Product Reviews

Reviews written by Dan Watkins


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Starring Jason Wethington


TIED is a 2005 production by Digital Video Artists, a company owned by director, Will Cobble.


Jason Wethington is a professional magician who resides in the Orlando Florida area.  At the time of this review, Jason works full time as the house magician at the Rose & Crown Pub in Epcot Center at Walt Disney World Florida.  By the way, if you wonder why Jason speaks in an English accent sometimes, and other times he does not, he tips in the middle of the explanations, that he is not English; that it is a character.  If you listen to the commentary, he further explains that he performs in character at his full time job.


TIED is different from traditional magic instructional DVDs.  It takes on a bit more of an artistic style with multiple settings, cut scenes, original music, voice-over poetry, etc.  The DVD performances play like a small movie.  The video follows Jason through various settings throughout the day, from lounges, to a magic shop, a bar, an outdoor café, etc.  The video segues to the different settings with cut scenes of Jason walking out on the street to the different locations.


Nine routines are performed and explained.  The DVD also has extra features such as commentary by Jason and Will Cobble (the director), as well as behind the scenes features.


From watching the behind the scenes footage, you can see that this DVD project goes well beyond the scope of traditional instructional DVDs.  Full film crews, lighting, professional sound stage set construction with over 20 crewmen, etc. were used in the production of this piece.  Jason indicated that it took a full year to produce this DVD.


The video, lighting, and sound is all top notch.  Those of you who simply want to see magic and explanation may not appreciate the cut scenes of Jason walking around town, but it does create at linear flow between different sets.


The only gripe I could find in the production of the DVD itself was on the explanation menu.  All that is provided are small video tiles depicting the various scenes.  There are not any labels to let you know which explanation you are watching.  You have to study each little video tile for a few seconds to see if you can recognize the props of the explanation you are looking for.  With a little bit of trial and error you will find the explanation you are looking for.  It is not a major problem, especially if you access the menu immediately after watching the performances and your memory is fresh.  It would have been easier to include the name of the effects on the explanation selection menu to aid in navigation.


The feature piece is about 45 min long, and the total video material on the DVD is 2 hours and 30 minutes.


More than half of the material on this DVD is coin routines.  I will focus in more detail on the coin routines, and in less detail on the non-coin items.


Let me take you on a tour of the story:


Routine #1:  "Giggle Coins Across." - The DVD starts out with Jason standing in a lounging area with a spectator.  The coins start in Jason's right hand, and the spectator holds his hands cupped out in front of him.  He tosses the coins into his left hand and he blows on his fist.  One coin travels to his right hand.  He dumps the coin onto the spectator's cupped hands.  He picks the coin back up with his right hand, and makes a second coin travel to be with the first (without his hands coming together).  He shows what it would look like if he visibly tossed a coin across, and openly throws one from his left to right hand.  When it lands, there is still only two coins in the right.  His left hand is closed into a fist.  When he opens his left hand, the coin finally arrives in the right (3 in the right, 1 in the left).


Jason then tosses the one coin into the spectator's cupped hands, picks it back up with his left hand, and then tosses the three coins into the spec's cupped hands.  He brings his left hand up to eye level and opens it to reveal that the last coin has vanished.  Immediately the last coin is heard to land into the spectator's cupped hands to join the other three.


There are many things I like about this routine.  The routine uses pure sleight of hand and misdirection (no gimmicks).  It uses techniques I personally use a lot in my own magic including back clipping, throwing a coin that never appears to go, muscle passes, it is done standing with a spectator, and it uses their hands.  It has all the ingredients of something that really appeals to me.  I like how Jason gets two ahead right off the bat.  Visibly throwing a coin across, which then immediately never appears to go was actually first published by Geoff Latta from "Four Coins Across" in Tannen's Magic Manuscript.  The exact technique Jason uses comes from Homer Liwag's "Four Coins and a Filipino" from The Magic Man Examiner Vol.  1.  Jason utilizes the muscle pass to create an effect similar to (but completely different in method)  Michael Ammar's final coin in his "Incredible Coins Across."  It appears as though the last coin appears from nowhere and lands into the spectator's hands.


