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organicmagician
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So, I'm continuing the in-depth reviews I posted of the first two volumes of this set. I'm striving to give detailed impressions of the effects and to rate them based on the likelihood of my performing for laymen. These reviews are free of mindless adulation and blind Paul Harris love (though I do like him), giving you as objective a look as I can muster. I'm striving for objectivity because its sometimes tough to get a completely straight-up review when people have gone crazy with anticipation...

Disclaimer: I'm not a teenager and I don't engage in long-running nonsense arguments on websites (generally). I really don't care if you disagree. So, I'll be happy to respond to specific questions or discuss my impressions in more detail (though PM, if you'd like). But, I'm not going to engage in flame-throwing. So, don't be too disappointed if I don't respond to particularly snarky comments.

Ratings out of 5. Descriptions of the effect generally omitted - you can find that elsewhere. Will review the extra features below or in a separate post.

DISC THREE

CASANOVA INC. - Wow! Incredible. Boom, pow, right in the face! This is for real - a great introduction to Steve Haynes. It's ACR, its a business card trick and its an incredible, over-the-top, in-the-hands tranpo kicker. One of the best effects of the set so far. ***, I wish this wasn't going to be performed by EVERYONE. This one trick may finally alter the trend of magicians printing these black/silver over the top business cards. You'll need a light colored business card back to perform this. This could be done with blanks, too, for the teenagers who may want to perform this or others that don't have business cards. I like the like jokes, the pacing, the whole thing. Rating: 5/5.

HALFMOON TRADING CO. - An interesting utility kind of force/switch. A little over the top. The procedure is weird, because you don't normally have people do this. I think clever spectators will question the procedures, too. They probably wouldn't guess the actual method. But, I think this might reek of 'funny business'. Anyway, I still like it and may even use it - a solid application follows. And, I don't mind stuff that's not 100% well motivated (though Bro makes a decent attempt to explain the procedure in context). If you really wanted only one person to look at a card, though I don't think this is what you'd do. Still useful. Rating: 2/5.

HALFMOON VOODOO - A fantastic Guy Hollingworth effect I wasn't familiar with. The halfmoon system works well in context here, but the effect would truthfully be just as strong or stronger using a different system. This has that eerie mentalism feel with a number of wonderfully structured magical moments. I think this is a super-powerful effect that I will 100% be performing. So far, reactions have been intense. Rating: 4/5.

PACK OF LIES - Bro's new take on the classic Paul Harris Vanishing Deck gimmick, though its applied in a different way here. The actual gimmick is used a little differently than the way most people are accustomed to utilizing it. The presentation is spectacular, the result powerful. This is a real insight into the way Bro puts together an effect. I have a little drop of skepticism about one aspect of the trick. Audience management here is extremely intense, like in LVL$. You should only perform this using a spectator that you can control. If the spectator pats their pocket at an inopportune time or senses something off, that throws water on the ending (but perhaps doesn't ruin the trick). You need to chose your spectator/participant wisely and they must be dressed not only in a jacket, but a specific kind of jacket. Those restrictions are what keeps this from being perfect in my mind. But, wow - you could get a lot of mileage out of this one. I'm not describing this in more detail because I don't want to tip the trick to those who haven't bought the set. A lot of the value here is Bro's presentation. Rating: 4/5.

SOLID (WITH HAPPY ENDING) - I hate to say this, since I like Bro generally and he did so much with Pack of Lies, above. I think this is a presentation for a trick that didn't really need improvement. Or, at least I preferred the original better. The attempt to modernize this trick and add to it is appreciated. But, I thought the plot was kind of incoherent. The presentation is cheeky in a mixed way. The actual effect is strong and I like how the solid deception becomes free flowing cards again. But, the same premise would have been much better applied to a different presentation. So, I give Bro points for the central innovation of reworking this trick and "un-doing" the solid deck. But I don't care for the presentation at all. Rating: 2/5.

Overall Thoughts on Disc Three - One of the best discs so far. Overall a very solid package of magic with something for everyone. There is an intimate, yet powerful business card effect, a creepy mental magic kind of thing from Guy (that is a very TV-kind of trick), an interesting kind of force and a strong parlour/stage piece. I obviously didn't like all of it, but this is a great volume in the set.

