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The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret CIA Life

reviewed by Marc DeSouza
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 18 June, 2009)

The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret CIA LifeI had the pleasure of hosting Ben Robinson at our home/theatre last week, to deliver a lecture on the subject of this book, John Mulholland. He enthralled the entire audience for nearly two hours with stories of Mulholland's life as a performer, author, lecturer, editor and consultant to the CIA. As a bonus, he performed several of Mulholland's signature effects and even taught one of them. All in all, a very informative, entertaining and fascinating evening for all. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in magical history and if Robinson is appearing anywhere near your area, do not miss him.

Marc DeSouza


Complete Two Ball Sponge Ball Routine

reviewed by Carlos Negron (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 17 June, 2009)

Complete Two Ball Sponge Ball RoutineIf you are new to sponge magic and know some things about it, but need a routine this is a good start. But you should know some things about using sponge balls already.

For the price you can not go wrong and the routine is solid worker stuff. My only pet peve here is that the description advertises that this could be done as a street routine. I have to say that unless you have a table you can not do this routine as written in the street (or the author does not describe the differences between doing this routine in the street vs. table hopping).

It did strike my imagination and gave me something to walk away with. You get to see and example of patter and presentation of the effect which I think a lot of books lack. The routine itself, to me, provides something different from standard sponge routines.

I gave it 3 for false advertisement, but that is just my opinion.


Ask Roberto Giobbi

reviewed by Andreas Sucker
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 30 May, 2009)

Ask Roberto GiobbiImagine you are a guitar enthusiast and you would get the chance to ask Eric Clapton any question you ever wanted to ask him about his playing, his technique, his heroes, his equipment.

Now you can be glad that you are a magic enthusiast and Roberto lets your wish come true! I have subscribed to it immediately and I only can recommend you to do so!


Blue and Gold: The Complete Guide to Working The Scout Market

reviewed by Carlos Negron (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 30 May, 2009)

Blue and Gold: The Complete Guide to Working The Scout MarketBlue and Gold E-Book Review

I gave this E-book a rating of 3. I would have rated this a 2 based on the price paid, but bumped it up to a 3 because I know that:

1. You will make your money back on this if you are already a seasoned performer. 2. You get some ideas and help from one of the most generous persons in magic today who will in no doubt help you further in working this venue.

I do not recommend this E-book for the following people:

1. Those who are not seasoned Family/Children entertainers. 2. Those who already work in this market.

This e-book is a small push in the right direction for the seasoned Family/Children entertainer to increase their work by focusing on this market. Besides the lack of edit/proof reading (there are some grammatical and spelling errors), Kyle shares some “ideas” and experiences that has worked for him.

The E-book starts off slow with an introduction and reasons of working and not working this market. I feel a lot of the material in this section could have been minimized or left out. The most interesting part in this section is where he describes how the Scouts began. So the first 9 pages provide a very small value before you start hitting some valuable information. On a scale of 1 to 5 I give this section a 1.

Next is budgets and fees, which is one of the most important subjects that first come to mind in working any venue. This section falls a little short of what I expected because you are only given general guidelines on what to charge and how to figure out what to charge. It leaves the reader to work it out on his own. I expected real world numbers and experience. This should be nothing new for the seasoned performer would naturally do this on his own. I give this section a 2.

Next is about packages to offer and the length of your show. This information sparks the creative juices and provides some ideas on what to offer this market. The details of the venue are broken down and valuable advise is given that will give you a head start on what to expect from this type of venue. I would describe these pages as Kyle's tips and tricks. Good stuff here, I give this section a 4.

After 16 pages, you finally get into the marketing aspects. This is what you are paying for and what this E-book advertises. You get a list of resources, techniques on approaches, and small examples. Overall good material on how to do the leg work and marketing steps to get you moving in the right direction. The thing lacking here is real world examples. There is a sample sales letter and scripts but they leave you short of just having to find your own way on this. Then there is a brief mention about promotional material. I would have expected at least an example on what Kyle's promotional material looked like and details on these items. I give this section a 3.

So now you are up to page 28 and we get into the show aspects. There are some good ideas, some concrete examples, but nothing of any detail. You are not going to get a full act out of this section. This is where the E-book started to fail me because if your going to mention this stuff you might as well go all the way. What does Kyle do at these shows? What is the structure of the show? David Ginn certainly provides that info, why not provide that here since it is brought up. What made up for this, was the ideas provided on back of room sales; marketing yourself at the event; and extending what you learned to make the venue work for you through out the year. I give this section a 3.

In short, you are given a lot of ideas that you are left to sort out yourself. Some of the ideas should be obvious to the seasoned performer; some are specific to this venue; and others are those ideas you know about but might have forgotten.

I hope this review helps.

My one pet peve is where there is an endorsment from Ken Scott, and then in the book there is mention of Ken Scott's product.


The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret CIA Life

reviewed by Denny Haney, Denny & Lee Magic Studio
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 26 May, 2009)

The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret CIA LifeThis lecture kept me in my seat all the way through. One of the most interesting lectures I have ever seen. Totally fascinating and informative. The three Mulholland effects Ben performed were terrific. I highly recommend that you get this book as it will be extremely enjoyable.


