Monday, October 22, 2012


Now this going to be a bit of a rant, and before I get into I just want to say that I understand that the producers of magic are in a tough place, they need to show you enough to make you want the product but not so much that you can steal the it by cleverness and paying attention. How many times have you read on a  forum a post where some newbie is bragging that he learned a move by watching the demo video over and over. I understand the position they find themselves in but I still require enough information to make an informed decision. I don't mind a hefty price tag but I do mind getting screwed by not getting what I think I'm paying for.

So where does this rant start well it starts here well not there actually at review for that product. Magic at the Bar by Chris Randall, eight effects for the bar performer. Of these eight I was interested in three of them Desert Rose, The Exchange, and Martini. With Martini having most of my interest, from the description "Chris' signature opener produce a martini piece by piece" and the reviewer described it "My favorite effect is a routine where you produce all the items needed to make a cocktail." I could see myself doing it just not with a martini, I'm more of a rusty nail drinker myself. But I wondered what all is actually produced, and how hard would it be to switch for another drink. So I watched the trailer and all the effects are well represented in that you can tell the basic idea of them except for Martini. The section for Martini has Chris Randall blowing confetti out of a cocktail glass and producing a silk from the confetti cloud and its not a very good production either. So I'm all "wait a minute, what does that have to do with producing a martini" and so I go searching after more info. I found another review that produced little helpful info, a thread on the Magic Cafe where someone refuses to comment on the DVD because of a low opinion of Mr Randall's personal character, and eventually this video of Chris Randall performing Martini live at the Magic Castle. I did not embed the video because I only include it so you can see what I speak of. After an introduction Mr Randall walks on stage carrying a cocktail glass full of confetti and like in the demo produces a silk from the confetti, then a lovely assistant brings out a tray and Randall set the cocktail glass on it and uses the silk to produce two ice cubes which he puts into the cocktail glass and then produces a bottle of clear liquid and pours pours it into the glass spraying the stage with liquid.

Now I am a bartending-o-phile, I like tending bar and mixing drinks. I'm into it, I know recipes for drinks and people like to give me bartending stuff as gifts. So I know I'm correct when I say "That was not a Martini at best it could be considered the worst Churchill ever made." Notice how I call it a cocktail glass and never a Martini glass like some uninformed people do. The cocktail glass is designed to serve cold drinks without ice, that's why they have a stem so your hand will not warm the drink up because it has no ice to keep it cool. So when he produces ice and puts it in the glass it drives me up the wall. I will conceded that from a distance a martini may look like clear water and so theoretically his bottle could contain a pre-mixed martini but him slinging water about the stage is unforgivable. Lastly where the hell is the olive. A martini is to be served with a olive.

Here's how you make a martini. Take tumbler add crushed ice. Add two ounces of gin, and a dash of vermouth. Stir then strain into a cocktail glass. Add add a twist of lemon and a green olive for garnish. Serve. Any variation from that recipe is not a martini, I mean that, because every variation has a different name. Shaken instead of stirred, that's a Bradford. Onion instead of an olive, that's a Gibson. No garnish, that's a Dickens. No vermouth, that's a Churchill.

Now I know us performers are a competitive lot and we all feel we could do better than whoever we're watching but in this case I really think I could. Not as a parlor routine like in the video but in a bar where I was employed to do magic and was allowed behind the bar (which is the a target market for the DVD) yeah I'm rather sure I can but you can be the judge of that.

Effect: The magician asks a spectator if they would like a magical martini. He borrows a cocktail glass from a bartender and a quarter from the spectator. He tells her that he needs to warm up the coin first, he takes out a handkerchief and vanishes the coin into it. The coin is found behind the magicians knee. The magician performs this two more times and after the last one a shaker is found under the handkerchief. The shaker is shown empty and holding the bottom half in one hand ice cascades down from the other into the shaker. The shaker reassembled the magician waves a bottle of gin over the shaker. He uncaps it and pours a cold martini into the cocktail glass, the lid picked back up to recap the shaker is found to have an olive underneath.

I feel that effect delivers what I was expecting the one from the DVD to be and is easily modified to fit any mixed drink. I think I'll hold onto the method for now. Mostly cause I'm tired of typing, if it sounds like an effect you'd be interested in let me know.

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