Draven Reviews: The Peek Pack by Brian Gillis

approvedTitle: The Peek         

Artist: Brian Gillis

Producers: Gregory Wilson Presents

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

 

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZw9rp9M-eA

Retail Price: $45.00 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of Video: 28 Minutes (approx.)

 

 

 

Brian Gillis has released his take on the Tossed Out Deck in a product he’s calling “The Peek Pack”.  Gregory Wilson joins Brian in the instructional video to discuss the power and versatility on this deck.  For the sake of the review, I’m going to assume you know the basic goings on with a TOD routine.  Four spectators, give or take, a selection for each, and the performer calls out the selections getting it all right.  The weakness of this routine has always been in how the performer reveals the selections.  Usually they can’t tell you who had what.  With The Peek Pack, you can!

 

The deck is standard Bicycle 808’s, and gaffed to the hilt.  The deck should last a long time under regular use since you’re only riffling the cards a couple times each performance.  I’ve beat the hell out of my deck in practice writing this review, and it’s holding up nicely.  I think the video is a little long coming in just shy of thirty minutes, but they do discuss the history of Brian’s trick, and his thoughts on how it handles, so that’s nice.

 

As I said the advantage to the Peek Pack is that the performer knows exactly who is thinking of what card.  Also the peek pack gives you the option of forcing up to six cards in a single performance, and controlling exactly where those six cards go!  This makes it a powerhouse of an effect for close up or parlor.  I question the use of this on a large stage, because I’m not sure it would read well but maybe it would work with proper video projection?  If there is any limitation to it, then that would have to be in the fact that the deck is never examined, nor handled by anyone other than the magician.

 

I love the Tossed Out Deck idea, and I think Brian’s got a killer real world handling of it.  It’s no wonder why this has been a carefully guarded secret of his until now.    I enjoyed reviewing this trick, and if you love card tricks and mentalism, then you’re going to love it too!

 

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The three points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, and Overall Quality.

 

Product Quality: 8

Great idea, and worth the price paid!

 

Teaching Quality: 8

Easy to follow instructions.  A little memory work, but nothing too hard.

 

Overall Quality: 8

A great trick!  A must have for any mental magician.

 

 

Do you have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: Swiss Army by Brandon David & Chris Turchi

approvedTitle: Project Swiss Army

Artist: Brandon David & Chris Turchi

Producers: Murphy’s Magic

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

 

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJC2Dt8FLzo

Retail Price: $34.95 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of Video: 1:04:00

 

 

The video got my hyped about this product.  Looks like a utility device for card magic.  Flipping signed card from the deck, pulling selected cards strait out of a sealed deck box, stripping the four aces out in one motion, and that looks like it’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Murphy’s got my attention, and I took the bait.  I was not disappointed.

 

The product once received comes packaged in a neat little red box with a link to the online video instructions printed on the inside.  The gimmick is made into a deck of cards, with a built-in gimmick on the box as well.  The box gimmick alone is worth the price of admission.  I have so many ideas for how to use it, and some of those don’t involve this particular deck at all.

 

This deck is amazing.  It can perform a lot of really neat visual tricks but buyer beware, this deck isn’t going to work for every card trick.  Due to the nature of the deck it lends itself well to certain routines while other routines wouldn’t be feasible.  I can’t go into any more details without blowing the gaff, but you’ll understand once you get the deck in your hands.

 

The tutorial video is long.  Just over an hour in total length, but very well instructed.  A lot of really neat ideas are discussed and they really show the power and versatility of this deck.  I love a good utility device, and I talk about it all the time in my reviews.  I really liked this one.

 

The cards handle smoothly and performing the kind of tricks you see in the video is a breeze.  The brilliant thing about utility tricks like this is the amount of creativity they inspire.  I’m sure people are going to come up with some crazy uses for this deck that Brandon and Chris never even thought of.  Overall I think it’s a neat concept and it’s fun to play with.

 

 

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The three points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, and Overall Quality.

 

Product Quality: 6

Utility deck, and neat box, but I have to deck switch for my other card work.

 

Teaching Quality: 7

Good video!  Well made.

 

Overall Quality: 7

Fun deck and neat ideas!

