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Of Cabbages & Kings Review

Official Review

February 17th, 2014 10:36pm
Reviewed by Bryce Kuhlman
I have to tell you a story…

I was working The Magic Castle in February, 2013 and a friend of the Magic & Mystery School asked me if I would review some items from a friend of his. Of course, I said yes, with the ever-present caveat that I couldn't guarantee I, or any of our Official Reviewers, would like them.

One of the items I chose to review was this book, Of Cabbages & Kings, a 41-page book containing about a dozen close-up and mentalism effects.

Overall, I was pretty happy with most of what I read. But one thing was bugging me. I got this sense that a lot of what I was reading had probably been done before. I had no proof and Kyle does cover the topic of crediting, both in his introduction and in a Gensis section accompanying most of the effects where he covers his influences. So it's not like he was being shady or completely ignoring the work that had gone before. But I was afraid that if I gave it a good review, I might be called into question for not calling him into question about more detailed crediting.

So I decided to try an experiment. I suggested that Kyle send an email to Max Maven and ask if he would be willing to help fill out the crediting sections. It worked! Max wrote back with an incredible amount of information, as well as some comments on Kyle's work. Kyle has incorporated Max's

While I'm certainly not suggesting that everyone should start writing to Max asking for the entire history of every magic effect ever crated, I am really thrilled that Kyle made the effort and that Max responded with such generosity. We each have to choose where to put our time and energy. For those of us who may not have the deep interest in history, we should count ourselves blessed that people like Max do.

As for the material in the book, I think there's something for everyone. There are a couple of versions of standard card magic plots, quite a few with mentalism themes, a nice four-coin vanish and a really interesting effect with business cards that I'm thinking of adding to my wallet.

Product info for Of Cabbages & Kings

Author: Merck, Kyle
Publisher: Kyle Merck
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $20.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Hello out there. As your humble narrator into this journey, let me mention a few points before we begin. Jeff McBride stated once that there is more material produced each year regarding the performance of magic than of all other performance arts combined. Thank you for welcoming my material into the fray. I hope that it serves you as well as it has me.

The routines you are about to read are from my personal performance repertoire and have served my well these many years. The execution of the routines have all been audience tested in a variety of venues. Some of the effects are exclusively for the strolling magician (Ultimo Transpo, Peer Pressure) while some are geared for the stage (E.B.T.P. and Card Cleave). All of the routines can, and should, be changed to suit your venue and performing style. In some cases I have been intentionally vague about the patter I use. This is done for two reasons. In some cases I have performed these routines so often that I find the patter to be like that of jazz music. Changing with the mood of the performer. Other times the presentation has been slimmed down to encourage your own creativity.

You will notice that I have a penchant for mentalism. I find it to be the last safe haven for creating a magical impression with an audience. Somehow the audiences of today seem to dismiss magic as something for children or as a puzzle to be riddled out. I have seen even great close up magicians have their work dismissed with a simple, "You must be fast with your hands." or "I would hate to play cards with you". These same people only days later will call some psychic hotline to find out what color tie to wear to work. (If you doubt me consider this, the telephone psychic industry makes billions a year). It is for this and other reasons that the effects in this manuscript lean towards this nature.

In this same vein consider this, I am by nature a joker. I love sticking my tongue out at authority, teasing the edges of good taste, and saying anything that I think will get a laugh. Because of this you will find that many of my presentational themes fall into that of the silly as opposed to the cerebral. I have tried to tame that impulse for these set of notes. Some may feel that mentalism and mirth do not mix. I feel they are wrong. I hope whether you choose to use my presentations, you find something interesting within my methods.

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