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Card Magic For The Enthusiast – Paul Hallas – A Review

Card Magic For The Enthusiast – Paul Hallas – A Review

Card Magic For The Enthusiast – Paul Hallas – A Review

This is the latest from one of the most respected writers/performers in all magic. He has amazed folks on both sides of the ocean for many years. Here’s the Ad Copy for his new book – Card Magic For the Enthusiast:

Welcome back to another compelling compilation of clever card conjuring for the card magic enthusiast. This book is not intended for beginners, as some knowledge of card magic is already expected. But there is nothing contained to bust your knuckles.

It’s guaranteed that the card enthusiast will find a number of routines to whet his appetite, so why are you wasting time reading this? Get your cards out for the first effect!

Paul Hallas released his first magic book in 1979, and the creative bug has remained with him ever since. His main interests are close up magic (mainly cards) and mentalism, and his books reflect that. Having written perhaps the most well-known book on ‘packet tricks’, a book just on one card plot, ‘Across the Void’ (the Cards Across plot), and a book on the use of various types of cards in mentalism, “Mentalism With Cards”.

He has authored over a dozen books and has contributed articles to various magic magazines over the years. He is a professional entertainer who now lives in Florida.

My Thoughts..

When I recently learned Paul Hallas had a new book on the market, I couldn’t wait to review it. Now, it’s much harder to review books than to review DVD’s and ebooks, particularly if you’ve had cataract surgery like yours truly, but the payoff is significantly greater. I enjoy being able to read over an effect until it makes perfect sense. Watching videos isn’t in the same realm.

There is a wide assortment of effects and reveals throughout CMFTE. You’ll learn new methods to find cards, manipulate cards, and reveal cards. This is NOT a book of beginner magic, nor is it a book for knucklebusters. It’s just a good ‘ol fashion 120+ page book full of original thoughts from a magician and mentalist who has performed for many years on both sides of the ocean.

The downside of reviewing a book is the inability to speak to all the many effects. Paul’s book contains almost thirty effects and I can’t do everything justice, so I’ll try to write about several different effects I found very interesting. I think these are a good cross section of CMFTE.

Up/Down Oil and Water… Oil and Water is one of the all-time classics of magic. Many performers have put their own twist on it, myself included, but it never occurred to me to use Zener cards. ( Zener cards being what some folks call ESP cards ) This is a two phased routine that uses seven cards, although the audience assumes it to be six – Circles and Wavy Line cards. Based on the formative Judah method, Paul takes it to places unseen.

Let me say this.. although the ad copy says no skill is needed for Paul’s book, I would say there is definitely a certain skill level needed… probably somewhere between beginner and intermediate. A number of different sleights are used throughout the book, but most are sleights that don’t require a great deal of physical skill. The above effect, for instance, uses a multiple turnover and an optical count, neither of which are beyond the average beginner, although you may need to look a move or two up.
This is NOT a deal breaker, nor should it be of great concern to anyone wanting to buy Paul’s book. Like most good works.. you’re going to learn a thing or two.

Another favorite was Streamlined Jumbo. This four Ace production uses a very original method to reveal the Aces. Based on Aldo Colombini’s Jumbo, except easier, cards literally ‘fall’ into the spectator’s hand. This was one of several effects where ample photos made the handling so much easier.

Wouldn’t Play Cards With You is another favorite because I’m a sucker for Ace production effects. This one has the spectator finding their own selection.. and then the four Aces. Quicker than some of the other effects, but packs a surprise. Very good if you perform restaurant magic or walk-around.

Soft Curve is one of a couple effects using the classic Dudeney folding procedure. Paul’s version uses Zener Cards and a unique tracking method he discusses during the instructions.

Every effect in this book ends with a crediting section that not only credits the handling, but usually offers a bit of history and the lineage in relation to his method. Very helpful if you enjoy knowing a bit of history about a certain effect or technique. Paul knows his stuff, and has an almost encyclopedic mind. I’m jealous..

Thoughts On Multiple Card Revelations. This was one of my favorite sections of the book. Paul and I sat in a convention room recently and watched as Steve Beam amazed the audience with his multiple card revelation. I wanted to learn it so bad, but the time was limited and the explanation complex. Reading Paul’s explanation gave me great insight into what may well be the single greatest visual card effect in all magic. Being able to reveal the identity of ten cards or so goes far beyond the audience’s ability to grapple with the mind of the magician… not to mention the fact it fools even most magicians.

Some of the effects read more like a treatise on technique and magic. Oh, Paul always gets around to the crux of the matter.. but it’s interesting to take little side journeys with Mr. Hallas as he talks about the paths that lead him to an effect, a method, or a conclusion. There’s way more here than simply twenty-eight tricks between two covers.. There’s an assemblage of original thoughts and methods from a consummate professional you can buy for a trifle..

