Archive for March, 2011

Paper Cuts by Chris Hestnes & Dan and Dave :: First-Look Review

As you all may or may not know, Papercuts by Chris Hestnes was available for purchase at Magic-Con. I was able to get my hands on a copy, and this is a sort of first-look review for it. It’s available for purchase at For those of you wondering about purchasing it, hopefully this will help you make a decision. I’m not going to “rate” this on difficulty, as that number is completely dependent on the person learning the move, their experience, and how often they practice. As this is my first review of a flourishing DVD, I hope I can give you all the information you’re looking for. If you have any questions about Papercuts or anything of the sort, just ask in a comment and I’ll respond quickly.

UPDATE: Allan Hagen has told us that there are 5 easter eggs hidden away in the Papercuts menu. I reccomend taking the time to find them, they’re pretty interesting.


The DVD has 13 flourishes on it, all creations of Chris Hestnes. It also comes with a booklet in which Chris lists credits and inspiration to each flourish as well as giving a small writing piece about the project. Additionally, there’s a table of contents for the bonus features, and some pictures of the crew & project. The DVD is extremely well produced. The Norwegian backdrop is added eye-candy, the original music score fits the production wonderfully, and the camera work is excellent. Each flourish is show multiple times, from multiple angles, and multiple speeds. At the slowest speed there are two views going, one from the friend as well as an over the shoulder view. This definitely speeds up the learning process. This si a fairly lengthy review, as I say a little bit about each thing. Now, onto the flourishes.

1337: Chris attributes the “name, style, and rhythm of this flourish” to 000.327.0000, a cut by Dan and Dave that can be found on The System. The spinning style of that flourish is definitely evident in this one, and it’s reminiscent of the rotation during the Jones Change. This is a fairly fast looking flourish. I was able to get the moves down during the first watch, but the difficulty lies in its speed. It’s easy to learn the motions but it’ll take a while of practicing to get it up to Chris’ level.


Atomic: A nice little spin/addition to the T.G. deck flip. Atomic is a quick flourish, taking only a little more than a second to complete. A packet is spun of the deck in a Jones Change-esque motion, extended, and tossed up in the air back onto the deck while the executing a T.G Deck Flip in the other hand. It’s difficult to put into words, but looks awesome. This is one of those aerial flourishes were you just need to do it to get it down. You’ll surprise yourself how easy it is to get a handle on, but it’s an impressive looking one.

Bluegarden: In the accompanying book, Chris says that he believes this is the most difficult flourish he’s created, and I’m inclined to agree. Whereas most flourishes have sort of a sybil feel, or a molecule theme, etc. this one has quite a few different styles. The beginning of the cut is like sybil, but then it goes into a horizontal display, some card flares, and an aerial to finish it all of. Learning the moves for this flourish will take some time, as will getting them down smoothly. But the different moves and speed of Bluegarden make it look great.


Bullet Time: This flourish is credited to D&D’s Eko cut on the Trilogy. Bullet Time has a couple of small displays, balanced out with one card flourishes. This helps pace the flourish and gives it a unique, appealing rhythm. It’s not exactly easy to get down, but I wouldn’t call it a knuckle buster either. Chris uses some variations on classic grips that will take a little bit of time to get used to.

California: The first thing that came to mind when watching this one was that it’s a component. California looks like a piece of a bigger flourish to me, but still has the ability to stand alone. It’s like revolution cut meets real time. Again, not neccessarily a difficult one to learn but it will take a substantial amount of practice to get the muscle memory to kick in. The display kind of pops out at you though, a good piece of eye-candy.


Chronographic: Chris said he got the single card grip in the right hand from Dan and Dave’s Preqel video. The influence of Preqel on this flourish is obvious, but at the same time it has it’s own feel. Chris seems to have a talent for taking a small idea or motion as a seed and creating his own flourishes with a distinct image from that seed. Chronographic has a very smooth look to it. The grips are a tad different but shouldn’t be too hard to get used to.

Evergreen: This flourish was originally known as Wings of the Butterfly which, in my opinion, suits it better. The flares and displays give it a “life like” quality. There are a lot of moves in this one but they’re not that complex. It took me about 3 times through the explanation to do the flourish, very slowly, without mistakes. Just like a lot of the other flourishes it looks complex and hard to handle, but in reality isn’t anywhere near that difficult.