The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret CIA Life

reviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 05 May, 2009)

The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret CIA LifeAuthor Robinson presents an erudite and illuminating read, filled with the wonder of magic and the hard facts of history. He brings to life a fascinating character in John Mulholland, and little known events with wondrous revelations, heretofore hidden from the public at large. The enormity of the the author's research and writing efforts are in evidence throughout.

If anyone thinks government malfeasance began with Nixonian manipulations and reached it's nadir during the recent Bush years, this story must be examined closely! "The MagiCIAn" is a must read page turner.


Lecture Book 2009

reviewed by Lance Bowen
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 04 May, 2009)

Lecture Book 2009Brilliant idea's and REAL HARD hitting card magic. Absolutely superb my friend.


Online Poker Mastery

reviewed by Shawna McPretty
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 02 May, 2009)

Online Poker MasteryThis book is amazing! It helped me so much in playing online poker. I've read a few books on poker strategy, but this one definitely broke it down and was easy to understand. I definitely would recommend it to beginners and intermediate poker players.


Si Stebbins Pro

reviewed by Bingo Bongo
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 01 May, 2009)

Si Stebbins ProThe booklet reads more like a scientific paper on the Si Stebbins system. The description on how to stack and locate cards is rather complicated, written in mathematical formulars.

The Author should have put at the start on how to stack the pack in one string, then in simple words on how to locate cards etc. and then continue to explain the mathematics behind it and formulas in algebraic notation. The history and background of the Si Stebbins should also be in the back for those who are interested.

All in all, I find it rather difficult to work out on how to set the stack and how to work with it based on the description in the text. You really have to sit down and work through the material to work it out.

Conclusion: Once you have figured it out, it is certainly worthwhile, but it reads more like a scientific dossier. I find it rather complicated.


Arte de Encantamiento

reviewed by Wilhelm Eberhard
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 23 April, 2009)

Arte de EncantamientoI wonder how would magic in Spain be like without Father Wenceslao Ciuró... Anyhow, this is certainly a very interesting book, and the section on stage illusions is really good.


Floating Light Bulb

reviewed by Sam Weiss
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 18 April, 2009)

Floating Light BulbI really love Grants method for the floating lightbulb. It is simple, precise, beautiful, and simple to accomplish. As the manuscript says you can in fact very easily do this close-up for people. Even though the description of this effect says it is only for stage the original manuscript's claim is right. I would definitely recommend this to any magician... wait no I take that back I want it all for myself!

1,000,000/5 stars!!!


Understanding 1NT Forcing

reviewed by R Pappas
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 24 March, 2009)

Understanding 1NT ForcingThis was the most helpful book in understanding forcing 1NT that I found while I was learning 2 over 1. I highly recommend it.


The Linker

reviewed by Nicholas Cheropovich
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 23 March, 2009)

The LinkerThis is the way linking rings (cards) would look if the magic were real. I've provided a more complete review on the Magic Cafe when this first came out, and I still believe it can't get any more visual than this. It is exactly the way it appears in the video.


A Masterclass in Comedy Vol. 1

reviewed by Joe Libby (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 22 March, 2009)

A Masterclass in Comedy Vol. 1If you are interested in adding more comedy to your act, or just want to make your presentations your own, this recording and its sequel are must-haves. There are several books and courses available right now about comedy magic and writing comedy, and they may be very good indeed. But for $18.00 you can have approximately two hours of Terry Seabrooke's tips, pointers, and routines at your disposal. A great value.


Liquid Signature

reviewed by Anonymous
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 22 March, 2009)

Liquid SignatureOk, I admit the demo made me order this "routine". The demo looks great but all video demos look great; don't they? I always look at these things from a spectators point of view so it looks great from the demo.

The reason I say "routine" because you are paying for the routine, idea, concept and the handling that you see on the demo. There is nothing earth shattering here and I suspect that you if you saw the whole "routine" that you would think twice about ordering. But, with that said...I still give this a good mark...read on....

I am please with this download because of the detail and video instruction covered. Also in reading the download you have an idea/concept that is thought provoking to the point that you will come up with potentially your own idea and/or handlings of this routine.

The practicality of this routine for workers is good, but probably even better for the hobbiest.

For the price it is not bad, but if you get the transfer as seen in the video you have potentially a strong effect on your hands.


Simplicity Bridge

reviewed by Steve Bruno
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 03 March, 2009)

Simplicity BridgeIf bridge is going to survive as a recreational activity, it will be saved by Chris Hasney and visionaries like him. Chris successfully teaches someone who literally does not know the difference between a spade and a heart how to play winning bridge in one hundred sixty-three pages. He uses language a non-bridge player can understand. He instills a sense of fun into the entire process by using terms such as "Monster Mash" to describe hands with freak distribution. He lists and elaborates on almost every element of bidding, declarer play and defense that a new player will need to master in order to be successful and does so efficiently and with flair. Not only that, but, at the end of each chapter, he suggests a bibliography which is divided by tiers of difficulty and sophistication.

