This week brings many changes. The first of which is my Cause & Effects ezine. I've decided to temporarily suspend the ezine for the time being. My reasons are many, the chief one being that the further I get into my hypnosis career, coupled with my ongoing performing career across North America, means that the process of starting a brand new biz while maintaining the current one is overwhelming in terms of what needs to be done. Additionally, I've got several new products in the pipeline to release in 2012, so while I enjoyed writing the Cause & Effects ezine, rather than produce a sub-par release, it's better to put it aside. I may some day make time to continue it.
The other news of the day is this weekly blog! One of my ideals with reviewing new magic effects is to, in an ideal world, road-test those effects from the standpoint of a working pro. With that in mind, one thing I will probably be doing is reviewing slightly fewer effects. Again, it comes down to having less time to road test new effects.
One idea I have to vary up the content of this blog is to, maybe once a month, do a "flashback" blog, where I look back at something I reviewed in the past and revisit it to see if my mind has changed after working with it.
I also have several DVD sets I want to tackle, and rather than burn through the review in one column, what I'm thinking of doing is devoting a week to each disk, so in the case of Doc Hilford's Monster Mentalism DVDs, four in the set, is to review one disk each week and then give a "total" review. Let's face it, some DVD sets have four great disks while others have two disks that are sub-par in a four DVD set. (I remember, many years ago, reading reviews of Dan Harlan's Pack Small, Play Big series. Three of the videos were highly praised by many while the fourth was panned by many.)
Finally, the other thing I may do to vary up the content of this blog by posting, perhaps once a month, content on topics like performing philosophy and routining...in other words, transferring some of the content from my ezine to this blog!
All in all, I really want to hear YOUR feedback. What do you think of the "Flashback" idea? The idea of stretching out the DVD reviews to make them more thorough? Send your comments to: email@example.com.
Next item: My buddy Paul's new book, Performing Mentalism for Young Minds is incredible! A more detailed review will be coming in the next couple of weeks (I have to really absorb this book!) but all in all, this is a landmark book, due in great part to the fact that there are essays on the developmental stages of children, routining ideas and advice, psychology of performing for kids and so much more. The main thrust of the book is mentalism for younger viewers, but honestly, I really feel this should be required reading for ANY magician/mentalist who wishes to perform for kids. Simply incredible.
The review will come soon!
This week's review: Levent's Color Changing Half-Dyed Silk Trick. It's available for $65.00 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the link: http://hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/product_detail.cfm?item=11805
AD COPY: Levent teaches his own handling of this now classic effect using a special single dye tube and no body loads whatsoever. Start and end the routine with your hands clean!
Learn the routine along with Levent's concise explanation and demonstration of his method. He includes a detailed history of the Color Changing Silk routine and how it was performed by the masters of the past.
Everything is clearly explained on a 50-minute DVD. Complete with everything you need - Silks, DVD and the unique new gimmick designed by Levent.
WHAT YOU RECEIVE: A well-produced, very detailed DVD and Levent's own custom dye tube and three silks - one red, one white and one half-dyed white/red silk.
QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION: Levent covers a great deal of history of the effect, different handlings and so much more. Many of these handlings are more difficult than Levent's own handling. It's clear that with this release (just as his Salt Pour release) that Levent has really done his research. While he could have just taught his handling, I like his approach of teaching the history of the effect because you get to see & appreciate Levent's own progression of the effect and why he's gone in certain directions with his own handlings.
When it comes to teaching his own handling, Levent is a very thorough teacher. To use a cliche, no stone is left unturned.
DIFFICULTY: Happily, Levent's handling retains the mystery and beauty of the effect (you can "preview" Levent's routine on youtube) while making the handling easier. That's not to say you won't have to put some work into it...you will, but Levent's advances are just that: advances. With other handlings of this effect, I found the changeover moves more difficult to pull off without it being apparent that I was 'doing something,' but Levent's unique custom dye tube makes the handling and certain steals, etc much easier.
ANGLES: With the exception of the final move (when you ditch the gimmick) you can easily do this routine for most normal stage situations - three-quarter surrounded. The final move, the ditch, is very angly, but Levent teaches you an altered handling to leave that move out. Granted, you're not "clean" at the end, but honestly, for a stage show, I rarely have anyone "examine stuff" anyway, as I feel it just slows the show down.
MY THOUGHTS: One of the things I've been doing the last couple of years with my set lists is to explore classics of magic is fun ways. In recent years I've added the linking rings (well, coat hangers) to one of my shows, a classic escape, cut-n-restored rope and on and on.
There's a reason why classics are classics so I really wanted to embrace many of these classics in my own work.
I've always liked the Half Dyed Hank routine, made popular by the late great Billy McComb. However, when choosing which commercial version of this to buy, I considered Billy McComb's but after watching the performance, and after hearing details of his routine's handling, I decided that while it's a classic in Billy's hands, it just did not appeal to me.
Levent's handling is something you can do with short sleeves, is easy to get into and if your venue's angles permit, you end clean.
About the only "negative" (and this is not a negative, truly) is Levent's script. Levent is a wonderfully unique performer and his style works great for him. His script for this trick have a few nice laugh lines, but in my opinion, only Levent himself can use the script he provides without sounding like an alien!
Don't misunderstand me - Levent's script is funny and works for him, but it's so unique to his own style that I feel to use his script would be a disservice to anyone buying this. So, in my opinion, you'll need to put some work into this as far as scripting goes.
FINAL RATING: I'm giving this a rock-solid 9 out of 10. It's a great take on a classic effect. Be prepared to put some work into the scripting, but Levent's handling and in particular his innovative dye tube makes the handling much more accessible to us mere mortals.:)
Until next week...