Archive for the 'Bizarre' Category

Magic From the Grave Reviewed by Aaron Stone

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on August 25th, 2008
MagicFromTheGrave

It’s not often you get a magic DVD that is both entertaining as well as informative. “Magic From The Grave” is just that. The DVD’s premise is the documentary of how Todd Diamond’s last DVD, “F*ck Street Magic” killed him. Yes, the video itself, killed him. And, like any good soap opera… his corpse is back to give you his final thoughts! I really did enjoy getting into the storyline. There is a whole mystery that unfolds as you watch the video. Well, in two parts. The “backstory” is on a separate menu of the DVD, but it’s not hard to find. In fact, the entire DVD is very easy to navigate. Anywho, back to the point: the premise, setup, and execution of the storyline are spot on entertaining. There are four effects taught, as well. Three by dead hands, one by Bizzaro. The first of Todd’s, “Coins from the Grave,” actually totally surprised me. What seemed like a modified click-pass became something so… SO much cooler. This alone is worth the cost of the DVD. Next, the “Spellbound For the Dead.” Also, a great fooler. It’s not what you think, especially when you see it. It has a surprise ending, and it’s actually very easy to do. Just another brilliant idea that died with Todd Diamond, but somehow still explained by his silent corpse….
Next is the “Tombstone Change.” I had to watch it again to really understand what happened… so, make sure you pay attention here. There is no dialogue here, so you have to be creative and then watch the explanation to find out what’s going on. Still, a very cool and creative set of moves with a deck of cards, but one you really have to think about at first. Eh, no sweat, the rest of the DVD makes up for it.
Last in effects is Bizzaro’s “BAMF!” trick. I’m not sure where he came up with this, but it’s certainly cool. The DVD says it’s just a “card teleportation effect,” but that is SO underplayed. No funny counts or awkward moves, you really cause one card to cleanly jump from one packet to another. Best of all, like the rest of the stuff on the DVD, it’s easy and well explained. …and shot on a casket…
Included on the DVD is the one thing that most people will probably get this for: An interview with The Amazing Jonathan. To be honest, it’s worth every penny. Todd Diamond picks his brain about his theory and practice of subjects not often discussed in magic. Very enlightening, and entertaining. One note… not an interview for kids. But, that’s alright. The footage is priceless and ageless.
All in all, I really like it. I felt like I got my money’s worth. A couple of great coin tricks, an “alright” card trick and a great card trick (they balance out), and a worthwhile interview. It’s well produced, looking very “documentary-esque.” So, for $25, I’d totally recommend this to anyone with an interest in coin or card magic, or anyone who would like an example of what a real DVD should consist of.

P.s. Yes, there are outtakes.

Aaron Stone is a little-known full-time performer in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area, who spends hours performing for real people every day. He’s a former newspaper editor and voice actor, as well. www.aaronthemagician.com

If you’re interested in picking up this product, you can head on over to MagicFromTheGrave.com

Magic At The Edge Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on August 11th, 2008

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MAGICATTHEEDGE

Easily my favorite 3-disk DVD set I’ve seen this year, Jeff McBride’s “Magic At The Edge” is packed with killer effects using minimal props interwoven with priceless magical lessons.

Disk one kicks off with McBride’s Magician 24/7 lecture which I had the pleasure of attending many years back. The lecture was fantastic and the DVD manages to improve upon that by adding even more effects you could/should be ready to perform 24/7. One of the new additions, “Tribal Piercing” quickly became my new favorite body trick; and with experience, may even become one of my favorite impromptu effects.

Anyone who has had the privilege of learning from McBride knows what a phenomenal teacher he is, both when it comes to teaching individual tricks and more wide-reaching lessons on the art. I was impressed with how engaging these DVDs were; if McBride were any more of a Techno-Shaman, I have no doubt he would have pulled me right through the screen.

As the user-friendly McBride-mystic effects continue to play throughout the series, the viewer also gets an interesting look at the Burning Man Festival which is used as a backdrop when performing many of the effects for the unique people who visit the annual event. Seeing magic performed in the middle of the desert during a communal living experience gives the viewer more perspective on the magic and the thinking behind them: living with little and performing with what you can find.

Bottom Line:
From the ground up, this DVD set is jam-packed with the advantageous and infinite knowledge of a true Sage.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Liam Montier’s UV (UltraViolet) Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on August 6th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Liam Montier's UV (UltraViolet) - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [3:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

ULTRAVIOLET

Liam Montier’s UV DVD primarily features card effects with a little something extra added: ultra violet ink. In my book, this is a good thing because we get to see some interesting new uses for cards by adding in this new element. (Note: there are a few non-card effects on here as well).

As per usual, the DVD quality of this Big Blind Media product is slick and professional. Video, audio, and the flashy animated title sequences are a nice change from the production values of most indy magic producers.

Effect wise, you’re definitely going to find something on here you’ll want to incorporate into your repertoire. While it may be tempting to add a few of these effects into your typical set, just remember that people will begin looking for the Ultra Violet twist to each effect => which is where a lot of the power for these effects comes from.

