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Author: Rick Carruth

The Vault – Distant Assembly – by Alejandro Navas – A Review

The Vault – Distant Assembly – by Alejandro Navas – A Review

The Vault – Distant Assembly by Alejandro Navas – A Review

This is the Ad Copy:

Alejandro Nava’s brings us an Incredible Aces Assembly effect that happens in the spectators own hands!
Three of the Aces disappear from the spectator hands and reappear with the selected Ace in an impossible location even with the spectator’s on the other side of the world.

You can perform this:

– On virtual and live performances
– To more than one spectator at the same time
– With or without gimmicks

Once you see the power of this effect, Distant Assembly will stay in your repertoire forever!

My Thoughts:

There’s no way to deny the emergence of virtual performances. A recent article in a major publication declared virtual magic is here to stay.. regardless of when we once again revive live performances. I can’t argue with that…

Alejandro Navas, creator of The Evolution Project and Evolution Project 2, is one of the foremost innovators of interactive card magic. Both of the above projects feature several different effects for live or zoom presentations. DISTANT ASSEMBLY is an individual effect that requires somewhat more instructions.. and, I assume, the decision was made to offer it as a stand-alone effect. I certainly don’t have a problem with that…

I have sought out virtual effects for months. I meet online with friends every two weeks and am constantly looking for something I hope will give them reason to pause and ask.. ‘..how the hello did you do that?’. So far, I feel I’m batting .000 with my magical buddies. I did get an ‘ooh’ or ‘ahh’ once.. but I think they just felt sorry for me.

Thank goodness for DISTANT ASSEMBLY…

I will say, up front, this is the BEST virtual effect I’ve seen in my months of looking. There is a psychological aspect to this effect that will fool the dickens out of 95% of all magicians AND the general public. I am going to recommend this effect to any and all readers of my reviews and the Magic Roadshow. It’s a $15.00 download.. and worth every penny.

What happens is this… The magi takes four aces out of his deck. The audience, also equipped with their own deck, does the same. The Aces are laid out in a certain order and the audience follows suit. The cards are put face-down on top of each Ace. After a brief series of moves, the magi and the audience each place an Ace and three random cards under their .. uh.. derriere. Now, the other three packets, which were each shown to contain an Ace, are all shown to now contain random cards only. Finally, the Ace and three odd cards under your rear end are revealed to be all Aces. This not only happens for the magi.. but for the spectators as well. Because of a number of convincers along the way, this final outcome appears impossible.

The instructional video runs just over 21 minutes.. and includes a full performance and detailed instructions. I’m not going to say this is a perfect video.. but it is well suited to present one effect. The sound is slightly unsteady, but not annoying. Camera angles of the audience members could have been more inclusive of their hands, but this is remedied before videos end.

Three gaff cards are needed. You may already have them. If not, you can easily make your own with cards and glue (or double face tape). Despite the magi using three gaffs, the audience doesn’t need anything other than a regular deck to achieve their magic. One thing about virtual.. you can get away with these home-made gaffs rather easily on camera..

Again, I think this is a very unique effect. The affect on the audience WILL be dramatic. I don’t normally go all in on a single effect.. but I think this one is worth it.

Check out the video demo on Murphy’s Magic site to get a better idea of how it plays out… (You’ll see a number of big name performers, like Dynamo and Dani DaOrtiz, who have some very good comments about DISTANT ASSEMBLY..)

$15.00 .. Available as an instant download from Murphy’s Magic and their associates
https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=69655

Review by Rick Carruth

Social Print by Juan Alvarez and Twister Magic – A Review

Social Print by Juan Alvarez and Twister Magic – A Review

Social Print by Juan Alvarez and Twister Magic – A Review

This is the Ad Copy:

Twister Magic and George Iglesias are proud to present the new Social Print routine by Juan Alvarez designed for virtual and live shows!

It’s more than a trick. This is a full routine created for the amateur or professional magician. During the past 10 years, Juan Alvarez from Colombia, has been presenting Social Print with great success in-person, on television and recently through Zoom virtual shows. This routine easily adapts to any situation and is themed around social media. Packed with entertaining moments, it’s a proven worker that’s very easy to do.

Inspired by the trick “Silk,” by Lewis Davenport, Juan has reshaped everything, created a full script and audience tested the routine hundreds of times. You will receive everything you need to perform: A card box, 26 specially printed cards, two custom-printed silks, a Facebook hand accessory, and even Juan’s script. Of course, you are more than welcome to create your own routines, gags and lines!

1 special card box printed with FaceBook logos
1 special printed handkerchief – White and Blue (Made from heavy silk, great printing definition, high durability and also washable)
1 special printed handkerchief – Leonardo Di Caprio or Angeline Jolie (depending on the trick you purchase) (made from heavy silk, great printing definition, high durability and also washable)
1 Facebook hand (made of thick cardboard and plastified for high durability)
1 instructional online video card
1 Link to download: sound effects and a PDF with a written routine.
1 special set of 26 printed jumbo cards:
Containing:
– 10 different cards: Jennifer Aniston, Will Smith, Lady Gaga, George Clooney, Whoopie Goldberg, Sofia Vergara, Angelina Jolie, Elon Musk, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump.
– 1 blank card (To add your own picture or any other picture you wish)
– 15 repeated cards to force: Leonardo Di Caprio or Angelina Jolie (Depending on the trick you purchase)

My Thoughts:

SOCIAL PRINT is released by Twister Magic and George Iglesias. I reviewed two effects by George in late 2020, Airplane Mode and A Letter To Santa, and both were two of my favorite reviews/effects of the year. So.. I had high expectations for Social Print.. knowing my prior experience with Twister Magic was a good one.

