Magic Products Review

COOL BEANS by Paul Brook

Written by John Teo

Paul Brook has written more than 20 books on mentalism, but currently does not have many products out in the market.  Cool Beans is one of them.

Paul created Cool Beans because of his love for both coffee and mentalism.  He also wanted a pocket mentalism effect that uses ordinary objects, has multiple applications, and yet the method is hidden in plain sight.  Cool Beans meet all of these criteria.

Cool Beans is a set of 5 small stamp cards from 5 different coffee shops.  They are the type of cards where you get a stamp each time you visit the coffee shop and spend up to a certain amount.  The stamps can then be exchanged for discount or other items in the shops.

A spectator selects any one of the 5 coffee stamp cards and put the others away.  She is asked to concentrate on either the images or the words on her card.  The performer is then able to pick up her “signals” and tells her the actual coffee shop card that she chose.

Paul gives 3 different ways of diving the chosen card.  You can choose to use any one of the methods you like, and adopt a different one for repeat performance for the same audience.

Paul has cunning designed the cards such that all the items depicted in each of them can be used for performance.  These include the logo, the name of the coffee shop, its tag phrase, and even the stamps.

You can also use the 5 coffee cards for forcing a range of numbers.  Numbers are useful to a mentalist – for example, for use in a book test.

Paul discusses other subtle uses such as drawing duplications, colour and number reading, and a synchronicity effect involving 2 spectators.

You receive the 5 coffee stamp cards.  To give them a sense of authenticity, each of them is printed on different card stocks, and the stamps are hand printed.  You are also supplied a special gimmick that hides a crib – this means there is nothing to memorise at all. 

You can download an instructional video as well as a pdf manuscript from the internet that features Paul Brook explaining everything on Cool Beans. 

Cool Beans is a specially designed mentalism effect that you can carry in your pocket, uses regular and authentic objects, is easy to do, and is capable of multiple applications.  Cool!  (10/10 star rating)

ATTIRE by Roddy McGhie Danny Weiser

Written by Bernard Sim

When I saw the trailer, the first thing I thought of was, now I can officially get someone to touch my breast, I mean chest 😊.  The effect looks really cool and magical.  Take a look at the trailer and you will know what I am talking about.

Attire is a very short effect, in fact it is good for introducing a sharpie, a lead-in to other effects.  It comes with an iron-on that looks like a sharpie cap as well as a gimmick.  Before you perform it, you will need to prepare a set-up.  The original idea was to really iron it to your t-shirt, but they have since come out with an alternate method whereby you don’t have to iron it permanently to your t-shirt.  With the new method, you can perform Attire in any t-shirt, the only downside with any t-shirt is that you will need to do a setup every time you perform.  To do the new set-up, you’d need to use a special something which is easily available in art store.

Attire really looks like you are pulling a sharpie out of your “pocket”. Besides pulling sharpies out, there are other variation where you can also pull silks out from that “pocket”.  I guess you can produce many other items if you are creative enough.

Rather than bringing out a sharpie from your pocket, with Attire, you can magically produce it.  This will elevate your status as a serious magician because you just pulled a sharpie out of an iron-on.  I truly believe that this will make your performance more interesting.

If you often use sharpies in your performances, you should really get this.

ESP BY THE NUMBERS by John Bannon

Written by John Teo

John Bannon is well known for his card tricks that have simple but interesting plots, powerful effects, but fairly easy to do without having to resort to heavy sleight-of-hand.

ESP By The Numbers is another one of such effects.  It does not use playing cards but ESP cards with different numbers printed on them.

The performer wishes to test the intuitive capability of a spectator, and introduces a deck of ESP cards which also have a different number printed on each of them.

In an open manner, the spectator chooses 5 ESP cards and places them in a row.  The performer then shows the ESP Ability Test card – it depicts a row of 5 ESP cards that have different symbols.  When the spectator turns over her 5 selected cards, they consist of the same 5 ESP symbols as that shown in the Test card, and also arranged in the exact same manner!  This proves the intuitive or ESP capability of the spectator.

Just when you think the effect is over, the spectator is asked to add up the numbers on her selected 5 ESP cards.  The performer then shows that the numbers on the other ESP cards that are not selected are all different.  The spectator’s total matches exactly the predicted total printed on the back of the ESP Test card.  There is a comical element in presenting this predicted total to the spectator, which is nice.  Another coincidence to convince the spectator of her powerful ESP capability!

ESP By The Numbers has a double climax.

You receive a deck of the specially printed 25 ESP cards with numbers in a nice presentable box.  You also receive the special ESP Ability Test card with the predicted total printed behind it.  Video instructions are available for download from the internet.

The effect works on a popular matrix force.  John uses a special version of this force called Matrix Reload.  In the video, John teaches another (playing) card effect using this force.  He also shows a special mixing technique called “Deal, Drop, Flip”.  This enhances the randomness of the cards, but actually does not mix them at all.  You get 2 great effects for the price of one!

This is a very good investment.  You get the professionally printed cards in an attractive box, a great routine with a double climax, and another effect using playing cards.  (10/10 star rating)

TRU by Menny Lindenfeld

Written by Bernard Sim

Many of you know I am a fan of rubber band magic.  I released my effect Really Linked many years ago.  There are many rubber band effects out there and the most popular one would be Penetrating Rubber Bands by Arthur Setterington.  This effect is better known as Crazy Man’s Handcuff made popular by Dan Harlan and Michael Ammar.

TRU is a multi-phase routine whereby each phase looks more impossible than the previous phase.  The package comes with a link to download/stream the video as well as some rubber bands.  The rubber bands are of very high quality made by Joe Rindfleisch.  The rubber bands are latex free and comes in black and white color.  They will last you a long time.  If you need other colors, you can get it from your favourite dealer. 

