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The Long Goodbye - Latta on Coins Review

The Long Goodbye - Latta on Coins Review 0

REVIEW BY MICHAEL CLOSE

Latta on coinsJust about everyone who gets interested in close-up magic starts with two basic props: cards and coins. This makes sense, because cards and coins are relatively inexpensive objects (although not as inexpensive as when I was a kid), they are familiar, common objects (although perhaps not as familiar as in the days when card games were a family activity and silver dollars and half dollars were still being used in everyday transactions), and there are a large number of books and magazines (and now videos) devoted to card magic and coin magic. 

Card magic, however, holds one significant benefit for beginners: there are excellent effects that require little or no digital dexterity (or, in the words of the prophet, Steve Beam, they are semi-automatic). With the exception of tricks that use props (like the Coin Slide, Nickels to Dimes, Scotch and Soda) there are few self-working coin effects. Offhand, I can only think of one coin trick based on a mathematical principle: Thieves and Sheep (using identical coins). If you want to learn coin magic, you are going to jump

Handcrafted Card Magic — Volume 3 by Denis Behr

Handcrafted Card Magic — Volume 3 by Denis Behr 0

REVIEW BY MICHAEL CLOSE

Denis Behr is a talented German magician who has presented several fabulous gifts to the magic world. The first gifts are his enormously useful websites, conjuringarchive.com and conjuringcredits.com. I made extensive use of both sites while doing research for my new ebook, Thriving on a Riff. They saved me many trips up and down three flights of stairs to check a source in my library.

Denis has also gifted some wonderful routines to card magicians with his Handcrafted Card Magic series. The first two books are exceptional; consequently, I was delighted to learn that a third volume had been released.

Physically, Handcrafted Card Magic Volume 3 matches the earlier volumes: 6 x 8.5 inches with ninety-two pages. The material also maintains the standard of excellence set by the first two books, with gambling demonstrations, routines utilizing

THE REAL DEAL - A Magician Prepares by Dennis Loomis

THE REAL DEAL - A Magician Prepares by Dennis Loomis 0

REVIEW BY QUENTIN REYNOLDS

Dennis Loomis was one of magic’s general practitioners. Like with Alan Shaxon, Karrell Fox, Billy McComb, and Johnny Thompson, if they phoned and asked, “Can you do X, Y or Z?” the answer was, “Yes!”  Then they figured out how to do it. 

And Dennis did it. He toured the US and Canada for three years with a full evening illusion show. He did an escape act as well as escaping from straitjackets while hanging upside down from cranes and helicopters. He did birthday parties. He did a balloon show (as well as pitching them).
For five years he toured doing school assembly shows - three a day for five days of the week. He did close-up and became very proficient in mem-deck work. He made improvements to every trick he ever performed. To top it all he performed  an SM themed act that caused consternation at magic conventions.

This book is the story of his magical life, his routines, and the characters he met. It’s basically about the stuff working pros talk about when
  • Michael Close
The Elmsley Tahoe Sessions By Alex Elmsley

The Elmsley Tahoe Sessions By Alex Elmsley 0

Review by Michael Close from MAGIC June 1997]

Alex Elmsley has begun to make convention appearances again, and this is a wonderful thing. His recent lecture at the Four F’s convention received a long and enthusiastic standing ovation. While his enormous body of work has received wider exposure due to two excellent books by Stephen Minch, few of us have had the chance to see Mr. Elmsley perform or discuss his creations. Thanks to this new four-volume set of videos from L&L Publishing, Mr. Elmsley can visit with you in your home, and an erudite and charming houseguest he is indeed.

I can’t imagine that there is anyone in magic who has not heard of Mr. Elmsley, since his famous four-as-four count seems to be one of the most frequently used moves in card magic. He is the creator of such terrific card routines as Point of Departure, Between Your Palms, 1002nd Aces, and Diamond Cut Diamond. 

  • Michael Close
The Paradigm Shift Volumes One and Two by Michael Close

The Paradigm Shift Volumes One and Two by Michael Close 0

REVIEW BY JAMY IAN SWISS 

 

Jamy Ian Swiss kindly provided an extensive review of The Paradigm Shift Volumes One and Two on the Magicana website. If you're still on the fence, this might push you over. Read it here: 

http://www.magicana.com/news/blog/paradigm-shift

  • Lisa Close
Closely Guarded Secrets Ebook by Michael Close

Closely Guarded Secrets Ebook by Michael Close 0

Review by Dustin Stinett (from Genii

During my “magic lifetime” (a tad over thirty-five years) magic publishing has experienced two major paradigm shifts. When I started buying magic books in earnest (a nice way of saying “out of control”), most new publications were usually paperback. Generally octavo in size, perfect-bound, stapled, or comb-bound affairs, many with questionable production values – but they were quite affordable ($5-$15). There was the occasional hardbound book (at premium prices, about $15-$25), and many of the older books (those not yet reprinted by Dover) were hardbound as well. But the majority of the new stuff was inexpensively produced (keep in mind that there were, of course, many exceptions).

