Archive for March, 2009

Black I’s Reviewed by Jamie Daws

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on March 29th, 2009

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If you’re reading this then you must get a ‘Black I’…. No! Not that sort of ‘Black I’. I meant the brilliant new sponge style effect from Mathew Johnson! I won’t ‘blur your vision’ with cheesy one liners but rather make you ‘open your ‘I’s’ to the world of sponge. For many years ‘I’ have performed sponge magic and always enjoyed it. However, searching or creating a routine for an older audience without resulting to using rude bodily parts was hard to say the least. Then my ‘I’s’ were drawn to “Black I”, instantly I knew I had to get it. I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of this from Mathew (Which was a bonus) but to be honest; I like it so much I’m very tempted to buy another for safe keeping. Like all tricks I review, I road tested the effect to the core on some of the most sceptical friends I have and not only was it an ‘I popping’ trick but one that really made people laugh. Mathew’s presentation of the effect is spot on. Nothing, absolutely nothing about this effect can be put down at all. It works in every single way. The reactions were absolutely stunning. They laughed, gasped and even let out a little bit of wee through the excitement.

The DVD gets you smiling straight from the onset, opening the parcel to see a fantastic cartoon of a beaten up boxer. But one slight surprise… in fact, ‘I couldn’t believe my I’s!’ He has included another effect entirely in the box! With fully made glossy cards and of course the DVD explanation! How generous is that! I opened the box and out popped by sponge I’s. I popped in the DVD and straight away I was laughing. (Listen to the music on the menu page) I clicked the play button and began on my journey. There are two performance videos so you can see firsthand the sorts of reactions this gets. Then Mathew takes you through step by step his handling and script of Black I. Which, I have to say is genius. We then venture on through the DVD which a fantastic information page which allows you to read up on what Pink Eye is. This section is titled “What is Pink Eye?”…. Just thought I would let you know. He also has a credits page with notes on his inspirations etc.

In the DVD, he also includes the cards for his effect “Drinks on me” which much like Black I is very comic and just a brilliantly thought out trick. I would have brought both tricks separately and been happy with each but the fact it’s given free with the DVD is an awesome bonus!

The reason I prefer this version of the sponge routine much more is because it fits most magician’s style. It’s so easily adapted to any performance situation. The built in jokes almost mean you have time to concentrate on the effect in hand. There are so many patter avenues to go down. (Check the thread on Not only this, but the moves are a lot easier to perform with Mathew’s handling. (Trust me on that) overall, I believe this to be possibly the best stand alone sponge effect in the world. It’s such an original effect and so well structured, there’s nothing about it that doesn’t work. If our not a fan of sponge magic, this is your chance to get into it with style. So keep your ‘I’ on the prize and grab hold on your copy. You will NOT be disappointed.

It’s available through World Of Magic and most other magic shops

Kit Felgate’s P&P Reviewed by Jamie Daws

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on March 26th, 2009

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Effect: The magician introduces a pack of playing cards and a stapler. He spreads through the cards to show that they are all different, he shuffles and cuts the deck and asks for a spectator to choose a playing card. For example, they choose the Ace of Spades (this can be signed by the spectator if you wish). This is put to one side as the magician again cuts the deck and asks the spectator to choose a card for him, they do, and it is the 10 of Hearts (the magician can sign his card if he wishes).

The magician then staples the Ace of Spades to the card box, and shows the spectator the card face while it is stapled. He then takes the 10 of Hearts and slowly rubs it over the stapled Ace. Suddenly there is a loud snapping sound. The magician shows two puncture holes have appeared on the back of his 10 of Hearts, he slowly turns it over to reveal it has in fact changed to the spectators Ace of Spades. The magician then slowly peels back and rips off the stapled card to reveal it is now his 10 of Hearts. The cards have changed places under impossible circumstances.

The stapler and the stapled cards make this a memorable routine.

Review: This effect is an absolute stunner! It plays exactly as it reads. This is about as impossible as card effects come. The possibilities with i are also brilliant. The PDF is brilliantly put together and has pictures to help everyone along. Although the gimmicks won’t last a life time and you will have to make a couple, it is well worth it. If you’re looking to secure a venue or a gig, then this trick will do the job hands down. Kit has done a fantastic job with this effect and I’m sure we have yet to see the full potential of his wondrous thinking. This is a must have for any card worker and one I would highly suggest getting!

It’s available on – –

Mirror Reviewed by Evan Bishop

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on March 13th, 2009

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Intro: I was lucky enough to receive a pre-release copy of this effect so thank you to all the people at Mental Playground Productions.

Trick: Mirror

Creator: Matthew Mello

History: Matt credits Derren Brown as the starting point for this trick and also credits Banachek for another part of the trick.

Price: $15.00

Where Can I Get It?:

Effect: Give your mind reading ability to any spectator. They will read your mind with 100% accuracy, and you can prove it!
Offer to teach your mind reading skills to the spectator, for a price. Ask to borrow a bill, as it will be important later. You tell the spectator you are thinking of a two digit number. The spectator then makes a guess and is correct! To prove it you show the first two numbers of the serial number on the borrowed bill. You say this is how you thought of the number. They match!
• No Stooges
• No Pre-show
• No Electronics
• Nothing is ever written down
• No Force?(And No, you aren’t walking around with 99 different bills on you.)

