ZEN MAGIC – A Review
Zen Magic with Iain Moran – Magic With Cards and Coins..
Iain Moran’s ZEN MAGIC is a collection of absolute barns storming close-up effects – 10 routines (eight card tricks and two of Iain’s signature coin routines) – and each is a SOLID GOLD winner. Indeed, each one could have been a best-selling single trick release. Iain has truly honed and perfected each one into a tour-de-force of magical jujitsu.
Perfectly constructed for maximum impact and pure magical content, Iain also prioritizes a ‘belt & braces’ approach to handling. With the practiced hand of a man who performs professionally day in, day out, these tricks are built to WORK.
Counting on Them: Imagine performing a trick that fools everyone, and then explaining how to do it…and then leaving them even more fooled than before!
Magician’s Nephew: You and your spectator both choose cards, and lose them back in the deck, and then, astonishingly, find each other’s cards!
Thanks to Lance, John and Dave: A signed card vanishes and appears back in your pocket, time and time again, before the kicker that they never see coming!
Quantum Sandwich 2.0: A baffling double sandwich routine, with a signed card, then finishes with a visual and shocking kickback! Brains will fizz!
TUC3: Fast and furious is the vibe for this unrelenting coin routine, with productions, transpositions and vanishes that will leave them reeling!
Easy To Find: A super-clean sandwich style effect with a dash of mentalism to finish them off!
Fifty Some: A double whammy that you can build into any card box! First a chosen card appears inside, and then a prediction impossibly appears on the case – and it’s examinable!
Prime Importance: A visual shocker where a blank card visibly prints into a selection, first the back design, and then the face, and then finally the signature!! This is a keeper!
Silver Sequence: Another coin routine that will leave you spectators picking their jaws from the floor!
Picking Pockets: Easily the most astonishing version of the ‘Interchange’ plot ever conceived. Four jacks, isolated in four different pockets, slowly and cleanly change places with four signed aces, which are then removed from the pockets the jacks had been in! KILLER!
And, you’ll also learn these utterly indispensable sleights:
Ackerman Varies Kelly
JK Hartman RS Bluff Control
Gary Kurtz Slip-Cut Force
There are average videos teaching card and coin magic.. and there are very good videos teaching card and coin magic. Zen Magic is one of the best I’ve reviewed in 2019. I’ve reviewed so many videos full of self working card tricks it was quite a pleasure to watch something more challenging.
Iain is a very good teacher and thinker, and offers up a nice cross section of effects and sleights. Some will be more challenging than others, naturally, but there are NO complicated sleights. He uses a variety of picking, kicking, culling, top controls, bottom controls, double undercuts, spread forces.. and a fair amount of pocket work and post-predictions to keep the effects both enticing and within range of what I would call advanced beginners to intermediates. There are a few sleights that are specific to a certain effect.. but Iain includes a section at the end of the video to teach these specific moves. Again, nothing is outside the range I mentioned.
I wish I could say..” Oh, you’ll use this and you’ll use that..”, but I can’t. We are all different and have our own likes and dislikes. I catch myself reviewing videos and saying.. ” You’ll love this effect”, or “This one wasn’t my favorite..”.. and when I read reviews of the same videos by others.. they make me realize our vast differences. ( One thing I NEVER do is read a review of an item I’m reviewing before I write my review..)
I think the one thing we can all agree on is whether the video is full of strong, usable material.. and Zen Magic IS full of strong material. I couldn’t find a single ‘filler’ in the bunch. Sometimes I want to.. it gives me a chance to draw distinctions.. but not in this one.
I do know anyone with a serious interest in card magic will find effects that’ll go in their repertoire. Which ones.. I don’t know. I have my favorites.. for sure, but I would encourage you to buy Zen Magic and watch every minute of it and see what fits you..
In fair disclosure.. there are several effects that use either a stack of some sort, or gaffed cards. Not all effects, but enough I should bring it to your attention. This goes back to what I meant when I said we all have differing preferences. Some folks don’t like stacks. Others appreciate the advantage a stack offers. Same with gaffs. So, I’m just making you aware of something that’s NOT a problem for me.. and something that doesn’t taint my review.
Iain and BigBlindMedia has done a good job with their descriptions, and I can’t add much to many of the effects.. but.. I will try to be a little more specific as to sleights and gaffs.. without giving anything away..
Counting On Them.. Paul Cummings, John Carey and Karl Hein..
Basically, the spec selects a card and picks a number. After a lite bit of handling, a packet of cards matching the picked number is dropped from the center of the deck.. and the selected card is found at the picked number. A little complex but worth the effort. Oh, did I mention a Joker with the spectator’s number and selected card is tossed from the performers pocket to end the effect?