Anyway, while watching the demo on the instruction video, I was really impressed.  There are so many rubber band effects out there and I really doubt anyone can come out with something different and unique.  TRU is something different and unique.  While the effect looks really nice, the method is simple enough to understand but a little tough to execute.  Don’t expect to be able to do the routine within an hour of watching the video.  You will need some practice or rather, you will need a lot of practice.

The basic effect is that the rubber band penetrating the fingers in various impossible way.  There is a phase where the rubber band penetrates your finger into your spectator’s finger, that is so visual and magical.  There is also a phase where you use the cables of your earphones.  Lindenfeld also shared a version using a hairband.

Anyone who likes rubber band magic should take a look at this.  This is good stuff.

Rating: Recommended. 8.5/10

NITRATE (BACKWARDS B’WAVE) by Cameron Francis

Written by John Teo

B’Wave is a 4-card packet card trick popularized by Max Maven.  In this effect, a packet of 4 Kings is placed face downwards to one side on a table.  A suit is freely called out by a spectator.  The King of the chosen suit is the only King that is shown to be face upwards from the packet of 4 cards.  The other 3 cards are then shown not to be the other 3 Kings, but all blank cards!


Nitrate is backwards B’Wave.  In effect, the King of the chosen suit is the only card shown to be facing upwards from a packet of 4 cards.  The other cards are shown to be blank cards.  The King of the chosen suit is taken out of the packet and placed face downwards onto the spectator’s hand.  When the spectator turns over this card, it becomes blank.  The other 3 blank cards are now shown to be the other 3 Kings!


There are a lot of magic taking place, but only 4 cards are used.  You do need to know how to perform some basic card sleights, in particular, the Elmsley and frustration counts.


You are supplied with the 4 special cards inside a nice small silver envelope.  The cards are all in bicycle backs.  A video instructions is available for download from the internet.  The video has Cameron Francis explaining how to perform the effect.  He also teaches you all the sleights needed to perform Nitrate, including some variations such as the Rumba and Kiss Counts.


You are also supplied with a small but nicely printed accordion-folded sheet of instructions.  However, they do not include descriptions of how to perform the various sleights.  For these, you have to refer to the video.  The Ruma and the Kiss Counts are really nice slights for you to use as an alternative to the frustration count.


B‘Wave becomes a hit because of its interesting plot.  Backward B’Wave has an equally captivating plot, and Nitrate will certainly become popular with magicians.


If you like card tricks with a lot of magic happening that uses only 4 cards, and does not involve carrying a full deck of cards, Nitrate is right down your alley.  (9/10 star rating)

EMOJI CARDS & STICK

Written by John Teo

Manufactured by:  Redefine Magic (Singapore)

Reviewed by:  John Teo

 

Emoji is everywhere.  It is the “in-thing” to everybody.  We use emojis in our social media.  There are myraid merchantise bearing emoji umages. 

If we can incorporate emojis in our magic, we are considered to be performing magic with up-to-date items.

Jeremy Pei’s “Emoji Cards & Sticks” is more than a magic effect, they are a useful resource for performing magic with emoji.

You receive 2 sets of 5 emoji cards, each card depicting a different emoji.  The cards are of playing card size and are beautifully printed.  An important fact about these cards is that they are subtly marked on their backs so that you can identify each emojin printed on their fronts.  For people not in the know, it is not apparent that their backs are marked.  You also receive a well-made and cute looking emoji stick to be used in paddle tricks.

You are given a video link to Jeremy Pei’s Personal Magic Coach website where he teaches 3 effects using the emoji stick and cards.

  1. Emoji Rod – 5 different emoji cards are shown and then turned face downwards and mixed. In a fair process of elimination carried out by both the spectator and the performer, one emoji card is left behind as the chosen emoji.  A yellow paddle is shown to be blank on both sides.  After touching it on the face of the chosen card, an identical emoji appears on the paddle.  The same emoji then appears on both sides of the paddle. 

The next 2 effects do not use the emoji paddle but involve use of both sets of the 5 emoji cards.

  1. Emoji Prediction – the spetator and the performer each has a set of 5 emoji cards. The spectator places any emoji card face downwards on the table.  The performer follows by taking one emoji card from his own set and places it face downwards on top of the spectator’s card.  The spectator continues by placing another emoji card face downwards on top of the packet.  The performer follows with another of his emoji cards.  This process continues.  Despite the fact that the spectator always places her card first face downwards, the performer was able to match every one of spectator’s cards with his own set of emoji cards.
  1. Emoji Match – performer uses both sets of the 5 emoji cards. He shows a different card with the phrase “Mind can be controlled”.  The 2 packets of cards are used to spell to each letter of the entire phrase – a spectator decides which letter to be spelt from which packet of cards.  After spelling to the end of each word, the top card from each of the 2 packets are turned over and found to be a match.  The 5 pairs of cards matched exactly after spelling to the entire phrase, proving that the mind can indeed be controlled. 

As mentioned, the emoji stick and cards is really a resource for your magic with emojis.  The 3 effects provided by Jeremy are merely 3 different examples of how you can use the emoji paddle as well as the marked cards.  This should set your mind thinking so that you can come out with other effects of your own using the emoji paddle and cards.  The 2 sets of nicely printed emoji marked cards is truly an asset to add to your arsenal of close-up magic.

Incidentally, the different magical principles used by Jeremy in each of his 3 effects provide further resources for you to apply to create your own effects.  On the whole, the Emoji Stick & Cards is a worth-while investment that can provide you with many-fold returns for your magic.