding your hand in a natural position. I’ve seen stronger methods.
Trick Review: Lady Travels by Kenton Knepper (w/ DVD)
The torn corner is a classic convincer that tells a spectator that the card or bill that’s now found in an impossible location is indeed the very same one that they held in their hands a moment earlier. In "Lady Travels," Kenton Knepper offers a great effect where a chosen card travels to a truly impossible location, and a corner that’s been held by the spectator fits. This one is very strong.
DVD Review: Mental Influence by Kenton Knepper
Kenton Knepper is a master at psychology and magic and has the keen ability to take well known tricks and apply subtleties and suggestions that turn them into bafflers. This is the case with two card tricks that are explained on this DVD that are loaded with psychological twists and turns.
DVD Review: Plunge Of Death by Kockov
This DVD offers two versions of Russian Roulette: one with four inverted cups - one of which has an upright nail under it - and the second that involves real guns in the classic scenario. While the Kockov character is one that’s designed for laughs, the routines are tense and present an actual element of danger. Both routines have great entertainment potential and are not hard to learn or perform.
Fingers of Fury Vol.1 (Weapons Of Choice) by Alan Rorrison
The seemingly mild-mannered Alan Rossison proves to be a creative magic talent. His "Fingers of Fury Volume 1" offers some fresh effects, one of which involves the video capabilities of a cell phone. While there are hits and definite misses, I found his effects to be different as well as commercial.
Trick Review: Riser Deck by Mark Elsdon
Want something different to end your ambitious card routine? If you’ve done the wallet or the envelope or any other “card to impossible place,” you may like the Riser Deck. This impressive gimmick allows you perform classic ambitious card where a chosen card repeatedly rises in the deck, but it happens while the deck is in its box.
Fingers of Fury Vol.2 (Death By Cards) by Alan Rorrison
Does the world need more card tricks? I often ask this when I pop in the latest card DVD for review. But in Fingers of Fury Vol. 2, I was pleasantly surprised with some new approaches and fresh ideas from Alan Rorrison. You may find a close-up card trick that you like and will want to learn.
DVD Review: Master Card Technique Vol 1, 2, 3 - World’s Greatest Magic
If you want a solid video reference on card technique, you’ll find it in Master Card Technique. The three disc DVD set offers a comprehensive assortment of key card moves and their variations, and suggestions on how to successfully execute them. The moves are taught and performed by Sepp Holzer and Andy Edmüller. This is a great DVD set with lots of information, but the presentation, which is far below that of World’s Greatest Magic Standards, leaves lots to be desired.
DVD Review: The Cloak by Justin Miller
If you can use a practical IT hookup, you may find it here on Justin Miller’s DVD. The Cloak offers a standing and sitting-down table hook-up that lets you perform rising card and haunted pack effects - there’s no floating bills or hovering cards here. Millers’ hook-ups are practical and workable in the real world, and the results are superior to the results when you use loops.
DVD Review: Ellis Aces by Ed Ellis
Worker Ed Ellis teaches a fast and visual four ace production and offers some tips for performing common sleights. If you don’t yet have a four ace production routine, you may like Ellis’ approach. I liked his Stair Step Control that he teaches here and the fact that this four ace production doesn’t require a table. This one is great for walk around.
DVD Review: Flying Matches by Randi Rain
As the name implies, "Flying Matches" offers a routine with paper matches that employs a PK ring. Matches magically move from place to place and vanish and reappear. Randi Rain teaches the moves. If you'd like a routine that is something of a matrix effect with matches that has a logical start and end, you may favor this one.
DVD Review: Sam The Bellhop by Bill Malone
Sam The Bellhop is a smashing signature piece of Bill Malone’s that he unveiled to the world in 1994 on the “World’s Greatest Magic” television special. The routine is an offbeat card effect where cards are turned-over, in order, to tell a story. In this case, it’s about Sam the bellhop and the mythical “654" club. He teaches everything that you need to know on this DVD.
DVD Review: Bill Shift by Randi Rain
On this DVD, Randi Rain offers her version of the classic bill switch, which relies on a PK ring. This method has some advantages, however, if you already perform the classic method or already have a favorite one, you’re not likely to switch.
DVD Review: Traverse by Calvin Lauber
A fast and stunning coin matrix that uses two bare hands and only four coins, Calvin Lauber offers an impressive, impromptu routine.
Trick Review: Royal Stab by Richard Sanders
Instead of throwing a bunch of cards into the air and somehow stabbing a spectator’s selected card with your knife or pen, in “Royal Stab,” you use the King of Clubs to enter the deck, seek two selected cards and impale them on his swords. The picture says it all. This effect only requires basic sleight-of-hand skills and is easy to perform. It’s a good close-up card trick that you can always carry with you.
DVD Review: Jigger Not! by Randi Rain
In "Jigger Not!" Randi Rain teaches a chop cup routine that employs a mixing jigger. In the routine, Rain employs a PK ring that results in some clean handling and a few moves that would be impossible without the use of the gimmick.
Book Review: Scrolls by Tim Converse
When I first read that this book was about "bizarre magic," I thought that it wasn’t for me. But after reading it, I discovered that the book was definitely for me and anyone who wants to add dramatic impact to their magic through the use of character and storytelling. This book is relevant and informative and can help make your magic stronger.
Book Review: Fandango - Part 1 by David Forrest
Fulfilling a periodic inclination, in his "Fandango" booklet, David Forrest releases a set of good close-up effects, mostly with cards. I particularly liked his "Seal the Deal" where a previously used deck of cards is found completely sealed in its box - an impressive "back in time" plot. There’s some commercial close-up material to be found here.
DVD Review: Trespass by Dan Army
In “Trespass,” Dan Army offers three good versions of coin into bottle. In the classic effect, a coin is shown to a spectator - sometimes it’s borrowed - and then the coin is slammed against the bottle - usually on its bottom - and is found inside of the bottle.
DVD Review: Repeal by Randi Rain
Here’s an effect that plays better than the text on the packaging and ads would indicate. It’s a cap in bottle routine, but instead of the usual plastic water bottle and cap that is so popular these days, the effect uses a heavy metal cap and glass bottle. And the use of the PK ring offers clean handling and excellent control when compared against other methods.
DVD Review: Helter Shelter The Movie by Bizzaro
If you’ve ever wanted to perform the classic effect where you swallow a series of razor blades and some thread and then bring them out all strung together, Helter Shelter The Movie offers a fast, running start by explaining the various commercial effects that you can purchase and teaching various techniques.
DVD Review: My Ideas - Vol. 2 by Fantasio
With “My Magical Medicine Cabinet,” Fantasio presents an intriguing concept. A single box that looks like a medicine cabinet, but allows him to perform an entire show. The adaptations of classic magic effects using medical props are clever. However, clever doesn’t necessarily translate into great magic. This doctor’s kit is a mixed bag.
Book Review: Theatrical Magic by John Pyka
John Pyka not only knows magic, he knows theater. And his book, “Theatrical Magic” will make you think about the magic that you perform and inspire you to add meaning to it. I got a lot out of reading this book.
DVD Review: Bootlegs And B-Sides - Vol. 1 by Sean Fields
This DVD with the unusual title offers Field’s approaches to classic card plots such as “Twisting the Aces,” “The Open Prediction” and Paul Curry’s “Out of This World.” There’s also a killer closer to classic “Ambitious Card” that will excite card enthusiasts. The DVD features some great material, but the routines are probably more for showing off to other magicians than for presenting to lay spectators.
DVD Review: Muscle Pass by Jay Noblezada
I wish this DVD had been around years ago when I was trying to learn and master the “muscle pass.” Here, Jay Noblezada walks you through the steps necessary to learn the muscle pass and cause a coin to seemingly fly up out of your hand with no means of propulsion and without relying on gimmicks such as magnets or threads. I know the power of the muscle pass as I use it often in my stand-up Miser’s Dream routine.
DVD Review: Strip by Jon Thompson
If you've long shunned the lowly stripper deck, Jon Thompson may change your mind with the techniques on his new DVD, "Strip." As you'll see, a stripper deck in the hands of a skilled magician can form the basis of some astounding effects. The deck is not just for beginners.
“Refraction” by David Penn
Here’s a demonstration of psychic power. Instead of twisting a spoon or fork into a mass of mangled metal, how about causing a delicate wine glass to bend at its stem?
Trick Review: About Face by Jay Sankey
A variation on a classic packet card trick, Jay Sankey’s “About Face” makes the printed Jokers on four Joker cards turn around, one-by-one. Spectators actually see the back of the head of each Joker on each card. Sankey offers brilliant handling that makes it appear that all the Jokers are normal in the beginning and that all have turned their heads at the end. And he offers first rate instruction on the accompanying DVD.
Trick Review: Excalibur Deck by Devin Knight
When you have to force a card under the most scrutinized conditions, consider using Devin Knight’s Excalibur Deck when a slip, hindu, cross-cut or even classic may feel too obvious.
DVD Review: International Collection by Jay Sankey
Jay Sankey’s latest “International Collection” features 14 strong close-up effects with coins, cards, twist ties, straws and more. As far as I know, most of these have been explained on his earlier videos. He offers some great material here and there are a couple that learned from his earlier videos and already use in my strolling sets. What’s unusual about this DVD is that Sankey, in an uncharacteristic way, doesn’t talk.
Trick Review: Blindsight by Devin Knight
Blindsight is a mentalism effect that baffles spectators and relies on a strong combination of classic mentalism techniques. In lesser hands, the routine could rely on common mentalism methods. But Devin Knight’s brings together elements that shroud and support each other. And for good measure, he adds a kicker at the routine’s end. For $20, this is a powerful close-up mentalism routine.
