Title: Karnival of Magick
Artist: Tony Chris
Producers: Dream Park Magic Production
Link: http://www.exomagic.net/index.php/karni ... s-dvd.html
Retail Price: $49.95 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Notes: This DVD teaches simple to learn and perform magic tricks, but you will need to make the props for yourself, and in some cases purchase additional materials or items for your props.
Disk 1: Performances and Explanations
1.Ceremony of the Elements
2.Atonement of the Seven Sins
3.The Path Taken
5.Cards of the Aura
6.A Tale of Two Lovers
7.The Fairmont Hotel
1.Ceremony of the Elements
2.Atonement of the Seven Sins
3.The Path taken
5.Cards of the Aura
6.A Tale of Two Lovers
7.The Fairmont Hotel
Disk 2: The Real Secrets of Bizarre Magick
The Real Work
2.Developing Your Character
4.Choosing Your Genre
5.Developing Your Act
6.Your Magick Tools
7.Venues & Where to Perform
Tony Chris's two disk DVD set is a great look into the world of the Bizarre magic performer. In disk one Tony demonstrates seven different effects, and then teaches you everything you need to know to perform them. In disk 2 Tony takes you behind the curtain to show you the real secrets to performing bizarre magic, and discusses everything from creating your character to where you can perform.
Bizarre magic isn't a field of magic that is too well known, or by any means considered mainstream. Bizarre magic is magic told with a story, set to themes that usually involve the arcane, the occult, the religious, or other similar strange and dark themes. Bizarre magic is in short, a presentation of theater, done so by a character whose job it is to narrate the audience through a journey of strange occurrences and mysterious happenstances. Tony does a great job of introducing you to what Bizarre magic is, but if you don't know what your getting yourself into, buyer beware! One of the draws to bizarre magic is most certainly the props the magician uses to tell the story and demonstrate the magic, and Tony isn't short for a list of cool looking props and toys. The draw back to this DVD set is that you'll have to make all of the props you see in the DVD for yourself. While some will look at this as a creative challenge, and a pleasurable task they will need to undertake, others with a more developed sense of instant gratification may be put off by the fact that they won't be able to run out and preform any of the presented effects within minutes of learning them. I myself, enjoyed the creative challenge presented by this two disk set.
Disk one deals only with the presentation and explanation of Tony's act. Opening with the Ceremony of the Elements and closing with his mystery of the Fairmont Hotel. Tony performs for only a small handful of people during the video, numbering in at six participants. Tony's performance can be a bit of a bear to get through at times only because he can sound a little too monotonic. I don't know if the patter he presents us in the DVD's is the actual patter he uses in his shows, but if it is then I'd make a few alterations before I would perform some of his effects myself. For example in the Fairmont Hotel bit he says that he's “not sure if this will work, but it's a strange occurrence that always ends the same way.” Statements like that just cause my logical and magician mind to slip gears as it tries to process that information. Frankly I don't like the magician line of “I don't know if this is going to work” anyways. Your a magician OF COURSE you know it's going to work, otherwise you wouldn't be risking yourself doing it. Then to follow that with some line about how things always happen the same way every time you do it just invalidates the opening statement. If you've been in possession of these items and it always ends with the same results, then it only stands to reason after so many trials you'd come to expect that the end results will work each time you go to present it. Again, it's just a personal thing with me, but it's the little things like that I'd end up re-writing for my own performance purposes.
If you have never had any experience with the bizarre magic genre before, then take a look at the different types of effects you'll see Tony perform in disk one. It will give you a idea of what to expect. You're telling stories that deal with the arcane, the supernatural, the spiritual, the religious, the Gothic, the occult, witchcraft, new age, and I would be so bold as to incorporate strange science into this field as well. I make this note because not everyone is going to be okay with these subjects, especially so if you come from a particularly sensitive religious background. Tony even goes as far as spelling magic M-A-G-I-C-K which is a spelling used by people involved in the occult to differentiate between stage illusions and their craft, which I was okay with on the cover art for the DVD, but I thought it was over kill when I got into the sub-menus and the spelling was consistent even there. As Tony will explain in the second disk, your presentation of bizarre magic really does depend on your character, the story your telling, and the props your using. Just because you may have reservations against using things like pentagrams, or suggesting to your audience that a spell needs to be cast before the revelation can be made, doesn't mean you have to use those elements in your act. Just develop your act and character to be in accordance with what you personally believe in and you'll be fine.
The explanation portion of the DVD really left me with a feeling of “that's it?” I paid close to $50 bucks for this DVD set, and that's all the magic I get? If you're looking for a product that is heavy on sleights, strong on magical moves, or loaded with a lot of practical walk around magic you can take with you out onto the streets, then you're going to be pissed off if you buy this product, because you're not going to find any of that here. Tony uses a lot of really simple magic principles, and forces to accomplish his effects. What you're buying with this DVD set really isn't the magic how-to on individual tricks, more so than the magic how-to when it comes to developing the props, building the character, putting together the act, and taking it out on the road. If you take the knowledge of the mechanics out of context with the effects, and combine it with your imagination and a few ideas Tony gives along the way, you are armed with the means to create your own effects, and presentations to your own brand of bizarre magic. I think that's a selling point that is highly understated in the marketing, and will probably be missed by the masses. This DVD set is a gold mine, not a bar of gold. The tools aren't included, and you're on your own to go dig out the gold for your own use. But believe me, the gold is there.
