Voices (DVD & Gimmicks) by Jeff Prace $24.95
Running time: 87 minutes
Available at: https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic ... ic/voices/
As a psychotherapist, I’ve treated many psychotic patients suffering from auditory hallucinations, aka voices. Naturally, my nostrils flared when I received this DVD from Jeff Prace. The DVD sleeve bears an illustration of a screaming, distressed man, who is seemingly struggling with excruciating voices. Or maybe he’s just constipated.
I won’t subject Mr. Prace to a tirade about using mental illness as a product marketing tool. Instead, I will merely inform him that he is at the age when most people experience their first psychotic episode. Karma can be a bitch.
The production values of the DVD are good. I was pleased to see that Mr. Prace has upgraded his “studio” from a college stairwell to a sinister basement or dungeon.
He teaches much of the material at waist level, thus there are a lot of crotch shots. This detail would not be worth mentioning were it not for the fact that his fly is partially unzipped throughout the proceedings.
Mr. Prace does a good job of teaching the material. He dutifully cites his inspirational sources.
Flavorless: The performer munches a piece of gum. He removes the masticated wad from his maw and places it on the palm of his left hand.
He removes a pack of gum from his pocket and displays both sides. He taps the chomped wad with the pack and it transforms into a brand new piece of gum. He pops the gum into his mouth and offers the pack to the crowd.
This item was inspired by a Jay Sankey effect.
It previously appeared on Mr. Prace’s Organik download (reviewed on March 16 2013). I commented that in the real world, new gum is larger than chewed gum. In Mr. Prace’s effect, new gum is smaller than chewed gum. Arts and crafts-wise, you can make the chewed gum a bit smaller, and more realistic, but it will never be smaller than the pristine piece.
I guess you have to hope that the crowd doesn’t notice this odd phenomenon. Maybe keeping your hand moving might help? This is a potentially troublesome issue, but I must admit that Mr. Prace’s method makes me smile.
I like it.
Containment: The performer displays a box of orange Tic Tacs. He places the box under his shirt for a second. He removes the box and the Tic Tacs are now white. He offers the box to the crowd.
Mr. Prace drew inspiration from a Daniel Garcia effect.
To perform this effect, you must wear an untucked shirt. I don’t wear untucked shirts. Even if I did, covering a transformation by sticking a prop under your shirt is tasteless, juvenile, uninspired behavior for performers of any age. The Through the Fist Flourish and several other superior methods immediately spring to mind.
But in the grand scheme of things, the cover problem is a minor fix and the rest of Mr. Prace’s method is clever and effective.
I like it
Clasped: A cord is seen hanging around the performer’s neck, under his tee shirt. He borrows a participant’s ring. He takes it in his left hand and places it under his shirt for a moment, to polish it. He removes his left hand, clenched in a fist. The participant holds his left wrist, to prevent the performer from doing anything sneaky.
Despite the tight security, the performer opens his left hand to reveal that the ring has vanished. He shows that both of his hands are empty.
He says “let me unclasp the necklace”. His hands grasp the upper portions of the left and right strands of the cord and pull them up and behind his neck. He changes his mind and removes his empty hands from behind his neck. He taps an area of his chest and asks the participant to feel it. The participant feels a ring under the performer’s shirt.
The performer pulls the necklace out from under his shirt. A clasp dangles from the end of the necklace. Secured by the clasp is the participant’s ring. The performer opens the clasp, removes the ring and hands it to the participant.
This effect was inspired by Al Koran’s Ring Flight. Mr. Prace also acknowledges the related work of Bob Smith, Peter Eggink and Shawn Fields.
In his presentation, Mr. Prace refers repeatedly refers to the cord as a necklace. Anyone who views this object as a necklace is shouting to the world that they possess a laughable, trailer park fashion aesthetic.
To create the special cord, you’ll need to pick up some items from the hardware store. They will cost over ten bucks. Then it will take you about 10 minutes to build the cord.
In performance, you must again wear an untucked shirt. No one can be standing behind you.
Mr. Prace attempts to cover part of the unfortunate method by stating that he needs to unclasp the necklace. He fiddles around, refers back to unclasping it, but never unclasps it. A conscious, observant crowd will rightfully perceive this behavior as very weird, because the cord doesn’t even have a rear clasp!
I don’t like it.
Fuel: The performer displays that a mini Bic lighter has a logo on each side. He shakes the lighter and reveals that the logos have vanished. He shakes the lighter again and the logos reappear. The performer rubs the lighter and then displays both of its sides. The logos have again disappeared. The performer turns his empty right hand palm down and touches the lighter. He lifts his hand and displays both sides of the lighter. The logos have reappeared.
