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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! Ľ Ľ Review of purchases from this community (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

tjkie22
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Hello everyone!

I hope everyone is doing well during these trying times. While I understand we are all facing hardships, I'd like to address something I feel very strongly about. I think often in our art, we all sometimes get so hyper focused on our own characters, performances, routines etc. that we often forget where some of our wonderful ideas and inspirations come from (obviously not everyone, but I certainly have been guilty of this in the past). We are truly blessed in this art to be very close to the minds of some of the greats of our fields. Oftentimes weíre able to reach out directly for clarification, praise or simply just to connect, what a blessing! In that vein, Iíd like to do what I can to encourage you that still can afford a disposable income to support those creators who may (or may not, just speculation on my part) be facing trying times when it's difficult to perform and Iím rather certain there's less money being spent on products. Without further adieu Iíd like to review some of the things Iíve personally purchased this year from some of the wonderfully creative and brilliant minds of this bizarre field especially!


My experience and purchases with Christopher Taylor of https://taylorimagineering.com/.

Death Toll:
For the longest time, Iíve been crafting a routine that I feel truly attached to. Somewhere along the creative journey I realized a spirit bell would be a perfect addition to the routine, as such I researched different spirit bells for quite awhile and finally stumbled across Death Toll by Mr. Taylor. I longed and waited for the time I would have enough money to be able to purchase such a promising looking prop, well, the time finally came shortly before COVID arrived.

For those unfamiliar Death Toll is a desk style bell, one that you would imagine seeing on the desk of a hotel or something to that effect. As for the product itself, the craftsmanship is exquisite (as I later came to realize is a staple of ordering from Mr Taylor). The bell looks old enough to fit a variety of presentations and operates beautifully with your choice of how to activate it (a hands free method will cost slightly more). Perhaps one of my favorite things about the bell is the fact you can unscrew, show the workings of the bell, and put it all back together in front of the spectator without ever exposing the gimmickry that allows the bell to toll.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about purchasing Death Toll however, was the INCREDIBLE booklet that came with the bell. I did enough research about the bell that I was pleased and knew about what I would be receiving but this booklet absolutely blew me out of the water. Without exposing too much, there is a routine in the booklet that is probably one of the most creative and interesting routines Iíve read in the last few years involving two spectators seemingly entering an ďaltered stateĒ in which they start confessing to the deepest limits of humanity, upon reading this routine I can say without exaggeration Iíve been haunted by the idea sense. It constantly returns to mind with touches and ideas to add to such a ploy and I eagerly look forward to the day I can test run some of the ideas this routine has inspired within me.

Pathfinder Index:
As I mentioned earlier, the catalyst for my purchase with Mr Taylor was infact a routine Iíve been devising for awhile, in said routine I was using a handmade index system that I was anything but satisfied with. After reaching out for the bell, I became aware of the index system Mr. Taylor has been working on it for quite some time it seems and I figured it would be a good time to upgrade my pitiful excuse of an index for something more promising and lasting.

Firstly, the craftsmanship of this thing is of impeccable quality. For those who are still using the index made from playing cards I would absolutely advise you to quickly run to Mr. Taylors site and look into his Pathfinder Index System, this WILL last. Its made from high quality material which enables it to last much, much longer than any hand made system and has the advantage of offering a very complex system for predicting a set of random events rather than just a single piece of information(but still can be used as such if wished).

Secondly, as Iíve come to realize with most of Mr. Taylors work, he doesnít just supply you with a beautiful product and usher you off, the index actually comes with a instructional of such incredibly depth that I would be hard pressed to see why anyone would have trouble keeping up with his system. Not only does he walk you through the inner workings but he also supplies you with ample routines and ideas to get you started in the path of creating your own work with such a beautiful utility device.


Marked Tarot:
Perhaps the item I knew the least about before purchasing. I had been using marked cards for some time but as I began using tarot as a replacement for playing cards I decided to purchase his marked tarot deck on a whim. Once again, I was impressed. The markings are readable yet reasonably hidden for lay eyes. The card stock is great, the design of said cards are beautiful. Certainly another wonderful utility prop to have in this niche sect of magic we belong to. Perhaps my only criticism of this deck (and to be fair, its probably more to say about me than the deck itself) is that I often found myself tentative to work or practice with the deck for fear I would need to replace them so quickly. I think for those who are in a similar mindset as I (if you can afford to) would be to purchase a few of these decks at a time so you donít feel so precious about the one.

I hate to sound like a sycophant here but once again, in usual fashion I got more than I bargained for. The deck doesnít just include a marking system but you also get some incredible gaffed cards to do a few ďesotericĒ versions of classic card plots like Wild Card. How novel!