 

 

Do you have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: Word Up by Vinny Sagon

approvedTitle: Word Up

Artist: Vinny Sagon

Producers: Vinny Sagon

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

 

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ej2__NqCBY

Retail Price: $19.95 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of Video:  7 Minutes (Approx.)

 

 

An interesting premise in close up magic.  It’s got a bit of a mentalism or mental magic kick to it and it uses cross word puzzles, which isn’t something you see a lot of.  As you can see in the promo video you have a spectator choose a word they see in the crossword puzzle, cause that word to disappear from the card, and reappear on the back of the card with a magical wave of your finger.  It’s quite a unique little miracle.

 

The trick comes with the main effect, as well as a bonus effect which is more of a second or extended routine to the original.  The printed instructions do a good job explaining the trick, and to be fair, it’s not all that difficult anyways.  Everything is fairly self-explanatory and the hardest sleight you’ll have to know is a card palm.  The cards construction is that of a sturdy plastic.  These cards will last a lifetime with proper care.  About the only damage I foresee ever being an issue is maybe the letters may scratch off with careless use.  But you’d really have to have a go at the cards to make that happen.  They really are well made.  The bonus card is, as far as I can tell, pointless.  The bonus effect is a way to restore the final card back to normal so you can repeat it for another person.  But it’s really just a duplicate of one of the cards you get in the primary set.  So… I guess you have a backup if you need it.

 

Word Up is a nice little pocket trick for strolling.  It’s pretty unconventional so it’s a good thing to use to breakup the usual card, coin, and sponge ball routines.  The reveal is visual, and the magic original, and the reactions walk the gamut between stunned silence and rapturous applause.  Angles are nonexistent, and the reset is done instantly.  If you do the extended version then you’re reset before the trick even officially ends.  Overall a great original effect!

 

 

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The three points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, and Overall Quality.

 

Product Quality: 7

At the current retail price this thing is a steal.

 

Teaching Quality: 6

The video is over kill.  You should have no problems figuring this out with the printed instructions.

 

Overall Quality: 8

Overall not a bad little trick.  I liked it!

 

 

Do you have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: Holely Change

approvedTitle: Holely Change

Artist: SansMind Creative Lab

Producers: SansMind

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

Demo Video Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWMonl46R6U

Retail Price: $29.99 USD

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD:  15 Minutes (Approx.)

Notes: Red and Blue Gimmicks Available.

 

A red backed card is selected and signed by a spectator, it’s sandwiched between two blank cards with holes in them, and visually the red backed signed card turns blue! The card is examinable at the end leaving your spectator with a memorable keepsake of their magical experience.

 

SansMind has been hit and miss with me this past year.  They’ve had a few duds, but then again, they’ve also had some cool tricks too.  This Holely Change is one of them.  As far as magic goes this one is as strait forward as it can get.  There really isn’t a lot of need for long presentations, and a look-see-do approach for this illusion is perfect for eliciting strong, if not in some cases violent reactions from your spectators.  True Story: I got my arm slapped, as a reflex, from a coworker the first time I showed her this trick.  Note to self: For such a little thing, she hits hard!  But I digress.

 

The product comes contained inside a DVD box.  You’ll get an instructional DVD, and the gimmick.  As a note to magicians: the gimmick works on a very old principle in magic, and will need to be touched up from time to time with the special something that makes it work.  If you’ve been around for a minute you probably have everything you need.  If not, a quick trip to your magic store and less than twenty bucks later you’re set.  I had to touch up my gimmick out of the box, just because I was not happy with the way it handled when I got it.

 

The gimmick is a pair of blank face, blank back, playing cards that have a rather large hole cut thru them on one end.  The gimmick comes in two options, Red or Blue rider back Bicycle playing card.  I do not like how flimsy the upper portion of the card is, above the cutout hole.  I’ve had that little section get weak, and want to give crimp on me during practice.  And I can assure you, crimping is not something you want to do to the gimmick if you want to perform this trick!  This maybe a design flaw, but it also maybe a limitation of the illusion that is not going to have much of a work around.    Maybe if the gimmicks were made from a sturdy plastic it may have a longer shelf life, but if so would the gimmick still work right?  I feel this is a question for R&D.  As it is, you’re going to be doing a lot of double lifts to perform this trick, so these hole cards are going to get a lot of constant wear and tear from being manipulated.  If you do this trick a lot you’re going to eventually have to replace the hole cards.  This means either you’re making yourself a new gimmick on your own, or you’re buying the product all over again because SansMind does not offer a gimmick “refill” on this product as of yet.

