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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Latest and Greatest? » » Underhanded by Atlas Brookings and Joshua Fletcher (42 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dreda
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It's like Docc Hilford's boudoir card reading. For those who already have Docc's version, look at the Last Laugh's review to make an informed purchase.
"I know that I know nothing" - Socrate
tomd
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**If you'd like to skip the details, please to the 'final verdict' section below**

Regrettably, I share the same view as the recent previous posters, this isn't for me. It's hard writing a review without performing said peek 50 or so times in front of real people first, but in this case I'm probably not ever going to reach that number of people, as I have already concluded that I prefer other peeks to this. I've performed it a few times, and yes, it's fooling, but I'll break down why this isn't my preferred method below. This review will deal with pricing also, which is normally a difficult aspect to cover, but I'll do my best, so let's cover that first:

I'm going to convert everything into USD, making it easier to understand for the majority of people. for roughly $50 you are getting the basic method for the peek, atlas' handling of this peek (including a presentation that is intergral to it), a new type of reveal for a peek, and a Q&A based on the peek. You also get Mr. Fletchers notes on the subject. The PDF runs 32 pages. At this point, it's extremely hard to evaluate worth without a subjective opinion on the peek itself. But, when I compare this to other products it becomes a bit easier to compare objectively.

Take Switchcraft as an example: 19.95 USD, over 900 pages, including the original acidus novus peek, countless contributions on the peek from external sources, and an ungodly amount of material on almost every aspect of pieces of paper used in mentalism (switches, steals, ditches, peeks, routines, Q&A's, the list goes on forever).

OK WAIT!

I understand not exactly a fair comparison. You could compare switchcraft to any modern release and it would appear that the modern release is over priced, switchcraft is underpriced by a large margin. Underhanded is actually priced fairly compared to releases in a similar vein. I use this as a comparison point for two specific reasons:

1) if you're a consumer, it's important to see how far you're money can go when investing into this art. EVERYONE in this thread will likely agree that swtichcraft is one of the vital resources for study. If you're willing to pay $50 for this release, chip in another $20 and get both. this first point was dedicated for those of you who haven't got swtichcraft yet, my second point is more important,
2) atlas directly mentioned acidus Novus on page 1 on this thread, and I must say this was the reason why I bought underhanded. I learned the basically method for Novus in switchcraft, and I was sold when he said that underhanded would become a classic like Novus, or a centre tear. This is where I Segway into the technique itself:

its a solid technique, that will likely do the job for you, no questions. My personal issue with it is that (this is very subjective) the main things it solves are elements I don't care much about solving. Firstly, it's ungimmicked.. if the gimmick is good, and does the job in an incredibly clean way, then I'm carrying it with me wherever I go. Secondly, underhanded is examinable.. if I feel like something needs to be examined by a spectator after the performance, I've failed. It's not really that much of a benefit in my eyes, because nothing is getting examined anyway. Thirdly, you end clean. Well, I kind of want to avoid ever going back to the billet they wrote on anyway, sort of try and present this as a mind to mind thing. Ending clean is irrelevant to me. I ideally want to do away with them writing down anything in the first place, by never mentioning it again... HAVING SAID THIS, objectively, this are benefits. I don't dismiss them out right. Especially point one about gimmicks, it makes it way easier to walk into a room with just pieces of paper.

Underhanded has this moment of potential failure built in.. and this is where Atlas steps in. His variation on presentation does away with the failure that may occur once in a while, in fact he embraces it, he full on encourages it. Most people who have reviewed this product like the idea, I personally don't. In order to have this moment work, you have to use a certain presentational angle (just justify this moment if it occurs), and if this moment occurs you are directly showing your audience you are using sleight of hand.

Hey, it works for atlas very well, but I can't envision it working for me. It would have been nice to see this moment (or the whole routine) on video, as through the PDF you can feel Atlas' passion for the peek and his presentation, I couldn't personally see it. But by actually seeing it, it might have helped me understand. I'm dyslexic, so it takes me a few read throughs to understand the authors intend, and even longer to write a review like this. A video normally helps me in this regard.

