Howdy dear readers!
I'm publishing this blog on the evening of December 30th, 2012, which means you now have ONE DAY left to invest in Murder By Magic: The Ultimate Corporate Magic Show. After that, it disappears FOREVER!
As I've done in years past, this column will focus on my "top ten" list from reviewed products in 2012. To restrict myself, I've stayed with new items, either released in 2012 or at least new to ME. I've also rated them on the basis of the quality of each item, the impact on my own performing biz and other, random, completely non-scientific methods. Additionally, all props listed here are available from Hocus Pocus - www.hocus-hocus.com. Here we go...
1. Electronic Flashbox by Peter Loughran
This was my personal top pick for the year. I dropped this into my Self-Esteem magic show for schools - as my CLOSER, no less- and the results have been incredible. People love it, the prop is 100% reliable, looks great on stage, gets a helluva reaction...what more can I ask? A stellar piece by a guy who constantly puts out great stuff. I've used it around 40 times or so in front of audiences of kids from 200-500 and it always slays them.
2. The Big Opener by Andy Nyman
This came REALLY close to being my fav pick of the year simply because it takes a LOT for a new trick/routine/prop to crack the starting line-up of my strolling/close-up magic set list. This effect, a re-invention of a classic, by Andy Nyman has earned my respect. It's now my go-to effect in my strolling set list. The old cliche of "If I only have time to do ONE effect for a group..." holds true here. While my own Perfect Corporate Opener (available in my Cause & Effects book series) is my favorite overall effect in my strolling set, I actually really enjoy using this if I only have time to do one trick for a group simply because this WILL get cheers and applause every time.
3. Briefcase Table by JL
While not a "trick" or "routine," this is nevertheless a terrific all-purpose performing case/table base for a small parlor type act or full length mentalism show. This looks great on stage, is sturdy, spacious and very professional. While I rarely can fit an entire act into this case (hey, I like big props!!) for the times and situations I could, this baby ROCKS. In particular, I had a Stress Reduction talk for a corporate group in Milwaukee earlier this month and I walked in with JUST this case and did a one hour program easily out of this sucker. Highly recommended.
4. SPOTS by Michael Ross & Bill Abbott
This rates so high on my list purely because of the awesome handling Michael provides. I always enjoy studying another pro's improvements on a classic and the handling alone warrants a good look at this release. The handling completely fools me and while the script is nothing to get excited about, the 'fool 'em factor' on this is very high.
5. Gypsy Balloon by Tony Clark
Again, this is a re-invention of a classic and brilliantly rendered for stage shows of large audiences. Beautiful, visual, elegant and an easy technical handling makes this an instant classic.
6. Multiplying Rum Bottles by Reg Donnelly & Paul Romhany
After my Harries Magic bottles got too dented and banged up from years of abuse, I got these mostly because the white bottles really 'pop' from stage in terms of visibility. After 50 or so uses this year, not only have they held up extremely well but the smooth handling ensures ease of operation. A GREAT buy, and the option of producing two Coke cups at the end can offer the buyer a cool kicker at the end.
The Mental Epic seems to be one of the props every would-be mentalist owns and often after a person thinks they are getting 'serious' that they drop it. This release is marvelous because there is NO force of any kind and the 'dirty work' is unbelievable simple and the solution for the third revelation is a reliable mechanical marvel. The only reason it does not rate higher is because this prop hardly appears natural in any sense and thus I myself feel comfortable using - as I mix magic & mentalism effects constantly - but pure mentalists will shy away from the look of the prop.
8. The Real Deal by Paul Romhany
If you're a professional or if you WANT to be a professional, you NEED this book. Period.
9. Professional Backdrop System
When this is set up, this looks REALLY nice! The 'break down' is mere seconds, so this is really nice for the guy who has to pack up quick for another show. I certainly made fun of the instructons for this, as they are truly awful abnd laughable, but the product itself is well built and looks great. I'd rate it higher, but its very bulky and a pain to find room for in your vehicle. Still, I've used it 40 or so times since I bought it and it really does look great.
10. Jitters by Peter Loughran & Sean Bogunia
A clear labor of love on the part of both guys. This looks great, is reliable, and has the potential to be very scary! This 'speaks' to me (pun intended) because of my love of spooky and Bizarre magic. While I haven't had the opportunity to use it in a live show yet, I can rest easy knowing when the opportunity rises, I'll have an incredible toolbox of goodies to enhance a spooky performance.
Until next week, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!