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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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michaelmystic2003
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On 2009-02-11 11:40, lumberjohn wrote:
I received my nine-disk True Astonishments set on Monday to much rejoicing. I have looked forward to this for some time and was like a kid on Christmas morning as I tore into the packaging and removed the box. My first impression was that this was some beautiful packaging. After an appropriate period of appreciation, I opened the box and popped in the first DVD. I was once again impressed, this time by the outstanding production values. From there, it was on to the effects.

For each effect, there is a performance and explanation segment as well as a short (one to five minutes generally) segment from Paul Harris, entitled “Phootnotes,” with his thoughts. Some of these are more helpful and insightful than others. Paul does not do any of the performances or explanations. They are handled by guest contributors, the most pervasive of which is the Director, Bro Gilbert, a likable if low key guy who handles most of the on-camera heavy lifting. Paul, in his well known heavy coat and stocking cap ensemble, looks the part of a wise drifter wandering through the stunning landscape of British Columbia, imparting occasional nuggets of wisdom and humor, equally interspersed.

At the time I am writing this review, I have watched only the first two of the nine disk set. I will discuss only effects listed on each disk’s packaging. There are four to five “Easter Eggs” on each disk, which consist of a mix of other effects (some older Paul Harris effects, some newer effects by guest contributors) and interviews. Because I don’t want to ruin anyone’s surprise, I won’t be addressing these.

DISK ONE

TWILIGHT ANGELS: This is the exact same effect found in the original Art of Astonishment series. Nothing new has been added. The effect is that as the spectator looks at the back of a card, the performer, P, places a reflective object such as a mirror on the middle of the card so that if the mirror were a window, it would appear that the entire card could be seen. When the mirror is lifted, the angel on the other side has disappeared, the inference being that it was absorbed into the “mirror dimension.” The mirror is then moved to make it appear that the remaining angel is duplicated and the duplicate is moved to another position on the card. When the mirror is lifted, the duplicate angel appears right where it was on the mirror, to the side of the remaining angel. The resulting card back appears very strange, with two of the angels side by side and the other angel simply gone.

Word is that Paul Harris really likes this effect and believes it may have been unjustly overlooked by many in the magic community the first go-round. So he has resurrected it here with the suggestion of possibly using a cell-phone or PDA as a reflector rather than carrying along a mirror to make the presentation more organic. This is not a magician fooler, as the slight(s) are simple and would telegraph the ending, but it does create an interesting retention of vision that may make for a powerful visual punch and it does use the angels, which could provide some of the more creative among us with strong presentational possibilities. It also, however, uses specially gaffed cards which will, if the cards are signed, which is suggested, cause you to restock regularly. For this reason alone, I don’t expect to perform this much.

BACKLASH 2: In this effect, the spectator signs the back of a card, and then signs the face. The performer openly places the card into his pocket. The deck may be immediately spread and the signed back of the spectator’s card appears back in the deck(!) The performer closes the deck, makes a magical gesture, re-spreads, and shows that the spectator’s card is no longer in the deck. The performer reaches into his pocket and removes the spectator’s card, showing the face that the spectator has signed. The performer waves the card in front of the spectator and shows that the signature on the back of the card has morphed into the performer’s signature.

I didn’t really like this one. There are numerous discrepancies throughout and it seemed extremely obvious to me what was going on. Also, at each of the points that I as a spectator would have wanted to see a convincer, none was offered (or possible). While it is possible that you could obtain a fairly visual name transformation at the end, this would only be possible if there is substantial similarity between the performer’s signature and the spectator’s, which would be pretty hit and miss.

Paul addresses these concerns somewhat in the Phootnotes by stating that neither he nor Bro had ever been called out on the discrepancies since beginning to perform this. It was interesting that Paul immediately recognized the more glaring problems with the effect and went on the defensive to assure us they weren’t a problem in the real world. I am always a bit suspect of performers who say anything to the effect of “I know that seemed obvious to you, but in the real world, no one notices it.” I would like the effects I perform to be deceptive enough to fool someone as perceptive as I am. I think this effect depends heavily upon having non-skeptical and non-observant spectators. I’m sure it would fly easily among spectators who are drinking or not paying close attention, but I certainly wouldn’t want to perform this for a group of alpha males who are burning my every move. And since I like my effects to give me a range of performance options, I likely won’t be performing this either. Also, you are left with a dirty deck at the end.

