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Exquisite (Gimmick and Online Instructions) Review

Official Review

February 18th, 2016 12:29am
Rating:
Reviewed by Dr. J. M. Ayala de Cedoz
PLEASE, do yourself and everyone else a favor and really, really, really (did I say really?) think this over before you buy this effect. Why do I say this at the outset for a 4.5 star product? Allow me to explain...

This is one of those effects that is very simple in plot and as far as operation (actual use of the gimmick) is concerned, BUT, it is one of those effects that requires so much more than that. Take for example the Losander 'Floating Table' (or 'Floating whatever'). How many times have you seen that effect performed? Now count how many times you have seen it done well. Next, count how many times you have seen it done badly/poorly. If you are completely honest with yourself, I will guarantee that the number of times you have seen it (or any floating effect) performed badly is much, much higher. Many will say it is because nobody is Losander, except Losander, which is of course very true, but more than that, many do not put in the amount of time and practice required to do the effect justice.

When Losander does the 'Floating Table', it looks like absolute magic, it looks very real; it captures the imagination and is very entertaining to watch. When many other performers do it, it tends to look like you are doing exactly what you are doing: using some hidden means to make an object move/float.

I am going on and on about this because this effect, as with any of the Losander 'Floating xxxxx' effects (and to a degree, other levitation effects) requires lots and lots of practice to coordinate object/body movements, good, strong acting to make it look convincing and a decent development of muscle control to manage fine movements. I am not trying to be philosophical here - it is just the nature of this effect that is mechanically easy and artistically very difficult. This will take time and lots of practice to make it look even half way decent. One last example before I move on which actually ties into this product a little: The Tommy Wonder 'Bird Cage Levitation' - when done right with all that required practice behind it, it looks absolutely fantastic and without it, it just falls flat as a person walking around a stage with a cage on a hidden stick.

Whew. Sorry for the long-winded soap box dialogue, but it is something I wanted to get out there straight away.

Now, on to the actual product itself: Earlier I mentioned the Tommy Wonder effect, the 'Floating Bird Cage'. If you are familiar with that effect, you will have an idea of what you are doing with 'Exquisite'. It is not at all the same gimmick, but the mechanics and the idea behind it are similar.

First off, the ad copy and the video trailer are both 100% accurate. Again with the right amount of practice, timing, etc. you can do the effect exactly the way you see it performed in the trailer and it does work just that smoothly. The instructions that you get with it are two-fold: In the box are two sheets of paper with color photos which explain everything very clearly, as well as giving you a couple of presentational ideas. The only problem you might have is due to the (unusual) shape of the gimmick, you might have a slight bit of issue seeing the orientation of the gimmick in the photos. These instructions also include a link and password to an online video which can be downloaded if you like.

The video, audio and lighting quality were very good. Michael Ammar and Dirk Losander show you very clearly how to use the gimmick, how to set up, how to store it before and after the effect, how to get into and out of it, what types of glasses to use, etc. Losander also gives you tips on making it look good and making the effect more magical, but again this takes lots of practice. The whole video is only about 15 minutes long and everything is taught very clearly.

The gimmick itself is very well made and will last you forever, supposing you do not step on it or run over it with your car. It is a very simple gimmick and it does its job, however, there are some restrictions. Certain types of glasses will not work with this gimmick and they will become very obvious with experimentation, but the majority of glasses out there will work just fine.

There is also a bit of a knack where it comes to finding just the right amount of tension (for lack of a better term) to get the glass ready to float. To clarify, just as you see in the video trailer, the gimmick really can be engaged and disengaged as smoothly and easily with just one hand; you do not need to hold onto the glass.

When you first start practicing this effect, you will notice that your fingers will probably get sore from the movements and from supporting the weight of the glass. This is another thing that will require a bit of time to condition your fingers and get them used to everything. The weight will increase exponentially if you do the effect with any liquid in it or with a phone in it as shown by Michael Ammar in the videos. It is not painful, but again, your fingers will need to be conditioned a bit for this.

If you so desire, after you ditch the gimmick, everything can be examined before you begin and after the effect is over. Also, if you like, you can invite an audience participant to hold the two loose corners of the napkin during the effect and they can look under the napkin during the effect to a certain degree (just like with the Losander 'Floating Table'). This is covered in the training video.

As far as angle restrictions go, since you are using a cloth napkin to cover everything, you can potentially do this surrounded if you are careful. If you are seated while performing this, you are pretty well covered but if standing, you will have to take into consideration the way you steal the gimmick from wherever you are carrying it and how you decide to ditch it.

Some of you may ask that with all of this quality, why is the rating only 4.5 stars? If I were to go on that alone, it would be 5 stars however, I think that for a couple of dollars more, they could have included a practice glass (acrylic or plastic) that is the proper type so that you could do this without having to look around for one. I would say that most people have the right types of glasses around their house already, but I would also say the majority of them are all glass and not the shatter-resistant types.

This is only an issue because if you do not have the gimmick engaged properly or if you shift it too far one way, as Michael Ammar says, it goes from being the 'Floating Glass' to the 'Gravity Trick' and you will end up with broken glass all over. In fact, they even recommend that if you must use actual glass for practice that you do so over a bed or other soft surface until you get a feel for everything.

I also docked a tad from the score because there is a great (ingenious, really) method of ditching the gimmick in the written instructions that takes advantage of not only the shape of the gimmick itself, but also of an inherent property. Well, my gimmick does not possess that quality, so the ditching method will not work.

There is something else I want to bring up about this product: Early versions apparently suffered from some sort of issue where the gimmick was not attaching to the glass and that was apparently due to a design flaw. Upon hearing this, Michael Ammar sent out a new gimmick to those people to replace the faulty gimmick, and from what I heard, he also told you what could be done to fix the issue with the faulty one. Wow! Now that is customer service! Note that I did not have any problems with my gimmick at all, but I am merely passing this information along from multiple reliable sources that did have problems with theirs. They all said the same exact thing and all received the same stellar customer service.

All of that said, this is a solid product overall and I think the price point is very, very good. I think it bears repeating that it will take lots and lots of time and practice to make this effect look good so please, if you do get this product, give it the dedication that it deserves because it can be a very strong effect in the right situations.

4.5 stars - Very highly recommended for those with great acting and miming skills and those not afraid to practice for a long time!

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Exquisite (Gimmick and Online Instructions)

Author: Ammar, Michael; Losander
Publisher: Losander, Inc.
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $85.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Imagine borrowing any type of wine or drinking glass (empty or not) and covering it with a cloth napkin or borrowed dish towel, and the glass begins to float in an incredibly magical way... Then, imagine while it is floating, your spectator is able to hold the napkin along with you as it magically lands onto the spectator's hand and the cloth is removed to conclude the routine.

If you could do this in almost any real world situation, that would be truly incredible, wouldn't it? In fact, that would be Exquisite. The result is incredible. In many ways, it's like putting all the power of the Floating Table into your pocket for an impromptu performance!

Exquisite has been in secret development for several years. Three prior versions were almost good enough, but after 3 years of development on this 4th generation model, Dirk Losander cracked the final code for hooking and unhooking the glass (with the most simple method) by using a completely different process from all of my previous attempts.

The result is incredible. In many ways, it's like putting all the power of the Floating Table into your pocket for an impromptu performance!


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