Masters of Illusion

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Postby Tom Frame » 01/05/09 04:02 PM

Masters of Illusion, a 13 part series begins tonight at 9:00 PM on myNetworkTV. The following acts are scheduled to appear:

Ai & Yuki, Guy Bavli, Tony Clark, Farrell Dillion, Kyle Eschen, Amazing Johnathan & Psychic Tanya, Kalin & Jinger, Krystyn Lambert, and Jeff McBride.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 01/05/09 04:16 PM

You can watch the commercial here: http://www.mynetworktv.com/player/?category=164
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.
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Postby Mark Paulson » 01/06/09 03:14 AM

Did anyone else watch it? Overall, I thought it was pretty good. It's a heckuva lot better than having that masked guy on TV.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 01/06/09 06:42 AM

I saw about the last 20 minutes or so. It looked decent. Guy Bavli talked too much, I thought, but otherwise the portion I saw was impressive.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/06/09 06:53 AM

Since someone asked, yes, I watched the show. And even though no one asked, Ill toss the first rocks.

Scarlett, a rather attractive woman whom I had not seen before, opened the show with a passable version of passing her body through a moving fan (Steinmeyers Windshear). It could have been better had the first shot of her hand going through was not a tight close-up. Viewers could not see the blades moving below. Fortunately the rest of the shots were medium.

Jeff McBride, with the first of two spots, did his usual solid job and it was very nice to see some material different from what we see from him on television.

Kalin & Jinger showed off their terrific version of Steinmeyers Op-Art illusion. I was not crazy about this illusion the first time I saw them do it at Its Magic at the Kodak Theater (that theater is too big for old eyes!). But then I saw them at Magic Underground and liked it better in that small venue (its a true What the? moment up close). Since then they have added the up tempo music and a much tighter presentation (especially the blow-off with her coming out the back sliding doors) and this has really made this piece a killer.

Farrell Dillon did a decent job with the Ring and Rope in a street segment, but he needs to work on his presentation. Not everything needs to be cool, huh?

Hillel. Oh my: I hate to say it, because he is a very nice guya Castle regularbut his act was too long, not funny, and it lost its mystery. By the time the large needle goes through, the feeling is, Yeah, so? How many times does the audience need to see something penetrate the balloon? It would be a solid little piece if hed drop everything between his entire body entering the balloon and the needle. Maybe the Help gag with the marker, then the assistant bringing the needle out to help him and, of course, it just passes through.

Jeff McBride returns for the second time, again with different material, which was nice. I do think it was hard to tell (on the TV) what was happening with the lights at times.

Krystyn Lambert did Skinners Monte in a street segment, but her execution was a tad too cozy for my tastes. But the camera absolutely loves this pretty young girl, so watch out folks because she is only getting better. And with that shes going to gain confidence and poise, and shell be right up there among the best.

The Amazing Johnathan. Gotta love AJ. Im glad my kids are not of the age where I have to explain why Psychic Tanyas mouth was covered in blue greasepaint! Very funny stuff.

Guy Bavli did a Heart Stop routine. My only problemother than preferring how David Berglass presents itis that the piece is too slow for a stand-alone effect. I believe its a middle piece, done after the audience knows the performer. Now its very possible that this was indeed an item he performed second or third in a set and the producers put it in this way. Either way, it didnt work for me here.

Tony Clark is not the worlds greatest manipulator but hes good and has a solid act and did well.

Ai and YuKi, two attractive young women from Nagoya, Japanand who were the only performers that didnt get their names in graphics on the screen during their turnclosed the show performing Mark Wilsons Excalibur illusion. They have a great look, nice movement, and did quite well. I would prefer to see the transposition get just a bit quicker: The second girls head just sort of came up. There should be more pop (for lack of a better word) to give the illusion of just appearing.

Overall it was a good effort and Im looking forward to more. I would prefer some better camera work and editing, but thats just me. I like to see magic on television as if I am sitting front row center; and house left and house right. In other words, I do like different camera angles, but the editing shouldnt distract from the magic and sometimes I think it does these days.

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Postby Donal Chayce » 01/06/09 05:11 PM

I posted this question on another forum, but I'm going to post it here as well since some of the folks connected with the show might also be members of the Genii forum:

What's up with the faux-Egyptian set dressing? It clearly had nothing to do with any of the acts that performed, and was especially incongruous as a backdrop for Jeff McBride's samurai act.