The only possible downside I could see is pacing and handling of the visible toss phase in the routine.  I have a routine that uses the same type of phase in it.  In my experience, I have found that this phase can be confusing for a spectator.  If you visibly toss a coin across from hand to hand, and when they look, it looks like nothing happened, it is a really weird thing to occur.  It takes a while for the mind to reconcile the situation.  I find that it really helps to talk them through this phase to help confirm what they will see.  I tell them that something very strange will happen if you visibly toss the coin, after you toss it, point out the fact that it looks like it never went.  If you don't slow down and let this register with your spectator, they can get lost and never catch up.  In Jason's performance, he did the move matter-of-factly and then continued on with the routine.  Personally, I think breezing through this phase, and not letting them know what is happening hurts the effect.  It is just too hard of a concept for the mind to register quickly.  They know something happened that wasn't quite right, but before they can reconcile it, the routine is moving on.  That would be my only nit pick of the routine.  Handling this one phase with care will make or break it in my opinion.  Keeping this in mind, I really think his routine is very nicely put together.


As for the very last coin, if you can't muscle pass, I bet that you could get away with simply tossing the coin into their hands, because the way Jason structured the routine, they are looking up at your fist at eye level, not down at the coins.  The muscle pass would be preferred however because it offers much less movement that may be caught from their peripheral vision - or by other spectator's.


Fade out…  The title intro starts, music plays, and a video montage of clips start to play that coincide with a poetic narrative that explains what "TIED" means.  This is an artistic film sequence that lasts a minute or two, credits are given, and fancy graphics of spinning coins fly in and out of frame…


Jason is seen walking along the streets with his jacket slung over his shoulder, to finally arrive at a magic shop, where he works the demonstration counter.


Routine #2:  2003-3&3 – This is a Coins Across routine with six coins.  Six coins are taken out of a coin purse; three coins are placed on the left and three coins on the right side of a close up mat.  A stack of three coins are picked in each hand.


After a count to "three" the hands are opened to reveal that one coin has traveled from left to right.  The coins are counted onto the table.  Two coins from the left, and four coins from the right.


Two coins are then picked up in the right hand, and four picked up in the left.  The hands are crossed over and placed down onto the close up pad.  The hands are lifted away to show one coin under the right hand (on the left side of the mat) and five coins under the left hand (on the right side of the mat).  Another coin has traveled.


One coin is picked up in the left hand, five in the right.  They are displayed.  He makes the last coin in the left magically join the five in the right.  He counts all six coins out of his right hand.


In effort to repeat the effect, he stacks the coins into two piles of three.  He picks up each stack, allows the three coins to peek out of both thumbholes for confirmation, he shakes both hands so you can hear the coins jingling inside.  The spectator's each grab one of his wrists.  Nevertheless, suddenly all three coins from his left hand travel to be in his right hand.


I recognized the components of Jason's routine (3&3 from Bobo's) and Daryl's "The Cross of India".  It is a pretty straightforward handling, but what threw me for a loop was his kicker ending.  I never saw that coming, and had no idea what he did until I watched the instructions.  Bravo.  The main body of the routine is ungimmicked.  This routine is not technically demanding, and would be a good starting place for someone looking for a solid coin routine that can be learned relatively easily.  If you want to perform the kicker ending, you will preferably need a jacket and an easily constructed gimmick.


Routine #3:  "CST" -  Jason brings out a coin purse.  The spectator takes out the contents:  a silver half dollar and an English penny.  Both sides are shown and the copper coin is placed on the right side of the close up mat, the silver to the left.  Jason causes the coins to switch places without ever touching the coins.  He then picks up the silver coin and puts it into the spectator's hand and closes her hand.  He places the copper coin on top of her fist.  He takes back the copper coin, closes it into his fist, and opens it to show that it is now silver.  She opens her hand to reveal that it has changed to copper.