“Invisible” was easily my favorite effect from the DVD. This double-prediction-like effect uses no forces and because of the sneaky way the deck is set up, you can continue to perform card effects with the same deck and not worry about messing up the order of the cards or the special one-time setup.

The DVD also comes with a pocket-sized UV pen, refill, several standard gaffs, and a keychain UV light to get you performing these effects and whatever else your mind may come up with.

Bottom Line:
If you’re looking for something to spice up your jaded repertoire, playing around with effects that have a new element added to them, like Ultra Violet ink and lights, will surely spice things up.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

iVanish Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on March 5th, 2008

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IVANISH

There’s always going to be a new way to vanish a coin – and of all the new fancy modern creations, iVanish is by far the most original, but is not without a few minor drawbacks.

The general principle is quite easy to follow and pickup, but performing the vanish so the coin appears to be absorbed into the eye (and nothing else is happening) is where you’re practice will be focused.

Of all the vanishes, variations and routines taught on the DVD, the standard iVanish vanish is nearly angle proof and is quite easy to manage any possible weak viewing areas.

Unlike most modern vanishes however, there are a few *minor* drawbacks to this vanish:
- The coin that vanishes can be borrowed, but you’re probably going to want to use your own. There’s no preparation or anything done to the coin, but trust me when I say this, most folks are probably going to be performing this with one of their own coins.
- If I were going to vanish a signed coin and have it appear somewhere else, this probably wouldn’t be the vanish I would use, although, like above, if you really wanted to, you could.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Ice From Water Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 22nd, 2008

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ICEFROMWATER

Ice From Water has a lot of potential behind it – it’s begging for some awesome mystical/bizzarist presentation to make it a knockout. On it’s own, the effect is simple and easy as heck to perform (you just reach into the water and pull out ice, nothing’s concealed in or on your hands or arms).

The product comes with enough supplies to produce thousands of ice cubes (I’d estimate) – and since they are reusable, refills probably won’t be necessary. Preparation is really simple – to quote the infomercial superstar, Ron Popeil, “Just set it, and forget it!”

One final bit to digest – the ice cubes that are produced should not be consumed, but a method for passing out the ice cubes for examination is discussed in the instructions.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Spellz Season 1 Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on February 18th, 2008

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icon for podpress  Spellz Season 1 - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:32m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

SPELLZ

I was pleasantly surprised by this series. While the episodes are fairly short, Jay did a nice job of putting together a magic-centric television show for kids that doesn’t carry the overly babyish tones of most mainstream children’s programs.

The series does a nice job of incorporating lessons on misdirection, practice, magic history, and a bounty of simple, easy to learn magic tricks.

I can’t see many folks (hard core magicians at least) picking up this DVD set for the sake of watching the show, but consider this: Spellz is packed with simple magic effects that you can teach to kids. I’ve noticed plenty of forum threads asking for simple effects that are good for teaching beginning practitioners of this art – I feel this is a worthy selling point.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Cloud Busting Secrets Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on November 26th, 2007

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CLOUDBUSTING

Cloud Busting is the ability to apparently blast clouds from their puffy nature into whisps of nothingness. Doing such things without the aid of futuristic weather-manipulating technologies are actually seemingly possible to do.

Without recalling the jaded lines of ad copy for magic products, IMAGINE, being able to control the skies, IMAGINE, being able to produce, vanish, and manipulate clouds seemingly only with the power of your mind, IMAGINE, doing this on a beach, with no lasers, or stooges, or mirrors, and other stuff, while naked!

Cloud Busting Secrets contains all the detailed information on this *science* along with many different presentation ideas, the use of manipulated clouds as thought revelations, making your performances look real, and how to find practical situations to perform Cloud Busting in the real world and use it as a way to promote your business.

When considering adding Cloud Busting to your repertoire, there are a few things you must consider:

- How good of an actor are you, acting is one of the strongest convincers that will keep your audience engagued during the effect

- Vanishing a cloud typically takes 2-5 minutes; fortunately, we gain insight on the many years of experience from Devin and Jerome on what to do and how to keep the audience in on the effect.

- Cloud Busting isn’t something you can always do on a moment’s notice. The weather conditions must be in your favor.

The many years of development on the epoch of ‘weather magic’ by Devin Knight and Jerome Finley are finally here and ready for the world to expand upon the long list of possibilities with these basic principles.

As far as price point goes, $40 for all this amazing knowledge (including other forms of weather magic), and clear, straightforward writing style of Devin Knight (not to mention all the gigs this will get you), this book is a steal.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Scrolls Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on October 25th, 2007

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icon for podpress  Scrolls - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

SCROLLS

The more I am exposed to Bizarre Magic, the more I think ALL magicians should study it. One of the greatest misconceptions of this epoch in magic is the stereotype that all Bizarre magic is deeply mystical, uses tarot cards, colored stones, based upon legends, etc.

