Daniel Garcia Lecture
Reviewed by Elliott Hodges

Please note, Daniel Garcia has recently done two online lectures - this review is about the Penguin Magic Live lecture and not the "At the table" one.

Daniel Garcia has consulted for the likes of Cyril, Blaine and Dynamo. Despite being 23, I consider the likes of Paul Daniels and Geoffrey Durham to be some of my favourite magicians and some of the best of all time. Approaching the lecture of Daniel Garcia then, shouldn't have made me comfortable. I'm certainly not of the current day magic show camp and am rather traditional and old school in my approach and magical beliefs.

And yet there was something that hooked me about Garcia on the trailer. A small amount of research reminded me of some his earlier releases and I decided to buy the lecture.

The lecture clocks in at about three and a half hours long. Daniel starts off by teaching his marketed effect Greed, complete with a Q&A session about it. The lecture costs 19 which is about the same as Greed sells for so in the first twelve minutes, you've essentially got your money's worth out of the lecture. Greed is a lovely looking bill change where a $1 bill changes into a 5, then a 10, then a 20 before changing into a 50 cent coin. Daniel runs through how to make this up, perform it and gives other ways of performing it.

Daniel then moves on to a section of card magic. He teaches a great card in balloon where the balloon is held by the spectator, a version of the mystery card where an odd backed card disappears from the card box and ends up as the signed selection, a sandwich routine which looks very clean and hands off and a very visual looking piece where a selected card appears outside the card box, despite it being wrapped in gaffer tape. There is also a funny and involved version of the lie detector which Daniel really hams up for comedy effect. Daniel's version of the rub-a-dub vanish looks visual even if the grip looks a little strange. There would easily be ways of justifying it though. A version of the open prediction is also taught too where a spectator stops dealing at the mate of a card shown at the start.

Daniel teaches lots of non card material too. He performs and teaches his version of Timothy Wenk's mislead where a straw punctures a banknote before restoring. It's an amazing three phrase routine that really couldn't look any cleaner even if a gimmick was being used.

Also on offer is a variation of Dan Harlan's Travelling Cash where a banknote penetrates through both strands of a rubber band. This one looks amazing.

Daniel also runs through some mentalism. There is a BRILLIANT prediction effect with a paper fortune teller (the type you used to make in primary school.) A version of Bill Goldman's Mental yarn is also taught using the "Notes" app on the iPhone.

There is a huge variety of great effects taught but what really made this stand out for me was Daniel's character and particularly his politeness. He not only clearly values each helper but also praises their questions in a sincere way. He compliments and thanks almost every person who asks a question. It was really lovely to see.

He has a few Q&A sessions throughout the lecture and talks extensively about consulting for TV. He has some great thoughts about people who sit at home and accuse every TV magician of using stooges for every effect.

Also really valuable are his thoughts on using character and personality as technique. If you, like I initially was, that Daniel is very much a modern day, Hip-Hop style TV magician then let's remember that using personality as technique goes back to Slydini and even earlier (Max Malini was the name that came to mind.) I am a firm believe in that most of the important lessons you learn to be a good magician are more to do with life and not to do with magic. I was therefore delighted when Daniel recommended non magic books that helped him in magic.

I cannot recommend this lecture highly enough. The three and a half hours flew by and made this incredible value for money. I'm going to be honest and I'm sorry to all magicians whose tapes grace my DVD shelf. I think this is the best video I've ever seen in magic.

Available exclusively from Penguin Magic.

Elliott Hodges, March 2014