Short blog this week as I'm swamped with shows and preparations for several clinical hypnosis sessions I will be conducting next month. I'm VERY excited about this chapter in my career. I also (just today) received word that I have passed another certification in hypnosis, this time of 5-PATH, which is very advanced and extremely beneficial for clients. Good times!
Before I get to this week's review, I want to mention something that I just recently started performing....the Chair Suspension. For years, anybody who asked me my opinion about the Chair Suspension got a reply something like this: "Oh, that's crap. Since one of the chairs does not move, no one will like it."
I used a MAK Flying Carpet for years as a birthday guy, but the angles were horendous and kids would dive to the floor to try and look up the bottom of the carpet to see the secret. After that, I bought an X-type Suspension, which looked fantastic from stage but was a pain in the butt to transport and the angles were a little tender.
I recently bought a chair suspension mostly because of my brutal travel schedule. It's an easier and lighter illusion to break down and transport and it takes less space. Still, I was worried...
Until TODAY - performed it four times to incredible reaction! I was never so glad to be so WRONG about this illusion. I'm just sorry I didn't buy one years ago! As I understand it, there are several models to choose from. Hocus Pocus offers the Elite Chair Suspension, which, as I understand, is VERY well made and can handle more weight.
Since I was a "newbie" at Chairs Suspensions, I also bought an e-book devoted to this Chair Suspension from Paul Romhany's friend Kyle Peron. His email is email@example.com. The e-book walked me through the basics, safety, and presentation tips. It's a good value.
Now, onto this week's review: Look Sharp DVD (and gimmicks) by Wayne Goodman. It's available for $29.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the link: http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=18968
AD COPY: "Wayne Goodman has come up with an idea I can guarantee will be used by magicians world-wide. You would be mad not to carry this!"
- Peter Nardi
Wayne's "Look Sharp" concept is simple but extremely ingenious. Imagine being able to turn a sharpie marker (something we all use) in to a chosen playing card, even in your spectators own hands. NOW THAT'S A REVELATION!
Wayne's "Look Sharp" gimmick contains two revelations. One is the full card revelation and the other a very sneaky revelation built in to the design.
Can be performed as a standalone piece or part of a longer routine.
Makes a perfect ending for a multiple card selection routine.
Can even be performed with a signed card!
Ideal for any performing situation
Wayne Goodman's Look Sharp comes complete with two custom printed Look Sharp cards, a PDF file to make your own Look Sharp Cards and an instructional DVD covering complete routines, bonus tips and handlings. *Supply your own Sharpie Marker**
Look Sharp is something you will really want in your arsenal.
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: A well-produced DVD and two gimmicks, (which I can openly talk about) and a PDF file which allows you to make your own gimmicks
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: Wayne Goodman and Peter Nardi take an effect that could be explained on one sheet of paper anbd expand it, offer different presentations and expert 'pro' tips. It's nice to see an effect get such detail from its creator. After watching this DVD, I have no doubt in my mind that Goodman really fine-tuned this effect for years working in the real world. It's polished and it shows.
I'd also like to point out that often, magicians gripe about 'one trick DVDs," but personally, I enjoy a really good one trick DVD as often, the creator can go into more depth and really give you the professional touches that elevate a mere trick into an effect of magic. (Yes, I'm quoting Eugene Burger.)
QUALITY OF GIMMICKS: Although the PDF enclosure on the disk allows you to make your own gimmicks, I personally won't be bothering. The supplied gimmicks are printed on Bicycle stock, so they hold up well and more importantly, from sa tactile sense, they feel good. Subconsciously (or consciously, depending on the person), people judge us on the quality of our props and while good props don't "make the magician," a crappy prop can sure de-value a performer in a hurry.
Nardi assures viewers that you can also order replacement gimmicks through Alakazam Magic, and while he admits they are kind of pricey, it's good to know the option is there.
DIFFICULTY: Goodman & Nardi walk you through the basic sleights necessary to pull this off and offer plenty of different handling options. There is even a "sleight-less" option for those dexitery-challenged folks out there. I'm not much of a finger-flinger as I usually work from stage, so happily I was delighted to have this option.
Even the most challenging handlings are within reach of most magicians, as one handling involves tacking the Look Sharp effect onto the end of your favorite Ambitious Card routine. Admittedly, this was my least favorite handling as I find the Ambitious Card plot tedious and boring.
The handling for the Look Sharp effect is not really technical at all - as you might imagine, you're simply switching a real sharpie for the gimmicked Look Sharp one and it comes down to confidence, timing, psychology and blocking - all of that none-sleight of hand stuff that really enhances a performance.
(SIDE NOTE: On the issue of timing, I discovered today that by adding a 3-second pause before an effect in my stage show, I was able to garner a much bigger reaction than the previous 6 years I did the effect.)
ANGLES: Since the effect of Look Sharp is that of a sharpie marker turning into the selected card, and the effect is built on timing of a switch, angles are not a consideration. That makes me very happy!
MY THOUGHTS: I have to admit, when Paul Gross told me he was sending me this effect, I was less than thrilled to review it. Close-up card work is just not my thing. I was much more interested in the other Alakazam recent release, Confab-SHOE-Lation. As it turns out, I actually like Look Sharp a great deal more...and after watching both DVDs, I think Peter Bardi does, too!
I haven't much to my strolling set in many years but I think Look Sharp is going in this year, which is about the highest praise I can give it. I'll give this a high grade of 9 out of 10. Highly recommended for close-up workers.
NEXT WEEK: Mes(s)merize