Re Location

The staff of Marketplace (that would be me) is in the process of moving. Everything is packed into boxes, including the magic library. For that reason, references are a little more vague than usual this month.

If you already have my phone number, it will be unchanged. If you need to mail something to me personally, the address is 9088 W. Rochelle Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89147. If you need to email me, do so at [email protected]. With any luck, next month life will proceed normally.

The Magic of Dominique Duvivier Volumes 1-3

By Dominique Duvivier. Three videotapes, each $29.95. All three for $84.95. Postage and handling is free for US and Canada; overseas air add $7.50 per video. From A-1 MagicalMedia, 3337 Sunrise Blvd., #8, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Phone: 1-800-8768437. Fax: 916-852-7785. Web site: www.a1magicalmedia.com.

Dominique Duvivier is a unique and idiosyncratic performer. He is an imposing figure -a big man with a distinguished gray beard and long hair tied back in a ponytail. His magic, however, is often whimsical, presenting an interesting contrast to his apparently serious mien. Mr. Duvivier toured the United States last year and performed and lectured at the Convention at the Capitol in Sacramento, California. While in Sacramento he shot The Magic of Dominique Duvivier, a three volume video series from Michael Maxwell's A-1MagicalMedia. The emphasis is on card magic, although there are a few coin routines, some gags, and an unusual Cups and Balls routine. I found several of the items to be very good, others were not so good, and a few items I found to be incomprehensible. Let's take a look.

If you can only buy one tape of the series, I would suggest you start with Volume One. The opening routine, "The Quickest Card Trick in the World," is a very practical and commercial card to pocket routine. It is not difficult to do, and would be excellent in a strolling venue (especially cocktail parties where the audience is standing). Two other routines on this tape are interesting and offbeat. "The Chameleon Card" is a Wild Card/Universal Card routine taken to the nth degree. "The Duvivier Coin Box" routine has a remarkable kicker in which the coin box becomes a solid piece of brass. If you don't know how this works, it's going to fool you. Unfortunately, each of these two routines requires special props, so you are not going to be able to perform them simply by watching the video. A final choice tidbit of Volume One is the Duvivier False Cut, a simple but very deceptive move.

The two items I found most worthwhile on Volume Two were Mr. Duvivier's "Impromptu Wildcard," (which uses no gaffs), and his handling of the Zarrow shuffle.

The latter item looks quite good, and if you were to combine Duvivier's work with Bill Malone's suggestions from his Sam the Bellhop tape, you'd be able to develop a very deceptive false shuffle.

Volume Three begins with a very funny Cut and Restored Rope gag. This gag is not original with Mr. Duvivier, and I have seen many other performers use it. Although this gag now seems to be in the public domain, it was invented by Billy McComb, who never actually published the routine. Billy shared the routine with a few friends, who shared it with a few friends, who performed it at magic conventions, and over time it simply became an anonymous standard bit of business. It's probably too late to ask you all to stop using it, but at least now you know who to thank. Two other routines on this tape are worthy of your attention: "Up & Down," a handling of "Triumph" with some subtle and useful touches; and the "Duvivier Cups and Balls," a routine Mr. Duvivier performs in tandem with his daughter Alexandra. This routine has an "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" feel to it, and there is a very surprising final production at the end.

(At this point I should mention that Mr. Duvivier performs and explains all the routines in French. Alexandra translates into English, and is to be applauded for her excellent language skills. Because of the need for translation, the performances of the routines are slower paced than would be the case if Mr. Duvivier were performing for an audience in France.)

Mr. Duvivier tackles several standard card plots on these videos, and I find these routines to be less than satisfactory. For example, Mr. Duvivier's handling of the "Reverse Ace Assembly" incorporates a bluff at the exact moment when the spectators want to see all four aces in the leader pile. Handlings for the "Progressive Ace Assembly," "Cards to Pocket" (a variation of a Jerry Sadowitz effect), and "Toulagli" (an asymmetrical transposition) are less effective and convincing than methods already in print.