DISC FOUR

DR. FUN - How to begin... I was not wild about this trick. The idea is inspiring - to make someone think of a special time in their life. Very Paul Harris. This is an attempt to add trappings to a simple trick that make it more transcendent and personal. Does it succeed? Sort of... I think the effect could be very strong for certain audiences. First, though, I don't really know why something like this is done with cards. This is basically, one-ahead style mentalism. The use of playing cards makes this practical for cardguys to throw a little mentalism in, but something remains unsatisfying about the effect to me. I have performed this for spectators with generally good results, which redeems it a bit, despite my own skepticism. But, I think there are better similar effects. This is also not for everyday use. The trick is a little longer, with more focus on presentation and it probably won't fit everyone's style. Not all spectators wish to engage so personally. I think others will really love this trick, but I'm not as wild for it. Rating: 3/5.

NAME DROPPER - Another trick that I think could be powerful, but which I just don't personally care for all that much. Producing a spectators name on cards is definitely a cool idea and, again, its more personal than the majority of effects. One problem is that, slipped into this effect is a phrase like "covertly obtain spectator's name ahead of time" (and secretly write it on cards)... that dramatically shrinks the number of situations where this is applicable. We are assured that this is easy to do at a party situation. A little funny moment occurs when Bro is performing the effect for a woman and her kid is there. Bro says to the woman, "now, I've never met you - I don't know your name, right?" Then, the kid says something or loses interest and Bro refers to the kid by name. So - I guess he introduced himself to the child, but not the adult? Haha - its just demo, I know.

If you don't mind doing pre-work, you could set some of these up and if you perform professionally, get them ready for the bar mitzvah boy, or the couple you are performing for, the CEO, etc. (though of course, it could be presumed you did know those names in advance). The writing is also on the backs of the cards, so you are more-or-less ruining a deck to perform this once. At least signatures on the faces of cards can be explained and don't ruin the whole deck. I guess you could write on the faces... So, in sum. I like the idea, the effect could be powerful, but the pre-work involved and the ruined deck make me much less likely to perform. If you are willing to get someone's name in a bar from someone who won't then watch the trick (which would of course partially tip the method), then set it up and perform it once, ruining your deck, you might have a solid pick-up trick. You could blow away a small group. But this effect isn't for all the time and probably not too practical for professionals. Rating: 2.5/5.

LUBOR'S LENS - I will probably never use this again after initially playing with it. I wanted to give this a full chance, so despite my cynicism, I performed this effect about a dozen times for spectators. Some people had a good reaction - others seemed not to fully get what happened. To me, this is another really interesting idea that hasn't been completely thought out. I even made one of the suggested props, which I took the trouble to switch in so it could be looked at first. I did the little routine suggested and then lifted the lens to show a pen had warped/twisted. Ehhh... Didn't really blow people away. The actual lens looks proppy and weird (though I appreciate the justification given by Bro). But, I don't use proppy stuff other than occasionally. If you don't mind carrying a WOW, I don't think this will bother you, though. But, the payoff is small. The effect is so-so and requires you to position the spectator in a strange way that doesn't always work the way people carry themselves. It very much comes across as a cool optical illusion and is not particularly magical. Even the kicker endings suggested don't really seem to convert it to magic. So, this is fun. My nieces and nephews would love it and it seems exactly like the kind of thing you'd get a science museum gift shop. Rating: 1/5.

NAKED STRANGE - This effect is really interesting, simple to perform and impromptu. It is the type of effect I really like, too. The basic idea is that someone picks a card 'freely', then it transposes location between packets held by two friends. I may also modify the basic idea to use on other tricks. The effect is presented without a strong presentation, by which I mean that compared to other tricks, they didn't work out a theme and detailed patter. This has the feeling of clay, ready to be sculpted. The only reason I don't think more of this is that it doesn't seem particularly original. I perform similar transpo effects that are just as good or better. Rating: 3/5.