Acidus Novus remains my peek for stage. For close up? Maybe with my own thinking applied to this peek I'll use it. But to be honest I have my own business card peek that I'm more comfortable with that I feel is more deceptive.

The triple fail reveal is interesting. Can't say I'll ever use it, but it is indeed a pretty neat idea, with a logical explanation as to why it works. This reveal can be applied to any type of peek FYI.

If you like the peek, the Epic Q&A is for you as well. It's great that they included this.

**FINAL VERDICT**

The peek is based on an old and basic sleight of hand move. If you feel like the structure of the move and the reason why it exists is risky, Atlas offers a way to embrace that risk. They've clearly gone to considerable lengths to highlight why this peek works so well, and through the PDF you could feel the passion behind it. This was nice for me, I've read one to many PDFs where that isn't the case. It's non-gimmciked, examinable, and you end clean. If that's what you are looking for in a peek, this might be for you. Another note to consider: it's a full card peek, and it isn't a rushed one either. You have sometime to read the info. It's not a delayed peek (cassidys favourite type), but it's not centre tear levels of time.

If you're a card guy (like myself, 12 years of experience), you might dismiss this release. Or at the very least, feel like it's overpriced. I know personally that have ample ways to achieve the same end goal. They might be a bit more advanced move wise compared to underhanded, but also a bit cleaner and direct. What I will say is that it has got my creative juices flowing, and I won't be entirely ditching the idea. It has also spurned me on to work on my own way to use sleight of hand for mentalism.

With this release, I would have loved some real life performance videos WITH the peek included. We only got the reveal (the peek done pre show). This would have totally allowed me to see what Atlas was trying to convey with his presentation. Unfortunately most people aren't like me, so I can't expect to be catered for.

All the added extras are a great inclusion. I can't see anyone walking away not getting anything from this release. But I can see people feeling it's overpriced.

Side note: it was cool seeing Mr. Fletcher on TV, his demeanour is fantastic and I enjoyed his performance and interaction with the hosts. And I love his accent.

Thanks all,

Tomas
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Hi everyone,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts - it was pointed out that it doesn't require any difficult moves, which I view as a definite plus. When I'm performing, I like to leave behind any card moves that belong in the realm of the magician. That's a huge part of why I love this so much!

Now Tom's review was pretty epic itself - thanks Tomas for sharing all your thoughts. You did mention three points that I wanted to give you my thoughts on:

Quote:
On Aug 9, 2018, tomd wrote:

It's a solid technique, that will likely do the job for you, no questions. My personal issue with it is that (this is very subjective) the main things it solves are elements I don't care much about solving. Firstly, it's ungimmicked.. if the gimmick is good, and does the job in an incredibly clean way, then I'm carrying it with me wherever I go. Secondly, underhanded is examinable.. if I feel like something needs to be examined by a spectator after the performance, I've failed. It's not really that much of a benefit in my eyes, because nothing is getting examined anyway. Thirdly, you end clean. Well, I kind of want to avoid ever going back to the billet they wrote on anyway, sort of try and present this as a mind to mind thing. Ending clean is irrelevant to me. I ideally want to do away with them writing down anything in the first place, by never mentioning it again... HAVING SAID THIS, objectively, this are benefits. I don't dismiss them out right. Especially point one about gimmicks, it makes it way easier to walk into a room with just pieces of paper.


1. Gimmicks - I perform so frequently that when I know how to do something without gimmicks, it really makes it much easier to get ready for and work a gig. There is no preparation, and no LIMIT on the number of times I can present something. If there is a gimmicked way to do something and an ungimmicked way, if the ungimmicked version is just as clean, I will always prefer the latter.

2. Examinable - I fully agree with you. If you've done the job right, nobody should be suspicious or want to look things over. But, on the one hand, knowing that something is examinable ensures that you don't telegraph any nervous energy in relation to the thing you've used. And, on the other hand, at gigs, you find that people are often pretty "handsy" (it is true - I can't tell you how many times big sweaty men have picked me up and kissed me on the cheek in delight) and, as you're coming across as friendly and cheerful, people often feel they have license to just grab things and have a look regardless of what you'd prefer - especially when they are skeptical. In those moments, it is truly a relief that there is nothing to find.