DVD Review: Card Trick Magic by Stephane Vanel
If you’re a beginner and want to learn some good card magic, Stephane Vanel’s “Card Trick Magic” offers first rate effects that don’t require complicated sleight-of-hand and are easy to learn and perform. The DVD features 12 card tricks and offers an introduction to basic card sleights. The routines here are excellent for beginners.
Trick Review: Honest Cheat Poker Routine by Alan Bursky
“The Honest Cheat Poker Routine” offers an entertaining five-minute poker themed routine. It’s not hard to perform, requires no sleight of hand and can be performed with any deck. It will take some practice and there’s a setup that needs to occur beforehand, but this one is good.
Trick Review: Double Coincidence by Devin Knight and Al Mann
I’ve never been a big fan of book tests, but “Double Coincidence” is one that I like and want to perform. It's a strong, multi-phase routine that is baffling and not difficult to perform.
Trick Review: No Chance by Spelmann and Nardi
A powerful mentalist tool that leaves no outcome to luck, “No Chance” offers a set of gimmicked dice that work with a variety of effects. The dice also come with an indepth DVD that explains some of the many routines that you can perform with the dice.
Trick Review: Decisions by Mozique
An amazing prediction that is always under your control, “Decisions” allows you to prove to a spectator that you can anticipate his or her answers. You ask a spectator a “yes” or “no” question and when you show your prediction card, it’s always right.
Review: Collard by John Archer
In the spirit of mentalism effects where an object predicts some random input from audience members ala “Koran Medallion” and Don Wayne’s “Room Key,” “Collard” allows audience members to freely name a stuffed toy dog and later discover that its tag already has its name inscribed on it. This one is good and it’s definitely a stage effect.
Review: Red Carpet
For a society that can’t hear enough about Brittney, Lindsey and Paris, “Red Carpet” exploits our interest in celebrities. It’s a mind-reading effect that involves male and female spectators and ten cards that depict well known people. While the theme is compelling, the effect is rather lackluster and anti-climactic.
Trick Review: Postal! by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
With images of exotic and far off places, Larry Becker and Lee Earle offer a baffling bit of mentalism that involves postcards. This one is very good.
Trick Review: 37 by Marc Oberon
It’s an offbeat mentalism effect that based on an equally offbeat idea. Marc Oberon takes the statistical “37" number force trick and combines it with a prop that covers all of the possibilities. While the effect is decent, it’s the prop that’s cool.
DVD Review: Chop Cup (World's Greatest Magic)
This DVD combines chop cup routines from the DVDs and videos of several artists that include: David Regal, John Mendoza, Gary Ouellet, Dan Tong, Steve Dacri, Larry Jennings and Jim Swain. The DVD allows you compare routines from various pros and it’s fascinating to watch the different approaches to the effect as well as their presentations.
DVD Review: No Camera Tricks by Richard Osterlind
On "No Camera Tricks," an excellent three-disc DVD set, Richard Osterlind proves that mentalism is alive and well suited for television. Here, Osterlind demonstrates powerful mentalism for television that requires no camera tricks or editing, and no stooges or pre-show work.
DVD Review: Talk About Tricks (3 DVD Set) by Joshua Jay
Joshua Jay writes the "Talk About Tricks" column each month for “Magic Magazine.” Jay has gone through his columns, identified the effects that he likes most and compiled them in this comprehensive three-disc DVD set. As a result, this DVD set is filled with great material that runs the gamut from close-up to mentalism and features a list of well known magicians who present and explain the effects.
DVD Review: Bill In Lemon (World's Greatest Magic)
L&L has combined bill in lemon routines from the DVDs and videos of several artists that include: Bill Malone, Doc Eason Fielding West, J. J. Sanvert and Ted Lesley. It’s fascinating to watch the different technical approaches to the effect as well as the presentations. If you want to perform a bill in lemon routine, you will find this DVD worthwhile.
Review: Street Cups DVD and Book by Gazzo
Gazzo, the legendary street magician, demonstrates and teaches his famous cups & ball routine. It’s the money-making routine that he uses to close his street shows. If you’ve always wanted to learn the cups & balls and work it on the street, Gazzo’s DVD and book are required watching and reading.
DVD Review: Link! by Nabil Murday
If you’ve always wanted to perform “Crazy Man’s Handcuff,” the classic rubber band trick where two bands pass through each other, or already perform the trick and want to learn some impressive variations and convincing subtleties, check out Nabil Murday’s excellent “Link!” This could well be the ultimate authority on a fantastic trick.
DVD Review: Magic With Dice (World's Greatest Magic)
L&L has combined dice effects from the DVDs of several artists that include: John Mendoza, Daryl, Steve Dacri, Mark Leveridge and James Zachary. There are two "dice stacking" and two "Chinese Assembly" routines and Daryl teaches a version of the popular "Sack’s Dice Routine." If you want to perform with dice, you may find this DVD worthwhile.
DVD Review: Crazy Ball by Bruno Copin
“Crazy Ball” is an apt title for Bruno Copin’s amazing cup and ball routine that combines the capabilities of chop cup and invisible thread. Balls and other objects not only vanish and mysteriously appear from under a cup, as well as pass through its bottom ala traditional chop cup, but jump from the cup, move on their own and levitate on the sides of the cup. It’s an innovative and original routine that is based on some clever concepts and brilliant technical design.
DVD Review: Paperclipped Special Edition by Jay Sankey
With two-and-a-half hours of video, Jay Sankey leaves no stone unturned and no aspect uncovered on his famous “Paperclipped Special Edition.” On this DVD, Sankey talks in-depth about technique, patter, psychology and more. It’s a downright video dissertation on the effect.
DVD Review: “The Wedding” by Bruno Copin
I’m all for magic routines that tell stories and Bruno Copin’s “The Wedding” offers an unusual card effect where the individual cards become characters in something of a play. I’m not sure that the story really goes anywhere beyond a basic boy meets girl, gets married and lives happily ever after. The technique and mechanics behind the effect are impressive, but the story telling pales in comparison.
DVD Review: “Covert Coins Part 1" by Charlie Justice
“Covert Coins Part 1" offers a powerful collection of coin sleights and subtleties for intermediate and advanced coin magicians. Watching Charlie Justice in action is reason enough to purchase this DVD and here, he offers some excellent moves.
DVD Review: “You Ring?” by Ed Ellis
Ed Ellis performs and explains his quick ring off rubber band effect and an equally fast thumb off rubber band. And to round things out, there’s a routine where four aces switch places with four selected cards, and again, a rubber band plays a key role. If you would like to add a rubber band-based effect to your routine, you may find something to like here.
Trick Review: Numberground by Mickael Chatelain
You reveal a spectator's card as one that you’ve written on the back of a playing card. When you're told that the prediction is wrong, you shake the card and the writing turns into the selected card. The change is visual and the gimmick is a quality one that looks like a normal card. This one is expensive, but the effect and its precision gimmick are impressive.
Trilogy Streamline by Brian Caswell
“Trilogy Streamline” offers a “lite” version of “Trilogy.” Like the original “Trilogy,” this mentalism effect with playing cards offers three strong revelations with three audience members. This one is just as strong as the original “Trilogy” and better suited for strolling magic.
DVD Review: Folding Coin - Coin In Bottle (World's Greatest Magic)
This DVD offers versions of "Coin in Bottle" by such notables as Johnny Thompson, Karl Norman, David Roth and Michael Ammar. It's indeed nice to watch these pros in action and pick and choose the techniques that can work best in your own routine.
DVD Review: Tickling The Mind #2 by Mel Mellers
Mel Mellers is a successful magic performer and his DVD, “Tickling The Mind “ strives to teach other magicians how to apply themes to their effects and improve their routines and act. I found his “Tickling The Mind #1" to be a mixed bag, but generally liked this second effort. On this DVD, Mellers presents commercial routines and clever presentations.
Trick Review: Trilogy by Brian Caswell
This mentalism effect with playing cards offers three strong revelations with three audience members. It’s easy to perform; spectators make free choices with a tiny bit of suggestion; the audience sees you working with a single deck of cards and there’s no sleight-of-hand or difficult handling.
DVD Review: Acting Naturally - Elemental Coin Magic by Allen Zingg
On “Acting Naturally - Elemental Coin Magic,” Zingg shares his in-depth thoughts and useful advice on performing coin magic. Unlike most instructional DVDs about coins, Zingg’s approach is far more methodical-he treats coin magic as a science that’s to be analyzed and dissected, as well as competently performed. While this is not a typical instructional DVD, I think that magicians of all levels can learn from Zingg’s approach.
Trick Review: Taylor Made Book Test by David Taylor
David Taylor offers a strong and easy book test effect in his “Taylor Made Book Test.” His method is easy to setup, learn and perform and allows you to use virtually any book.
Trick Review: Crystal Vision by Pieras Fitikides
An intriguing new concept that updates the classic swami writer, “Crystal Vision” allows you to make on-the-spot predictions that appear on a laminated card that’s sealed within an envelope. The technique and prop are intriguing, but the results can only be viewed under good lighting.
Book Review: Uncovered (Secrets For The Serious Magician) - John Luka
John Luka’s “Uncovered” offers a strong compilation of first class card magic and a few non-card items that will appeal to serious and commercially-oriented magicians. The effects in this book are visual and have a strong impact on spectators and Lukas serves excellent and detailed instructions. And despite the power of his routines, none are “knuckle busters.” This is one great book that I highly recommend.
DVD Review: The Trilogy (3 DVD Set) by Dan And Dave Buck
Dave and Dan Buck are well known to anyone who’s into magic and surfs the internet. Their creative and wild card flourishes are legendary. The Trilogy offers some six hours of flourishes, moves and fast card tricks. This is visual and flashy card magic that you can incorporate into your own routines. And throughout, from the moves to the menus to the packaging, the Bucks offer a contemporary and relevant feel.