Gate 22: In the credits, Chris said himself that this wasn’t the most original flourish ever. That being said, he still put his own feel to it. It flows wonderfully and the moves seem to keep going with little effort. It uses a lot of basic or otherwise widely known moves put together to create a a much better big picture. Learning time for this one really depends on what you already know and have down.

MWrench: I love the Molecule series of cuts, and this one has some sweet molecule action. I’m not going to try and put this cut into words, as there’s a little too much going on. As with the others, this one isn’t inherently difficult. I was able to follow the first walkthrough all the way to the end without any mistakes. Dan and Dave’s style is seen throughout the flourish but, as Chris seems to be able to do so easily, it’s very distinct and has some of his unique moves.


Optimus: This flourish is a direct result of Chris’ desire for a triangle cut. The action before the triangle display flows well, and then the triangle just seems to appear. Definitely a visual one and one that laymen would enjoy seeing. It’s a variation on Chris’ transformer flourish, taught later on the DVD.

Revolver: By far my favorite one on the DVD. The majority of the flourish is done with a single card. It revolves and spins around the deck and extended packets, then is flicked back on the deck via D&D’s flic on Andthensome. Chris also shows two other endings where you spin the card on your watch, or finish by catching an arm spread. It’s simple and elegant looking. Learning it is an odd process but progress comes quickly.


Transformer: The idea behind this was that Chris wanted an original opener and I’d say he achieved his goal. This is a small, smooth looking flourish. I could definitely see myself adding this into one of my own. I really like the small packet drop at the end as it slows down the speed of the flourish for the finale.

Zen: The credits say that Zen is based on the Tornado cut. There’s definitely the tornado style in there, but then Chris rotates and spins that packet around in a different way. A fresh take on this semi-classic flourish, as well as some original stuff before and after.


Overall this DVD is a great production. Allen Hagen did a wonderful job of editing and putting this thing together. The flourishes are shown from as many angles as one would need to learn them and the material itself is fresh and original. Chris has his own style and flow. All of his flourishes showcase his ability to take an existing idea or concept and rework it until it looks completely new. As for the skill level the flourishes are higher than beginner, but you don’t have to have 10+ years of experience just to do them. It’s a nice set of intermediate level work. I strongly suggest anyone interested picks up a copy tomorrow. Also, Dan and Dave have said that the first 100 copies are signed by themselves as well as Chris Hestnes and Allen Hagen. Even better, the first 52 copies sold come with a Jerry’s Nugget playing card that was actually used in the DVD & signed. Check it out and pick up a copy here.

Some images taken from Papercuts DVD

Posted: March 31st, 2011
at 2:58pm by Robin Carey

Categories: DVDs,Flourishing,Magic Con 2011,Reviews

Comments: 12 comments


12 Responses to 'Paper Cuts by Chris Hestnes & Dan and Dave :: First-Look Review'

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  1. What a delightful review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Dan Buck

    31 Mar 11 at 3:37 pm


  2. Are there any other guys (Jordan, Dan, Dave) featured on the DVD? Or maybe there is some bonus footage?

    I’m wondering because there were tons of photos on twitter during the filming with guys including but not limited to Chris being filmed.

    And nice review, mate!


    31 Mar 11 at 3:56 pm


  3. Alexander,
    In the bonus footage there is a production from Allan, a flourish from Dan, A trick from Dave, a production from Erik, and lastly a flourish from Jordan. Some pretty cool stuff actually.
    Those are in the Bonus section as well as a behind the scenes feature about Papercuts, a little “impromptu panel discussion” with Dan, Dave, Chris, and Jordan, promotional videos, viral videos, and a video of Chris doing all of Dan and Dave’s Flourishes.
    Thanks for reading it!

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 4:24 pm


  4. Great review Robin! This makes me wanna buy the DVD even more!

    Matt Miltonberger

    31 Mar 11 at 5:18 pm


  5. Hey, I remember Allan saying there would be hidden footage, I could be mistaken but has any one surfaced this?


    31 Mar 11 at 5:27 pm


  6. Thanks Matt! It’s definitely worth it. Pretty cool stuff.

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 5:38 pm


  7. Casey,
    I asked Allan on twitter and he said “There are five hidden easter eggs in the menus on the DVD. Happy hunting! :)

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 6:17 pm


  8. Guys, wow. I’m flattered! Reading the first review of a DVD I participated on is just incredible. I am so glad you liked the material, Robin. I am sorry I missed all you guys at magic-con. This is the first and _LAST_ time I miss that convention. Seriously, I sat home this whole weekend regretting. I hate regretting, so next time I’ll see you there!

