Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Artifice Deck from Ellusionist

So what can I say about the Artifice deck besides "Why do you hate me Ellusionist?" I mean you make this awesome deck and you make the reds limited and hard to get. It sucks. But I do have a blue and green artifice deck and I haven't noticed any significant difference between the two. Handling out of the box is smooth as silk and the look just too pretty. I love the artifice deck and after reading that all of Ellusionists custom decks had a subtle one way back I almost went crazy trying to verify this. One of things I like is the vibrancy of the court cards. They are just beautiful and the Ace of Spade is the first card I've ever considered as a tattoo. The box is as nice as one expects from an Ellusionist deck. One of the things I like is that there was no deck seal. After the clear wrap the seal was the most pain in butt part of opening a new deck. On the lid of the box is a Latin phrase "Ars est celare artem" which I'm told translates to "Good art is concealed art" meaning the how should not show in a piece of art. The Joker is awesome and contains a reveal and is one of the better looking of Ellusionist's Jokers.

I have had one problem with this deck and that is that some blue ink has rubbed off on the card above it. I think this may be do to the the cards getting too warm in my pocket and being compressed. Maybe even a little moisture from the humidity.

If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bicycle Masters Edition

I had a pretty big order from Ellusionst and they through in a free deck of blue Bicycle Masters. Unlike my posts about other cards I will not include pictures I took myself with this one because with the exception of the Ace of Spades this deck looks like a regular deck of bikes. One of the things I like about the Bicycle Masters is that instead of a regular Joker and the tiny one with the guarantee this deck come with two normal Jokers. Now this deck's claim to fame is that it's tougher, that it is made from tougher card stock. I don't know if the claim that it lasts seven times longer than regular bikes is true or how they came to that conclusion. But you can feel the tougher when you're handling this deck, fresh out the box the cards are so stiff that I have trouble doing a riffle force. I have have a hard pushing the deck down with my thumb, its too tough, the deck pushes back. If I were a florisher or or extreme card manipulator this would be a great deck. But as a regular manipulator of the pasteboards this deck is just too tough for me too use. It would make a good deck to practice with just because it would last longer for only a buck more.

Also for some reason this deck came with the Ace of Spades from a Ghost deck. I guess to make me interested in the Ghost deck but if that was the case then they should have sent a red card which is where the Ghost deck stands out.

If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Inspire Friday

I find this video inspiring for two reasons, one is that its a cups and balls routine with bells, second the woman doing it was a judge on a Russian got talent show and she called out one of the performers for strait ripping of the Piff the Magic Dragon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vaudeville Decks from Blue Crown

So maybe I'm spoiled by my experiences with other online retailers but I think when all I order is three decks its fair of me to expect a quick turn around. I ordered three Vaudeville decks from Blue Crown. I always order three when I get a new style of deck. That gives me one to wear out, one to show off and one to keep mint for my collection. Well I ordered on Thursday morning around five am. I received conformation of shipping the following Monday. As far as I'm concerned that means it took them three business days to ship three decks. That's a strike against Blue crown as far as I'm concerned.

Now it seems a double backers are little on the popular side as several decks come with them. But the double backer in the Vaudeville deck has a reveal that looks nice and fits the theme. And as a bonus if you buy one of the decks you get a free download of how to use the double backer reveal. Well it was free so I can't really complain about that now can I. The effects on it were not stunners but they at least will get ones thoughts flowing. Although I think that one of them could be built up into something pretty good even though the guy in the video didn't even consider it to be an effect by it self.

So I got the package and I open it and I'm so very taken with the tuck box that the slow shipping is forgiven. The pictures don't do it justice. The tuck box is embossed so the all the gold parts stand out so elegantly. I open the box and the card are just beautiful I'll be honest the stock and the finish are nothing special and is at least on par with the quality of regular bikes. The four kings are four magicians from the vaudeville era; Houdini, Alexander, Thurston, and Carter. Houdini is easy to pick out. The others are too if you know their history, the jacks and queens are supposed to just be modeling the fashions of the times. I like the all the spades myself. Also the pips are not solid mono colors there is swirl to them that is just lovely.

