OPENERS AND CLOSERS 3 – A Review

OPENERS AND CLOSERS 3
Paul Lelekis

Triumphs, invisible thread, invisible decks, change bags, nail writers, and almost impromptu mental magic… it’s all in Paul’s OPENERS AND CLOSERS 3. This book has a very decidedly mentalism / mental magic flavor.. which was fine with me, as I love to mess with people’s minds. Paul has also included videos and an abundance of photos in this edition, which is also fine with me, as I am a very visual guy.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is… I thoroughly enjoyed volume 3 of the Openers and Closers series. Paul’s writing ranks up there with the best of them, and his explanations ARE the best.
The 21 Card ESP Trick alone is worth the price. I am very partial to effects that look like big dollar effects and perform almost automatic. I literally went to bed last night playing this effect over and over in my mind and imagining how my fellow magicians will react when I perform it.

Writing about card tricks and magic in general is not extremely difficult. There’s a proverbial ton of material out there to offer fodder for the cause.. But writing about magic in a way that’s inspiring and insightful is very difficult.. and that’s why I respect Paul’s third contribution to the OPENERS & CLOSERS series.

(The parentheses are my thoughts on Paul’s descriptions..).

INTRODUCTION – An opener does NOT have to be a trick!
( Paul offers some seriously funny advice on winning your audience over at the start of your performance. Getting their support and earning their confidence is SO important, and cannot be underestimated.. You’ll learn a little biker humor along the way too.. )

The 21 Card ESP Trick – Show your version of the 21 Card Trick…but you seem to have goofed up! Then you not only deal out one card only, face down, but you also know the name of selection!
( This reminds me so much of an effect you would expect to find in Giobbi’s ‘Card College’ or Scarne’s ‘Scarne on Card Tricks’ – Very efficient, very rewarding and very much a mystery to your audience. There is NO sleight of hand, but you will fool the socks off your spectators..)

Above & Beyond – Three classics of magic combined into one fantastic card trick!
(Based on a Stewart James classic.. modified by three fellow magicians, and combined into a wonderful, sleight less effect by Paul. Above & Beyond does need a false shuffle or two, but I’m sure you guys can pull that off! Another effect you can add to your repertoire right away..)

Voodoo Reversal of Fortune – Here’s an EXCELLENT trick with the Invisible Deck!
( If you can manipulate an Invisible Deck.. you can perform Paul’s original effect with ease. Not only will you learn a convincer and a simple psychological factoid, you will also learn a cool move Paul teaches with an included video..)

Reading a Thought – Here’s is the REAL method for using a Nail-Writer and two different ways to reveal the thought-of selection!
( Not much I can add to this description.. Paul discloses HOW he uses a nail writer to fool his spectator. If you’ve ever used this extremely powerful weapon then you already understand the power. All the psychological aspects are discussed and explained..)

Invisible Thread Ideas – A 5-page treatise on the use and handling of Invisible Thread!
( This is a highly informative tutorial on the intricacies of invisible thread. If you’re afraid of invisible thread, welcome to the majority. It’s my personal experience the only guys swearing by IT are the guys who use it regularly… and they are probably NOT anxious for you to read Paul’s thoughts. He talks about floating bills, napkins, playing cards, and other inanimate objects like glasses and silverware. Paul also includes his thoughts on sellers of IT and the best thread to use. Good, solid thoughts.. )

See-Through Change Bag – Construct you own change bag for pennies and make it in 5 minutes.
( Not trying to direct you too far away from card magic, this is an ideal compliment to your routine, that will allow you to add a bit of mental magic to your already-stellar act. You can create this, as Paul aptly notes, in minutes. The KISS principle personified…)

A Quickie Triumph – Explain to the audience how difficult it is to practice when you drop the cards all the time. Make the cards “right themselves” in a flash…except the selection!
( You’ll need a couple of not-too-difficult sleights to complete this effect. Paul includes a video of Steve Draun’s Midnight Shift to make the process very do-able for even beginners. I am a big fan of Triumph, and this version has the impact… without the mess..)

