Friends of The Jerx: Pipo Villanueva

["Friends of The Jerx" is where I highlight people who have contributed to this site, the projects they're involved in, or the subjects they're interested in.]

Our first friend is Pipo Villanueva. Pipo! Is this a common name in parts of the world? I don't know. It seems like it would be common for a cartoon mouse. But a human? This is my first Pipo.

Pipo has recently released a video download called Magic for the Shortsighted. It is self-produced but it is of equal, if not greater, quality to anything coming from the large magic video producers.

The type of magic Pipo creates is very different from the type of magic I usually do. He is working with, for the most part, traditional plots performed in a traditional setting. That being said, these routines are beautifully constructed, and I will be working on at least a couple of them. 

My favorite effect on the video was Reset 180º. I've been playing with versions of Reset since I was a kid, and this is the cleanest version I've seen. The changes and the clean-up at the end are so smooth that I thought he was using double-sided tape or something like that, and I thought, "Oh, that's lovely, but I'll never use it." In general I don't do any tricks that require exposed tape or sticky dots or things like that. It's just not my scene. I've had some bad experiences with sticky stuff. No, I don't have to explain it. Leave me alone. Okay, so my grandfather died in the Great Molasses Flood, and one time a kid with Maple Syrup Urine Disease whizzed on my close-up case. Does that satisfy your grim curiosity? Geeze... Where was I? Oh yeah, so I watched the explanation and was waiting for him to pull out the repositionable glue stick or whatever, but it never came. It's all just in the handling. The clean-up that you deal with at the end of most Reset routines is particularly well constructed. In fact it's invisible and completely fooled me.

My other favorite routine is the Atomic Coin. It's Pipo's handling of a Copper/Silver/Brass effect based on a routine by Jeremy Pei. It is one of the most straightforward CSB routines I've seen. You give your audience three coins to examine: one copper, one silver, one brass. You then introduce a fourth coin and have that examined as well. This coin, when squeezed together with any other coin, replicates the attributes of that coin (i.e., it changes into that coin). So you transform this coin into each of the other three one at a time by squeezing them together. Then, for a finale, you squeeze this coin on its own and it essentially replicates itself, growing many times its original size. The fact that everything is in full view the whole time (no coins are ever put back in your pocket mid-routine) and yet everything is examinable before and after the effect is what makes this so strong in my opinion (in addition to the usual beautiful changes you get with a CSB set, and one of the best uses of a jumbo-coin that I've seen).

Do Pipo and me a favor: Go to Pipo's site and check out the trailer for this video.

If it seems like something you'd enjoy, click the link on the right-hand side of the page to order it on Vimeo. It's 6 effects and over 2 and a half hours of instruction. 

You can also check out two performance videos on his site. The cups and balls video is in Spanish, but everything on Magic for the Shortsighted is in English, and his English is near perfect. (Don't worry. As you know, I don't support anything other than English-only magic instruction. I won't ever lead you astray. USA! USA! USA! #Trump2016 #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.)

You can also find Pipo's blog on his site which he updates at the adorable pace of once or twice a month.