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 Post subject: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:45 am 
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Joined: 23 Dec 2007
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Hey guys,

If you're interested in magic reviews, be sure to check out my blog. I usually post one product review every week. I try hard to give a thorough review and not just a couple of quick thoughts. Here's an example of what you will find.

Bullet Party DVD review

John Bannon is a living legend and has contributed a number of neo-classic routines to the art of magic. He has a distinct style for creating that many performers are drawn to. There are many reasons, not the least of which are that his material is usually easy to do, always well constructed, and always powerful for a lay audience. Because of this, I was really excited to check out his latest DVD, Bullet Party produced by Big Blind Media.

In total, there are 14 items on the two-disc set. I won’t go over them all, but I will list my favorites.

Bullet Party- This is my favorite effect from the set. John mentions that it’s his current favorite trick as well. Take a look at the video demo.



John started with Alex Elmsley’s famous “Four Card Trick”, but worked out a way to allow each of the cards to change during the course of the routine. It’s easy to do and ends completely clean. This is the pinnacle of what John calls “Fractal Card Magic.”

One other point: even though everything is examinable in the end, you will have to assemble the necessary cards for the effect. This is a small task, but the producers (Big Blind Media) have gone to the trouble of including these cards in the package. This will allow you to start the “Bullet Party” right away.

Final Verdict- This is John’s final version of his famous “Directed Verdict” (Spectator Cuts the Aces) routine from his book Smoke and Mirrors. As mentioned on the DVD, there are a million versions of this kind of thing, but this handling has a lot going for it. It’s easy to do, the spectator has a free cut each time, and the cards may be turned over by the spectator at the end. This is already in the repertoire of many performing magicians. I have no doubt that this DVD will place it into the arsenal of many more.

Riverboat Poker- This is your typical poker demonstration with a few interesting wrinkles that may interest you. For one, the performer actually shows the audience how cards may be stacked using a formula. This is similar to the classic Vernon handling of the plot. The magician offers to repeat the demonstration a little differently.

One round of cards are dealt to five players. After each round, the spectators eliminate one hand out of the four. This makes the number of cards dealt each round smaller, seemingly making it harder to stack the deck. The spectators end up with at least three Aces. Of course, the magician finishes with a Royal Flush.

This is a poker demo that is dead easy to do. In fact, you don’t even have to remember the formula used. John introduces an instruction sheet as part of his presentation. If you want to look like a card sharp without putting in any real work, this may suit you quite well.

Poker Pairadox Redux- This is another poker themed effect for the non-card sharp. A packet of high cards are introduced and the performer explains the basics of Texas Hold ‘Em, namely that each player begins with two cards. A really good hand, he goes on to explain, is therefore a pair. The cards are dealt through in twos but none of them are seen to match up.

After a little magic by the spectator, however, each and every card is magically matched with its mate. I like the idea that John uses a poker presentation for a trick where neither your nor your audience have to know anything about the game. It’s super easy-to-do and instantly resets.

Big Fat Bluff Aces- This is a nice looking Ace Assembly that is best used when proceeded by a traditional Assembly. (John includes one on the disc). I’ve always been a big fan of the idea of a Bluff Assembly. The basic idea is that the Aces are shown to vanish very cleanly from each packet. When the “leader” packet is turned face up, the audience expects to see the Aces. Instead, the magician reveals the four Kings. The Aces instantly “backfire” to their original positions. This is a great solution to the plot that provides a lot of clear magic for very little cost. Classic Bannon.

Wicked- This is a variation of Paul Harris’s “Grasshopper” effect coupled with a transposition. I particularly liked the first phase where John uses a Jack Parker count to get way ahead of the audience. Unlike some of the other packet tricks on the project, this trick uses cards you can pull from a regular deck.

Mega ‘Wave- This is the other “star” item from the DVD set. John has taken Stephen Tucker’s “Omega” routine (which is, in turn, a version of John’s own “Twisted Sisters”) and turned it on its head. Two packets of cards are introduced. The performer offers a demonstration of sleight of hand. One of the Queens in the first packet is named. Invisibly, it turns face down. “But remember, that was just sleight of hand,” the performer says.

“But if your named Queen was turned over in the other packet, that would be magic.” He picks up the cards and spreads to show that the named Queen is reversed in this packet as well. “Then again, how do you know that I didn’t just turn this one over as well? I knew you might think that… so I made sure to take this Queen out of a different deck.” The card is revealed to have an odd back. “And it’s a good thing you named the Queen you did, because it wouldn’t have worked with any of the others.” The rest of the cards in the packet are shown to be Jokers.

Finally, attention is directed to the original face down card from the first packet. The card is turned over to reveal one last message. Even better, it could reveal the magician’s contact details. This would make a nice souvenir for your spectator.

