Archive for December, 2008

Covert Coins Reviewed by Mark Tirone

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on December 15th, 2008

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Here ye, Here ye, Here comes Charlie Justicy or something like that. Charlie was nice enough to send me a copy of his DVD Covert Coins to help me out with a routine I was playing with for a 3 coins only 3 fly. I LOVED it. Charlie and everybody in the “Studio” did a fantastic job on this project and I want to thank them all for their hard time work and effort. The honest to god best 53 minutes of my life (Well I watched it 3 times so thats… TOO MUCH GREAT MATERIAL)

THE IDEA/FILM 5/5 I loved the whole idea of this DVD. It is not one of those boring DVDs that has absolutely no point. This actually draws you in because it is movie style. It has a story behind it which I really adore. Long story short, Charlie is an escape delinquint from Alcatraz on the lam where he gets cought up in an Italian job esque position. I don’t want to ruin anything but the film keeps on the subject while still having lots of good magic involved. I don’t want to ruin anything for you.

THE TEACHING 5/5 Charlie did one of the best jobs teaching out of all the DVD’s I have watched. He just about matched up to Joshua Jay’s DVD companion for his book (See review) It was THAT good. He went into detail on every sleight and subtlety. If you have any kind of expanded shell set or expanded shell, This DVD is going to knock you up (or rock your world, Which ever you prefer) I loved how almost all of these can be adapted to your style whether or not you use a shell or don’t use a shell. You can still do almost all of these. And if you own Homer Liwag’s “Coin One” then this DVD is going to be a very cost covering investment on your part. I loved how he used a chopstick in some parts to show where the shell and the coin meet. It really helped me a whole lot.

VIDEO QUALITY 4/5 I’m sorry Charlie, But the video was kind of fuzzy and grainy. Well I can’t really judge since the entire thing was apparently filmed in 1954 lol but even if not, It was still a little bit fuzzy and that annoyed me in the beginning but that shouldn’t be much of a problem for you. Another thing is the lighting quality. The entire time almost, It looks like they were shining a very bright light right in his face and he was squinting a little bit and his face at some parts were almost ghost white. But that shouldnt be much of a problem either since they didn’t light up the coins to the point where you can’t tell the coins apart. But otherwise it was fine. Nothing getting in the way of learning.

STEALTH DUMP 5/5 SHELL. If you own Homer Liwag’s routine (mentioned above) then this will be your closer. Replace the regular ending with this one. this is one that doesent happen off the table. So instead of providing a table for just one little phase, drop all the coins into your spectator’s hand and procede from there. Talk about a versatile sleight. It is invisible and you are NEVER going to be caught on this. go ahead and do it exposed view for the camera and nobody is going to ever see ANYTHING.

FINGERTIP DE-SHELL AND SHELLSWITCH 5/5 SHELL (der) This move is something that I’m sure a lot of shell workers use a lot. But the difference between this one and the classic version, Instead of using sticky fingers, You use nothing but muscle. I am talking about the fingertip de-shell btw. A very simple but effective little sleight to use in your arsenal (talk about a weird word) of shell routines. Shellswitch on the other hand, Is utilizing the fingertip de-shell yet applies it in a different manner, Being a shuttle pass/false take action while still switching one coin for another and using a shell in the works. Both are really good sleights.

TRANSWITCH 5/5 This is my favorite sleight on this entire DVD. It is a knacky one but you will eventually get it down. I got it in almost 3 hours but it still needs practice. This is made for when you want to show both hands undeniably EMPTY before and after a shuttle pass. To tell you the truth, If you watch this DVD and you do not drop the shuttle pass after watching this portion, You are a dumb dumb. Well, Not really but you get my point. It is THAT deceptive. I cracked up when I saw it performed because I could not come to any possibly explanation.

Fly out production (FLOP) 4/5 This is an incredibly difficult move to acquire perfectly. Actually, To be honest with you, It almost cannot be performed without being perfected. The idea is to look like you just touch your fingers together and a coin just appears from nowhere. He got this idea from David Roth’s Pop out production but this is done at eye/chest level and without a table which makes it much harder.

Toss over shuttle switch (TOSS) 4/5 SHELL. Another semi difficult move to accomplish but this one is somewhat easier to execute better. It is made to look like a shuttle pass but to de-activate the shell and hold it back so the coin can for whatever reason be examined. Charlie has some good ideas with this one and once I get my shell I will begin to practice this move.

