After reading/watching lots of books/dvds, its not unusual to use only one item from a book I just read or get inspired to work out my own ideas. "Be", by Kyle MacnNeil, is a rare case for me: with the exception of 2 items that I didn't really care about, the other 6 I did end up either use or play a lot with, refine then later, use. that's the majority of the ebook, and its been awhile since this happened to me.
Lets get rid of the technicalities: Its all card magic. Some effects use blank cards though you can easily just use the jokers instead. No gaffs. The descriptions are very clear and to the point. In contrast with his other Kyle ebooks I have ( Hands Hof! and Wild at Heart ) this one is very well edited and has a very elegant design. He did spend some time on this issue. There are few pictures though they're more than enough to understand the explanations. There's a video of one of the tricks which is always nice.
The ebook starts off with an essay on creating magic that stimulates different reactions. Don't expect Eugene Burger for the author isn't old enough to grow a beard, but it is indeed a nice read. And you thought Kids today aren't smart. ( feels odd saying this and I'm only 25 )
After reading some of Kyle's material I have to say that I'm impressed. Some plots are indeed off-beat and the methods are so simple you'll end up hitting the wall for not coming up with them. For me, this seems to be Kyle's strength: Simple methods leading to good ( and sometimes big ) results.
The first trick,Cheddar + Chutney, is a very neat sandwich plot. A card vanishes from a sandwich then you do the opposite, the card becomes the sandwich! You use this card to find the cards sandwiching the 2nd selection. This is inspired by Dave Forrest trick ‘Piccalilli’ which I'm not familiar, so I'm not sure of the originality of this. I loved The first two phases are killer and indeed a nice twist to sandwiches.
Box + Deck is a routine I ended up using as written. Its a multi-transposition routine with signatures on the backs, or you can change that and go with the very slick presentation. The highlight for me was Kyle's clever use of one of my favorite sleights: He uses it to visually have a card penetrate the box AND to set up a clean vanish of a signature. Very clever.
I'm a big fan of Everywhere and Nowhere and perform different versions of it, Everywhere Prediction is a version that I will use. Its a great opener that can be done with any deck. This is the first E&Nowhere routine I've read that adds a prediction and it actually makes sense. With the playful presentation that fits my character, This is a decent twist on Everywhere and Nowhere that fans of the plot should check out.
Blank You Very Much is a very interesting principle. The effect sounds like a miracle: Spectator places a freely thought of card in his pocket, you show a joker/blank card and place it in your pocket. With a snap, you name the freely thought of card, and you take it from your pocket. The spectator himself reaches to his pocket and pulls out the card: its the blank. That's exactly how the effect plays out.
This is simply genius if you make it work ( picking the right spectator and careful audience management are key ) and is only 1-on-1. This is something I heavily played with just thinking of different ways to apply it. Its not a magicians fooler but its simply brilliant. If you like having laymen doing sleights for you ( Las Vegas Leaper? ) you'll want to check this out.
Sandwich Triumph is a Triumph mixed with a sandwich with a climax of finding the mates of the selection. The plot isn't new though the method here is very direct and to the point. Some setup is needed though you can work around it( if you own Card College ). There's a weird sandwich load that's credited to Cameron Francis, I didn't think it'll fool laymen though it did in my test performances. Anyways this is a trick I ended up not using, the magic world is full of Triumphs and while this is simple, it wont make you switch from the method you're already using.
Cricket is a version of Paul Harris's Grasshopper. This is something that needed a bit streamlining to become a great worker and indeed this is a version that I now use in a larger routine. The highlights here are the sandwich reveal and the one handed Fandango move ( the original sleight is Ben Harris's ). Both are good, REAL good, and ridiculously simple. Both of them are explained in a separate section, followed by a video performance for the trick which does help to show off the moves.
Instant Repeat Collectors is a very neat idea that allows you to do a clean repeat phase to almost any collectors routine in existence. This is something that I also ended up playing with a lot, very simple and clever. The explanations could be cleaner and a video would've been helpful.
There you have it. I'm pleasantly surprised at the quality of the material and the amount I ended up playing with and use.
In a nutshell, get this if:
- Want simple card magic, with easy and particularly simple methods.
- Interested in a nice transposition with 2 signed backs.
- Interested in mixing Everywhere and Nowhere with a prediction.
- Interested in ways to make laymen do sleights for you ( as in Blank You Very Much )
- Want to learn a neat sandwich reveal and and one handed Fandango.
Don't get this if:
- Interested in more creative methods than creative plots.
- You're a move monkey.
- Feel sad to find out a kid is almost as smart if not smarter than you.
For 10$, highly recommended.