Friday, April 2, 2010

Liquid Metal DVD...and Banachek's metal-bending DVD

Howdy, everyone!

Have you ever traveled so much that you didn't know where you were?

This past week, I was walking from my hotel to a restaurant across the street and I noticed the gas station. I felt the gas prices were lower than what I was used to at home (I live in NY - High gas prices!!) and I wondered, "What state am I in?" This struck me as hilarious!

Housekeeping: My contest to name my new ezine is over. The winner, Terrance, should be receiving his prize in the mail any time now. The name of the ezine is "Cause & Effects," which I thought was completely appropriate.

Jump on the mailing list - it's free and each month it will have articles on performing philosophy, marketing tips, Q & A from subscribers and more. I'm always looking to expand, so just send an email to and you're IN - easy!

Today's review: Liquid Metal DVD. It's $29.95 and is available from Hocus Pocus at this link:

WHAT YOU GET: A DDVD that teaches a variety of fork metal bending that's woven into one routine that ends with the fork mangled and twisted in every which way and can be handed out as a very unique souvenir.

QUALITY: The production quality of the DVD is superb. It's well lit from a production standpoint and the routine is taught is detail, with multiple camera angles, closeups and more.

MY THOUGHTS: There's a lot about this that I like. First of all, the DVD's creator, Morgan Strebler, explains that what he was really looking for was a way to hand out a piece is sculpture as a souvenir after the routine is over. I think this is a really neat idea and if one were so inclined, you could have stickers made up with your contact info on your forks so that when you handed the fork out...well, you get the idea. I imagine one could also have the forks engraved, etched or otherwise customized with your info for the same marketing benefit.

CREDITS: Morgan does a good job crediting his sources for putting this routine together. He (rightfully) credits Banachek as having been the most successful influence on his metal bending.

ANGLES: With this routine (like many) you're using ungimmicked, off-the-shelf forks, so there are no extra gimmicks to hide and take away during the routine. While there are "moves" to be sure, Morgan designed this for use on the street and in other demanding closeup or "commando" situations.

MY OVERALL THOUGHTS - THE GOOD: There's quite a bit I like about this routine and a few glaring things I just thought were really bad. First, the good.

The majority of this routine will play REALLY well, and is really well thought out. Again, I feel the idea of giving away a twisted, mangles fork as a souvenir is really cool.

A big caveat - with this routine, each time you do it, you're completely mangling a fork to the point where it can never be used again. Obviously, if you do this routine a lot, you're going to need to carry several forks with you during the course of an evening, assuming you're going from group to group or table to table, as many of us do. We may wind up doing an effect 20 or 30 times over the course of an evening, so having a steady supply of forks is a concern. To me, it's a GREAT idea and well worth the expense, but you'll have to make the decision for yourself.

As far as the actual instruction, Morgan goes to the trouble of having a "newbie," someone who has never done the routine before, learn the routine under Morgan's watchful eye and careful instruction.

To me, it was quite fascinating watching this guy struggle at first and eventully "get it" and begin to grasp the concepts. Cool, unique approach to instruction.

MY OVERALL THOUGHTS - THE BAD: Before I get into what I didn't like, let me preface this by saying I've been doing the Banachek fork routine for ten years, so I'm a bit biased and feel it's a routine that is nearly perfect in every way. That being said, Morgan has taken a couple of moves and gone backwards, in my opinion, in terms of thinking for this type of routine.

First, there is a particular move where the fork is held up directly in front of a spectator's eyes and it starts to visibly melt in plain sight.

It's a cool moment, but when I say "directly in front of a spectator's eyes," I mean it literally - you're holding the fork an inch or two in front of the person's eyes. This is a bit disorienting (to say the least) and to make matters worse, the workings of this segment necessitate the fact that you must move the fork QUICKLY into this position.

What this means is the fact that the spectator may flinch and/or feel as though his/her personal space is being invaded. I can't see myself doing something like this, but if you can, so be it. For the corporate clients I perform for, I feel this would be viewed as intrusive at best and rude at worst.

The second move I am extremely critical of involves the bending of the times of the fork. The way Banachek presents it, the spectators SEE the tine of the fork SLOWLY bend down. Banachek even gives tips for performing this on television. It's breathtaking in its beauty and simplicity.

Morgan has taken Banachek's concept of the tine or tines bending (more than one) and changed the handling so that the banding of the tines is seen after the fact. In other words, with Morgan's handling, you do not get that beautiful slo-mo bending of the tines, which I can say after ten years of experience, is one of the most effective, visual and amazing things I've ever done for closeup audiences.

Morgan's changing of the tine bending is a change that did not need to be made, in my opinion.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I personally still feel that Banachek's routine is the best, even after all these years, but Morgan's is certainly more spectatcular and the spectator winds up with a really cool souvenir, which from a marketing standpoint is very good indeed.

In the end, I will take two full points off for the two major moves I did not care for in this routine. Of course, I will throw in the caveat that if you've never done metal bending before, there's emough great stuff on here to make it well worth the purchase. I'll give this an 8 out of 10, as it's an overall great purchase with great instruction and solid production values.

For thirty bucks you'll get a nice, solid 4-5 minute closeup routine that you can do anytime, anywhere, as long as someone doesn't mind having their fork mangled.:)

I would also recommend picking up Banachek's original Psychokinetic Silverware DVD. It's available here:

It's $30 as well. I devoted most of this blog to Liquid Metal, as it's a more recent release, but one were to both BOTH, you could easily compare/contrast and merge the two routines I am doing.:)

Just for the record, Psychokinetic Silverware is 10 out of 10.:)

Until next time...

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