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SICK Review

Official Review

June 9th, 2010 3:13pm
Reviewed by James Sanden
The new DVD “Sick” by Ponta the Smith teaches some very intricate, visual and difficult coin magic. What I found most interesting about this disk is that, for the most part, the moves are based on the most familiar and basic of coin sleights. However, these basic sleights have been refined and applied in creative and extremely precise ways. If you choose to use any of this material, prepare for a great deal of practice. In most if not all of these effects, there is no room for error.

The contents of this DVD run from the acceptable to the extraordinary. On the acceptable side of the scale, there are versions of 3 Fly, Tenkai pennies and a standard stand-up coins across that are certainly fine handlings, but are not groundbreaking in either method or appearance. However, the rest of the material, my favorites being the Spellbound, Vanish and Matrix routines are breathtaking. You will be fooled, caught off guard and astonished. It’s visual magic at its best, meaning the creator doesn’t resort to the “screaming girl on the street reaction” to sell how effective it is.

The most important thing to know about this DVD in terms of learning is that there are no verbal explanations for any of the material. While the creator (who is also the cameraman and editor) takes pains to film from multiple angles and plays the “backstage” footage at multiple speeds, I’m comfortable saying it’s impossible to capture the nuances of these (or any) methods without words. Homer Liwag did it successfully with Coin One, but he’s the only one I’ve seen, and he used captions and freeze frames to communicate the “work.”

This lack of explanation is particularly missing in a project like this, where you can’t just list a series of techniques to explain the method. While his vanish of a single coin is absolutely beautiful and magical, the method is almost beyond belief. It’s the kind of thing that you don’t believe is possible until you see it done in person. But seeing how it’s done doesn’t then mean you could immediately do the same. In my initial attempts to learn it I have questions of grip, positioning, amount of force needed, ways to practice, etc. While magic in general doesn’t have a very well developed pedagogy, the absence of any kind of detailed teaching is a great loss on this disk.

At the same time, this kind of material would be nearly impossible to teach in a book. When seeing how these effects are actually accomplished, it becomes immediately clear that, while the sleight of hand is extremely difficult, the magic is just as much a result of flow, tempo and timing. Still, having the creator describe how the material was developed would have been invaluable in learning to perform these effects.

Still, I really enjoyed this disk. I love the fact that he’s doing much of what he’s doing with basic sleights, just refined to an extremely high degree. The fluidity of his technique is remarkable. Despite the lack of explanation, the magic is strong enough to warrant learning it, even with the extra trial and error awaiting the student. And this is coming from a magician who doesn’t perform much flash bang, eye candy style magic. “Sick” is a worthwhile contribution to the art of coin magic and I look forward to studying it for quite some time.

One other thing. I’m concerned with this new trend of crediting whereby the creator lists the magicians who inspired his or her handling with movie style credits at the end of the disk. While being better than no crediting at all, I think it’s still being lazy. Crediting should be more than a name. It should reference the creator, effect and source material at the very least.

I’m just saying.

Product info for SICK

Author: Ponta the Smith
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $34.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

This is the coin magic video that garnered so much underground buzz that it didn't just break through -- it exploded onto the magic scene.

Ponta the Smith, a rising sensation in close-up magic from Osaka, Japan, is here to raise the bar in the world of coin handling. He makes coins smoothly disappear, reappear and change right in front of spectators' noses. His efficient, elegant moves make metal look like vapor.

Prepare to look at coin magic differently.

What you can expect from SICK:

  • New handlings of 11 coin plots:
      - Spellbound

      - Tenkai Pennies

      - Vanish

      - Matrix

      - Quick Matrix

      - Backfire Matrix

      - Backfire Assembly

      - One Coin Routine

      - Three Coins Across

      - Three Fly

      - Winged Silver

  • Visual, no-talk teaching makes everything easy to learn in any language.
  • All impromptu.
  • No gaffs necessary.
  • Sick is not a beginner video, but magicians familiar with basic coin plots will be able to put this to work.

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