This is the final version of Paul’s three part Openers & Closers. I think this one might be my favorite. I’m partial to mental magic and this ebook includes several very nice effects that are ideal for any skill level. The most productive $10.00 investment you’ll make in your magic this summer. Openers & Closers 3 will be available for sale at Lybrary.com on 7/24/17..

http://www.lybrary.com/paul-a-lelekis-m-163788.html

(Reviewed by R.Carruth for the Magic Roadshow..)

———————————————————

ECLECTICA – A Review

ECLECTICA – John Carey
Murphy’s Magic

ECLECTICA is just that… a thorough mix of many different effects with cards… mostly. John Carey likes to take a simple premise and turn it into a clever effect with sleights most beginners find very learnable. Yes, there are a few flustration counts and color changes.. but nothing beyond the neophyte.

Personally, I grew up on this type magic. My first ‘real’ magic book was Scarne On Card Tricks, and Scarne went to great lengths to make the effect simple while maintaining a certain integrity. Mr Carey does the same, buy isn’t afraid to make you work a little if the end result is worth it.

I appreciate that he keeps everything relatively simple. Card magic shouldn’t be difficult -if- there’s a way to perform the sleight without breaking your wrist. John manages to include 15 effects in the space normally required for 7 or 8 numbing effects. I don’t have a problem with this, as I don’t need someone to explain in detail all the subtle and psychological moves of every aspect of a trick. Just show me how you do it and let me find my way.

If I have anything on the negative side to say about John Carey.. its that he’s too nice. Watching Eclectica is like watching that wonderful painter, Bob Ross. No, his paintings don’t hang in the Louvre, and snoddy painters make fun of his simplicity.. But Bob Ross is a genius at entertaining his audience. My problem with watching Bob is his style and manner is expressive and genuine, but his soft voice will lull you into a blissful state if you aren’t careful. Ditto for John…

The DVD runs 1 hour and 48 minutes, which is ample time for everything. I hope I haven’t given the impression John rushes through the effects, sacrificing quantity over quality. That’s not the case. Most of the effects run about three minutes and the explanations about 5 minutes. Here’s a little summary of the contents…

Backs to the Wall – Based on a Dai Vernon effect.. A deck with all backs turns into a regular deck…

Ensemble – A spectator makes a number of fair choices amid much shuffling, and yet somehow manages to pick the four Aces. John demonstrates a painless method of culling the Aces.

Three Phase Dailey – Another one based on a Dai Vernon effect. Sort of a cross between Vernon, Larry Jennings, and David Blaine. If you can perform a double lift, a flustration count, and a double turnover.. you’re good to go.

Mental Sandwich – A card mentally selected by a spectator ends up sandwiched between two jokers in the middle of the deck. Nice JK Hartman sleight makes the magic possible.

Sent and Received – Based on Vernon’s Emotional Reaction. Super simple bit of mental magic that can be mastered in minutes.

Top, Middle and Bottom – This is the rare effect that uses a duplicate card to read the spectator’s mind. Then, a surprising revelation completes the effect.

Slow Motion Triumph – For the packet trick fans amongst you. A little fancy dealing produces a very convincing triumph.

Telekinetic – A nice production of a selected card upside down in the deck. There is more to it than a simple reveal, and makes you quite the mystery man. One of the more difficult effects.. but well worth the effort.

Splitsville – An opener that resembles a series of mis-adventures by the performer suddenly turns into a four Ace production. Not difficult, but does require a simple setup.

Homage To Bannon – Bannon performed a little ditty called Fat City. This is John’s version. It’s quick and easy and includes a nice paint brush move to bring two Jokers into play.

Whispers – Several basic moves make the magic possible. John teaches a couple of very efficient multiple card forces, including one from Bannon that looks really good.

