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Magic From Maui Review

Official Review

December 22nd, 2003 5:29pm
Reviewed by Brad Henderson
I have put off writing this review for a while. Let's start with the good things. The book is nicely produced. The writing, while uneven (just who is writing this book) is adequate. And there is a fair amount of material in the pages. I do find it annoying when an author gets "glib" in his writing, saying things like, "the performer - that's YOU." blah blah. It works for Paul Harris because that's the kind of guy Paul is. For everyone else, it is fake and offputting.

The book is in two parts, the business of restaurant magic and tricks. Carl knows his business. It is clear he is a busy performer and he offers great insight into this field. A lot of this ground has been covered before in other books (Kirk Charles, for one) nevertheless for those just getting started this is an easy to access source that could easily pay for itself with one or two ideas.

Now, to the tricks.

First, I don't know why this book was written, nor do I think do the authors. Allow me to quote:

"My strength is in taking routines and making them fit my performing style, environment and personality. I suggest that if you read something that attracts you then do the same and make it yours."

We are then offered several of Carl's treatments of standard or other's effects. Now let's think about this. If Carl wants us to take a trick and basically change it to be ours, and he is offering tricks that have been changed according to this philosophy (which is a fine one); then aren't we engaging in a magical version of the telephone game? You know, I whisper a sentence to you, and then we pass it down the chain until it becomes something unintelligible. Wouldn't it make more sense for us to look at the original routines and then make our changes from there instead of basing our work on someone else's variations -- a variation which may leave out a crucial element to our understanding of the nature of the trick at hand? Also, Carl doesn;t really go into the reasons why changes were made, and if he does it is a cursory treatment at best.

Carl's changes are often minor. Now don't get me wrong, though I have never seen him work I suspect this material plays very strongly in his hands and has been honed to a razor's edge. Often some of the best "worker" tricks read flat in print, but are given a life unexpected by their creators. Sadly, we are not given the full presentations or an in depth discussion of handling nuances which would convey this information. Instead we get yet another handling of the shelled coins across.

Also, I should point out, there is (or was) a bit of controversy surrounding Carl's two cup and ball routine. Basically another Indiana based magician claims that it is his routine and Carl published it out from under him. I saw the accusing magician and spoke with him about it. Interestingly the sequence he was most upset at having lifted was the appearance of the ball on top of the cup (a phase which is eliminated from this write up). I found the accusing magicians routine to be basically a watered down version of Ammar's published work and his claims of theft to be unfounded, as least as far as the larger historical record goes. The Cup and Ball routine as presented in Magic from Maui is serviceable, but nothing that you haven't seen before.

So, overall the book leaves me kind of cold. It's not a bad book, but there are so many other better ones. If you are new to magic, this might be a good source to learn some fine restaurant material, but even then I think you would be better served going back to the original write ups of the tricks on which so much of this books is based. If you know nothing of the restaurant business then the opening chapters will be very valuable to you. Carl's friends talk about him as if he is an amazing magician. He might be. Unfortunately that doesn't come across in this book. I hope someday to see him work in person and be completely blown away.

I'm going to give the book 2 and a half stars. There are better average books out there, but Magic from Maui is not devoid of value for those at a certain level.

Product info for Magic From Maui

Author: Andrews, Carl
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $29.97
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Manufacturer's Description:

Carl Andrews, a leading professional magician in the USA, has provided much advice and recorded experiences valuable to all magicians from his career in this attractive book, together with nearly 30 effects and presentations for close-up and stand-up. Cards, coins, balls and dice are some of the areas where he divulges his secrets.

His acclaimed "Three Coins Across," versions of the "Frog" trick and "Anniversary Waltz", Cup(s) and Balls routines with one cup, two cups or a can will be valuable to the pro., amateur or anyone with serious interest in our art.

Perfect bound, 96 8.25" by 11.25" pages, with forewords by Dan Garrett and Greg Wilson, Introduction by Tim Trono, Fully-Illustrated by Tony Dunn.

Available from your favorite magic dealer.

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