DVD Review: Open Traveller by David Acer
An eclectic travelog that’s interspersed with various effects and moves, David Acer’s “Open Traveller” DVD covers his trip during the Fall of 2002 where he toured various cities along with Rick Bronson before performing at an Edmonton Oilers Home Opener. The DVD teaches some strong close-up magic and features some hilarious segments from the road as well as from Acer’s and Bronson’s acts.
DVD Review: Tickling The Mind #1 by Mel Mellers
More about presenting magic than teaching new techniques, tricks or moves, Mel Mellers’ unconventional DVD showcases his comedy skills. Here, he shows how to take mostly rudimentary and well known tricks and dress them up into hilarious and entertaining routines. However, the DVD is a mixed bag that falls short as it’s not clear what Mellers is trying to teach other magicians.
Trick Review: “You Blue It” by Ed Ellis
Ed Ellis offers a powerful and commercial close-up card effect that involves a signed card and multiple color changes-the back of the card visually changes colors and the spectator’s signature on the face vanishes and reappears. This one is great for strolling and restaurant work and the spectator gets to keep the signed card as a souvenir.
Trick Review: “Phantom Band 360" by Brian Rodgers
A close-up bill penetration effect, this time, it’s a rubber band that passes through a folded dollar bill. This visual effect requires no gimmicks and can be performed impromptu and surrounded. If you can use an “object” through bill effect that isn’t a pen, or if this one sounds like it can fit into your close-up or restaurant repertoire, it’s worth the look.
Trick Review: Crystal Card by Pieras Fitikides
Piera’s Fitikides' Crystal Card offers an intriguing prop, a laminated card that can be shown blank and then displays the suit and value of two chosen cards, in sequence. It’s a brilliant concept that is easy to use, does everything that the ads say, but has some minor drawbacks.
Book Review: Long And Short Of It by Mark Lewis
However, Mark Lewis, in his book, “Long and Short Of It,” explains some intriguing moves with a Svengali deck beyond the standard ones and offers a powerful routine. He also explains various effects that may be performed with a Svengali deck. While most of these can be done with a real deck and sleight of hand, they’re effective routines.
Trick Review: Vanishing Point by David Eldridge
Vanishing Point is a decent packet trick with playing cards where four of a kind, say, the queens, are shown front and back and then, one at a time, the cards turn blank until all are blank. And at the end, the cards reprint themselves to their original state.
Talking Deck by Rodger Lovins
Is it a powerful card revelation or a strong bit of mentalism? Or is it simply some cool technology that’s posing as a great magic trick. With “Talking Deck” you get a cool electronic gizmo that allows a deck of cards to speak the name of a card, but the resulting effect just isn’t as impressive as the gimmick and secret.
Trick Review: Endless Rose
A stage effect with lots of potential, “Endless Rose” allows you to pick a full-sized red rose from a half-dozen roses; continually pluck the flower from the stem and immediately regenerate a rose at its end, and for the finale, cause the bare stem to produce a yellow rose.
Standing Room Only: Vol 2 - Steve Draun
Steve Draun has a reputation as a card man. His Volume 2 DVD is for those who want to learn and master classic gambling sleights and incorporate these techniques into their magic. Here you’ll learn about crimps, the Hermann pass, false and controlled shuffles, second dealing, cutting to aces, stacking a deck as you shuffle it and more. For card artists who want to move to the next level, there’s lots to like.
Stand-Up Magic - Volume 2 (World's Greatest Magic)
This is another great DVD in L&L’s “World's Greatest Magic” series that compiles lessons from noted magicians and their earlier videos. As the name implies, "Stand-Up Magic - Volume 2" presents a variety of effects that may be used in stand-up performing situations. This DVD offers routines by Michael Finney, Flip, Michael Ammar, Michael Close, Steve Dacri, Steve Draun, Fielding West and Eddie Tullock.
Trick Review: Lady Bug
Here’s a fresh, shocking and stunning effect. You bring the crowd in close, open a small pocket knife, pierce a fingertip and then squeeze out a single drop of blood. You press on the drop of blood with your fingers, which to the crowd’s surprise, turns into a living, breathing ladybug. Yes, the ladybug is real and alive and can actually fly away at the end of the trick.
Digital Graffiti (2 DVD Set) by David Peck
Prior to reviewing this DVD, I was unfamiliar with Canadian magician, public speaker, and lecturer David Peck. After watching the material on this two-DVD set, I’m impressed. Peck offers superb sleight-of-hand skills and fantastic, well-designed routines. He is a magician’s magician.
Punishment by Patrick McCullagh
Patrick McCullaghis a worker who has developed routines for real-world strolling. There’s some strong material for restaurants on this DVD but there are only four routines (five if you count the “bonus” effect that requires a special set of gimmicked cards). I particularly liked McCullagh’s card under watch and his stunning “Single Cup and Balls” that uses a single metal cup and ball bearings.
Stand-Up Magic - Volume 1 (World's Greatest Magic)
Another great DVD in the L&L’s “World's Greatest Magic” series that compiles lessons from noted magicians and their earlier videos, "Stand-Up Magic - Volume 1" presents a variety of effects that may be used in stand-up performing situations. Because of the broad premise, the routines span the gamut and include parlor magic, mentalism and more. And as the name implies, this DVD is the first of three.
Treasures Vol 3 by Alexander De Cova
I greatly admire the creativity and ingenuity of Bavarian magician Alexander de Cova. In this third of a three volume set that was originally sold on video and is being re-released on DVD, De Cova offers a series of varied moves and routines.
Ice Coins by Christopher Congreave
A clever transformation that provides a fitting finale to a solid coins across routine, Ice Coins offers four clear plastic gimmicks that are the same size as standard coins. With Ice Coins, you are not only purchasing the gimmicks, but can learn Congreave’s excellent coins across routine that is taught on the accompanying DVD.
DVD Review: Covert Magic by Iain Moran
On Covert Magic, Iain Moran offers a series of excellent close-up card effects and a single coin routine. I like the way that Moran mixes accomplished sleight-of-hand with gimmicks to produce great results. I liked several routines and consider the material here to be quite commercial. However, I think many of effects will appeal more to those who perform for other magicians.
Ambitious Card (World's Greatest Magic)
A classic card routine that a majority of close-up magicians, particularly pros, regularly perform, Ambitious Card offers a plot where a chosen card is placed anywhere in a deck of cards and somehow, continually rises to the top. This DVD offers solid advice on learning and performing Ambitious Card from experts. If you want to learn Ambitious Card or want to improve or expand your current routine, you’ll find lots to like here.
Stuck by Greg Rostami
A visual coin through the hand routine, actually, it’s more of a coin vanish from the back of the hand and a reproduction on the under side in the palm of the same hand, Stuck offers a good effect that is impromptu and may be performed with a borrowed quarter.
Bisection by Andrew Mayne
A fantastic and visual stage illusion that requires no assistants and packs into a single box or case, Andrew Mayne’s “Bisection” is a stunner. The magician walks out onto the stage and with the cover of a cloth curtain that is lifted from the ground, makes the upper half of his body momentarily disappear.
DVD Review: Magic Up-Close by Shimshi
Shimshi only offers four close-up effects on his DVD, but there are two killer effects: a levitation of a borrowed credit card and a version of the haunted pack where a pack of cards mysteriously cuts itself to reveal a spectator’s selected card. These flashy and visual moments are definitely worth the price of this DVD. And Shimshi adds a couple of good card tricks for good measure.
Book Review: Highway to Success
So you’ve got a decent magic act and are ready to make money at it. As any entertainment pro can tell you, it’s quite a leap to turn a magic obsession into a profitable business. Fortunately, magicians Elliott Smith and Ian Quick have written “Highway to Success,” a road guide, so to speak, that offers a solid foundation in business basics with an emphasis on entertainment. The book is a useful and easy read that dispenses excellent advice that can help you make the move into show “business.”
DVD Review: The Session 2007
Take a camera crew to the “Session 2007" convention, a gathering that’s dedicated to serious sleight-of-hand, record the offerings and routines of numerous magicians and you have this DVD. Many of the routines and techniques on this DVD are of the high-level, finger-flinging variety and span the gamut and tend towards playing cards. There may be some routines and insights that serious practitioners can gain from this DVD, but fifty bucks seems pricey.
DVD Review: Standing Room Only: Vol. 1 - Steve Draun
Steve Draun’s Standing Room Only - Volume 1 is the first disc in a great three-DVD set. Here, Draun offers his take on classics such as ambitious card, bill switch, linking rings and more. He offers a particularly good 3 Card Monte routine that is fresh and different (I’m working this one up). When Steve Draun performs and explains magic, you’ll definitely want to listen and take copious notes.
Book Review: Stop Smoking Mentalism
"Stop Smoking Mentalism," by Dr. Fabio Tabbo', not only offers a fantastic routine, it offers thorough instructions and patter for every stage of the effect. You will understand how to perform the routine after reading this book. There’s seemingly no stone that’s left unturned. What’s equally impressive is the thorough background information that Tabbo’ discusses and applies.
DVD Review: Treasures Vol 2 by Alexander De Cova
On this DVD, Alexander De Cova offers some excellent versions of torn and restored card and sympathetic silks and an unconventional card to wallet that incorporates an envelope for good measure. This VHS instructional video that’s been resurrected on DVD also explains some good utility moves for cups and balls and Benson bowl. It’s an eclectic mix and some of the material is repeated on some of De Cova’s later DVDs, mainly “Enigmatic.”
Trick Review: Odd Ball - Marc Oberon
This is the first time that I've come across a commercial trick that I couldn't perform. For me, "Odd Ball" has a method that is far too subtle to ensure success. And unfortunately, its secret is one that may not be subtle enough to escape detection on the part of spectators.