Chris' target audience is the non-bridge player who wants to learn how to play bridge. This hypothetical player could be young or old. He could have interest in tournament play or his interest could be limited to home or club play. Chris is not trying to save tournament duplicate bridge. He is attempting to save the game of bridge itself, without the trappings of master points or trophies.

This no-nonsense and simplistic (hence the name) approach to teaching the game is just what the doctor ordered. But don't think Chris' discussions of vital subjects such as slam bidding, defensive carding and declarer plays such as squeezes are cursory. Although they may not be able to immediately completely comprehend them, he is able to delve into the finer points of the game in a way that enables novices to appreciate their beauty and availability.

I'm not greatly familiar with e-books and their format, but Simplicity Bridge could have been aided by improved graphics. Chris uses several tables which help explain concepts, but they are somewhat stark and geeky at times.

If your life depended on teaching someone how to be a good bridge player within a limited amount of time, Chris Hasney's Simplicity Bridge would be your magic bullet.


Ventriloquist Scripts for Dummies

reviewed by Joseph Motta (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 02 March, 2009)

Ventriloquist Scripts for DummiesThe scripts are written for a particular type of puppet such as a cow or chicken and not adaptable to other characters. The jokes are not very funny. A ventriloquist would be better off in finding a good joke book and working the jokes into a routine.


Mind Blasters

reviewed by Derek Renfro (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 21 February, 2009)

Mind BlastersI very rarely offer reviews on a product or book as I very rarely find something that delivers more than my money's worth. However, Mind Blasters is definitely in the category of "more than your money's worth". I found several items which I feel are each worth at least the price of the e-book . Many of these items could be sold individually for the cost of the whole collection. Some examples: AAA Serial Number Divination, Back to the Future, Still Battling Along, Con-Flatulation, just to name a few.

After almost 30 years of mentalism and magic I am quite critical when an item sounds too good to be true. None of the items in this collection fit that category. Although not all of the items fit my performance style, there is enough material here which I will use, that I feel as though I got the better end of the deal!!


Madness Volume 1

reviewed by Dennis Thompson
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 12 February, 2009)

Madness Volume 1Nice ambigram in the title graphic. Flip it over and it is still madness.


The Master of Misdirection

reviewed by Christophe Bonnard
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 27 January, 2009)

The Master of MisdirectionThis book is GREAT.


Contemplations

reviewed by McAig
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 01 January, 2009)

ContemplationsA very interesting ebook, a mixture of mentalist effects, dodges / subtleties to enhance various effects (Sean mentions the effects that he 'adds' them on to, but they are also things you can take and make applicable to your own work), and essays. This gains more depth on each read-through, and the contents overall have lots to commend them. The effects are very good ('Beyond Touch' is particularly impressive in my opinion, but it is by no means the only good one), the mechanisms are well thought out and not hard technically, everything is explained well. The style of writing is fluid and clear. Bought at the end of the 2008, it is definitely one of the best things I bought all year. A really good read, and lots of thought-provoking ideas.


Nu Way Out Of This World

reviewed by McAig
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 07 December, 2008)

Nu Way Out Of This WorldIf you don't know OOTW, this is a great (not to mention great value) version and well worth getting. If you already are well aware of the basic trick and the many variants around, this is still excellent.


George Blake: The Conjuring Ventriloquist

reviewed by Joe Libby (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 26 November, 2008)

George Blake: The Conjuring VentriloquistAs one who also performs ventriloquism and magic, I found this recording a delightful memoir. Mr. Blake does not teach any vent here, but he does share some good tricks and performance tips. He also has some great stories about his performing days. Recommended.


PK Revolution

reviewed by Carlos Negron (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 13 November, 2008)

PK RevolutionFor the price you might find something to add to your repertoire, but if you are already familiar how PK works there is nothing new here.


The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret CIA Life

reviewed by Paul Romhany
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 07 November, 2008)

The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret CIA LifeI am an avid reader of books, all types of books, but not since Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code have I been so engrossed in a book that I could not put it down. A new book called The MagiCIAn: John Mulholland's Secret Life by Ben Robinson was just released and I have to tell you, it's one of the best books on a magician's life I have ever read. This is so good I even gave it to my wife to read, and she could not put it down. (I should have bought two copies!).

This is not just a book somebody spent time researching over the internet, this is a a book the author spent over thirty years piecing together and investigating, and it really shows. If I ever wanted to hire a person to write my life story, Mr. Robinson would be the man!!

There is so much to learn from this book, I had no idea Houdini's relationship with John or that he lived so close to him growing up - I can only imagine the thrill. The whole CIA aspect was also news to me, and again, absolutely enthralling. The inside knowledge the author has shared with the readers is truly outstanding. Mr. Robinson's writing is extremely intelligent and a joy to read. He captures the essence of a story that many people had heard about, but really not to the depth that the author knows. The fact that the author was bequeathed a private CIA file by Maurine Christopher in 1997 is an amazing story unto itself. Here is a book that will capture the imagination of magicians and lay people alike.

Displaying 1538 to 1562 (of 1662 reviews)
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