Tuesday, March 13, 2012

REVIEW: Gypsy Balloon by Tony Clark

Hey everyone....

This blog will be shorter than most. I'm fighting a screaming headache and general exhaustion. Traveling kicks my butt so much lately. I don't know how my buddy Paul Romhany travels internationally like he does. His constitution must be amazing!!

Speaking of Paul, I have to say I was unbelievably flattered when he approached me to collaborate on his Headline Prediction - Pro Series book. My contribution for the headline prediction has a unique twist on it - you can, if you choose, allow audience members to choose WHICH headlines or even passages will be predicted!! It's a novel twist using my spin on a classic in mentalism.

Personally, I can't wait to read Paul's solutions to this plot as his thinking is always outside the box!

On to this week's review...Gypsy Balloon by Tony Clark. It's available for $24.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the ad copy:
Tony Clark has taken the classic Gypsy Thread routine to a whole new level and we're very excited to be able to offer it to you.!

Tony Clark says, "this is one of the strongest pieces I've ever created. I just used it to close my hit show "Masters of Magic" in the 1200 seat Montbleu theater in Lake Tahoe!"

"After seeing Tony do his Gypsy Balloon Routine, I was blown away. Tony has found a way to motivate and elevate the classic and powerful Gypsy Thread trick into a truly powerful piece of magic and theater. His routine is actually too good to release and I wish I had the exclusive rights to it. This is something I would put into my show immediately and I predict a lot of people will do just that."
-Danny Cole

"The Gypsy Thread is a classic routine that needed a face-lift and Tony did it! It has such a visual impact for all audiences, both young and old. If you are looking for a NEW exciting routine, this is it! Silent or with music - the Gypsy Balloon is the way to go"
-Brent Geris

** Includes 30 feet of thread - (Balloons not included)

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: A very nicely produced (short) DVD and 30 feet of the string used for the effect.

QUALIITY OF INSTRUCTION: Even though the DVD is short, Tony teaches the effect very well. There's a reason why this guy has been a top name in magic for all these years. Tony tips a cheap, easy to find source for the helium for the effect, or if you're performing locally and you know where to grab a hellium balloon from a grocery store or party store, you may be able to use one of those.

I say "may" because a tad bit of care must be done when filling & tying off the balloon. This may preclude using a store bought, already filled balloon. I can't go into it more without risking exposure, but honestly, the helium Tony recommends is readily available and at $20 or so, quite a modest investment for the working pro.

DIFFICULTY: If you're familiar with the basic handling for Gypsy Thread, then you are already 3/4 of the way there for this effect. Tony's modifications to the handling by using the balloon actually makes the handling easier and of course the use of the balloon is inspired and a perfect way to do this effect on stage. It truly is an advance for a classical plot.

Also, I read a lot of talk on the Cafe (Yeck....) about how tough it was to break Tony's supplied string for the effect. All I can say is I had ZERO problems right out of the box. Nevertheless, if you don't care for Tony's string, options are available at your local craft store.

PRESENTATION: Tony provides two live videos of live performances. The performances are slightly different from each other and there is a cute laugh line in the presentation I really liked...and one I didn't like. The line is one I've heard a zillion magicians use and it always makes me roll my eyes...but then again, maybe Tony invented it and I've been hearing magicians rip him off for years, who knows?

MY THOUGHTS: Right away this goes on the short list for the best releases of 2012. (I didn't notice if this actually came out in 2011 or if that was a pre-release, so I'm counting it for 2012!)

I've been entranced with the effect ever since I first saw Eugene Burger's classic take on the effect with his powerful presentation that infused a lot of Eastern theology. Great stuff, but no way I was going to touch it! My own experience performing the effect was by using dental floss, an idea taught to me by kid magician guru Dave Risley. It was part of a dental hygiene show I did briefly and I've been looking for a presentation for large audiences for years and this totally fits the bill.

I can't wait to add this to my family shows. I highly recommend this! 10/10.

Here's a sneak peek of upcoming reviews (stuff I've bought). Not all are new releases but I'm really looking forward to exploring my 'dark side' with this stuff!

- Jitters by Peter Loughran
- The Black Box by John Kennedy
- Butchers Blade by Tim Wisseman
- Beware of Anvil by Anton Corradin

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