Magic Products Review

TOKEN by SanaMinds Creative Lab

Written by Bernard Sim

Again, another very good trailer from Sandsmind.  These guys really know how to produce nice trailers.  Token is a visual effect whereby a straw is slowly pushed into the fist and becomes a heart shaped origami straw.

Effect wise I think this one is not too bad, at least your spectator gets to keep a souvenir of your performance and will also remember you.  You get the instructional DVD and a set of gimmicks.  The gimmicks are not specially made items but are ordinary objects which I think some of you may already have.  At US$34.95, I think the price is quite fair considering the added gimmicks.

There are certain requirements when performing Token.  First of all, you need to be wearing a jacket.  You will also need to prepare the straw (easy) and also fold the heart shaped straw for giveaways.  The heart shaped straw requires 2 straws to make, but that should not be a problem as straws are pretty cheap.  It is very easy to perform Token, no complicated moves.

The only thing I don’t like about this is how the trailer portrays this product.  By watching the trailer, you’d think that you can just take a straw from a spectator and then do the magic.  I counted 8 spectators accepting the heart shaped straw from the magician.  What are the chances of the people on the beach using the same straw?   The trailer shows the magician borrowing the straw from the spectator and then go into performing the effect.  That segment has something missing which makes it vital for this product.  You can’t simply take the straw from someone and then go into performing the effect without doing that part.  Though that part is not difficult to do, it may be decision making part of buying this product.

The DVD says that this may be a good effect from working magicians as one of the methods allows it to be performed surrounded.  However, it will not make sense for a magician to be carrying a drinking cup with a straw while working.

It’s a nice concept and effect. I just simply don’t like the trailer.

Rating:  7/10

FISM MONTE

Written by John Teo

There is a popular card monte effect involving a spread of 5 cards.  Usually these 5 cards are glued together to make it easier to hold the spread.  The middle card is different from the other 4 cards.  It is usually a picture card whereas the other 4 cards are not.  Or it is the only red card or the only black card in the spread. 

A spectator is given a small paper clip and is told to clip the back of the middle card.  The spectator will always fail to clip the correct card.  Even when the spectator knows the secret, it will take her a while before she can fully appreciate what has been going on.  It is an effective little trick that is found in a beginner’s magic set.  There is no real ending for the trick.

Here comes Hiro Sakai who finds an interesting and practical ending to this trick.

In effect, the performer displays a spread of 5 cards held together by a large paper clip.  The 5 cards are the Ace of clubs, two of spades, three of hearts, four of clubs and five of spades.  The middle card, the three of hearts, is the only red colour card, and is the odd card in the spread.

A spectator is given a small paper clip.  The performer turns around the spread of 5 cards so that their backs are showing.  The spectator has to clip the odd red card from the back. 

When the spread of cards is turned over, the spectator will find that she had clipped the Ace of clubs instead!  The performer remarks that perhaps the large paper clip is causing some confusion.  The spread of cards is turned over, and the clip is removed.  The spectator has another go at clipping the odd red card.  She is quite certain she has clipped the middle card.  When this card is turned over, she has clipped the Ace of clubs again!  She does not understand.

The performer tells her she that she has no chance at all.  He turns over each of the other 4 cards.  They are all Aces of clubs!  There is no trace of the two, four, five or the red three.  Everything can be examined.

The effect is simple to perform and is highly deceptive.  You receive all the 5 cards, including a special gimmick.  The original set from Japan does not include the 2 paper clips.  Redefine Magic Outlet will provide you the 2 clips at no extra charge so that you can perform the effect straight away.

 

Highly recommended!

ENLIGHTEN by Magic Tao

Written by Bernard Sim

Objects in impossible locations.  Enlighten is one such effect.  There are many effects using lighters and Enlighten is one that combines the use of playing cards.  The basic routine is a torn corner of a playing card vanishes and appears inside the lighter.

Before I watched the DVD, I have not watched the demo or read the product description of this item.   For the first 20mins, the DVD teaches you how to prepare the lighter, there are several similar methods to prepare the lighter.  So far, I still don’t know what the effect was.  After continuing to watch the DVD, Mayar finally performed the basic routine which last for about 1 or 2 mins.  While I was not really impressed by the routine, layman may find it magical as the torn corner of their selected card is inside the lighter. 

Several routines are taught and most of them are rather similar.  Some routines uses flash paper which I find it to be effective as fire adds mystery to the vanish and appearance of the torn corner.  Another routine is where the corner ends inside the lighter is then taken out and hands over to spectator for examination.

I think it’ll be fun just by preparing the lighter, I always like such stuff.  Mayer teaches a method to vanish the corner and credits it to Joshua Jay.  I think that method is called The Pentium Vanish by Elvind Lowig found in his book Stand Up Coin Power.   At the end of the DVD, Mayer shares on how you can remove the label on the lighter by using lighter fluid.  Lighter fluid is effective, but I think a better method is to use WD40.  Peel it and spray it and then clean it.  Simple.

Anyway, this could be a fun routine for laymen.  I’m rather mix by this, probably due to my view as a magician.  A laymen might defer from my view.

Rating:  7/10

ROPED EVOLUTION by Juan Pablo

Written by Bernard Sim

Roped Evolution is a very visual and magical rope routine.  If you have seen the trailer, you’d know what I mean.