Trick Review: Any Ring by Richard Sanders
Not a trick in itself but a useful prop, “Any Ring” takes the well known ring-vanishing handkerchief and makes it far more flexible. “Any Ring” integrates a tapered gimmick, which, depending on how it’s held, can act as a delicate lady’s engagement ring, or a man’s bulky signet band. It’s a brilliant idea that greatly improves the traditional prop.
Master Billet Course Peeks & Center Tears by Allen Zingg - Vol. 1
If you want to use billets in your mentalism, Allen Zingg’s “Master Billet Course Peeks & Center Tears” offers a fantastic introduction that can get you well on your way. Zingg not only explains different techniques in detail, he presents various routines that make use of the techniques. You’re free to pick and choose the technique that will work best for you.
Write Angle by Jesse Feinberg
In this trick, the magician displays a Bic pen and then causes it to slowly bend by itself, until it’s turned in a 90 degree angle. This one is easy to learn and perform and at the end, you can hand out the pen for examination. It is truly stuck in a bent position.
3D Paradox by Steve Shufton
A spectator is given a sealed envelope which can even be mailed ahead of time if you’re so inclined. A playing card is freely selected, signed and shuffled back into the pack. The envelope is opened to reveal a greeting card. When the card is opened, a colorful 3D scene pops-up with a small envelope. When the small envelope is opened, it’s found to contain the spectator’s signed card. Performed correctly, this one is a stunner.
Printing by Dominique Duvivier
Duvivier’s “Printing” offers a variation on classic “Wild Card” where a series of playing cards take on the image of other cards and even various objects. The trick is entertaining, plays well and is easy to learn and perform.
Cash Card by Jesse Feinberg
In this penetration effect, a playing card passes through a dollar bill. A dollar bill is folded around a playing card, which traps the card inside. The card is then slowly pulled through the bill as if melts through it. This one is visual, convincing and easy to learn and perform.
Iced Over by Russ DeSimone and Ed Bedrick
As the name implies, “Iced Over” allows a magician to produce some ice cubes from seemingly thin air after showing his hands empty. While “Iced Over” provides an effect that allows you to produce ice or turn water into ice, you’re actually purchasing a set of realistic-looking fake ice cubes.
Between 2 Minds by Guy Bavli and Haim Goldenberg
“Between 2 Minds” is a three-disc DVD set that offers 15 powerful mentalism routines for stand up, stage and close up. While 15 effects may sound like a paltry amount given that this pricey set consists of three discs and costs $120, they’re strong ones. Another plus, Bavli and Goldenberg take lots of time to discuss each method and routine, perhaps the most insightful treatment that I’ve seen on any instructional magic DVD.
DVD Review: Thumb Tips (World's Greatest Magic)
Another in L&L’s great series of “World’s Greatest Magic” DVDs that compile lessons from noted magicians and their earlier videos, “Thumb Tips” presents various effects that use the well known prop. It's a worthwhile DVD, particularly if you like any one of the effects. You can learn your desired effect and then pick up a few tips for others that use the same prop.
Trick Review: CTW (Card Through Window) by David Forrest
Beyond his self-levitation, most lay-people seem to recall David Blaine’s "card through window" from his early television specials. The excellent “CTW” offers a two phase version of the effect that is powerful and relies on an innovative and clever gimmick. I thoroughly like this one and find it to be far better than Kevin Parker’s “Edge,” another card through window trick that we reviewed earlier.
DVD Review: Mix N' Mingle - Shaun McCree
Mix N' Mingle is an outstanding two-disc DVD set that presents strong close-up material, mostly with cards. Shaun McCree is a UK-based entertainer who explains routines that are designed for real-world, walk-around conditions where you’re standing and surrounded.
DVD Review: Art Of Astonishment - Paul Harris
Next to Robert Neale's "Celebration of Sides" DVD, Paul Harris offers an equally innovative and offbeat take on magic in his "Art of Astonishment." It's always refreshing to encounter new effects that twist reality in different ways. Here you'll find a "boomerang card" on steroids; a couple of visual, changing dollar bills; a cool triumph with cards and many other intriguing and different effects.
Trick Review: Kate and Edith
One of the funniest effects in magic, “Kate and Edith” is a fantastic routine for bars, nightclubs and adult gatherings. Doc Eason recently re-released Kerry Pollack’s “classic” with a DVD that presents two recordings of his live performances and provides tips, audio files that you can listen to and memorize the routine and more.
DVD Review: Tricks That Will Get You Paid-Gary Norsigian
Gary Norsigian's "Tricks That Will Get You Paid" offers a strong premise. Instead of simply offering a series of tricks from the arsenal of a pro, Norsigian offers effects, many of them typically performed close-up, that play to bigger crowds of up to 25 round tables with ten people each. This two-disc set offers a series of good close-up and stand-up routines.
DVD Review: Zoom, Bounce, And Fly- Jeff McBride
Jeff McBride’s “Zoom, Bounce, And Fly” teaches you how to spin cards in flashy ways to dress up your card manipulation act. This DVD provides some new variations and the complete work on performing McBride’s amazing “floor bouncing” where cards are rapidly spun and thrown from a deck that’s held in one hand and bounced off the floor. And for the first time, McBride unveils a secret gimmick.
DVD Review: Klose-Up And Unpublished by Kenton Knepper
A DVD that is a re-release of a VHS video, “Klose-Up And Unpublished” presents some excellent routines by Kenton Knepper. The close-up tricks are visual and practical to perform and I particularly enjoyed Knepper’s fresh approach to sponge balls. Best of all, Knepper’s methods aren’t knuckle busters.
Trick Review: Edge by Kevin Parker
The magician displays a card with a torn corner and puts his empty hand around to the other side of a glass door, keeping it there with his fingers spread wide open and the palm visible. The other hand taps the torn card against the opposite side of the glass and the card's corner visually falls into the hand on the other side of the window, seemingly passing right through the glass.
DVD Review: Scotty York Vol.2 - Hisownself
As the name implies, Scotty York Vol.2 - Hisownself is the second in a three DVD set of first rate lessons that follows his excellent Vol.1 - Professional Trick Bartender. York has performed bar magic for some 15 years in Washington D.C. and the effects that he explains here are baffling, entertaining and commercial.
DVD Review: Coins Across (World's Greatest Magic)
I wish this DVD existed four years ago when I was learning and trying out different versions of “coins across” for my strolling sets. This DVD combines “coins across” routines from the collections of several artists. It provides an education in coins across with various methods, philosophies and approaches. The routines here require strong sleight-of-hand fundamentals and use no gaffed coins.
DVD Review: Treasures Vol 1 by Alexander De Cova
One of Germany’s top magicians, Alexander De Cova is a creative and innovative thinker. This title, which was the magician’s first in the English language and was originally introduced on VHS video some years back, has been resurrected on DVD. It provides a series of astounding close-up effects that are baffling and aren’t knuckle busters.
DVD Review: The World-Renowned Magic of Paul Potassy
Paul Potassy is truly a master magician. He has performed for 66 years in 44 different countries for celebrities, heads of state and even the Pope; speaks six languages and has been called “the Maurice Chevalier of magic.” It’s a pleasure to watch this master in action and to learn the effects in his stand-up show.
Trick Review: Chaos 2 by Mark Elsdon
This is a good, visual card effect that is not difficult to learn, is easy to perform and is great for beginners.“Chaos 2" offers a gimmicked deck that can be cut with the halves placed face to face, and then shown to be completely interlaced with face-up and face-down cards. And afterwards, the deck can be immediately straightened out so all the cards face the same way.
Trick Review: Holey Shirt by Joe Russell
“Holey Shirt” is a burnt and restored effect that’s performed on a spectator’s shirt. You wander over to a spectator and grab a bit of his or her shirt. You then take out a lighter and visibly burn a smoldering ragged hole into the cloth. You then rub the burnt hole with your fingers to transform the shirt back to its original unburnt condition.
DVD Review: Celebration Of Sides by Robert Neale
Robert Neale, artist, topologist, philosopher and trickster, performs and explains a series of unusual and offbeat effects that are refreshingly different. Based on mathematical principles, geometry quirks, optical illusions and more, Neale’s take on semi-reality is always fascinating.
DVD Review: Scotty York Vol.1 - Tricky Bartender
With two-hours of close-up performances and explanations, it’s worth spending time with veteran Scotty York on his Vol.1 - Professional Trick Bartender. York has performed bar magic for some 15 years in Washington D.C. and the effects that he explains here are baffling, entertaining and commercial.
Trick Review: Psnype by Kevin Parker
The spectator is given a deck of cards. The magician turns his back and tells him to cut the deck to any card and peek at it. After the spectator peeks at a card, the magician tells him the card he peeked at without fishing or even touching the deck.
Book Review: Essential Robert-Houdin
I’ve been reading this weighty, 600-plus page book for weeks. While I wasn’t initially sure how much this book would appeal to those who aren’t magic historians, I found it to be a fascinating read. And what really surprised me was the fact that Houdin writings and advice from some 150 years ago are still relevant today.
Trick Review: Shaker by Rodger Lovins
In "Shaker," a magician causes a ball to vanish in a salt shaker. After bringing the ball out from his pocket, he takes the ball and makes it penetrate through the glass to the inside of the shaker. The easy trick comes with all of the gimmicks necessary to perform the trick.
DVD Review: Steve Bedwell - TAPED!
Another DVD that’s a re-release of a good VHS video is Steve Bedwell - TAPED! The DVD showcases Bedwell’s “The Walkman Act,” which awarded him the Gold Cups at a magic competition (performance only) some time ago. This one is fun to watch, if not a bit dated. The DVD also teaches some commercial and visual effects with ropes and cards.
