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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Magic Magazine Reviews Spelmann DVD (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jon Stetson
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Quote:
On 2004-12-30 14:08, Bennettjc wrote:
I do Jon. I'm looking foward to spending some of my time seeing you perform here in Brooklyn Jan 28th!

Happy New Year


Great!

Please say hello.

Quote:
On 2004-12-30 14:46, joeyjojo wrote:
Quote:
On 2004-12-30 14:24, Jon Stetson wrote:

I'll answer your question regarding the "connection" between Bob and Mike. They are good friends, who enjoy each other’s company. They socialize. No big deal.



I liked the pun on 'no big deal', though I suspect it was unintentional. Actually, to those who buy magic and trust Close's opinion, it IS a 'big deal'. I have met neither Close nor Kohler but was able, through the tone and content of the reviews, to surmise that they were 'good friends' (as you put it). Others who randomly pick up an issue of MAGIC and read about a Kohler release
may NOT have had the opportunity to deduce that the two are friends. So at least we may label our 'theories' 'facts'. Thanks.



Please read my entire post.

It is not fair to question Mike's integrity, based on his friendship with Bob.
He delivers honest reviews.
joeyjojo
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Jon,

Of course I read your entire post before responding. It's simply not a matter of questioning Mike's integrity; he may have the purest intentions in the world but - as any psychologist worth his/her salt will tell you - 'Mike' is more likely to favour something created by someone he likes than he is to favour an indifferent item. It's human nature, as enough studies have shown. Knowing as we do that this is the case, we would be foolish to ignore such factors when evaluating the opinions of reviewers.

Unfortunately, we have digressed somewhat from the topic at hand (the Spelmann DVDs), and since this is not a Kohler product Close's friendship with him is rather tangential to this thread.
Banachek
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I'm not going to argue Mike's review here as he has a right to his opinions and I have not read the review, right or wrong.

I would like to point out something I see as a common made mistake and that is when people say that those who do not move in the mentalist community are better served to review mentalist products and presentations. I do not beleive that to be the case, those that do not move in mentalist circles but rather in the magic community are not always best set to review mentalist items. Let me explain: For instance, Mike has said a few times in reviews, "it frustrates me when I see a mentalist have to ask peoples names when they come up." His thinking here is that if you are claiming to be psychic, then you should know their name. That is all well and good however, Mike is assuming that ALL mentalists claim to be psychic. If one is using the psychological ploy, then indeed one would not automatically know the person's name unless it was part of the revelation for an effect. Magic is indeed a different mindset than a mentalist mindset.

Another example not using Close is FISM. A wonderful mentalist was judged by MAGICIANS and was not awarded the deserved award because the MAGICIANS were not versed in the methods of mentalism and falsely assumed he was using electronics. He was not.

Now if lay people were judging they would have indeed judged by the quality of the mystery and entertainment.

There are moments of mystery that we (mentalists) create that would seem transparent to magician trying to perform the same type of effect. It is why mentalism is often so hard for magicians to perform. It is a different mind-sent. I see this so often when discussing presentations for effects with my good magician friends.

For example, one would think that many methods for the best metal bending (impromptu misdirection) would be transparent to lay people, but if done well it is not, there is a certain will to believe that we take advantage of that is not a tool that most magicians can take advantage of. A magician may also think that equivoke would be transparent with many, many objects but look at David Berglas on his TV specials and it is spectacular.

In reviews it amazes me how one person can use a technique and the effect is said to be amazing. But another person uses the same technique and the effect is said to be transparent. It can't be had both ways.

By the way, I see lots of interesting applications and material in Spellman's DVD's. Even if one does not use the exact routines as are, there is a wealth of material in there. Interestingly, this is something else that is often different from many magicians and mentalists. The fact that most mentalists will take a routine and change it around, take the application and apply it slightly different to a personal routine where as the majority of magicians seem to want to do the routine the way it is on a tape or DVD. Now I do not know if this is because there are so many more magicians than mentalists or if it is something deeper and the fact that most mentalists want to be seen as unique. Not sure on this one. But if one is looking at any DVD for effects they can do word for word, then there are few DVDs or Videos that will fit the bill, especially in the mentalist world where so much of our material is custom fitted.

Anyway, just thought I would add a few comments, hope they made some sort of sense.
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slap aces
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Since Mike Close started reviewing magic products, the marketplace he comments on has exploded. hundreds of "new" products turn up every year. Frankly there's more "you know what" than shinola on offer these days and, in my opinion, we are all a lot better off for Michael Close's opinion.

Mike Close is often thought to be out-spoken and rude. Such are the labels pinned to anyone willing to offer an honest opinion.

I happen to know Michael. Whenever we have spoken about magic he has been nothing but sincere in his opinion. This sincerity has made him a target in many ways.

In my humble opinion, if anyone really cares about being a good magician, they could do a lot worse than listen to Michael Close.

One thing I would be willing to bet on is this: Michael Close would rather risk offending a friend than compromise his opinion. The truth is that he HAS criticized his friends in print.