Format: This 16 page PDF comes with 2 alternate handlings, which create seemingly different effects. This along with 12 photos gives you the tools to bring your mind reading routines to another level.

Quality: It’s a fairly normal PDF. Nothing fancy here but it teaches you everything you need to know. The pictures do help out quite a bit as well.

Method: There is a small “gimmick” that is used and might I add, very, very clever. It’s easy to make and can be used for many other things besides this specific trick. Fairly simple and nothing super involved or complicated here.

Preparation: There is a one-time preparation for this effect that should not take you more than probably 15-20 minutes. After that, you can perform this effect as much as you like. Although, eventually you will probably want to remake your gimmick since it might wear out a bit.

Gimmick: Obviously since this is an instant download, you will have to make the gimmick. As said above, it won’t take you long to make and most likely will not have to buy anything to make it. This is a very versatile gimmick and can be used for lots of other mentalism type tricks.

Alternative One: This isn’t as strong as the original serial number variation and I’d rather just use a swami gimmick to achieve this effect.

Alternative Two: This is more of a novel drawing duplication type effect that can be very strong and also a perfect lead in to “Improv Nightshades”. As stated by Matt, this is the version that a lot of people might use and like even more than the original routine. I think I would agree with that. Definitely a good alternative to the original.

Additional Ideas: Here Matt gives some ideas to make your presentation a bit better. He also gives another idea that uses the serial number but in a different way than the original. Both are worth a read.

Angles: There aren’t any angle problems to worry about here. Yay!

Difficulty: On a scale of 1-10 (Ten being the hardest) I’d give this about a 2 or 3. If you run through this a couple of times and get yourself familiar with it, you’ll be fine. There really aren’t any “moves” either.

Overall: The power of this effect can be extremely strong. Don’t underestimate it. This is a “winner” and even if you don’t like that original routine idea, Matt has provided enough additional ideas to make everybody happy. Plus, you learn how to make a really cool gimmick that you can use in other mentalism! So even though I received this for free, I truly think that if I had paid the money I would’ve been pleased with my purchase. It’s only $15.00 and you can’t go wrong with such a powerful effect.

Score 9/10

Mirage et Trois Reviewed by Mark Tirone

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on March 11th, 2009

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This is my review for Eric Jones’ new DVD available via KozmoMagic and your favorite magic dealer. I recently attended Eric’s lecture (which totally rocked the boat) and he had a small table set up and was selling these DVD’s. Being a good friend of Eric’s, I had to pick one up. I have changed my formatting slightly so be on the lookout for that throughout this review. So without further adieu, Mirage et Trois!

What happened was this: The DVD began with Eric approaching a table in a restaurant with a few people gathered around the table. Then came a 3 and half minute performance by Eric of the entire routine start to finish with all of his little jokes and audience reactions. This was a LIVE performance in a real time table hopping gig in a REAL restaurant with REAL people (something we rarely get to see). Most of us who know Eric have only seen him either at a convention or lecture and the more common scenario, on YouTube, so it was really cool to see him actually approach a group of people and see them respond so affectionately to the entire routine.I wish I could say this one performance was worth the price of the DVD, but then you wouldn’t learn any of the super cool and resepctable sleight of hand that Eric is laying out for us. Eric also has a very charming performing persona that I think we can all respect in proportion.

Quality: 3/5: The production quality of this DVD was unfortunately not up to today’s standards in technology. I have only heard excellent things about Kozmo Magic (the producers for this particular DVD) and I will admit, I set my bar pretty high for this project, again, after hearing only great things about Kozmo Magic. The picture quality was somewhat fuzzy and unlike in some other DVDs, when a coin was displayed at the fingertips or in the hand, the entire coin can be seen, while that was not the case. “Them moving pictures” were running into each other and made this look like this was shot on a cheap camera. But to make up for this, the sound and lighting were both up to standards and I was very pleased with that. At no time in the entire DVD was sound muffled or lighting off. Most of the time in a DVD, when an over the shoulder shot is shown, everything tends to look darker and the performer’s voice is muffled. I was happy with everything other than the picture, which unfortunately lost a few stars due to the fact that I had to squint in some places. Also another minor thing to point out and compliment on, was the editing and music throughout this DVD. You are getting a very simply to understand DVD. No flashy texts appearing and disappearing every three freakin seconds and flashign lights and fire in your face. Simpe “Explanation, performance, credits, main menu”. I also got a kick out of the music in this DVD. There was none of that annoying hip hop and whistles or drums beating everywhere and it made this enjoyable to watch. Thanks Kozmo!

The Layout: 5/5: This DVD had something that not a lot of people do and I was glad to see this again in a DVD… A GOOD LAYOUT. I hate when I need to scroll through menus and moving the little hard to see arrows up and down and squinting at tiny little gothic texts etc. I was able to “Play All” and watch the DVD all the way through (with exception of the “Extras” menu option) They set this DVD up with the trailer, live performance, then in each effect (Out with three, S.V.C.A, and KKK), a studio performance and explanation and then another performance and repetition of each effect, of course moving on to the following effect. So this was a very straight forward DVD project that got the point across and made the customer want to come back for more!