Finally, there are several routines on these videos that are so idiosyncratic that I fail to see the point in performing them. Primary among these is "Running Gag," a long routine in which throwing a deck of cards in your lap is the effect. (Now, I grant you that I have seen lots of magicians win magic competitions by doing this very thing, but in those cases it was unintentional.) Mr. Duvivier explains his theory behind this routine, but I honestly couldn't follow the reasoning. Of primary importance for you is the fact that this routine requires the performer to be seated, a luxurious condition few of us encounter in the real world. "New Wave All Backs" is a remarkably confusing effect with a deck of red/blue double-backers. "Blank Royale" involves four blue-backed blank cards that change into two blue and two red, back to four blue, into four red, then into five blue, then into three blue and two red. It is unconvincing and unimpressive.

So, here's what we've got. There is some worthwhile material on The Magic of Dominique Duvivier, but it's scattered over three tapes. If you're intrigued by what you've read, start with Volume One. If you like what you see, you may want to invest in the other two volumes.

Pros: Some clever material, including Duvivier's signature trick "The Chameleon Card," and "The Duvivier Coin Box."

Cons: The few really worthwhile items are scattered over the three videos. You'll have to buy special props if you want to do the two routines mentioned above.

Harry Lorayne Card Videos, Volumes 5-7

By Harry Lorayne. Three videos, each $29.95. All three for $84.95 postpaid in US and Canada. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box100, Tahoma, CA 96142. Orders: 1-800-6266572. Fax: 530-525-7008. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.allmagic.com/llpub.

Harry Lorayne knows a lot of card tricks. The first four volumes of this series (whose actual title is Harry Lorayne is probably the BEST teacher of, entertainer with, close-up card magic EVER!) contained some fine material drawn from Mr. Lorayne's books and from Apocalypse magazine. Mr. Lorayne recorded so much material that more than four videos were required to present it all. Volumes 5-7 feature the same format as before: Mr. Lorayne performs in front of an enthusiastic audience and then thoroughly explains each effect. Sometimes the explanations trigger the memory of other effects, and these are performed (sans audience) and explained as well. One happy addition to these three videos is the inclusion of explicit credits, given on the back of the video box and at the end of each tape.

A question that may arise is this: was all the good stuff presented on the first four volumes leaving the less stellar routines for these tapes? Absolutely not. Each of these videos contains several classic routines from the Lorayne repertoire.

Volume Five features "Ear It Is," a great impromptu effect using a pencil, "Aces and Kings," a spelling effect with a kicker (and a plot which Mr. Lorayne has explored many times), "Going Fishing," a very flourishy way to produce a card," and "Spell All," a routine with an unintuitive method that would be appropriate for casual performances.

Volume Six contains some great routines, including Mr. Lorayne's version of the classic "Ten Card Poker Deal," "Out of This Universe," "The Lazy Man's Card Trick," "Snappy Flush," and "Apex Aces." Mr. Lorayne's card books were some of the first I purchased when I became interested in close-up magic, and three of the above four routines have been in my repertoire since I was 13 years old. I still perform them, and the reaction they get leaves nothing to be desired.

Finally, on Volume Seven you'll find "Monte Plus Plus" which features Trevor Lewis' great Monte move, and one of the great routines in card magic, "The Card Shark & The Four Gamblers." This routine is an extension of Dai Vernon's "Cutting the Aces." If you want people to believe that you're the greatest card handler who's ever lived, learn this routine.

Those of you who purchased the first four videos in this series will certainly want to add these three to your collection. If you have studied Mr. Lorayne's books, you may not need these tapes, but it is always fun watching a creator perform his effects, and Mr. Lorayne's performance persona is distinctive and unique. The production values are up to the usual L&L standards. If you like card tricks, you'll like these videos.

Pros: Some great card tricks, well taught.

Cons: If you don't like card tricks, these aren't the tapes for you.