I don't recall anything set at the outset that explained or somehow tied in the set with the actual program. Was it simply a matter of using what was available for the amount of money in the budget?
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Postby MagicBat » 01/06/09 05:38 PM

Yeah, overall the show was awesome! I'm so glad to see more magic on TV, and I really feel like this is the way of the future. The show was fast paced, and kept viewers interested. I have heard nothing but praise from my laymen friends, minus a few thinking Guy Bavli's act wasn't for television.
The set dressing was a little weird, I agree, but why nitpick?
Actually, on the subject of nitpicking, I'm almost positive that adorable Krystyn Lambert performed Gordan Bean's Temptation, not Skinner's routine. I'm willing to bet big bucks on that, actually.
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Postby mai-ling » 01/06/09 07:30 PM

darn it, totally missed it.
hopefully that episode will repeat.
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Postby skeptic555 » 01/06/09 08:40 PM

Saw Ep.1, and have the ol' DVR set to record the rest of em, but really I was overwhelmed with a sense of same-ness. I am regularly blown away with live magic - but there is something about this (tired) format that just does not do it for me. I'm afraid I don't have a whole lot of alternative suggestions to offer - I am no expert in TV production - but I really couldn't tell if this was new, or one of the WGM specials from ages ago.

AJ, who I love dearly, seemed to be at half speed (and the other half asleep.

And, at the risk of being outrageously insensitive, I barely recognized Krystyn from her stint at the most recent Magic Live. I remember her as standing out from the teen crowd (and different in more ways than being, you know, female. She had a funny and different character, which most of the dudes lacked). I know young folks age quickly and looks change, but she was nigh on unrecognizable. I just hope this change was the result of the normal aging process combined with hair and makeup work, and not the result of having any work done. At that age, that would set one hell of a precedent. Really hope my unfounded speculation is way off base on this one.

Loved seeing McBride bust out a few things that I saw him do at the Palace Station gig. I certainly hope future shows allow him more time. I'd love to see his show closing piece with the miming and the mirror. Its Jeff at his best.
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Postby Tom Frame » 01/07/09 07:18 PM

Here is a list of the performers slated to appear over the next 12 weeks:

Ed Alonzo, Jon Armstrong, Dan Birch, Arian Black, Jorge Blass, Bruce Block, Tom Burgoon, Nathan Burton, Eric Buss, Jason Byrne, Mark Cannon, Juliana Chen, James Clark, Danny Cole, Dave Cox, Zach Creahan-Mueller, Chase Curtis, Brett Daniels, David & Dania, Farrell Dillon, Doc Eason, Kyle Eschen, Nathan Gibson, Bruce Gold, Jeff Hobson, Derek Hughes, Taylor Hughes, Kevin James, Mac King, Mark Kornhauser, Krystyn Lambert, Bryson Lang, Tina Lenert, Levent, Jonathan Levit, Losander, Curtis Lovell, Matt Marcy, Patrick Martin, Ice McDonald, Shawn McMaster, Eric Mead, Rick Merrill, Joe Monti, Johnny Ace Palmer, Aaron Radatz, Chris Randall, Rocco, Dale Salwak, John Shryock, Joe Skilton, Dan Sperry, Rick Thomas, Arthur Trace, Joel Ward, Fielding West, David Williamson, Adam Wylie and Mai Wynn.

Quite an impressive line-up!
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Postby mai-ling » 01/13/09 01:37 AM

i made sure i had the station for the show on today...
so my dad can watch it.

it did not keep his attention.
for some reason it made him fall asleep.
i found it to be amusing.
but that's not usually a good sign.

curious about next week if that happens.
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Postby Jim Roberts » 01/13/09 08:34 AM

I had to do a double-take when I read what mai-ling wrote, mainly because I fell asleep myself and she appears to be young enough to be my daughter. I think it's a format problem. The hit and out pacing was almost metronome-like. Perhaps giving performers longer segments rather than trying to see how much quantity they can cram into an hour.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/13/09 10:31 AM

Pacing, lighting, narration(audio track range and fixed tonality), variety of view (framing, angle, length of shot...)