STAPLED WARP - One of the better on this sub-par disc in my mind (not including the bonuses). But, the fact that you need a stapler also will result my probably never performing this trick. I never liked card warp, but this was a really nice looking version created by Andrew Gerrard. But, I'm just not going to carry a mini-stapler around to do one trick! Especially card warp. Rating: 3/5.

Overall Thoughts on Disc Four - This has been by far my least favorite disc so far. The material doesn't feel all that new or exciting, the gaff - the lens - is goofy and the best trick on the DVD requires you to carry around a mini-stapler. Bro makes all of these tricks look good and the spectator reactions are strong on the DVDs. But, that didn't match what I was getting in performance. And, my personal taste just didn't line up well with the content here. Ahh well - gotta be a weak spot in there somewhere. Perhaps the greatest stuff is still yet to come, though (having watched all of the discs now).
PatrickGregoire
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You`re completely covered with Pack of Lies since their hands are behind their back. They don`t need a special type of jacket, just one that can contain a pack of cards loosely.

I understand that some tricks don`t work well for different performers but Lubor`s Lens is one of the best things I got from this set! It gets GREAT reactions! You just have to present it right, and don`t switch the pens just so they can examin it! Just use the gimmicked pen and go into it, there is absolutely no heat, they end up seeing it normal under the lens and afterwards, it never occurs to them that it could have always been twisted.

Naked Strange is awesome and I love it. I`ll be using it often. Just to clarify, if anyone reads your summary of the trick, they THINK of a card. Just to make sure people don`t think they pick one.
kissdadookie
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I'm not a big fan of Casanova but the Halfmoon Trading is very good. HOWEVER, the ORIGINAL handling (Hollingworth) for the Voodoo Card Trick is much much much better. There's really no rhyme or reason to be using the Halfmoon method for the effect. If you don't wish to work even just a LITTLE bit for your magic (original Voodoo has such SIMPLE handling) then you really should just stick with Tenyo tricks Smile Good views though organicmagician. I feel the same way as you do about Dr. Fun (but let's be honest, it IS a lot of fun to use that method) as a pack of playing cards really has no place for this type of effect HOWEVER, one can easily just use a stack of business cards instead of playing cards (or just use the Out to Lunch principle).
palmtreemagic!
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Thanks for the honest review!
Unleashing the moment of astonishment, one impromptu situation at a time.
Chris K
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In another thread, I upset people by saying that I think reviews without audience testing is worthless. I still stand by it, and disk 4 is the exact reason why.

I hope everybody disagrees with me (feel free to keep it to yourself, your PMs aren't needed) but:

I thought both Dr. Fun and Name Dropper were interesting as diversions at best. I decided to go ahead and try Name Dropper for the missus and I realized I had something when she started giggling and didn't stop. I followed up with Dr. Fun and while she was impressed, she simply thought I had "guessed", because I knew her.

I went ahead and tried these effects as work. Holy smokes, people, they play and they play well. My in-home test subjects have decided that Name Dropper is their favorite effect from the set (that I have performed, which is most of them). Yup. It shocked me too.

My rating for Name Dropper after watching it: 6/10
My rating for Name Dropper after performing it: 9/10

Just keep it in mind when you read reviews from people who haven't actually performed the effects.


Just for the record, since people like putting words in my mouth, as before I am making no judgments on who has and hasn't performed the effects prior to review.
Bande
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Thanks so much for doing these reviews. One thing that would really help me (and hopefully others) is an indication of the difficulty levels for the tricks. As a beginner (slowly moving towards intermediate magician) it is a huge consideration. I have found that I get the biggest and best reactions when I can concentrate on the performance rather than the mechanics -- obviously some mechanics have to be mastered anyway, but I try to avoid very involved sleights.

Thanks in advance.
Roland78
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Quote:
Overall Thoughts on Disc Four - This has been by far my least favorite disc so far. The material doesn't feel all that new or exciting, the gaff - the lens - is goofy and the best trick on the DVD requires you to carry around a mini-stapler.


Actually you don't really "need" it. It's a wonderful idea for a weirder effect. But it works also without a stapler, you can achieve the same effect without stapling the cards together.

