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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » True Astonishments Disks 1 & 2: Full Review (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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jordanjohnson
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On 2009-02-12 10:16, lumberjohn wrote:
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On 2009-02-12 02:19, Count Lustig wrote:
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On 2009-02-11 18:26, Count Lustig wrote:
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On 2009-02-11 11:40, lumberjohn wrote:
SS2: This acronym stands for “Seductive Switch 2.” The effect is presented as a demonstration of mucking at the poker table, in which a desirable card is switched for an undesirable one, only in this demonstration, the switch is to occur in the spectator’s hands. The performer displays three cards, a Jack, an Ace, and a six. The performer apparently takes the Ace and folds it up with the back out, demonstrating how a card must be prepared for palming. He then displays the folded card against the faces of the two remaining cards, showing a Jack and a Six. The performer turns the two cards face down and places them under the spectator’s hand. He then places the folded card into palm and touches his hand to the spectator’s hand, demonstrating the “switching technique.” When the spectator lifts his hand and looks at his cards, he sees that he now holds a Jack and an Ace. The performer unfolds his card, showing it to now be a six.

This is a great effect with an interesting presentation. The set up for the key display is a bit contrived, but it is very deceptive and unlikely to attract much notice. Unfortunately, you will destroy a six with each performance, but that is a small price to pay for a fabulous trick. This was my favorite item on Disk Two.

How does this differ from the original Seductive Switch? (From the description it sounds identical.)

So is there any difference between SS2 and the original Seductive Switch?


I went back to my Art of Astonishment books to look up the original Seductive Switch. It is found in Volume 3, p. 167. As best I can tell, the handling is identical. I can't see that any improvements have been made in moving from SS1 to SS2, though I must say that I enjoyed seeing it performed, as you can see how deceptive the display is -- something that is lost a bit when looking at drawings. If I am missing something, please chime in.


The SS2 is done face up in there hands as compared to face down on a table if I remember right. I think either in the explanation or the phottnotes it mentions the difference.

JJ
Xcath1
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My rant.
I agree that PH can't be lumped in with other more recent vintage celebrities and I am a long time fan. I remember reading Super Magic etc. and thinking wow, the first cool magician, this guy is writing for me. That said, especially where famous folk are concerned, there is a tendency on the boards to support early positive and hyperbolic reviews while being very critical of negative reviews. I have the new set, and like but don't love most of it. I have seen several people note (and I would have to agree) that some of the updated versions of effects don't necessarily seem like a step forward. I buy plenty of magic DVDs to see the performance, for visual nuances of a sleight etc and realize that you are paying a premium for video and have generally come to accept it. There are a handful of fantastic effects that I have seen on other videos (not on these however) that I know I never would have fully appreciated from a written description. I am not sure that the performances and visual teaching on this set qualify as “priceless” but I guess as a whole it’s a fair value considering the market today. The AoA books for 140 bucks is an awesome value however.
Count Lustig
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Thanks for the responses, lumberjohn and JJ.
kissdadookie
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Negative reviews is not the concern here though Xcath1. The major issue (or mines at least) is that it is very transparent that lumberjohn dismissed the majority of the material immaturaly. Like I said in my earlier posts, lumberjohn viewed the Cheng Change and Riser as individual effects when it is quite obvious these were never meant as effects. His gross generalization by categorizing most of the material as "guerilla street magic" is a bit silly as well. Again, I don't believe I've actually commended any of the existing positive reviews but this first negative review I felt was something that needed a bit of clarification. Then you have the few posters who are supporting lumberjohns review seemingly just so they can feel unique and be apart from the masses. That's just illogical.

I will gladly accept, as would many others, negative reviews on products as long as the reviews are done correctly (aka, you can't just skim the material, you actually need to learn it and perform it, just like so many effects that looks great on demos but when you actually go out to perform it, it's not all that practical). This goes for the positive reviews as well, if they were done in a equally bad way that lumberjohn's review was done, then yes, I would have something against the positive review as well.

This thread should really have been titled: True Astonishments Disks 1 & 2: Initial Impressions because that is what it really is. In no way can it be considered a review.
M Sini
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I too agree this review should be looked at as more of an initial impressions.

LJ I appreciate you taking your time to share your thoughts on the DVDs but this isn't really a full review.
ricardo carpenter
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Personnally, I prefer to read "low-hyped" reviews like the initial impression one we are talking about, than "over-hyped".

hey, after all, he bought the set! he can express his opinion without being harshed.

second, attacking reviews like this one make me skeptical about, what seems to be, not so much real- reviews.

the problem is real reviews at internet time interact very strongly with the business. no delay. hurry! hurry!
it looks like a battle.

but if it's good, it will be known in time. it will be known forever.

personnaly I have the AOA books and I love it. The ideas inside are very richfull, it may be "compared" to the Tommy Wonder'books (hey, don't jump!)

