We’re going to pre-emptively snuff a spark before an issue becomes a fire — now that David Blaine is involved, this issue is likely to get debates going on magic forums worldwide.
Surely, you’ve seen the Mindfreak magic kits. Available from the ads on TV and from nationwide retailers, the kits feature a slew of street magic effects for beginners, intermediates and the “most advanced mystifier,” including several we are all familiar with. You can get “platinum” and “ultimate” kits — some include one of Angel’s levitations, and the kits also come with instructional DVDs.
Also causing some controversy is this kit featuring Ed Alonzo. Some, including About.com’s respected resident magician Wayne Kawamoto, have argued that the kit’s head twister is so poorly made that it is tantamount to exposure. Roland Henning, the chief of Weekly Magic Failure, goes a step further and calls Alonzo a sell out. (Yeah, Roland gets angry when we don’t send him free cards, but we still like him and his site.)
Now David Blaine is getting involved. MagicTimes.com in September spread the news that the street magic legend is releasing three new gaff decks. The decks are Blaine’s take on a stripper, Svengali and marked deck, but the key words in the story: “They are U.S. Playing Card Co. products that are being released to the general public.” Blaine has a publicity tour planned to talk about the decks, and they should be available sometime after Oct. 31 wherever Bicycle cards are sold.
So is the world falling apart for magicians? Does the appearance of magic’s biggest current stars on products meant for the masses mean we will have no secrets left? Are Blaine, Angel and Alonzo SELL-OUTS?
Chill. Take a deep breath, practice your pass. Take these two bullet points, and call us in the morning:
- All these kits appear to be filled with gimmicked magic tricks that have been in mass markets for ages. Take that Mindfreak kit: From the sales page, it looks like he’s put his presentational feel on effects that my stepkid already has. The serious secrets of sleight of hand appear to remain intact.
- But even if one of those 500 Mindfreaks happens to be a solid technique for a pass, remember: People like to watch US, not magic tricks. Even though these gimmicked decks have been available in mass markets, we know pros who still kill with them because they put the work, effort and practice into a truly convincing performance. The same goes for sleight of hand.
This won’t be the last time a magician makes it big enough to use his image to market magic products. Magic has been just fine ever since. So get out there and perform already. That’s what people want to see.