Sometime in the late 1970s somebody got the wild notion that magic books could be better – a lot better: quarto in size, quality boards, and acid-free paper with prices that matched this premium level of...

  • Michael Close

The Aretalogy of Vanni Bossi Book - By Stephen Minch 0

Vanni Bossi BookAs I left my forties behind and entered into late middle age, I became aware of a sad, odd occurrence. Some of my friends were turning into books. They had left flesh and blood, heart and bone behind, transforming into a form that allowed one-way (but sometimes surprisingly comforting) communication. I would regulary head to my library, not so much to seek information, but to visit again with Stewart James, Billy McComb, Howard Lyons, Arturo Ascanio, Barrie Richardson, T.A. Waters, Tommy Wonder, and Dai Vernon. And now, eight years after his death, another friend arrives from the printer in a beautiful and most fitting presentation.

The Aretalogy of Vanni Bossi features a portion of the creative output of a true polymath – a collector, historian, craftsman, performer, and creator. Concerning Vanni’s collection, Roberto Giobbi writes in the Foreword, “He possessed practically every important book of magic, from the beginning of printing to modern times, in many languages, but above all in Italian. He also knew what was in them, how to place their contents in the evolution of magical ideas, and who invented what. He was one of the most educated and well-informed people in magic that I’ve ever met.”

  • Michael Close

Extreme Dean By Dean Dill - Volumes 1 & 2 0

Dean DillDean Dill intrigues me. He is one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met. He is trusting to the point that “punking” him is no fun at all; I feel way too guilty to ever play magical practical jokes on him anymore. On the other hand, this gentle person would like to fool you to such an extent that your brain explodes. His two most successful marketed effects, Blizzard and Dean’s Box, will bother anyone for a long, long time.

Dean loves coin magic. The new DVDs Extreme Dean Volumes 1 & 2 contain some old favorites and some new creations. The production values of the DVDs are very high. Dean performs seated at a beautiful table. There is no audience. Two different explanations are offered: one shows the same viewpoint as the performances, the other gives an overhead shot of the action. The performances are well done, and the explanations are very clear. Dean performs while seated, but many of these effects can also be done standing. However, for most of them you will need a soft surface to perform on.
  • Michael Close

Destination Zero Book By John Bannon 0

John Bannon Destination Zero(Source: M-U-M Magazine July/Aug 2015)
Traditionally, self-working card tricks fall into the purview of two groups: beginning magicians and those who sell books and DVDs to beginning magicians. Magic neophytes want to show tricks to their families and friends. Prop magic (like the simple effects found in beginner magic kits) provide a way to perform without the need for technical ability. Books of self-working card tricks provide a lot of bang for the buck: a deck of cards is a relatively inexpensive prop; a book provides dozens of effects at a reasonable cost. And so begin endless demonstrations of cards being dealt into three piles and burglar-Jacks robbing apartment buildings.

Many famous magicians have released books of self-working card tricks. John Scarne had a good one, published sixty-five years ago. In his introduction he wrote: “Five years ago, I decided that the card-trick enthusiasts deserved a better grade of card tricks than they had been accustomed to performing. On the whole, the tricks performed by the non-sleight-of-hand card enthusiasts at that time were so simple that the secret was easily discovered by the person or persons they were intended to mystify.” To rectify that situation, Scarne brainstormed with some of the best minds of that era (Dai Vernon, Francis Carlyle, Martin Gardner, Bill Simon, Al Baker, Bob Hummer, Cliff Green, Clayton Rawson, Jacob Daly, Stewart James, et al.) and created a great collection of self-working card tricks, Scarne on Card Tricks. (As a side note, I’ll mention that I still have my copy, purchased when I was a kid. One trick in the collection, The Stapled Card by Joseph Prieto, has been my great white whale for fifty years. I keep trying to fix it, but...

  • Michael Close

Max Maven’s VideoMind 0

Review by Michael Close

Max Maven Video Mind SetMax Maven needs no introduction to the readers of this magazine, nor to anyone who has been in magic for any length of time. He is a prolific creator, a commanding performer, and an eloquent spokesman on the art of magic. L&L Publishing has released three videos in which Max performs and explains mentalism effects suitable for close-up, parlor, and stage conditions. The material is first rate, Max’s performances are thoroughly enjoyable, and the production values are among the best I’ve seen.

The first video of the series offers mental effects suitable for parlor conditions. Six items are explained including: “The Mockingbird,” a remarkable card location from the “Birds of Prey” series; “Autome,” an absolutely terrific book test; “Zenvelopes,” in which a spectator manages to pair up ESP symbols contained in opaque envelopes (this really fooled me when I saw Max perform it on Swedish television); and “Kurotsuke,” a previously unreleased routine in which the mentalist does some dowsing using five spectators and some marbles. The best thing about this routine is that it can be done completely impromptu.

Video two contains Close-up mentalism, and seven routines are explained. Among my favorites are: “Shape Up,” in which the spectator chooses an ESP card in a very fair manner and yet manages to pick one which matches a previously isolated prediction; “Isolation,” a word divination to which Max has...
  • Michael Close