In terms of ideas, originality and about magician have to think on what is to pretend to be a magician. I like the point of view of PH. He makes me think. And magic is intellectual.

I would like the TA set to have this deepness.

If so, may be I will buy it.

But because, of the price I'm glad to read various point of views.

If you want to defend the cause, do it with tact, and finess or it will desserve the TA project.
A.G.
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If you have TA take a moment to watch the Phoote Notes on Extrordinary Ability... you will learn something about Paul Harris,yourself,and dismissing effects...

bes always,
Andrew Gerard
kissdadookie
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A initial impression and a review are two totally different things Richard. You can't label initial impressions as being a review because it is not. Thus lumberjohns "review" is getting a bit of bad press because it's really a initial impression and NOT a "full review" as he has named it. If you refer to my earlier post, I made a point of personally not writing a review until I've full tested and workshopped whatever it is that I intend to review. This is the only way to have a honest review would you agree?

I'm picking my set up tomorrow but my friends have all had theirs for a while now and they have actually worked on the effects as well as actually performed the effects for people. I value their views with a lot more weight than most of the reviews for TA I have read on the Café. Were their views positive or negative... they were very positive and the material on the TA set is very very good.

There's a few reasons I can see how a negative strike at TA could garner a small following of people going "That was great, that was honest, etc. etc." One reason may be what you've pointed out Richard, a purely monetary way of looking at it. Just like people who have spent lots of money on something wants to justify to themselves that they bought something good and not something that was junk, people who can not buy something expensive often like to justify to themselves for not having what they can't afford. Another reason could be that they just like to be outsiders and have a satisfaction of being apart from the masses (which ironically creates a sub-genre of sorts).

Back to the point of the matter, if you're going to do a review, do a proper one. Lumberjohn's impressions really hold very little weight because he obviously hasn't actually tried most of the effects. From the sounds of it, he's not going to either because he has already expressed being prejudgemental about the effects. Now, how can such a "review" be deemed "honest." It's not even a review to begin with!
lumberjohn
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I'm afraid I must take issue with kissadookie's proprietary definition of "review." I have challenged both him and Lemiscape to provide me the names of professional "reviewers" - that is, people who get paid to write "reviews" for magic publications and periodicals -- who perform every effect in a reviewed book or DVD before submitting their "review." What I have heard so far is crickets. That is because none of them do.

That is not a requirement for a review and never has been. While I don't disagree that experience performing a particular effect would give one additional insight and might increase the weight of one's opinion, I can't imagine any well known magic publication refusing to accept for publication a review in which all of the effects were not first performed.

Kissadookie, like Lem before him, makes the claim that his attacks are not motivated by any negative comments in my review but simply by the fact that I posted before performing all the effects, and that he would have similarly attacked any positive review if it had been done so "poorly." And as with Lem, I would refer anyone who takes kissadookie at his word to peruse the many positive reviews posted before this one that were clearly based on nothing more than watching the DVDs at issue and note the conspicuous absence of any similar attack by kissadookie, despite his many posts on those same pages praising the TA set. I suspect that what kissadookie found "poor" about my review was that it was not as glowingly positive as all the "reviews" he previously felt no need to comment upon.

As for kissadookie's claim that my review was "immature," I find that a little ironic coming from someone whose screen name is "kissadookie." Need I say more?
kissdadookie
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You have to be kidding me right? There's nothing wrong with your original post other than the fact that you claim how effects will not work well while you haven't even attempted to try them. That makes your "review" a valid one? You have GOT to be joking. Why do you even take offense to this? Why not just go out and try out the effects? For goodness sakes, you've already spent the money on it, might as well get your money worth right?

By the way, when I said "immature" I meant it in the following way: it's not complete because it's just a impression at this point in time. Not immature as in you're a little schoolboy neener neener neener. It is however a bit immature of you to read our comments as an attack instead of trying to figure out what we are trying to express, don't you think?

How is my definition of a review proprietary? Have you ever seen a movie review where the reviewer didn't even watch the movie but instead does a review based off the trailer? This is magic we are talking about here, magic needs to be performed, if you don't even bother to perform it how are you able to even judge it? Remember all that talk years ago about how suggestion stuff was a lot of hype and BS with most of it coming from people whom have not put any work into using suggestion techniques? You're more or less doing the same thing with your "review." Clear and simple, don't knock it 'till you tried it. You knocked it and not only have NOT tried it but apparently you're not even going to bother with it. There's obviously a mental wall that you need to break through here. From the sound of things, you have probably dismissed a lot of great material in your life with magic so far, you should definitely break that mental wall and discover all the really great things you've missed the first time around.

