Posts by Cris Johnson

REVIEW: Applause Please by Louie Foxx

REVIEW: “Applause Please” by Louie Foxx. So yesterday I had a chance to perform Applause Please for the first time for a grades 3-5 group. In short, the kids LOVED it. I had purchased it because I was inspired by a Doug Scheer routine that I loved from his book.

Here are some thoughts…You receive the light up sign that is nicely built, one hollowed out lightbulb, an Evaporation bottle, a DVD, remote control, and a special cord to plug the unit in the wall.

Everything works very simply and the sign itself lights up bright red so it shows up even to several hundred kids. Louie really thought this through carefully.

The Evaporation bottle functions in terms of effect like a Milk Pitcher but uses a method completely different and (I believe) is new and original to Louie. It resets in literally 1 second. I think this is brilliant! The only drawback is that the liquid you use must match the internal gimmick of the bottle (can’t say more without exposure). To me this is not a big deal as I would not vanish clear water using a milk pitcher anyway because of visibility. Best of all Louie teaches you how to make your own gimmicked bottle so I plan on doing this for my Seuss show so I can vanish green liquid “Oobleck.”

The Applause Please set up can be used for Salt In Lightbulb effect or as Louie does, Liquid In Lightbulb. I also really like how the Applause sign motivates the presentation more than a lamp on stage – just my preference.

The instructional DVD is very complete, leaving no detail out. I also really got a kick out of the fact that Louie shot parts of the instructional video in a hotel room. Seeing that, I thought, “Yup, this guy is a worker.”

There really is nothing bad to say. Everything is well-constructed, well taught, and most importantly, the audience LOVED it. Those of you who used to read my blog know that I rate things on a 10 scale and I give this a perfect 10.

Review of Contact Mind Reading – The Osterlind Approach

Hello all,

Before I get into this brief review, a bit of background. I’m a full time magician and have been 12 years, working primarily schools and corporate events. Recently I’ve gotten tired of hauling around big props so I’m adopting the pack small, play big attitude. Over the last few months I have purchased a ton of mentalism stuff in an effort to play big without hauling all the crap. In short, it’s taken me years to catch up to the most forward thinkers in our industry.

I’ve purchased a lot of Osterlind stuff in the past and always like his direct approach to mentalism. I’ve been wanting to learn Contact Mind Reading for years. I purchased a DVD from another pro years ago and struggled with it and failed miserably. When I heard about Osterlind’s new CMR book, I was very hopeful. The book is very well written and takes away a lot of the old classical ways of doing this art.

Richard spends some time outlining his history, several different routines, ways to practice, breaking it down into key components and much more. In short, it’s really a master piece on this performing art.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get it. It’s very frustrating to me as I’m an accomplished hypnotist, both stage and clinical, and I’m a full time performer too. ‘m beginning to feel as though this may be one of those things some people can get and others do not.

However, if you are curious and want to give this a try, Richard’s book will give you the best possible education, but know that this is not an easy skill to learn.

Recommended as a great teaching aid, but CMR is HARD, at least for me.

Review of Bill Abbott Pack Smart Show

Hello all,

Before I get into this brief review, a bit of background. I’m a full time magician and have been 12 years, working primarily schools and corporate events. Recently I’ve gotten tired of hauling around big props so I’m adopting the pack small, play big attitude. Over the last few months I have purchased a ton of mentalism stuff in an effort to play big without hauling all the crap. In short, it’s taken me years to catch up to the most forward thinkers in our industry.

I’ve purchased a ton of Bill Abbott stuff over the years and I’ve never been disappointed. with this new release, Bill hands you a complete show that can play for huge audiences or small ones. I almost didn’t buy this as I felt I had enough material, and especially I already owned the Five Card Repeat and Smart Ass decks.

rather than buy the entire kit, I just bought the DVD and book. There is so much good stuff here, but the biggest lesson is how Bill explains that a tic tac effect can play to the back of a huge theater and why. Simply great.

Additionally, his work on the center tear cleans up several issues I’ve had with this classic of mentalism for decades. I laughed out loud as Bill pointed out the issues I had – “Someone is actually SAYING it!” I thought. I’ve known how to do the tear for years but it was simply a mindset thing, and after watching Bill’s DVD, I did it the following day for a magician friend, one with very little experience in mentalism and promptly blew him away.

I’m not going to go into detailed descriptions of the effects – Bill does that on his trailer. I will say that any and all sleight of hand is minimal. Bill is more interested in entertaining and connecting with audiences and it shows.

