Where to buy it: Ellusionist
What it is:A system for making objects move without touching them.
Rating: Five floating matchsticks
Details: To a magician, a "loop" is not a particular effect, but rather a device that can be used to create a variety of effects. Compared to other means of making (normally) inanimate objects move or levitate, loops are particularly popular because they are not seen by the audience, do not require the magician to manage big (and easily misplaced) blocks of completely invisible plastic, and if used properly are hardly ever fatal to anyone.
Ellusionist's "Guerilla Guide to Using LOOPS" -- despite it's weird capitalization and misspelling of "Gorilla" -- is a multi-DVD instruction guide for magicians who want to get the most out of their loops. Instruction is presented by three highly experienced and creative magicians: Daniel Garcia (no relation to actor Andy Garcia), Justin Miller (no relation to musician Glenn Miller), and Nathan Kranzo (no relation to gangster Ernest "Detroit" Kranzo, suicidally depressed children's television host Kranzo the Clown, or Star Trek's class M planet Kranzos, the fate of which lies in the hands of time-traveling Nazi tribble herders and their green brides). These magicians present 16 different loop effects (five each), as well as performance tips, methods of caring for your loop system, and explicit instruction in how to use loops as a defensive weapon (particularly useful for street magicians working in a heckle-prone areas).
So, what exactly is a loop?
"Loop" is just a magician's term for a specific kind of electrical circuit -- in particular, one that is strong enough to cross the space between a magician's hands without breaking. A loop is powered by a series of automobile batteries (cleverly strapped to the magician's back and hidden by a shirt or jacket) connected to wires and electronics that direct electric current to the magician's upper arms whenever a switch attached to the magician's heel is depressed. Note that loop systems must be professionally made to have any chance at being safe, and if you attempt to build your own you will be permanently, painfully disfigured or die a horrible, painful death. They should also not be used in the rain, in a bathtub, near medical equipment, or within ten feet of anything metal. Loops were first used in magic by the late Finn Jon and popularized by magician Yigal Mesika, who we wish a speedy recovery.
A loop can be used to perform any number of amazing effects, including:
The advice sections on the DVDs cover many common concerns of magician who use loops, include information on what to do if your loop breaks (soldering wires, cleaning up battery acid, etc.), and what lighting conditions are optimal for hiding the fact that you have a 45-pound hump on your back, and first aid for third-degree burns.
All in all very valuable and highly recommended.
Note: Just in case you were concerned, Ellusionist guarantees that no gorillas were harmed during the creation of these DVDs.