3. Ending Clean - I've got no beef with this statement either, except on a business level. You've given them your business card. You want them to keep that business card. And then you want them to use it! So whenever I use business cards, my aim is always to have that person keep it - otherwise, why use them at all? Any old scrap of paper would do instead. In this situation, when they go back to keep the card, they need to find it where it ought to be. And when they do, you get the chance to gain them as a customer in the future.

So, anyhow, those are my thoughts. On a lot of levels - including as a businessman - Underhanded was the perfect fit and that's part of why Tomas so rightly pointed out my enthusiasm for it.

All the best,

Atlas
JanForster
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To be honest, it might be for some of us a good technique for a peek; no doubt about it, but it is also always a thing of personal taste, besides the fact that some handlings are (generally) simply wrong. I personal do not like at all any handlings which look like handling a deck of playing cards, and it doesn't matter if you use business cards instead. Unfortunately, here I feel exactly that, besides the fact that the basic sleight is a sleight which I never liked in card magic as well, I simply and always avoided and replaced it by another sleight to achieve the same result. So, it is not my thing; and as always, I do not care about whether it uses ungimmicked "props" or is repeatable immediately again. This is (for me) no measure for a good method at all, it is only a marketing tool, most of the time helping to sell things to the more unexperienced consumer. I do not mind to take a lot of work in order to get a really clean and undetectable peek. Jan
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Stunninger
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Everyone has their own unique style and preferences, to be sure. And I respect everyone's right to their opinion.

I admire Atlas' gentlemanly response above.

For me, Underhanded is a perfect fit. I love that I can pick up a small stack of ungimmicked, ungaffed business cards and perform a very entertaining routine that uses a totally deceptive peek and end completely clean. I know ending clean is not important to some, but I love it.

For those who have commented that Underhanded is similar to the Boudoir Card Reading, there definitely are some similarities, mainly with respect to the sleight used. But Underhanded has important differences that I consider significant improvements.

Just my opinion, but I remain convinced Underhanded is the full business card peek - PERFECTED.
Atlas
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Thanks for your thoughts guys - for anyone who loves simple, direct mentalism - this will be an ideal fit.

All the best,

Atlas
Stunninger
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My addiction to peek wallets has officially been cured as a result of learning and using Underhanded.

This was proven to me when I looked at an admittedly beautiful new wallet recently released. In the past, I would have just bought it. But now my perspective has changed. I can look at a new peek wallet and admire its beauty, craftsmanship and workings, but the urge to buy is gone.
Mr. F
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Tomas, thank you for the compliments regarding my performance and my accent Smile

Just to provide a little background, Underhanded was developed to alleviate a few issues I personally encountered when performing closeup/mix and mingle gigs. For the longest time, Hollow was my go-to p**k. While I never had anyone want to examine the cards, people frequently wanted to compare drawings when performing a dupe routine. I agree that it is not ideal to move away from a written piece of info, only to return to it at the end of a routine. When doing a drawing dupe, however, I personally believe this is a natural progression. With Hollow, it is possible to retrieve the participant’s card. Although, it is quite awkward.

Another issue is reset. When I am hired to provide closeup entertainment, it is important that I hit as many groups as possible. This often only leaves the time it takes me to walk from one table to the next to prepare for the next performance. If a card wasn’t retrieved during the previous performance, it has to be done in this short transition, while walking. Again, this can be done, albeit awkward. Apart from this, there is a continuous repositioning of cards that must take place.

I have nothing against gimmicks and have used plenty in the past. However, I never liked having a Hollow stack in one pocket, a regular stack in another (to replace cards, perform Sneak Thief, etc.), a regular marker in this pocket, a gimmicked one in this pocket...(you get the idea). I love the ease and freedom of having nothing more than business cards and something to write with. I don’t have to worry if my i*p is cleared and ready. I don’t have to try and remember which pocket something is in. I don’t have to walk around with bulging pockets, looking like I’m packing heat at a corporate function.

I just wanted to clarify that Underhanded was never developed with the intent to sell it. It was created to provide a solution, and it has for me, Atlas, and countless others. Heck, it even brought one man out of the depths of wallet addiction Smile (Glad you’re enjoying the p**k, Stunninger!)

