Senti-Mentalism by Luca Volpe
I don’t buy much these days for a couple of reasons, first I think I have a reasonably good working library with over forty years of book buying and secondly I don’t have the disposable income these days to buy something just because I like the sound of it. I prefer food. This means I’m not really in the loop when it comes to newer mentalists releasing stuff, but I have managed to notice that Luca Volpe is a busy working pro on cruise ships. So I folded and bought this DVD on close up mentalism on a whim (at the same time I bought John Bannon’s excellent “Move Zero”, actually, which is also recommended), and finally got around to watching it all. The fact I found time to watch this in December and write the review speaks volumes- I’m sure none of you will have time to read it until after Xmas.
Let’s put this into context, I prefer books to DVD’s and this is the only the second mentalism DVD I have ever purchased (okay I’ve had a couple given as well). So what drew me to this? I really don’t know, maybe Luca was influencing me remotely.
There are seven effects on this DVD performed one on one and then explained plus a bonus section with some of the effects discussed further with some additional ideas.
Two of the items have as the core method a well- known billet peek the method of which is briefly described (and credited). Of course as we know, presentation is everything. “Unlock Your Dreams” combines the idea with a lock, keys and a pendulum which provide plenty of time misdirection. “Pin Number Reading” is the second item, both good examples of using billets and I’m sure participants will not even remember the performer handling the billets.
“The Mind Journey” is a three phase routine (the presentation theme given away in the title) which combines several old principles, one ahead, out to lunch principle (with a bit that may be new). The third choice in this routine is not forced as is usually the case, though I have read versions before where the third choice was not forced, Rudy Hunter comes to mind.
“Subliminal Message” is a novel revelation. I liked it. A similar type of conclusion was incorporated into an effect marketed by Alakazam in the past few months although this DVD was released in 2015.
“Crystals Prediction “ begins with three colored crystals lined up on the table. My first impression was that it was going to be a variation on Didier Corbutz’s “Free Will” with crystals. It isn’t (though I might try that myself!) In this the performer turns his back while the participant shifts the crystals about. In the explanation Luca explains he thinks this may the first time this old idea has incorporated colors. It isn’t, I published a version involving colors in my book “Mindful Mentalism” vol. 2 (if you have it, see Val le Val’s “Money Clip” on p.13). A variant with envelopes is also suggested. A variant with envelopes was also suggested after Val’s routine too, but with colored clips on envelopes. The idea of colored envelopes IS more visually appealing though. I even prefer Luca’s use of the crystals.
“Emotional Drawing” is a design duplication using business cards for those that don’t want to use a peek wallet. The basic principle (in which the participants drawn on card is pushed into a bunch of others before being placed in an envelope) is an old one. Personally not a fan of a card being pushed into a bunch of others when it can simply be placed out of sight or in an envelope (or two). Bob Cassidy’s “White Dwarf” comes to mind, or George Kaplan’s “An Improved Sealed Message Reading” (p.211 in “The Fine Art of Magic” – later included in an Al Mann manuscript). However, if you’re not familiar with any of these or new to mentalism you might like how Luca does it.
To be honest, while I would not use Luca’s method here, I DO appreciate the way he has constructed it for the conclusion. It flows very well. He does say at the conclusion of the explanation the cards are reset to go again. Actually this is not so, another business card needs placing in the envelope behind the flap. I think he meant to say this packet doesn’t need altering and was not implying the effect was reset for table hopping.
My favorite routine on the DVD is “Key of Your Mind” another lovely construction. A pendulum finds one of several business cards a participant wrote a name on. Using the “Haunted Key” to unlock her mind as she concentrates the name is revealed. Some old ideas put together in a beautiful way. I wouldn’t use the key, but liked its use. Sadly, only a week or two ago I happened to see the Haunted Key as one of the effects included in a Marvin’s Magic set at Barnes and Noble book store.
A couple of links on the DVD are incorrect in that they take you to the wrong explanations, but all the explanations are present on the DVD so not something I’d complain about. There have been some other DVD’s on the market where some explanations are missing!
Is the DVD good value? Yes it is. I think those newer to mentalism might get more from it but I’m glad I got this. It was nice to see Luca work even if not in a professional performance setting and it has inspired me to once again dig out my pendulum.