DVD Review: Mamma Mia Magic - Aldo Colombini
An earlier instructional VHS video by Aldo Colombini that’s now been re-released on DVD, “Mamma Mia Magic” presents Columbini’s flashy cups & balls routine and various close-up card and coin effects. For intermediate to advanced magicians, this DVD presents Columbini’s take on several classics that include card and coin transpositions, card matrix, oil & water and spelling to a card.
DVD Review: Zombie Ball (World's Greatest Magic)
This DVD offers advice on learning and performing the Zombie Ball from three well respected experts: Al Schneider, Jeff McBride and Tommy Wonder. If you want to learn Zombie, or want to improve or expand your current routine, you’ll find lots to like on this DVD.
DVD Review: Laser Anywhere Volume 1 - Adrian Man
"Laser Anywhere" offers a thorough course in CD Manipulation and is the companion lesson for the Manipulation CD Box Set. On this DVD, magician Adrian Man offers good explanations on palming, productions, vanishes, holders, gimmicks and body steals.
Review: Manipulation CDs Box Set
Manipulation CDs are props that look much like real CDs, the kind that you stick into your computer to burn, but are specifically designed for magic and manipulation. Like jumbo coins, manipulation CDs look great on stage, but they are larger in diameter, lighter in weight and far easier to handle.
Trick Review: Money Bag-Anton Corradin
A magician holds a black piece of cloth and puts some coins inside it, which fall through. The magician shows the cloth to empty. After a shake, a jumbo 7-inch (17 cm) half-dollar coin falls from the bag. The magician turns the bag over and shows a picture of a bill. When the bag is opened again, a wad of paper currency appears. This offbeat money effect is easy to learn and perform. Personally, I find this one rather unsophisticated and corny.
Trick Review: "Labelled" by Ben Williams
In this astounding effect, you show an unopened and sealed soda bottle and sign the label. You place your hand over the signed label and remove your hand, and spectators will find that the signed label is now inside of the bottle amidst the soda. The ads make lots of points that are generally true.
DVD Review: Miser's Dream by Chris Capehart
As you would expect, in “Miser's Dream by Chris Capehart,” the well respected magician teaches his flawless and hilarious version of the classic routine. In basic “Miser’s Dream,” a magician appears to pull coins out of the air and from spectators’ ears and other places, and throws them into a bucket.
Trick Review: Hot Knife-Rodger Lovins
You show a pocket knife with six different colored spots on both sides. The spectator names a number between one and six which is used to select a color on the knife. Suddenly, the spots on the knife magically change into the selected color. Of course, Rodger Lovins “Hot Knife” is a variation on the classic “Hotrod” effect. It’s a quality pocket knife that you can always carry with you.
Review-Live at the Jailhouse: a Guide to Restaurant Magic
This comprehensive and informative three-DVD set on restaurant magic offers lots of insight into this specialized branch of close-up work. Its strength lies in interviews with respected and experienced pros that include: Dan Fleshman, Garrett Thomas, Dan Tong, Kirk Charles, Paul Green and Justin Miller, who dispense useful information.
DVD Review - Dan Tong: FINALLY! - 50 Years Of Magic Vol. 2
Dan Tong is a respected and skilled worker. His new instructional DVD offers some strong takes on classics such as “egg bag,” “chop cup” and “card on ribbon.” He also offers a brilliant rope routine that combines cutting and restoring and “professor’s nightmare.” If you want to learn some strong routines from a real pro, this excellent DVD is well worth a look.
Trick Review: Mind Twister
In this amusing close-up effect, you appear to "twist" a disposable lighter right in front of spectators. The routine starts as a prediction, but ends in a visual metaphysical feat. It's easy to perform, requires no sleight of hand and offers a surprising conclusion.
DVD Review: Criss Angel - Mindfreak - Season Two
For Criss Angel fans, "Mindfreak - The Complete Season Two" offers all 21 episodes of the illusionist's second season on television. It's an entertaining collection of episodes that is filled with magical innovations, puzzling television magic and intriguing and varied themes. And there are limited "extras" tossed-in for good measure.
Trick Review: Ghost Vision-Andrew Mayne
Andrew Mayne brings paranormal phenomenon, and more specifically, spiritual photography, to the modern day. By simply borrowing a camera cell phone, the magician can take pictures that reveal strange ghostly images and premonitions that seemingly come from beyond. This is really cool.
2006 Holiday Gift Guide
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Of course, you’ll need to let your loved ones and friends know exactly what you need to spark-up your magic for 2007. Here’s what we want to find under our tree this holiday season.
Trick Review: Mag Card DVD
"Mag Card DVD" is a kit that allows you to make your own magnetic cards. While such cards aren’t tricks in themselves, they allow you to perform three effects that are explained on the accompanying DVD. The DVD offers thorough instructions on making your own cards and the resulting tricks are good ones.
Trick Review - "The WiZ"
Promising a "revolution in magic," "The WiZ" is a prop that can be used to produce and possibly vanish small items such as silks and sponge balls. Unfortunately, while the prop itself is clever and well made, the prop’s productions look nothing like competent magic and in no way replace the conventional means for accomplishing the traditional effects.
DVD Review: "Stack Attack" - Lew Brooks
As the name implies, "Stack Attack" offers a collection of impressive card tricks that are based on stacking the deck--putting the cards into a specific, prearranged order. All of the tricks, which end with the magician dealing a winning hand, require no complicated sleight of hand. As a result, the easy tricks on this DVD are perfect for beginners.
Trick Review: “Gobsmacked” - Costas Damianou & Simon Lovell
“Free Will Has Left the Building.” So goes the tagline for “Gobsmacked,” an effect where a spectator freely deals cards until he or she wants to stop. When the spectator stops, the magician shows that the rest of the cards are blue backed cards and the spectator’s freely chosen card has a red back with a message written on the back. The power in this effect lies in its perceived free choice.
Trick Review: Suits You
"Suits You" is an adequate "chaser" effect where three piles of three playing cards are dealt to the table. After moving the top cards to other piles, the magician shows that the like cards have followed the lead card and joined it. I’m not fond of card tricks that use piles and require the constant showing of cards, but this trick is easy to learn and perform and you’re left clean at the end.
DVD Review-Jim Cellini: Street Magic Lecture
Cellini, one of the undisputed kings of street magic, offers his lecture on DVD, which was recorded in Zurich in 2005. While Cellini has lots of solid information to impart, this DVD is a mixed bag. Cellini demonstrates effects and techniques and serves solid advice for working on the streets, but doesn’t offer in-depth explanations on the effects.
DVD Review: Tempest Concept-Andrew Normansell
Andrew Normansell's "Tempest Concept" promises "The ultimate in challenge card magic!" Exactly what is the "Tempest Concept" and is it truly the ultimate? As it turns out, Tempest is a logical and workable system of card control and glimpses to secretly control the location of a selected card and determine what it is. And secondary, with the card's location and identity known, a spectator can be allowed to shuffle the card without changing the cards location (in most cases).
DVD Review: Decks, Lies and Videotape
Brent Braun’s first rate DVD, "Decks, Lies and Videotape," offers four excellent effects: three involving cards and one a ball, and several technique for controlling selected cards. The triumph, transposition and torn & restored card effects are all first rate and the ball effect is stunning but has limited use. I liked the card control techniques that could easily be applied to "select a card" and "ambitious card" effects.
DVD Review: Chicarnery-John Carney
John Carney is a magic Jedi master and "Chicarnery," his excellent instructional DVD, serves five great effects with cards and coins. There’s a great signed bill into pen effect that is almost as strong as "bill to lemon," but without the involved setup and resulting mess; a fantastic and visual card color change sequence; a transposition routine where red and black aces change places in a four-card packet and more. If any one effect fits into your repertoire, it's worth the price of this DVD.
DVD Review: PAYphone-Corey Burke
PAYphone offers a collection of strong, well-routined walkaround effects. Corey Burke does lots of restaurant work and his experience shows in the amazing card and coin routines that he presents and explains. This is an excellent DVD for intermediate to advanced magicians and I’m carrying away a couple of routines that I’m going to incorporate into my own table hopping.
Review: Bicycle Red Gaff Deck
Ellusionist.com's "Bicycle Red Gaff Deck" offers an intriguing and comprehensive collection of gaffed playing cards that you can use with a normal red Bicycle deck. Some are well known standards and the deck goes far beyond with amazing and visual variations that will spark your imagination and dress-up your card effects.
DVD Review: Ever So Sleightly
Not a "how-to" instructional magic DVD but a documentary, Paul Squires' "Ever So Sleightly" tries to serve insight from a who’s who of British magic. The documentary is generally entertaining but falls short because it lacks depth and shows too few magic demonstrations.
Trick Review: Five Finger Discount
More of a gag than a trick, a spectator is invited to join you on stage. You make a comment about the gentleman’s nice jacket. When you open the spectator’s jacket to look inside, a security tag, like the kind you find in stores, is found to be attached to it.
Trick Review: Third Degree Burn
Third Degree Burn, by Jason Palter, is a mysterious and versatile blister effect. You walk up to a spectator and ask them to name a card. You bring out a lighter and light it. After reaching into the flame, you show that your thumb and first finger have blisters in the shape of the freely named card.
Trick Review: Hat's Incredible
It’s a toilet plunger, vase, beanie cap and safari hat, all in one. “Hat’s Incredible” is a goofy, gag-laden, evolving hat prop that’s strictly for the kids. If such a silly effect can work in your kids show, this one does exactly what it says it will.
DVD Review: Magic Under Fire by Harry Robson
Harry Robson’s "Magic Under Fire" is refreshing because he talks about performing strolling magic under demanding conditions. This experienced worker is not afraid to show himself in situations where spectators are distracted and even walk away. But this is the reality of performing for adult crowds. Robson offers his favorite routines, most of them involving cards and serves advice.