If you send something to a reviewer you must accept thier opinion the minute you drop it in the mail.

Reviewers are human beings - they are naturally biased towards their friends. The issue is whether or not they can offer a balanced review to everyone else. I think Mike's record on that is very clear.

I jumped over to Magic Talk and looked at their review page. each reveiw is written by members willing to post their opinions. It's garbage, mostly written by ill-informed magicians who have a lot more information to learn than they have to contribute. Check out the review for SLAM for a really excellent example of a questionable review.

Who-ever ends up reviewing magic effects the problem of conflicting interests will arise. I would rather have someone who understands that conflict.

Mike Close KNOWS MAGIC. He is an EXPERT. The fact he has friends in the business means he faces a dilemma whenever they send him items to review. We should be grateful that his friends are amongst the finest magicians in the world. That's right - we're not talking about some guy pumping his obscure buddies - we're talking about people who are genuinely at the top of our game.

Bob Kohler, love him or hate him, develops and sells material for working professionals (and wealthy collectors). Unlike many he does not develop frivolous material simply to "get the money". He invests, develops, perfects and THEN sells.The same is true for Close's other friends.

If Mike Close starts pumping Magic Makers products, THEN you can question the man's integrity.

For now, I will consider the Spellman DVDs for a while longer. I agree with Mike's opinion nine times out of ten. If he gets it wrong once in a while, I try not to accuse him of being unfair, dishonest or overly biased.
Jon Stetson
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Quote:
On 2004-12-30 23:10, slap aces wrote:
Since Mike Close started reviewing magic products, the marketplace he comments on has exploded. hundreds of "new" products turn up every year. Frankly there's more "you know what" than shinola on offer these days and, in my opinion, we are all a lot better off for Michael Close's opinion.

Mike Close is often thought to be out-spoken and rude. Such are the labels pinned to anyone willing to offer an honest opinion.

I happen to know Michael. Whenever we have spoken about magic he has been nothing but sincere in his opinion. This sincerity has made him a target in many ways.

In my humble opinion, if anyone really cares about being a good magician, they could do a lot worse than listen to Michael Close.

One thing I would be willing to bet on is this: Michael Close would rather risk offending a friend than compromise his opinion. The truth is that he HAS criticized his friends in print.

If you send something to a reviewer you must accept thier opinion the minute you drop it in the mail.

Reviewers are human beings - they are naturally biased towards their friends. The issue is whether or not they can offer a balanced review to everyone else. I think Mike's record on that is very clear.

I jumped over to Magic Talk and looked at their review page. each reveiw is written by members willing to post their opinions. It's garbage, mostly written by ill-informed magicians who have a lot more information to learn than they have to contribute. Check out the review for SLAM for a really excellent example of a questionable review.

Who-ever ends up reviewing magic effects the problem of conflicting interests will arise. I would rather have someone who understands that conflict.

Mike Close KNOWS MAGIC. He is an EXPERT. The fact he has friends in the business means he faces a dilemma whenever they send him items to review. We should be grateful that his friends are amongst the finest magicians in the world. That's right - we're not talking about some guy pumping his obscure buddies - we're talking about people who are genuinely at the top of our game.

Bob Kohler, love him or hate him, develops and sells material for working professionals (and wealthy collectors). Unlike many he does not develop frivolous material simply to "get the money". He invests, develops, perfects and THEN sells.The same is true for Close's other friends.

If Mike Close starts pumping Magic Makers products, THEN you can question the man's integrity.

For now, I will consider the Spellman DVDs for a while longer. I agree with Mike's opinion nine times out of ten. If he gets it wrong once in a while, I try not to accuse him of being unfair, dishonest or overly biased.




Well said!
joeyjojo
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Quote:
On 2004-12-30 23:10, slap aces wrote:
I happen to know Michael.

One thing I would be willing to bet on is this: Michael Close would rather risk offending a friend than compromise his opinion. The truth is that he HAS criticized his friends in print.

Reviewers are human beings - they are naturally biased towards their friends.


Well said! All three points here are great: 1) You establish your personal connection to the item (or 'person' in this case) under review. The rest of your message suggests that you like him too. So we bear this in mind when we read what you say about MC and are smarter for it. 2) He HAS criticized his friends, often at the expense of losing them (as he has said more than once). Presumably, there are some friends that he does not want to risk losing. 3) This is my favourite of your sentences, it shows that you 'get it'.

I happen to think that Close is a good thing for magic. I just don't think he is beyond criticism. Nor do I think the Spelmann dvds are beyond criticism, despite the pretty quotes from mentalism's elite. Do those who find MC to be infallible agree, then, that what he says about the Spelmann dvds is accurate? Are the dvds - um, er, how shall I put this - 'crap'?
Dark Thought 13
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Being a purchaser of the set I would say they are definately not er um crap, infact far from it. Could they be bettter you bet they could, did they live up to the hype certainly not but not a lot could as it was way to hyped up.

Osterlinds ETMMM was briefly mentioned then there they were ready for release where as the Spellman set was dangled in front of us for months which clearly hasn't worked in Alakazams or Spellmans favour.