Drop out shuttle switch (DOSS) 5/5 SHELL. If you cannot for whatever reason get the TOSS move down, You would have a better time going from that to this instead. This one is a bit more fidgety but it is one of those moves which is really natural (as natural as the regular shuttle pass) and the actions do not get in the way of the move. It looks like you just point your hand palm down and the coin just goes to the fingertips and then into the other hand. Awesome move.

PURSUBTLETY 5/5 Close your eyes and imagine a parallel paradox. Another world. A world where a gazillion coins are produced one by one from an entirely empty coin purse one by one by showing it empty every step of the way and then a coin just popping into view. This is more of a subtlety though than a move. It executes another move by the name which shall not be named and uses his subtlety to make a purse empty, then have a coin appear, then empty again. This made number 2 (Haha) in my list of favorite things from the DVD.

MUSCLE PASS PITCH 5/5 This is not that hard of a move to perfect but it will need a little more attention than a few other things from this video. It allows you to take a coin from the fingertips and hold another coin back. I don’t want to ruin anything more but this is what Charlie sent me this DVD for and I am very gracious of him since this is an awesome move and can be an awesome ending for your fingertips coins across routine with just 3 coins mind you.

FINGERS OPEN GRIP (FOG)5/5 Yet another abreviated name for an abreviated curse word sleight. If that was a little too advanced for you, Your spectators brains will implode and cause them a slow and painful deception. Imagine the mutobe and thumb palm smooshed together but at the same time having the hands perfectly natural and in almost any position while still palming a coin. This is a runner up and I predict that almost everybody will use this once they are blowed away by it. It is a sleight and an awesome subtlety combined to make one truly deceptive trick so even if the trick you are performing sucks, This will shoot it to that 10 you are looking for.

THE SKINNY4/5 SHELL. The coins across routine that Charlie performs all the time. Produce 3 coins in 3 seconds flat and then one by one make the coins travel visibly from one hand to the other and placing them on the table. He goes over this with all the sleights included in the DVD almost and then a few added tips and subtleties. It isn’t a full explanation for the effect but you can still follow along if you have the coin set. I think Charlie made this DVD for this routine. I would say that he made this routine and then taught each of the sleights seperately and in detail so you can learn this coins across more easily provided that you have a shell and matching coins. (expanded) as soon as I get my shell I am going to start practicing this routine right away.

“For liberty and Justice for all!”

Scan Tastic Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on December 12th, 2008

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MAGIC: The Complete Course Reviewed by Mark Tirone

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on December 11th, 2008

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Finally, The LONG AWAITED review for Joshua Jay’s new book, “MAGIC: The complete course”. Before I begin, I discourage anybody who does not like to learn good magic, To please click away. Most people who see this
would insist this book is strictly for beginners. To tell you the truth, I cannot decide whether that is a lie, or just REALLY good beginners magic.

STRUCTURE 5/5 This book was very well put together. The binding was very nice as well as the size and weight of the book. This must way at least 5 pounds. Behind the front cover you will find a DVD which is in a sleeve BOUND TO THE BOOK. He starts wit h a full table of contents then moves on to how to use the book and DVD, Magician slang, introduction, essays, a lesson in deception then the chapters etc.

IMPROMPTU MAGIC 5/5 This is the real beginners section of the book, But it includes some nice tricks for people of all skill levels and interests from magic with coins, cards, ordinary objects, and an analysis of sleight of hand. He teaches some grips, palms, forces, and hand exercises. One of my favorite effects on this entire project, Is one that teaches you how to make a blister completely vanish without a trace impromptu.

DINNER DECEPTIONS 5/5 This is the perfect chapter for anybody who just learned some cool tricks, and is now looking toward performing magic. But still keeping some of the beginner tricks out of it. You arn’t learning how to deal 10 piles of cards and adding and subtracting, But really cool effects like card in bread etc. In this chapter, He goes into lapping beyond belief. You have never seen lapping explained like this. He teaches how to lap salt shakers, bananas, spoons, forks, knives, water bottles, glasses full of liquid etc. Have you ever wanted to change water into wine, Read this section.

THE GREATEST CARD TRICKS OF ALL TIME 5/5 This is a cool chapter because in the very beginning he teaches some standard card sleights but they make you look like a total professional. He has pictures of his hands and each part of his hand is labelled so the viewer knows what he is talking about. In this section he teaches sleights, out of this world, an awesome four ace production, card revelations, poker related tricks, things with the invisible deck,PLUS how to make your own invisible deck with something you probably have just lying around the house and much MUCH more!

