Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Special Announcement & REVIEW: Mental Deceptions DVD 1 by Rick Maue
This is going to be a memorable blog entry for one particular reason. First, a few updates on what I’ve been doing lately…
First, I had a GREAT stage hypnosis show this past weekend in Nebraska for a repeat client – actually it’s the third time I’ve served this client. It was great fun! Then disaster struck as my flight was canceled going home, but the airline put me up at a Hilton because I was not going to be able to fly out til the next day. Stressful but at least the hotel was nice!
Also, the hypnosis clinic that I opened is doing more and more biz – on average, I’m now seeing 12 clients a week which is pretty good considering I just opened the doors in January. Honestly, it’s incredibly rewarding work because I get to help people overcome unhealthy habits.
While I certainly do not expect to ever STOP performing, as I LOVE performing, I really feel that in the next few years I will be transitioning to a part time performing career and devoting more of my energies to hypnosis.
Partially it’s because the work is so rewarding and partially, after 10 years living out of hotels and suitcases, I’m tired of the travel. While I LOVE performing, I’m tired of the crappy hotels and the endless hours of driving. The loneliness on the road. I want to be home and while there is a good healthy amount of repeat clients I do close to home that do not involve hotel stays or airport travel, the fact is I find hypnosis to be endlessly fascinating…
And that leads me to the special announcement…next week will probably be my LAST review for some time. As I get my hypnosis biz up and running, it’s a juggling act between serving both my performing career as well as my hypnosis. Couple that with the fact that I simply don’t NEED new magic in my life. That’s not to say that I don’t WANT new magic…like many of you, I still get that thrill when the new package arrives in the mail, the flutter of excitement when, after the appropriate amount of practice, that I feel “This is ready for an audience,” and so on.
However, I currently have 6 elementary school shows, 4 high school theme shows, 4 corporate motivational/educational shows, 3 corporate holiday party shows, 2 stage hypnosis shows, a few themed day care shows, a family night show…and probably a few shows I’m forgetting about…what this means it’s hard keeping track of all of that stuff. It’s also hard pulling something out of a given show that works and taking a chance replacing it with something you’re not sure of. This is a subject Doc Dixon wrote about in one of his books and it really rang true for me.
What this means is with all the different shows that I do, I have a massive list of effects I need to ‘stay up’ on – making sure any sleight of hand is sharp, stage blocking, scripting etc is all sharp in mind and muscle memory. In short, because of all the different shows I offer, I don’t relish the idea of learning new material. As a full timer, I have never understood how some part timers and even some full timers can create a new lineup of effects for one specific audience…the transitions between effects and the overall ‘arc’ of the show must be considered, at least to me. I understand even less how some full timers (many of whom I respect)create a brand new library show each year for the summer, as that’s only three month run of anywhere from 50 -150 shows. To me, after I do a show 50-60 times, I feel I’m just starting to get really COMFORTABLE with the show. But that’s just me.:)
I only mention all of this because when I started writing this blog, my goal was to review effects & releases that I had actually used in my show and thus could comment on from a real world perspective. As time has gone on, I have not been able to do that nearly as much as in years past. So I feel like I’ve been giving less than 100% to this blog.
So, at least for now, I’m stepping away.
This week I shall review DVD #1 of Rick Maue’s Mental Deceptions from L&L. I’ll finish up with DVD #2 next week. Before I get into the review, I must also mention that it’s kind of appropriate that my last review is of Rick Mause’s DVDs. I first met Rick Maue when I was living in Jeannette, PA, which is about 30-45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, PA, where Rick lives.
I went to a local gathering Rick was hosting – a series of lectures by several great performers, such as Alain Nu. But even with some of the “A” listers present, I was captivated most by Rick’s lecture – his explanations revealed that he intended his stuff for the real world and had fine-tuned everything in the real world. It felt authentic.
I got to know Rick a little bit at a few other events, including a great lecture by Paul Gertner that was a lot of fun. I also bought his Haunted Magick book and a few other things over the years.
Eventually, Rick wound up inviting me to his house for a tour of his Haunted Tour built into his house. It was breathtakingly cool for someone who first got into magic because of weird and Bizarre magic. Rick also shared some great business advice with me – stuff I’ve carried with me to this very day, and I feel like he’s part of the reason why I make over $100,000 per year in magic.
I owe Rick a lot, but mostly I’m thankful to him for his kindness and generosity and frankly, he was one of the first magicians who taught me that not all magicians are to considered untrustworthy!! (True I’ve met others, but 15 years ago in Pittsburgh, I hadn’t met any by that point!!)