When you’ve been a full time professional as I have for as long as I have (12 years) it can sometimes be a trap to fall into the “Oh, I know all I need to know” line of thinking. After watching this DVD, I’m not afraid to admit I can still learn a ton!

I’ve picked up a lot of great stuff in 2015, and this has to be at the top of the list. HIGHLY recommended!!

Docc Hilford Boudoir Bill Review

Hello all,

Before I get into this brief review, a bit of background. I’m a full time magician and have been 12 years, working primarily schools and corporate events. Recently I’ve gotten tired of hauling around big props so I’m adopting the pack small, play big attitude. Over the last few months I have purchased a ton of Docc Hilford stuff and the vast majority of it blows me away. The stuff that doesn’t blow me away is perhaps a little too ballsy for me at this time but it’s real-world practical stuff. Onto Boudoir Bill…

It’s available at www.ientertainer.net as an instant download for about $40. It’s an mp4 video that explains exactly how to do the routine. Some extra pdfs are included too. Docc is an excellent teacher and I was able to do the “move” if you can call it that very quickly.

I’ve been searching for a good bill divination for years and while I found many that would work, they just did not feel right. Many involved needlessly putting the borrowed bill into an envelope or two much direct handling by the mentalist.

With Docc’s technique, it appears as though you touch the ball for less than 1/2 second. Actually that is exactly what happens – you don’t have access to the serial number of the bill at all in that 1/2 second and even if you did, most could not memorize the bill that quickly. The “move” is easy as heck and looks completely natural. It’s a stage piece and serves as a brilliant opener that quickly engages the audience.

Here’s the BEST part – you need NO special props – no special envelopes, no thumbtips, and the meager amount of “preparation” for this piece can be done in just a few seconds.

The only caveat is that this is NOT a close-up piece, it is for a standup show, whether in a living room or large stage.

Those of you who may remember my Hocus Pocus review column will remember that I call ‘em like I see ‘em and this is absolutely brilliant. Docc adds a lot of great psychology, blocking, etc to this piece. Why this has not garnered more attention is beyond me. Some people consider Docc’s ad copy a little misleading, but trust me, this release REALLY delivers. Since I don’t know EVERY stage bill divination out there I could not say if this is the best, but it’s easily the best I’ve encountered out of the 20 or so other methods I’ve researched over the last 20 years.

HIGHLY recommended. Clean, easy, direct–lethal!

Docc Hilford Mirror, Mirror Review

Hello all,

Before I get into this brief review, a bit of background. I’m a full time magician and have been 12 years, working primarily schools and corporate events. Recently I’ve gotten tired of hauling around big props so I’m adopting the pack small, play big attitude. Over the last few months I have purchased a ton of Docc Hilford stuff and the vast majority of it blows me away. The stuff that doesn’t blow me away is perhaps a little too ballsy for me at this time but it’s real-world practical stuff. Onto Mirror, Mirror…

This is available at www.ientertainer.net so there is no waiting.Smile The release is an mp4 video outlining the physical handling (It’s not even “moves” as it’s so easy and so natural) and an audio download outlining the history of the effect, and all of the nuances.

Essentially, the effect is this; The mentalist says he can control a person’s thoughts and another person’s actions. The first person is mentally sent a card and the second person deals cards out of a shuffled deck (by the audience) and stops when he wants. Both cards (the thought of and the freely selected) match. On top of that, a prediction which has been in view the whole time is opened and it reveals the target card is what the two people selected.

This is BRILLIANT! Best part? You can do it with NO preparation. You can write the prediction in front of people and the freely selected card using a move which is the easiest, most natural looking and deceptive card moves I’ve ever seen. I don’t like a lot of card magic because the moves look like moves only a magician would do – unnatualistic. This move Docc has used is worth far more than the price he’s asking.

The mentally selected card uses a technique that Docc has taught for years and years. Most people were too afraid of it failing to try it, but the structure of this routine gives you several “outs” to bring the piece to a successful close.
The thing I really like about this is that the routine is impromptu but is strong enough for a formal standup show, plus the card move is sooooooooooooo diabolical! I also like the inception concept of the pice, of planting a thought into someone’s mind.
Highly recommended and way too cheap in terms of price!!

Docc Hilford Wizard Manual Review

Hello all,

Before I get into this brief review, a bit of background. I’m a full time magician and have been 12 years, working primarily schools and corporate events. Recently I’ve gotten tired of hauling around big props so I’m adopting the pack small, play big attitude. Over the last few months I have purchased a ton of Docc Hilford stuff and the vast majority of it blows me away. The stuff that doesn’t blow me away is perhaps a little too ballsy for me at this time but it’s real-world practical stuff. Onto The Wizard’s Manual…

the basic effect is that a spectator selects a page in a book and memorizes the first word or even details of the entire page, as well as the page number. they then close and hold onto the book.