Very, Very Close Volumes 5 - 7

By Michael Close. Three videos, each $29.95. All three for $84.95 postpaid in US and Canada. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box100, Tahoma, CA 96142. Orders: 1-800-6266572. Fax: 530-525-7008. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.allmagic.com/llpub. Also available from Michael Close at www.bigfoot.com/~magicdude. Guest Review By Gordon Bean

I'm sure Gordon Bean is beginning to feel like a character in an Al Pacino movie - just when he thought he was out, he got dragged back in again. After a year in the heat as the video reviewer for Genii magazine, Gordon stepped down to enjoy a cooler climate. He has graciously assented to step back into the kitchen and review these new videos from L&L Publishing, and I thank him for doing so.

Michael Close is one of the few magicians who could get me to feed another ugly black box into my VCR. The first four volumes of this series were the first tapes I reviewed for Genii, and when Michael asked if I would guest-review the final three volumes, I welcomed the chance to complete the circle. (Though, ironically, one of the reasons I stopped reviewing was to forestall any appearance of "you pat my back, and I'll pat yours" arising the marketing of my own effects. Then again, how else am I going to get anyone to buy my lame new packet trick?)

If those first four volumes focus on the Close approach to strategizing deception, this final trio shows where that approach came from - the restaurant venue - and how it works there. Michael is among the most academic of all pros, and when he opens the tapes with an entreaty to use them alongside his Workers series of books, it isn't an empty commercial pitch. He makes a point of how much he studied and worked before he even considered working in a restaurant, and this serious respect for the rigors of the craft is a welcome change from the empty expectations of the Magic-is-Easy school. Michael's background as a working musician comes through here, as does his experience as a teacher. His message: to be good takes work, but it's the only way you'll survive if you want to make a living at this.

Volume Five: After opening with a short discussion with Michael Ammar and Eric Mead about the importance of making the experience of fooling and being fooled a shared -rather than divisive - experience, Michael performs and explains "Dr. Strangetrick," a consummate handling of the "Card Warp" plot, complete with his marvelous restoration kicker. (Restorations being a bit more motivated when there's a reason for tearing up the card in the first place.) Following this is a modernized handling of Stewart Judah's

"Straw and Shoelace," which should once again become a standard impromptu item. Working on ideas from Marlo and Maven, "A Trick for O'Brien" is the sort of personalized card miracle that builds reputations. Next up, "The Imagination Tester" is pure Close: an offbeat effect (an origami figure becoming real), worked out to the last detail. "Tut Tut," "Myopia," and "The Birthday Book" are, finally, three very clever uses of the Simon Aronson stacked deck.

Volume Six: "Erma La Force" is yet another killer card closer, and the child-targeted "Tamariz Rabbits" provides a nice change of pace. "The Unreality Machine" takes the Close penchant for a perfectly routined oddity to the extreme: a pea can somehow helps turn an examined match folder into a folded piece of paper. The finishing trio here all involve misdirection and objects appearing on the performer's face: "Close's Clones" is the marketed item involving Wild Card clowns and the performer's nose, "Down for the Count" is a paddle trick involving the performer's mouth, and the self-explanatory "The Card, the Forehead and the Salt Shaker" is nothing less than Close's signature routine, constituting, as he says, "a post-graduate course in controlling audience attention." You want screams? Do these routines.

Volume Seven: "Red Blue Mama Fooler," a two-deck mule kick, took me in (and I had read it at least twice before). "The Wishing Trick" is a great way to break in one's mastery of a memorized deck. A definite highlight of all three tapes, Michael's handling for the "Haunted Deck" uses a novelty prop to great effect. "Reverse Logic" is a strong four-part routine of card reversals, "The 26 Cent Trick" works off an original and effective coin plot, and "Flying Home" conveys cards to your pocket using an array of very clever moves and touches that mark Close as one of our top card workers.

I can't imagine any performer of close-up magic who wouldn't enjoy and benefit from

Very, Very Close Volumes 5-7.

Pros: If you want to become one (a pro, that is), get these videos. Cons: No weak material to let me look objective. Knock 'Em Dead

By Paul Wilson. $29.95 Postage and handling is free for US and Canada; overseas air add $7.50 per video. From A-1 MagicalMedia, 3337 Sunrise Blvd., #8, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Phone: 1-800-876-8437. Fax: 916-852-7785. Web site: www.a1magicalmedia.com.