Well yeah, it does, but not all the time. One of the greatest lessons I’ve received from my brief study of Bizarre magic is that Bizarrists tend to get it, the whole ‘Magic is an Art form-thing’. Their magic is woven into powerful stories rather than knuckle busting/super impossible, magician fooling magic with crappy patter.

Scrolls will aid both bizzarists and magicians alike who wish to effectively tie their magic together with their character and create true magic. The ideas presented here can carry over not only to effects of a mystical nature, but also to card magic, coin magic, cups and balls, etc. Sure, magicians have been getting by for years using the mediocre patter included with the latest hot magic trick but taking some extra time to reframe and refocus the purpose of a magic routine will be more than worth the brain power.

The book is focused less on methodology and more on the powerful stories, something I’m finding to be common amongst Bizarre Magic books. To illustrate the power of a great plot, there is a version of the 6 Card Repeat taught in this book that is almost worth performing (hahaha!)

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

Helter Shelter The Movie Reviewed By Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on October 25th, 2007

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icon for podpress  Helter Shelter - Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan [1:32m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

HELTERSHELTER

I wish I had this DVD a few years ago when I was ‘shopping around’ for a razor blades-on-string routine. Bizzaro, my hat goes off to you. Helter Shelter is a fantastic, comprehensive DVD on this classic in magic.

You really get it all on this DVD. Bizzaro breaks out his collection of props, tools, and gimmicks that can be used to perform this routine. Throughout its contents, you’ll take in more than enough methods to perform this routine and most likely find one (or more!) that’ll work for you.

Better still, Bizzaro takes you through the methodology of the various gimmicks and props so you can really decide what’s going to work best for you in a variety of different performing arenas.

Course, it doesn’t stop there. You’ll also get lots of tips from Bizzaro’s extended history of performing this including how to incorporate blood packets and a pretty sweet razor up nose (/vanishing razor) effect.

Finally, I’d like to thank Bizzaro for taking the effort to make this DVD entertaining to watch; a nice change of pace from those other DVDs.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

GO EAT WORMS Reviewed by Bizzaro

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on September 18th, 2007

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FRESHMINT

GO EAT WORMS by Dan Sperry and the Spooky Kids

I met Dan Sperry at a TAOM in Houston many years ago. (Where I proceeded to talk his head off about stuff. Oops.) I immediately recognized this boyo had talent and a drive to be a bit different, even with a dove act. He does tend to think outside the casket.. er.. box. This effect is one of such offerings he has on his recently re-done website DanSperry.com Here is the effect:

You take out a bag of gummy worms and offer some to your audience. You tear it open and pull out one of the worms and eat it. As you offer some to a spectator everybody sees the worms slide out of the bag and pour out onto the awaiting hands of your victim where they instantly turn into real creepy crawling slimy worms…

Dan uses this as a lesson for kids as to always check your Halloween candy. When it’s not the proper season, he just uses it to freak out adults and children alike. Now this effect won’t be for everyone. That’s fine. Magic shouldn’t be about how many of an item you can sell, but who is brave enough to reap the benefits of an effect performed properly.

As an instant download, you get access to the trick immediately. It shows how to construct what you need to make the effect happen. It will cost you less than 5 dollars to make and will last a good long while. For the squeamish , there is even a method that shows how to use fake worms, but make them look VERY real. With Halloween around every corner, now is a good time to look into effects such as this. If you are into the shock aspect of performing, it’s a good find. The only real downside for me is the price. 25$ isn’t much, but for an instant download it can be. I understand the reason for such a thing however. It’s a personal item from Dan’s repertoire and he doesn’t want just ANYONE doing it and doing it poorly. A higher price keeps it out of the hands of the merely curious. (At least thats my opinion.)

Silly rabbit, it’s not just for kids so don’t underestimate it’s effectiveness. Adults tend to wig out over stuff like worms a lot more than children. If you want to see this effect in action and reaction head over to here and see it. Then go to DanSperry.com and buy it. Tis’ the season.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.

The Garden Of The Strange Reviewed by Derek Merdinyan

Posted by DerekMerdinyan on August 9th, 2007

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STRANGEGARDEN

You’re going to learn some funky awesome bits in this book. Caleb Strange’s magic seems to be all about the presentation – and boy are they good. Mr. Strange is a master of scripting powerful magical experiences covering everything from setting, props, and patter, to create extraordinary emotional sensations.

Most of the magic in the book is described as magic that occurs at a party for an intimate group of friends and company, others are illustrated upon a beach or in a garden. It’s going to take a little effort to restructure some of the effects to perform them in your realistic performing situation (i.e. a soundtrack playing African drums instead of having a set of live drummers).

It was funny to read the elaborate presentations and experience the magic through Caleb Strange’s words, and then read the description which gets into setting the scene, building up the atmosphere, and then describing the often simple method (…basically, it’s just a switch, everything really relies on your patter and pacing…)

If anything, this book should inspire you to take your presentations up a level (or two or three). Caleb’s magic and presentations are extraordinary and make lots of classic magic presentations seem lazily constructed.

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com.