NEW LEAF: This damaged to restored leaf effect is fairly clever, but extremely limited in terms of performance venue. It is best performed while walking a trail in the forest, where the opportunity arises to stop for a second, find suitable leaves, set-up the effect (probably a few minutes) and then go into it while continuing the walk. The positions of the leaves appear a bit contrived, as do the procedures involved, but in the right circumstance, I’m sure it would play well. I just can’t think of a situation I’ve been in within the last ten years that would have been appropriate for performing this effect. So I doubt I’ll be performing this one either. It would be good to know, however, if your second job is as a trail guide.

CHENG’S CHANGE: This is a very visual change of a poor five card poker hand to a royal flush. For those unfamiliar with Zapped!, the gimmicked effect that this simulates, it is fast and flashy, much like a color change except with five cards instead of one. This one is knacky and would require a good bit of practice. Also, it is presented as more of a quick stunt than as part of any routine. This would be great for those into “Street Magic” guerilla style performances, but it’s not clear where you would go from there. You will be left dirty at the end, moreover, so it might not be right for all performance situations.

THE BIG TINY: Anyone familiar with Paul Gertner’s “Unshuffled” will immediately recognize the principle at play here. Essentially, a spectator writes his or her name along the edges of a deck of cards and then, after an apparent mix up of the cards into several piles, and the free selection of one of those piles, it appears that they have through their choices, arranged the cards in their piles so that their name is visible once again along the edges of the cards. This is another example of the popular “order from chaos” plot that is the basis for effects such as “Out of this World,” but presented in a novel way and making use of someone’s name, which is a nice personal touch. The mechanics of this one aren’t difficult, as it makes use of a little understood principle more than moves or slights, though a good false shuffle would come in very handy. It does render the deck unusable for further effects (though not for casual use such as card games) but I liked this effect best of all those on Disk One.

DISK TWO

LVL$: This is a new presentation of Las Vegas Leaper that incorporates an entirely new ending in which a bill appears in the spectator’s back pocket. I must admit my bias on the front end: I love Las Vegas Leaper. It is truly one of my favorite Paul Harris effects, and I never saw anything that I felt needed to be fixed. So I immediately looked on LVL$ with a critical eye. Basically, this adds a phase at the end in which five dollar bills are counted and then, after an appropriate magic gesture, are demonstrated to be only four dollar bills, the last one found in the spectator’s back pocket. This is a nice ending to the effect, by which the performer demonstrates that he can perform the traveling card effect with more than just cards. Money creates a more emotional attachment, and the ability to send money to someone’s back pocket is an effect that your spectators can relate to.

But there are compromises. The first is one of the primary advantages I’ve always found with LVL classic – that it is truly impromptu. This version is not. Furthermore, this version eliminates the vanishing sequences of the cards to make the vanish of the bill seem equivalent. I have always found those vanish sequences to provide many additional layers of magic to the effect, which I believe added substantially to the effect. More importantly, the spectator management and procedures required are more extensive and contrived in the new version than in the original. Some of the procedures required to make the effect work are simply not very well motivated. Substantial spectator management is also necessary to insure a successful outcome. Finally, the bill count at the end is not nearly as deceptive as the spectator count which is the heart of LVL classic, which I think takes away from the entire effect under the weakest link in the chain theory.

Ultimately, I can’t say that LVL$ is any better than LVL classic, but only that it is different. It is more well suited to a formal stand-up presentation. I think I will generally be sticking with LVL classic.

TUBULAR: The performer and the spectator each remove a bill from their wallets. The performer signs the spectator’s bill and vice-versa. Each rolls their bill into a tight tube. The performer takes the spectator’s rolled bill, places it next to his, and hands both to the spectator. When the spectator unrolls the “bills,” he finds only one bill, singed by both the performer and himself. They have fused together!

While this is a fairly simple and non-assuming effect, I really liked it. Everything is well motivated and the necessary misdirection is built right in. Also, it is very near impromptu. This isn’t a closer, but it’s great to know when you need a solid “quickie.”