In every generation of magicians there are a handful that stand head-and-shoulders above their colleagues. R. Paul Wilson of Scotland is in that rarified group. Paul combines technique of the highest caliber with a classical creative approach to produce diabolical routines that appear to be without explanation. Paul has done a few lectures in the United States and has made a couple of convention appearances. For most of you, Knock 'Em Dead: The Close-up Magic of Paul Wilson will be your first chance to see this talented young man in action.

This videotape focuses on close-up magic, with the emphasis on card magic, although there are two coin routines, a spoon bending routine, and a Moving Hole routine. Some of the material is not easy, but there are also routines that require little technical ability. The tape begins with "Crowded Coins," Paul's handling of Jonathan Townsend's "Fingertip Coins Across." In Paul's routine three coins are produced from thin air, they travel from hand to hand (one at a time), and they subsequently vanish. Paul's handling, while not easy, is substantially easier than previously published versions. (You can find "Crowded Coins" in the July 1999 issue of Genii, under the title "Scottish Fly.") The other coin routine on the tape, "Coins to Purse," is cleverly constructed and will probably fool you. Three coins are removed from a small coin purse. The coins vanish one at a time and end up back in the purse. Only three coins are used.

The card routines include "Collector's Day," in which the four aces collect three selections while under a spectator's hand, "Absolute Zero," a self-working card location, "Hail Stones," a spelling routine in which a rather difficult technique is put to good use, "Gypsy Monte," a very commercial version of Three Card Monte, and "Think Stop & Emergence," which features a spooky, dead-easy revelation. Paul also explains two very useful card techniques, the Consistent Control and the Underground Add-on. Card enthusiasts will immediately want to add these to their armaments of sleights.

The final routine on the video is "Unholy Gathering," a Matrix-type effect in which four holes move around. A card is selected and signed. Paul punches four holes in the card, one in each corner. Three of the holes are visibly moved to join the fourth hole. At the conclusion, all four holes are in the corner of the card and the signed card is returned to the spectator. Paul has taken a Michael Weber idea and combined it with a clever swindle to produce a very visual effect. I'm sure many of you are wondering if I'm going to replace any Moving Hole tricks in my repertoire with Paul's trick. No. There are three aspects of Paul's routine I don't care for: the deck stays in play the entire time, the signed face of the card is away from the spectators during the moving of the holes, and you have to do a switch before you can hand out the card. However, on the plus side, Paul's routine places less demands on the performer than other such routines, and for that reason I think that "Unholy Gathering" will become a popular routine for the average close-up worker.

The production values of Knock 'Em Dead are generally good, however there are a few occasions when none of the cameras is able to catch a good shot of what's going on. An overhead camera shot would have been a big help. I'm also not sure why Michael Maxwell needed to co-host the explanation part of the video. Having spent time with Paul and watched him lecture, I know that he is capable of explaining his material clearly and concisely. I found many of Mr. Maxwell's comments to be unhelpful and disruptive to the flow of the explanation.

This is a terrific video, full of practical (and sometimes challenging) magic. If you are a close-up worker who has above average technical ability, you'll want Knock 'Em Dead in your video library.

Pros: Top-notch close-routines from one of the best young magicians in the world.

Cons: None, other than the lack of a few overhead shots and explanatory segments that suffer from too many cooks.

Routines Quartet

By Guy Hollingworth. Routines is $35 plus $5 p&h to the US ($3 within the UK). Quartet is $20 plus $2 p&h to the US (postage free in the UK). International money orders may be sent to Magic Management, Denmark Road Studios, 117 Denmark Road, London, SE5 9LB, England. You can order by credit card at Guy's web site at www.guy-hollingworth.com.

