Convention Podcast: Magic & Meaning Conference, The Magic Summit, MacMillan International Magic Convention(* Available for subscribers only at M360)
Twenty-one products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Jared Kopf, Francis Menotti, and John Wilson:
Bravura by Paul Daniels
Carney 2013 by John Carney
The Social Deck by Soma
The Undercover Wallet by Andy Nicholls and Titanas
Die-Namic by Martin Lewis
Bound by Will Tsai and SansMinds
Patrified by Patrick Kun and SansMinds
What the Fork? by Michael Dardant
Propel by Rizki Nanda and SansMinds
Mr. Electric Unplugged by Marvyn Roy
Gary Plants on the Zarrow Shuffle by Gary Plants
The Greater Magic Video Library vol 28: Don Alan by Don Alan
Pocket by Julio Montoro and SansMinds
Frea-capped by Kieron Johnson and Big Blind Media
Foresight by Oliver Smith and SansMinds
Inscrutable II by Joseph Barry
Joined by Dario Capuozzo
Blind Date by Stephen Leathwaite
True Mysteries II by Fraser Parker and Gavin O'Rourke-Soccorso
Keep Calm & Carey On by John Carey
Hospitality by Max Francis
First Look: Modern Mentalism
Luke Jermay has long been behind the curtains of some of the most renowned performers of the last ten years, having consulted for Derren Brown, Marco Tempest, Criss Angel, and Dynamo, to name just a few. A few of Luke's previous books may already grace your bookshelf, but in Modern Mentalism he goes the extra mile, divulging closely guarded secrets that have been the backbone of his sell-out shows. The routine explained here, Everyday ESP, is a glimpse into Jermay's craft, showmanship, and attention to detail. Despite - or perhaps, because of - its simplicity, it dazzles spectators with the impossibility of the unknown.
The Monk's Way: Shadow-Zone Assembly
The Illuminated Zone is the area of attention an audience focuses on. Ascanio gives a useful analogy. Like a viewer watching television, a tunnel effect occurs. Try it. The eyes zero in on the point of interest and meaning, and its surroundings become blurred and, eventually, when interest is at its height, invisible. This blurred area is the Shadow Zone. It's in this area that much deviousness can occur. The routine this month demonstrates just how much deviousness can be managed. The switch in this method will seem impractical and obvious. But please remember: a Monk is fearless.
Loving Mentalism: Detective Fiction
This month's "Loving Mentalism" item is a human lie detector routine. Three spectators make up a series of statements that may be true or false. You are able to sort truth from lies every time, without asking any questions. There is no preshow, nothing written down, and no fishing for information. What's more, the audience can all join in the fun, matching their skill against yours when it comes to detecting lies and liars. One interesting aspect of this routine is that while it could easily run for seven or eight minutes onstage, the method takes up literally just one second. The rest of the time, you are doing everything just as you would if your talent for lie detection were real.
Bent on Deception: The Wizard's Parasol
If you like this routine, you're going to hate me. It uses what I call a Holy Grail prop - a prop that's no longer made and will take you forever to find. But if you seek the Grail, your reward will be sweet. I have lots of these elusive props always on my mind and my eBay search list. The prop you'll be seeking hasn't been made in over a decade. It was made by a company called Gemmy and is called the Animated Witch Hat. It looks like a standard Halloween witch's hat, but when you press a button, the pointy part flips from side to side with the comedy timing of a Swiss watch. Gemmy also made a Santa Hat version, so if you can find one of those you can convert it. Even without the hat, this is a good routine. But with the hat, it's a killer routine. So my advice is to seek the Grail (but look out for man-eating rabbits).
Classic Correspondence: Neil Foster to Jane Thurston
The relic in question is an original typed manuscript of Howard Thurston's 1929 biography, My Life of Magic. The project started when Thurston was at the peak of his fame and generally recognized as America's foremost stage illusionist. John Northern Hilliard, Thurston's publicity agent, accepted the task of writing a book that would chronicle the great magician's career.
For What It's Worth: New
There is nothing better than New. A New trick. A New bit. Something that gets a great New reaction. Something you can call your New Thing. Has it been awhile since you did something New? Last time you wrote a New piece? Last time you rehearsed something New in front of a mirror? It's not that I don't like Old. I fondly remember Old magic shops in Old downtown Detroit that were permeated with the stench of Old cigar smoke. To this day, I find that familiar stench oddly pleasant. Old, even stenchy Old, is comforting. New is challenging. Maybe frightening. But it smells better.
Walkabout Soup: Glorious Byproducts of Failure
Douglas Adams, legendary author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, once expressed something that struck a very deep chord with me, along with many writers, performers, and other miscellaneous creatives around the world. In 1999, in a discussion thread about novel writing on his website, he wrote: "In my experience, what you end up with is the byproduct of your failure to achieve what you set out to do. It may turn out okay, but it wasn't what you meant and you've no idea how you got there." That, in an elegant nutshell, describes nearly every show I've ever done, every routine I've ever worked on, and every piece of text I've ever written.