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Sparks Review

Official Review

December 6th, 2014 6:33am
Reviewed by Stuart Philip
Sparks is an hour and fifteen minute DVD narrated and taught by French Magician, JC James. James is a very talented sleight of hand and card magician who shows off his skills with 13 impromptu tricks of varying degrees of difficulty. James indicates that the tricks took years of refinement and practice, which is obvious when you sit down to practice many of the tricks which require more than basic card handling skills. Some of the tricks are performed in front of a live audience and then explained in a sit down style explanation from James’s hotel room. Although the explanations are clear and the camera work is excellent, James does not always break down the moves the way many other instructional DVD do, especially with some of the harder moves. The production quality and presentation is excellent. Overall the DVD is good, but beginners should not choose this DVD as their first pick.

1. “Spin” is an impromptu vanish of a Sharpie pen from the magician’s hands which is a quick and easy trick.
2. The “Latex Slydini” is also an easy trick that consists of a rubber band/dollar bill transposition. In this routine the performer shows a dollar bill (which should be signed) and places it in his pocket. He then displays a rubber band in one hand as if he were going to perform Crazy Man's Handcuffs and grabs it with the other hand. When the magician opens his hand to reveal the rubber band, the dollar bill is there and the rubber band is gone. The rubber band appears in the magician's pocket. The reaction to this very easy trick is tremendous.
3. “POG Production” is a very hard technique in which the magician pushes down on a squared deck on the table and four cards pop into the air and is caught by the magician. There is no routine or suggested patter. This will require a bit of practice and may cause some frustration.
4. “Wave Change” is a quick card change technique. The magician waves a card, places it on top of the deck, picks it up again, waves it and it is a different card. Unless this trick is done smoothly, the method will easily be detected. When performed correctly, which will require some practice, it looks great. There is no routine or suggested patter.
5. “ACAP Control (As Close As Possible)” is a trick in which the four Queens are visibly placed in different places in the deck, the deck is squared and all four Queens meet in the middle of the deck. This is a great trick/technique which will require some practice. JC James says that he thinks it is hard to do, but getting this move down is worth the practice.
6. “Fake Tilt” is a move that allows the magician to throw a card into the middle of a deck and make it instantly appear on the top of the deck. James teaches this with multiple cards and a color change as well. This too will require some practice otherwise the performance will not be effective.
7. “CHLAK Production”is a trick in which a spectator chooses a face down card from a fanned deck, which is then jogged. This is repeated for a total of four times. Then the jogged cards are turned over and they are the four Aces. It is an amazing effect which is worth the practice. There are a few variations of this trick included on the DVD, including a very smooth way to get someone’s cell phone number on the caller ID on your cell phone.
8. “Fan Change” is a move in which the magician holds a four card fan and flicks one card with his finger and it changes into another card. James indicates that this trick is difficult. It is. There are angle problems as well as the ability to consistently perform this trick. There is no routine or suggested patter.
9. “Clean Transpo” is an amazing card move that appears to make the top card and the bottom card instantly switch places. The camera angles on this explanation could have been better and like many of the other moves, it requires practice. This is so astonishing that this very direct effect in of itself does not require any patter or story line.
10. “Drunken Production” is an entertaining and lengthy routine that requires more than basic card handling skills.
11. “UnSleeve” is a coin vanish that reappears in a very cool way into the spectator’s hand. You cannot perform this trick in short sleeves and James had trouble performing this trick on the DVD, dropping the coin and saying that sometimes he misses. This is not one of the harder tricks on the DVD, although James indicates that it is not simple.
12. “Behind the Force” is a force that has some angle restrictions. Because of the positioning of the audience to the magician, some spectators may be skeptical that the card that is shown is the card that they selected.
13. “T2P” is the most amazing trick on the DVD and requires some real guts and confidence to pull it off. In this trick, the spectator chooses and signs a card, which is then lost in the deck. The deck is riffled and the signed card jumps partly out of the deck (although this move needed to be repeated several times before it worked on the DVD) which is then placed faced up on top of the deck. The magician waves his finger over the card and the card is revealed to have been torn in half. The missing piece appears in the magician’s pocket. This is really mind blowing to spectators.

The price is fair and the ad copy and promotional videos are accurate. James seems like a very nice person and t the end of the DVD, he provides his email address and invites you to contact him with any questions. The final chapter on the DVD contains a written message that states “Don’t be discouraged by the difficulty of some of the techniques taught. As with everything in life, you will have to practice. Practice until the hard becomes easy and the easy becomes beautiful.” This is an inspiring DVD, which at times can be challenging.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Sparks

Author: James, JC
Publisher: Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc.
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $24.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

The place: Las Vegas, Nevada.
The subject: The very elusive, master of sleight of hand, Mr. JC James.
The project: Sparks.
The Objective: spark your imagination and creativity with a series of impromptu miracles, using rubber bands, coins, cards and dollar bills. Real world, tried and true routines directly from the working arsenal of one of the busiest working professionals in Europe. Here's what you get:

Spin: Cause a borrowed pencil, pen, or sharpie to vanish and appear with a flourish at the fingertips using the incredible new technique. You'll be performing this one minutes after watching.

Latex Slydini: Borrowing from an old Slydini technique, A borrowed rubber band is fairly placed into a magicians hand while his wrists are held by spectators to keep everything fair. When the hand is opened, the rubber band has COMPLETELY vanished only to be replaced by another object such as a dollar bill or a pack of matches or a folded playing card. This can be done NAKED!

POG Production: 4 aces literally jump out of a tabled deck and into your hand with a single touch of an ungimmicked pack. This is a great way to get into a 4 ace routine.

Wave Change: A rhythmic metamorphosis of one playing card into another that happens at chest height. Very easy to perform and looks better live than on camera. Your audience will love it!

ACAP (As Close As Possible): 4 cards are placed face up into four different places in the deck. The cards are squared and tabled. Without any funny business, they are found all together in the center of the deck.

Fake Tilt: As the name implies, this is a version of the tilt that is just as beautiful as it is unorthodox. Includes single and multiple card variations.

CHLAK: A unique 4 for 4 type switch that has both natural timing and a unique aesthetic. Here you'll learn how to use it as a production of a four of a kind, for a collectors routine and for a phone number prediction.

Fan Change: This looks like you're using a gimmick to create a color change of a card held in a fan of cards, but it's completely impromptu.

Clean Transpo: A two card transposition done in a flash. A card held in the hand instantly trades places with the top card of the deck.

Drunken Production: This is bound to be a favorite. Its unique. it's Bold. It's offbeat. An interestingly visual one at a time production of a four of a kind, a crazy interlude then a transformation of the four of a kind into another. If you work behind a table, you would be remiss not to give this a try.

UnSleeve: A novel way to vanish and reproduce a coin using the spectators outstretched hand.

Behind the Force: A clever way to influence the selection of a playing card that will make you smile.

T2P: A very dynamic routine that is sure to get audible gasps from lay audiences. A card is freely selected and signed. The magicians says he will cause the card to travel to his pocket magically. As he waves over the card, slowly it starts to vanish, bit by bit. The magician asks the spectator to say stop. When she does, he removes his hand to show only part of the card is left. The spectator reaches into the magicians pocket and the rest of the SIGNED card is there!

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