Nothing aggravates me more than when I purchase a product, get it home, review the contents and learn that I've got to go back out to the store, and purchase a bunch of other crap that I would have done on the way home, had I known in advance that I needed it. This product is one of those kinds. Everything that you'll need to perform the effects taught within the first disk is something that you'll either have to make from scratch, or go out and find. The good news is your not left out in the cold to fend for yourself on this subject. Tony goes overboard to explain to you how to make the props for yourself, where you can find the needed items, even down to where to find the types of font he uses on his cards. Sure, some assembly will be required, but I feel the knowledge of where to look for the things needed is given well. Tony's already done most of the leg work for you, the only thing really left for you to provide is a little bit of creativity.
As an additional note on the aforementioned need to purchase other things in order to perform the effects taught in a product, Tony does mention in two separate effects specific products that are available on the market that you'll need to purchase at your local magic shop. I agree with Tony that both products are things that should be in your collection if you are going to be performing bizarre magic, and one of them is an interesting spin on the traditional handling. Also both items are fairly inexpensive which is an added plus. He also gives an alternative handling to one of the effects if you don't want to purchase the recommended extra item. Anything else that you'll need you can make at home, or Tony gives you some great ideas as to where to get them.
The DVD menu setup on the disks are nice. There are chapter breaks for each effect during the presentation and explanation, which makes things real easy when you just want to go back and review a single effect. You don't have to fast forward or chapter skip through a bunch of crap to watch what you want to. The credits part of the disk is fairly standard, citing the talent, producers and music. I really liked the music that was included on these DVD's. I think they really helped set the mood for the material being presented. The Magick Credits cites all the source material Tony used for inspiration during the creation of his seven effects as seen on disk one, as well as gives you some background on his thought process when he developed them. Anytime you're dealing with using someone else material as a backbone to build off of, I always think it's a good idea to give credit. So kudos there.
Disk two The Real Secrets of Bizarre Magick is where I thought the value of the product really was brought out. I realized that I'm not only purchasing a DVD with seven examples of bizarre effects on them, but also the fifteen some odd years this man has had entertaining professionally in this genre of magic. And let me tell you, he holds nothing back in this second disk.
Like the first disk, the second is broken down into individual chapters which makes review of the DVD easy. Tony breaks it all down for you step by step. He discusses what bizarre magic is, what it means to perform as a character, how to develop your character, how to pick and choose a wardrobe, what you can expect to spend on a wardrobe, where to find your wardrobe, what kind of materials he uses in all of his shows, where to find your own materials for bizarre magic inspirations, what kind of venues will book a bizarre magician, how to book these venues, who to talk to, and how to develop your act. If you are interested in pursuing this genre of magic or adding elements of bizarre magic to your current act then the second DVD alone is worth the price of both disks. My only complaint about this section is Tony teases with inclusion of items like a “book of shadows”, and a gimmicked crystal ball, and then doesn't go into what they are used for or why they are cool. He only alludes that they may possibly be subjects for a future DVD. I understand the marketing value of building hype and anticipation, but don't tease me like this! Don't grab my attention with a cool looking prop only to tell me that you're not going to include it in this DVD set. That's just bad theater! If you're going to mention it, explain it, if not then leave it out!
Some of the subjects he talks about, like the types of bizarre magic, I felt was either rushed or incomplete. I know there's only so much time and space on this DVD to work with, but I would have liked to have seen some subjects fleshed out a little more. Perhaps even better represented. For an example: Tony includes Geek magic as a type of bizarre magic, and he defines geek magic as things that involve your body, blood letting, etc. That's not necessarily the most accurate description one could give. Having performed geek magic, I know there's a lot more to it than just body piercing. If the object was simply to inform the student of the different types of bizarre magic that exists within this genre, provide a basic summery of those types, and leave the student on their own to do more research, then I guess Tony did okay.
Some closing thoughts on this product would certainly be about the creativity Karnival of Magick inspires. It really does put the tools in your hands, and lets your imagination run free with them. As for practicality, this DVD isn't going to give you something that you can run right out and amaze your friends with. If you want that look elsewhere. There is some assembly required with regards to the props you'll use. This one thing this DVD set is going to do, and that is to get you thinking about your act. It's going to show you how simple magic principles can be reworked to allow you to perform some cool bizarre effects, and it's going to give you a no holds bar backstage look at the bizarre world from someone who has been doing it for a long time not to mention it's full of some great advice! This is a great introductory DVD into the bizarre magic genre for anyone whose considering branching out into that kind of thing. If you've already enjoyed some success performing bizarre magic then this DVD may give you some cool ideas, but you may not feel that the price tag was worth your effort.
When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Over all Quality.
Product Quality: 7
I think the price of the product is a bit high for what you get at face value. I really had to look at it from the aspect of knowledge and creative ideas more so than a small handful of tricks before I could justify the expense. This is a wonderful introductory DVD for someone who has an interest in trying out the bizarre magic genre. The seasoned vet may not find as much value in this DVD set.
Teaching Quality: 8
I think Tony does a wonderful job teaching the effects, as well as the ins and outs of bizarre magic based off his many years of experience.
Video & Sound Quality: 8
The sound and video quality were good for the most part. I observed a couple of instances where the camera would go out of focus for a second or two, but other than that no real problems. I really liked the sound track that was selected to accompany this DVD.
Over All Quality: 7
I enjoyed this product, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning or performing bizarre magic. The only thing I didn't like is how Tony would tease with cool looking props or effect ideas with specific props only to say that details are for another DVD.