The performer reads their mind, and reveals (in one possible presentation) that they never actually saw what they thought they saw…and the page is shown ripped out of the book and in an envelope that another spectator was holding onto! The spectator can flip through the book again and the only thing left of the page they swore they saw was a ripped jagged edge. the torn page’s edges from the envelope match perfectly.

I know I’m kind of a latecomer to this particular book test, but I still think it’s a timely review as Docc has recently made some changes to the old book test, making the work even easier and more natural in my opinion.

I love book tests, and currently have a 1/2 dozen or so now, having sold a few others that I just didn’t use. In terms of pure drama, nothing can beat this. Most books, whether funny or dramatic, involve the revealing of the information and that’s it. this one, however, has a great kick to the gut ending that no one will suspect, unless they saw somebody on TV do it.

To show the power of this, I’ll relate a recent performance: I was performing for 100 teens at a post grad late night ock in and when it came time to have the envelope opened, the teenage boy who was holding the envelope was so freaked out, it took a certain amount of persuasion on my part to get him to do it! And the entire audience of teens SCREAMED. It was soooooooooooo cool!

The beefed up version of this classic now comes with a DVD in which Docc makes learning the simple work even easier, and he covers several presentational ideas as well as an alternate to the headline prediction to garner publicity. Great stuff.

HIGHLY recommended. Probably the best mentalism prop I’ve ever bought.

Your Biggest Questions About Stage Hypnosis…Answered!

Watch this free webinar where I reveal magicians’ biggest questions about Stage Hypnosis: Is it real? Is it dangerous? How hard is it to learn? Enjoy…and be sure to join us for the LIVE traing on July 10-12 in sunny Niagara Falls, NY! Email me at crisjohnsoninfo@Verizon.net for details!

FREE WEBINAR: Stage & Educational Hypnosis!

Hello all!

Below is a FREE WEBINAR on Stage Hypnosis that I recently conducted. In it, I go in depth covering how and why stage hypnosis can add a LOT to your income and the reasons why performing stage hypnosis can make your life easier as a performer. Here’s just a sample of what is covered in this sizzling webinar:

- How stage hypnosis can make performing in certain markets EASY AS PIE

- Why certain markets prefer stage hypnosis to magic shows

- Do’s and Don’t to look for when considering a stage hypnosis training

- What all other stage hypnosis trainings are leaving on the table and much more!

Check it out!

 

The LIVE training details:

DATES: July 10th – 12th, 2015

TRAINING LOCATION: Niagara Falls Hypnosis Center, 7820 Porter Rd., Niagara Falls, NY

CLOSEST AIRPORT: Buffalo-Niagara International Airport

INVESTMENT: $495 if you register by May 1, 2015 ($795 after May 1, 2015)

TWO WAYS TO REGISTER:

1 – Send $495 via Paypal to crisjohnsoninfo@verizon.net

2 – Call 716-940-8963 with your credit card info.

Questions?????????????

Call 716-940-8963 or email crisjohnsoninfo@verizon.net.

I look forward to meeting you at the training!!

Best,

Cris Johnson

Sean Bogunia’s ITS & Extreme Hanky Performance!

OK, I will freely admit that the following video is not the best quality, but sometimes it’s just nice to see a magic product you’re thinking about buying being performed in the real world by someone else.

Before I get to the video I want to offer some thoughts about Sean’s new Extreme Hanky – this is extremely cool! Like all of Sean’s stuff it comes with a fantastic instructional DVD that walks you through all of the nuances of programming, care & feeding, and of course performing. This is high tech magic at it’s very best.

High tech magic should primarily be used, I feel, when the only way to perform it is with technology. In the case of the Dancing Hank, it used to be an effect that used to require the coordination of offstage assistants so Sean’s products help users do things as a one person act that can be done no other way.

In short, with the Extreme Hanky you can drop a hanky into a large bottle, cork it to prevent its escape, and cause it to dance…even if another person sitting in the audience holds the bottle. The audience member can also command the hanky to stop or start dancing so it is truly interactive magic at its best.

This can be done closeup and surrounded, so the performing possibilities are many. In conjunction with Sean’s Animation Sensation, Ultimate or Ultra Dancing Hank, and his ITS, the Extreme Hanky can help users make the Dancing Hanky plot a true multi-faceted show stopper.