KID CONJURING 5/5 This is the section to show your neices, nephews, kids, pets, or even if you are a professional, you can include all of these great tricks into your regular arsenal of effects. He teaches the coin from ear, gumball from ear, gumballs from mouth, a REALLY cool rope through assistants body illusion, the history of sawing in half, a cool finger through shirt illusion, and my FAVORITE effect in the ENTIRE project, The vanishing pet, which uses a super old concept but the effect is so cool and it can be done for anyone in any country, who speaks any language. such a cool, magical effect. I would be willing to spend any price is he released this as a single trick (if it doesent already sell out!)

WORKING MIRACLES 5/5 I know a LOT of professional magicians who also work at an office or have other jobs. This is the chapter for you. It is devoted to magic that can be done at the office and will still fry any audience. Btw, I’m only half way through the book. He does an awesome pen through bill effect that looks just like dough, But is in some way cleaner because you can do it with a borrowed, crisp or wrinkled bill. He has Danny Garcia contribute to this book by adding “Telekineticlip”, Which allows you to psychically straiten out a borrowed paperclip, Then BEND that paperclip without mercy. Mathemagic is also a good effect. This is going to turn a lot of you on right here. The 14 dolllar trick on penguin, Is in here. The magic square. He gives you mnenmonics, and ideas and a full perforomance script here. There are book tests spoon bends, even stick predictions which is cool because everybody in America is linked to the stocks somehow. A really nice effect in this chapter is one where you mix cream and sugar into a coffee, and then extract that cream and sugar so the coffee is now black, the cream is in the creamer, and the lid is sealed back on. Also, A sucker is born every minute is tought in this chapter. One of my other favorite effects is karate clip. You stab your finger through a paperclip mid-air, and then it is all busted up on your fingertip.

MONEY MAGIC 5/5 As you can tell, There really arnt any disadvantages in this book. Joshua goes through some key essential sleights and warm-ups and then a really nice misers dream routine. I really liked the essay he wrote in here on the bullet catch. Don’t even get me started on penny pressed. Just recently, The stretching coin effect has become popular. Jay Leslie is my first known reference, But joshua just killed every other variation of it. He borrows a penny, Then on the spectators palm, flattens the coin, Crushed, expanded, with all the details still on the coin. They can even keep it. Also, a full analysis on the folding quarter and its applications. A really nice one is also where he turns 4 blank slips of paper into four tens and twenties. Also the coin roll and almost all other applications are tought on here,

PARLOR PRESTIDIGITATION 5/5 moving on from the other venues of magic, This is possibly one of the hardest to master, Which is why it is in the back of the book (but still not finished ) COnquering the fear of an audience. Joshua gives the hard won knowledge to making your performances great and making them perfect so that your performances are awesome. The ovation position is a professional working piece, so you can produce a full glass of liquid from your jacket without fear of spilling. The hand scam is an effect we have probably all seen that is really cool, But isn’t really magic., But can still freak out your friends. Josh teaches the torn and restored newspaper in like 6 pages. There is also a brief bio on Gene Anderson who is one of the most renowned Torn and restored newspaper performers today. Yet another book test. Earth shoes is an awesome production where a rock falls out of your shoe. Not just a rock, But a HUGE rock, Now his full professional performance of the linking rings, This is 8 pages long.

TELEPHONE TRICKERY 5/5 This chapter is nothing but over the phone magic. Full proof magic effects you can do any time with your friend thousands of miles away. Does this really need a long explanation to tell you how awesome this chapter is?

GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER 5/5 This is THE hardest chapters in the entire book to master. This is for the people who want to start performing magic seriously and even for the more seasoned professional. We can all learn some good from this. Through each chapter, Joshua picked out some of his favorite tricks and put them together into an act that works for him lasting 20 minutes each. There is stuff with close up, money, cards, parlour, kids, and stage. Each of these sections has a checklist and tips for performance. I don’t think joshua will really mind if you use these, But why should you? You already learned some killer material and enough to go pro. Now he closes the book

OVERALL 5/5 Joshua is one of the best writers and authors of our time. He makes sure everything can be understood with good performance and explanation techniques. The book was well constructed with over 500 illustrations, photographs, and over 300 pages of intricate performance scripts, essays, tricks, and explanations. A MUST buy for anyone interested in magic. You WILL walk away with something that you can use. I know I did.


Now it is time to review the included DVD that Joshua made exclusively for this book. It was a very wise choice because some of these effects need to be seen for the reader to fully appreciate them and the impact that they have on the audience.