Magician’s Nephew.. Darwin Ortiz, Al Koran, and Sean Carpenter. Uses a memorized deck. The magician picks a card.. then the spec picks a card. The deck is cut. The magician takes the top card and places it in his pocket. The spec cuts the deck and places the top card in their pocket. After a little patter the magician’s pocketed card is revealed to be the specs and the specs card is revealed to be the magicians.
Thanks to Lance, John, and Dave.. Francis Carlyle, Lance Pierce, John Carey and David Williamson. A spec selects and signs a number card. The card is placed in a packet of four Kings. After a little byplay, the card is shown to have vanished from the packet.. and traveled to the magicians pocket. Now, a series of misadventures occurs as the signed card appears, vanishes again, is found by the spectator, supposedly, and finally the finale reveals the entire deck, except for on card.. has travelled to the magicians pocked.
Quantum Sandwich 2.0.. Karl Hein, Eric Anderson and Mike Gallo. A slightly complex sandwich effect with a couple of Kings and a chosen card. This will take a little practice, or should… I suspect you will either love this effect.. or avoid it. It’s good, it’s strong, and it’s a great effect for sandwich lovers…
TUC 3 .. Marcelo Insula, Troy Hooser, Gary Jones and Reed McClintock.
Coin production and vanish with Tango Ultimate Coins in Eisenhower dollar size. One of the ungaffed coins is gaffed (?) with a small magnet by Iain. Although not overly complicated.. it’s a confounding effect for a lay audience. I know all about the argument over gaffs/no gaffs, but I do like these Tango Coins.
Easy To Find.. Uses two Jokers. They catch a selected card in the middle of the deck, very fairly. One of several effects that uses a end-of-trick prediction to show you knew in advance the identity of the chosen card.
Fifty Some.. Jason Dean, JK Hartman.. Basically, a card to card box.. but very tricky. Uses a homemade gaff card but not necessary to perform the trick. One of my favorites. Could be commercial.
Prime Importance.. Aldo Colombini, Roy Walton.. A printing press type effect with seemingly blank cards turning into a chosen card. Needs a couple of blank cards and one blank backed card. Short and sweet. Ideal for walk around as its very visual and happens mostly in the hand.
Silver Sequence.. Homer Liwag, Gary Jones, R Paul Wilson, Gary Kurtz, Jonathan Townsend and Chris Kenner. Nice coin effect with American Silver dollars. Lots of flights and vanishes. Three regular coins and a shell are used.
Picking Pockets.. David Solomon, Jerry Sadowitz, Gary Kurtz and Ed Marlo… Eight card packet trick, using twelve cards, with a couple of gaffed cards you can create yourself.. (roughing fluid) and a double facer. Very confounding trick for those who love to look like a real shark. Your audience has no choice but to assume you are a true master of the pasteboards. Probably the most complicated of all the effects, but a guaranteed magician fooler.
Picking Pockets – No Gaffs. Similar to above except gaff-less. Elmsley Count and a Buckle Count or two eliminate the gaffs.
These sleights are taught in detail and add considerable value to the video.. me thinks.
– Marlo’s Convincing Control.. Ideal method of apparently placing a card in the middle of the deck, but secretly bringing it to the bottom. From there, take it wherever you want..
– Ackerman Varies Kelly.. Dribble the cards, allowing the spec to say ‘stop’. Show the card. Perform the equivalent of a second deal.. except from the middle of the deck.. carrying the viewed card to the bottom and visibly leaving the second card protruding from the middle.. to be slowly pushed into the middle… representing the selection.
– JK Hartman Bluff Control.. Another convincing method of substituting a selection with a second card. One of my personal favorites.
– Underspread Force.. Secretly take any card touched by the spectator to the bottom of the deck.. to be controlled to wherever you need it.
– Gary Kurtz Slip Cut Force.. The slip cut can be a very sloppy way of getting a card from point A to point B.. unless you know and use the proper handling. Gary Kurtz handling is the real thing and provides proper cover for the selected card.. and NO snap..
Zen Magic is produced by BigBlindMedia and fits nicely among all their work as far as quality and sound. I appreciate that I always know what I’m getting with their productions. Not sure about the time of the DVD. I couldn’t find the time listed anywhere and the DVD itself is divided into individual segments. It’s at least as long as typical DVDs of this type. I do feel the total time should be printed somewhere. I do know some of the dealers offer Zen Magic as either a DVD -or- a download. It’s the same price either way.. so pick your poison.
Zen Magic is a considerable collection of card tricks, with a couple of coin effects to pace the action. These are NOT self-working effects, and are created for magicians who enjoy fooling an audience -and- entertaining a table of magicians. Closing kickers on a number of effects add a level of sophistication magicians welcome.
$25.00.. From Murphy’s Magic and dealers who carry their line of products..
Review by Rick Carruth for the Magic Roadshow.