Assisted Ambitions – Sort of an Ambition effect meets a four Aces production. A few double turnovers certainly go a long ways.

Invisible Interlude – Very simple moves, a couple of large coins, and a deck of cards are all that’s needed to make you look like ‘Bobo meets Bannon’…

Two’s Company And..? Sponge Balls anyone? John teaches a very intriguing sponge ball routine featuring moves by some heavyweights of magic, including a beautiful move by Martin Gardner.

One Card And One Thought – Two spectators complete the magic in this effect inspired by Al Leech. Not difficult to perform and perfect for couples or best friends…

I would recommend ECLECTICA to anyone wanting to add a few effects to their walk-around or table hopping routine. There’s something here for everyone…

$30.00 from dealers carrying the Murphy’s Magic line of products…

https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=57191

Reviewed by Rick Carruth..

America’s Got Talent Called Out For Fakery Over Contestant..

By Nick Venable…   Every so often, America’s Got Talent introduces a contestant or two that gets people worked up about the legitimacy of their acts, and for Season 12, that contestant is Thai magician Will Tsai. Appearing on the audition episodes in May, Tsai performed a pretty jaw-dropping iteration of the classic coin matrix illusion, which gained him some skeptical detractors. Perhaps the most notable of those is Internet debunker CaptainDisillusion, who presents an argument that Tsai’s act wasn’t real, even by magic’s standards, and was faked using digital augmentation.

CaptainDisillusion creates videos that tend to disprove the kinds of “too impossible to be true” videos that get shared across social media, and he most recently took aim at Will Tsai, using Tsai’s background as a “visualist” and some footage-based investigating to “prove” that the America’s Got Talent hopeful wasn’t being honest with the judges or audience members. CaptainD even posits network execs being part of it, but we’ll get into that in a bit. Here’s the actual act below, in case anyone is unaware of what went down.

The bulk of CaptainDisillusion’s argument lies in Will Tsai’s day gigs as both a designer of magic tricks for SansMind Magic and as a YouTube entertainer. On one hand, it’s addressed in CaptainDisillusion’s video that SansMind was in a temporary tiff with another company over ownership of a magic trick, and the concept of questionable ethics is hammered home. On the other side of the same hand, claims are made that none of Tsai’s YouTube videos actually feature legitimate slight-of-hand illusions, and that they’re all created using post-production digital effects. Furthermore, Tsai is roundabout-accused of not having publicly performed traditional magic before his America’s Got Talent audition.

The video argument then dives into the table that Will Tsai used on America’s Got Talent played a part in the illusion, as it were. Other magic enthusiasts and trick-debunkers have claimed that Tsai must have been using a specially designed table with a series of small mechanisms that rapidly flip over, allowing for the coin-to-rose-petal effect, as well as the way the coins just appear and disappear without being touched. But CaptainDisillusion purports that, once again, Tsai’s magic is just CGI, as those kinds of tables simply wouldn’t be quick enough to create what America’s Got Talent TV audiences watched in the episode.

Using arguments like mysterious reflections and the table having a top so black that it couldn’t be digitally brightened, CaptainDisillusion argues that not only was Tsai responsible for this, but that NBC’s producers were also invested in digitally manipulating the footage to make it look that much more impossible. Which sounds like a conspiracy until one considers that just about all of reality TV is edited to provide the biggest entertainment boost, regardless of honesty. (And a recent lawsuit doesn’t exactly paint everyone on the show in a lovely light, not that the two are related incidents.)

You can watch the full CaptainDisillusion video below.

What do you guys think? Is Will Tsai in the right, or is Captain Disillusion? Either way, America’s Got Talent airs Tuesday nights on NBC at 8:00 p.m. ET, which includes naked comedy duos. You can non-magically find everything hitting the small screen soon with our summer TV premiere schedule.

http://www.cinemablend.com/television/1676759/americas-got-talent-called-out-for-fakery-over-one-contestant

Columnist Mike Weatherford Says Goodby to Las Vegas Review-Journal

Maybe I just don’t like to leave a party that’s still raging. But I’m giving up this column and full-time work for the newspaper. And while the show scene I cover isn’t really one of the reasons for doing this right now, it does seem easier to leave during this lull on the Strip, when concert headliners are replacing investment in original shows.

