Fuze (DVD) by Jeff Prace $34.95
Available at: http://www.jeffprace.com/fuze.html
In Fuze, Jeff Prace offers his rendition of the torn and restored card.
Mr. Prace does a good job of demonstrating and teaching the various handlings. He provides appropriate crediting.
The DVD was shot informally with one camera in a Las Vegas hotel room. The quality of the audio and video is adequate.
The DVD begins with two performance videos. Click on the link above to watch excerpts of the following performances.
Fuze #1: A participant selects a card and signs its face. The performer takes the card and gets rid of the deck. He asks the crowd to pretend that the card has a broken finger. He folds a corner of the card back and forth, tears it off and hands it to the participant. He displays the full back and front of the corner-less card.
The performer says, Do you know how CPR works? Operations? You need a dark space, right? Cause doctors like operating in the dark. So Im going to use a dark space like my pocket and Im going to put your card inside my pocket, all the way, like that.
He places the card in his pocket.
The performer changes his mind and decides that the participants closed fist will be a suitably dark space. He removes the card from his pocket, folds it in quarters and places it onto the participants palm. The participant closes her fingers into a fist.
The performer retrieves the corner with his left hand. He transfers the corner to his right hand and closes his fingers into a fist.
Now were going to do some CPR, some operations. Watch. Lets touch fists.
The performer touches his fist to the participants card-clutching fist. The performer opens his fingers to reveal that the corner has disappeared. The participant opens the card and discovers that the torn corner is now reattached to the card, complete with the crease.
A graphic in the promotional video states, Uses a regular deck. That statement is simply not true. The card that you tear and restore is a special card that you must create. The procedure is easy and takes less than ten seconds. You may have to pick up one item from an office supply store.
Theres nothing new about this special card. Its been around for ages. What is new and clever as hell is Mr. Praces handling. It allows you to tear off the cards corner and display the front and back of the corner-less card. This is a really terrific idea.
But, before you restore the corner and give the card to your participant, you must clean it up. Unfortunately, Mr. Prace chooses his pocket as the laundromat.
I detest effects in which the performer places a card in his pocket for an instant, then changes his mind, removes it and does something else with it. Thats a suspicious action.
Lay folk arent stupid. Honest. They know that the performer did something sneaky, even if they dont know exactly what he did. That awareness diminishes the magical impact.
I dont like Mr. Praces patter either. Referring to the torn corner as a broken finger is symbolically incorrect. When the corner is creased and still attached to the card, its easy to see how it represents a broken finger.
But after the corner is detached from the card, it no longer represents a broken finger. It now represents a severed finger. The performer reattaches a severed finger. He doesnt set a broken finger. Words are important.
Worse still is his ludicrous blather about doctors operating in the dark. Oh yes, doctors like operating in complete darkness as much as they like expensive, protracted, license-revoking, career-ending malpractice suits.
By a show of stumps, how many of you have undergone a surgical procedure in a pitch black operating suite? Uh huh. I thought so.
To be effective, patter must support and enhance an effect. And the tales we tell must be congruent with the real world experiences of lay folk. No one on Earth can relate to this drivel. Words are important.
I dont like it.
Fuze #2 (David Penn): A participant selects a card. The performer draws a cross across the face of the card, separating it into quadrants. The participant draws onto the quadrants his initials, a number, a shape and a simple picture. The performer takes the card and gets rid of the deck.
He folds a corner of the card back and forth and tears it almost completely off, leaving just a bit of it attached. The participant tears the corner off of the card and retains the corner.
The performer folds the card in quarters and then unfolds it. He draws the participants first initial in the corner margin of the back of the torn corner.
He places the edge of the corner against the torn section of the card, covering the juncture with his fingers. He removes his fingers to reveal that the corner is now reattached, complete with the crease and the participants initial on the back. The participant can immediately examine the card.
David Penns laundering solution avoids the pathetic pocket, but it employs a pointless, contrived handling. After the performer folds the corner and tears it off, there is no presentational justification whatsoever for folding the card into quarters and then unfolding it. This is a method-driven handling bereft of motivation.
I dont like it.
