Reviewed by Dan Army
★★★★★ Date Added: Friday 06 July, 2007
|BACK ALLEY LECTURE NOTES|
..::reviewed by dan army::..
"This kid is amazing! Don't let his age fool you ... let his magic!"
~ Michael Eaton
Well, I must say he is right. He is spoken like a true master. Calvin has been one of my best magician friends for a very long time. He has been there for me through thick and thin. I know for a FACT he is one of the most talented and creative performers I know. At such a young age, he has stormed the underground scene. Needless to say, when I heard about the release of these notes, I knew I had to purchase them straight away. Let me tell you, I was EXTREMELY pleased with what I saw. Calvin never ceases to amaze me, and it just re-enforced the idea that age is truly not a factor. Calvin is not just any other kid. He is one of those kids, where you say, "He is going to be something someday." It is just a gut feeling, because you can detect his passion, conviction, and drive to do what he does best. I purchased these notes from Lybrary, and I was very content with the purchase. Let's get to the review, shall we?
BACK ALLEY LECTURE NOTES BY CALVIN LAUBER
REVIEWED BY DAN ARMY
Price: $15.00 USD
TYPE: Instant PDF Download
FOWARD FROM DAN: Now just because Calvin is my good friend, doesn't mean I am not going to be honest with the notes. I am going to give my true opinion on each effect, and go into intricate detail as much as I can. Calvin is highly creative, and quite the magician. I think you will be very pleased with this purchase as well! Let's get to the review.
THE PDF: The PDF itself is one of the coolest designs I have ever seen! Apparently Calvin designed the pages himself. He is quite the creative little dude! The PDF was very easy to navigate, and worked very nicely. There were quite a few grammar mistakes, but nothing major. It still came out nicely! Overall it is a full 15 page PDF, that is very nicely laid out. It includes nine full effects, two flourishes, and a few great ideas!
TABBED: An impromptu soda tab into can effect. You simply break off the tab of a soda can, and visually push it right through the bottom. The audio factors surrounding this effect are truly convincing. I feel that Calvin could have explained this effect a bit more in depth, but the advice he provides should suffice. He has plenty of high quality full color pictures to help you along the way. I truly enjoy this effect because it affects more than one sense of the human mind. I revere that as the best magic, because it just tricks the mind in more ways than we can ever know. The SPECTATOR hears you break off the tab, and they see you break it off. They SEE you visually push it through the bottom, and they HEAR you push it through the bottom. It is super convincing, and super-practical. Also, I know what you're all thinking...yes, it can definitely be routined with something like Wayne Houchin's Sinful. That is another reason I love this effect. Calvin truly captures the art of magic for what it truly is. He knows how to work in impromptu situations, and he is a master of routining. You borrow a can, and blow their minds. Do not underestimate this effect. When I first read it, I thought it would never work. But, I tried it at a party a week later, and the effect KILLED. It truly takes your audience down that path you want them to take. You borrow their supposed prop you need for the effect. They can't help but say, "Wow, this guy is fair." Then, they see you visually push the tab into the can. Within this amazing effect, there is minimal sleight of hand, no gimmicks, and it is absolutely impromptu. No limits. This is definitely one of my favorite effects in the notes. I have tweaked this to my own personal style, and it works great. Calvin's work is very open for change, and it will still work in real world situations.
SUBEMERSION: This is without a doubt, my favorite effect in the notes, and I think a lot of other magicians would agree with me. Why do I like it so much? I was able to manipulate it into my own repetoire. It had an amazing concept, and then I was able to routine it with my other magic. This effect is simple. The spectator freely selects a card, and signs it. You FAIRLY place it on the table. Without any suspicious movements, you wave your hand over the card. It VISUALLY penetrates the glass table, and falls through to the other side. The audience knows what's coming for them. You slowly reveal their signed card...audiences go crazy for this. I had been performing on my friend's patio the other night, and you guessed it, I was on a glass table. I saw this as the perfect moment. It couldn't have gone any better. My presentation was right on target, and I heard many colorful words when that card fell through to the other side. This devastating effect is impromptu, and the card can be signed. Instant reset. Truly amazing! Thanks for this Calvin!
HEART ATTACK: This is not one of the best in the notes, but it made it's way into one of my close-up routines. That is what I love about Calvin's creations. You can tailor them to your own style. This effect is simple, and works very effectively. Like I said, not one of my favorites, but it is worth a shot. Basically, a card is selected, signed, and buried in the deck. The performer picks up the first several cards. He holds them in his hand. As he flicks the cards, they all visually vanish, and one card remains not before seen in the spread! Their signed card! As I write this, I am starting to change my mind. It is actually pretty good...actually, it's very good! It's all in how you view it. I routine this with my custom ace production, moving into Dan and Dave's Fission for Aces, then the Asher Twist, and finally ending with Calvin Lauber's Heart Attack! It is truly a great reveal, and worth some practice. I think I've covered enough of this effect!