Dave
PatrickGregoire
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Yes you can, but the main thing here was the staples. That's all he brought forth. The reason it makes it stronger is two reasons:

1- It's more impossible because you clearly can't be turning the card inside out; it's stapled!

2- You create more phases that are interesting and not repetitive because the first time it's hidden, and the fact that it's stapled allows you to do that without being accused of turning it inside out. It starts off as an incredibly impossible puzzle to them. Then you do it covered but as they hold the cover card. Then, you do it in full view. You wouldn't be forgiven for doing it all covered up for two phases if you didn't have the staples and I think it's stronger when you can build it up like Stapled Warp does.

I don't see how Half Moon Voodoo is a step back and unnecessary to the original Voodoo. It allows the spectator to shuffle the cards beforehand and check to make sure all the cards are facing the same way. It also allows them to cut anywhere in the deck to select their card. Those were the reasons Paul added the Half Moon concept to Voodoo Card. I think it's a step forward, depending on your performance situation. The Half Moon concept isn't always that practical.


Regarding Pack of Lies... I have performed this today for my parents and they loved it. I simply came out with the gimmick in hand and went into it. My question is, do you think it's necessary/significantly better to show beforehand (not blatantly point it out but just them seeing it) that it's a regular deck of 52 cards? I don't think it's necessary, but what do you guys think? I think the everyday suggestion is strong enough to convince them that it's 52 cards. I want to use this but not have to perform a card trick beforehand if I don't want to and just go into this with gimmick in hand.
kissdadookie
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Patrick, I'm sure that you've used the original Voodoo Card trick from Hollingworth's book. It's as lean as mean as it can be, do you feel that the Halfmoon handling adds anything to the effect? I feel that it doesn't for the spectator plus the last part for Halfmoon Voodoo is definitely a step back from the original finale. With the original you can riffle force or classic force which I feel is MUCH more streamlined than using the Halfmoon idea. The process is much smoother with the original than the new Halfmoon version as there are less steps involved and the progressing goes boom boom boom instead of boom skip a beat or two, boom boom. Plus, as you said, the Halfmoon concept isn't always that practical, why add it to the Voodoo Card trick? It can pack a lot smaller and be prepped a lot quicker using the original handling.
PatrickGregoire
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That's what I mean though, it's an advancement for certain situations where the Half Moon concept can be applied. I don't understand what you mean by the skip a beat or too. They shuffle the cards, make sure they're all facing the same way, cut the cards wherever they want, you show them their card and then it starts from there and it's boom, boom, boom. There are no skips in my opinion. Anyways, I agree that it's more practical to use the original and I agree that the flame is a stronger finish, but like I said it's more practical to use a drawing for an on-the-fly preparation since with a flame you have to flatten out the card for a little bit before you can use it. All in all, if you build up the fact that they shuffled and made absolutely sure that there were no face up cards and that they had a free selection, then yes, it is stronger in my opinion.
rochaz
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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:
My rating for Name Dropper after watching it: 6/10
My rating for Name Dropper after performing it: 9/10
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Lemniscate,
Appreciate the fact that you were willing to perform the effects and then report back about how you felt after performing said effect(s).
What are your feelings regarding "Dr Fun"? I noticed that you gave a rating for
"Name Dropper" but not for DF. Do you feel different about this effect after performing it?
I can totally see myself getting a ton of mileage out of DF! Smile

Respectfully,
JRRocha
- We do not want them to suspend disbelief in the way they would in theater and story. We want them to think critically and observe carefully. Our job is to force them to believe in magic even against their better judgment.”
Whit Hayden

:Juan R Rocha:
organicmagician
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My biggest problem with name dropper is the deck destruction required, not the effect (and the tradeoff for the impact of the effect). My rating was lower because I'm less likely to perform a trick like that which essentially ruins a deck. I still may use it if the time is right.
PatrickGregoire
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Use it with business cards. You don't ruin your deck of cards and you end up giving away at least 4-5 business cards. Just an idea.
Chris K
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Hey JRRocha,

I'm still evaluating Dr. Fun. Like I said, I wasn't drawn in watching it. I don't know if I thought it was obvious or what, but it didn't move me to include it in the first set of effects I wanted to practice. I went back to it (along with Name Dropper) with some ideas for using business cards and decided to see what kind of mileage I could get out of it in its original form, so I worked out a slightly modified handling and presentation.