Trick Review: Far Sight by Devin Knight
In "Far Sight," a card-based mentalism effect, a performer can stand away from a set of cards so he can’t see them and allow a spectator to freely choose one card and cover the others. In the end, the performer correctly predicts the selected card. This one is good and will fry magicians who may be the best spectators for it.
DVD Review: Enigmatic Volume 2 - Alexander de Cova
As in his first volume, Alexander de Cova offers a mix of routines involving varied objects for close-up and stand-up, many of which are prediction effects. As with the routines on his other DVDs, de Cova’s methods are direct and effective.
DVD Review: Tom Stone Caught on Tape
Tom Stone offers an excellent DVD with one stand-up and seven close-up effects. Stone’s take on classics consists of great technique, streamlined procedures and strong misdirection. And he dresses his effects with entertaining plots.
DVD Review: Incredible Self-Working Card Tricks Vol 5
Now with a fifth volume, Michael Maxwell offers another set of "self-working card tricks" that require no sleight-of-hand or skill with cards. This DVD is good for beginners and comes with some decent effects and a couple of no-sleight variations on card classics.
Book Review: Think Pink-Ran Pink
If you want to secretly discern a thought or message, there’s always the reliable center tear. Ran Pink offers his version of the center tear that works with an index or business card, allows you to precisely tear the card without looking at it and results in torn pieces that are seemingly too small to contain any useful information.
DVD Review: Sucker Punch-Thom Peterson
On his newest DVD, Thom Peterson promises “"magic that will knock the wind out of your audience...nine great sneak attacks to daze and amaze." Peterson is a creative performer with a quirky sense of humor. There are only nine close-up and stand-up routines here, but there are some definite gems.
DVD Review: Official Poker Chip Tricks Vol 1
Instead of releasing a second volume of his excellent "Chip Tricks" DVD, Rich Ferguson re-releases the first DVD with lots of variations and new tricks. He has taken a great DVD and made it even stronger. Whether you want to twirl, stack, toss, shuffle or roll poker chips, Ferguson’s first rate DVD shows you how.
Trick Review: Sudden Deck II
In “Sudden Deck II,” David Regal provides an entertaining way to magically produce a deck of cards. The magician walks out with a couple of pieces of white cardboard. With a snap of the fingers, one of the pieces instantly “prints” itself to resemble a Bicycle-brand card case. The magician folds the cardboard into the shape of a box and then removes a regular deck of cards.
DVD Review: Enigmatic Vol 1-Alexander de Cova
I greatly admire the creativity and ingenuity of Alexander de Cova. His brand of magic offers some well-thought-out enhancements to classics and the six stand-up effects on this DVD are varied and strong. As he did on his “Thumb Tip” DVD, de Cova fooled me bad. None are difficult to perform, but will take some rehearsal.
Trick Review: Sharp-Ring
Using "Sharp-Ring," you can cause a spectator's ring to vanish out of your hand and appear on the clip of a Sharpie pen that is in your back pocket. The effect offers the potential to update the classic "Ring Flight" effect and relies on an object that spectators recognize and know. On the other hand, there’s more to the prop that calls for other considerations.
DVD Review: Asi's Time is Money
In this astounding routine, you borrow a signed bill from a spectator and fold it with a second bill that you provide. When the bills are unfolded, the spectator’s bill has vanished. To return the money, the signed bill is found under the spectator’s watch. This is an excellent routine that stuns spectators. Asi often closes his strolling set with this effect.
DVD Review: Rocky Mountain Magic
From 1977 to 2004, the legendary Doc Eason was the featured magician at the Tower Comedy/Magic Bar in Snowmass Village, CO. This title, a DVD re-release of the 1990 video of same name, depicts a magical evening at the Tower some 16 years ago. And the disc offers a tantalizing bonus, commentary by Eason himself.
Book Review: Power Plays-Mike Powers
In "Power Plays," Mike Powers offers an excellent and comprehensive collection of close-up effects that use cards, coins, bills, rings, rubber bands, straws and more-some 58 effects in all. While many are Powers' take on classic effects, he has created and compiled an impressive assortment of tricks that are visual and commercial. The majority of the effects involve playing cards.
DVD Review: Classic Carney
This version of John Carney’s excellent instructional video on DVD offers some solid close-up effects. The strongest are the three-phase card in napkin routine, a fun triumph style effect and an outstanding cups and balls effect that’s blended with classic bill in lemon.
Review: Bicycle Masters Edition
For card handlers, a fresh new deck that is worked in just right is one of life’s pleasures. And if you’re lucky enough to own Ellusionist’s Bicycle Masters Edition, a high-end Bicycle deck that’s printed by the United States Playing Card Company, you’re working with the best quality deck that’s probably out there. And its stunning, redesigned Ace of Spades adds icing to the cake.
Trick Review: Divine Time - Jason Palter
A first rate mentalism effect, Jason Palter’s Divine Time offers an entertaining routine that’s built on a time theme and serves a solid revelation. A spectator randomly selects a watch from several that display different times, and the performer is able to somehow determine the time.
Trick Review: Fate-Rick Maue
This incredible bit of mentalism involves five spectators and six poker chips and serves two powerful revelations. I successfully performed the routine at three shows this past weekend and it got a great response. I can’t say enough great things about Rick Maue’s “Fate.”
Trick Review: A New World
From the brilliant minds of Dean Dill and Michael Weber comes "A New World," their impressive new version of "Out of This World." Of course, "Out of This World" is an amazing card trick that allows spectators to seemingly sort out black cards from red ones without looking at them. Dill & Weber have cleaned up the effect so it's more logical and powerful, courtesy of a gimmicked deck.
DVD Review: Double Signed Card-Richard Turner
A combination of raw talent, extreme dedication and an engaging stage presence, Richard Turner is a Jedi master with cards. With the addition of a second spectator and second signed card of a different color, Turner elevates the signed card routine to new heights. It’s a signed card on steroids. If such a high level routine interests you, you’ll enjoy this DVD.
DVD Review: Examining The Thumbtip - de Cova
Of all magic props, the thumbtip is perhaps the most misused by hacks. In the hands of accomplished performers, the thumbtip is a fooler. And in the hands of Bavarian magician Alexander de Cova, the thumbtip is an artform. The three effects on this DVD may or may not suit your style, but the thought and handlings by de Cova are worth the price of this DVD.
Book Review: Bringing Magic to Life
If you believe that presentation makes a trick and creates the magic, and you should, you’ll find lots to like in Dr. Jay Ungar’s "Bringing Magic to Life." Ungar offers his first rate presentations for lots of well known effects. Almost any performer can benefit from reading Ungar’s ideas and angles.
Trick Review-Saw by Sean Fields
This impressive bit of geek magic makes it look as if you’re sawing a piece of thread into your neck. You visibly saw a length of thread into your throat by moving your hands back and forth, and the spectators see the thread embed itself under your skin. Pull the thread and the spectators see it lifting the skin and tearing away. This one is easy to setup and perform.
Trick Review: Disjointed
If you’ve ever seen or performed Shinko's "Classic Arm Twist," you know the amazing reactions that the effect gets from spectators. David Blaine used it in his first TV special and David Copperfield showcased it on the Tonight Shoe. Now, magician Joe Russell presents a new version that is just as easy to perform, if not easier, and takes the effect in a new direction.
Trick Review: The Scorpion Pro UV Kit
Chosen cards reveal themselves in an eery glowing light, and messages, personal dates and serial numbers mysteriously appear. Illuminated UV ink and light form the basis of Ellusionist’s Scorpion system, a series of props, instruction and impressive effects. Brad Christian and his team have compiled a system that offers some intriguing possibilities.
Trick Review: The Scorpion Pro UV Kit - Part 2
Second in a two-part review - Chosen cards reveal themselves in an eery glowing light, and messages, personal dates and serial numbers mysteriously appear. Illuminated UV ink and light form the basis of Ellusionist’s Scorpion system, a series of props, instruction and impressive effects. Brad Christian and his team have compiled a system that offers some intriguing possibilities.
Tricks That I’ve Added to My Act
After reviewing a number of DVDs, tricks and books, one or two per week for over a year, I have now seen and evaluated countless effects. As you would probably expect, there are many that I have worked up and added to my stand-up and close-up repertoires. Here’s a list of the effects that I now regularly perform, which I first learned about through my reviews.
DVD Review: "As I Recall..." Slydini
This excellent DVD set is a tribute to the great Slydini. You get to see many of his classic routines that include "Coins Through the Table," "Paper Balls Over the Head" and more, and learn them from Cellini, the noted street artist and Slydini student. Other students perform their favorite Slydini effects and recall their experiences with the master. This is a worthwhile DVD.
DVD Review: Miracles for Mortals Vol. 2, Geoff Williams
Geoff Williams’ second DVD, Miracles for Mortals Vol. 2 , is as good as his first DVD. This DVD presents some excellent and varied close-up and stand-up effects along with good explanations and solid advice. Williams is an engaging performer with a quirky sense of humor, superb technical skills and an ability to take effects and make them his own. There’s lots to like.
DVD Review: 100% Commercial Mentalism-Andrew Normansell
As the title implies, Andrew Normansell’s 100% Commercial Mentalism DVD offers the magician’s favorite mentalism effects. Normansell offers mentalism that works on stage and in close-up situations. All are easy to learn and perform. While some rely on playing cards, none require any sleight-of-hand.
Book Review: World-Famous Bowl Routine
Combine a great close-up routine with an exceptional teaching tool, and you have a winner. Lance Pierce’s “The World-Famous Bowl Routine” explains a powerful “bill in lemon” act that provides a climactic moment to a strong “Benson Bowl” segment. Every move and word has evolved over thousands of performances, and Pierce thoroughly explains his routine in its entirety.
Book Review: Helter Shelter - The Razor Blade Illusion
If you’ve always wanted to perform the “razor blade illusion” where a magician swallows several razor blades and some thread, and then “regurgitates” the blades back up, all neatly tied on the string, “Helter Shelter” is almost required reading.
