Magic Products Review

Poker Sam by Alan Bursky – Book

Written by Bernard Sim

This is basically a twisting the aces effect with a kicker ending. The twisting the aces is not new but Alan Bursky has added the patter for this routine. Part of the patter can be seen on the description of this effect.

What you get is just a 7 pages booklet. You will need to construct your own gimmick and also purchase an item for the “kicker” ending. This kicker ending is unfortunately not available in Singapore. I tried to Google it but I can’t seem to find this either, but even if I were to find it, I won’t be able to use it as this item is banned in Singapore. You can still do the routine without the kicker. At a retail price of US$17.95, I think the gimmick card should at least be provided even though you can make it yourself.

However, the bonus routine in this booklet is very good. I wouldn’t classify it under “routine” as there is no magic element in it, it is more like a gag.

If you reside in Singapore and you are thinking of buying this for the kicker ending, you can forget about it as you will never be able to perform the full routine with the kicker legally. If the retail price was lower, I’d probably give it a higher rating. Rating: 2/5.

Sick by Sean Fields

Written by Bernard Sim

 

“People like to be freaked out.” That’s what Sean Fields said. Do you agree with what he says? Well I don’t really believe that people like to be freaked out. There may be some but not all.

This effect is basically: swallow a coin and cut your arm with a knife and while the blood is oozing out, the coin will seemly have a life of its own and will slowly come out of the wound. This is visual geek magic.

You will need to purchase all the items necessary to perform this. The items are not difficult to find. Sean Field includes a recipe to make fake blood though you can also buy them if you don’t want to make them. You will also need to prepare the coin (or buy them from a magic shop). The method used is not new but it’s a ingenious way to use it for such as effect.

Though I’m not a fan of this genre of magic, this effect looks convincing and can be gross to some too. You have to choose your spectator carefully when performing this piece, especially kids; you don’t want them to imitate you.

If you like geek magic, or if you are already performing a version of needles through arm, swallowing razor blades or needles, this coin/ geek effect is for you. For me, I still prefer my classic coin effects. Rating 3/5.

Sin City by Luke Dancy

Written by Bernard Sim

 

This DVD contains 6 effects and 3 moves by Luke Dancy.

Sandwich way did they go?

A sandwich effect with 2 cards selection by the spectator. What makes this different from other sandwich effects is that Luke Dancy added a transposition in this routine. No gimmicks used and you will need to be able to do certain sleights and is not suitable for beginners.

Impulsive

A quickie 4 ace production. A face down card is changed into an ace and then the rest of the aces are produced from the middle of the deck. The whole effect is over in 15 seconds. This is not too difficult to do but you will still need to put in some practice. I have always like fanciful 4 ace productions, but I don’t really like this version.

911

An impromptu transposition and magi find selected card effect. There are some very clever moves here.

A Misleading Situation
An unsharpened pencil is sharpened magically in the performer’s hand. This one looks good and I like this effect the most in this DVD. In order to perform this, you will need to buy another effect which will cost you a retail price of US$15. This is a novel way of performing the original effect.

Stuck on Daley

A variation of Dr. Daley’s Last Card Trick with the addition of transposing one of the cards to the spectator’s signed card. You will need an additional item which is easily available to make this work.

Cubed up is the bonus routine in this DVD. This effect can be performed when you are in a bar setting. The effect is essentially sucking a solid piece of ice cube (size of ice cube is bigger than the straw) up the straw into the performer’s mouth.

Moves

Under this section, 3 moves are taught.

Under control enables you to control a card from the middle to the bottom of the deck. There is a little discrepancy in this move but I am pretty sure it will not get noticed by your spectator.

To The Table is the reverse of Under Control. This move will enable you to control a card from the middle to the top of the deck. Easy and fun to do.

The Shadow Pass: a reverse spread pass, that’s how Luke Dancy puts it. This is based on the Herman Pass. Luke goes through every detail in teaching this move. Not too difficult and is useful too.

While I feel that some of the routines can be confusing for spectators, there are others which might be useful. The moves taught in this DVD are very useful and it can be applied to any card effects. I’d prefer the moves taught in this DVD more than the effects. Rating 3.5/5

Sugar High by Chris Randall – DVD

Written by Bernard Sim

There are a few variations of this effect taught in the DVD. There is the sleight of hand method and the non-sleight of hand method. In both methods, you will need to prepare the sugar packets. The items needed are easily available. In order to do the non-sleight of hand method, you will need to prepare the props and the preparation will take some time, it can be a little messy too. My preference is the sleight of hand method as it looks better and is cleaner in a way. The color changing crayon is not very visible as the sleeve of the crayon is not contrasting enough to make people notice the change. I only saw the change the second time I watch that segment. This can probably be rectified by changing the brand of the crayon.

The colored “sugar” that Chris Randall reckons can’t be consumed but he also mentioned about using other colored consumable sugar which is a lot more expensive. For such a short effect, Chris Randall goes into great details explaining the working of this effect. For me, I find the explanation a bit long winded, but that’s just me, others may prefer a more detailed explanation.

If you work in a restaurant that provides crayons for kids, this may be an effect that is suitable for you. But the time taken to prepare this effect will put some people off. It’s an interesting effect but it is not hard hitting. Rating 2/5.

The Forrest/Francis Project Vol. 1 and Vol 2 by Cameron Francis and David Forrest

Written by Bernard Sim

 

The Forrest/Francis Project Vol. 1 by Cameron Francis and David Forrest

I spent more than 5 minutes navigating the DVD menu just to make it “play all”. To be fair, I was using my laptop to play this DVD, this could be the problem caused by my software, nothing to do with the contents, I’m just whiningJ.