There is definitely a lot going on in this trick. If you choose to perform it, you will have to ensure that your audience can understand all that is taking place. It won’t suit everyone’s taste, but you have to admit that the working is very clever. John gets very far ahead of the audience for very little work, a staple of his creative style.

Bannon’s last DVD Bullets After Dark was a blockbuster release. I really enjoyed every single effect. I cannot say the same for these discs as a few of the items left me wanting more. That being said, this is still an outstanding offering. When you consider that “Bullet Party” and “Mega ‘Wave” could have easily sold for $20+ each with the included cards, I think you’ll find this DVD set a steal at only $40. I can’t imagine any card man being disappointed. Pick this up soon.

Recommended.

-Available for $40 from Big Blind Media

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For more reviews, visit www.CalebWilesMagic.com


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:49 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 22 Mar 2003
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Excellent review, Caleb! Thank You for taking the time to share your thoughts.


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:27 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 13 Nov 2003
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Caleb, thanks for the review!

Sounds like a great find, and as I don't own any of Bannon's material on its own (outside of a compilation), this sounds great!

-JT


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:39 am 
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Hey i got this too, but i dislike some of the tricks, because it just uses simple switch(Box jumper and drop target aces) and it is make into a routine. And regarding the poker, why in the trick, each person got 5 cards? I always thought it is each person gets 2 cards and then 5 cards is turn over which is shared among all of them? Or thats the another style of playing poker. I still dislike the poker tricks in there though, as many might not understand if they don't gamble/ play poker(especially in my country, poker is not that famous). The tricks in there is not simple and direct enough, w/o a good climax, so kind of make no sense. I only like few routines in there.


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:46 am 
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You are thinking of Texas Hold 'em, a more recently popular poker variant.

This is on my wish list too. I think I have a thing for packet tricks.


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:48 am 
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BathTub wrote:
You are thinking of Texas Hold 'em, a more recently popular poker variant.

This is on my wish list too. I think I have a thing for packet tricks.


Oh haha.
I find that Box jumper and Drop target aces will make you feel that you kinda got "cheated".


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:58 pm 
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Great review. Of all the DVD's out so far this year, this is my favorite and not because it's John Bannon, but because it's all usable, fun, and very practical. I also agree that this is 2nd to Bullets After Dark - I wish there were more interviews and talks about theory like there were on B.A.D. But, like you said, that's a really high standard to live up to [in fact, everything I buy is measured against B.A.D as my number 1 item I've ever bought] and I'm more than happy to have gotten this with the Bullet Party book.


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:12 pm 
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ThatsMagical,

Hmmm. Interesting. Since when is method more important than effect? John crafts amazing effects using simple sleights. And that's a GOOD thing. Box Jumper is a beautifully constructed effect. So what if the method is simple. What counts is the EFFECT. And box jumper is very strong.


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 6:10 am 
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cfrancis wrote:
ThatsMagical,

Hmmm. Interesting. Since when is method more important than effect? John crafts amazing effects using simple sleights. And that's a GOOD thing. Box Jumper is a beautifully constructed effect. So what if the method is simple. What counts is the EFFECT. And box jumper is very strong.


true right mate. Almost everything in my act has a "simple" method. I will be the first one to admit that I'm definitely NOT a move monkey.
I actually just did an hour long show for a dual birthday party type celebration. and I asked the host today (show was last week) which effect he enjoyed the most. He said, "They were all good. But, the continual patter and presentation made the show".

I was kinda gutted that they didn't mention specific effects, but I extremely pleased that it was my presentation that they enjoyed the most. I'll take it!! 8)


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 12:58 pm 
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Joined: 20 Jun 2007
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soowee wrote:
I was kinda gutted that they didn't mention specific effects, but I extremely pleased that it was my presentation that they enjoyed the most. I'll take it!! 8)

Dude, don't feel gutted about that! You've got nothing to worry about, mate, because that means that they'll remember you not just the tricks. That is a much better situation to be in than the inverse!


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 4:21 am 
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evanbishop wrote:
soowee wrote:
I was kinda gutted that they didn't mention specific effects, but I extremely pleased that it was my presentation that they enjoyed the most. I'll take it!! 8)

Dude, don't feel gutted about that! You've got nothing to worry about, mate, because that means that they'll remember you not just the tricks. That is a much better situation to be in than the inverse!



HAHAHAHA, yeah I know. its a great feeling!!!


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 Post subject: Re: John Bannon's Bullet Party DVD review
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 10:19 pm 
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I actually meant that the effect is simple, maybe it will impress layman though. But yeah, I disliked the method and the effect though, personal preference i guess.


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