Charming and dapper Guy Hollingworth is back, and he has two new products sure to delight card enthusiasts. For those of you who came in late, Guy is the creator of "The Reformation," a card trick that spawned many imitators and generated tons of correspondence on the Internet. Guy is also the author of Drawing Room Deceptions, one of the best books of the last decade. Guy's previous video release, The London Collection, utilized a clever format - the card tricks were interspersed with a walking tour of London. Shot in black-and-white with stylish photography, the video was a refreshing change from the normal fare offered in the magic marketplace. Guy's new videotape, Routines, uses the same travelogue format, but this time the theme is "Here's a Day in the Life of Guy Hollingworth." Guy takes us on a tour of locales that have been important in his life, including his home, his high school, and his college, and along the way he performs and explains some excellent card magic. Many of the performances were videotaped during actual shows, giving the viewer a chance to see how this material plays for real people in real venues.

The routines offered in Routines are less technically challenging than the material in The London Collection, but there are a few that will require some serious practice. Foremost among these is a terrific gambling demonstration that ends with the entire deck returning to new deck order. If you want to convince laymen (or magicians) that you can do just about anything you want with a deck of cards, this is the routine for you.

Also explained on this video are "An Ace Assembly," which uses a common stationery item in a devious way, a version of "The Travelers" that requires more bluff than skill, and "The Cassandra Quandary," an amazing prediction effect. For me, the highlight of the tape is "A Card at Any Number," a parlor trick that completely took me in when I saw Guy perform it here in Las Vegas a few years ago. The effect is this: A spectator selects a card and signs it. The card is returned to the deck and the deck is fairly cut. A number between 1 and 52 is determined using several members of the audience. (This number is not forced in any way.) The magician counts down to the card at the selected number. (This count is completely fair.) The card at the counted number is revealed. It is the spectator's signed card. Believe me, if you don't know how this trick works you are going to get fooled. Best of all, very little technical facility is required.

Routines ends with a performance of "The Reformation," but this effect is not explained. As I have mentioned previously in this column, Guy made a vow to the purchasers of the Reformation video that he would not release any further explanations of this trick on videotape. However, "The Reformation" is explained in Drawing Room Deceptions, and combining that source with the performance on the Routines video will certainly aid the learning process.

This is a fine video, filled with great tricks and Guy's usual panache. And there's a hilarious out-take at the end. What more could you ask for? Recommended.

Mr. Hollingworth also has another product worthy of your attention, a small manuscript titled Quartet. "Quartet" is actually the name of the gaffed card that is included with the manuscript. This gaffed card allows you to perform many different effects, including one that you have probably seen - the version of "Waving the Aces" that Guy performed on The World's Greatest Magic. In this trick the four Kings turn over one at a time as the cards are held vertically, spread in the left hand. At the end of these reversals the four Kings suddenly turn into the four Aces. This is a remarkable and very deceptive routine, and the use of the Quartet card minimizes the technical demands.

Guy applies the Quartet card to nine additional routines, including a version of the Reverse Ace Assembly, a handling for "Dr. Daley's Last Trick," and a couple of versions of Paul Harris' "Reset." All these routines feature clever constructions and will certainly spur card workers to further investigations.

Quartet is well written, and 109 clear photographs accompany the text. If you like card magic you'll have a lot of fun with this. Recommended.

Pros: Superior card magic presented in an entertaining format.

Cons: None.

Magic Party Video

By Mark Leveridge. $29.95 postpaid in US and Canada. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box100, Tahoma, CA 96142. Orders: 1-800-626-6572. Fax: 530-525-7008. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.allmagic.com/llpub.

Mark Leveridge does it all. He's a magic dealer, close-up performer, stand-up magician, and children's show entertainer. As part of his children's show package, he offers clients something called the Magic Party. Basically, this in an all-inclusive afternoon's entertainment, featuring games and prizes for the children in addition to the magic show. By offering several versions of the Magic Party, he can provide an entertainment package that fits the client's budget. (And in many cases he can up-sell a simple magic show into one of the more expensive packages.)

On Mark Leveridge's Magic Party Video, Mr. Leveridge explains all aspects of the Magic Party. This video is a whopping 2 1/2 hours long and features Mr. Leveridge performing in front of a group of children and then explaining the material in a solo setting. (As an aside, I must mention that these are the best-behaved children I have ever seen.)

