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 Post subject: Draven Reviews: The Minotaur by Dan Harlan & Marv Leventhal
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:15 am 
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Title: Minotaur
Artist: Dan Harlan & Marv Leventhal
Producers: Anatomy Magic
Link: http://www.anatomymagic.com/product-details.php?productid=3
Retail Price: $60.00
Learning Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Length of Disk 1: 2:41
Length of Disk 2: 1:10
Notes: Some of the effects taught on these DVD’s will require you to either already own certain props, or items. While other effects will require you to purchase extra well known magic tricks, or make the props from everyday items found around the house. Some assembly required.
Includes:
• 2 DVD’s
• Indexes of all the past issues of Minotaur in PDF Files
o By Issue
o By Originator’s Name
o By Title
• Art Work for Tricks included in DVD
• 4 stills of Dan Harlan during the production of the DVD

Video Features Disk 1:
• Fairest of them all
• Hebe, Hera, Hecate
• Sprites
• Adjuctive
• Aqui
• Cup Side Down
• Holding The Bag
• Glass Backwards
• Big Easy Linking
• Royal Plushy
• Folderol & Dagger
• Counting on You
• Mexicali Aces
• On Your Mark
• Sign & Wave Pen
• Prism Pen
• Lock Master
• Money Laundering
• Beer Money
• Bright & Early
• Vegas Baby
• Popcorn Trick
• Allied Alliance
• All You Need is Love
• ‘Nuff Said


Video Features Disk 2:
• Coins From Napkin
• Brain Probe
• A Gentleman’s Game
• Spek-Ulation
• Bent Out of Shape
• Penned In
• Striking Art
• Collectors

The Minotaur was a quarterly magazine about magic that was produced by Dan Harlan, and Merv Leventhal from the late 1980’s to the mid 1990’s. This video not only brings to film some of the magazine’s better material, but also serves as the final chapter in the magazine for their loyal subscribers.

When I was asked to give my review of this product I didn’t quite know what to expect. I’ve heard of the Minotaur, but I had never actually read any of their productions. What I was greeted with was a wonderful two disk collection of some great magical effects that fits well with just about any performer’s style. In this product you get some close-up, some stage, some mentalism, some bizarre, and some material that would be great for working tables, or in a bar! This DVD collection has a little something for everyone, and their interesting choice of presenting it in a pseudo-magic movie kind of way was indeed entertaining.

The effects covered in the DVD collection are some of the best effects that were printed in the Minotaur during its run time. With that being said I can see clear potential for every piece of magic that Dan, or Marv presents, but some of the effects come complete with that unique hackneyed magicians logic that, as a friend of mine has been known to say, should have died out in the 1970’s. The good news is that script updates are easy, as nothing in the DVD collection is truly complicated, nor does every bit need to be re-tooled either.

Some of the effects covered in the DVD collection will require you to either purchase classic magician props such as a Glorpie/ Harlem the Hank, a D’Lite, a Money Making Press, or completely fabricate your own props all together. Nothing you will need to purchase, or make should be too expensive, and for the most part you can buy what you need for under 20$ at your local super market.

The effects covered in the DVD I are:
Fairest of Them All: A pick a card effect where two cards are shown to indicate a chosen card by Suit & Value. Regardless of how “Fair” the magician makes it for the spectator to choose, he still knows the final outcome.

Hebe, Hera, Hecate: This is an interesting re-packaging of Twisting the Aces by applying a bizarre theme, and introducing Greek mythology.

Sprites: Dan’s fun presentation using D’Lites.

Adjuctive: A Max Maven effect in which the magician uses business cards with adjectives, and other random names, or words written on them, selected at almost random to spell out a sentence proclaiming the greatness of the magicians skills.

Aqui: A key vanish, and reproduction using a Glorpie.

Cup Side Down: A cute, impromptu effect where you place a mug of (root)beer into a paper sack, and then rotate the sack 360 degrees without spilling out the contents.

Glass Backwards: A duel card prediction where the magician accurately predicts two selected cards by matching them to their mates in the deck of the same color, and value- but opposite suits.

