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 Post subject: Front Row Sankey
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:38 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 03 Dec 2003
Posts: 515
Location: NC
Here we go, my first "real" review of any product. Only took 12 years of being in magic to write one!

Front Row Sankey – Jay Sankey

I’m not giving any X/10 ratings, simply because I feel they’re too subjective. I will give a breakdown of each effect, and the overall quality of the video/audio. Here we go.

Audio/Video Quality – Not quite as nice during the performance as it is during the explanations, but he is out in restaurants, malls, etc. The performances were shot with a fisheye lens, in order to allow us to see more of the “whole” picture, and allow us to feel more like we’re right there in the action. Jay explains this. For the audio, it’s certainly not much of a distraction, but the performances are slightly distorted, just the occasional bit of static, etc, which I also attribute to the “guerilla” nature of shooting the performances. Nothing to get upset over.
The audio and video during the explanation parts are just fine. I know people were unhappy on Jay’s Revolutionary Card Magic DVD during the parts where he was in the hotel hallway. There’s nothing that bad on this disc. Everything is seen and heard quite clearly for the explanations.
Most of the effects are performed for real audiences in restaurants, malls, etc. This is one of the strongest points of the DVD. You’re still getting Jay’s sense of humor, but you get to see how he applies it to his real working experience. A few of the effects are interspersed as “Bonus Effects” and are fully performed and explained in the studio, no live audience. They’re still strong effects, and are marked as “(B.E.)” next to the effect’s title. Now for the effects…

Fan Mail – A variation on the classic bill switch, where a paper signed by the spectator magically changes places with a paper signed by the performer. I like this one a lot, it’s visually striking, involves the spectator on a personal level, and the motivation makes more sense to me than turning a bill inside out. Thumbs up, would make a good opener.

Full Lotus – A new handling on Jay’s Paperclipped idea where a spectator’s signed card changes places with a folded, clipped Joker. This is my favorite version of the Paperclipped idea, and I’m looking forward to adding it to my repertoire.

Shake and Bake (B.E.) – A borrowed coin doubles, then triples. A pretty clean production of 3 coins. This one could work as a stand alone effect, or as an intro to a coins across or 3-fly routine. Nice opener.

Slow Motion Coins – Three coins are placed into the hand, and then travel back into your pocket, while the spectator holds onto your wrist. This could be used right after Shake and Bake, or by itself. The slowness in performing this routine is what makes it powerful, and seemingly impossible.

Not This Card – A new handling on the classic Chicago Opener effect with some good changes and suprises.

Shape of Things to Come – The spectator takes a pack of ESP cards and mixes them well. He/She does this under the table, then selects two cards. The performer devines both. The first, the spectator knows, this one is an experiment in “telepathy”. The next one isn’t know by the spec or performer, but it is known anyway. An experiment in “clairvoyance”. This one will BLOW AWAY lay audiences. I don’t do very much mentalism, but I like this one a lot. Could work well as a closer.

Real Magic (B.E.) – Another variation on the classic bill switch, where writing magically “melts” through a borrowed bill. This one isn’t bad, but I much prefer Fan Mail over it, another good opener.

Hypnotarized – A card magically changes into the spectator’s card under the guise of hypnosis. Not too bad, not outstanding. Always handy to have another color-change effect.

Litmus Test (B.E.) – A double-blank card gains a face, then a back, then loses them again. Not a bad effect, but probably my least favorite on the disc, mostly because I find the “Topper” move a bit fishy. I may have liked it more if I had seen an audience reaction on this one.

Close Contact – Best if performed for a couple. The man mixes the deck and selects a card, all under the table. He peeks his card, then shuffles it back into the deck, still under the table. The deck is brought out. The cards are spread and the woman chooses any card. The selected card is left on the table, the rest of the deck put away. The man reveals his card, and the card on the table is turned over, revealing it’s the same card! This one is great for couples, best suited for them actually. Easy to do. You’ll kill with this one. Would make a great closer.

Deviant Behavior – A new version of the standard “place 4 cards into the deck and they magically come back to the top”. In this one, four Jokers are placed through the deck, only for one of them to come back to the top of the deck, two to your pockets, and the final to your fly. The deck is clean afterward, no extra Jokers. A good effect, would be fine as a “middle” to your routine. As Jay says, this is a “watch me” effect. Maybe a little risqué for some with the fly part, but that’s easily changed to another pocket, etc.

Out of Sight (B.E.) – A card is selected from an invisible deck, marked with an X and replaced in the box. The cards then magically appear in the box, and one card is marked with an X, which turns out to be the though of card.. For those who like I.D. routines without the gimmicked I.D. No force.

Vital Signs – A new match and a burned match trade places. Done in the spectator’s hands. Similar to a dime and penny in the hands switch. Minimal sleights, strong magic. I like this one, especially in a restaurant with it’s own matches. Good way to promote the venue.

The Phoenix Effect – Others have stated that this one could be sold on its own, and I agree. It’s pretty strong magic. A spectator selects a card. He/She then initials the back of a different card. The initial is wiped off the card. The paper with the smeared ink is then set ablaze over the deck, and the initial re-materializes on the first selected card, in the middle of the deck. This written description really does not do the effect justice. It’s really strong magic, and this is going into the show as soon as possible.

