Which Penguin Live videos are best?

Feb 24, 2021
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I recently bought five of the Penguin Live videos for the five for $99 deal. Individually they are $30 to $40 each.

I'll post a quick review of the ones I bought. I stuck with the bigger names that I was familiar with. There are like 100 other ones, however I don't know anything about the vast majority of the people. I was wondering which ones that other people on the forum think are good for card magic.

If you don't know, these are filmed in a small theater in Columbus, Ohio. Dan Harlan is the host and after each lecture, he interviews the person. Each one of these is 3-4 hours total. You get 90-120 minutes of lecture and 90-120 minutes of interview.

Wayne Houchin

The best one I got was Wayne Houchin's lecture. He does, I think, five tricks. All of them badass. Two of the tricks are sold as individual videos and, as you may know, Houchin's videos are usually twenty dollars plus for each trick. Also, with the Wayne Houchin Penguin Live you get a bonus 30 minute video of Houchin performing at the same venue the night before the lecture was recorded. So for most of tricks he teaches, you get get two different full live performances. Also in the 30 minute video he performs his famous French Kiss transposition, but using sheets from a small notepad instead of cards, which made it look like a whole new trick.

Dan Sperry

This one is mostly about bird magic. I really only picked this one simply because I like the guy. The lecture is hilarious. Beside bird magic, he teaches his razor blade swallowing routine, which is also sold separately as twenty plus dollar download. I actually plan to do this for Halloween this year. But even you don't like the trick, or don't want to handle razor blades, the gimmick is genius and could easily be used as a utility device for other effects. Also, I give Penguin credit for not being politically correct. During the interview, he says "stop me if I get too inappropriate" and Dan Harlan just keeps laughing and egging him on to say more. I was pleasantly surprised that some of his statements were not edited out.

The downside of the Dan Sperry lecture is he doesn't really perform the tricks. He teaches them, but does not really show performances. I had to go on Youtube and search for videos to see what his razor blade swallowing act was actually supposed to look like.

Jonathan Pendragon

I had no idea this guy was so funny. He teaches a huge amount of material and it is all badass. I was really surprised by how awesome the card magic was. He even starts off with his famous sands of time (or whatever it is called) thing. He teaches how make a sweet gimmicked bowl for super cheap. To prove how easy it is, he broke his bowl on the way to lecture and told Dan Harlan to go to Party City and told him exactly what to buy. He starts off the lecture by showing his bag of tools he always travels with to fix props and then constructs a new gimmicked punch bowl. He also shows how to make a cheap gimmicked card sword that looks way cooler than the shitty direct from China ones all over Amazon and Ebay.

Like the Dan Sperry lecture, I picked this largely because I liked the guy. However, there was a lot of material in it that I actually want to perform.

Banachek

This one contains a huge amount of material including his famous spoon bending routines and his famous pk touch routine. Both performed by Chris Angel in season 1 of Mindfreak. However, there is a huge amount of other material. A lot of it is shockingly easy. During the interview section he goes into great detail about how he fooled Washington University into declaring that he had real psychic powers back in 1980.

Dan Harlan 3

Dan Harlan is the host of all these lectures, and does all the post lecture interviews. I had previously bought his video on card stabbing routines, which I found to be a great value for $15. He invented the "Toon deck" as well as a lot of other tricks. The stuff he does on this video did not really appeal to me. I'll probably watch it again down the line and look for something to use. Reading the descriptions of the lectures, I probably would have been much more interested in Dan Harlan 1, or even Dan Harlan 2. I simply picked number 3 because it was the newest one.

I do credit Harlan for his spit screen interview of himself. It clearly took a lot of work.
 
Jul 22, 2016
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The Dan Sperry one was hysterical. His stories of kids birthday parties is almost worth the price alone.
 
Aug 5, 2017
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WA state USA
There are some great At the Table lectures its hard to narrow them down. To make it easier I’ll recommend some of the 8 dollar ones, they are older but they still have great stuff.

For busking discussions the Kozmo November 16th 2016 lecture was great, Chris Randall had a good one too. Both give fantastic advice on drawing and keeping crowds, trick selection and so on. Fun stories from the road too.

Kostya Kimlat‘s August 13th 2014 lecture wasn’t full of tricks but valuable information ranging from; spectator management, winning people over, sorting your tricks to suit your audience during strolling, marketing yourself....just a good advice all around!

Also some great advice from Greg Wilson’s August 27th 2014lecture. What I like about this lecture is you watch his live performances (even where he gets caught) and Greg dissects the performances noting things he should have done to make it better. Just watching him perform his card to box routine is a great lesson, I might watch it again now🤣

Kiona Harbottle has a 10 dollar and a 30 dollar lecture, both have a few similar areas but differ in others, both are great coin lectures. He has some good stuff on coins across and spectator management. I really enjoy watching him work, really fun coin stuff.

Eric Jones also has a great 8 dollar lecture mainly on coins. Great tricks ranging from easy to knuckle busting. His teaching is phenomenal, he really breaks things down well when explaining moves.

There are other great lectures in that price range but those are some of my favorites I keep going back to.
 
Feb 24, 2021
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Thanks for the tip. I figured out how to get a bunch of them to come up on the Penguin website. You have to type "At The Table Live Lecture DOWNLOAD" using capital letters. Looks like they have over one hundred of them. I see a lot of Youtubers. Looks like they are all $9.95 or less.

 
Feb 24, 2021
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I just purchased and watched the Shin Lim At the Table Live Lecture. It was $8 I think.

He teaches the whole 52 Shades of Red act and shows how he constructs his elaborate gimmicks. You just need his super thin magnets, which are for $20 as the "Shin Magnets." That is only the first 45 minutes of a two hour video. He makes a gimmicked Tic Tac box that is the perfect alternative to the classic Tommy Wonder jewelry box, because you only need to fold the card into quarters rather than sixths. I was really shocked at the amount of content. I'll have to watch the whole thing a second time just to absorb what all is in it.
 
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Mar 15, 2018
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boardgamegeek.com
I just recommended Eugene Burger's Penguin LIVE Lecture in another thread, due to the excellent insights he shares, and his philosophy and approach to magic.

I remember seeing a list of the all time top Penguin LIVE lectures arranged by ratings, but I can't seem to find it back. If anyone knows where it is, perhaps you can post a link to it. I'm quite sure that one of Diamond Jim Tyler's Penguin LIVE lectures was near the top of the list as well.
 
Feb 24, 2021
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I got the Mark Calabrese and Woody Aragon At The Table Live Lectures. They were around $9 each.

The Calabrese one is awesome. It's three hours. The first half is a method he calls DVS. Then it has Grab and Traction. All three of these are methods he sells as individual videos. All are great stuff that is practical for a lot of applications. DVS is the method he used for his entire Fool Us performance.

The Woody Aragon one is extremely hard to understand and follow. The audio and video quality is not great and the guy talks really fast with one of these regional Spanish accents. The host is annoying as hell in this video and relentlessly interrupts Woody and keeps sidetracking everything.
 
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