DVD Review: Close-Up Magic-Andrew Normansell
As the title implies, Andrew Normansell’s 100% Commercial Volume 3 - Close-Up Magic DVD offers a good selection of close-up effects. Actually, a more descriptive title for this DVD would have been “Close-Up Card Magic.” The solid card effects that Normansell presents here offer lots of opportunities to interact with spectators and are not difficult to learn and perform.
Book Review: The Festival Entertainer
If you’ve been wanting to work fairs and festivals, Keith Stickley's The Festival Entertainer offers an effective guide to booking and working outdoor fairs, festivals and similar events. While Stickly offers useful tips on working these events-what to wear, material to perform, traveling and more, it’s the marketing and promotional advice that is the book's strongest suit.
Trick Review: Ripped-Up by Peter Egglink
There are various methods to appear to tear apart a playing card and restore it, and Peter Egglink's Ripped-Up offers a different, gimmick-based approach that allows you to seemingly tear apart a signed card and instantly fuse it back together. The effect requires no palming and almost instantly resets, and is within the means of anyone who has mastered card basics.
DVD Review: Fans, Flourishes, and False Shuffles-Richard Turner
Richard Turner’s ability to convincingly perform almost anything with cards is about as legendary as his 16 hours of practice a day. This DVD offers a mix of fans, flourishes, false cuts, controls and shuffles. Some are basic and may be found on other flourish DVDs while others are flashy and twisted Turner variations. All can add visual interest to your card routines.
DVD Review: Miracles from the Sock Drawer
On this comprehensive DVD, Paul Gallagher shares an amazing wealth of ideas, applications, subtleties, insight and routines for standard effects that many magicians have purchased and thrown into their sock or junk drawers. With some 50 effects, routines, presentation tips, and performance applications and some five hours of footage, this is a great DVD.
Illusion Review: Andrew Mayne’s Razorwire (Plans)
Another in Andrew Mayne’s low-cost, build-your-own illusions, in Razorwire, the magician appears to pass through a tangle of barbwire behind the cover of a cloth. It’s a convincing one-person illusion that may be easily built for under $100. The effect only requires basic tools to construct it and doesn’t need any assistants.
DVD Review: The Secret Art of Coin Manipulation
If you want to learn an excellent stand-up coin routine, Eric Evans’ teaches an entertaining and bewildering one on this DVD. Here, a silver dollar goes through a series of mind-bending productions, vanishes, transpositions, penetrations, and transformations, and the routine climaxes in a seemingly-endless, barehanded production of jumbo coins.
DVD Review: Quarter Through Soda Can
Criss Angel reveals the stunning Quarter Through Soda Can, which he featured during an episode of his MINDFREAK series. In the amazing routine, a spectator’s borrowed and signed quarter is found inside of a sealed can of soda. It requires no gimmicks or preparation and is not difficult to perform. The DVD offers a thorough and complete explanation.
Book Review: Ken Weber’s Maximum Entertainment
Far more important than the slickest new card move or latest stage effect is our ability as magicians to entertain. For this, Ken Weber’s Maximum Entertainment offers solid advice for improving one’s show and is must reading for anyone who performs magic.
DVD Review: Infusion by Geir Bratlie
Borrow a glass and a quarter and in the blink of an eye, the quarter has somehow penetrated the exterior of the glass and is now found inside. Ellusionist’s Infusion DVD shows you everything that you need to perform this amazing effect. It’s a “quickie” that can support other coin-related routines as well as stand on its own.
DVD Review: Miracles for Mortals Vol. 1, Geoff Williams
I had never before heard of Geoff Williams, but after reviewing his DVD, I’m throughly pleased to have discovered his work. This DVD presents some excellent and varied close-up and stand-up effects along with solid advice. There’s lots to like here.
Trick Review: Heatwave, by Peter Eggink
A chosen card appears to “melt” in front of spectators’ eyes. Peter Eggink’s Heatwave offers a different and visual card trick that employs a lighter and is sure to draw attention. And the melted card at the trick’s apex is something that spectators are not expecting.
DVD Review: Official Poker Flourishes DVD-Vol 1
On this DVD, Rich Ferguson offers excellent instruction to teach basic card flourishes that include: springs, fans, waterfalls and spreads. Beginning magicians can learn a lot here. And the flashy moves will add visual interest to their card sets.
DVD Review: Adam Grace’s Glass
Has Adam Grace created a new close-up genre? His conjuring, as explained on this DVD, involves a square of glass, a marking pen and some sleight-of-hand. While the 15 tricks are a mixed lot, the strongest ones are impressive. And whether you like the effects or not, they are a tribute to Grace’s creativity, innovation and originality.
DVD Review: Andrew Normansell 100% Commercial - Comedy Stand-Up
Andrew Normansell’s comedy DVD offers a strong selection of commercial stage effects. This DVD does not present an act, but several routines that are largely weighted towards cards. Normansell has an engaging stage presence and the effects he presents here offer lots of opportunities to interact with spectators and are not difficult to perform.
DVD Review: Criss Angel Self Levitation
If you want to learn and perform an excellent self-levitation, one that allows you to lift your feet in the air while standing almost anywhere, Criss Angel teaches one of the many techniques that he performed in his MINDFREAK television series.
Review: Bill Goldman’s Little Book of Big Secrets
As the title implies, Bill Goldman’s book is small and may be read in less than half-an-hour. On the other hand, the collection of meandering essays, while entertaining to read, generally fail to deliver the inside scoop on what makes a magician of Goldman’s caliber so successful.
Review: The Specter Cabinet (Plans)
The Spector Cabinet is another high-impact, low-cost illusion idea from Andrew Mayne. It’s his creative take on the shadow box. His plans offer everything that you need to know to build the illusion for about $60 worth of materials. This one can make an excellent show opener.
Trick Review: The Tim Card Poker Deal
Tim Ellis delivers a winner with his Tim Card Poker Deal, a poker-style effect where the magician plays three hands of poker against a spectator and always loses the first two hands and wins the last. The spectator seemingly makes the choices. It’s an easy effect that is great for beginners, offers lots of opportunity to interact with spectators and is strong enough to work in a walk-around set.
Book Review: Bill Goldman’s Magic Bar and Grill
"Magic Bar and Grill" was Bill Goldman’s ten-issue newsletter that was published over a period of nine years. It was a creative and well received outlet for Goldman's ideas, presentations, methods, opinions and more. This book brings together all ten issues. While it’s somewhat quirky, there are some definite gems to be found within.
DVD Review: Captured! The Outlaw Magic of Lonnie Chevrie Volume II
In the second volume of his “Outlaw Magic” series, Lonnie Chevrie tips four solid close-up effects that are visual and only require fundamental sleight-of-hand skills. If the effects sound as if they’ll fit in your walk-around or close-up sets, the DVD is worth the look.
DVD Review: The Spencers: Theatre of Illusion-Asia
If you want to find out what it’s like to carry out an international tour, The Spencers: Theatre of Illusion-Asia offers an entertaining compilation of backstage and on-the-road footage. The DVD demonstrates no secrets and the performance segments are limited, but it’s fascinating to watch The Spencers and their support team in action and experience their Asian tour through their eyes.
Trick Review: Seance Handcuffs
The seance is a magic classic. In a seance, the magician is tied-up or bound in some way that constrains his or her movements, and then spiritual “manifestations” and strange events occur. To perform the effect, Cannon’s Great Escapes offers its superb Seance Handcuffs that work well and rely on a clever and almost undetectable gimmick.
Trick Review: Subterfuge
Subterfuge offers a gimmick and system that can vanish a small object or coin that is resting on a spectator’s hand and quickly ditch it. The clever system doesn’t rely on a traditional pull or string. It’s an intriguing and competent system that vanishes small objects in a manner that can’t be recreated by sleight of hand alone.
The Official Poker Shuffles & Cuts DVD-Volume 1
Geared towards poker and card players who want to show off, The Official Poker Shuffles & Cuts DVD-Volume 1 teaches a comprehensive collection of cuts and shuffles, both basic and advanced that magicians can add to their repertoires. For beginners, there’s a wealth of material that will keep them busy for months.
The Magic Junk Drawer: Bubble Magic
Two marketed effects in my junk drawer relate to bubbles. A few years back, I thought that a bubble effect could form the basis of a strong opener. I would walk out on stage in my stand-up act, blow some bubbles, reach up into the midst of the bubbles and pluck one out of the air. But alas, the effects that I purchased quickly ended-up in my junk drawer. Here’s why.
DVD Review: Cellini, Art of Street Performing, New Orleans, Volume II
For those who want to perform magic in the streets or can use strong stand-up routines that work under almost any condition, Cellini, the street master, offers superb instruction in his Art of Street Performing, New Orleans, Volume II. With varied effects that use silks, coins, ropes, cigarettes and cups and balls, the DVD presents an entire street act.
Trick and DVD Review: McAbee Rings
The McAbee Rings offer an intriguing set of women’s bracelets that mysteriously link and unlink. Martin Lewis' amazing trick and routine can now be purchased with an excellent instructional DVD that explains everything you need to know. The routine offers a different style linking ring effect that looks more natural than conventional linking rings and leaves you completely clean at the end.
DVD Review: 24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis
Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster offer a brilliant, hilarious and entertaining DVD that’s filled with first rate, commercial effects. The premise here is that a nosy neighbor, played by Webster, is constantly spying on Ellis in his home and figuring out and explaining his tricks. It’s loads of zany fun and Ellis and Webster often make the explanations as entertaining as the tricks.
My Magic Junk Drawer: “Watch & Wear”
Every magician owns magic tricks that he purchased with the highest expectations, but for whatever reason, never made it into his act. In this regular new feature, I discuss effects that I bought and now sit on a shelf. This week, it’s the “Watch & Wear” wristwatch, a mentalism effect where a spectator names a time of the day and the magician shows that his watch was previously set to that time.