Thanks again to everyone that has purchased Underhanded and taken the time try it out.

Josh
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Warren T. Has some truly innovative presentations using Underhanded that he has shared with Josh and myself. I've recently had the chance to sit and read them through in their entirety and they are thoroughly impressive.

One approach allows you to divine a number of things from a single use of Underhanded, and the other lets you reveal several people's drawings at once after a single use of Underhanded. I've never seen this latter presentational idea before and have to say that it is excellent.

And very pleased, Stunninger, to hear that you have a few extra bucks in your pocket because of Underhanded. Take it from a couple of busy, knowledgeable, and experienced performers - after individual searches spanning nearly a decade each, Underhanded is what we now use - and there are unimpeachable reasons for this fervor Smile

All the best,

Atlas
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Atlas, this may be a small point but you should have information on your product website which makes it clear what the product is and how it will be delivered.
In many cases you use the terminology “book” but is it an e-book or a physical book?

If digital, will it be a download or will I be emailed either a link or the item itself?
How long until I receive it?
Does your system process orders automatically or do you need to manually do it?
If you need do it then that could be a fairly long wait especially if there is a time change involved.

After placing an order should I expect to receive an order confirmation? If so, when?
Again, is this done automatically or does it require someone to manually do it?

This is just basic information that any online retailer should make clear to their customers.
If it is there I could not find it and if I couldn’t then it’s likely that others couldn’t as well.

I mention these things not as criticisms but as suggestions.
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Quote:
On Aug 14, 2018, videoman wrote:
Atlas, this may be a small point but you should have information on your product website which makes it clear what the product is and how it will be delivered.
In many cases you use the terminology “book” but is it an e-book or a physical book?

If digital, will it be a download or will I be emailed either a link or the item itself?
How long until I receive it?
Does your system process orders automatically or do you need to manually do it?
If you need do it then that could be a fairly long wait especially if there is a time change involved.

After placing an order should I expect to receive an order confirmation? If so, when?
Again, is this done automatically or does it require someone to manually do it?

This is just basic information that any online retailer should make clear to their customers.
If it is there I could not find it and if I couldn’t then it’s likely that others couldn’t as well.

I mention these things not as criticisms but as suggestions.


erm.... I am not sure but I think in the UK there was a law change in Ebooks sales and how they are delivered. I know Ken Dyne stopped selling ebooks and Michael Murrey emails them direct. But I didn't really read the "the law is changing" email at the time. Maybe I should have...
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Quote:
On Aug 9, 2018, Dreda wrote:
It's like Docc Hilford's boudoir card reading. For those who already have Docc's version, look at the Last Laugh's review to make an informed purchase.

Excellent find! Check out Docc's work from 2012 to see if you are comfortable with this card sleight in the first place.
The Mati Envelope
A brandnew peek device for the working mentalist!

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Tarot cards in a scenic piece of mystery.....
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Quote:
On Aug 14, 2018, Atlas wrote:
Warren T. Has some truly innovative presentations using Underhanded that he has shared with Josh and myself. I've recently had the chance to sit and read them through in their entirety and they are thoroughly impressive.

One approach allows you to divine a number of things from a single use of Underhanded, and the other lets you reveal several people's drawings at once after a single use of Underhanded. I've never seen this latter presentational idea before and have to say that it is excellent.

And very pleased, Stunninger, to hear that you have a few extra bucks in your pocket because of Underhanded. Take it from a couple of busy, knowledgeable, and experienced performers - after individual searches spanning nearly a decade each, Underhanded is what we now use - and there are unimpeachable reasons for this fervor Smile

Are you making these alternate routines avail to purchasers of Underhanded?
All the best,

Atlas
Last Laugh
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Quote:
On Aug 14, 2018, Nicolino wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 9, 2018, Dreda wrote:
It's like Docc Hilford's boudoir card reading. For those who already have Docc's version, look at the Last Laugh's review to make an informed purchase.

Excellent find! Check out Docc's work from 2012 to see if you are comfortable with this card sleight in the first place.