Finally, Iíd also like to point out that Iíve come to find most people in this bizarre world are of the most helpful and friendly in all my years in magic (ironic considering our work eh?) Mr. Taylor was so pleasant to work with that even if these products were not A+ quality I would still be going back time and time again just because of how willing he is to help, and make sure you get exactly what you pay for. His customer service is next to none not only in magic but of any company Iíve had the pleasure to work with. If you have ANY questions, concerns, etc do not hesitate to reach out as Iím sure he will be just as helpful to guide and assist you as he was me.
P.S. while I didnít review it here, Mr. Taylor has a routine published called something like ďHeroĒ and its probably one of my favorite effects ever published for the effect it has on spectators. Check it out if you know whats good for you!



My Experiences and purchases with Vic Nada of www.geminiartifacts.com.

Luna:
I hesitate to review this, as I donít believe you can purchase them anymore, so rather than take the time to review the effect in intricate detail Iíll instead just point to the fact that these books are awe inspiring. Not often in magic do I purchase something that leaves me so profoundly pleased with my purchase that I would have gladly paid 3x the amount of the creator asked. Luna is this for me. In my experience, I sometimes find a prop that is so beautiful I find a way to use it in my acts, or a prop has so much utility that I purchase it and find a presentation for it. Luna has checked both these boxes individually. The books themselves give the impression of beautiful antique, ripe with story and inspiration to milk. However, they also house perhaps the most devious, clean, and impactful book test Iíve ever laid eyes upon. If you can get a copy somehow, I would highly recommend it.

Witches Almanac:
Speaking of beautiful booktests, I hate to label this JUST a booktest but I suppose categorically that's what it is. This I view as more of a utility device as it allows you to springboard into things that go beyond revealing a word, or a page. The actual creation of the book is exquisite. The book itself is gorgeous and truly looks ancient, the tarot cards are utterly beautiful and have tempted me to try to get an entire deck of these bad boys, perhaps I should email you Vic Smile. The accompanying teaching booklet is thorough, very thorough. I love this book, my only issue is that I didnít buy the more rare ďredĒ decorated version instead, if its still available run-run and get it as fast as you can.

Pearly Gates:
This is a take on the classic pegasus page effect, however the production on this booklet is fantastic.It looks authentically creepy, and pairs wonderfully with the luna effect. Highly recommended.

I have another product currently being made for me by Vic and while I can pretty confidently assure its beauty without laying eyes on it, for the sake of completion Iíll update this post when its received.

What Iíd like to stress most about Vicís work is that everything Iíve ever purchased from him has looked so organically beautiful that if I found it in an antique store I would never question its authenticity and would have purchased it to create a routine around it. The fact that these props are also gimmicked in ways that allow you to truly create miracles are just the icing on the cake. Iíd also like to state that Vic also has amazing customer service and I think I may have asked him 1000 questions before settling on my first purchase and he was not only happy to answer every one but did so in the timeliest of manners. Iím a huge fan of Vicís and if I was rich I would buy everything he has in stock and I wish I was being hyperbolic. When work picks up again or if I win the lottery Iíll be purchasing the next item on my GeminiArtifact wish list.

My Experiences and purchases with Marc Charisse (https://www.facebook.com/marc.charisse, Mcharisse@aol.com)

Marcís slates:
I think anyone into bizarre magic at some point or another goes on a quest for slates. They are possibly one of the most iconic and widely used props of victorian seances. While you donít see them much these days all one has to do is look to the past work of some of the greats to see how much thought and dedication they gave slate routines. Perhaps its just me, but performing with slates seems to take me back to a place of long ago, something I think resonates with audiences. Its not just a ďweird out of place looking propĒ its something much, much more. Which leads me to my quest, there are a few creators of Slates on the market, and while I had a tough time making a decision it was after I personally reached out to Marc that I felt I found the right kind for me. My main concern with my slates is that I wanted them to LAST. I didnít want to have something that while fooling I had to worry about being overly gentle with. Nothing with intricate contraptions. Something I could go into the weeds with and it would work again and again. that's what I found with Marc. The slates themselves look excellent and the quality and toughness if you will are spot on. The second I received these slates in the mail and felt them in my hands I knew I made the right decision. At some point I think Iíll pick up another pair but not because Iíll ever need to replace the one I have but rather for more presentation opportunities.