If you're not even going to work with the material on discs 1 and 2, why not donate it since they are just going to collect dust in your possession.
lumberjohn
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Kissdadookie,

I am first a bit puzzled by your comment above that my review is "getting a bit of bad press," as the only people who seem to have a problem with the content are you and Lemniscate. Lemniscate's substantive issue appears to be focused on my review of "New Leaf" only, which is one out of ten effects covered. You, who have not even watched the disks(!) and thus can't really comment upon whether the substance is accurate or not, have simply taken the position that I was irresponsible in posting anything titled "review" at all because I had not personally tried out all the effects before a live audience. This is despite the fact that this is how reviews of magic books and DVDs have been done for decades, often by the top names in the business, but you have to date been willing to give them all a pass, instead reserving your indignation for me alone.

Your attacks on those who have agreed with my review reveals your own personal bias. Obviously, you can't even fathom the idea that anyone who found value in a review you rejected out of hand could be accounted for by anything other than cognitive dissonance: "justifying to themselves not having what they cannot afford" or "outsiders wanting to be apart from the masses." How patronizing! Can you not even allow for the possibility that these people honestly agreed that the review was accurate and/or helpful? Must you characterize them all as immature sycophants?

Third, it doesn't even appear that you read my review. You make it sound as though I simply dismissed every effect as worthless and stated that I would never perform any of them. As to each of the items reviewed, I took care to explain what I liked or disliked about them. For example, as to the first effect, Twilight Angels, I made it clear that I liked the effect and the impression it would likely have upon laypeople, but that I would probably not perform it often because of the need to regularly restock on gaffs, when I have many strong effects that don't go through gaffs so quickly. I am not sure how ten, one hundred, or one thousand peformances of Twilight Angels would affect this conclusion.

If you'll read my review again, you will see much that I liked. Perhaps you should pay a bit more attention before firing off so many personal attacks.
Michael Dustman
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My dad can beat up your dad......................

So what is the purpose of this thread? Are we reviewing the material or reviewing the usefulness of the effects?

I got my TA set on Monday and have only had time to watch Vol. 1 and Vol. 3. I think there is some usable material on there but I have not been overwhelmed by the set so far. However, I (as is my normal nature) hesitate to review until I have had a chance to digest all of the stuff first.

However, I do take one exception to what Kissdadookie has said.

"I will gladly accept, as would many others, negative reviews on products as long as the reviews are done correctly (aka, you can't just skim the material, you actually need to learn it and perform it, just like so many effects that looks great on demos but when you actually go out to perform it, it's not all that practical). "

How is it then, that positive review are accepted 5 hours after one rips open the set? There is no way that somebody can, in your terms, give a positive review until one has "grabbed a person off the street or in a bar" and tried the material out on them. If you argue a negative review can only be offered based on trying out the material, then it has to be true for a positive review. But yet, tons of positive reviews are accepted without more than 5 minutes of digesting the effect.

Personally speaking, I think anyone who tries to perform stuff and give a positive review when having something less than a day (or heck even a week) is doing a great disservice to the material itself.

I have been a professional entertainer for 20 years. I have to agree with Emyers that based on my experience and knowing my audiences, I can also decide what is worth learning and putting in front of my audiences. In fairness to Paul Harris, I may not say that the stuff is totally unusable, but I am *** well within my right to say it is not usable for my audiences and anybody who tells me any different doesn't know anything about respecting their audiences.

With that being said, I am fine with saying that these could have been first impressions rather than a review. Since these have not even been out 12 days, I don't think anyone can call theirs a review with the excpetion of Jason Messina, Bro Gilbert, Andrew Gerard and Tim Trono.

I am anxiously looking forward to watching the rest of the set. I have high hopes for some good material as I have come to expect nothing less from Paul Harris. I still use one of his Stars of Magic effects that I learned in 1987 to this day. But I do have to say, more people like to argue the negative reviews than the positive ones.
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Quote:
On 2009-02-12 16:19, A.G. wrote:
If you have TA take a moment to watch the Phoote Notes on Extrordinary Ability... you will learn something about Paul Harris,yourself,and dismissing effects...

bes always,
Andrew Gerard


Andrew, thank for pointing out that Phoote Note as it might be one of the most important items on the set. It's on Disk # 5.
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
kissdadookie
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You're bit about Backlash 2 alone says a million words about how you think. Here's a quote:

"I would like the effects I perform to be deceptive enough to fool someone as perceptive as I am."

Joy, you want to fool more magicians, yay. You then go on to explain theories which were brought up by the writings of Ortiz. Did you not read Designing Miracles? A magician fooler does not neccessarily fool lay audience nor does it really make entertaining magic. How often do you even perform for strangers? From the sound of it and this huge mental wall you've put up, it doesn't sound like you've performed all that much, but of course I may be wrong about that.

