Product Reviews - Don't Forget Your Own Gut Sense

Talk about what is being written in other magic publications.

Postby Robert Kane » 01/23/05 09:16 AM

Last Friday night I saw Jeff Ezell perform a great close up set at the Club 52 Magic Cafe in Martinez, California.

Jeff performed his version of MacDonald's Aces, called MacDonald's Blankity Blank. It was excellent, different and got a tremendous response from the audience.

I began thinking about the negative review that Mike Close gave Ezell's marketed version of this effect a few years ago in Magic Magazine and how I unwisely took the review at face value and without much question.

I then wondered if Close's review might have been different after having seen Jeff perform it live, in a proper setting and within the body of an entire close up set. I began to think possibly, "Yes!"

To sum up, I guess I need to start following my own gut sense of what is good or not so good before taking all product reviews so seriously.

I think I forget that a lot when reading them. Just a thought. :)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/23/05 10:42 AM

I don't agree.
Ending an Ace Assembly with cards that are "unusual" taints the entire routine.
More importantly, there is nothing stronger in all of card magic than having the spectator lift his or her hand off the leader packet and turn it over to reveal the Aces at the end of this routine. NOTHING.
It's right up there with Spongeballs and Scotch and Soda.
Having the cards turn blank at the end is bad magic.
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Postby Michael Close » 01/23/05 03:58 PM

Yeah, that's what I thought.
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Postby Don » 01/23/05 05:07 PM

i agree with Richard that the cards turning blank is bad magic. however, if you have a good reason for the cards turning blank, and you convey this thru your patter, it could work.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 01/23/05 09:09 PM

If one wants to use blank cards in an assembly in a way that makes total sense, check out John Bannon's excellent "Twilight Zone Assembly". Completely logical in its use of the blank cards in the context of the presentation.

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Postby Robert Kane » 01/23/05 10:33 PM

Well, I guess we all enjoyed some "bad magic."

Thanks for setting me straight on the difference between good and bad.

What on earth could I have been thinking. :rolleyes:
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Postby Michael Close » 01/23/05 11:02 PM

My review explained why (in my opinion)this was not a good trick. I also mentioned versions that were good. Go back and read it again. It was in the March 2003 issue.

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Postby John Pezzullo » 01/24/05 03:26 AM

Just for the record, the review was published in the April 2003 issue of MAGIC.

If I was the creator of 'Blankety Blanked', I'd consider releasing an updated version in which:

- the four aces are found to have travelled to the leader packet

- ALL of the remaining cards, all 48 of them, are found to have turned blank - this is after they have been cleanly shown to be regular cards

Any comments ??
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Postby Matthew Field » 01/24/05 04:07 AM

Robert Kane raises an interesting point about the reader/reviewer relationship. The reviewer does his best to give you HIS appariasal of a product. That does not mean it's what you will necessarily think about the same product. But, over time, if the reviewer does a good job in his review, describing the product and his criteria, you will be able to make a better judgment about the product because of the review.

And no review can take into account a presentation that can make even a "bad" trick play well.

Reread Mike Close's review and see how he gives his reasons for his conclusions, something he always does (because he is an excellent reviewer). Richard Kaufman does the same in his brief comment here. If you don't agree with what they are saying, you might like the product (as, indeed, you seem to).

That doesn't make Michael, or Richard, or Jeff Ezell, or you, for that matter, wrong. And it does not diminish the importance of the review.

A review is a tool to help you make a decision. Sometimes it can be used to help the product's creator improve the product itself. It is not some kind of universal edict about a product's worth.

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Postby Robert Kane » 01/24/05 06:29 PM

Good points Matt.

For the record, I have always and will continue to trust and enjoy Mike Close's excellent product reviews as well as his stellar magic.

I did not mean to infer anything wrong with the orginal product review by Mike Close, rather I questioned whether it could have been different, under different circumtances. In this specific case, I wanted to share that I came to the realization that my own view of an effect is also of real value when selecting effects to perform. Obvious perhaps, but I think often disregarded.

I should have said this in my first post and I apologize for any offense that I may have given. :)
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Postby Guest » 01/26/05 03:49 PM

Thanks for all the comments.

When Michael Close gave his review, I e-mailed him as well to thank him for his honest input.

Losander and I are still doing more dates on our lecture tour this March in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. We look forward to meeting more people from these forums.

Take care and I hope to see some of you soon.
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Postby El Mystico » 01/27/05 02:11 AM

It's true, there are good tricks and some stinkers.

But it is also true that we will not necessarily agree with all reviewers. This applies across all fields. A good example - a young classical pianist Simon Trpceski has just released his second CD. I read one five star review which praised not only his technical excellence, but also how he had conveyed a depth of meaning in the pieces. The next weekend I read another review which said - this playing is just flashy and lacks any depth. Same music - completely opposite reviews.

It is also true that over time we get a feeling as to whether we generally agree with individual reviewers. I think that is when individual reviewers become most valuable. At the risk of sounding a creep, I've always benefited from the reviews in both Magic and Genii.
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