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Gonzo Review

Official Review

January 10th, 2016 5:12am
Reviewed by James Sanden
"Gonzo” by Jose Lac’Quest is a very clever and innovative approach to the holdout. This gimmick allows for an open and instant vanish of an object in full view, despite the performer’s hands being clearly empty, both before and after the vanish. It looks absolutely incredible. This alternative evolution with the holdout began with the Raven, popularized by David Blaine, and has had many incarnations over the years.

In addition to vanishes, the “Gonzo” can also be used for transformations and appearances. Objects that can be used include coins, bottle caps, cigarettes, and gum; essentially light objects that are long and thin or no wider or heavier than a fifty cent piece. In addition to a number of handlings for the basic effects described, several additional ideas are shared on the DVD, including delaying the vanish/appearance, a coin to Tic Tac box, sending an object into an iPhone and a handling using a Lubor’s Lens. In particular, I appreciated the inclusion of effects that weren’t dramatically visual, while still remaining extremely magical.

The instruction is by Alex Linian and is complete, clear, organized and extremely well thought out. He covers not just the effects, but setting up the gimmick, adjusting it, angles and the fine details that will make the effect as powerful and practical as possible. The gimmick itself is of high quality, well made and includes the props necessary to perform a number of effects out of the box, as well as additional material necessary for the assembly of props for additional effects.

The first question that most will have after watching the demo video is if “Gonzo” looks as good in real life, followed by how practical it is. It does look as good as it does in the demo, but that level of visual magic comes at a price: it’s fairly angle sensitive. This doesn’t completely limit its practicality, but it does reduce the number of situations in which it can be performed. Ironically, the closer the spectators are to the performer, the more effective the gimmick will be. However, the gimmick can be very easily rung in and out of play, moments before and after the effect, meaning it requires no setup prior to performance, can be used, or not, based on the whims of the performer and the situation, and minimizes the time angles are an issue. Mr. Linian also offers a number of very clever and practical techniques that will increase the practicality of the gimmick dramatically. In addition to being aware of angles, the only other limitation is that the performer must be wearing clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up. This can be a jacket, sweater, long sleeve shirt or a hoodie.

The “Gonzo” holdout doesn’t have the flexibility of a traditional holdout, though it does allow for more visual vanishes. Though other holdouts can accomplish similar effects, the “Gonzo” has distinct advantages others do not, including a casual get ready, the ability to show one’s hands empty before and after, and fairly reasonable angle limitations. Examine the drawbacks and advantages and, if you have an application for which the “Gonzo” is a solution, it’s an excellent choice of holdout.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Gonzo

Author: Jose Lac' Quest
Publisher: Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc.
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $89.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Developed and Engineered by Mark Allen
Additional Effects and Handlings by Alex Linian


A wondrous, secret gimmick that enables you to spread your fingers wide open and show both sides of your hands completely empty. Roll up your sleeves to just below the elbow to show your bare forearms. Spectators clearly see both sides of your hands and arms before and after each stunning effect. Everything happens in full view as you deliver miracle after miracle.

Put a bottle cap on your spectator's outstretched hand; snap your fingers, and the cap instantly vanishes or changes into a coin.

Show your hands, fingers and arms 100% empty --- then, in a blink, produce and vanish a coin, a bill or a stick of gum.

Use your Lubor's Lens to make an object "look" invisible; then show that the object is really and truly gone! When we say that Gonzo gives you the power to show your hands, fingers and arms completely empty, we're talking real-world, nothing's there, 100% clean. Period. Stand in front of a mirror and take a look at yourself. Roll up your sleeves, wiggle your fingers, spread them wide open, and slowly show both sides of your hands and forearms. That's exactly how your spectators will see you before and after every absolutely killer Gonzo miracle!

Show your bare forearms and your hands and fingers 100% empty on both sides (and, if you like, have your spectators examine them before and after every effect.)
Works with any normal long sleeve shirt, sweater, jacket or hoodie - anything that allows you to roll up your sleeves and show your bare forearms.
Button ups, vests, and jackets are NOT required.
No safety pins, sticky stuff, thread, or complicated hook ups of any kind!
No loops to secretly hold or manipulate. Nothing attached to your clothes.
Nothing ever ditched into the pocket or pants. With Gonzo you can wear any type of pants: Jeans, dress pants, or shorts.
Customize Gonzo to your specific arm size with a simple one-time process; once completed, you can put your Gonzo on or take it off in seconds.
Extremely comfortable --- you'll wear Gonzo all day and not even know it's there.
Instantly access Gonzo at any point in your performance.
Works best with small objects like coins, candy, rings, bottle caps, gum, etc.
Complete with Gonzo Hold-out, special Gonzo goodies, and cool custom Gonzo transport pouch.


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