The effect is repeated with a second spectator.  However this time, the spectator is instructed to pull the coin half way out of his thumbhole and state the color of the coin, he does, and states "silver."  Jason takes the copper coin, blows on it and it changes into silver.  The spectator opens his hand to reveal that his coin is now copper.  Jason picks up the copper coin, adds it to his silver coin, and drops everything into the spectator's hand for inspection.


This is a solid Copper/Silver Transposition routine.  Standard moves, low level of difficulty.  I really liked Jason's idea to have the spectator pull a coin half way out of their thumbhole to confirm the color of the coin before the transposition.  Nice touch.  This routine uses a standard gimmick and could be learned relatively easily for anyone looking for a two phase C/S Transpo routine.  I am not going to tip how he made the coins  transpose on the close up mat without ever touching the coins.  You'll have to watch the DVD to get the answer to this one :)


Fade out…  Jason walks the streets again and ends up at an outdoor café.


Routine #4:  "Pen and Drink Routine" – This is a long amalgamation of routines that flow together.  It goes like this:  A brass Chinese coin with a hole in it is displayed on Jason's right hand.  He tosses it into his left hand where it vanishes.  He performs a small one coin flurry whereby the coin vanishes and appears at his elbows a couple times.  Jason brings out a magic marker to use as a magic wand.  He waves it over his left fist and the Chinese coin vanishes.  He takes the cap off the marker and the coin falls out of the cap.  He repeats the effect, this time however the coin visually vanishes from his hand as he taps it with the marker.  He opens the marker and drops the coin out of the pen cap.


Next, the marker vanishes.  Jason explains that it is inside the hole of the coin.  He pulls the marker out of the coin, and simultaneously the coin vanishes.  He opens the marker and shakes the coin out of the cap.


Jason puts the marker away and brings out a red silk handkerchief.  He wraps the coin inside the silk and has the spectator hold the ends of the silk as he holds the coin (which has now magically penetrated the silk).  Jason takes the silk back, places the coin into it and the coin vanishes, only to re-appear at the elbow of the spectator.  He hands the coin to the spectator and has her say a magic word.  He then pulls back the silk to reveal that he has her drink which had been sitting on the table the whole time.


He takes back the Chinese coin, wraps the silk around it very quickly and it changes into a Jumbo Chinese coin.  Jason explains that often people ask him how the coin got bigger.  He takes out the marker again and explained that before the coin was coming out of the marker cap.  So if he wanted to do it now, he would have to make the marker and cap a lot bigger.  As he says this, the marker and cap is shown to have grown in size.


These types of routines tend to be very personal because they are custom amalgamations of different types of routines.  Jason combines a one coin flurry with a pen and coin routine, coin and silk routine, etc.  The components are not necessarily original with Jason (except maybe the drink steal – though Jason says he hears that Mac King does one), but the sequencing and the performance piece as a whole is his.  I can't see any problems with the routine; it flows without much effort between phases.  The only thing I thought was somewhat goofy was the leap of logic to make the marker grow into a bigger marker, to my eye it seemed a bit out of place from the rest of the routine and done only to squeeze in another magic effect.  On the video, the bigger marker did not appear to be that much larger than the first one, so the effect is diminished a bit on tape.  Luckily routines like this are very modular; you can pick and choose what you like according to your own tastes.  In the explanation phase he teaches a double drink steal which I thought was pretty clever and personally, I would use it given the chance.


Just an update to the paragraph above, after I wrote it, I just went and watched the DVD with Jason and Will's commentary on.  Jason did mention that he didn't think the marker switch was that noticeable on video but it is noticeable in person.  He also said that sometimes he does not do that part of the routine.