As mentioned, the missus thought I merely guessed because I knew her so well. Further tries have impressed me more and more. I haven't actually moved onto trying it with business cards, but I'll give this a good 7.5 right now (up from 5.5 of 10 when I merely "viewed" it).

As the technical aspect of this effect is relatively simple, I spent a lot of time coordinating my movements (hence the slight handling change) and coming up with a good reason (to me) of doing the drawing. These might be the two things that turned me off to the effect initially, but I am enjoying this immensely.

Please keep in mind I am actually a paid performer, thought it is not my full time job. Most of my bookings are rebookings, even right now, so I have need to cycle through effects relatively rapidly. My judgements of effects are based on actual performances for this reason. I try to spell these things out yet there are armchair performers out there who insist on trying to read more into my posts than are there. I feel for them. But I digress, Dr. Fun has been exceeding my expectations, which is why I wanted to post initially, to try to help people out.

Turns out some people's only help is trying (unsuccessfully) to pull down others. I feel for their audiences.

Lem
Michael Dustman
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I enjoyed Dr. Fun and think it will be a good effect to pull out in an impromptu situation with just a deck of cards. However, I think anyone who enjoyed this effect specifically should really check out Aaron Delong's Believe DVD that was just released.

Believe is based off the Anything Deck and Aaron has added some great ideas to this effect. I had purchased one of the orginal 50 and love it. He finally released it to everyone on DVD late last year with many ideas and I am in the process of adapting them.

So for those of you who think Dr. Fun doesn't play well (which I personally think it will) check out Believe. It covers pretty much all the concerns that have been raised in this thread.
acchessor
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I've performed Lubor's Lens four times and have received great reactions each time. The reason why I like it so much is that it doesn't appear to be a magic trick - only a cool illusion that manifests itself into reality. When I first saw the explanation and started working with the effect, I somewhat thought "How would I fool anyone with the twisted pen?" But each time I did it, everyone is shocked when they see the final result (except for once when a person came in midway through the effect and saw the twisted pen underneath before the final reveal, but I could still say that it was because of the vanishes). I'm hoping to do more material tonight from TA.
smith83
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Acchessor: do you ever use lubor's lens as an opener? To me, it feels like it would cast you as someone who can show you optical illusions rather than as a magician.
PatrickGregoire
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They won't think you're just someone showing optical illusions as opposed to a magician because Reality Twister as a magical climax.

Pack of Lies is not only good if introduced in the middle of a card set. I've used it a few times lately on its own, simply coming out with the gimmick, and it always floored them.
PatrickGregoire
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I just thought of an idea for Reality Twister. It probably isn't worth the extra effort, but maybe it is. Instead of twisting the pen, take out the ink tube from the pen and cut out a section out from the middle. Just a little less than the width of Lubor's Lens. Then, apply some super glue to the bottom of the ink tube and place it back inside the bottom portion. Place some super glue under the ridge of the pen's tip and glue that to the upper portion of the pen's tube. This gives you a pen that has its center missing. All you see is the ink tube. A very strange pen. When you perform, you place the pen in their hand and bring the lens over it. They see a regular pen, you twist the lens and the center vanishes. You do it another time and then all you do is instead of twisting the lens, you simply pull it away slowly to the side so it looks like you've actually vanished the center of the pen. I think it would look so cool.
KingJeux
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My biggest question for Lubor's Lens is that if it just 'twisted' then where the hell did the smoke come from!?! That is the reaction I am getting from everyone.

"oh you must have just hidden the twist" or something like that. I tried another to get rid of the black smoke marks but it doesn't work. Now I suppose I could do it with a black pen... but that might break the space time continuum and produce green smoke where we would all be f***ed.

Anyways you guys have any thoughts on this? It's a neat trick, but it isn't getting me much out of it as of yet.
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