CHENG’S RISER: Cheng is back with a visually stunning method of showing a card rising up through the deck from near the bottom to the top. Cheng first explains an “easy” method in which the rising card remains face down. But most will be far more interested in the version in which the rising card is face up. Like “Cheng’s Change” from volume one, this is more of a “Street Magic” effect in which an impossible visual feat is performed without reference to any larger routine, but if that’s something you’re interested in, and you’re willing to put in the work required to make this look good (more than Cheng’s Change), you will be rewarded with something that looks very impressive.

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.

GROWING CARD: The performer places a face up Ace between two Jokers, slightly up and left jogged so its pip can be seen clearly. As the performer rubs on the three cards, the Ace appears to grow, extending from the lower right side of the card sandwich to the same extent at the upper left side. After the spectator is allowed a few moments to appreciate this oddity, the performer continues rubbing, as the Ace appears to shrink back to its original size. The performer then flips the cards over and displays them.

This is a cool visual effect, but without any real context or routine other than a quick stunt. Also, it uses a specially gaffed card so the cards cannot be examined after the effect. It is more in the nature of a quick one-note packet trick, making it another good candidate for the Street Magic guerilla magician.

Overall, I would have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with the first two disks of the True Astonishments series. Yes, there is some good solid magic here, but for my sixty dollars (the pro-rated price for these two disks), there are other DVDs with far more bang for the buck. So far, this has simply not been the revolutionary collection that I was expecting. But I have only just begun, and there are seven more disks to go. So off I go to watch more magic.


I did NOT expect that! Thank you for taking the time to write an HONEST review as opposed to one caught up in all of the hype.
Follow Michael Kras on Twitter! http://www.twitter.com/KrasMagic

Check out The Kras Change at Vanishing Inc Magic! http://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic-downloads/ebooks/kras-change/
bugjack
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Quote:
On 2009-02-11 17:10, Michaelmystic2003 wrote:

I did NOT expect that! Thank you for taking the time to write an HONEST review as opposed to one caught up in all of the hype.


I think negative reviews are perfectly fine and no one should be bashed for them. But I think the opposite is true too. Just because some people here have watched all the DVDs and posted positive reviews doesn't mean that we need to dismiss them as "hype."
Chris K
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On 2009-02-11 16:50, kissdadookie wrote:
Lumberjohn, just by your review of TWO of the items in TA makes me realize that you don't fully grasp what you are watching and learning. Specifically your comments about Cheng's Change and Riser...

This leads me to also believe that your opinion on something working in the real world or not to not hold any water since you have not even attempted to try it in the real world. This could be said about all the positive reviews for TA, most of those reviews were written without the reviewer having tried the effects out in the real world...

To make things simple: you can't say that the food tastes bad until you've actually put the darn thing in your mouth.


Since I feel like I started this, let me clarify my specific position. I never said or meant to imply something that kissdadookie said, namely the "don't fully grasp" point. I wouldn't presume to say it. What I would presume to say is that magician's tend to have poor abilities at understanding what spectators see. I include myself here, thus my stance on audience testing effects prior to putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) to "review" them. I even hate that people consider them reviews, they are more like "guesses" when you don't have any evidence at all to support your point of view.

My personal opinion is pretty close to kissdadookie's regarding the value of your opinion, to me personally, especially moving forward (since I already have these dvds).

Finally, I think kissdadookie's example is perfect. How can somebody say they hate "X" food without ever trying it? In order to say you hate it, you have to try it. Anything else is just ridiculous.

But that is simply my opinion. One more quick thing, regarding "hype": hey man, if you think it's hyped, please don't get it. Don't read the reviews. Or better, do what you are doing. Ignore the reviews of people who actually perform the effects and instead, give props to the negative review from somebody who hasn't tried a single one.

That's the ticket! Please, just keep doing that. That way I know I never have to worry about you as a competitor.

Lem
lumberjohn
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I find it interesting that the same pattern tends to emerge again and again. Immediately after a product is released, especially one from a well regarded magician, it is accompanied by a flood of positive reviews. These are accepted by everyone uncritically. If and when a review surfaces with any negative things to say, the reviewer is immediately attacked – typically on the basis that he is somehow unqualified to render a review. Perhaps he is not old enough, or experienced enough, or has not performed the effects being reviewed “in the real world.” If the reviewer answers these objections, then the bar is raised; the goal post moved back. Now, he needs to have PROFESSIONAL experience, or he has not performed the reviewed effects ENOUGH.