Juan Alvarez’s effect, just like my two other reviews, are all very heavy on the performance aspect. The first thing you notice when you take the products out the packages are their extremely durable manufacturing. It’s like they go overboard to make sure the props are useable for years and years. No exaggeration.

The other thing is the nature of the effect. SOCIAL PRINT is NOT a flash-in-the-pan type effect. You don’t wow your audience with gun powder and take a bow. This is a detailed and lengthy effect that builds to a climax. It’s not a complicated effect… Everything can be easily memorized by the performer as the effect tends to flow along from step to step and provides the magi with ample opportunity to talk and interact with his spectators.

The premise is this.. A heavy handkerchief is handed out for examination. It’s white, with a border, and blank.. The cloth is folded with the help of the spectator, and a rubber band is placed around it. A stack of large cards are introduced, each card with a picture of a famous celebrity. (Some listed in the ad copy). After several are shown and named, a spectator picks one of the cards and the rest are put aside. The handkerchief, after reasonable by-play, is unraveled.. to show it is now printed with a large picture of the selected celebrity. The name, Social Print, comes from the magi referring to the celebs as his FB friends, the use of sound effects created to resemble online sounds, and the use of a large FB Thumbs-Up as a prop during the effect.

Physically.. a beginner can perform this effect. The sleights are very simple, really, but with all the spectator interaction, I would recommend this effect for someone who has some degree of experience.

Actually, if you go to the Murphy’s link below.. there is a video demo AND a script of the bulk of the conversation between the magi and the spectators. This will give you a good idea of how the effect plays out.

The instructions are via Vimeo. The instructions are available in both English and Spanish.. but NO subtitles (Thank You Juan!) The English tutorial is one hour and 17 minutes, and teaches everything you would want to know. There is, aside from the instructions, a full, live performance in English. The first couple of minutes of the video are a live performance in Spanish. It scared me at first.. but not to worry.

Juan actually spends extra time showing how to perform Social Print on virtual performances and ZOOM meetings. This method is super easy and much appreciated by this reviewer.

The video sound and quality are very good, and you shouldn’t have any problems learning Social Print. Juan is from Columbia, South America.. but his English is quite good. He has trouble pronouncing Whoopie Goldberg.. but all is OK..!

There is also a link to a PDF.. if you prefer to learn the routine that way. There is also a sound file available that lets you reproduce the social media sounds.

There are two different versions of Social Print. One reveal is Leonardo Di Caprio and the second is Angeline Jolie. They are separate versions and you can order your choice of celebrity..

SOCIAL PRINT is intended for performers. If you enjoy engrossing your audience in your performance.. this will be a very good purchase for you. Fifty bucks is probably more than you pay for a typical effect.. but once you handle the props and watch the instructions, you’ll agree you made a smart choice. You’ll get LOTS of miles out of Social Print.

$50.00 .. Available at Murphy’s Magic and their associates.
https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=69202

Review by Rick Carruth

Transit (Red) by Ron Salamangkero – A Review

Transit (Red) by Ron Salamangkero – A Review

Transit (Red) by Ron Salamangkero – A Review

This is the Ad Copy:

The audience will freak out when you allow them to examine before and after you perform Transit. They can watch closely… there’s nothing to catch.

Ron Salamangkero is proud to present his latest creation. A variant of the traveling hole illusion.

The magician punches holes in three corners of a playing card using a puncher. A ribbon is tied through one hole and the ends knotted together. The card now hangs from the ribbon. With no dodgy hand or finger movement, the magician moves the ribbon from one corner hole to another by sliding it through the space between the holes. He does it twice.

It’s visual magic that looks unbelievable even when seen up close!
The magician the hands everything to the spectator for examination.
Transit comes with a gimmick card and a step by step in-depth video instruction

My Thoughts:

Seems like I’ve reviewed a number of items recently that employ gimmicked cards. This is another such effect. Ron Salamangkero (Creator of The Answer & Face Off) has created a nice gimmick for guys and girls to use in close-up situations.

The basic handling is this.. The performer has a spectator select a card. The card is shown about, and the performer uses a hole punch to punch three holes in three different corners of the selection. A ribbon is tied through one of the holes.. and the magi guides the ribbon from this hole to the second hole.. and then to the third hole, appearing to defy the laws of solid objects. This is similar in appearance to a moving hole effect.. except the ribbon moves instead of the hole.

I’m going to offer up a few initial thoughts..

Thankfully, all the DIY has been performed by Ron. All you need to do is provide a hole punch. If you don’t have one, you can pick one up at most dollar stores. The gaffed card and the ribbon come with the effect.