Explanation: 6/5: So now I will be teaching you each effect. First, start off with 3 coins…ok, I won’t be teaching these effects. But it had been said many many times (including at the lecture), that Eric’s explanations are even better than seeing the effect the first time (or something like that) and it has the world’s truth to it. I said in a previous review, particularly speaking Joshua Jay’s MAGIC: The complete course, that the explanations in that DVD were the best I have ever seen and nobody will ever beat them.Well, sorry Josh, but Eric set those standards up to crazy heights! I have never seen such intricate focus and direction to detail as Eric has put on this DVD. The explanations for each effect runs aprox. 15 minutes and that is longer than some of the effects out on the market today. I’m sure if anybody else tried to teach these effects, they would end up with a 4, mayne 5 minute tutorial that doesen’t go into any kind of detail. I also love how Eric covers basicaly every angle imaginable in these routines, making something that people might worry about, into something the performer looks forward to since the angles are all covered! So let’s recap. lengthy explanations, attention to detail and subtlety, and adding on top of that, over the shoulder and multi-angle explanations and performances. I can’t begin to thank you enough Eric for doing such a marvelous job on this part of the DVD.

I will now start to talk about each effect in turn and what I particularly love about each one and the strenghts and weaknesses about each effect.

Out With Three: 5/5: I have always hated productions and vanishes that start right away but I will be more than happy to make an exception and actually USE this effect. This routine really makes sense and as the advertisement says, really IS a comical production of your three coins and while watching this DVD, actually made me laugh! Basicaly what goes down is the production of 3 coins but the third one miraculously vanishes without a trace just as it appears. The magician then produces the third coin once again but finds that one of the other 2 coins vanishes just as the third one appears. This is repeated with a few lines and the third coin apparently appears, but is found to be actually in the spread of 2 coins at your fingertips. I loved how clean this routine looked throughout the entire effect. It is something that you can learn after about 20 minutes of solid practice and then get down. It has comedy, visuality, and of course clean hand actions which is of course always to have. You don’t just make 3 coins appear which many other routines have, you actually experience magic that looks like magic! On top of that, you are using productions, vanishes, and in a way,coins across, one of my most favorite coin plots so that works out great!

S.V.C.A (Spectator’s Visible Coins Across): 5/5: Before I get any questions which have come up in the same place, No, I have no idea if this is the same effect taught on the “La Famigilia” DVD which Eric had a small part in. Back to the review. This effect is a really magical “ThreeFly” by Jonathan Townsend and Chris Kenner. The first coin goes from one hand to the other in the most visual and respectable way imaginable. you are not doing this one effect really quickly and without any variation where the spectator’s can’t even see the coin go across. this is a good solid routine. Next one coin is put away and one of the two coins at the fingertips starts to VISUALLY melt away and appear at the empty fingertips of the other hand. Again the coin is put away and all you do is display one coin at the fingertips andjust by touching your elbo, the coin pops into view just as quickly as the same coin pops OUT of view at the fingertips! This is repeated once more and then again. The coins are retrived again and you go into KKK (of you wish). This routine REALLY makes sense though! The illusion is so powerful that anybody can understand what just happened and where you are going with it and why you are taking coins away. Eric also went the extra mile as to include patter lines for this effect that really compliment what is going on throughout the routine.Mad props to Eric for this one! It’s going right into my act!

K.K.K (Three Klan Vanish): 4/5: Like I mentioned above, I am not the biggest fan of vanishes (in the context of David Roth’s “Hanging coins” plot). Basically each coin is taken into the hand and vanishes completely without a trace and with the palms of your hands being shown each step of the way until the last coin vanishes and your hands are both shown undeniably empty to the audience. I loved the cleanliness of this effect, however you will be left in a somewhat awkward position. If that bothers you, then Eric gives you advice in cleanup and a couple tips on additional handlings. This one looks just as good as the other two though. However, one thing in particular that I absolutely loved was vanish of the first coin. When I first saw the performance of this one I couldv’e sworn that Eric was using some kind of crazy sleeving technique or gimmick because of how realistic this looks. It immedietly went right into my hanging coins effect and I’m sure that if you don’t use this effect for whatever crazy reason, it will go right into your’s as well.

Overall and closing thoughts: 5/5: Overall I am really glad I decided to finally pick this up and support my friend for putting his work out into the world. If you have not already seen this DVD or the trailer yet, I reccomend you head on over to or your favorite magic dealer and take a nice long look at it. These routines can all go into any part of your repertoir and are excellent for those times in walkaround or table hopping when a waiter comes by with the check or food, because you can pick it all up and leave and seem completely conspicuous. This is such a flexible routine and I have even made exceptions (something I rarely do) and will start performing this soon. It has been said on the magic cafe that you get more for your money out of this one DVD than any other DVD out there today. I want to finally thank Eric for this DVD and for a phenomenal lecture. Thanks!

Time to vanish,
-Mark Tirone