I'm going to get right into things this week as I've been CRAZY busy with school shows and getting our building opened.
As I alluded to last week, my wife and I were working on getting a building for her salon and my hypnosis clinic...well, I'm delighted to report that we have signed a lease and are moving forward!
This is a truly exciting time for us. Most of this was prompted by the fact that I am simply on the road too much and need to scale back. The money's great, but life on the road is very lonely. I have no desire to stop performing...far from it, as magic has always been very good to me, but with this new venture, I'll have the freedom to choose the gigs I want to do...which, coincidentally, is the subject of next month's "Cause & Effects" ezine.:) Sign up for free by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyway, I've started seeing clients for issues such as weight loss and smoking cessation and the biggest difference is realizing, programming myself to realize, that I'm not performing for them but working to help them.
The look in their eyes communicates that they trust me to help them. It's an exciting journey, watching them progress through the session. I'll keep you updated.:)
This week's review is Retro-Gravity by Devin Knight. It's available for $39.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=15075
EFFECTS: Retro-Gravity allows you to levitate 2 to 4 inches in the air. It is a special gimmick you attach to your shoe and once done is completely invisible. Any time you wear your shoes, you are ready to levitate. Anywhere, anytime under any conditions! This means you can walk around in a restaurant, party or out door festival and levitate over and over at will. No special pants, jackets or special clothing are required.
I mention "effects" with an "s" because there are different variations of the basic effect, but I'll get to that later.
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: You receive a comb bound manuscript that goes into a great deal of detail with photographs, history, variations and much more.
MY THOUGHTS: I'm cutting to the chase with this review because this will be one of the effects I won't be performing. It's nothing against this effect, it's just that it's a close up effect and the only time I could see myself using this is when people ask, "Can you float like that guy on TV?" and if I say "yes," people are not going to be as surprised and they'll be looking for gimmicks. I just don't do any close up.
Now, the basic effect itself is similar to a lot of other street/close-up self levitations on the market in terms of how it looks....in other words, you go up a couple of inches with your feet together and you back down.
The advantage here is there are no reels or gimmicks to ditch...there is a gimmick, but it's hidden in plain sight. Literally, before you levitate, people can burn you all they want and they won't find anything. That is a real strong point.
Once you 'get into' the levitation, it's like many others in that the best angles are straight on, close up. The levitation, when in play, doesn't seem to have angles much better than other methods. They're not bad, just not a break through in terms of angles. I'd say the angles are similar to Peter Loughran's "Elevator," which has enjoyed tremendous popularity since its release.
The main issue with many of these self levs is the concern of balance. Having read the manuscript, my feeling, having not tried it out, is that the balance will be similar to the "Elevator," but one huge advantage of Retro-Gravity is that you can build two gimmicks, one in each shoe, which would aid you tremendously.
Again, the biggest advantage here is the fact that the gimmicks are hidden in plain sight and the 'get ready' takes only a second or two and does not involve use of your hands at all.
The disadvantage is you're only going up a couple of inches, depending on your gimmicks. I think what most magicians are looking for is a self lev with a foot or so rise, which is possible with close up self levs such as that Criss Angel one which has truly horrid angles.
To give Devin his true, his method is about the cleanest I've encountered in terms of get ready, reset and other considerations. Also, Devin does a superior job of explaining everything. His writing style is easy to read and informative - his words flow, and the addition of photographs makes me believe even I could build it...and I hate building my own props.:)
Oh, that's another consideration - you'll need to do a bit of arts and crafts stuff, but as I said, that part is exceedingly easy. I'll give the basic method a solid 7 out of 10.
Now, onto a few misc things in the manuscript...
ROTATION: I'm sorry, but I have yet to see any of these self levs successfully pull off the rotation-in-mid-air effect. To me, it looks hokey. I will freely admit there may be people out there who get great reactions, but I think it looks horrible and if I myself don't like an effect, no way can I 'sell' it to my audiences. If it works for you, that's great. I sincerely applaud you.
THE NEWSPAPER: This the levitation where you float in the air over a sheet of newspaper and someone can pull the newspaper away, "proving" there's nothing supporting you.
This is a cute idea, but I hate to burst everyone's bubble, but this is ONLY appropriate for photo ops and newspaper interviews, TV spots, etc. It's a neat effect that utilizes an older-than-dirt-but-still-awesome principle. The limitation of this method is that you need absolute control over lighting, spectator positions, etc, etc, etc.
Again, for the right situation, it's an absolutely terrific idea, but this is NOT something you can just walk up to someone and do.
There are other self levs described so the value of this booklet is good for anyone who wants to experiment with a few of the more off-beat methods presented.
My only quibble is something I mentioned at the start: the idea of someone asking you to float like the guy on TV. Once you say "yes" and get into the effect, people are going to be 'burning' you, so spectator management and more specifically, blocking, is going to be an issue. Again, you CAN levitate upon request, but know that like many self levs, you need to really restrict people's movements, position, etc.
Recommended for experienced magicians. Once again, the overall score for me is a solid 7 out of 10. It's a rock-solid value, but is not the "holy grail" we're all searching for in terms of close up self levs. To be fair, Devin never claims it is, either.
NEXT WEEK: Redonkulus by Anthony Lindan. His "Incredible Suit Jacket Escape" was my personal favorite new effect I bought last year, so I'm really excited to get into this!