I have seen this repeatedly, and so it does not surprise me that we see so few reviewers willing to post anything negative about a product. There is certainly no reward for honesty. Even when I attempted to be honest about my experience with the product I was attacked for that!

I find the position that no reviews are valid unless the reviewer has performed the effect in the “real world” to be simply absurd. As Daghank pointed out, few people are going to work up an effect they believe to be terrible just to see how it plays out in the “real world.” But every month, magic reviewers give poor reviews to dozens of products. Clearly, those who write, read, and publish those reviews believe them to have value, regardless of the fact that they have NEVER performed the effects in question. I would submit that includes the vast majority of the magic community, with the exception of Lem and Kissadookie, who apparently maintain that all these publications are conning us with their worthless reviews.

There are many things I do not need to personally try out before a live audience to know they would play terribly. I’m sure each of you could say the same. How would you feel if someone were to tell you that your opinion meant nothing unless and until you personally performed the effect? And then how many times would you need to perform it before your opinion gained validity? What would the sample size need to be? 10? 100? 1000?

These types of attacks are not valid. They are simply ad hominem smears to attempt to negate any negative comments. Their selective application belies the motivations behind them.

The irony here is that I did not intend my review to be negative, only honest. I found many things to like in these DVDs, but in light of the tremendous hype preceding them, also found they did not meet my heightened expectations. This was simply my opinion, which I don’t claim to be of greater value than anyone else’s. I do maintain, however, that it has some value.
lumberjohn
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Lem and Kissadookie,

To demonstrate that your opinions are based on something other than sheer hypocrisy, please name all the professional reviewers you respect that have never reviewed a book or DVD unless and until they have performed every effect in that book or DVD to a lay audience. As to the ones that don't meet this criteria, aren't they, under your standards, guilty of fraud by, in effect, giving an opinion about food they have never eaten? If so, there are a lot of criminals out there.
Count Lustig
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Quote:
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.)
Chris K
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Lumberjohn,

Look, man, I don't really care about what you do or don't do. Review every effect out there without trying it, I really don't care. However, just to put you at ease, I don't trust any reviews that aren't from people who test effects out. I'm quite sure that comes as a surprise and I really don't care if you believe it or not. Love me or hate me, I always tell the truth.

As for your <ahem> "argument" that negative reviews are automatically attacked, please re-read my first post. Go ahead. You'll notice that positive or negative do not weigh into it. Oh, you didn't notice that? What a shock! Oh wait, it wasn't. IF YOU HAD READ MY POST, you would have found that I don't care if the review is positive or negative, a lack of actually performing the effects was my criteria.

So there goes your whole little <ahem> "argument" about it being that you were negative. It had NOTHING to do with it. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of taking everyting personally.

So, let's review what has happened and you tell me who has the problem:

You put up your review.
I put up mine and tell you my criteria (must perform etc.). I also mention that I don't respect reviews from people who haven't actually tried the stuff.
You get mad because you think I am attacking you when I didn't even know you didn't actually try anything before "guessing" at how they play.
Ok, so then you try to pass it off as your review was negative so it was attacked.
Too bad you forgot I didn't attack your post at all because I DIDN'T KNOW YOU GUESSED WITHOUT TRYING ANYTHING OUT.

The only thing I disagreed with out of the gate was your ill-informed and straight-up incorrect "guess" of New Leaf. An effect, I'd like to point out, that you have never even tried. I even pointed out exactly where and how I perform it. But hey, those facts are getting in the way again, why don't you write a post on how it's because your name starts with an "L"? I mean, as long as you're being obstinate and stand-offish anyway, right?

You know what, forget it. It's not worth it. Let's just say I have absolutely no respect for your reviews OR your reading comprehension.

Now, on to an actually good post from daghank. kissadookie actually answered it pretty well, but I will go a little bit further. If people consistently perform only effects 1, 2, and 4 from a disk with 4 effects, and thus only review 1, 2, and 4, that, in itself should say something. Or let's put it another way: why do you think some tricks were practiced and performed and some weren't?