 

It takes all of about five minutes to learn the trick, and this one doesn’t need a lot of presentation so it’s ideal for the novice.  Just get out there, sign a playing card, sandwich it, and presto!  Instant magic.  Reactions have been strong, and angles are nonexistent.  The sleights involved aren’t hard, a basic double lift is all you really need, but the trick does have a bit of a reset.  The reset isn’t hard, nor is it long, but it can’t be done in view of the audience so table hoppers need to beware.  It is a very fun trick to perform, and I think it’s position within SansMind’s “Workers Series” is justly made.

 

At the end of the day you have a very fun, very visual illusion ideal for a novice, and powerful enough for a working pro at your fingertips.  Give this one a look.  You may even fool yourself.

 

 

 

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The three points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, and Overall Quality.

 

Product Quality: 7

The price is on par with other products of this caliber, and the illusion is solid.  The construction of the gimmick gives a little to be desired and will ultimately wear down/out with frequent use causing need to be rebuilt/ replaced.

 

Teaching Quality: 8

Easy to learn.

 

Overall Quality: 8

Fun, Quick, and Ends in a souvenir for the spectator.  You can’t go wrong with Holely Change!

 

 

Do you have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: MagiKub by: Federico Poeymire

approvedTitle: MagiKub

Artist: Federico Poeymire

Producers: Murphy’s Magic

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9efYpvNoi-g

Retail Price: $74.95

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of Video:  7 Minutes (Approx.)

 

Boy has Rubik Cube magic been popular suddenly.  Ever since Jason Brundage went on AGT everyone’s been going nuts to follow in his path with performing or releasing their take on magic with this popular children’s toy.  So let’s take a look at Federico Poeymire’s MagiKub and see how it turns out.

 

Initially you maybe taking back by this products packaging.  It’s not big.  A simple black box.  Murphy’s has a standard for elegance I’ve come to expect from their packaging.  You flip the lid open and your instructions for online video download is right there.  The video is about seven minutes long, and is bare bones about teaching the trick.  You get a snappy music playing in the back ground, and subtitles explain what it is you’re doing while the hands on the screen walk you thru the motions.  All in all it’s a simple trick, and shouldn’t take too long to master.

 

The Rubik’s Cube itself is gimmicked.  You can’t let the audience examine it, unless you switch.  The magic is visual, but it is angle sensitive.  Great for camera work!  The illusion is that the cube is mixed up, and with a simple toss, roll, or other quick movement, it is impossibly solved!  Instant reset.  It is possible to mix the cube up even though it’s gimmicked.  So, if you’re not very good at solving these things, like I am, this is good to know.

 

The price point on this product though is where the real magic is!  Getting someone to shell out nearly seventy-five bucks for this thing is impressive!  At the current price, I’m not sure this is going to be something that is going to appeal to everyone.

 

Over all I guess you get what you pay for.  It’s a visual illusion of an impossible solve on a puzzle cube.  If you do magic with these kinds of toys already then this may appeal to you.  As a stand alone trick it’s visual, but there’s not much to it.  For closeup it has serious angle issues, leaving me thinking this is better played from stage.

 

 

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The three points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, and Overall Quality.

 

Product Quality: 7

Good prop.  Expensive.  Visual magic.

 

Teaching Quality: 8

Short and sweet.  Visual.  Easy to learn from.

 

Overall Quality: 8

A visual impossible solve to a popular kid’s toy.

