Ackerman & Erdnase

Discuss products and their reviews in Genii.

Postby Yves Tourigny » 10/10/08 02:01 PM

It's been a few weeks since Ackerman's Erdnase dvds are out and nobody has commented on them yet. Well not much anyway. I'm wondering why it is so? Are they worthy of the hype? I'm sure that Ackerman has done a decent job but I would appreciate seeing a review of some kind? Also will they be reviewed in Genii?

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Postby Paul Hayward » 10/10/08 03:28 PM

Hi Yves,

I have the whole set and am delighted with the quality, skill and high production values etc. Its also very accessible. I think there are a number of reasons why reviews are not forthcoming. Here are a couple. The big one is the sheer time, size and scope required for a comprehensive review. The second related issue is the reviewers credentials. Due to the intense interest, study and devotion provoked by Erdnase, it takes an enthusiast both knowledgeable and brave to venture a critique upon the holy text and Ackerman's interpretation thereof.

Regards,

Paul
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Postby Dan Magyari » 10/10/08 06:53 PM

I find it so refreshing to NOT have a review yet. It continues to amaze me that folks can receive something (anything, but especially books) and one day later (or less) have a full blown review posted on the internet for the world to see. So, a big thank you to all who are refraining from doing so.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/10/08 08:08 PM

We have not been sent a copy for review.
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Postby A1exM » 10/10/08 08:42 PM

I agree, this set of DVD's deserves to be studied first before comments are made.
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Postby erlandish » 10/10/08 10:19 PM

I'm willing to bet everybody's just waiting for the Smiling Mule to speak up.
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Postby Matthew Field » 10/11/08 05:34 AM

Geno Munari has done a spectacular job with this set, and Allan Ackerman was the perfect choice as the performer.

Allan stresses that the DVDs are meant as an adjunct to the book. He performs everything as close to Erdnase's descriptions as possible, pointing out changes he has adopted. The visuals make 'Expert' come alive, clarifying, at least for me, some sleights that were less than clear when I read them, and I've read the book a dozen times.

The Ackerman explanations occupy six of the 10 disks (plus a CD-ROM). There are interviews with Martin Gardner, an exploration by Richard Hatch of the possible real identity of the author, the CD-ROM with a ton of material, including press clippings of the Milton Franklin Andrews case, a pdf of 'Expert' and lots more.

The respect shown by Geno and Allan for the material is exemplary, and Allan's skill level is awesome.

For $130 for 10 DVDs and the CD-ROM, a beautifully written and illustrated accompanying booklet which matches up each item on the DVDs with a page number in 'Expert', the Hollywood-quality introduction narrated by Ernest Borgnine -- this is an unbelievable bargain -- about the same price as 5 crappy one-trick DVDs.

If you're interested in card magic, I truly think this set is indispensable. I'll be returning to it for years to come.

Those who ordered early received several books for the same price as a reward, including Racherbaumer's "Marlo on Erdnase" (available separately from the Houdini Magic website), a Bart Whaley manuscript, and a facsimile reprint of "How Gamblers Win", an extraordinary Erdnase precursor from 1865!

What a bonus!

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Postby Yves Tourigny » 10/12/08 09:50 AM

Paul and Dan, I was thinking along the same lines also. But I was wondering why almost no one has taken the chance to say something. Even at the Cafe things are pretty quiet about this set. This is surprising when usually you get opinions there even before the product is out. I was first thinking that it was probably good news. I have seen Wesley James set and even though I usually like his stuff this was not what I had expected from him. I've met him a few times and I like the guy and know of his expertise in card magic so this was a bit of a disappointment.
Tackling Erdnase and doing it justice is not an easy task.
Very few people are able to do that and I must admit that Allan Ackerman would not have been my personnal first choice. I like his sleight of hand dvd "Every Move a MOve" though so I assume that he would do a decent job at the very least. But expectations for this project have been so high that, seeing no review, Iworried that it was perhaps a sign that the set was not again what "we" want it to be. That's why I hadn't ordered a set yet.
Anyway thank you all again for the head up. Now I'm going to the Buffalo Get-Together to see and do some Magic. :D Be back in a week.

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Postby Magic Fred » 04/07/10 07:46 AM

Was this ever reviewed in Genii? Or anywhere else for that matter?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 04/07/10 09:37 AM

The consensus from online commentary and review appears to be an unreserved thumbs up.

Not all of us are ready for a post graduate course in card conjuring methods - so I stick to more basic fare.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 04/07/10 08:42 PM

Yes Fred--this DVD set was reviewed in Genii some time ago, maybe about a year, but I can't recall which issue right now. I remember the review was positive.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/08/10 12:26 AM

I wrote it and can't recall the issue off the top of my head. It was very positive (and still is). In case you are, do not consider the less expensive Magic Makers edition. There is no comparison.

