Random I-Tunes Song of The Moment: Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson
Like a Smooth Criminal (Thank you Michael Jackson), you'll be sneaking stuff into play completely undetected. George Parker has made a small, yet hugely significant, innovation to the traditional billet index. It's unfortunate that there aren't any performance clips for those who have not purchased this "book/craft-project/online video/utility prop" hybrid of awesome-ness. Even though I knew exactly what Parker was going to do and when he was going to do it, I still didn't see it.
It's kind of like Tommy Wonder's Cups and Balls Routine . . . you can't help but miss the secret loads. My hat's off to Mr. Parker for this alone. Whether you've worked with an index or not, you will do well to consider switching to (or starting with) the INDEX-terity work kit. First of all for the extremely reasonable price of $40 bucks you get everything (except for the tape and staples) you need to make a few indexes. Further, you get a few extra props needed to perform the effects taught in the included book. Speaking of the book, it's also included in the $40 bucks. Like all Theory and Art of Magic productions, the book and props and work kit are beautifully made. What Big Blind Media is to Magic DVD production values, Larry Hass and Theory and Art of Magic Press is to Magic Book production values.
So, the gimmick is clever and a new innovation on a classic; the book and props are well made, but what about the content of the book? It's brilliant. The only complaint I have is that it was a bit tough to read. Tough, but not impossible. It reads like a tech manual. However, luckily, the illustrations and included links to video performances and other video supplemental information was the mayonnaise that added moisture to this slightly dry turkey sandwich (Sorry - Still eating Turkey Sandwiches from Thanksgiving).
Within the 90ish pages you'll find a very detailed description (complete with illustrations and video links) of how to create the index using the included construction materials. Additionally, you are taught 6 excellent effects. You'll find that Parker's work on the one-ahead principle solves many of the problems commonly associated with this principle. Parker drastically improves it with his handling. Further every (and I do mean EVERY) effect in the book is perfectly choreographed to justify every action, move (secret or otherwise) and prop. One tiny, tiny, tiny example is his use of a balloon to secure a prediction. I've seen many magicians, for seemingly no reason at all, store a prediction in a balloon to "protect" it.
Okay . . . sure, the balloon protects it, but why a balloon? Why not a decaying kangaroo pouch? It makes about as much sense as a random balloon. Or at least it did until Parker got a hold of it. He has created the perfect justification for an otherwise random seeming prop. It's beautiful. That's George Parker for you. Plus, on a personal note, he chose a particular set of colored balloons for this effect just to remind him of where the inspiration for the effect came from. That makes more sense after you read the book, but the point is, Parker is a deep thinker and a crazy-creative guy.
His plots, presentational angles, everything are very meaningful and have that near myth like "emotional hook" that The Professor was so fond of. Deal with the hanging preposition. Or should I say, "the hanging preposition is something I want you to deal with. Can you get more personal than predicting the color, shape, and physical location of an imaginary tatoo created only in your spectator's head? That's what you'll find in his effect Tattoo. Again, just a small example of what's going on in that brain of his.
I could go on and on (and apparently, I have to some degree). The bottom line is that for the price, the included props, the incredible effects (not to mention the ones you'll think of on your own), and the insight into presentational structure, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better investment of a tool (and so much more) in your repertoire.
4.5 Stars with a Stone Status of GEM!