 

 

Do you have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews:

Do you have some extra holiday cash burning a Ho Ho Hole in your wallet?  Want to know what you possibly missed out on this season?  Well I’m back with a special holiday edition of my Draven’s Reviews to discuss whether this new batch of tricks are holiday hits, or just steaming piles of yule tide turds destined for the land of misfit magic.  So grab your eggnog, sit back, relax, and let me tell you about what’s hot and maybe what’s not this holiday season.Do you have some extra holiday cash burning a Ho Ho Hole in your wallet?  Want to know what you possibly missed out on this season?  Well I’m back with a special holiday edition of my Draven’s Reviews to discuss whether this new batch of tricks are holiday hits, or just steaming piles of yule tide turds destined for the land of misfit magic.  So grab your eggnog, sit back, relax, and let me tell you about what’s hot and maybe what’s not this holiday season.

 

approved

Title: In A Flash       

Artist: Felix Bodden

Producers: SansMind

Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer

Demo Video Link:

Retail Price: $24.99 USD DIY / $34.99 With Gimmick

Learning Difficulty: Easy

Length of DVD:  30 Minutes (Approx.)

 

In A Flash is a hyper visual card transposition on steroids.  What you get is a DVD, and some super secret special gimmick making stuff.  Some assembly will be required.

 

If you have been a fan of my reviews, and have been reading them for some time, you know I hate having to build gimmicks.  I usually call these DIY tricks “Art Projects” and for good reason.  Fold this, cut here, glue that, tape there.  Some of these constructions can get intense.  In A Flash is one of those “a lot of set up for a little work” kind of tricks.  The gimmick for In A Flash requires careful consideration to how cards line up with each other.  The wrong measurements, can throw off the entire gimmick causing you the pain of having to start all over again.  They say on the DVD box that the gimmick construction time is around 20 minutes.  I think it took me closer to 30 minutes.  My end product just doesn’t look or feel like it would fool anyone.  It’s too thick to pass as a single card, and as a rule I just hate using the secret stuff in general.  This looks killer on video though!  Of course, you can get away with things on camera that you can’t in person.  I should also note that SansMind also reserves all TV rights.

 

Performing with the gimmick is easy.  The gimmick does the work for you.  There’s a little magic maneuvering you must do to finish the transposition, but that’s not hard to master.  Honestly performing the trick isn’t as hard as building it!  It certainly is more fun than building it.  There are no angles to be worried about, and the reset on this is near instant.  So good walk around effect.  The visuals are strong up close, but they get muted if seen at a distance.  This is certainly only a closeup style effect.  The gimmick, or at least the one I built, is thick.  I don’t like it.  I don’t feel it looks and feels enough like a regular card to pass for one.  This maybe magicians guilt, but I think there’s too much going on here to be fooling.

 

At the end of the day this is another trick that looked good on video, but in person leaves me wondering.  I’m not satisfied with the product I came out with in the end.  I’m not going to blame the magic though.  Not yet at least.  I’m going to assume that my clumsy craft skills are to blame.  For now this gimmick sits inside the DVD box, along side the DVD.  I’ve put it into my library, and maybe at some point in the future I’ll revisit it.  Maybe try and rebuild it.  But for now that’s too much work, and I have time better spent on other things.  I’m sure someone out there is going to love this trick.  I’m just not sure that someone is going to be me.

 

Editors Note:  Upon completing this review, and prior to posting it, I discovered that this trick exists with the gimmick already made for you.  It costs ten dollars more, but for those of us, like myself, who lack any skill at construction it is probably money well spent.  Hind sight being what it is, I wish I had known about this prior to choosing the DIY version.

 

 

 

 

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The three points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, and Overall Quality.

 

Product Quality: 5

Standard pricing, visual magic.  Not so sure on the gimmick.  Not happy with the DIY result.

 

Teaching Quality: 8

Tutorial is easy to learn from.

 

Overall Quality: 5

Not sure about this trick.  It looks amazing in the demo video, but I’m not happy with how my gimmick turned out.  I’ll give it an average score of 5 and assume my displeasure is my fault for not building it right.