Big Easy Linking: A Linking Ring routine done with Mardi Gras Beads.

Royal Plushy: A Poker Deal using a stuffed animal as the expert gambler. Dan breaks down a matrix showing the stack and possible outcomes, but sadly this matrix isn’t included in the extras.

Folderol & Dagger: A very interesting take on the classic card stab without using a knife at all.

Counting on You: A very interesting repeating card count with a surprise ending!

Mexicali Aces: A four ace routine that could utilize a strange off color card as a lead into another effect that would require such a card.

On Your Mark: A sucker gag using a missed card that ends with a comical reveal.

Sign & Wave Pen: A very nice variation of the classic Brain Wave deck.

Prism Pen: A cute gimmick that chances a pen’s color up to four times that you can make at home.

Lock Masters: A four number combination lock that opens after the combination is discovered by the participants. The presentation for this is given as a mentalism piece; however this could have multiple applications.

Money Laundering: Dan’s presentation using a classic magicians prop: The Money Making Printing Press.

Beer Money: A dollar bill (or bill of any denomination) transforms into a beer label, only to be produced from a bottle missing a label. No gimmicks, all sleight of hand.

Bright and Early: Multiple productions of “ingredients” that make up “Orange flavored breakfast drink” from the same juice carton.

Vegas Baby: Another Max Maven idea with audience participation, and six gift bags, leaving the magician walking away with the big prize at the end for themselves.

Popcorn Trick: A production of popcorn seeds, then popped corn from the same paper sack. This is great for parlor, or stage.

Allied Alliance: Four coins transfer from one side of the close-up mat to the other as if by magic. The effect is by David Neighbors.

All You Need is Love: A four card twisting effect with color changes, appearing marks and a surprise message!

‘Nuff Said: Marv’s ultimate toothpick trick

(To Be Continued...)


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 Post subject: Re: Draven Reviews: The Minotaur by Dan Harlan & Marv Levent
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:15 am 
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(Continued from Above...)


The second DVD in this collection is a pure bonus disk detailing a single hand selected effect by Dan Harlan from each year the Minotaur was in print, plus an additional bonus effect “Collectors” at the end of the disk, after the credits. The effects on this disk are:

Coins from Napkin by Steve Cohen: Three coins are produced from a napkin. Great for leading into a coin routine like three fly, or for bar/ restaurant work.

Brain Probe by David Williamson: A spectator shuffles the deck of cards; three cards are matched to the cards selected by the spectator at random. These three cards are prefect matches!

A Gentleman’s Game: Gazzo A funny card cheat plot utilizing the dishonest magician’s game of High Card with a kicker surprise ending for the mark!

Spek-Ulation by Anthony Lendan: A business card magically produces a spectators name written in tiny permanent marker dots left by a sharpie pen.

Bent Out of Shape by David Neighbors: A Key Bend routine that can be done nearly impromptu with no gimmicks.

Penned In by Gene Anderson & Dan Harlan: A borrowed dollar bill turns into an IOU only to once again be revealed inside a pen that was in plain view the entire time!

Striking Art by Angelo Carbone: A drawn match box on a post-a-note produces a real wooden match, and then strikes it into blaze. The spectator can keep the drawing as a souvenir.

Collectors by Dan Harlan: Four cards are chosen by the group to serve as locators for the next effect. Five spectators each make a selection of a single playing card. Those selected cards are then returned to the shuffled deck, and the locator cards are then mixed in as well. Magically the locator cards find each selected card!

I’ve found all the material in this product to be very useful, and seems to be very well suited for the hopping, roving, strolling magician, restaurant worker, or bar magician. The tricks all seem to have been created for the working environment thusly being practical in a lot of ways. The first disk’s movie was a very creative way to present the material, and it appears that the creators certainly did have fun making this project. Nothing on this disk is cutting edge street magic stuff, so the younger crowds looking for the edgier, visual, David Blaine style stunts may not find the material in these DVD’s exciting. However, the real workers out there will appreciate the effects, and inspiration they can draw from them. I know I’ll be using a few routines that Dan’s taught in this DVD set for my bar work in the very near future, and I think you’ll be satisfied with the purchase as well. Be you an existing fan of the Minotaur, or a future one.