But truly, I'm not bashing your post, I'm just blatantly telling it as it is, it's NOT a review. It's obviously not a review, it's not even this serious for you to be so worked up about it. By the way, yes, I am "attacking" those that jumped on the bandwagon because they are deeming your post as a real review as opposed to it truly being a initial impression.

Also, what the heck is up with the multiple mention of "street magic?" While we're still on the matter, why are you viewing the change and riser as effects? They obviously are not, that alone shows a lack of your understanding what you are watching or learning (or in this case, probably dismissing).

By the way, in regards to the "immature" thing, I actually meant to say "premature," it was a total senior moment.
kissdadookie
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Michael, you bring up a great point, that is why I tried very hard to emphasize that even the positive reviews are not really reviews unless the material has been, as you said, fully digested.

To add since I mentioned Designing Miracles, it is definitely a book that magicians both professionals as well as hobbyists should read. It really does put into perspective the difference of what a magician feels is a great effect and what really IS a great effect for your AUDIENCE.
lumberjohn
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Michael is right. My post was not intended to spark a multi-page thread about the meaning of "reviews" v. "initial impressions." If anyone wants to continue that discussion, let's do it via PMs and try to keep this thread limited to discussions of the first two TA disks.
A.G.
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Quote:
On 2009-02-12 17:27, Christopher Kavanagh wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-02-12 16:19, A.G. wrote:
If you have TA take a moment to watch the Phoote Notes on Extrordinary Ability... you will learn something about Paul Harris,yourself,and dismissing effects...

bes always,
Andrew Gerard



Thanks Chris, glad someone was watching.

It was great to be a part of Paul and Bro's amazing project...

There was another pure moment if you watch the Phoote notes on Gerards' Warp, Paul's comments are stunning.

best AG






Andrew, thank for pointing out that Phoote Note as it might be one of the most important items on the set. It's on Disk # 5.
lumberjohn
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Onward. With respect to Backlash 2, I was not saying that my effects must be magician foolers -- only that they must fool skeptical and very perceptive spectators as well as the unskeptical and less perceptive. The comparison to myself was not to myself as a magician, but to myself as a skeptical and perceptive spectator.

My problems with Backlash did not involve issues that were more obvious to magicians than laypeople, such as an Elm***y Count, but with things that would be obvious to skeptical spectators who were observing everything closely. This effect relies upon certain assumptions that some people will make, but others will not. I know this from many other effects that I have performed. I cannot tell you what those exact percentages are, but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a percentage of laypeople who will not be fooled by Backlash 2, and if your audience contains even one of these, you will be called out.

Why would I want to take that risk unless the effect itself was strong enough to justify it? I have many effects that would play equally well to the skeptical and non-skeptical spectator. I do not feel that the strength of the effect justifies the risk. That is, of course, my opinion. But is is based upon performing many effects for a wide range of spectators over the years, and assessing what they are willing to assume and what they are not.

As for Cheng's two contributions, I merely mentioned that they were not presented as part of a larger routine but instead more like "disembodied slights" as several well known magicians tend to dub them. They are shown as flashy moves, but with little to no context. This does not, of course, prevent someone from adding them to a routine or building one around them. But I can only review what is on the disks as it has been presented. It should be clear that I did not knock the moves themselves on this account, but merely mentioned the limitations of the presentations so that people would know what they would be purchasing.
lumberjohn
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I wanted to comment briefly on Andrew Gerard's post. At his suggestion, I did skip ahead and watch the Presentation, Explanation, and Phootnotes for "Extraordinary Ability," as this provides an excellent example of what we are talking about here.

This is a very straightforward predicted card at any number effect. As I watched the effect performed, I immediately knew the method. But the key point is that I recognized WHY I immediately knew the method. It was because I had seen hundreds of different card effects, many of which used the same or similar principle. At the same time, I was impressed, as always, by Andrew's knowledge of human psychology and how he was able to lead his spectators, through his manner of presentation, away from the method. I actually thought Andrew's presentational ideas were brilliant.

In the Phootnotes, Paul admitted that the first time he saw the effect, he did not think it would fool anyone. But he was sold after seeing Andrew perform it for real people. With the eye of a magician, Paul immediately spotted the method and was not led astray by the psychological principles employed. His knowledge of magic immunized him.

I would be the first to admit that many methods fall into this category -- apparent to any magician but invisible to lay spectators. The transparency of other methods, however, is guaged not by knowledge of magic but by other factors such as how closely someone is paying attention. Such effects rely exclusively upon strong misdirection and psychology to disguise the methods. In some, such as Mr. Gerard's effect, that psychological misdirection is well thought out, well motivated, and strong. In others, it is not.

I can tell, as I'm sure many of you can as well, when a presentation has been well thought out with all the important moves covered as opposed to a presentation at the opposite extreme. I commend Mr. Gerard for a very well thought out presentation and an excellent effect.
kissdadookie
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John, out of curiosity, who do you usually perform for and how often?
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