Stage & Stand-Up Magic
Review of Oscar Munoz Live
On this DVD, Oscar Munoz teaches routines with ropes, linking rings and billiard balls. If you're looking to improve your stand-up act, you'll find some great material on this two-disc DVD set.
Review of Packs Small Plays Massive by Jamie Allen - Vol 1
As the title implies, Jamie Allen's "Packs Small Plays Massive" offers advice on performing magic for large audiences, including close-up effects that are projected onto a screen. It's a thorough treatment of the topic.
Review of "The Art of Presenting Magic to Children" by Danny Orleans
Noted performer Danny Orleans
Review of "Harlan Escape Artist Show" by Dan Harlan
In another of Dan Harlan's DVDs of acts that pack small and play big, this one teaches an entire act of escapes. If you're looking for an escape routine, this one is filled with some great material.
Review of Linking Ring DVDs: Al Schneider and Essential
Want to learn to perform the famous linking rings? In this article, I discuss two excellent DVDs: "Al Schneider The Linking Rings" that teaches two advanced ring routines; and "Essentials in Magic: Linking Rings," which teaches the fundamentals of the rings.
Review of Harlan The Trade Show
This DVD accomplishes two objectives. It teaches an entire act that can fit into a single case thus "packing small and playing big." And it's got some great routines for trade shows. With Dan Harlan teaching the material, you know it's got to be good.
All About the "Vanishing Bandana"
It's something of a rite of passage for almost everyone who aspires to perform stand-up magic. I think that at some point, just about every magician experiments with the "Vanishing Bandana." Here's what you need to know.
Review: Magic of the Pendragons by Charlotte and Jonathan Pendragon
Once in a while, artists with the right talents and skills will advance their chosen art. This is the case with Charlotte and Jonathan Pendragon and magic. With their creativity, artistry, showmanship, athleticism and grace, The Pendragons have taken magic and illusions to new levels and now explain their techniques and approaches in four excellent new DVD titles.
Review: The Thing Platinum Edition by Bill Abbott
“The Thing” is Bill Abbott's one-man levitation that can be performed with little worry about angles. In Abbott's strong and visual routine, an empty box produces "a thing" that seemingly floats under the cover of a foulard. In this Platinum Edition, Abbott offers a next generation gimmick, a refined routine and more in-depth instruction on an enclosed DVD.
Review: Confessions Of A Needle Swallower by Steve Spill
Swallowing and regurgitating needles is clearly not for everyone, but for some 25-years, Steve Spill has been amazing and entertaining audiences with his version of this well known effect. And on this DVD, he tips his entire needle routine, which is a great one.
Review: Dan Tong Live
When an entertaining worker of Dan Tong's caliber tips his stand-up show, it’s time to sit up and listen and take notes. These are fantastic routines that you can perform and use to entertain. Another plus with this DVD is that you get to see how Tong entrances his audiences with humor, scripting and charisma.
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.
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: 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.
Magic for Kid Shows
Magic for Kid Shows
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: 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: 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.
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: 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.
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: Echo by Wayne Dobson
An entertaining routine that is interactive, makes great uses 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.
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.
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.
The Razor Blade Trick
If you've always wanted to swallow razor blades and thread and bring it all back up, strung together, here are resources to get you started.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shopping for a Change Bag
I never thought that I would perform using a conventional change bag-a rather infamous magic prop. However, Paul Gallagher's Miracles From the Sock Drawer DVD explained an excellent change-bag-based routine that is great for young kids. I recently purchased a change bag, but my bag is less than optimal. If you're shopping for a change bag, here are things to consider.
Magic Demo: Professor’s Nightmare
Professor's Nightmare is a classic rope trick that is easy to perform and is great for beginners who are seven-years-old and up. We take you on a virtual demo.
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: 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.
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.
Trick Review: Jumping Jelly Beans
An entertaining effect with a built-in message about sharing, Magikraft’s Jumping Jelly Beans is a fine addition to a kid show.
Review: Andrew Mayne’s Light Storm (Plans)
Good illusions always cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars, right? But magician and designer Andrew Mayne can change your mind. His plans for “Light Storm” offer a large-scale effect where an assistant appears to push a light through the body of the magician. The effect is a good one that can cost less than $60 to build.
Review: Andrew Mayne’s Voodoo Box (Plans)
If you’ve always thought that good illusions cost hundreds, and even thousands of dollars, magician and designer Andrew Mayne can change your mind. His plans for “The Voodoo Box” offer a variation on the classic sword box that replaces the swords with umbrellas and is built with a cardboard box. The end effect is a good one that can cost less than $30 to build.
Trick Review: D’lite Flight
D’lite Flight makes a spot of red light flicker in mid air-almost like a flying, buzzing, living and glowing firefly. Despite the D’lite name, the effect can only be performed under certain lighting conditions-mostly on darkened stages. But it’s an eye-catching effect that may be performed as a short transition or something to visually attract spectators.
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.
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: 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.
Beginner's Magic Demo: Cups & Balls
Some consider the cups & balls to be the oldest recorded magic trick, apparently depicted on the walls of Egypt’s Great Pyramids. While professional magicians perform stunning, advanced versions of this classic, beginning magicians can purchase simple, pre-packaged versions that result in a mystifying sequence.
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: 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.
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.
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.
Review of Packs Small Plays Massive Vol. 2 by Jamie Allen
In Vol. 2, Jamie Allen continues his instruction on using projectors to perform close-up effects on stage. This is the second volume in a two-disc set.