Anyway, let’s start with the review; Forrest and Francis are both very creative magicians. I have always admired Forrest’s work and they are very clever.

Hadron Collider is a very unique “find a card trick” effect using a black face card with 2 holes. You will need to construct the gimmick and you will find the time used to construct the gimmick well spent.

FF Collectors – As the name suggest, this routine is based on the collectors plot. However, there are some moves which I feel that are illogical such as turning a pack of cards face up onto the deck and then removing the face up card away. But I guess you can get away with such moves using patters.

The 3 card Trick – This is a good one. Its combines a sort of “6 card repeat” effect with a “find a card trick” type of effect. Effective and entertaining.

Between – Do this and you will have an excuse to give away your business card. A selected signed card is lost and then appears folded in quarters in between 2 business cards which has predictions written on it. If you intend to this in your gig or perform this regularly, you will need to have plenty of the “selected” cards on standby as each performance will destroy the selected card.

Invisible Poker – Based on Jenning’s plot and has a kicker ending. This is going to take some work to pull it off.

Trick Question – An interesting plot whereby the spectator’s chosen cards changed to other cards.

Coin Thru hand – The only non-card effect in this DVD. You will need a special coin which you can make on your own in order to perform this. The effect is ok but the palm is seen to be in a awkward position when showing the coins getting stuck in the hand.

5 Card Monte – A no palm card to pocket effect disguised as a Monte routine. A very clever method which is easy to do too.

Limelight – The magicians attempt to find the selected card by riffling down the edge of the deck, a card will then get jogged out, this card will then help the magician find the card and the routine ends with the appearance of the 4 aces. This uses a very simple gimmick which you can make in less than 10 seconds.

Impossible Sandwich – A very easy to do sandwich effect. After the card is lost into the deck, the spectator does all the work. This is my favorite effect in volume 1.

The Forrest/Francis Project Vol. 2 by Cameron Francis and David Forrest

Volume 2’s menu seems to be easier to navigate. Anyway here goes my review.

Eighteen – An effect that involves math. You will need to prep the deck with a simple stack and do some writing on some of the cards. This is basically a prediction effect whereby the total of 3 cards’ value are added and the prediction is written on the back of the card as well as the box. Self-working and easy to do.

Pip My Ride – Described as an “incredibly visual moving pip effect” which I have to disagree. It is visual but not incredibly visual. It’s essentially a pip getting transferred onto another card. A novel card effect though.

Gnoma – What is Gnoma? It’s actually “among” spelt backwards. This is a sandwich effect with an addition of transposition between the black and red aces. Its impromptu and easy to do. An effective card trick .

Progression – An ace assembly with the resemblance of Coin Matrix. The kings from 1 of the 4 piles disappear and join another pile, at the end of the effect, the kings jumps back to their original pile. An interesting take on the card assembly. Nice!

Offshoot – A neat effect with the production of the 3 matching value of the spectator’s selected card in between 4 cards. An interesting and creative effect.

Void Voyage – Ha! An Acme portable hole. I like this very much. The hole travels from the performer’s card into the card that the spectator is holding. Requires you to make a gaff card which is simple and very clever too.

New Addition – I wouldn’t really consider this as a mathematical effect. You will need to add the value of the prediction cards to arrive at the value of the selection.

Twisted Again – Twisting the Aces with plenty of additions! The spectator chosen card is lost and then revealed at the end of the routine. The revelation of the card can be produced from the pocket or even a wallet (using a card to wallet). Nice.

Ultimate Separation – Oil and water effect which I feel that it is not bad but wouldn’t consider it as “ultimate”. It uses the card case as part of the routine.

The Colour of Money – The last routine in this volume, another novel trick using a pool theme. You’ll need to prepare the deck, a cue chalk and an 8 ball. The production of the 8 ball is very visual. Well thought-out routine but it will be a challenge for a beginner though.

In conclusion, there are some nice routines in these 2 DVDs but there are some routines which can be confusing as well. Both Forrest and Francis are very creative magicians though I wish they could add more variety apart from cards in this set. Card lovers will enjoy these routines and I pretty sure that there’ll be a few routines which will fit into your repertoire.

Rating 3.5/5

The New Relentless Ring And String by Bob Miller and DJ Ehlert – DVD

Written by Bernard Sim

 

When I first saw this routine, it was on VHS many years ago. This is the type of routines that you don’t see young magicians performing anymore. Now Bob Miller and DJ Ehlert has updated this routine with many ideas and moves. You will be getting a shoelace, the original booklet of this routine in softcopy, a vest topit pattern and some essays on working tables; these are found in the CD-Rom part of the DVD.

The routine is basically a finger ring coming on/off a piece of shoelace in different ways. This is a modular routine whereby you don’t have to perform the whole routine. You can stop the routine midway in situations like when the food arrives when performing in a restaurant. There is no gimmick in the routine and you can even borrow the ring and even the shoelace.

This DVD is packed full of information and ideas. Routines using rubber bands with the ring, shoelace routines derived from rope moves and ring to card box are also taught (just to name a few). When you learn this routine and the moves in this DVD, you will be able to mix and match the moves to come out with your own routine. Besides the ring affiliated routines, silk magic and card magic with pearl poodles are also shown.

This is probably an “old-school” routine but I think this is a classic and all close-up magicians should learn. If you have never learn a ring and string routine, this is a very good DVD to start. Highly recommended. Rating 4.5/5