The tape begins with a discussion of the type of table to use. Mr. Leveridge prefers a rollon table and explains why. He then explains how he establishes control of his audience and how he learns all the children's names. Following this are explanations of lots of games, activities, and magic routines. Some games require the construction of a few props, but these are reusable. The magic is very simple and direct, and I would imagine that those of you who do kid shows will find several bits that you'll want to add to your repertoires.

Near the end of the video Mr. Leveridge talks about how to book your show, how to sell yourself, and how to negotiate your fee. The business end of magic is always tough (and not too much fun), and Mr. Leveridge offers practical and useful advice.

If you do kid's shows, MarkLeveridge'sMagic Party Video is a valuable resource. The ideas offered will allow you to broaden your markets and increase your fees. Recommended.

Pros: Practical and useful ideas for the kid's show entertainer. Cons: None.

Getting Serious.. .Or What?

By Thomas Krantz. $30 plus $8 p&h. From Pegani, Box 218, 8700 Horsens, Denmark. Fax: 45-7562-0488. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.pegani.dk

Thomas Kranz is a professional magician from Sweden who now makes his home in Denmark. The new video GettingSerious...Or What? contains five table-hopping routines and three stand-up routines from his professional repertoire. The table-hopping routines include a version of Matrix with a jumbo coin kicker, a repeat card to pocket routine, a handling for Coins Across, a three card revelation, and an interesting routine in which the entire deck (with the exception of the selected card) vanishes in a burst of fire. The stand-up routines include a One Coin routine, a version of David Roth's "Karate Coin," and a handling for "Spellbound."

I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to say about this tape. Mr. Krantz has developed a few nice touches on these routines. For example, there is an interesting ploy to divert attention away from a very dirty hand during the Matrix routine. He has also added an interesting presentational plot for the repeat card to pocket routine. Unfortunately, the handlings for these routines seem very familiar and unexciting. I see nothing new in the Matrix routine, the repeat card to pocket construction (combining the Francis Carlyle "Homing Card" with David Williamson's "51 Cards to Pocket,") has been in print before, and the other routines have little to distinguish them from that which has been published so many times before. An exception is "Walking on Fire," the trick where the deck vanishes in flames. This is novel and effective.

I'm sure that Mr. Krantz puts these routines to good use in his professional work, and if you are a newcomer to close-up magic you could certainly find these routines to be practical and fun. But if you have any experience in this field and have studied the literature, I'm sure you will already have routines in your repertoire that are as effective as the ones presented here.

Punishment

By Pat-Trick. $30 plus $5 p&h. International money orders to Maskelyne & Devant Pty Ltd, 23 Whitton Parade Coburg, Victoria Australia 3058. Credit card order via email: [email protected].

Here's another video that features a professional performing and explaining routines from his working repertoire. Pat-Trick is an Irishman living in Australia. On Punishment he performs and explains five close-up routines and gives us a little tour of the sights of Melbourne, Australia.

The most interesting item on the video is the first routine, "Cardwatch." The magician removes 10 or 12 cards from the pack. A spectator thinks of one of these cards. One by one, the cards are turned face up, and then they are placed face down on the spectator's left hand. The challenge is for the spectator to place his hand on the thought-of card before the magician can take it away. The spectator traps his card between his hands. All the cards are examined; the spectator's card has vanished. It is found in a folded condition underneath the spectator's watch. This is a very effective routine that would play great in a strolling venue. It combines a Paul Harris idea with the idea of loading an object under the spectator's watch. (I'm unsure who gets credit for this idea. I know that Steve Bedwell has a routine where he loads a card under his own watch, and Mark Sicher had a routine where a coin goes under a spectator's watch, but I don't know who to credit with the card under spectator's watch idea. Pat-Trick does not give a credit for this idea.)

