Cris Johnson here, with some more magic talk on this fine September day!
This week has been my first week back performing in schools, and I gotta say, I've MISSED schools tremendously. I performed my first school assembly in two months today and it felt like re-visiting an old friend.
I was also able to meet Jim Kleefeld today in person. Jim came to my show and gave me rave reviews on my educational assembly. I was nervous, as Jim has 30 or so years' experience AND he's a former teacher, so I was sweatin' bullets, but Jim praised me.
If you're interested in kids' shows, Jim has some GREAT products right here at www.hocus-pocus.com.
CLEAR-VIEW AIRBORNE UPDATE: The glasses have arrived!! My wife has gimmicked all 24 glasses. She is basically now re-doing the gimmicks on the bottles to make them stronger and resistant to shipping damage. When I get home this weekend, I am also going to checking and double-checking our packaging method. (I'm throwing a few down the stairs of our basement to simulate the abuse they'll get at the hands of UPS!!)
We're taking these extra steps on the advisement of Paul & Ken at Hocus because we REALLY want everyone to be pleased with their purchase. This is our first "physical" product (I usually release books) so we want to get things right out of the gate. We have more releases planned, so we want to build a good name.
The bottles, barring disaster, should ship early next week, probably Monday, and they'll take a week to get to Paul at Hocus Pocus. Paul will then get them out ASAP, so we will still make the mid-September deadline with plenty of time to spare.
Oh, speaking of products, my stuff has suddenly spiked in sales - both Cause & Effects Volumes 1 & 2 and The Mother of All Predictions continue to fly off shelves. I sent an order to Ken last week and the day it arrived he ordered more stuff. THANK YOU ALL!!
Now, for the BAD news...My October is REALLY swamped, so it's going to be very difficult for me to get products out. If you're on the fence on any of my stuff, I HIGHLY recommend you order during the month of September.
Oh, and the newest issue of my FREE ezine, "Cause & Effects," will go out tomorrow. Sign up by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!!
OK, on to this week's review - Baxt's Better Newspaper Tear. It's available for $95.00 from Hocus Pocus and can be found here: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/inc/product_detail.cfm?item=2769
EFFECT: It's the classic newspaper tear - Newspaper sheet is shown, opened and finally torn...only to INSTANTLY restore in a flash!
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: The ad copy states you get a gimmick...you actually receive three. No, it's not the same gimmick, but all three are required for the effect. You also receive the performance/instructional DVD and a pictorial step-by-step 'map' to make rehearsal easier.
QUALITY OF GIMMICKS: This will last a lifetime, even if you abuse it! Great stuff, and perfect for working pros.
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: Robert Baxt is a funny guy. There were a few times I busted out laughing while watching this DVD. First, he honors Gene Anderson several times in the DVD, lavishly heaping praise on him...gushing, in fact. Oh, and he does a super job teaching the effect. It's not Kohler or L&L quality, but the picture is crystal clear and as I said, Robert does a great job teaching it.
DIFFICULTY: The difficulty really comes from learning the Gene Anderson folding process, which this effect is based on and Robert credits - over and over. (Again, it's funny!)
Mastering the folding isn't too difficult. The actual performance is quite easy. I've never performed the original Anderson Tear, but I have a friend who does so I know how it works. I'd say in terms of performance, Robert's version is probably just as easy if not easier. I'd rate this a 3 out of 10 in terms of difficulty.
ANGLES: You can't have anyone to the extreme sides with this method. I perform a lot in schools, so I never have to worry about my sides. If you're a performer who works on those risers in hotels (corp gigs) and people are on three sides, you will have to watch this. You could probably cover by holding the paper closer to your body, but buyer beware. I also wouldn't recommend it surrounded, but then again, this is a stage trick and if you're surrounded on stage, you're in hell. Just my two cents.
MARKET: With the possible exception of child care centers (and I know someone's gonna send me an angry email tellin' me just how wrong I am) this will play for anyone over the age of 5. It's a classic effect.
MY THOUGHTS: OK, get ready for an overly positive review. I've been using this puppy for two-three years (I forget) and have performed it at least 300 times. I LOVE this. I've always wanted to add a newspaper tear to my act but was put off by other methods. One method involves gluing and creating pockets for the torn pieces to hide plus that method is a slow restoration - I prefer the instant, flash restoration.
I considered the classic Anderson method, but as I'm banging out up to 10 schools a week (two schools a day, a total of 4 performances a day) I didn't want to fuss around with Anderson's glue-wire-construction method. It looks great, but I just wanted something easier.
I bought Baxt's effect because the demo video looked just like the Anderson tear and it promises a 30-second set-up once you understand the method and have rehearsed it. I can say that the ad copy is correct - I burn through a 30 sec rest and love it. I've bought a second Baxt Better Newspaper Tear for those crazy 4-show days and I'm considering getting two more to make my days even easier. I LOVE this.
The only quibble someone might make with the ad copy is that you can't do this "right out of the box." There is some practice involved. It's a minor quibble - one I don't care about, but others who take things literally should know this will require rehearsal.
The only other thing I'd say is that purists who love to, after the newspaper is restored, lovingly and carefully show the inside pages may not care for this method. With a bit of preparation on your part (which simply involves being a tad fussy with which page you set up for the restoration and nothing more) you'll be able to casually flash open the pages, but it won't be as pure as the Anderson tear.
To me, this is NOT a big deal. I don't ever flash the inside pages after the restoration. I present the effect (I have a few different scripts) and after the restoration, I put the paper away and move on. I personally feel too much is made of over-proving things to audiences. To me, over-proving makes sense for Bill in Lemon or a bullet catch, but is less necessary for a newspaper tear.
To me, this effect is EASILY worth the high asking price because the set-up is so easy. For a trick that plays so big, if you fly to gigs, you can stick the gimmicks in your pocket and buy a newspaper (or two) at your gig. What could be simpler?
10 out of 10 for working pros who love the Anderson Restoration but want a faster method.
Until next week, direct any comments to: email@example.com.