To be fair, Docc has given permission and is credited. Also, there is more to Underhanded than Docc's BCR. Underhanded has more going on and ends clean.
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Fair enough. But still a good "preview" if you already own one and consider buying the other.
The Mati Envelope
A brandnew peek device for the working mentalist!

Chance's Token
Tarot cards in a scenic piece of mystery.....
Stunninger
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Quote:
On Aug 14, 2018, Last Laugh wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 14, 2018, Nicolino wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 9, 2018, Dreda wrote:
It's like Docc Hilford's boudoir card reading. For those who already have Docc's version, look at the Last Laugh's review to make an informed purchase.

Excellent find! Check out Docc's work from 2012 to see if you are comfortable with this card sleight in the first place.


To be fair, Docc has given permission and is credited. Also, there is more to Underhanded than Docc's BCR. Underhanded has more going on and ends clean.


I was so pleased to see in the manuscript not only crediting but permission. This really is the standard all creators of new releases should follow. Do your research, ask others for input (lots of very experienced, knowledgeable folks here on the Café), find out what else has been released that might be similar in certain ways, and different in others. Then seek permission from earlier creators BEFORE releasing the new offering, as Atlas has done. Assuming of course the previous creators are still living. If they are not, then I'm not sure how seeking permission would work. Maybe through their family?
clairvoyant
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Quote:
On Aug 15, 2018, Stunninger wrote:
I was so pleased to see in the manuscript not only crediting but permission. This really is the standard all creators of new releases should follow. Do your research, ask others for input (lots of very experienced, knowledgeable folks here on the Café), find out what else has been released that might be similar in certain ways, and different in others. Then seek permission from earlier creators BEFORE releasing the new offering, as Atlas has done. Assuming of course the previous creators are still living. If they are not, then I'm not sure how seeking permission would work. Maybe through their family?


Seance?
NeverMind
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Quote:
On Aug 15, 2018, clairvoyant wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 15, 2018, Stunninger wrote:
I was so pleased to see in the manuscript not only crediting but permission. This really is the standard all creators of new releases should follow. Do your research, ask others for input (lots of very experienced, knowledgeable folks here on the Café), find out what else has been released that might be similar in certain ways, and different in others. Then seek permission from earlier creators BEFORE releasing the new offering, as Atlas has done. Assuming of course the previous creators are still living. If they are not, then I'm not sure how seeking permission would work. Maybe through their family?


Seance?



I almost spilled my coffee laughing....good one, Clairvoyant Smile
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Atlas
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Quote:
On Aug 14, 2018, Ubernutz wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 14, 2018, Atlas wrote:
Warren T. Has some truly innovative presentations using Underhanded that he has shared with Josh and myself. I've recently had the chance to sit and read them through in their entirety and they are thoroughly impressive.

One approach allows you to divine a number of things from a single use of Underhanded, and the other lets you reveal several people's drawings at once after a single use of Underhanded. I've never seen this latter presentational idea before and have to say that it is excellent.

And very pleased, Stunninger, to hear that you have a few extra bucks in your pocket because of Underhanded. Take it from a couple of busy, knowledgeable, and experienced performers - after individual searches spanning nearly a decade each, Underhanded is what we now use - and there are unimpeachable reasons for this fervor Smile

Are you making these alternate routines avail to purchasers of Underhanded?
All the best,

Atlas


Sorry - I missed the question at the end of the quote on my first reading!!

Yes, I am happy to do this.

Best,

Atlas
Stunninger
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One thing I noticed while practicing Underhanded in front of a mirror is you can execute the complete handling in slow motion and the peek is as undetectable as at full speed. Not that you would need or want to perform it in slow motion, but it goes to how deceptive the method truly is.

I never liked tearing-up my business cards (I know, different topic, discussed ad nauseam). Problem solved.

Also never liked folding my business cards or having the spectator write in one corner. Problems again solved.

Prior to Underhanded I came up with my own unpublished full business card peek that I thought was near-perfect. And is quite good, but does require some minor preparation. Underhanded is superior. Different method, different handling completely. Zero prep.

I've decided to sell off my collection of peek wallets now.
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