I'm glad I got mine when I did because it seems they are sold out now. I also hate that I could not get an uncut sheet. I revived an email with the opening of the House of Playing Cards that said they had 3000 decks and there would been no reprints. That's some bull in my opinion. I loved the Vaudeville deck but I'm not too happy with Blue Crown.

If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tim Burton's Playing Cards

So I was in Barnes and Noble and browsing the games section and stumbled across a deck of Tim Burton cards. It was around five bucks and I got one. So I'll start with the good bits and work my way down. Firstly the art is very Tim Burton's Melancholy Tales of Oyster Boy and I like it. You can tell that at the very least these are Tim Burton's images (a quick google says that he oversaw their production and the use ofhis characters.) I like the look, especially the backs. Unfortunately that's about all the good I can say about them. My biggest gripe graphically is that the various suits all have the same face cards. That is all the kings, queens, jacks, and aces have the exact same picture across the suits. Some variety would be nice. The next problem with the cards is the finish or lack of one. The cards feel funny and the box makes no mention of any sort of finish but they feel like what I think those cards marked plastic would feel like. My mother said they feel "dry". They don't handle very well at all and don't feel good in the hands. In the picture you can see the extreme clumping when I spread them. The back is also obviously one way.

All in all I have to say these cards are cheap collectors items only made to cash in on Tim Burton's name and style. I could not even see playing a regular card game with these cards. Although being a collector I'm probably going to buy another so I can have an unopened pack for my collection. Unopened is the equivalent of a mint condition trading card in the playing card collecting circles.

If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blue Gaff Deck from Ellusionist

I got the blue gaff deck from Ellusionist. Thirty bucks is a lot of money for some cards. But some of the things you can accomplish with a good gaff are awesome. Pip matrix for example is well worth a good bit of money. So the gaff deck contains 58 cards. 20 I will never use, 20 I may use, and 18 I intend to use. Of these four of them will definitely be used. 14 were reveal cards and most of those I won't use and they weren't all that nice in my opinion. There are a few variations on the ace of spades and those seem pointless to me.There are some cards that weren't there that I felt should have been and those are double backers, a regular one and a red/blue one. Those two cards would have been more useful than most of the deck. The only utility card in the deck is a blank face. There is something in it for just about every type of cardician. But I have to say that there is not a lot in there for one individual.  There is a reveal on the tuck box but the rest of the box is reversed so meh and there's a green sticker that says gaff deck over the reveal. I think they'd be better off selling the various gaffs individually than a whole deck.

If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blackmail by Bobby Motta From Ellusionist

To me the biggest downside is that they give you six gimmicks and only five pieces of cardstock. They say the 6th gimmick is for practice and to use the matte side of the cardstock because it takes the writing better. But the problem is you can not erase the writing on the matte side. You can kind of erase it from the gloss side but it's still faintly there. I solved that by buying poster board and gluing two sheets together then cutting it into the right sized pieces. They say one gimmick will last 20 performances if you're not trying to conserve it. I believe that to be true from my playing around with it. But it only came the five pieces of cardstock not even enough to get a good practice going.

The up is it does what is said it would and does it well.

The DVD itself was good, about 45 minutes long, strait forward, nothing fancy, and ended with performance clips. They go over just about everything you could need to know to get started. And it offered some good routines, one of which is a stage routine from Bobby Motta.

It is very much a utility gimmick and not a trick and the more you know about mentalism going in the better. But I don't feel that you have to know a lot to use Blackmail but the more you know about it the better. You could buy it and just do the effects on the DVD, but it is a mentalism gimmick for use with mentalism effects. So the more you know the more use for it you have. Although as an out it packs much flatter than an invisible deck.

Update: I've been doing the lottery routine from the DVD and basically just playing around with the gimmick and so far it has only failed once and that was after it was damage in my pocket and I decided to keep using it just because it was my practice one and the damage was only at the top inch of the gimmick and I figured I keep away from that part. But other than that I'm loving it.