The other routines on this video, unfortunately, are less exciting. There is a Single Cup and Ball routine, a card routine that combines a Jay Sankey switch with Darwin Ortiz's "Dream Card," a coin routine that combines the purse frame with Roth's Wild Coin concept, and a three card routine called "2 Wrongs Don't Make a Right." This latter trick is based on the concept of "Let's see how much mileage we can get out of Double Lifts and the Christ/Annemann Alignment Move." It did absolutely nothing for me, and didn't do much more for the two spectators who participate on the video. Special cards are required, and should you want to try it out for yourself, you can get them for $10 plus $2 for postage and handling from the address listed above.

If the Card Under Spectator's Watch idea appeals to you, Punishment may be worth its $30 price tag. The catch is this: if you have the skill to perform that routine, the other routines on the tape will probably be of little interest. The routines are of average difficulty, so they may be of value to avid newcomers.

The Professor's Rope Symphony

By Joachim Solberg. $20 plus $8 p&h. From Pegani, Box 218, 8700 Horsens, Denmark. Fax: 45-7562-0488. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.pegani.dk

Joachim Solberg is a very popular Danish magician. On this video he explains his handling for "The Professor's Nightmare." I'm sure that at this moment you're thinking, "Do we need another handling for this trick?" In most cases I would say, "No," but in this case Mr. Solberg has added some very nice moves to the standard arsenal of Equal/Unequal rope techniques. The routine is designed for tableside work, although with some thought it could be adapted to cocktail party conditions. At the beginning the ropes are of equal lengths. Then they suddenly become unequal. They return to their equal condition, and then become one long rope. Other magical things occur, and at the end of the routine the ropes are again three equal lengths.

The video is well produced, and Mr. Solberg's explanation is very clear. If you enjoy this classic plot you may find that The Professor's Rope Symphony is exactly what you're looking for. Even if you don't learn Mr. Solberg's entire routine, you may find some moves that you can incorporate into your own handling.

Magiro's Fork & Spoon Mystery

From El Duco's Magic. $50 plus $5 p&h. From El Duco's Magic, Box 31052, 200 49 Malmo, Sweden. Fax: 46 40 217228. Email: [email protected].

I know what you're thinking - just what we need, another Fork & Spoon trick. This, however, is a good one. Magiro's original trick came out a few years ago, and I thought it was a clever thing back then. Sweden's El Duco has purchased the rights to this trick and is releasing it with all the necessary props and an instructional videotape featuring Joachim Solberg.

The basic routine (demonstrated and explained on the video) is this: The magician shows a fork and a large soupspoon. The left hand holds the two utensils with the handles sticking out of the top of the fist. The spoon is removed and is placed into a pocket (Mr. Solberg uses a vest pocket, but a jacket breast pocket could also be used). The handle of the spoon never leaves the spectators' sight. A magical gesture is made, and the left hand is opened. It now contains the spoon. The fork is removed from the pocket. Everything can be examined.

In addition to this basic routine, Mr. Solberg offers a slightly more advanced routine that does not require the use of a pocket. However, it does require a small bit of palming. In trying out Mr. Solberg's routine I discovered that there was one move that I could not accomplish, due to the size of my hands. Without too much thought I was able to devise a more comfortable handling that accomplished the same function, and you will probably be able to do the same thing.

I think this is an excellent routine for table-hoppers. It uses (apparently) ordinary objects, and everything can be examined at the end. At $50 the price is not cheap, but the props are well made and should last a long time, and the video instruction is very good.

Show Off

By Brian Tudor. $25 plus $3.50 p&h. From Brian Tudor, 1550 Ashwood Drive, Martinez, CA 94553

The name of this videotape says it all. Brian Tudor explains 10 flourishes, most of which are of the multiple-packet cut variety that are very popular these days. This is a single camera, amateur video quality production, and my guess is that you'll be hitting the rewind and the slo-mo buttons quite a few times before you figure out everything that's going on. The video ends with a strange rant in defense of flourishes. It should have been left on the cutting room floor.

There's no need for me to jump into the great flourish debate, I've stated my opinion on other occasions. You either like flourishes or you don't. If you like flourishes, Show Off has some flashy ones.

