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DVD Review: Talk About Tricks (3 DVD Set) by Joshua Jay

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DVD Review: Talk About Tricks (3 DVD Set) by Joshua Jay
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Joshua Jay writes the "Talk About Tricks" column each month for “Magic Magazine” and 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 well known magicians who present and explain the effects.

There’s seven hours of video. Since there’s so much material, I can’t go in-depth into everything but will mention the highlights that appealed to me.

Oil and Water Mix

The first thing that I liked about the first disc was its “Oil and Water” routine. Normally when I see these three words in a magazine, book or DVD, my mind checks out and my eyes glaze over. But Jay has brilliantly combined three different effects into an amazing, three-phase “Oil and Water” routine. The methods are different in each phase to keep things varied and the final phase offers a stunning four-card transposition. I’m working this one up.

Rune Klan offers his entertaining “Impromptu Hit Man” where a coin disappears and trades place with a pen in several phases. This is a visual coin effect that cleverly combines two different effects. I really like this one.

A gem on this DVD set is Francis Menotti’s exceptional “Exdislycally Shunuffled.” This is Menotti’s excellent opener from his stand-up act where his speech gets mixed up in a hilarious manner as he mixes the cards in a deck. Menotti teaches the moves necessary to perform the effect, but viewers are discouraged from copying and using Menotti’s brilliant dialogue. Indeed, this intelligent and entertaining work is so closely tied to Menotti, no magician would probably want to perform it the same way.

Disc One

The “242 Deal” offers a great poker trick. Here the magician deals cards and allows a spectator to freely choose the face down cards that they wish to build their hand. During the last deal, the spectator gets to look at his existing hand and choose from the remaining cards to build the best hand. Alas, the magician wins even though the spectator did all of the choosing.

This one is a welcome change from the usual ten-card poker deal tricks where you have to track a card. It’s not hard to learn and perform and I’ve been performing it for a couple of weeks already.

Jay teaches a series of moves. I was recently working on a move that required an Erdnase Break and wondered how to best get into it. I now have my answer with Larry Jenning’s “Erdnase Break Subtlety,” a beautiful method for setting up an Erdnase break that doesn’t require you to spread the cards in your hands.

I liked the complete “False Faro,” an in-the-hands faro shuffle that retains the entire order of the deck and that’s based on work by William Eston. Rune Klan offers a hilarious variation on that old gag where you pretend to spring cards behind your back (he makes it appear as if you really do). If you perform a push-through false riffle shuffle, Jay teaches a nice variation, “Divided Shuffle,” which makes the move more convincing. There’s also a nice twist, a convincer, on the tilt move in “Bebel on Tilt.”

Open Perception

The second disc offers Raj Madhok’s “Open Perception,” an outstanding effect where a spectator deals cards and the magician correctly predicts the outcome. The handling is clean and seemingly fair and the card that’s freely chosen by the spectator never disappears from sight. Jay’s “Any Card at Any Page Number” is a strong effect where a spectator’s chosen card appears within the pages of a book at the exact page number that was randomly named by another audience member.

I like Joel Givens’ take on “Karate Coin” in “Ninja Coin.” Givens is a virtual bionic man when his finger penetrates a coin in gorgeous slow motion. It’s a particularly clean approach that has none of the jerky motions of a typical “Karate Coin” routine. In “Across Coins,” Givens gives another strong routine, a coins across effect that blends the use of the typical gimmick with techniques such as “Tenkai Pinch” and “Pointy Transfer.”

Rick Maue offers a strong mentalism effect, a prediction that relies on input from a freely chosen audience member. As in many Maue effects, he effectively covers all the possibilities so it’s difficult for spectators to backtrack and carefully constructs his patter and suggestions for maximum setup and impact.

John Lovick performs and explains a visual routine where a slip of paper gradually turns into a dollar bill as it’s folded. In Lovick’s hands, the paper appears to develop, much like watching a Polaroid picture.

Choose a Beard

Rune Klan offers his hilarious “Beard Book.” A cartoon face with a beard is freely selected from a series of pictures and before spectators know it, the magician is wearing a beard that matches the one in the selected picture. John Lovick teaches and explains his fantastic “My Lady’s Other Ring,” a stand-up routine where two ladies’ finger rings are borrowed and vanished. The effect has a hilarious premise where the magician is following directions from a magazine.

A stunning effect with some excellent theming by Jay is John Lovick’s “I Dream of Mindreading.” A spectator is asked to freely think of a card and then deal cards onto the table according to a pattern given by the magician. Without looking, the magician is able to identify the thought-of card, and when the cards are turned over, they are all blank.

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