Magic DVD Review: Joshua Jay’s Talk About Tricks

If we’re talking bang for your buck, you would be hard pressed to find another DVD set with more value. With over 90 items (tricks and sleights), there are enough items here to fill much more than three discs. But this isn’t a case of quantity over quality. These are top notch routines suitable for the real world. Most DVD sets these days feel like the performer is stretching his material to fill as many DVDs as possible. This is absolutely not the case here. The set is packed with great magic.

The variety of material offered here is also impressive. There are tricks for close-up and stand-up performances ranging in difficulty from self-working to advanced. There is a nice mix of magicians represented as well. Rune Klan, Joel Givens, Paul Cummins, Raj Madhok, Joshua Jay, Rick Maue, Francis Menotti, Felipe Abreu, and John Lovick are all featured. While I was familiar with the work of most of them, I hadn’t had the opportunity to see all of them perform in front of an audience. This was a welcomed treat.

With so much material, I won’t detail each routine, but I would like to mention a few standouts. This is just a taste of what is offered. There are plenty of other outstanding routines.

My Lady’s Other Ring (John Lovick)- This effect immediately went into my stand up act. It’s the perfect kind of trick for a close-up worker who is looking for something that plays big in stand up environments. In short, the magician calls a female on stage to read aloud the steps to a new magic trick the magician would like to try. The magician acts out the steps as she reads: he borrows a finger ring from a lady in the audience, vanishes it, and produces a ring box from his pocket. He opens the ring box to reveal a ring inside. However, to the surprise of the ring’s owner, it is not her ring. The magician borrows a ring from a second female in the audience and shows it to the first lady. Amazingly, she verifies that it is HER ring. To bring things full circle, the magician pulls out the ring box from before and shows it to the second volunteer. Her ring is found inside. The routine is simple to do and contains plenty of built in laughter. Even though the props are small, the effect can be easily understood by an audience of any size.

242 Deal (Richard Vollmer)- A ten card poker deal that requires no sleight-of-hand and is easy to remember. The spectator chooses five cards for himself and five cards for the magician. Of course, the magician wins the game.

Reflipped (Yannick Chretien)- Tricks with the four Jacks and four Aces seem to be quite popular. This is a great add on to any one of them. The Jacks are placed face down on the table. The Aces are held above them. When the Aces are dropped, they change to the Jacks in midair. Now the Aces are on the table. The change is easy to do and looks amazing.

Tap-a-Lack (Paul Cummins)- This is a version of the classic “Do As I Do” routine performed under extremely fair conditions. The spectator and magician both select cards and lose them in the deck. The spectator looks through the pack and attempts to find the magician’s selection. He places one card face down on the table. The magician does the same. The spectator announces his card; the magician reveals that he got it. The magician then announces his card; the stunned spectator turns his guess face up. He got it as well.

Punken Droker (Paul Cummins)- The magician relates the story of a time when he played ‘Drunken Poker.’ The cards are mixed face up into face down. Obviously, as the cards are dealt, it is advantageous to receive face down cards so that no one else can see your hand. Four poker hands are dealt; the magician receives five face down cards while everyone else’s cards are face up. The rest of the deck is spread on the table. They’re all face up as well. The magician received the only face down cards in the pack. When he shows his hand, he reveals a royal flush.

Coin and Bottle (Rune Klan)- Rune Klan is an offbeat thinker in magic. He is known for his knucklebusting coin routines. Luckily, this one isn’t too difficult. It is, however, extremely well constructed. In effect, a coin vanishes a few times and appears underneath a napkin covered by a bottle on the table. For the finale, the magician waves the napkin over the coin. It changes into the bottle. The coin is found on the table. The two have changed places.

Laser Aces (Joel Givens)- This would be a perfect closer for a close up show for a performer with a slant towards gambling routines. The magician demonstrates a few cheating techniques by cutting to the four Aces. For the climax, the packets on the table are frozen into four solid blocks ala Paul Harris’s “Solid Deception.” Everything can be examined.

Even if you’ve been a loyal subscriber of MAGIC Magazine and have read these tricks in print, you would do well to pick up this DVD set. Reading through a trick, it can often be difficult to imagine the effect it can have on an audience. Seeing the routines in action, however, will convince you of their power. If you aren’t familiar with Josh’s Talk About Tricks column, this is a wonderful introduction. Highly recommended.

-Available from Vanishing Inc. Magic

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Boxed Set by John Guastaferro

John G MagicIf you’ve been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of the work of John Guastaferro. In fact, while I may not have written a formal review of each of his products, have no problem recommending each and every one of them. I have them all, and they’re great.

John’s latest release is an instant download produced by Penguin Magic and Vanishing Inc. Two tricks for ten bucks; both are workers. First up is a handling of Paul Harris’ Reset. I’ve spent years working on the plot, and this version is among the most elegant I’ve seen. I’ll admit that I’m a bit married to my own handling for this venerable plot, but John’s solution certainly is a crowd pleaser. The routine is within the reach of the average card man. His clever use of the card box isolates the two packets and makes the clean up look ultra… well… clean.

The second routine, Ace Case, also makes use of the card box. The four Aces are lost in the deck. One by one they are located with the box playing an active role in each revelation. Cards penetrate the box, appear mysteriously on top of it, and travel magically inside. There is no setup, and again the handling isn’t difficult. I can see a lot guys using this.

You are treated to studio performances of both effects plus full explanations. The entire download runs about 25 minutes. As usual, John’s teaching is excellent. For ten bucks, you can’t go wrong. Highly recommended.

-Available for $10 from Vanishing Inc. Magic

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