Marcís Box:
For those who arenít familiar with Marcs work, he creates a lot of beautiful wood pieces. Gimmicked and ungimmicked. Iíve been on a Facebook group for awhile admiring his work from a distance. One day on a whim I decided to ask Marc about something he had posted on Facebook. One thing led to another and rather than purchasing the box I had seen, Marc began working with me on customizing a box that he and I had been talking about from when I purchased the slates from him. After a process of checking the switching capabilities of the box, we began brainstorming some graphic ideas which is when I quickly found out Marc is very knowledgeable in this realm. I had a few ďideasĒ for my box that were tough to put into words, however it seemed like Marc without much probing knew exactly what I was looking for and quickly found and sent me some graphics that fit my needs precisely. A day or so later I received photos of one of the most beautiful switch boxes I have ever seen. Friends, when I tell you this thing was gorgeous even I couldnít anticipate how much better it would feel when it finally arrived. It quickly elevated itself to one of my favorite possessions in the entirety of my collection and I will always be going back to Marc for any and all work I need within his niche.

Marc is one of the most helpful, honest and genuinely pleasant people Iíve worked with. At one point, I think I used some language that seemed to imply I wasnít sure about making a purchase and at that point Marc very vehemently protested I shouldnít spend anything I wasnít comfortable with and he would be happy to find a solution that would work for us both. If that isnít indicative of someone who loves their work and believes its far more than about making money I don't know what does. What an excellent human (maybe human, this work is out of the world).

In conclusion Iím going to attach a link to photos of some of the products mentioned here. I didnít link photos to everything as I didnít want to tip the method to anything without getting permission to do so. Iíve also amassed quite the collection of literature this year and I think sometime this week Iíll also be trying to do a little review post of some of the stand out purchases Iíve made in that regard (Looking at you Mark Strivings).

I hope perhaps taking the time to express my astonishment at the work some of the people in this community can create might encourage those of you with the means to do so to help keep these people in business, if it were not for people like this it would be much harder to get these quality props that we often take for granted having the access to.

Thanks for your time,

In Mystery,
Tyler



Photos of items: https://imgur.com/a/9jw5zRt
Mr. Woolery
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I cannot currently justify the costs of the lovely items you have, but I really enjoyed reading your enthusiastic reviews. My impression has long been that bizarre magic is the branch where the most love shows in prop creation. I suspect this is because mood and atmosphere are so vital in the arena where people will either believe it is real or believe that it could be. Plastic with screen printing just isnít going to sell the effect, no matter how precisely engineered the gimmick. I also love the appreciation shown for the work it takes to make these things.

Iím not envious of you, but I am happy for you finding such pleasure in your purchases.

Patrick
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Quote:
On Oct 16, 2020, Mr. Woolery wrote:
My impression has long been that bizarre magic is the branch where the most love shows in prop creation.
Patrick


Totally agree.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
tjkie22
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Quote:
On Oct 16, 2020, Mr. Woolery wrote:
I cannot currently justify the costs of the lovely items you have, but I really enjoyed reading your enthusiastic reviews. My impression has long been that bizarre magic is the branch where the most love shows in prop creation. I suspect this is because mood and atmosphere are so vital in the arena where people will either believe it is real or believe that it could be. Plastic with screen printing just isnít going to sell the effect, no matter how precisely engineered the gimmick. I also love the appreciation shown for the work it takes to make these things.

Iím not envious of you, but I am happy for you finding such pleasure in your purchases.

Patrick


Thanks for taking the time to respond Mr Woolery. I whole heartedly agree with you that bizarre magic has been the one area of magic that I've had the greatest quality of props created. While I can totally see where the presumption that my post was a call to action in purchasing these exquisite items came from, I was more intending to encourage people to support ANY creator they feel drawn to. Perhaps I should add in some lower ticket items that I've purchased outside of this year to illustrate that purpose, while they often aren't quite the same level of craftsmanship there are certainly more cost effective props I've purchased that have been of utmost utility to me. I also hope I stressed enough that I'm not encouraging people to spend money they don't have, but rather if you (not you specifically but anyone reading) do have the privliage of having money to spend I would hope you would support those whos livelihood and passions rely on the disposable income of others. It would be a true shame to lose some of the creators in this community because they can't justify keeping up their work. In any case thanks for taking the time to add in your input and if there's anything you personally found valuable I would love for you to add something about it here also incase you can lead someone to the work of someone who deserves the attention!

All the best,
Tyler
Mr. Woolery
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I wasnít clear. My bad. I didnít see your post as a call to action. But it did remind me there are many things I would love to own. But canít. Yet.

I very much enjoyed reading about how your tools (thatís really what props are, after all) made you so happy. Iím a small-scale artisan myself (glass beads, knives, small Smith work) and your feelings are what I truly hope my customers feel about my work. And I hope to be able to acquire a few of the really fine props one day, too. For now Iím happy to see other folks being happy.

Patrick
The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! Ľ Ľ Review of purchases from this community (2 Likes)
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