Now the instructional portion of the DVD begins. Mr. Prace introduces himself and thanks the viewer for purchasing the DVD or obtaining it by nefarious means.
In the Introduction, we see a bespectacled chap and Mr. Prace sitting on a couch behind a table. In a British accent, the gentleman introduces Mr. Prace, but he doesnt introduce himself. I guess I was supposed to recognize him by his face. How nave of me. About halfway through the DVD, he is identified as Craig Petty.
Early on, we hear quips and comments from the cameraman, who Mr. Prace refers to as Dave. Despite his participation, he is not introduced at the onset. I guess I was supposed to recognize him by his voice. How clueless of me. Later, he is identified as David Penn.
While Mr. Prace teaches the material, he and the other two gents playfully bust each others balls, pound their chests and engage in rutting behavior befitting three lads in a Vegas hotel room void of women.
Their antics amused me for the first few minutes, but then they became annoying. I longed for Mr. Petty and Mr. Penn to pipe down and let Mr. Prace teach the material without interruption. But that doesnt happen.
Two other methods of cleansing the card are described. Mr. Petty recommends that the performer sign his initials on the back of the torn corner prior to the restoration. He says, Let me put the card away so we only concentrate on the corner. He places the card in his pocket, signs the corner and removes the card from his pocket. Mr. Petty proclaims that this patter completely justifies putting the card in your pocket.
Leaping lunacy! How much intensely focused attention is required to initial the corner? Does the performer suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder? Is the card really that much of a distraction? Is it beckoning him, taunting him? If so, cant he just slide it to a remote location on the table where its clarion call will be muted? Nope. It has to go into the pocket for the all-consuming two seconds that it takes to sign the corner.
I dont like it.
Mr. Prace describes a gambling-themed handling. After the participant signs the card, the performer offers to teach her a secret gambling move called the crimp. Im going to teach you the easiest crimp there is. Its called the tear.
He tears off the corner and hands it to the participant. He inserts the card face-down into the center of the face-down deck. He turns the deck face-up and cuts to their card, thanks to the missing corner. He lifts the card off the face of the deck and tables the deck face-down and sideways on top of the card case.
If you get a little more advanced, the crimping doesnt have to be a full rip. It can actually be just a crease. The performer restores the corner to the card.
If youre going to offer a gambling lesson, its important to get your terminology correct. When you tear the corner off of a card, the resultant card is called a short card, specifically a corner short not a crimp.
After the corner is restored to the card, the crease in the card is called a crimp. Words are important.
Apart from that linguistic misstep, this is the least contrived method offered for cleansing the card. But the deck ends up dirty and Mr. Prace offers no means by which to cleanse it. And I dont consider this effect strong enough to be a closer.
I dont like it.
Several more restorations are described. Before I mention them, I must point out two unfortunate, restorative moments.
In the full performance video and at the beginning of the promotional video, when the performer purportedly places the edge of the corner against the torn section of the card, it is painfully obvious that he is actually placing the corner behind the card. These stricken segments should have been re-shot.
Okay, the restorations. I dont like the idea of licking the torn edge of the corner before reattaching it. Suffice it to say that I dont like the situation the performer is in after the restoration.
I like Mr. Penns flash paper restoration and his idea of rubbing the card and the corner to generate a static charge. I also like Mr. Pettys handling for restoring the card while its in the participants hand.
Obviously, the participant must select the special card. Mr. Prace teaches the Cross Cut force and a non-force method that relies upon a whole deck of special cards.
Jeff Prace is a very clever young man. I applaud his creativity. In my review on 12/1/09, I highly recommended his product, Gum. I really wanted to like this product.
But in addition to the problems that Ive cited, there is also the issue of the effects relative strength. When tearing and restoring a card, I prefer to tear the card into four quarters and then restore it one piece at a time. This approach allows me to create three magical moments of restoration as each piece is reattached.
In this effect and other torn corner restorations, there is only one magical moment. Thus, the effect is only one third as strong as the four piece approach. I couldnt bear to deprive the crowd of those two additional moments of magic.
I have two more of Mr. Praces products slated for review. Despite my displeasure with this product, I maintain my optimism for what awaits.