Magic Products Review

BLOOMERIES by Gaetan Bloom

Written by John Teo

This is a remastered 2-DVD set of a lecture conducted by Gaetan Bloom way back in 1966.  As remarked by a much older Gaetan Bloom in an interview segment in the 1st DVD between him and Dominique and Alexandra Duvivier (father and daughter), the materials are so old that they are new, especially to younger magicians.  In that interview, Gaetan also mentioned that he delights in simple methods and that these tricks are as effective today as they were more than a decade ago.

This is all true when you view through the 20-odd effects in these 2 DVDs.  The DVDs are in dual languages – French (original) and English (dubbed).  The lecture is in 3 segments.

The 1st segment is all about invisible threads.  Gaetan calls it “Indirect Threads” because he uses the invisible thread not in the usual way of levitating or animating an object, but in a creative yet most unusual manner as follows:
• An alarm clock is set to ring exactly when the performer deals the chosen card onto the table.
• Performer can predict which rolled up and rubber-banded card, inside a large bottle containing at least 2 dozens such cards, will be selected.
• Performer can perform coins (actually using large buttons) through table standing up (ie without lapping).
• Performer can predict which one of 5 different objects will be placed hidden inside a certain pocket.
• Make a playing card stand on its edge.
• Animate sponge balls and levitate doll cut out of a playing card.

The 2nd segment is on tricks using a thumb-tip.  Again, Gaetan comes up with some novel applications of the thumb tip:
• Colour-changing silk routine without the use of the change tube.
• Sucker silk to egg routine without switching the egg.
• A freely selected button got sewn onto an empty handkerchief.
• Transferring a silk from one ear to the other.
• Silk vanishes and appears inside a selected bun.
• Ring to key fob without using a reel.
• Discussions on 3 other effects:
o Fine sugar to sugar cube.
o Revelation of the serial number of a bill isolated in a film canister.
o Very clean switching of a crumpled paper ball.

The 3rd segment comprises general magic.  Here you will find classic tricks for both stage and close-up but with Gaetan’s own ingenious methods of accomplishing them:
• A die that eliminates one number without using a 5-sided gimmicked die – in fact, you can actually see all 6 different faces of the die but one side will not turn face upwards.
• A convincing wand through bottle.
• A “card-toon” animated deck effect in which you can spread and show all the backs of the cards.
• The lasso rope trick without using magnet and the card can be freely chosen and signed.
• A torn corner card trick where the torn card vanishes in the deck and reappears inside a Polaroid picture.  This trick may be out-dated due to advancements in photography technology.
• A “Chinese Sticks” effect using the common bicycle pumps and with incredible simple method of operation.

Gaetan Bloom offers a brand new trick for this set of DVDs.  The effect is called “Angling” and it involves 2 spectators fishing out 5 small containers from a revolving platform, leaving the performer with the one container that contains a large sum of money.  The fished out containers all contain a sweet each.

All of Gaetan’s tricks have a strong effect on the audience and are cunningly easy to do.  They also have a high interactive content with the spectators.  Gaetan has a unique comical performing style which should not be imitated in your performances because you do not have Gaetan’s personality.   These DVDs contain novel and practical effects that you will add to your performing repertoire.  (5/5 stars rating)

 

MENTAL EPIC PAD (PROPS AND DVD) by Marc Oberon

Written by John Teo

I have always loved performing Mental Epic – it is a 3 phase prediction effect with a fantastic impact on the audience – and the secret is simply ingenious.  Unfortunately, the Mental Epic Board looks too “apparatus-y” – it looks like a device specially constructed to perform this effect, complete with whatever gimmicks that are built into it – especially the more ornate the Board, the more it looks like a magic prop.

At last, here comes a Mental Epic Pad that looks like it is put together with materials from a stationery store.  It is a pad of oversized drawing papers.  The front page is divided into 6 compartments with lines drawn by marker pens.  The covers for the 3 compartments consist of metal spring paper clips and folded envelopes.  Everything looks home-made, yet, it has the necessary gimmicks built into it.  It operates easily, silently and smoothly, and the pad can be handled normally.

However, you need to construct the entire pad yourself.  Marc Oberon gives clear instructions in the DVD on how you can put together this Mental Epic Pad.  The necessary gimmicks are provided with the DVD.  Marc also explains how to construct a small model for close-up performance.  I personally believe the Mental Epic Pad is most effective if performed on stage.

As a bonus, Marc Oberon also explains a simple yet effective book force of a word.  A wonderful investment.  (5/5 stars rating).