THE LAYOUT 5/5 Joshua did a fantastic job laying out this DVD. I don’t think anybody should buy another DVD or even MAKE another DVD until you get this one. This is the best DVD I have ever seen. Everhting from the motion graphics to the transitions to teaching to performing etc. He breaks down each section of the DVD just like his did in the book. Office, cards, money, parlor etc. He performs them in each of the venues like on the street, in an office, durring a live show, at an elementary school. very niiiiiice!

PERFORMANCES 5/5 Should I even bother giving each section a rating? They are all perfect 5. The performances like I said, Are where they are meant to be. In the office, street, show etc. He really connects with the audience and makes them understand magic and what it is really about.

THE TRICKS 5/5 I already mentioned above why I think he made the companion DVD. If you don’t believe some of these tricks will work (and believe me, I was one of them!) he shows you the audience’s reactions and how they respond to each type of performance. Joshua gives the best version of out of this world as well so that is a plus.

THE TEACHING 2/5 JK 5/5 Joshua goes into a bright white room with his table and explains everything step by step with motion graphics and special effects for some of the tricks to get the full impact of it all. He also gives you some tips and ideas for most of these as well. If you have seen the Daniel Garcia project, all of these tricks have some sort of special teaching style. WHat I mean by this is, SOmetimes durring the explanation, Close up explanations appear on the same screan so there are multiple angle shots including from your view, over the shoulder, on the ceiling, close up, far away etc.

OVERALL 5/5 What more is there to say? Josh is an awesome perfomer, a great magician, and he has a keen passion for the art of magic and one of the best practitioners of our time. Nobody beats Joshua Jay. It is just that simple.

Pick this up today at your local bookstore!

Digital Divination Reviewed by Mark Tirone

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on December 11th, 2008

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Here we go, A brand new effect from the mind of Alan Rorrison! This effect is in my opinion, THE perfect example of AWESOMENESS!! Lets say you are trying to land a gig, And you and your client both have AIM or windows messenger. Send them a sound file but tell them not to donwload it yet. The sound file is a PREDICTION and it in FULL VIEW THE ENTIRE TIME. The client or friend is asked to think of merely ANYTHING they want. ANYTHING AT ALL!! Nothing has been said at all. Just in their head. The sound file is now downloaded and on it, there is a message that reads, “Hey ____, I knew you would think of _______”. Yes it really is THAT clean and simple. There seriously IS a free choice.

METHOD AND PRACTICALITY 4/5 This is such a simple idea lol. There is something that you all have at your expense right now and you can technically do this trick right now if you own a computer microphone. All you need is a microphone or webcam or sound recorder device and you can record your message with the prediction right when you are talking to them and perform this effect IMPROMPTU. But you DO need the recorder so this effect can cost you up to 20$ to perform but it is seriosuly all worth it. But as far as practicality goes, You can do it impromptu and instantly NAIL a client and be booked on the spot with this one little trick. It is so personal! Use this as your pitch so you do not need to call cold. It is THAT simple and really requires no practice

THE TEACHING 4/5 Alan Rorrison bugged the living crap out of me lol. He changes his accent about 5 times in the first minute of the download lol. But other than that, He used a pretty good method of teaching. He was on MSN messenger with a computer screen recording software as well as a live spectator on the other end to help out with the effect so you can really visualize the effect as it is playing out. An honest to god approach to teaching magic in my opinion. The teaching spanned about 8 minutes with special tips and ideas as well as performance stories along the way. Everything is easy paced so you can see where everything is and exactly what you have to do

QUALITY OF DOWNLOAD 5/5 Alan was very smart with this one. He put a special seal on the download so that you and only you can view the file as to prevent any file sharing to trade the secret or anything like that. The camera quality was pretty good. Room for imporvement but not that much. Like I said, He has an on screen visual of everything you need to do throughout the effect so you have maximum learning space.

So you see it is a very well constructed routine that is very fair and can be done impromptu with any client or friend or spectator at their house. I just did this for my friend in another state and he flipped. But before we leave, I want to let you know that this CAN be performed with a text file but that might not be as impresive as the sound file might be but you still have the effect at your expense and you can do it whenever you need a good trick. Plus, If you are in class, Text a buddy across the room just for kicks and predict what he/she is thinking about the teacher Thanks everybody, Thanks Alan! Oh, And if you are interested in buying this, He is selling it at

-Mark Tirone

If you have any questions, Comments, Or concerns, Please feel free to Email or IM me any time of the day whenever you want, I am always open and will be there to guide you through anything you might have troubling you.

Spin Doctor Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on December 8th, 2008

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Fun Fly Stick Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on December 1st, 2008

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