What’s In a DVD or Trick Review?
One reader’s e-mail prompted me to evaluate and explain my approach to reviewing DVDs and tricks here at Magic & Illusion. Here’s some insight into the process that is designed to identify strong magic effects, steer you clear of bad ones, save you money and give you an idea of the situations where an effect will work and its difficulty.
DVD Review: Bob Sheets’ Hang ‘Em High
Another strong effect from Bob Sheets, his “Hang ‘Em High” DVD shows how to perform his stunning version of the rope through body. Two spectators hold a single rope at each end and the magician places the middle of the rope on his back. In the blink of an eye, the rope ends-up in front of the magician, somehow passing through his body.
DVD Review: Stand-Up Magic For Kids
Can the secret to great kids magic be found in a single DVD? “Bill Abbott Performs Stand-Up Magic For Kids” comes darn close. This excellent DVD only profiles three routines, but they’re high-impact, powerhouse effects that are clearly worth the price of admission. This DVD is a virtual gift to serious kid magicians everywhere.
DVD Review: Xtreme Beginnerz
If you want to learn flashy card flourishes to dress up your magic routines or establish a foundation in xtreme card manipulation (XCM), Ellusionist’s latest DVD, Xtreme Beginnerz, offers an excellent teaching tool. This two-DVD set offers hours of first rate instruction and tips from experts De’vo, Jerry Cestkowski and other pros.
Trick Review: Daryl’s Ultra-Monte
If you’ve always wanted to perform Three-Card Monte but found the sleight-of-hand daunting, Daryl’s excellent Ultra-Monte offers a relatively easy, gimmicked-based version. And in addition to being a great trick, Daryl provides excellent instruction with both a DVD and written text.
DVD Review: Wanted! The Outlaw Magic of Lonnie Chevrie: Volume 1
The Texas outlaw magician, Lonnie Chevrie, tips some first rate, commercial close-up routines on his DVD, “Wanted! The Outlaw Magic of Lonnie Chevrie: Volume 1.” The five effects are not difficult to learn and perform, and one is strong and absurdly easy. Those who are developing and building close-up material can find lots to like here.
DVD Review: Runaround Sue
Is a DVD with only one routine worth the money? When it’s Tim Ellis’ “Runaround Sue,” his take on the cups & balls, the answer is a resounding “yes.” In addition to explaining Ellis’ excellent fifties-themed cups & balls, the DVD provides lots of useful information on vanishes, setup and showmanship.
Book Review: “Up in Smoke” - Larry Jennings
Offering a treasure trove of powerful card effects, Bill Goodwin’s “Up in Smoke” resurrects Larry Jennings’ earlier book of the same name. Goodwin has completely rewritten the book’s 12 effects, added photos where none existed before and includes two new effects. The title offers excellent instruction and some great card routines.
DVD Review: Official Poker Card Stunts DVD
Rich Ferguson’s “The Official Poker Card Stunts DVD” teaches a wide range of card techniques to switch cards, reveal and deal cards in flashy ways, throw cards and execute flourishes. While there are no actual tricks, magicians should find many of the moves useful. It’s a first rate DVD that provides excellent instruction.
DVD Review: Rich Ferguson’s Poker Chip Tricks
Rich Ferguson’s “Official Poker Chip Tricks” DVD offers a comprehensive collection of stunts that you can learn and perform with poker chips. Throughout, Ferguson does an excellent job of demonstrating his techniques. And whether you want to twirl, stack, shuffle or roll chips, Ferguson’s first rate DVD shows you how.
DVD Review: Scotty York Vol.3 - Strikes Again
Bar magician extra ordinaire Scotty York indeed "strikes again" in his third volume DVD. The follow-up to York's Vol.1 - Professional Tricky Bartender and Vol.2 - Hisownself, York offers another collection of powerful effects. Two that are particularly impressive include: "Card on the Ceiling" and "The Ring in the World."
DVD Review: Scotty York - The Silver Fox 3 Volume Set
Bar magician Scotty York offers all three of his excellent DVDs in a worthwhile three-disc set. Purchasing the discs in this set will save you ten bucks. Indeed, York's collection of tricks are baffling, entertaining and commercial. Next to Doc Eason's material, York's DVDs are recommended watching for aspiring bar magicians.
Trick Review: Star Trick by Larry Becker and Lee Earle
A prediction effect that is surprising and visual, Larry Becker's and Lee Earle's "Star Trick" manages to capture our society's fascination with celebrities. This effect is based on an innovative and creative concept and is designed to be performed on stage but can also be performed close-up.
Trick Review: Mind Control Remastered by Bill Abbott
In “Mind Control,” Bill Abbott offers a trick that is easy to perform and can be performed in several variations for close-up or stage. Here, the spectator makes a free choice and is shown that the magician knew all along.
Bubble Gum Magic by James Coats and Nicholas Byrd
As the name implies, this DVD, which is the first of two, focuses on tricks that use chewing gum. Some tricks require a glob of gooey gum straight from the mouth (yuck) while others are adaptations of classic close-up effects that have been applied to gum packs.
Maynia by Andrew Mayne
In Maynia, Andrew Mayne offers five offbeat, but visual effects. I particularly liked his production of a lit lightbulb from a sketchpad and finger stab of a selected card from mid air. You may find something to like among Mayne’s effects, and for twenty bucks, you probably can’t go wrong.
Underground Jam by Jay Sankey
On this DVD, Jay Sankey recreates a late-night magic jam session where he and three other entertainers perform and explain their pet close-up effects to each other. This DVD offers some 20 effects, a majority that use playing cards, but there are others that use coins, keys, film canisters and more. This DVD offers a good mix of effects and among the 20, you’re bound to find one that you can use.
Trick Review of Disappeared Thought by Mathieu Bich
This version of the Princess Card trick offers a couple of advantages over the classic - it's an incremental improvement over the original.
Review of Luke Jermay's Colorblind
Touting a skill known as "dermioptic vision," Luke Jermay's excellent "Colorblind" offers a kit and several techniques to seemingly allow you to read the color of playing cards faces - black or red - using only the tips of your fingers.
The Top Magic Products of 2010
Here's my list of the best and most innovative magic products of 2010.
Review of Psychedelic Foursome
"Psychedelic Foursome," a packet trick, offers a variation on classic "twisting the aces." The kicker comes at the end when the four cards are shown to have different colored backs, although they appeared to have the same backs throughout. At the end, you’re left completely clean and spectators may examine the cards.
Review of Bruce Bernstein's Linking Pins
Much like a linking ring routine, but instead using ordinary safety pins that may be examined by spectators, "Bruce Bernstein's Linking Pins" is a smooth and convincing close-up effect. And the instruction here is among the best and most thorough that I have seen.
Review of Bruce Bernstein's Linking Pins
Much like a linking ring routine, but instead using ordinary safety pins that may be examined by spectators, "Bruce Bernstein's Linking Pins" is a smooth and convincing close-up effect. And the instruction here is among the best and most thorough that I have seen.
Review of The Inside Job vs Aperture
For $25, this kit offers not just one, but two card tricks. The first trick, a great transposition of two cards that occurs in a card box, impressed me. The second, a moving hole effect where a hole in one card transfers to another, in comparison, is not as strong.
Review of Mark Southworth's "Tin Opener"
After a great card routine, Magicians are always looking for that strong finale that causes a signed card to end up in an impossible place. For this, Mark Southworth's "Tin Opener" mysteriously places the spectator's signed card inside of a mint tin that's been sitting on the table.
Review of "Mental Epic Compendium" by Paul Romhany
If you want to learn just about everything there is on "Mental Epic" you'll find it in Paul Romhany's excellent "Mental Epic Compendium." This book provides some 54-routines in its 360 pages and may just be the final word on the well known mentalism effect.
Review of Richard Osterlind's Industrial Strength Link
Definitely something different, Richard Osterlind's "Industrial Strength Link" offers a sophisticated take on the well known "ring and spring" trick. Here, Osterlind has built a multi-phase routine that can play in close-up or stand-up. It goes well beyond the limits of a mere puzzle and works as an entertaining routine.
Review of "Stand & Deliver" by Shaun McCree
On McCree's latest title, "Stand & Deliver," I found more commercial and powerful routines for corporate strolling work. The routines are multi-phased and suitable for all close-up workers.
Review of Cash Flow
"Cash Flow" offers a fast, visual bill transformation. In the main routine, you bring out a folded check and in the blink of an eye, you're holding two dollar bills that you can convincingly display on both sides. The kit also comes with materials to build your own gimmicks to accomplish virtually any transformations that you wish to with paper...
Review of Kings Crossing
Here's a good version of classic "cards across" that may be performed in stand-up and stage settings that employs jumbo-sized cards. This one requires no sleight of hand or difficult moves, all thanks to the set of gimmicked cards. And the jumbo-sized cards allow the effect to be seen from a distance.
Jumbo Backstage Monte - Review
"Jumbo Backstage Monte" is based on the well known beginner's magic trick. It begins conventionally, but transforms into something of a sucker effect at its conclusion. The gimmicking is clever and the effect is a fooler, but the effect requires care so the magician doesn't come across as an annoying smart aleck.
Review of Chop by Craig Petty
"Chop" offers a fantastic idea and a great routine, and the opening and closing supporting segments stand on their own as routines in their own right. It's all from the brilliant mind of Craig Petty, and "Chop" is a routine that he says has been his closer for a couple of years.
Jump by Frank Zheng
Frank Zheng is an artist from Shanghai, China. His "Jump" instructional title teaches several great coin routines, along with some strong magic with cards and one with a balloon. I generally like the effects, but many have specific hardware requirements.