I have pasted some reviews and comments from some of today's leading coin magicians regarding Coinvanish Volume 1.
Fans of coin magic will know the name Curtis Kam from his knuckle busting video "Palms of Steel" that was released several years ago. Curtis is about to release his second installment, aptly named, "Palms of Steel 2". Curtis took a break from his busy schedule to write me this following review.
I sent Curtis a copy of Coinvanish Volume 1 and I received back a most wonderful email review which he has given me permission to share. Thank you Curtis for the kind words, and allowing me to share them with the rest of my website readers.
Review of Coinvanish Volume 1
By: Curtis Kam
"Congratulations on a very impressive first
showing. When Coinvanish vol. 1 arrived a couple of days ago, I read it
immediately and liked it almost as quickly.
First and foremost, the routine that caught my eye was King Midas Spellbound. Here, you've done something that is extremely rare, in first publications especially, i.e. created a new plot, set some rules for how you want the plot executed, and then created a handling that works. This shows quite a bit of artistic maturity, and the end result is a signature piece that both audiences and magician will remember. The restriction imposed, that all of the "spellbound" changes must occur from the exact same position, in the same way, is extremely disarming and has the effect of removing the magician from the picture, leaving the audience free to focus on the effect. This is an approach that could and should be applied to other effects currently popular.
Where previous magicians have turned to the wildcard plot to lend a premise to their spellbound routines, KMS is probably the fist based on the "Universal Card" plot, instead. With that in mind, you might want to consider using a blank coin in place of the gold, or a lump that becomes a disc, and then each of the coins. That would make the plot a little clearer.
Both the effect and the handling have lasting power, and may even spawn variations. Bravo!
"Sleight of Elbow" is also inspired. A combination of two familiar, but underused concealments to create something that is new, and better. I liked the use of the backthumbpalm concealment and the visible production from your elbow.
Jumbolaya reads well, and is again, a good combination of recent material. For readers without the requisite props, you might want to mention an alternative handling: Use a duplicate, and just stick it in your back left waistband. For the "through the body" sequence, simply pass the first jumbo to LH, L goes behind back, steal the jumbo while the R reproduces the first coin in front of you. Continue as written.
The best piece of advice in Jumbolaya is the idea of holding out on the reproduction of the jumbo until later, maybe a routine later. That's the kind of thinking that deserves more exposure, the stuff that makes an act out of a bunch of tricks.
That's what I would have liked to see more of, your thinking. You clearly didn't invent most of the moves, and the effects are basically familiar, and this isn't new ground theatrically or psychologically. What you are offering is the combinations, the synthesis of the stuff that's out there. And if that's the case, then it's interesting to see why you made the choices you did.
Unless you discuss the psychological or aesthetic reasons for using a particular move, or sequence, or a subtlety rather than a move, the whole thing just becomes a sequence of instructions to follow. Sure it gets you there, but so do lots of other paths. That's why I liked the KMS write up, you discussed the goals and how to reach them.
Were I a magazine reviewer, I would start with a quote from Edwin Sach's "sleight of hand" where he recommends studying magic with a buddy. He points out that a buddy who is also into magic, at about the same level of experience and enthusiasm, is a powerful tool in learning the craft. Dan Watkins in his videos, his website, and now his new book, is that buddy for a lot of intermediate to advanced coin magicians. Something like that.
Good job on the book. It looks wonderful, and your writing is clear. I like the layout and color choices, and it invites you to read the material again. Frankly, I would have liked more pages, if only to stiffen up the final product. I suggest you start each effect at the top of its own page. This gives you a few more pages, but also gives the audience the chance to "breathe" between effects.
I will recommend this book to my students, and will study it myself. In my first run through, however, I found a routine I liked very much, something to think about, and something to work on. That's quite impressive for any book. Thanks, Dan."
Doug Brewer's Comments:
Doug Brewer, author of the coin magic book "The Unexpected Visitor" posted the following on the MagicTalk internet forum: "I HAVE reviewed his manuscript and I can say, unequivocally, this is excellent material, well produced, nicely illustrated, and a good value for the money he's asking. One of my favorites is his handling for copper/silver (in the spectator's hands) with an immediate repeat. His thinking is right on target on this one, by taking a well known plot and advancing it to be even stronger. He has a great three coin production and vanish, a strong handling with an Okito Coin Box, an unbelievable quadruple spellbound (see his website video), plus tips on sleights and acquitments. See his web site for the complete table of contents. I really enjoyed the read, and think you will too. Dan's a guy who obviously loves coin magic and wants to share some ideas with the fraternity."
Reed McClintock's Comments
Reed McClintock, author of the "Knuckle Busters" coin magic manuscripts wrote the following on the Magic Cafe internet forum: "Hi guys, I just got a copy of Dan Watkins' "Coin Vanish Volume 1" and it is very cool. I haven't had time to read through the threads on the board yet but if he hasn't posted about it yet, you guys should buy one from him --there is some very usable material. Excellent, Dan, I really like the booklet. Very well written, excellent photos, and the credits are unreal, a lot of rhere esearch was done. You guys are in for a treat with this booklet of coin magic."
Click here to read a full review by Steve Brooks owner of The Magic Cafe.
Click here to go to the main products page for ordering.