I know of and understand the reasons why Rick no longer performs. I’m just SO thankful some of his best stuff is preserved on a great 2-disk L&L set. I won’t even try to remain objective with these reviews. Thank you, Rick, for being such a great performer, creator…and mostly for being a great human being. This week I’ll cover DVD #1 and next week, obviously, DVD #2.
AD COPY: Despite over four decades of magic and mentalism experience, Rick Maue has always managed to remain a bit elusive...until now! On this DVD set, Rick presents a number of his signature pieces, as well as several unreleased items, with many of the effects coming from his working repertoire.
Mental Deceptions is loaded with strong mentalism for stand-up or close-up performances and remarkably, none of the effects require expensive gimmicks or props - just everyday items such as envelopes, poker chips, paper, playing cards, etc. (It's why Michael Weber dubbed Rick "OfficeMax Maven.")
What's more, no sleight of hand is required. Rick calls it VdM Magic - material that's so technically easy that the Venus De Milo could perform it! In other words, everything is well within the technical reach of every performer.
You'll also be able to step inside the mind of Rick Maue during informative interview segments conducted by magician Francis Menotti. You'll see for yourself why Marc DeSouza once asked Rick, "Why is it that when I see you lecture, I feel like I am watching a mad scientist at work?"
Heads & Tales – This is Rick’s opener. As the name would suggest, it revolves around the toss of a coin. But besides the 50/50 shot, there is so much going on here. Rick has woven so much great stuff in this routine that it’s breathtaking. Additionally, Rick uses this opener to set up his closer, which is truly poetic. The idea of a 50/50 decision between two possibilities may not sound like much, but what is so impressive is the way Rick has added possibly severe consequences to the idea of getting this simple choice “wrong.” Also, this is really great as it gives me a possible opening to a theme show for colleges I’ve been thinking of putting together for years.
Group Dynamic – This in some ways is a chair routine but the method and structure of the routine goes beyond a chair routine and despite the use of a well-known concept in mentalism, Rick nonetheless camouflaged it and the method flew right past me. The best thing? Once you do just a few minutes of prep work, you can carry the materials for this routine in your pocket for an anytime, anywhere chair routine.
Reverse Roulette – FINALLY, a completely safe “danger” type routine! This routine, despite being so easy from a technical standpoint, is camouflaged so well and fooled me completely. No angle problems, no danger…it’s awesome. I should point put that this routine does not involve knives or spikes but rather household products! Additionally, there is no ‘acid’ used like in some routines so there is no ‘proving’ phase which can slow down so many routines of this type.
The Hole Card – A stand up routine with 5 cards using again a well-known classic of mentalism in terms of methodology. Completely fooled me. Simple and worth a look.
Mixed Emotions – this is strong, mainly because it uses emotions as the hook for the whole routine. Very cool routine.
Body Language – This is THE ultimate chair routine! I categorized Group Dynamic as a chair routine because volunteers sit in chairs, but this routine is a true chair routine in that the positions of ALL the participants is involved for the routine’s climax. This routine is just so good, and once again, this routine is something you can do anywhere, anytime with any chairs. There’s no angle problems, no preparation of the chairs themselves and the ‘work’ is almost automatic.
In short, what happens is several volunteers are given a free choice of several envelopes. Each envelope has a slip of paper in it that says “stand” or “sit.” Despite the envelopes not being marked (and they truly are NOT marked), a second group of volunteers sits down in a second row of chairs. The mentalist touches those volunteers he wishes to stand and others he has remain seated. The volunteers who selected envelopes open their envelopes and those who have the “stand” envelopes stand…and the pattern of volunteers standing and sitting is exactly matched by the second group. It’s extremely visual, different and very cool!
Focused Thoughts / Dichotomy – two very card effects that show viewers some cool techniques. Good stuff.
FATE? – This effect was released as a stand-alone piece years ago, and I’ve been using it to great effect for years. Like Group Dynamic, you can see Fate? Performed in its entirety in video previews on Youtube. It’s a multi-phase prediction routine involving volunteers and what color poker chip each selects and the kicker ending just brings everything up another level. No angle issues and technically very easy. The multi-revelations adds several moments to the routine as opposed to just one payoff as with other routines. Very cool.
There are also interviews on performing philosophy, utility moves and so much more. Honestly, this 2-DVD set could have been easily expanded to a 3 or 4 DVD set. GREAT value and sooooooooooooooooooo underpriced.
15 out of 10!
NEXT WEEK: DVD 2.