ACCIDENT: This close-up card effect is a lot of fun to perform! It has now served as my opener to my Vegas cheat routine several times now. It is very versatile, straight-foward, and downright fun to perform. Calvin's creativity came into play once again, and really shattered the barriers of conventional audience involvement! This effect not only involves one spectator, not just two, not even three, but FOUR spectators. The magician claims that he can influence their thoughts to choose certain cards. He claims he can make the four of them choose the four aces. To his suprise, they just choose four random cards! He really has made an ACCIDENT. With a magical gesture, the four random cards he was previously holding, suddenly morph into the four aces without any strange movement! Once again, Calvin left it wide open for your own personal performing style. I tweaked it a little bit, and I psychologically force the four of a kind I am utilizing for the effect, and I came up with a flourish to produce that four of a kind within this effect "Accident" It is truly a wonderful effect, and has some great values behind it! The only thing I have to nitpick with Calvin, is the fact that he did not properly credit one of the major sleights within this effect, but that should be straightened out shortly!
THE SUBWAY EFFECT: Subway, Eat Fresh...magic. This is, without a doubt fresh magic. Calvin knows the route OFF the beaten path...the beaten path is exactly that...beaten. He knows how to take an old effect, and turn into something truly devastating. This magic conveys ultimate misdirection, and spectators freak. Out of all of the effects in the notes, this is the one I perform most. This is one of the closing effects for my Ambitious Card Routine, and will stay there for a very long time. Let me describe the effect for you. This is an amazing cross between Dan and Dave's Hand to Mouth effect, and their Subway effect. In a nutshell, a card is chosen and buried within the deck. A few moments of silence. The audience slowly looks up. Without ANY strange or suspicious movements, they openly see two jokers wedged in your mouth. As you slowly remove them, one card is sandwiched face down in between them. This destroys the old saying of "being a step ahead of your audience" You are more than steps ahead of your audience. You are a whole marathon's worth of steps ahead of your audience. You are pursuing them on a high speed chase of mind games. You slowly, and inexplicably turn that card over. The reactions just keep building and building, as they see their chosen card. There is no other explanation besides true magic. Calvin has truly created something great here. Enough said.
ARREST: Throw all of your loops and ITR's out the window right now. I don't want to hear any more excuses. Calvin has created an IMPROMPTU levitation. A card is openly placed on the magician's hands. There is no thread, wires, sticky stuff, magnets, plastic, gimmicks, or gadgets of any kind. The card SLOWLY rises several inches off of your hands. It does have a few bad angles, but nothing a little audience management won't handle! With the right presentation, this effect kills. It is very convincing, and I can now safely leave in the morning without invisible thread. Once again, I can not stress the fact of how versatile these effects are. I kind of got tired of floating cards while practicing this, so I let my creativity take over. Now, in my performances, I borrow a cell phone instead of using a card! I borrow a phone, have the spectator place it on my palm. It visually rises several inches off of my hand without any barriers! This effect is practical, direct, and perfect for those sticky situations. I highly recommend this effect as well as the rest of these notes!
DU WUTT CHANGE: This is a great little color change perfect for any closeup card routine! The spectator freely chooses any card, and it is lost in the deck. The performer flips the deck over, and displays the random bottom card. In the motion of rubbing his arm, he comes down, waves over the deck, and it VISUALLY changes into their selected card. I find this very useful in a quick ACR, and is worth a try! This change, has actually been done before, but this is not the exact handling of it, so I think we can let it slide. There you have it, a simple color change. What else do I have to say?
DOVE CHANGE: This is Calvin's signature color change, and I can see why. It is fast, visual, and the card literally morphs into their selected card. I was quite suprised to find that Dove Change, is the exact reverse of the Bridge Change which I had created many years ago. But the way Calvin executes the sleight, lead me to other ideas. I was actually able to concept an idea to better cover the Cardini Change with the handling of Dove Change! You will see this happen one hundred times over with Calvin's material. He presents you with a devastating concept, but leaves just enough room for you to manipulate to your liking. Your creativity will really fall into place with these notes. If you're looking for some new material, Back Alley is the place to go! This really is a great change, and will get you thinking about some other color changes. Hopefully, it will help you concept some bigger and better card routines! This is it for the effects, let's move into the flourishes...