 

 

Do you have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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Draven Reviews: The Gordon Diary by Paul Gordon

Do you have some extra holiday cash burning a Ho Ho Hole in your wallet?  Want to know what you possibly missed out on this season?  Well I’m back with a special holiday edition of my Draven’s Reviews to discuss whether this new batch of tricks are holiday hits, or just steaming piles of yule tide turds destined for the land of misfit magic.  So grab your eggnog, sit back, relax, and let me tell you about what’s hot and maybe what’s not this holiday season.
Title: The Gordon Diary
approved
Artist: Paul Gordon
Producers: Alakazam Magic UK
Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer
Retail Price: $45.95 Complete Package $24.95 Lite Version
Learning Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Length of DVD:  58 Minutes (Approx.)
            I’ll never forget the first time I saw a diary style performance done.  It was the closeup room at the Magic Castle back in 2005.  I was floored by how magically impossible the entire effect seemed!  Since then I’ve owned a diary or two over the years, but I’ve always been so apprehensive about performing with one because they usually involve a fair amount of memory work, and I’m admittedly not that very good at math and memory stuff.  Things like memorized decks and diaries usually make me shy away from them.  Then came the demo for the Gordon Diary from Paul Gordon.  I’m a fan of Alakazam.  Peter and the crew over there usually put out solid products so that got me curious enough to nibble at the bait and see if I land a winner with this new effect.  Let’s just say that so far, I’ve not been disappointed.
            The effect comes packaged in a nice little box.  Included in the box is the diary itself, a crib sheet card, and the instructional DVD.  First off, and out of the gate, let me just say the presentation of the box the effect comes in is exquisite.  This is a first-rate boxing job, and it’s something I don’t want to go unmentioned.  Under the foam protection, and cradled in a custom cut foam holder is the diary wrapped in protective plastic.  The diary itself is light weight, and pocket sized.  Perfect for nestling in your inside coat pocket or your back pocket.  The diary also contains a page in the front that list the Zodiac signs and their corresponding dates, as well as important information on each month’s birthstone and flower along with the flowers secret meanings.  For the average worker this maybe some useful information to use in witty banter between you and your mark, but the Bizarre workers are going to love this because it gives them perfect ins for cold reading the mark and making the most out of their experience with the trick.
            The idea for the effect is strait forward.  A spectator’s chosen card matches identically to an entry in the diary of a freely nominated date made before the card was chosen.  The thing that caught my eye about this particular diary is that it requires no stack.  No memorizing deck orders, and No set ups.  Making this a powerful piece of closeup that is ideal for strolling.
            The DVD ranks in at just under an hour.  You get to see great live, in studio, performances and the hands-on tutorial portion is really top notch.  The effect is strong enough to stand on it’s own, or versatile enough that you could use the information gathered from your spectator to segue into other mentalism or reading style effects.
            There is no memorizing deck orders that’s for sure, but there is obviously some cerebral mechanics going on behind the scenes to make the magic happen.  Nothing worse than an invisible deck though, so that’s good!  It’s not hard, hell even I could do it.  But I think this will be an effect that is going to either resonate with your performance character or it won’t.  I don’t see everyone doing this.  I’m not going to mislead you intentionally with this review.  The learning process has a curve.  And until you get what it is you’re doing, it’s going to seem hard.  But once it clicks, it’s not that bad.
            The pricing is also good for how strong the effect is.  At just under twenty five bucks, this is less than the cost of an average movie ticket for you and a date.  If you wanted to make your own diary using Paul Gordon’s system then you could purchase the Lite version of this trick for about twenty dollars less.  The Live version just has the DVD and the crib sheet.  You’d have to find, and create your own diary from there.  This actually may appeal to some because it allows for the maximum amount of individual customization.  Food for thought, especially for those are not new to diary style effects.
            Over all I’m satisfied with the Gordon Diary.  Still not sure if this will be something I will be adding to my personal act anytime soon, but it’s really fun to play with, and the magic it helps you perform is rather quite strong.  If you like this kind of thing, you should certainly check out The Gordon Diary!
            When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The three points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, and Overall Quality.
Product Quality: 8
            Fair price.  Strong magic.  Not a lot of props.
Teaching Quality: 9
            Very well taught.
Overall Quality: 8
            Over all I really liked it.  It’s not as hard as other diaries, and it packs a powerful punch on spectators.
Do you have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at thewilliamdraven@gmail.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!  Don’t forget to like my blog where all my reviews are posted at www.williamdraven.wordpress.com.
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