Enough from me here, I didn't realize that giving my criteria for reviewing something was going to make anybody cry. All my discussion is up at the TA forum from now on, you guys can go make guesses about lots of other stuff now. Nobody will call you on your BS.
motown
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It sounds to me that LumberJohn didn't buy into all the hype and is just giving an honest review.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
– Karl Germain
acchessor
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I've only gone mostly through disc 1 so far, and I personally think it's amazing. I guess that your reaction to this set somewhat depends on past experience, as I really needed something before TA to get me out there performing, and I think this set will give me more than enough motivation. I will be posting my TA diaries for disc 1 in the TA forums in the next few days, so watch out for that!
emyers99
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I too was underwhelmed by the first two discs. And no, I didn't perform every trick in front of an audience. I don't think that is practical or a necessary requirement before forming an opinion as to whether I like or dislike material. I've been performing for 25 years and by now, I know what I like and I know what type of magic works best for me for my audiences. For others, it may be different. It really just depends on who you are...and that is the beauty of opinions. Take em or leave em, but everyone is entitled to one. For me, the material on 1 and 2 is not bad...it's just not as good as other material I perform. So for me, I didn't see anything that I would add to my show. Others may. I personally liked volumes 7 and 8 the best.
Count Lustig
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Quote:
On 2009-02-11 18:26, Count Lustig wrote:
Quote:
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?
kissdadookie
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I personally do not read reviews actually Smile Either on the Café or in magazines. If I think a effect is good, I would purchase it and then work it out in actual performances. More and more I am finding myself trying to move away from convincing magicians to pick up certain products because I truthfully want to use them for myself, like a little personal secret.

Even though my comments may seem harsh, they do make some sort of sense. Magician's in general are way too paranoid these days and refuse to take any sort of risk. This makes them a bit dumb down because they are not as creative in the end. They are also way too paranoid about minute details that really means nothing in the real world while they treasure some effects and methods that are great for fooling magicians but are the equivalent of watching paint dry for the lay audience.
lumberjohn
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Quote:
On 2009-02-11 19:23, Lemniscate wrote:

As for your <ahem> "argument" that negative reviews are automatically attacked, please re-read my first post. Go ahead. You'll notice that positive or negative do not weigh into it. Oh, you didn't notice that? What a shock! Oh wait, it wasn't. IF YOU HAD READ MY POST, you would have found that I don't care if the review is positive or negative, a lack of actually performing the effects was my criteria.

So there goes your whole little <ahem> "argument" about it being that you were negative. It had NOTHING to do with it. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of taking everyting personally.

So, let's review what has happened and you tell me who has the problem:

You put up your review.
I put up mine and tell you my criteria (must perform etc.). I also mention that I don't respect reviews from people who haven't actually tried the stuff.
You get mad because you think I am attacking you when I didn't even know you didn't actually try anything before "guessing" at how they play.
Ok, so then you try to pass it off as your review was negative so it was attacked.
Too bad you forgot I didn't attack your post at all because I DIDN'T KNOW YOU GUESSED WITHOUT TRYING ANYTHING OUT.


I see you didn't answer my question, by which I assume you concede that your ridiculous position is not shared by the vast majority of the magic community, who do actually find value in reviews written by people who did not perform every effect to a live audience and do not consider all such reviewers to be spreading "BS," as you so graciously put it.

As for what actually happened, it should have been entirely clear from my initial review that I had not performed the effects on the disk. I specifically stated that I had received the disks this week and had only just finished watching the first two. You then posted a review containing your "criteria," which contained an introduction stating that any review written by someone who had not actually performed all the effects contained therein was completely worthless and tantamount to fraud. While I certainly did not agree with your position, just in case it was not clear (I don't see how it couldn't have been) that I had not performed the effects, I stated that in a short simple post. In your next post, you registered your mock surprise at my "admission" and went on the direct attack, basically calling me nothing short of dishonest -- for doing what you have basically conceded 99.9% of reviewers do.

As for your "argument" that you apply your standards equally to all reviews, positive and negative, I would like to point something out. Prior to my post, there were upwards of twenty pages of posts regarding the TA series, containing many positive "reviews" by people who clearly had only just finished watching the disks they were reviewing. Yet, the first and only time you decided to go on the attack was after my review. I think that says it all. Game, set, and match my friend.
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That's a great job well done lumberjohn. I have to say that's a well written Honest review which I agree with.

