Thursday, November 28, 2013

Look At The Emperor's New Clothes!

Some good magic for a change. Jeff McBride a clear winner in my book. He truly deserves the title Master of Illusion. Just watch how energetic he enters the scene. That energy clearly moves over to the audience who is entranced by this entry.
The Jeff produces a large beautiful silk cloth from a golden fan. In a burst of confetti. I cannot tell how excited I am. I have no idea how this was done. The silk cloth surely came from nowhere. And the fact that it is a dragon cloth symbolizes the dragon within us.
That dragon fury is brought center stage with an artistic somersault. Then he walks back to the huge box behind him to pick up the cloth again. And then it happens.

Boom suddenly he transforms into the famous Pink Dragon of Flamingonia. Where the hell did the huge shoulder pieces come from? I have no clue. Then the dragon dances in a rain of confetti and rainbows. No doubt this means the love of the Pink Dragon towards mankind.

And then the transformation is complete when Jeff produces the mask from thin air. Sure it looks like he purposely went to his huge box behind him and picked something up, but this is not the case, as it would be cheating. And his transformation gets an additional kicker as he breathes fire, symbolized by the streamers.

And then the posing... critics might bash him for that, but no this art. It's an art form you dumb motherfuckers. The posing needs to be as the audience needs time to catch some breath and to come back to earth.

The snow storm in the end is a truly deserved emotional climax in the end, as you can see by the audience reaction. Especially the little girl on the right near the end of the video.

And to those who say this is shit, you are just haters and are jealous of the success of Jeff.

This is an example of a bad trick.

There is nothing you can do to make this better. This atrocity was brought to my attention in a German forum by somebody who did his version of it to music. I didn't even get the effect there.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No Way!

The Green Monster actually fixed the search engine.... no way!

What's it been? More than a year.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fed up!

I dunno how to say it, but I think I finally lost hope. Hope in the magic community as a whole. Some get magic, most don't.

Example. I saw a magician doing a terrible presentation of 2ITH1ITP. With sponge balls. The execution of the sleights was horrible and the patter. I thought that he completely trusted in the fact that the build in structure of the basic routine will save him in the end. Turns out it wasn't the case. He actually thought his sleights were deceptive. He actually thought he fooled everyone. How do you tell a delusional person that they are in a delusion? You can't! Outside of the delusional bubble it is easy to see what is wrong. But inside you are unable to.

Like telling a Christian that his believe in an omnipotent power, that knows all about you and that takes care of you, as long as you are nice, is nothing more that the belief of a child that Santa Claus is real.

So in this case I gave up telling him, that if he would close his hand a little later it would be a better sleight. I didn't tell him that referring to the sponge balls as tomatoes is not a good way to go. Because even if he improved upon that routine he wouldn't get magic.

Over the weeks I have met several of these people. And I finally understood. Among the tons of painters out there, there is is only one who is an artist. But a huge fuck ton of those painters would claim they are artists and they would honestly believe it. You could hold an abstract painting of Piet Mondrian next to their version of cubes and lines. They wouldn't see the difference.

They paint something abstract and would call it up to part with Picasso. The fact that Picasso had a classical education as a painter and that his skills as a 14-year-old was alongside the renaissance painters does not matter to them. Their work is the same.

So we see a magician attempting a Color Changing Silk routine with the patter of Billy McComb failing in both regards.

Failing to get the routine right, and failing to see that they failed to get it right.

So I decided to do my part. I will not feed these people anymore. No more free magic from me. No Christmas presents for you. Andrew: You were right!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wrapping Up Peter Loughran Week

What a week it was. We got to see a whole bunch of products that are flawed from the start. The reason I chose products that Peter Loughran makes and sells should be obvious. But sometimes the obvious needs to be pointed out.

There are several ways to create magic. But before every completion of a creative process there is the "hit or miss" issue. Sometimes a creative idea hits a dead end and would be perfect in a different universe. It fails. It can fail for many reasons. The effect could be difficult to understand. The method could be unreliable. The underlying principle could be not deceptive. The idea could be unoriginal and been thought of before, thereby making any claims of intellectual ownership futile. The intuitive solution has not been taken care of by "cancelling of methods". The intuitive solution is the actual solution.

The products I featured over the week are a mix of all of the above. They simply have not gone through a rigorous filtering system of a "friends and family alpha". Or at least not enough.

I don't know what it is exactly. Maybe everybody is way too nice towards Peter Loughran sugar coating any criticism, if at all.

Everyone who is working in some sort of creative industry needs feedback. Honest feedback. Because eventually we come up with a great idea. A really great idea. And it turns out, that it is shit. But the creator didn't see it as he was too in love with his little creation to see.

I have created my share of magic. But I tend to create routines for other magicians. Thereby having a specific goal. I try to take the essence of their personality and tailor it to the routine, by choosing the right prop, the right premise and the right plot.

I can imagine, that if you are creating a general product and you have to leave out character and premise and all of that, you tend to end up with a very generic product. So it is difficult to stand out.