Does anyone really feel like another “Ka” is in the pipeline? I’ve been battling repetition, though I hope it hasn’t shown up too much in the writing. There’s full-circle pride in having covered Celine Dion’s opening night in 2003, her closing night four years later, and her return in 2011.

But if I’m going to try some creative writing and things I’ve been talking about for years (including a February 2016 podcast of ‘Matt & Mattingly’s Ice Cream Social’)? The little voice is saying, “Run, before she closes again!”

The first column with my face on it, announcing I would follow my friend Michael Paskevich, ran this same month in 2000. Part of it addressed the pending destruction of the old Circus Maximus showroom at CaesarsPalace.

At least I got here in time to close the book on the old Vegas, and even to write a book, “Cult Vegas,” about it. I rolled into town on the same day in October 1987 that Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. last stood on the same Las Vegas stage together.

A flat tire intervened somewhere around Mesquite, I wasn’t actually on the job yet (just apartment hunting), and anyway, I was the young guy hired to cover rock concerts, not the old Vegas cats. So I missed Sinatra’s old pals surprising him.

But the old Vegas reeled me in anyway. I later got to shake Davis’ hand, and to better know Sam Butera, Claude Trenier, Marty Allen and other workaday heroes of the classic-Vegas era. Blackie Hunt and Sonny King came to my book release party, and I’ll never forget Robert Goulet calling my mom to get the answer to a crossword puzzle clue. Neither would she.

Still, “Cult Vegas” was mostly research and interview recollections. My real-time experience was the Cirque du Soleil era and the reinvention of the Strip.

I covered the opening night of The Mirage and would later venture into the tent that sprung up behind it to meet the Cirque du Soleil folk bringing us “Nouvelle Experience.”

 “A lot of people are going to be very surprised that Cirque is going to do so well here,” then-Mirage (now MGM Resorts) executive Alan Feldman said in that 1992 story. To assume Cirque was too artsy for Vegas “suggests that people can’t get enough of the old Vegas stuff. If all those shows were doing turn-away business every night, that might be true.”

I chronicled every Cirque show since. But now, doesn’t it seem like Cirque is the “old stuff” and we’re waiting for some new tent full of fresh imagination to pop up somewhere in town?

Throughout this era, I always tried to write credible show reviews and to delve into the business behind the shows. If a mediocre one endures, perhaps it has more to do with the mechanics of ticket discounting. If a Broadway musical didn’t perform, maybe it wasn’t that a “Vegas audience” didn’t get it, but that it toured too much before landing here.

Everyone’s a critic now when it comes to an internet jammed with consumer opinion. But believe it or not, Paskevich was the first Review-Journal staffer to write objective show reviews. (The town was just too small, and those who say it was better when the mob ran it didn’t labor under the threat of someone digging a hole for them in the desert.)

As the second one, I hope I prodded local producers to push forward and aim higher, even if it was sometimes awkward to do both reviews and news columns about the same people. But I needed material, they needed the ink, and with very few exceptions, we all got along.

The Strip seems to have moved beyond loopy self-parodies such as “Nebulae — The Life Force,” and I kind of miss those days. But my snark level toned down over the years as I got to know the people involved, how hard they worked, and how many ways something can go off the rails.

While Las Vegas was just another stop for concert tours, reviewing the unique-to-Vegas shows “seems to be more appreciated by consumers, who likely respect a little straight talk on these pricey attractions,” I wrote in that first 2000 column.

All these years later, I hope you did.

Entertainment columnist Mike Weatherford says farewell to RJ

Journal of Magic . Magic News . Las Vegas Magic Shows