Coinmagic Symposium Vol. 1&2

Written by Bernard Sim

This is a DVD on a 2 day coin magic convention held in 2010. The routines in the DVD are very impressive and strong. Expect some knuckle busters as most of the contributors in this DVD are big names in the
Coin Magic genre.


Vol 1
• Akira Fujii - Grown Up Coin – Beautiful one coin flurry with many surprises. Technique is very impressive and not that difficult to do. I was fooled by the first vanish.

• Giacomo Bertini - Cylinder and Coins – Classic routine without the use of a wand. Many useful technique taught here but it will be a challenge to accomplish. A very well constructed routine that shows the hand empty from time to time. Plenty of subtle convincers here.

• Curtis Kam - Be Like Water- (Performance Only) – A production of 3 coins from a flask. An ok routine, I think Curtis Kam was a little nervous when performing this routine.

• Jean Emmanuel Franzis - Coins No Purse No Glass – This is a tough one, you will need to be able to pal* six coins in one hand. The routine starts off with the production of three silver coins and then changed to Chinese coins and then ending with the Chinese coins changing back to silver coins. Nice routine but tough technique.

• Shigeo Futagawa - Inflaction and Deflaction – A fun and short routine whereby one of the two half dollars changes to a quarter and the other half dollar changes to a silver dollar. A gimmick is used but I’m sure coin workers will have this gimmick in their collection. I like this routine very much.

• Miguel Angel Gea - Esencia del Vaso – Pure sleight of hand, pure magic and total enjoyment! A coins thru glass routine with seldom seen technique. A perfect lead in to a matrix or a four coin routine. My favourite routinein Vol.1!

• Ginjiro - Cylinder and Chips – Ramsey’s routine using casino chips instead of coins. Interesting cork (magician fooler) used here.

• Eric Jones - Flash Dance- A very visual 3 coin production using flash paper wads and a total vanish of the coins. Routine comprises of several mixtures of gaffs. Clever!

• Joke - Fire Three Fly – Visual Coins Across choreographed to music with the use of a candle flame. A special coin is needed for this routine.

• Mario Raso – Mirage- Performance and explanation of the use of the Mirage Coin. I don’t understand why this is in the DVD; the explanation is more like to expose the gimmick. The performance was also not very impressive.

Apart from the performance and explanation from the working pros, this DVD will also include the performance and explanations of the top 3 winners in this conventions’ competition. There is even a special performance by Yoshihiko Mutobe, very slick moves here. I like all the routines in Vol. 1 except Mirage.


Vol.2
• Giacomo Bertini - Magnetic Coins – Routine using a copper and a silver coin together with an Okito Box. Very nice moves here, tough technique but if you master the move, its going to be a big weapon in your arsenal of coin moves.

• David Roth - Winged Silver and Chink a Chink – Needless to say, as a coin worker, if you have not seen David Roth performing Winged Silver or Chink a Chink, its time to get out of that hole. David Roth’s performance on these two routine has always been very constant, he never seem to deviate from his moves, timing as well as patter. The Shuttle Pass is also explained in detail here. Always a joy to watch the master in action.

• Curtis Kam - Extreme Spellbound – Similar to New York Spellbound found in Palms of Steel 1. Very very nice routine. The coin changes at the finger tips rather than the traditional “spellbound position”. The routine has a triple coin change ending with the coin changing to 6 Chinese coins. Its been a long time since I get so excited over a spellbound routine. The routine is not that easy but I strongly believe that it is achievable if you put in the effort. My favourite routine in Vol.2.

• Bébel - Cards and...Coins! - (Performance Only) A little coin magic with a full card routine.

• Shigeo Futagawa - Everyday Life of Birds – A three coin vanish and production similar to a hanging coin routine.

• Alex Conradi - Emotional Memory – Coins to Glass (metal cup) routine. Pretty standard routine but some very useful sleights used here.

• Eric Roumestan - Short Close-up – Production and vanish of a 5 inch Jumbo coin using a large silk.

• Lawrens Godon - Ubicointy – A coin flurry which looks really clean. I should probably call him the King of Back Thumb Palm. This guy has some excellent work on the back thumb palm.

• Toni Cachadina - Integral Three Fly – Routine starts with the production of bills (Osaka Bills) followed by the production of three coins and ending with a Visual Coins Across and the vanish of the coins.