Complete list of Effects:
Under Pressure – Traveler in Time – Being In the Right Place – Up/Down Oil and Water – Assembly Reverse – Simple Addition – The Marriage – Repeat Bluff Sandwich – Foursome Moresome – Before Some – Wouldn’t Play Cards With You – Streamlined Jumbo – The Dudeney Coincidence – Soft Curve – The Special Spectacles – The Tree of Knowledge – Direct Gypsy – A Cato Named Klondyke – Pinky Ovette – Center Double Control – Simple Double Card Control – Thoughts on Multiple Card Revelations – Fate or Foutune – Squaring the Circle – Dominant Arthur – Combo – Magic For Distant Friends – The Last Word

$25.00 From Murphy’s Magic and dealers carrying their line of products.

Review by Rick Carruth for the Magic Roadshow

What Michael Carbonaro was like before all the Fame

What Michael Carbonaro was like before all the Fame

LOOPER just published a very informative article by Jane Harkness on the early life of Michael Carbonaro.. Read it…
Magicians might not have real powers, but their skill at sleight of hand tricks can make you wonder if they’ve tapped into Michael Carbonaro in The Carbonaro Effectsomething otherworldly. And since 2014, Michael Carbonaro has been creating illusions on The Carbonaro Effect, making bystanders question where the line between fantasy and reality really lies. As a professional magician, he can make the impossible seem possible.
There aren’t many famous magicians out there, so fans might be curious about how Carbonaro got his start. As it turns out, Carbonaro has always had a passion for creating illusions. His love of special effects, his personal struggles, and his family have all informed his craft, helping him create a truly entertaining TV show. But what was the man like before he stepped in front of a camera? And how has he changed over the course of his career? Well, prepare yourself for some incredible facts and impressive illusions as we find out what Michael Carbonaro’s life was like before all the fame.  READ MORE
Shin Lim is mastering his next trick: Stardom (Interview)

Shin Lim is mastering his next trick: Stardom (Interview)

A montage of Shin Lim’s winning season on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” might reel off in a series of stunned faces, dropped jaws, and baffled adults squealing in wonder.

Olivia Munn’s mouth agape as Lim appears to turn one playing card into three, two, then none. Spice Girl Mel B pounding a table with childlike glee: “No, no, no, no!” Simon Cowell muttering: “Bloody hell, Shin. That was spooky.”

The montage would end with Lim, a Waltham resident at the time, being awarded the $1 million grand prize as gold confetti is raining down, the runners-up are hoisting him into the air, and host Tyra Banks is screaming over the cheers, “Shin Lim! The sexiest magician on the planet!”

But where that 2018 montage ends, Lim’s career begins.

The Acton-Boxborough High School graduate has gone on to perform a run with “The Illusionists” on Broadway, landed a Las Vegas residency at the Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, married his sweetheart, Casey Thomas, in Hawaii, and returned to compete on the first-ever international “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” against a field of 50 past winners and fan faves, from Scotland to South Africa.

He won that, too.

He’s baffled Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show,” made Kelly Clarkson squawk, wowed Ellen DeGeneres, Henry Winkler, Wanda Sykes, Jay Leno.

Now on his own national tour, “LIMitless,“ Lim, 28, performs on “The Today Show” Tuesday before heading to Medford for a sold-out show Wednesday at the Chevalier Theatre.

We recently talked tricks with the mind-blower, now based in Los Angeles.  READ MORE

By Lauren Daley for the Boston Globe…

Fire When Ready – John Bannon – A Review

Fire When Ready – John Bannon – A Review

Fire When Ready – John Bannon – A Review

Part Three in a John Bannon Trilogy.. from John Bannon and BigBlindMedia.. This is the Ad Copy..

After the best selling smash hit releases ‘Bullets After Dark’ and ‘Bullet Party’, John Bannon is finally ready to close out his ‘Bullet’ trilogy. The third and final entry is ‘Fire When Ready’, a veritable feast of card magic delights. Fuelled by Bannon’s inimitable style of easy-to-achieve, yet staggeringly powerful card magic, this is a project you NEED!

Over an immense 180 minute running time, Fire When Ready will arm you with some of the strongest card magic imaginable. From Bannon’s go-to opener for more than a decade ‘Line Of Sight’ to the impossibly clean think of card ‘Proxy Shock’. The ten featured routines are audaciously constructed and require only the most basic sleight of hand, yet, they are tricks that are destined to be in your arsenal for EVER!

My Thoughts:

Typical John Bannon. Of course, ‘typical’ John Bannon is like saying ‘typical Beatles’.. or ‘typical Dali’. For what it is, this is about as good as it gets. This DVD is listed as for beginners, so you know you aren’t getting knuckle-busting card effects. But, just because it’s for beginners doesn’t mean it should be ‘card tricks 101’.. and it’s not.

This is a very intelligent collection of effects that virtually anyone can learn from. There is something for everyone. Yes, some of the tricks require more work than others, but unless you want to remain a beginner for the rest of your life.. just go with it.

Don’t be afraid.. regardless of which end of the spectrum you’re on.. Everyone will come away happy and the proud possessor of at least two or three effects you’ll put to good use. What I like about Bannon is.. he wants every effect to look like something a very skilled performer would perform. Not a single effect in this collection is a dud. Not a single effect is something I’d be shy to perform for a table full of spectators. Several are magician foolers, which naturally get an extra star.. if I gave stars.