Inseparable (B.E.) – A fairly typical Crazy Man’s Handcuffs routine, where the bands link at the end. Spec. can keep the linked bands. In this one, the bands have both been broken and tied back together before the effect. This makes the final link a bit more feasible, but for me lessens the magic in the effect. I feel that if a spec. sees the broken bands “melt” through each other, they may just not be as wowed as they would with whole, new bands. Good for someone who’s never done a CMH and wants to learn one, but I’d recommend Harlan’s material over this one.

One of One – The spectator selects a card. The magician draws a picture of a card on the back of a Joker, which turns out to be an incorrect prediction. The drawing then magically changes into a correct prediction, and the Joker itself turns into the selected card. Strong magic, several magical moments. Nothing complicated, could make a nice giveaway.

Overall, the magic here is strong and usable. No magician foolers, but hard-hitting stuff for laypeople. No tough sleight of hand, and most of it requires little setup, if any. This is my third Sankey DVD, and by far my favorite. Definitely recommended, particularly for strolling or table-hopping magicians.


Last edited by Mercury52 on Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:47 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 05 Apr 2004
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sweet review


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 8:58 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 10 Jun 2003
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Location: Novato, CA
wow! before, i wasnt sure i was was getting it, but now there is no doubt it will be my next purchase! great reveiw!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:29 am 
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Penguin

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Great review! I may get this one. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 12:11 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 27 Nov 2004
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Location: Melbourne - Australia
Very nice review. Makes me want it. Thanks :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:09 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Location: Lost...In a shuffled pack of cards.
The review sounds very honest...Thanks for that...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:05 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 23 Jun 2003
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Location: New York
Two questions:

How many tricks require set-up, and how long? I dont want alot of setup like in million dollar card magic.

How many live performances are there? Is there just like one performance before the explanation...or is there a whole section of like an hour of just walkaround performances? Thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:20 pm 
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Joined: 26 Mar 2003
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Location: Port Orchard, WA
Very good review and I agree with his views on all the effects. Offhand I can't recall how many live performances there are, about 8-10 (at work so I don't have access to my DVD) Jay will do a live performance then explain the trick. And then another live performance. They are not all for the same people, he performs for a couple having their lattes, a single girl sitting at a table, a group of young couples with a baby and then there is one other girl (she hits Jay after one effect, pretty funny). During the DVD he may explain a trick just shown then go into a bonus trick which is done in the studio, then it is back to a live presentation.
There is very minimal set up on any of the tricks, no fancy stacks or anything like that. You could perform for one table and within a minute be ready for another.
Again this is the one of the best if not The best DVD that Sankey has put out. There is some really good solid effects here. Again reitirating my review on the front page, you could develop several different routines from the material on this DVD. Well worth it and I highly recommend it, an no I do not work for nor get paid by Penguin.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 5:22 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 23 Jun 2003
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thanks chief for clearing that up. I want this dvd beceause im doign a paid event where i wont have any time to set up between tricks, so i was wondering if it was worth it to get this dvd for that occasion...or to look into something with a lesser setup. Any advice? thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 9:33 pm 
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anyone?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 9:47 pm 
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i would get this! they do take a bit of practice though! :D like all magic tricks! :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:06 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 03 Dec 2003
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Location: NC
Yes, definitely worth it for little setup. Some of the stuff is totally impromptu, and the other stuff requires so little setup. Nothing in here like the setups found in Revoultionary Card Magic. LOTS of setup for the stuff on there. Not the case in Front Row, it's perfect for strolling. I'm doing 2 hours of strolling/street tomorrow, and will be testing out a couple of routines from this one, namely the Phoenix Effect and Shape of Things to Come. I'll post back with how they go over.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 2:28 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 15 Sep 2004
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This DVD is awsome, I got it a while ago, the only complaint I have is the quality of the video when he is performing the tricks. The glare is so bad you can't even see what card it is. It's not like horrible but it just bugs me a little.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 3:15 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 09 Dec 2003
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Wow, Nice, realistic, review. I got this from the blackpool magic convention from Sankey's lecture and I completely agree with Mercury52's review.

Nice work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 5:13 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 25 Sep 2003
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I have a lot of Jay's DVD's and this has without a doubt the most useable magic in one place. At least of the affects have received screems when I have performed them.

Strangely though, although the filming of this DVD is OK, maybe even quite good (By Jay Sankey standards), the quality of the DVD is awfull, it's a home burnt DVD copy thats only 3GB for a couple of hours of film, this results in blocky images and other problems. I just can't get my head around it, most professionaly filmed and then the worst possible post production! Very strange...

Don't let this put you off though, the content is very, very good. I watched the first two effects and both went straight into my performance. I could have stopped watching there and got my moneys worth.

I will give this 9/10, the best mark I have given something since the invisible deck and professional card to wallet.

Lets let Jay know what we think about cheap DVD copy's though! Stick to professionally made DVD's without crappy compression!

:) Thanks all...


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