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Artful Deceptions by Allan Zola Kronzek

DESCRIPTION: The thickness of a magic book doesn’t make it great. Neither does a flashy cover, nor a fancy trailer. The best magic books are the culmination of a lifetime of knowledge and refinement. So Vanishing Inc. Magic is proud to present Artful Deceptions.

JUNKIE THOUGHTS: I consider myself a fairly well-read magician. However, Allan Kronzek is a name I was unfamiliar with. This new release from Vanishing Inc. is a small sample of this gentleman’s thinking and I am pleasantly surprised. Artful Deceptions contains 9 routines, 8 of which are well thought out pieces of card magic theater. The last routine is a lovely presentation for the $100 bill switch. The card routines range in plot from a Sandwich effect to Think A Card to Do As I Do. Each routine is a solid and commercial piece of card magic that is easy to do and entertaining. Each routine is described beautifully well with very thorough explanations. I particularly appreciate the subtle things Mr. Kronzek includes such as the hand motion used for a vanish. This type of attention to detail is a joy to read and makes a big difference in performance. I’m a fan of this sort of thing. As mentioned, the routines are easy to do and rely on very little sleight of hand. The one major move used twice is a quick cut from Marlo that I was previously unfamiliar with.

Of the eight routines I have a few favorites: Playing with the Jokers is a nice three-phase sandwich routine with a ending I’ve never seen before. True Romance is a lovely finesse and presentation for Fulves’ Gemini Twins. This is one I’ll use immediately. Strange Attraction did little for me and did not seem very original. However, I did learn a new sleight, so that’s cool. Buried Treasure is a fun effect that will allow you to make use of that compass you got at Magic Live a couple years ago. I like the presentation but the effect requires a bit too much table space for me. That being said, I’m going to play with this to make it fit my style. Think of One is great. The spectator thinks of any card and you divine it. Pretty straightforward. It will take some practice but I’m sure this is a fooler. Texting the Visitor is a contemporary presentation for Larry Jennings’ Visitor plot. Destiny, Chance and Free Will is Allan’s version of The Lucky Coin from Card College, and is my favorite of the book. I’ve always been a fan of the plot and this version is very good. Admittedly it IS a bit derivative, but its still nice. Allan has added a bit more here for the better. Again it will take some practice but fortunately the learning curve is not bad. This is the second routine from the book I will start doing right away. Lastly, Hypnotizing Ben is Allan’s presentation for the classic $100 Bill Switch. He’s take the routine and flipped it on its proverbial head. In doing so, he’s added interest, drama and comedy. I’ve never been a huge fan of the $100 Bill Switch, but this is enough to make me check it out.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall I was pleased with Artful Deceptions. Its an easy read with solid routines. At $30 I think its a bit pricy for nine routines, however if you’re looking for something new, I think you’ll enjoy this.

 

Artful Deceptions by Allan Zola Kronzek, $30.00 – Available from your favorite magic dealer. Dealers contact Murphy’s Magic, www.murphysmagic.com

Magikub by Federico Poeymiro

 
DESCRIPTION: Do you think you have seen everything regarding a Rubik’s Cube? Could you imagine putting the pieces together in just one second? With MAGIKUB, you can do exactly that – solve the puzzle in one second!! In the blink of an eye, each side is a different solid color! Impossible! A great quality magical effect that will leave your audience speechless! Federico Poeymiró has been studying this puzzle for years in order to create a revolutionary solving of Rubik’s Cube.

JUNKIE THOUGHTS: I first became enamored with the Rubik’s Cube when I was 8 years old. My Grandfather was a fan of puzzles and gave me one. I never did solve it. Fast Forward thirty plus years. After witnessing Gregory Wilson and Garrett Thomas with the cube I became obsessed. With some encouragement from my good friend Karl Hein, I decided to start working on solving the cube. I eventually became a Rubik’s Cube fanatic. A speed cuber and a collector. I currently use the Rubiks Cube in most of my shows. (My best time is 32 seconds but I am consistently working to get under 20) I own and have played with every Rubiks Cube gimmick on the market. Again, I am a Rubik’s Cube junkie.

Magikub is the most recent entry in the world of magic using a Rubik’s Cube and its pretty good. In effect, the performer shows a cube already mixed. Then with a quick shake, the cube is instantly and visually solved. The effect is easy to do and visually stunning. The cube itself is a normal cube with a gimmick added. This means it can be turned and displayed, to an extent. The “move” is super simple and can be done almost immediately. One does not need to know how to solve the cube in order to do this routine. In truth, the gimmick will not allow the cube to be mixed very far so you’re safe if you aren’t a cuber. When performing the effect you will need to learn the angles and learn to cover certain sides but otherwise its very good. The cube cannot be examined before or after but can be briefly displayed.

The gimmick itself is very clever and well made and should hold up to a long time of consistent use. If it does wear out, I suspect it could be fixed with a bit of time and attention.

The instructions are available via streaming/downloadable video and are fairly thorough. However, I would have liked a bit more attention on the “mix” procedure. While its not difficult I wanted to make sure I was doing it correctly. Nevertheless, one will figure it out within a few minutes of experimentation.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Magikub is a quick, fun and visual piece of magic using a popular prop. Audiences like the cube and are mystified by anyone who can solve it. Magikub will allow you to magically solve the cube with no learning curve and without spending months learning algorithms. That being said, this is a bit of a downfall. I’m not sure this will find itself in an actual show as its simply a “quickie”. Plus since the cube cannot be examined this limits what you can do with it. If you’re really interested in this sort of thing, I’d recommend learning material from Karl Hein, Takamiz Usui, Henry Harrius, Michael Lam or Steven Brundage. I can however see this as the perfect effect for video (which is how I plan to use it). My only serious complaint is the price. $74.95 is a high price to pay for a quickie. If you’re seriously interested in cube stuff, or like me, are a cube junkie, you’ll get it. Otherwise I would check out the sources I’ve mentioned above.

 

Magikub by Federico Poeymiro, $74.95 – Available from your favorite magic dealer. Dealers contact Murphy’s Magic, www.murphysmagic.com

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