Run time is about 3 hours, and video and sound are typical BigBlindMedia. Nothing distracting or over-the-top, or less-than-expected. Just plain ‘ol good production qualities.

The first line or two in these descriptions are from the Ad Copy. I have added my comments to the bottom of each effect…

Proxy Shock – They think of a card. The deck is shuffled. It looks like you miss… then BOOM! They realise they were just being set up for the sucker punch.
– This uses a regular deck and no setup. All the magic happens during the effect. This does use a sleight, taught carefully by John, and something that virtually anyone can do with a little practice. As with several of John’s effects, he uses a double undercut during the effect, which is something you probably already know or can learn quickly. This is one slick trick when done at speed. It’s also something you can show your magician buddies and they won’t know how you did it.. unless they watched this DVD.

Rock The ‘Voque – A spectator reads your mind, bit by bit, nailing the card you thought of… and you can prove it!
– Equivoque. Nice example of a technique familiar to magicians but not familiar to the public. You may not fool a lot of magicians with this.. but you WILL fool the dickens out of lay folks. Easy to do, if you can remember a few simple steps. No sleights, but may use a ‘move’ of sorts to help with selecting the right card. I can see myself adding this to a table hopping lineup as it’s easy to set up and keeps cards off wet tables. One of my most favorite effects..

Mundo – All the impact of ‘Out of This World’, but in a small packet, and with a twist that will fool EVERYONE!
– Bannon adds a personal touch to this Out of this World plot that gives it a unique look. Not hard to do.. most of the work is done beforehand, and the only ‘sleight’ is a false shuffle. My personal opinion.. a few folks may discern a portion of the effect, but the vast majority of folks will be totally fooled. It’s up to you to sell the improbability.

Cut & Run – Produce the Four Aces from a deck repeatedly shuffled and cut… by your SPECTATOR! This is a killer utility!
– Another effect with a slight bit of prep.. but you can actually achieve everything needed with the spectator watching you. Sort of a ‘Ben Earle move as interpreted by John Bannon’ makes everything possible. You will need to practice this to make it work properly, not because of difficult moves, but just to be able to perform the moves swiftly and convincingly. Another of my personal favorites.

Hybrid Holdout – Your participant shuffles and cuts. Top stock: Controlled?!?
Additional instruction on a fairly simple sleight…

Stealth Aces – A classic Ace Assembly, that combines easy handling with a devious construction!
– Ace Assembly. A John Carey effect with a John Bannon move. Although this effect has been around awhile.. it’s still a winner. It reminds me of something I’d normally have to get from Paul Gordon. If you’ve bought packet effects from Paul, as I have, you’ll know what I’m talking about..! You think cards are at one place, and discover they’re someplace different. Everything is accomplished with one move, and NOT a shuffle or count. Slick…

Big Fat Bluff Aces – John’s hidden gem. This assembly is a showpiece, and features several astonishing kickers, and will leave EVERYONE reeling – laymen and magicians alike!
– An Ace Assembly.. without the assembly. Uses an Elmsley Count and a couple of variations. This is the most commercial of all the effects.. and will require a little more practice than most effects.. but it will be well worth it. Learn to do this effect with pace and confidence and you’ll be performing this for years to come.

Blues Alley Jokers – Truly shocking appearance of Jokers sandwiching a selected card.
– Sandwich effect. Jack Carpenter inspired effect utilizes a shift to move three cards from one known location to a seemingly impossible location. Everyone will love this one if you’re willing to put in a little work.

Clean Out Of Sight – Vernon’s classic gets the Bannon treatment – a spectator shuffles and thinks of a card, without you touching a thing. Then, following the spectators intuition, you zero in on a card they’ve genuinely thought of, and never named. BOOM!
– A little Vernon.. a little Martin Gardner. Math is the secret, but no worries. Everything is self working up to a point. Then, you need to perform a gentle sleight or two to get the final outcome. This will fool anyone, including most magicians.

Question Zero – A borrowed, shuffled deck. A thought of card. Zero questions, maximum bang for minimal buck!
– This is, technically, perhaps the most challenging effect on the DVD. But, with a little work, will offer the most reward. The deck CAN be borrowed, there is NO setup, and you do NOT ask any questions. Yet, you know their selected card and can reveal it in any number of ways.

Line Of Sight – What does John open his card sets with? Line of sight. And you will see why! John teaches all the tips that make this shocking moment of mental card magic work, with the pack in the spectators hands.
– Inspired by a Alain Nu effect, Line of Sight uses a very casual glimpse, taught by John, to obtain a freely selected cards identity. This effect relies on a story to sustain the mystery, and the spectator will never figure how you knew their card, leaving them with no choice but to believe your improbable story. This is a quick opener.

– Additional instructions on getting a glimpse..

I will recommend this to all my friends and readers of the Magic Roadshow. It’s a good, quality instructional DVD that impressed me with all the strong effects you wouldn’t normally expect from a DVD with so few sleights. NOT a self-working video, but some of the effects are darn close to it. Others will require you to get your hands slightly dirty.. but it will be well worth it…

$25.00 From Murphy’s Magic and dealers who carry their line of products..

Reviewed by Rick Carruth for the Magic Roadshow..