If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Update Smash By Hugo Luccioni

A while back I did a quick review of Smash By Hugo Luccioni, been practicing and here's an update.
So with the wordless demo of Smash a lot is left up to the performer to figure out through practice. And the more you practice the more you pick up, e.g. that bit of silly flourishing turns out its vital misdirection. So yeah get it and practice even if you don't intend to use it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Inspire Friday

So for this Inspire Friday what I have for you is video of me doing an Earth Day themed cups and balls effect.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ghost Card Clip From Ellusionist

What can one say about a card clip. It is a piece of metal bent to fit around a deck of cards. Actually, I'm really glad I got this thing. I carry my cards in my vest pocket and they get warm there pretty fast and they kinda bow, I'm not sure if this is the heat or from handling but with the clip they don't have anywhere to go. Now as for the design it has the pip from the Ace of Spades from a Ghost deck etched on one side and Bicycles Rider Back design etched in the other. They're OK and look better than blank metal. But for me the deciding factor in this clip above others is "Mundus Vult Decipi" etched on the spine. I love that phrase. Ellusionist suggest sanding the edges in the the thumb grove but I did not and have had no issue due to this. However it was holding the cards kind of loosely and I fixed that by squeezing the sides towards each other until I had the level of hold I wanted. All in all I'm happy with this purchase. It adds a touch of class and gives more importance to the magic. It shows seriousness and respect for what you are about to do. I think it has subtle effect on everyone involved. Plus people just seem to like it.
If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Open letter to card makers.

This is an open letter to all those companies that make an awesome deck and then only run off a few thousand and never make them again.

Dear Above-mentioned,
Knock it the fuck off. You are knowingly limiting supply to drive up demand. And I'm tired of jumping through hoops to add to my collection. I just found out that a deck I like and wanted to use for performance only has certain number printed and it will not be re-printed. What am I supposed to do order a whole bunch. If I could of done that I already would have. I spent $50  today that I didn't really have available to spend because it was my only chance to add a rare deck to my collection. The company I spent the $50 at is real bad about creating rare decks on purpose and then making them a pain to get. But at least that company is upfront about it. They tell you only a few thousand will be printed. The first company I'm ranting about I feel didn't say anything about their limited supply until they released a new website. And neither the old site which sold out of the deck last week or the new site which just happens to have 3000 decks remaining say anything about the limited not going to be re-run-ness of the deck. But the email hawking the new site does. Which shakes my trust in the brand it does.

Too poor for this crap.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ghost Deck from Ellusionist

So I have always liked the way the Ellusionist Ghost deck looked online and at $4.99 its not too bad a price. They handle well and the faces look as nice as they did in the pictures. I could see myself using this deck a lot especially if I had the gaff deck. This would be my deck of choice if not for the Artifice decks. I do have some complaints I don't like how on the Ace of Spades the A is on pip. I do not like the jokers or the reveal on them. I'm pretty sure its a ring master riding a horse that someone photoshopped the horse out of. You can see hints of stirrups and what look like a horse neck. I do like that it has "mundus vult decipi" on it. I do not like that the backs the design fades at the edges and then theres some sort of shadow. They don't hide well if I put them into another deck because of that shadow. My biggest issue is I had them open for maybe an hour and the tuck box broke. The glue on the bottom just quit holding. Its fixable but I shouldn't have to need to fix it. The tuck box also contains two reveals. I have no use for them but they are there.

So to sum up; I like the deck over all, its a good price. There is another deck I like more and if not for that this would be my full time deck.

If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pea can

Not a lot to say about this it is the clasic pea can effect repuropsed to hold peas for the shell game. It's well made and adds a touch of class. And the price can't be beat for $25 I got the pea can which I've been wanting for my collection before I found its three shell game use plus you get ten (5working/5non) perfect peas. The can alone costs 25 bucks elsewhere so the peas are like free in actuality. Ten perfect peas should cost ~$21 so this is just a good deal all around.
If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.