The performer rubs his finger back and forth along the side of the lighter and asks a participant to say stop. She stops him when his finger is near the bottom of the lighter. The logos are now printed on the bottom of the lighter. He gives the lighter a shake, causing the logos to return to the top of the lighter.
The performer asks the participant if they are right-handed or left-handed. She announces that she is right-handed. The performer places the lighter in her right hand and she grips it in her fist. He asks her where on the lighter she wants to logo to jump – top, middle or bottom. Regardless of her response, she opens her fingers and discovers that numerous logos are now printed along the length of both sides of the lighter. The lighter can be immediately examined.
This effect was inspired by products from Jay Sankey and Mark Jenest.
Mr. Prace’s effect is magical eye candy and his method is very clever.
I really like it.
Strawesome: The performer drinks Coke from an opaque soft drink cup with a clear straw inserted in the lid. He sucks some Coke into the straw and equalizes his oral pressure so the Coke is suspended in the straw and visible to the crowd. He places his hand in front of the straw. When he removes it, the fluid in the straw is now orange. He hands the cup to a participant who confirms that the cup now filled with orange soda.
This is a cool situational effect with visual appeal and a clever method that can be sneakily set up on the fly. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
I like it.
Iflite: The performer’s phone, with ear bud cord attached, is in his left front pants pocket. The cord extends up from his pocket, around the back of his neck, and hangs in front of his chest.
He borrows a participant’s ring, taking it in his left hand. He says that he needs something to wrap it in. He transfers the ring to his right hand. His left hand reaches into his left front pants pocket and fishes around. Finding nothing of use, he removes his left hand from his pocket and transfers the ring from his right hand to his left hand, His right hand reaches into his right front pants pocket and removes a dollar bill. He wraps it around the ring.
The performer opens the bill, revealing that the ring has vanished. He puts the bill back in his right front pants pocket. With empty hands, he removes his phone from his pocket. The participant’s ring is threaded on the cord.
I hate smart phones and I will never own one of the wretched buggers. But even I know that an ear bud cord can be easily plugged into and unplugged from a phone. After witnessing this effect, an unimpaired, intelligent participant will quickly and confidently explain the method thusly.
Inside the performer’s pocket, the cord’s plug is positioned near, but not plugged into the phone. The ring is in the performer’s hand and when he sticks his hand into the pocket containing the phone, he threads the ring on the cord and plugs it into the phone. Case solved.
That proposed method is intuitive, transparent and bad. It is also superior to Mr. Prace’s method.
His method requires you to run back to the store and buy several items that will cost over ten bucks. Then you need to spend several minutes creating a gimmick that produces a revelation that is less visually convincing than simply threading the ring on the damn cord and plugging it into the phone!
I don’t like it.
Light Flight: The performer displays his mini Bic lighter in his right hand. He borrows a participant’s mini Bic lighter and holds it in his left hand. He rotates both lighters, displaying logos on both of their sides.
The participant takes the performer’s lighter and holds it in her fist. The performer takes the participant’s lighter and holds it in his left hand. With his right hand, he plucks the logo off of her lighter, leaving one logo on it.
He tosses the plucked logo toward the participant’s hand. She opens her hand and discovers that the performer’s lighter now has a third logo permanently printed on it.
Mr. Prace’s effect is good and his method is clever. I have no doubt that a lay participant will enjoy this effect. But for how long?
During the performance, the participant accepts the performer’s statement and visual proof that every mini Bic lighter has a logo on each side. When her lighter is returned to her, she is thrilled that her personal property has been magically altered. She believes that she now owns a unique, impossible object. She will understandably want to compare it to lighters found in every corner store and to show it to all of her friends who own mini Bic lighters.
But when she does, she will feel crestfallen when she discovers that all mini Bic lighters bear only one logo. She will conclude that the performer somehow used sleight of hand to create the illusion that her lighter had two logos, and hid the fact that his lighter always had three logos. Her explanation will be incomplete, but sufficient to destroy the magic.
Unfortunately, this effect’s magical half-life is just too short.
I don’t like it
15 Minute Session on Creativity: Mr. Prace shares his creative process and suggests ways that the viewer can find sources of inspiration and enhance their creativity. If you’ve studied magic for several decades, you’ve heard this advice before.
I imagine that Mr. Prace’s younger, less experienced target audience will find his recommendations valuable. I commend him for taking the time to encourage them to be creative, unique individuals, instead of unimaginative clones.
The pessimist in me fears that the most valuable advice that he imparts to his peers, many of whom are illiterate, entitled, seekers of immediate gratification, will go unheeded. He wisely admonishes them to do the required research on effects and methods before assuming that they have created something new. The invaluable bottom line – don’t rush to publish.
I like it.
Read exclusive online reviews of products and discuss them.
1 post • Page 1 of 1