Here’s my video of me performing the ITS & Extreme Hanky at a recent school show in front of 200 kids, grades K-4. Although you can’t see the kids in the video, you’ll hear their reactions. After the ITS, I use the Extreme Hanky to have the kids exit the assembly area quietly…essentially “bribing” the kids to leave quietly, Again, not a great video but very little “real world” footage exists online of a lot of the more expensive tricks out there.

Enjoy!

 

 

What I’ve Been Up To & REVIEW: Sean Bogunia’s ITS

Hello all!

It’s been CRAZY here in Niagara Falls. It was always my intent to update this blog a helluva lot more often than this but life gets in the way. A few updates and then on to a review.

First, I continue to grow my clinical hypnosis practice. It’s fun, rewarding and very timeconsuming! Continued education is I believe a BIG key to success so I’m constantly learning, updating skills, etc. In addition to becoming certified as both an instructor and a Board Certified hypnotist through the National Guild of Hypnotists I am also now certified through the International Hypnosis Association. In short, I’m constantly learning.

I also continue to scale back on my performing career. To be sure, I LOVE performing and always will but I really hate traveling on the road. It’s lonely and boring. Additionally, I continue to pull out of markets I really do not enjoy doing, namely corporate holiday parties. These events are incredibly dreary for me and I don’t like doing them anymore. In fact, I will probably be only performing corporate events that are educational or motivational in nature. First, there’s no alcohol in most cases, and second, when I come in as a “speaker” as a kick off or wrap up to a sales conference (for instance) I can really delight the crowd whereas in a holiday party, people just want to drink and socialize. To be sure I’ve had great fun doing many corporate holiday parties but the vast majority of them are like performing for oversized children, at least in my experience.

So my performing career will continue almost exclusively in schools (elementary, high schools, colleges) although I do like library shows too on occasion.

But enough of that – let’s get to a NEW review. This time I’m reviewing Sean Bogunia’s ITS.

WHAT IT IS: Essentially this is two electronic, programmable invisible thread reels that allow you to do incredible levitations all without the need of backdrops because these use INVISIBLE  thread.

 

Although Sean’s instructional DVD focuses mostly on the Dancing Hanky as a plot/use for this device, there’s actually no limits to the possibilities. Here’s a video showing just some of what you can do:

Sean Bogunia’s ITS Demo

Like Sean, however, The Dancing Hanky is my favorite effect in all of magic. I’ve bought most of Sean’s other Dancing Hanky effects over the years and still use them to this day. Here’s a video of me performing Sean’s Ultimate Dancing Hanky & Animation Sensation:

Cris Johnson Performing Dancing Hanky

Soon I will post a video of me performing the ITS. I only point this out because all powerful as the Sean Bogunia Dancing Hanky is, The ITS generates such reactions as to almost be TOO good!

What I mean by this is simple – I got to a school last week and had extra time to set up. I’d actually been practicing the ITS in my hotel rooms for the last week and decided to try out the ITS before the show in a live environment. While the hanky was dancing on stage I was offstage just watching it. But a class of students came in early for my assembly program and LOVED the hanky. I decided to try the effect out as my opener that day just to see how things went. So I did my standard introduction and went into ITS….as it animated the kids reacted and I turned away from the ITS (I was watching too) and watched the audience. About 200 kids were completely freaking out and laughing and jumping around! I actually had the routine end early and I had to restore order and continue on with the show!

It was an unqualified success and while I will continue using my Animation Sensation & Dancing Hanky (I’ve switched to Sean’s Ultra Dancing Hank), I really now have a special place in my heart for the ITS because I can now perform a Dancing Hanky effect with NO cover and it basically fulfills a dream I’ve had for almost 2 decades to be able to do a Dancing Hank in this fashion.

As far as specifics, the thread provided is surprisingly strong (only one break so far) and programming is a snap. You can control it manually with the provided remote (speed, direction, etc.) or you can program it and then set the program to play during your show. The only hard part with playing back a program is you have to look like you’re doing something and not just watching it like a putz, which is what I did at that show last week!

As always, Sean’s DVD instructions are clear and easy to understand. You get several rechargeable batteries to use in the three units (two reels and one remote) that are very tiny to fit in the equipment. Each reel is about the size of a deck of cards and in fact the whole set up is a fancier version (with more capabilities) than Sean’s own Deck-TR. You also receive two spools of super strong invisible thread (about 400 feet total) and various other doo-dads and a couple of white silks. The entire set up comes in its own attractive carrying case, making transport to shows a SNAP.

In short, this is an incredible value and one I plan on using for years to come. Highly recommended!

In my next blog post, I will review Sean Bogunia’s Extreme Hanky and hopefully have a couple of performance videos. Stay tuned!

- Cris