INVERTED LADDER: Gah! Calvin has done it yet again. He is not only an accomplished magician at such a young age, but he is quite the flourisher as well! This "Inverted Ladder" is the perfect example. It doesn't get any better than this. These notes truly have something for ANY performer. I don't care about your skill level, social status, or anything like that. It will have something for everyone. This cut is a crazy cross between a Butterfly cut and a Molecule cut. It looks absolutely insane, and once you build up the speed, you will surely look like a master. Looking to attract audiences? You will definitely turn heads with Calvin's original material. Calvin is truly talented, and creating a good name for himself. Even the most esteemed professionals like Daniel Garcia, Michael Eaton, and Justin Miller knows he has a bright future within magic. I can definitely see it in him as well. He just "has it" Not everybody has the proper...I don't know what to call it, not passion, but maybe presence. I can definitely see it in Calvin, and I will always recommend his material to you. He is a great guy, and his magic is even better! If you watch the promotional video for these notes, you will see how good this stuff is!
GEICO DISPLAY: I have no idea why Calvin would call this the Geico display. Maybe he wanted to do the display and say, "Well, I couldn't find your card, but I can tell you I just saved 15% on my car insurance by switching to Tally-Ho's!" I have no clue! But this display is crazy! You can see for yourself in the promo video! It is one of my favorite flourishes to perform. I haven't gotten it up to speed yet, but it sure is fun to practice along with my other flourishes. It will truly make an awesome addition to your arsenal. (That sounded Ellusionist-ish, didn't it?) Anyway, this cut is amazing, and I think you will think so as well. Buy these notes, and find out for yourself. After getting fed up with Dan and Dave's Jackson Five, I reverted to this display which is just as good, but slightly easier! The pictures Calvin has attached with both flourishes are amazing, and have stunning clarity. There is the perfect amount of screenshots for every essential step of the flourish. Once you have the moves down, you can start tweaking it to make it your own! You will truly enjoy it. The flourishes contained within Back Alley were awesome! Now, let's move into some of the ideas contained within Back-Alley...
MOVING PIP: What an ingenious idea. I am not going to mention what card is utilized in this effect to protect the secret, but it does NOT involve any gaff cards whatsoever. It can be a borrowed deck if you wanted! You take that card, and VISUALLY move the pip up and down on the face of that card! No gaffs are involved, and you just take the card, and start manipulating the ink right on the face of that card! Truly devastating. Calvin one-upped Ellusionist, and starting creating effects without the use of a gaff deck, but providing the same EXACT illusions! You have no idea how creative this kid is. I am confident with his work, and I am very proud of him. He never made this look so easy...he is changing the world of magic one step at a time. Keep it coming Calvin!
EGO CONTROL: This is Calvin's variation of Danny Garcia's amazing Ego Control. Sick of trying to do the pass with an entire packet? This control eliminates that issue. Calvin had full permission from Danny to teach his variation which is amazing. You do not have to deal with a hefty amount of cards in this control. You are manipulating their card, and their card only throughout the deck. It is hard to describe without exposing, but trust me, you will DEFINITELY be able to make use of this control within your performances. You will truly enjoy it. Guaranteed.
ACR FLIP CONTROL: This is more of some food for thought. It is an incomplete idea Calvin provides, and your creativity will fall into place where it is needed! Basically, after a few failed attempts of find the spectator's chosen card, the magician tosses the deck high into the air. The performer catches it, and claims he has made their chosen card "warp" to the top as he tossed it. He CLEANLY deals down the top card, which is you guessed it, their chosen card! I have made a full effect out of this idea, and created an amazing opener for my card at any number routine. I love the style of this effect, and I think you will as well. It is direct, practical, and heart-stopping card magic has created from scratch. Perfection.
LAST WORDS: Well, the ultimate question is, was this worth it? To put it simply...YES. I believe that $15.00 is the PERFECT price for these set of notes. They are very well designed, and very well laid out. I enjoyed reading them. I actually purchased these notes awhile back, and I have been picking apart the material so I can provide the reader with a very thourough review. I must thank Calvin with the uppermost appreciation for releasing these notes. I really enjoyed them, and I HIGHLY encourage you to make this purchase. It is well worth it.
You can always tell in my reviews if I truly like something if I say it is "insane". Well, here it is...Back-Alley notes ARE and ALWAYS will be INSANE! Calvin is the man. There are some great ideas and production values contained within these effects!
Calvin is a young guy, so I won't rank on him for this, but I think Calvin has even more potential to be released. His writing skills will improve over time. I think Calvin could have included an introduction, maybe some thoughts on performing, and a closer, but he didn't. These notes didn't include these measures. I know for a fact, Calvin has some great ideas surrounding magic, but he failed to externalize those thoughts. He is a passionate artist, and I can slowly see his expression coming out of him. We can most definitely be expecting more out of him in the near future, and the long run. I am going to repeat myself for the last time. I really enjoyed the notes. I am not hyping you up on false information just because Calvin is my friend. I gave my honest opinion in every aspect of these notes. These notes are well-designed, and present themself in a very direct manner. The verdict: give these notes a try. You'll get something out of them. I promise. It's worth it. Enough said.
Stop listening to me blab. Go buy these notes...NOW.