Rich Marotta's Marked Prediction

By Rich Marotta. $15. From A-1 MagicalMedia, 3337 Sunrise Blvd., #8, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742. Phone: 1-800-876-8437. Fax: 916-852-7785. Web site: www.a1magicalmedia.com.

It's a pity when you find a trick that has the potential for being a practical, commercial routine but also has a fatal flaw. Such is the case with "Rich Marotta's Marked Prediction," a new release from A-1 MagicalMedia. The magician removes an envelope that he says contains a prediction. A spectator names any card in the deck. A jumbo card is removed from the envelope. When the card is turned around it is seen to be a 52-on-1 card, showing the indices of all 52 cards. (The indices are arranged in four rows, one for each suit, running ace through king as in a standard 52-on-1 card.) When the audience groans, the magician offers to be more specific. He takes out a marking pen, turns away from the audience, and apparently puts an "X" through one of the cards. Another spectator now names a card. The jumbo card is turned around. There is an X through the named card.

"Marked Prediction" uses a clever idea that allows you to put the X through any of the cards. The handling is not difficult, but will require some practice so that it does not look like something sneaky is going on behind the card. But here's the big flaw: This trick is designed as stand-up trick. The X is not going to pass inspection at close range. The X looks great when it is on top of a red index. But when the X is on top of a black index it blends in and cannot be clearly distinguished. If the spectators cannot immediately tell that there's an X through the selected card, then there is no effect. A possible solution would be to use an "O" to apparently circle the predicted card. (Enough extra material is provided that you could construct an O.) Unfortunately, the indices are so tightly spaced on the 52-on-1 card that an O cannot cleanly circle an index. Ah, well.

I think that the method of "Marked Prediction" is a clever one and is capable of further exploration. But I fear that anyone purchasing this trick in its present state is going to be very disappointed.

Pharoah's Magic Casino Cards

By Barry Govan and Pat-Trick. $20 postpaid. From Barry Govan, P.O. Box 64, Sebastopol, Vic., 3356 Australia. Email: [email protected].

(Before Max Maven has a chance to yell at me for misspelling "Pharaoh", I'll simply say that "Pharoah" is how it's spelled on the cards and throughout the instructions.)

Barry Govan and Pat-Trick have expanded on Danny Archer's "Lucky Lotto" cards to produce a "scratch-off' lotto card that allows you to do fifteen different effects. There are six different scratch-off boxes on the face of the card (which measures 2.5 x 3 inches). The upper three boxes contain a 14 of Diamonds, a 3 ^ of Clubs, and a "Tree of Hearts." The next two long boxes contain "Your Name" and "Correct." The large box at the bottom contains eight small cards, three Aces of Clubs and five other cards. The other printing on the face and the back of the card allows you to perform other effects. There are also brief instructions on the back of the card.

There are various ways you could use this card. You could perform any (or all) of the effects possible and leave the card as a souvenir. You could also simply give the card away and mention the effects on the back. Because of the cost of these cards (you get 25 for $20) you're not going to want to hand these out to everyone you meet. Barry suggests (and I agree) that you only give one away to those spectators who are prime prospects for future bookings. The card will allow the prospect to do some simple tricks for his friends, and in the process will remember you as well. These cards can also be personalized with your information. Contact Barry for details.

I think the "Pharoah's Magic Casino Cards" are a clever give-away. They're not cheap, but used correctly they could generate bookings for you.

(By the way, in his discussion of the 3 ^ of Clubs trick, Mr. Govan perpetuates the misconception that Milt Kort invented the trick called "MiKo." The trick is named for Mr. Kort, but he did not invent it.)

It's Not Magic, But.

If you're looking to spruce up your fliers, posters, or business cards you might want to check out Fonts from the Magic Castle. These 13 fonts are available in both Macintosh and PC formats and are easily installable. These fonts are fanciful and fun and are designed to be used as bold headline text, rather than body text. I have been using them mostly for ransom notes. (That is, notes I send to Tom Ransom.)

Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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