All these effects are very practical with very little to worry about with angles, or clean up. The effects that are angle sensitive like Cup Side Down, end clean as you will destroy the evidence when you finish the effect. All the material is versatile, and will complement just about anyone’s performance style.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 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
The product quality is solid. You have a wonderful set of effects that are a working man’s tricks. They may not all be uber visual, but they are indeed practical. The price is fair as well. You get over three hours’ worth of material, and just over 38 effects for $60 bucks.

Teaching Quality: 7
Disk one’s movie like presentation was unique, and Dan gets the point across teaching the effects. The patter can get a bit too “magician like” at times, but I really think that’s a moot point. You’ll want to rework the patter to fit your own style of presentations anyways so what’s important to focus on is how to do the tricks. Dan teaches that “do” part well.

Video & Sound Quality: 6
The video and sound is decent. I’m not blown away by it, but I’ve seen a lot worse too.

Over All Quality: 7
I’m very glad to have the opportunity to review this product. I’ve found some useful information in here, and I think it would serve anyone well to own a copy. If you are already an existing fan of the Minotaur then you have no excuse to not own a copy! If you’re not a fan yet, then this is a wonderful primer into the things you’ve missed out on.


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 Post subject: Re: Draven Reviews: The Minotaur by Dan Harlan & Marv Levent
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:14 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 22 Mar 2003
Posts: 3251
Location: of my spongeballs eludes me.
Thank You for taking the time, Draven! Nice review, I'm surprised that you rated it mostly with 7's. Being that the effects are "workers" as they are, it seems as though they would rate at least an 8. But then I haven't viewed it yet except for Dan performing this;
http://true-studios.com/syler/temp/minolock.mov

Minotaur trailer; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89dhqxLjS6k


Last edited by EZrhythm on Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Draven Reviews: The Minotaur by Dan Harlan & Marv Levent
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:36 am 
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Posts: 83
EZrhythm wrote:
Thank You for taking the time, Raven! Nice review, I'm surprised that you rated it mostly with 7's. Being that the effects are "workers" as they are, it seems as though an 8 rating would apply. But then I haven't viewed it yet except for Dan performing this;
http://true-studios.com/syler/temp/minolock.mov

Minotaur trailer; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89dhqxLjS6k


Not to nit pick but my name is Draven. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Draven Reviews: The Minotaur by Dan Harlan & Marv Levent
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:36 am 
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Joined: 10 May 2010
Posts: 83
EZrhythm wrote:
Thank You for taking the time, Raven! Nice review, I'm surprised that you rated it mostly with 7's. Being that the effects are "workers" as they are, it seems as though an 8 rating would apply. But then I haven't viewed it yet except for Dan performing this;
http://true-studios.com/syler/temp/minolock.mov

Minotaur trailer; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89dhqxLjS6k


Not to nit pick but my name is Draven. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Draven Reviews: The Minotaur by Dan Harlan & Marv Levent
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:26 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 22 Mar 2003
Posts: 3251
Location: of my spongeballs eludes me.
Thank You and corrected, I must have been one coffee low at 1 AM.


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 Post subject: Re: Draven Reviews: The Minotaur by Dan Harlan & Marv Levent
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:19 am 
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Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 166
This is seriously one of the best dvds I've seen in ages. LOADED with creative thinking and great tricks. Harlan has an amazing knack for taking standard dealer items and using them in totally unique ways. His use of the Brainwave deck completely fooled me. So novel. I highly recommend this set.

I'm not sure what Draven means by magician like patter. I think Dan's presentations are unique and fun and not hackneyed at all. Part of what I like about Dan's style is that he makes things his own, the exact opposite of hackneyed or "magiciany". Maybe the orange juice bit? But even that was really cool and very different. The people he performed for seemed to really enjoy what he was doing and he connected with them so I don't see a problem with the presentation at all.


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