The worst purchases I ever made were Pickpocketing by Coats & some other guy?? The techniques were awful, I didn't gain a single move or even a piece of advice they put them at any value.. The other item I really didn't care for was Elevator which proved to be the most costly piece of pl....c on a r..l in existence..

The Spellman set has given me at least a dozen ideas and applications that I will genuinely use so for me they are not crap, however for Mr Close they clearly are, along with others who have the set, again each to their own..

I know also of Mike Close losing friends over reviews so I would hope he has the integrity I assume he has. I believe he just doesn't like them but he liked Killer Red Caps, it's no crime to like Killer Red Caps just different from most of us here..

I hate Killer Red Caps but some have loved it, just a matter of personal taste.. I try not to believe hype from sellers but equally don't stand by reviews from those who do not favour a product. I purchased the Red Caps and was not impressed, I purchased the Spellman set and was not blown over by the new God of mentalism but instead pleased with my purchase having seen new ideas and thoughts not available elsewhere on dvd.
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Tom Lauten
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Quote:
On 2005-01-01 12:15, Dark Thought 13 wrote:
....I purchased the Spellman set and was not blown over by the new God of mentalism but instead pleased with my purchase having seen new ideas and thoughts not available elsewhere on dvd.


I wasn't "blown over" by the DVDs either...I was, however, excited by the range of ideas and mix of concepts and techniques. It is worth bearing in mind that Marc Spelmann has never been touted by himself nor Alakazam as "The New God of mentalism".

I know you only used this as an expression and I agree with what you said, (each to his own as it were) but some people have labored under the assumption that Marc Spelmann was (or is) trying to be a purely mentalism based performer. This set of DVDs do feature mentalism tricks as the main stay but he is a highly accomplished performer in cabaret magic and is a true all rounder. I think this is evident through in his lively mix of techniques and the flexibility in his presentation.

I'm sure his set of DVDs will actively perch on many magicians AND mentalists DVD and video shelves for a long time to come.
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Mr Mindman
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I think it is good that everyone is willing to speak their mind.
Yes I think a magician shouldnt realy review mentailsm for 'mentalists' it is like getting a kids entertainer to review expert at the card table.

Tom... you must realise that you are going to be attacked like this simply becuase you join in and start disscussions about nearly every alakazam item that comes out... I am guessing you live quite close to alakazam and don't want to offend Peter Nardi? a great guy BTW.

I personally think a lot of alakazams items are simply to make money and the majority are way too hyped up! In fact it is a joke how much suspense is being put into pre-releases. it sets people up, to be knocked down from a great height!

Carry on fighting if you wish, see how far it gets you.

Jon
Jon Beetham
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Just noticed the Spellman DVDs had been sold on ebay by non other than Michael Close for $156.00.. I realise most of us 'BUY' things that are not suitable for us then sell them on, however I am sure Alakazam must have given these to Close to review.. I have read the review which slams the set as being totally worthless and Mikes advice is to spend your money else where.. Unless of course you are paying him.

I actually enjoyed the set as have others, Mikes review even to those who did not like the set seemed to really go for the throat.. Surely if they were that bad ethically Mike would have sold them to anyone who would have covered the postage as they were terrible, or even just used the discs as coasters.

I realise Mike is bombarded with review material and naturally he has to get rid of it and why not sell it but he tells us to spend our money elsewhere then goes against the grain and sells the and I quote 'Worst most contrived mental magic routines he has ever seen." to some poor kid who has paid $156.00

Just a little something that made me laugh..
Adam
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Jon,

I'd rather buy something from someone who has downplayed the value of the item being sold than from someone who overhypes the item. This board is full of people who 'review' a product, tell you how wonderful it is, and then mention (rather conveniently) that they have one for sale in great condition. Close made it harder to sell the DVDs by reviewing them so negatively and it is consistent of him to want to get rid of them in a quick sale now that he's realised how bad they are. Wouldn't you be surprised or wary if - after that devastating review - he refused to part with the DVDs?!

Selling them for 156 dollars does not mean that that's what he thinks they're worth, but that this is the most money he thinks he'll get for them (which is the approach of most people who sell things).

It just goes to show that, as with the material itself, there are two ways of looking at things.
Jon Beetham
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Hi Adam,

I see your point but $156.00 is more than the Osterlinds & Banacheks.

My point is.. having advised us to not buy the set he then goes on to sell the set to the highest bidder on ebay, now if he had bought the set fair enough but I assume he was given the set.. so ethically with his review and opinion of the set being worthless and advising people not to buy them why go completely against his own advice and sell them for a high sum would it not be more ethical to practically give them away as they are in his opinion not worth any amount of money.. This to me would be more consistant..

I would have put an advert up that said "mediocre DVDs on mental magic, cover the postage and they go to the first bidder." however he sold them over a two week period to the highest bidder who paid almost retail price... isn't that a little ironic having written his review?

I as mentioned enjoyed the set and felt his review was off and too harsh, yes there are things I didn't enjoy but that applies to all mentalism & mental magic..
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