    PS. Get used to my style. Soon, there will be a contest.

    Again, thanks for the review.
    Chris H.

    Chris Hestnes

    31 Mar 11 at 9:03 pm


  9. Chris, you deserve it. Your style is so good, and you are a lot more smooth than most flourishes out there, and you also really deserved a project like this to get you known and on the grid.


    31 Mar 11 at 10:43 pm


  10. Are the easter eggs those tricks and flourishes that you described?


    31 Mar 11 at 10:44 pm


  11. Cori,
    Nope. Those tricks and Flourishes are in the Bonus features, under the Guest Submissions section.
    The aster eggs are something else entirely. Well, one of them is sort of a flourish…

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 10:54 pm


  12. Chris,
    Like Cori said, you deserve it 100%. It’s rare to see something fresh in magic, little lone smooth and rhythmic. These flourishes will definitely keep me busy for a while.
    Looking forward to seeing you next year! We’ll get an exclusive interview for posting your first review, right? ;)
    Sweet. Keep us posted with any details about the contest.
    Thanks for taking the time to read it!

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 10:59 pm



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Magic-Con Cards :: Review

This is a quick review of the Magic-Con playing cards, which were available at Magic Con 2011.

NOTE: These were given out at Magic-Con and available for purchase there. As of right now there are rumors Dan and Dave will sell them on their site, but no confirmation yet.

MC Squared

Feel: The cards feel a lot like a good ol’ deck of Bicycles. People have said that D&D used a different, higher quality finish on these but it’s nothing extremely noticeable. The biggest defining quality when I took them out of the box was the softness. They were flexible right away, just like the first run of Erdnase decks. So they broke in extremelt quickly. From what I saw at Magic-Con and as I continue to play with them, they seem to have a bit longer of a usuable life than bikes. Alex Pandrea shared a few thoughts about his as well.

Ace of Spades

Design: Normally I review the design, Court Cards, Spot Cards, Ace of Spades, and Jokers all seperately. But for this review there’s no point; it’s all standard. The back design is the v4 & v5 Smoke and Mirrors design, but without the D&D logo. And instead of small circles, they’re small, 5 pointed stars. They look like Paper Denim with a darker shade of blue. The backs are pretty simple. I like them, but some of my friends have said “Those look boring” compared to S&M or Tally Ho’s I usually have. The picture cards and spot cards are regular bicycle style. The Ace of Spades is literally just a giant spade. Very basic, just like the backs. There weren’t any Jokers. In place of them were ad cards, one for Genii, one for Magic-Con itself, and a card with a description of Magic-Con. Sort of like a mission statement.

Deck Box

Box: The box follows the simplistic feel of the deck. Big Spade on the front with “Magic-Con 2011 San Diego”, and the back design along with sponsors on the back. I was glad that they actually put the year & location of the conference. It helps give them collectibility.


So here are the ratings:
Feel- 8/10
Design- 7/10
Overall- 7.5/10

If you’re a collector or just like cards, I’d say these are worth getting your hands on. They’re a piece of Magic history in a way and are one of a kind. The feel and design didn’t have the quality of Smoke & Mirrors, but then again I don’t think they were meant to. The deck was an awesome addition to the registration packet this year and a cool keepsake from the conference.

Posted: March 30th, 2011
at 12:53am by Robin Carey

Categories: Cards,Magic Con 2011,Reviews

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MC2 :: Day One

It’s 8:24 AM here in San Diego, on Friday March 25th. The first night of Magic-Con is over and the first set of presentations begins in about an hour and a half. Yesterday consisted of getting registration packets, hanging out with new and old friends, and then the reception. The whole thing was a blast, even with three hour jet lag.