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Postby Magic Fred » 04/08/10 03:13 AM

Thanks for the replies. I have indeed studied both products and agree that certainly the Ackerman effort is the more respectable of the two. I wouldn't say there is no comparison though.

Anyway, looking forward to tracking down the issue and reading some alternative analysis on the set. Any other reviews out there?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/08/10 02:14 PM

The review is in the March 2009 (Uri Geller cover) issue. It's available from Genii:

http://geniimagazine.com/back_issues/2009/03/index.html

I also reviewed the MM version online (you may have to scroll down a tad):

http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubb ... mber=85342

Yes, I suppose--strictly speaking--they can be compared. But the MM edition is very weak by that strict comparison and therefore a very poor value.

It's like comparing a Yugo and a Ferrari.

Actually, that's not fair to Yugo. At least a Yugo will get you where you want to go. I'm not convinced that the Wesley James edition of Erdnase does that (the student understanding and learning the material) while I know that the Ackerman one does.

And believe me when I say that it gave me absolutely no pleasure to say that. I like and respect Mr. James. I have learned good things from him. I just do not think that he was the right guy for that project.

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Postby Mats Kjellstrom » 04/12/10 03:49 PM

Check out Allans web:

http://allanackerman.com/

Full with powerful card magic, sure.
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Postby Magic Fred » 10/31/10 10:26 AM

Unlike James, Ackerman exhibits the touch and temperament of an expert and he treats the material with the respect it deserves.

Unfortunately, for me, his demonstrations depart all too often from Erdnase's descriptions and this is especially prevalent in the very techniques that have helped establish Erdnase's mystique.

You will not see an Open Shift, S.W.E. Shift, Longitudinal Shift, or Diagonal Palm Shift demonstrated adequately. Nor will you gain an appreciation for his "system" of palming.

The product is beautifully packaged and presented and the interview with Bart Whaley is especially interesting.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/31/10 12:13 PM

The problem is that I don't know of any single person up to the task of demonstrating every sleight and technique in both the gambling and magic sections in Expert at the Card Table exactly as Erdnase describes them.

I saw Charlie Miller do a lot of it one evening, and it was as amazing as you would think.

You really need a tag team of half a dozen people to do this right, and you're still not going to see anyone do an Open Shift worth a damn. Vernon was supposed to have done it well. I saw Charlie Miller do it and could finally understand what was supposed to be happening, but that's a long time ago. There's no good reason to do an SWE or Open Shift--it's far more important to spend your time learning one good Pass, one good Palm, one good Force, and so on.
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Postby Magic Fred » 10/31/10 01:05 PM

I've seen the Open Shift done pretty deceptively, especially as a colour change.

What disappoints me most is that these supposed Erdnase experts undermine the techniques by completely disregarding Erdnase's instructions and objectives.

The fascinating thing about his shifts is the way he engineers the pressure points in such a way to cause the packets to transpose silently with the hands seemingly at rest, with lightening speed and with minimal cover.

The palming system is notable because of how the palms are engineered to be executed seamlessly as part of the shuffle/square up action with no extra hesitation and no acquiring of breaks.

Similar thinking is evident throughout the book, but largely ignored by most as they dismiss various techniques as impractical or even ridiculous.

The "variations and improvements" on these DVD sets really betray a misunderstanding of not only the technical aspects, but also the underlying Erdnase philosophy.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/31/10 01:24 PM

MagicFred, you should write a treatise on Erdnase.
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Postby Carlo Morpurgo » 11/01/10 12:07 AM

I am no expert but not a fool either. I've bought the dvd's, and got disappointed about the fact that 2 out of 2 demos I watched were not using the techniques that were explained afterwards. For example the second deal. He does a push off deal as in E. but only dealing to himself - easier. In the demo he deals strike seconds to other players, and himself; not the Erdnase technique.
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Postby Magic Fred » 11/01/10 03:58 AM

Indeed, and similar legitimate misgivings could be highlighted for most sections. Perhaps with the exception of the overhand shuffle material.

However I have learned form experience that, regardless of any compelling evidence presented, one may not offer a negative critique unless one is willing to disclose ones life story, as apparently all evidence is rendered null and void by virtue of being voiced anonymously.

In hoping that this thread will not go the way of "the other" and degrade into a slagging match debating the merits of anonymous comments, I have deliberately refrained from voicing more detailed and "cutting" opinions that some may take personally.

I do feel it important however, to offer an honest alternative to what is in my view some very unjustified and misinformed praise.

Erdnase is that important.
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Postby The Magic Apple » 11/01/10 10:38 AM

Mr. Ackerman will be lecturing at A Day of Lectures in Studio City on 11/14/2010 - if you are in or around town, register for the event and ask him ANYTHING you'd like about the DVDs or the Book.

www.ADayofLectures.com
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