A twelve minute instructional video has been posted online. Although the video quality is good, I think perhaps the script should have been practiced a time or two before being recorded. This is NOT a deal breaker.. just an observation. Everything you need to know is taught.

The gimmicked card itself CANNOT be passed out for examination. A card is freely selected beforehand.. and this is the card the audience will handle afterwards. For this reason, I am not sure this is an ideal effect for a beginner. Depends on your definition of ‘beginner’.. I suppose. You do need to be able to handle the initial selection, and switching in the gimmick. This is taught in the video.. but just be advised.

This effect should be performed with pace. It will not only look better.. but you will be less apt to ‘flash’ any component of the gimmick.

If you like the moving hole effects.. you’ll really like TRANSIT. This is a sharp gimmick that actually does most of the work for you.. although you WILL have to practice the moves. You’ll not perform this ideally straight out the package. Like most of the hole effects, finger placement is important.

I do wish TRANSIT were a bit less expensive. If you use it, I can see it being a very good investment. Perhaps the price-point could be justified if two or three gimmicked cards were included. As is, there is only one, and I can see it wearing out over time. Perhaps Ron will give you a deal on replacements.??

TRANSIT is made with Bicycle cards.. and is available as either Red or Blue backed gaffs.. your choice. As always, I encourage you to visit the Murphy’s link below and watch the demo. It gives you a great idea of the visual.

$29.95 .. Available at Murphy’s Magic and through their associates.
https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=69386

Review by Rick Carruth

COLORFOOL – Victor Zatko – A Review

COLORFOOL – Victor Zatko – A Review

COLORFOOL by Victor Zatko – A Review

This is the Ad Copy:

“Very visual, very sharp, a gimmick that fits a lot of routines, adapt it according to your imagination.”
– Bernard Bilis

“Colorfool is very smart, clean and more importantly VISUAL. Don’t hesitate, this is very good.”
– Mickael Chatelain

“Wow only 3 letters to describe it WTF”
– Etienne Pradier

COLORFOOL is a precision hand-crafted gimmick for insanely visual magic. With this method you will be able to make a card change, appear, disappear, as many times as you want without any kind of reset. The gimmick has been designed to be used in real close up conditions but also works perfectly for social medias.

In a nutshell:
Visual
Ready to go out of the box
No flap
Instant reset
Full routine taught
Get ready to be COLORFOOLED.

My Thoughts:

This is an intelligent little gimmick. I like the basic idea, as it offers the performer the opportunity to perform any one of a number of different effects.

The basic handling is this… You remove the top card of the deck, turn it sideways and place it back on the deck, and wave it like a paintbrush.. which changes the card underneath from a blue back card to a red back card. This is how the gimmick is designed to work. Naturally, like any good color change, you should add a routine to the handling to create the magic.

I don’t think Victor Zatko, the creator, would object to me telling you the magic is achieved with magnets. It’s much more than a couple of magnets placed to pick up the second card. Actually.. you can see the top half of the second card is still blue as the bottom half begins to change to red. You are furnished with four Bicycle cards; three gaffed blue backers and one regular red back card. The additional cards allow the performer to ‘control’ the magnetism. The proprietary feature with COLORFOOL is the precise placements and the handling.

The gaffs are all quality made and will last as long as a Bicycle card normally last. If one of the gaffs should wear out.. the magnets, which are precisely placed, could be removed and attached to another card. I will say that one card contains an internal magnet that would be difficult to replace, but it is also a card not likely to be abused and is only subject to normal wear and tear.

The instructions, approx.17 minutes, are available in either English or French.. and also includes an interesting effect in which a card is chosen and put back in the deck.. and after the deck is ‘painted’ the deck is spread to show every card has changed to red backers -except- the selected card, which still has a blue back. Victor also teaches several tips to help you create your own handling.

The video and audio are quite adequate. This isn’t a slick production, but it doesn’t need to be. COLORFOOL is recommended for any skill level. It was my belief those who will benefit most are those with at least a basic understanding of card magic, particularly considering these custom gimmicks are designed for the performer to add to his current routines and/or create unique content.

The basic handling is a bit ‘nichey’.. until you get the feel for the color change. It shouldn’t be a problem for the vast majority of you guys. Victor suggest that each COLORFOOL is handcrafted, and as such, is unique. Some handlers need to add an additional ungimmicked card between the gaffs to minimize the ‘pull’. Just practice the move a bit.. and you’ll quickly determine what you need to do to make your gimmick most efficient.

Additional notes: In addition to walk-around situations, this is a very good effect for social media. Although I haven’t done so, I think the visuals would be very impressive on camera. Although not totally a head-on effect, you would want to utilize deck management during your performance, primarily by keeping the deck about waist level. When brushing the blue card over the deck immediately before the color change, you can hold the card approx. an inch off the top of the deck, giving the impression the top card is not touching the second card of the deck.

I suggest going to Murphy’s site and watching the demo video to get a true idea of what COLORFOOL looks like in performance. If you decide this is for you.. I honestly think you’ll have a tool in your toolkit unlike anything else you own.

$29.95 .. Available from Murphy’s Magic and their associates.
https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=68455

Review by Rick Carruth