IMHO it did make the costumes look attractive if not the performers.
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Postby mai-ling » 01/13/09 11:29 AM

I think one of the issues with the format is that
there is no MC to pace the show.

its one after another after another.

no one is allowed routine.

i'd rather pay to see a live show than sit and
watch a TV show.

maybe its old school thought, but i believe that
these new effects people do really are over rated.

my dad has always been one of the on-the-verge
creators of magic, much way before his time.
and there's to much quick camera panning
that something is lost.

after watching dan do his coin/eye manipulation,
it made my tummy feel kinda weird.

magic can be made for TV but not in the way this
was produced.

i'll try to remember to see next weeks.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/13/09 12:16 PM

Breaking everything up into choppy bits at a breakneck pace is the only way to keep kids from flipping to another channel.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 01/13/09 01:07 PM

A lay friend at lunch commented on the incredibly lame interactive stunt of moving "any number you want" and then moving back the same number. Who would that fool? I was going to watch it again tonight to make sure that was what happened, as I couldn't believe it. Apparently, it did. There are many fine effects of this nature, but this wasn't one of them.
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Postby mai-ling » 01/13/09 01:11 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Breaking everything up into choppy bits at a breakneck pace is the only way to keep kids from flipping to another channel.


you mean anyone with a short attention span, add, adhd,
a neurological deficit and etc.

(that would include my father since his stroke 10 years ago)
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Postby Jim Riser » 01/13/09 01:15 PM

I have always liked Jason Byrne's energetic bird work and was pleased to see him doing other items. I consider his apparatus for Harbin's Assistant's Revenge as the most impressive version I've ever seen. It was a nice touch to see that his table design tied in with the illusion - a sign of a real pro.

Kevin James' rendition of the old Thurston egg production effect (made famous by David Devant) was cute and practical. He solved the problem of where to get the eggs and how to control the mess.

I also thought the girl through jet engine fan blades looked convincing.

This show did not hurt magic.
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Postby Terrence » 01/13/09 01:52 PM

Joe Skilton did a beautiful mis-made bill.
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Postby Travis » 01/13/09 03:10 PM

Skilton's bill change looked very good. His handling was excellent.

Levit's performance grated on me. And it was a long way to go for something I felt was less than amazing.

Kevin's take on Devant was enjoyable, as were his Rose and Snow routines. He still does 'em the best. Gutsy hook-up for the rose, too. Loved it.

I didn't care for Jason Byrne's opening bit. I felt his patter actually made the trick more confusing to follow, and it seemed like a lot of futzing around for two balls and two handkerchiefs. But maybe that's just me.

The jet engine thing just leaves me cold. There's no real perceived danger and it just seems pointless to me.
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Postby Jim Riser » 01/13/09 03:12 PM

Terrence wrote:Joe Skilton did a beautiful mis-made bill.


Yes he did - I forgot that one. Thanks for mentioning it.
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Postby Naphtalia » 01/13/09 03:53 PM

Co-workers have been commenting.

Most commented on magic for them was Joe Skilton's mismade bill and Kevin Jame's floating rose. Both got very positive reviews and were remembered the next morning.

All agreed the jet engine might have been more interesting if we hadn't watched most of the trick before every commercial.

Folks split on Dan Sperry's coin from the eye. They either loved or hated it; no middle ground. Personally, I loved it.

Everyone thought the "move you finger. now move it back...etc." was lame. Someone suggested that it might have been an interesting way to introduce/select the next act.
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Postby mai-ling » 01/13/09 07:13 PM

i like the way world's greatest magic was
done the five year it was on NBC.

that format worked well...and kept you
intuned...attention deficit or not.

i hope they do re-runs, because then i
can tape it and watch it during the daytime.
if i fall asleep watching it at
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Postby Magic Newswire » 01/13/09 08:50 PM

I thought Kevin's segments were very good, but then again, it wasn't anything that I hadn't seen before... Oh wait... I'm a magician. Most of those that were watching were not. I tend to forget that from time to time. ;-)
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Postby Magic Newswire » 01/16/09 10:11 PM

Just posted our interview with Dan Sperry. In addition to a look behind the scenes at Masters of Illusion, he offers a no holds barred opinion of magic in Las Vegas. ENJOY!
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