First, the registration packet. Everyone received a:  Magic-Con 2011 Program book, a schedule, an issue of Gibecière, and a Magic-Con deck of playing cards. The program contains an interesting introduction by Max Maven, and then information about each presenter. There’s a small biography or background next to his/her picture, an effect or writing piece by them, and lastly a section to take down notes. I think this is pretty cool since we’ll be able to have details written down about each talk right next to the persons information.

Next, the schedule is just what it sounds like; a list of events and times. The next item was a copy of Gibecière. There were quite a few different editions being handed out. Lastly, we all got a Magic Con deck of cards. I have yet to open mine but I’ve played with a few of them. Picture Paper Denim backs, minus the D&D logo, and a much darker blue. Alex Pandrea said he had been using his nonstop for three days and dropping them, having them on the ground, etc. and they still handled wonderfully. Definitely high-quality cards. I hope their selling more, I’ll be more compelled to open mine then.

It’s about time to head down and get the morning going. I’ll post more about the reception, lots of pictures, and and some incredible videos of Dani DaOrtiz & Alex Pandrea later today. Keep checking back for more news!

Posted: March 25th, 2011
at 11:56am by Robin Carey

Categories: Magic Con 2011

Comments: 3 comments


3 Responses to 'MC2 :: Day One'

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  1. I’m glad things are going well despite your travel setback. I’m excited to find out who the surprise guest is!


    25 Mar 11 at 3:21 pm


  2. What alex said was bs. Dan said that the cards were printed on regular bicycle stock. It’s just your imagination


    29 Mar 11 at 5:31 pm


  3. Aaron,
    I’ve heard that a different finished was used as well. I don’t know how much truth there is in this but it certainly felt like it. I agree with you in the sense that the cards weren’t anything near Smoke and Mirrors quality, but they 100%, definitely had a “soft” feel to them out of the box. It reminded a lot of the Erdnase decks D&D had. Thanks for your input.

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    30 Mar 11 at 12:25 am



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Magic-Con 2011

Magic-Con 2011 is fast approaching being less than two weeks away. I’ll be posting videos, updates, and other cool stuff about the conference at least daily. We want to keep those of you at home covered and in the loop. For those of you who don’t know, Magic-Con is a conference hosted by Dan and Dave Buck in San Diego, California. This is the second year it’s going. Last year it was hosted at the Hilton Bayfront. Magic Con is the first conference/convention of its kind; the line-up of presenters is incredible. Last year great magicians such as David Blaine, Juan Tamariz, Daniel Garcia, Guy Hollingworth, and many other gave talks. Juan’s performance got three standing ovations, from a room full of magicians. The other great part was the sessioning. You learn, share, and get so many ideas spending time with other magicians who are serious about magic. And jamming in a group with Danny Garcia just has a surreal feel to it.

Magic-Con 2011

This year there are speakers from fields other than magic. The whole convention is still going to be focused on the art of magic. Seeing it through other people’s eyes will not only be extremely interesting but helpful and insightful. One of the presentations talked about so far that stood out to me was the Neuroscientists. They worked alongside Apollo Robbins to see how and why the brain can be fooled be magic. Also, they authored a book titled Sleight of Mind, which I hope to have finished before the conference.

If this year is anything like last year, Magic-Con is going to be an incredible experience. Dan/Dave (not sure which) have said that it’s going to be 100 times better, and that’s hard to imagine. There are new ideas, new presenters, and new people which will hopefully make for a wonderful time.

I’ll conclude this post with a discussion portion. Please comment with your answers, or anything else Magic-Con related.
If you attended last year, what was your favorite thing that happened? Your least favorite, or something you hope they changed? If you’re going this year, what are you most excited about? Lastly, what are you hoping to take away from Magic-Con?

Posted: March 16th, 2011
at 12:23pm by Robin Carey

Categories: General Artifice,Magic Con 2011

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A friend of mine ran across these cards a while back. They’re cards designed from the simplistic, yet elegant, Helvetica font. Swiss design, none the less. They’ll cost you a little less than double a deck of Smoke and Mirrors but they sure are good looking. I wish there were more pictures up, I’d like to see the box, jokers, or ace. The back design would be nice too. Someone should purchase a deck and bring it to Magic-Con this year.


On a side note, there is also an independent documentary about Helvetica. Looks interesting.

Image from

Posted: March 9th, 2011
at 11:26am by Robin Carey

Categories: Interesting Tidbits

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