• Mario Raso – Echo- I was not really impressed with this routine. I think there are a couple of flaws in the routine construction. When he produced the coins, the coins were placed behind a top hat, and then he brought the coins out just to vanish them. I don’t understand why he wants to do that, why produce something and then hide it from view? Also, he displays one hand empty but didn’t show the other hand empty (guilty hand looks pretty stiff to me). During mid performance, he’d sit down to perform and then stand up again to continue performance.


Extras:
• Mike Rubinstein - Coin Through Table - (Performance and Explanation) – Nice routine and very well constructed. The methods employed are very clever and subtle. One of the best coins thru table out there.

• Nektarios Loukianos - Practice on Downs – This performance was not part of the Symposium, I think it was an impromptu performance. No explanation here.

This is a very good set of coin DVD. The only irk I find in this DVD is the frequent behind the
camera coin drops by the attendants of the convention. You won’t see the coins dropping but you
will hear them dropping…… a lot. But don’t let that stop you from purchasing this DVD. This is
one of the best coin DVD in the market. It is really worth to invest your money in this DVD.
Highly recommended! Rating 4.5/5

Wormhole by Ali Nouira

Written by Bernard Sim

This is probably the easiest signed card to pocket you can find in the market. Though the effect is not as strong as the pal*ing method, it is still pretty impressive and strong considering how little effort is needed to make it work.

When you buy this effect, besides the DVD, you’d also get a special gimmick that does all the work for you, actually, not all the work but most of the work. With this gimmick, you’d be able to make the signed card/s travel to your back pockets. This gimmick is very simple and it will last you for a very long.

Part of the gimmick may have to be replaced due to wear and tear but it will take a long time and it is also easily replaced. The downside for this effect is that you can’t have anyone standing behind you when performing it, but I guess most of us won’t be in a situation whereby we are needed to perform surrounded.

The DVD teaches you the main routine - 2 signed card travels to each of the back pockets, there are also other variations included which can be performed for 1 or even 3 spectators. If you’ve always wanted to do a card to pocket effect but hate to do it via the traditional way, Wormhole is the answer for you. Highly recommended! Rating 4/5.

Puncture 2.0 (US Quarter, DVD) by Alex Linian

Written by Bernard Sim

Beautiful beautiful coin penetration with a pen! By now you should have already seen the demo. The video looks like trick photography! But everything is doable…. very doable! All you need is some practice (like all magic). To do it like what you see in the demo might take some time but it is definitely achievable.

There are many methods taught in the DVD and all of them look very nice. My favorite would the finger tip penetration. Everything looks so clean and it can be handed out for examination. You can choose to penetrate the coin and then hand it out for examination or you can penetrate and then restore it before you hand the pen and coin for examination. The cool thing about this is, everything is so visual. There are no difficult sleights to do but you’d still need to practice it so as to get your timing right.

Apart from the main routine, the DVD has also included a bonus gimmick whereby you can use the pen to penetrate your face, arm, bills, clothes….practically anything. This penetration is not as clean looking as the coin. You will need to have some cover during the penetration. There is also a routine using this gimmick to find a selected card. Though this gimmick is not new, it’s still a nice added bonus to this package.

If you are still doing the cigarette thru coin routine, forget about it, it’s time for an upgrade and do Puncture. Highly recommended! Rating 4.5/5

 

 

 

COMPRESSED DECK by Luke Dancy

Written by John Teo

The idea that a full deck of 52 cards can be “compressed” or “condensed” into 4 to 6 cards attracted a lot of attention when it first came out in the market.  Notable ones are Jim Steinmeyer’s “The World’s Thinnest Deck of Cards” and Cody Fisher’s “Concentration Cards”. 

Essentially, the effect is that the performer is able to divine one of the 52 cards thought-of by a spectator by merely studying the “compressed” cards.  This is where Luke Dancy deviates from the plot.

The performer displays a flatten playing card case – this looks like a paper wallet that contains packet card tricks.  From inside this wallet case, he takes out 4 cards, each card depicting various values and suits indices of a playing card.  He said that these 4 cards represent a compressed deck of 52 cards.  Magically, the 4 cards transform into a 4-of-a-kind of the spectator’s choosing, eg. the 4 Aces.  There are no Elmsley counts or difficult moves.  The transformation is quick and effective. 

You are supplied with an instructional DVD, with Paul Richards performing and explaining the Luke Dancy’s effect.  You are also supplied with the card wallet and the necessary cards to allow you to transform the 4 compressed deck cards into the 4 Aces.  You will be taught how to transform them into any 4-of-a-kind.

There is a bonus effect where you will be taught how to produce a full deck of cards.  This makes a good opening effect for card tricks.  (5/5 stars rating)