In that regard Peter's products stand out. They have a unique bulky look with lots of aluminium framing.

But I maybe all wrong. After all my filter could be broken as well. So I'm calling you out. Everyone who has ever bought a product of Peter Loughran. Tell me about it! Tell me, if it is reliable! I suppose they are. Tell me, if it gets you the desired reactions you have hoped for! I really want to know. Use the comment section, shoot me an email or write about it on Facebook.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Peter Loughran Week: Thumb Twister

I was honestly surprised to find an instant download among the products of the master of illusions. Also no video? So this has to be the sort of trick that you can do instantly as soon as you see a demo video!

Let's quote what's happening from the website:
"The Thumb Twister effect is simple, the performer will snap his thumb backwards with it trapped between the knuckles of his other hand's fingers, apparently breaking it from it's joint, and then proceed to twist the thumb 360 degrees in full circle and then back again, gaining you freakish reactions!" 

Wow that sure sounds original.
"Do not confuse these with finger illusions of old, these are completely original illusions designed by Peter Loughran"
Maybe I'm wrong. Well maybe the video quality will be HD and it will be taught by someone who's able to teach.
"The video is far from a Hollywood production, however it will provide you time with Peter himself in a humble, up-close and personal setting, doing what he does best, and that's teaching original new magic."
Damn it I'm wrong again. But at least we get the usual over the top, trying to be charismatic posing of Peter right?
"Filmed in Peter's product warehouse, you'll get to see another side of Peter with his off beat humour and will enjoy the entertainment value of the video as much as the illusions themselves."
This is not my day obviously! I should get this. Or a copy of Magic for Dummies, changing the stretching the thumb routine taught therein to accomplish the outlined magic trick by Peter Loughran. In fact buying the book would get me even more magic. In Peter's Thumb Twister you'll only get one trick!
"In addition Peter will also explain and perform 2 other amazing visual finger illusions that he has created including the hilarious Severed Finger of Death, where the performer will sever his finger in full view!"
Gee what a bargain!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Peter Loughran Week: The Mad Scientist

Look at the promo picture. LOOK AT IT! It says "NEW comedy micro illusion". What a big fucking lie. But maybe I'm too harsh. Everything can be comedy right?

But maybe I should tell you first what this trick is all about.

Two test tubes on a tray. In one you stuff a silk, claim that it will go to the other side. And the rest I better quote directly from the website. It is too glorious not to be quoted:
"The performer places a large playing card in front of both test tubes and explains that the silk will teleport on his queue from one test tube to the other one that is elevated off the tray with a clear view underneath the thin mini stand. The performer makes a magical gesture and says that the silk has indeed teleported and he will prove it by checking the tubes himself. He looks down and says "Yep it has indeed teleported to the other test tube. But the hard part is to make them go back." He makes a magical gesture and this time removes the cards to show that the silk is back in its original place. The audience screams to see it again but this time they want him to remove the card.
The performer does just this, he throws away one of the cards, and places the other one in front of the test tube containing the silk and then says he will make the silk teleport once again. He then picks up the card but also secretly picks up the silk so it is hidden behind the playing card, and places it in front of the other test tube that is resting on the mini stand. He secretly places the silk into this test tube and immediately removes the card. They audience screams that they know how he did it. This time they want to see done with no cover at all.
The performer obliges but tells his audience that they better not blink or they will miss it. He makes a magical gesture and sure enough this time, the silk VISIBLY vanishes from one tube and INSTANTLY re-appears in the other tube which is isolated off the tray on its own stand."
I hope you get the brilliance of this "stock routine" There is nothing new about the structure or the jokes. The only thing new might be the method. But that shouldn't matter to the audience. You cannot hand out or even lift the test tubes. They seem stuck on the suspicious tray. But watch the video. I cannot think of a better way to get you not to buy this.

Now you may wonder what the this micro illusion costs. Well it is "Affordable", that is what the website says. Just 350 dollars. Get rubber string, two pins, a piece of tape,a piece of silk and two tubes. About 2 bucks! And the tubes could be examined. And if you wanna go the sucker route, then you could switch the tubes and even turn around as additional phases.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Peter Loughran Week: Anything Floats

"ANYTHING FLOATS is a new concept created from the inventive mind of Peter Loughran who has created over 50 original effects and illusions for magicians all over the world. ANYTHING FLOATS allows you to end completely clean! It allows you to use random borrowed objects that need no preparation whatsoever, and uses no traditional methods such as threads, strings or magnets, so you never worry about a thread breaking again!"
Interesting a NEW concept. No threads, strings or magnets? What about wires, sticks, tape and a controlled erection?

Does the last one weird you out? It should, because that's what it looks like.

Seriously! (The actual trick starts as usual about 40 seconds in) 

And I love what it says on the website:
"Imagine being able to borrow random objects from a spectator and float it right then and there, on the spot, close up or on stage at any time during your act."
Close up! CLOSE UP! Has Peter Loughran any idea what close up magic means? This item, has a serious angle issue. You can only see it float from the front. From the side it doesn't "float". Performing close up means you have people right and left of you. Sometimes even people watching from behind. There is no way to do that trick in a close up setting.