I do also believe that you have also put into consideration from a spectators point of view of an effect as shown in the performance.

If anyone don't like the review, a new shiny review can always be written based on their own opinion.

:)
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I truly do not understand how there can be a review of ANY sort from a person that hasn't tried the effects in front of a lay audience. Just grab a stranger off the street or at a bar or what not and perform the effects, then come back with a review. Senseless to write a review and *** items to hell if you never actually performed any of it. Regardless if you had written a disclaimer about not having actually performed any of the material, there just shouldn't be a review posted in the first place.

From lumberjohn's initial write up for disc 1 and 2, it feels like he has a mental wall that he needs to break since the majority of his views were all theoretical and not actually practical views. Armchair theorist anyone?
emyers99
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I respect your opinion but have to say that I completely disagree with this logic. Saying you can't review magic until you've actually performed it is like saying you can't say a painting is ugly until you buy it, and hang it on the wall in your living room. If I see a bad trick, why should I have to make an audience suffer through watching it before I can say I think it's a bad trick? For me, a big part of being a professional is being able to identify and perform the strongest magic possible. Picking strong magic involves making judgment calls based on experience. Sometimes you guess right. Sometimes you don't. But I don't think it is fair to experiment on the public with material you don't believe in.

Back to volumes 1 and 2. The magic on them was good. I don't think anyone has said otherwise. But for me personally, while the magic is good, I don't think it's as strong as routines I already perform. Admittedly that is a judgement call based on a mental comparision and 25 years of experience. I may be right. I may be wrong. But that is how I evaluate material. Others may feel the material is incredibly strong and that's great, but that doesn't make my opinion incorrect for me and my performing style. The same goes for John's initial review. He set out his rationale. Others may disagree but that doesn't make John incorrect.
Winks
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661 Posts

Profile of Winks
Quote:
On 2009-02-12 09:09, kissdadookie wrote:
I truly do not understand how there can be a review of ANY sort from a person that hasn't tried the effects in front of a lay audience. Just grab a stranger off the street or at a bar or what not and perform the effects, then come back with a review. Senseless to write a review and *** items to hell if you never actually performed any of it. Regardless if you had written a disclaimer about not having actually performed any of the material, there just shouldn't be a review posted in the first place.

From lumberjohn's initial write up for disc 1 and 2, it feels like he has a mental wall that he needs to break since the majority of his views were all theoretical and not actually practical views. Armchair theorist anyone?


Oh shut up.
lumberjohn
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Memphis, TN
619 Posts

Profile of lumberjohn
Quote:
On 2009-02-12 02:19, Count Lustig wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-02-11 18:26, Count Lustig wrote:
Quote:
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.
RevJohn
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Inner circle
Oregon City Oregon, Oregon
2472 Posts

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I am confused about the whole "PH-boys" kind of attitude. It seems weird to group Harris in with the others that some have in this thread.

Do people forget that Harris has been around for a LONG time, and been putting items out and creatively thinking for much longer than some have been alive?

That aside, the additions I can see have less to do with handling and more to do with presentation. I believe, while it might be slight, the idea of using a cell phone or some other reflective surface (rather than just a small mirror), is a different presentation angle.

Since I have liked Naked Angels on Bikes, but moved to do it without the gimmicked card case, I really enjoyed seeing this version of the Angel effects.

I appreciate the review, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I seem to have liked the effects more than others. But the whole Magic and Meaning movement has people on both sides of the fence as well.

RevJohn
kissdadookie
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Profile of kissdadookie
Winks, that's adorable, your commenting like a little schoolboy. Yay.

ANYWAYS, emyers, I think you misunderstood the idea. It's not finding out a painting is ugly after you buy it. It's more like the painting is NOT a painting until you paint it. You can have the idea in your head but it's nothing but an idea until you execute it. So going by your logic of feeling a review can be justly made based off of just watching the video and not having tried anything from the video is the equivalent of reviewing a car based off of watching a video for the car instead of driving it. I admit, that's a bit extreme for a comparison but you surely can see the connection being made there.
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