This routine is very different from your other rope routines.  While this can only be done as an opener for your rope routine, it can be a very interesting one.  The actual routine is very short and if you are an MC, this would be very suitable for you.  As for magicians, to perform this on its own would not be very good (IMO) as this routine establishes you as a magician and your spectators would expect more.  It is also not very difficult to add routines after performing Roped Evolution.   You’d end up with 2 equal lengths of regular ropes, so you can essentially perform anything with it.  You can even do a cut and restore without fear of damaging the Roped Evolution routine as the ropes you end with are regular ropes and easily replaceable.

What you get are 2 regular ropes, a gimmick and a DVD.  The routine is very easy to perform and the initial set-up will take about 1 min.  Performance set up is less than 30 seconds but you have to do it under cover.  Pablo teaches you how to do a set-up in the midst of your performance.  The instructions given are clear and easy to understand.  You’d have no problem performing this once you have watched the DVD.

Many have agreed that a rope routine always lack a kicker ending, while Roped Evolution doesn’t help in that ending, it sure does help in the opening.  If you have a rope routine in your act, you should add this in immediately!

Rating:  9/10. Highly Recommended.

COIN by Eric Chien

Written by Bernard Sim

When was the last time you got excited by a coin DVD?  For me, it was a few years back when Ponta The Smith released his DVD “Sick”.   His coin moves are so fluid and graceful and truly looks like real magic.  Now I am excited by Coin by Eric Chien.  If you have seen his trailer, you’d know what I mean.

Coin workers may know that this move was based on some classic coin sleight and most may not know how it was executed as Chien does it very smoothly.  The whole DVD is based on this 1 move and this is a useful, magical and visual coin sleight.

When I first learn the classic version of this vanish, it was from David Roth’s VHS.  That sleight is not difficult.  The difficult part is actually the timing of closing your hand around the coin before the coin vanishes.  Chien’s version requires more work on the move as well as the timing.  To do this well, I guess you’d have to invest some time to practice it to make it look magical.

The DVD teaches you how to execute the move with detailed explanation as well as slow motion and exposed view.  Once you have learn the basic move, you can move on to the routines that uses this move.  The routines included are shown in the trailer and you can expect to learn those from this DVD.  The Spellbound routine taught in the DVD belongs to Ponta The Smith and Chien modified part of Ponta’s Spellbound using his move.  The end result is a beautiful and visual Spellbound routine.  The rest of the routine are variations of a instant visual coin change.  There is also a coins across routine using a coin gaff and his move.

When I first saw the trailer, I was so eager to get my hands on the DVD and when I finally had a copy in my hands, the temptation of wanting to know how it was done was too much for me to wait.

I had to ask my wife to stop work so that I can use her laptop to watch it.  She only gave me 10 mins to watch it as she needs to get back to her work.  After watching it and a few hours of practice, this was the result.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnz7VFEPTbs&feature=em-upload_owner

I still need some practice there.  The video is to show you that this move can be done.  I have done Roth’s version for some time now and learning Chien’s version is not too difficult.  I’d need more practice and to train some muscle memory and also change some finger movement habits.  For those who have not done Roth’s sleight before, I think it will take a bit of time to get it done right.  Nonetheless, this is not one of those DVD whereby they teach you something impossible to achieve.  Chien’s move is achievable if you invest enough time on practicing it. 

Coin workers should really get this, this move has many application and will be useful in your coin routines.            

Rating:  9.5/10 Highly Recommended!

BARE HANDS BILL PRODUCTION AND OTHER BILL EFFECTS by Juan Pablo

Written by Bernard Sim

Juan Pablo’s Bare Hands Bill Production was released a few years ago.  At that time, I don’t see many people doing it.  I only know of one person who does it and till now, he is still doing it.

Money effects...who doesn’t like it.  Money always attracts spectators.  For Bare Hands Bill Production, you can produce up to 6 bills one at a time.  Please note that this is very different from Osaka Bills which is a stage effect.  Osaka bills is like Miser’s Dream except that paper bills are used instead of coins.  For Osaka Bills, the production only uses 1 hand to produce the bill and the bill produced comes out like a flash.  With 2 hands, you can produce many bills to fill the stage.  For Pablo’s Bare Hands, you will require a gimmick which is provided.  The production requires 2 hands and you can always show your hands empty.  It looks clean and visual.

Pablo also includes variations for the multi bill production.  One of them is a bill change, in the midst of producing multiple bills, a blank paper is produced and then changed to a bill.  The other variation is a combination of a single bill production and then with a fold, changes to a bigger denomination bill.  This one looks really good.  This method can also be used for a bill to anywhere effect.  Another interesting variation is a fast torn and restore bill.  It uses the same method for the bill productions.  There are many variations of the bill production in this DVD, all of them are based on his bill switch and bill production.  The variations are pretty much similar.

One thing to take note of is that this effect will only work with paper bill and polymer bills will not work.  With many variations included, I don’t think you will use all the variations in the DVD.  The multiple bill production is something which I think most people will use.

Like I said before, people tend to be attracted to money.  I think Bare Hands is an overlooked product and is worthy of investment.

Rating:  8/10 Recommended.