Now it might be a misunderstanding of what close up means. Maybe the Master of Illusions meant that the viewer can be really close to the front of the performer. In that case the statement would be true, but it is misleading, making this a marketing lie.

This is the sort of thing that Michael Ammar does as a joke (Rising Card), but it is not, I repeat not a thing that should be sold separately.

So could it at least be a stage item? Sure, but there you can work on a much grander scope. Okito's floating ball comes to mind. For less than 50 dollars, which is the price of "Anything Floats". But who am I to rip this apart. Just a close up guy! I know nothing about illusions.

Tommorow: The Mad Scientist

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Peter Loughran Week: Stabbed

In case you don't know what an "intuitive solution" is: It's the solution to a trick that a spectator comes to first. A good example would be the vanishing coin. The intuitive solution is that the coin went up the sleeve. That solution can be fought against very easy. Just roll the sleeves up. Now most often the intuitive solution is no the real solution, however sometimes it is the case. Linking Rings comes to mind.

But no matter what, the intuitive solution must be fought against, as it ruins the show, even if it is not the true solution. If people think the coin is up your sleeve, even though it is not true, that you have done something wrong.

Having said all that please watch the trailer of Stabbed from the Master of Illusions. Just remember to skip ONE MINUTES and 40 SECONDS into the video to see the effect:

Great isn't it. 40 dollars. A proud price for a blood soaked sponge!

I should point out that I don't know how this is done. I'm offering my intuitive solution here. In fact not just mine, but I had two none magic friends watch this trailer. And after I got around the usual "I want those minutes of my life back"-comments they told me that they think it is just a bunch of rolled up napkins. "What about showing that there is nothing underneath?" I asked. "Oh he just grabbed it as he was lifting his shirt!"

So do we have a undeceptive mess on our hands? Nope, no one who didn't buy this!

So what should this look like? Well first get rid of the T-shirt. The skin needs to be pierced. And there are many other version out there. Like the Pin Needle through the Hand by Steve Fearson. Or Flesh Wound, which I even perform myself.

So there are options to avoid Stabbed. I suggest ALL of them.

Tomorrow: Anything Floats

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Peter Loughran Week: Splattered

Let's start lightly. Splattered is The Master of Illusions's take on the classic Square Circle. I don't get how the Square Circle is still around. Wait cut that. I know why it is still around, but it shouldn't be.

So what makes Peter's version different from any other Square Circle on the market.


On the website he says:
Some notable improvements over the cheaper existing models on the market:

  • Proper material used on the inner tube for maximum decpetiveness
  • Themed art to allow proper story telling for today's modern performer
  • More deceptive than cheaper models that no window grill is needed, making it much more magical to the audience giving them a clear view inside at all times
  • A beautiful felted base that elevates the prop so the audience always has clear view under the prop(an important detail often missed with other models, because without this, the audience often thinks there is just a hole in the magician's table that the items come from.
  • Tricked out in polished aluminum, for not only cosmetic reasons, but also to protect the corners and edges of the prop, so it becomes practically indestructable
  • Beautifully built and light weight compared to the cheaper models, no detail was missed.
  • Each one is numbered for authenticity

I've seen many versions over the years. Even some good looking ones. This is not among them. Take a look at the picture. is my sense of taste really that far off? So the "Themed art to allow proper story telling" part of the ad is really confusing then. The design of the Square Circle really only allows one type of story. And not even a new one per se.

No window grill, so the audience has a clear view of the inside? Really? There is nothing to see except suspicious blackness. I don't think that is an issue.

And having each one numbered for authenticity? As if there will be a giant rip off period of this particular design. And how is having them numbered and improvement over cheaper existing models on the market?

And here we get to the heart of it. "Cheaper existing models"! This little retard baby costs 275 dollars. I'm not kidding. So you pay a quarter of a grand to pull out a bunch of pieces of silk worth about 20 bucks.

Are you familiar with the various tube productions? There are cheaper and more deceptive methods out there. I have to admit that in terms of amount of production items nothing quite beats the square circle, however with every spring flower you also pull out parts of your dignity as a performer.

Tomorrow: Stabbed

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Something spooky to come!

If you have never seen a promotional video by the Master of Illusions Peter Loughran, then you should. It tells you all that is wrong about a promotional video.

Here is a quick check list to be as bad as the Master of Illusions

1. Very little contrast!
2. The intro takes about 40 seconds!
3. Bad 90's techno music or any B-material!
4. The font used is Arial!
5. No HD, in fact never go above a 480 resolution.

Ah what the hell, it has been a while. In 2009 I had a great run with the Peter Loughran week. Time for a revival!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Episode 7 "The Turbo Tube"

Click here for a more detailed review

As usual if you have something you want reviewed, then let me know. Are you a creator of a cool magic trick and you want and honest review? Do you have some weird prop lying around and you want people to know about it? Shoot me an email! I will review everything I get.