Fade out…  Jason walks the streets again and finds himself at a bar…


Routine #5:  "Who wants to be the Firebug" -  Jason borrows a quarter and he takes a matchbox out of his pocket.  He opens the box and instructs a spectator to take out a match and strike it.  She does so, and he uses the match to heat up the quarter to "soften" the metal.  Jason proceeds to push a pen right through the quarter.  He pulls the pen out and the quarter heals itself.  The quarter is still hot so he tosses it from hand to hand.  Eventually he squeezes it into a tiny microscopic ball and drops it toward the matchbox.  The spectator opens the matchbox to find the coin inside.


This is a really nice handing for the cigarette through quarter routine.  The use of the matches are highly motivated, and since he is using a magical effect after the penetration, it takes all the heat off of a switch that otherwise would have had to take place.  Jason also gives a pretty neat idea on how to deal with borrowing a new quarter while using your old quarter gaff; the way to deal with it is a minor magical effect in itself.  This trick is short, easy to perform, streamlined, and creates a good impact on the audience.


You can tell Jason put all the best stuff up front since the first 5 items are all coin stuff!  All kidding aside, the next routine is a card routine…


Routine #6:  "Oil and Water" – Six cards are used:  three black and three red.  Several mixing phases are performed followed by revelations that the red and black cards have separated from each other.


I liked Jason's handling because it was pretty straightforward.  Jason states that the method is Rene Levand's with his own presentation, and a modification to the ending utilizing an idea of Chad Long's.


Jason leaves the bar and takes a seat at a table with two gentlemen…


Routine #7:  "Eat More Popcorn" – The routine gets its name from the story that goes with the routine.  It is a subliminal advertising story.  Jason takes out a deck of cards and removes the jokers.  One spectator shuffles the deck as the other is put in charge of the card box.  Jason takes out three cards that he thinks that he can influence the spectator to choose.  Jason then quickly flashes the three selections he took out of the deck at the spectator, as a subliminal influence.  Spectator #2 puts the three cards inside the card box.


Jason offers the spectator a choice.  He can deal the deck or cut the deck.  The spectator chose to cut it.


Jason leads the spectator through a few cutting sequences to select three "cut-to" cards.


The three selected cards the mates for the "boxed" subliminal choices from the beginning of the trick.


Jason also teaches how to do the trick with the spectator dealing the cards instead of cutting the cards to get to the force mates.  The presentation of this routine frames the routine as a psychological experiment as opposed to a magic trick.  I think this framing greatly adds to the effect.


It is time for Jason to get his exercise again…  He strolls around the city until he winds up at what appears to be a magic lecture, in front of an audience…  and yes, he is back to the coin magic!


Routine #8: "Okito Box Routine" – Jason waves his hands over a close up mat and a coin appears.  He lifts the coin and moves it forward and it appears to split into two coins.  He moves the two coins back and forth in a half circle and a coin appears in the center between the two moving coins.  He puts the three coins into a row and then picks up the two outside coins switching their places and in so doing, a forth coin appears.


Jason stacks the four coins up and removes an Okito box from his pocket.  He removes a deck of cards from his pocket and puts the four coins into the box to show that they fit inside.  He dumps the coins out and puts them in the four corners of the close up mat.  The spectator removes four cards from the deck.  The spectator puts the top right coin (from the magician's perspective) into the Okito box and puts the lid on it.  Jason covers the three coins and the Okito box with the selected cards.


Jason removes the card from the bottom right corner, picks of the coin, flips it into the air, catches it, and tosses it into his left hand.  He opens the left hand to show that it vanished.  He then removes the card from the top of the Okito box, opens the lid, and dumps out two coins and then puts them back in the box, and recovers it with a card.


He repeats the above sequence for the bottom left coin, which vanishes and appears inside the Okito box.


Jason then picks up the bottom two cards and using their corners, mimes picking up the top left coin through the card and dropping it magically into the card covered Okito box.


He then turns over the top left card to show that the coin never really went.  He then picks up the Okito box to explain that he is not sneaking the coins into the box, that people think he sneaks them into the box when he picks it up.  To prove it, he puts the box in the center of the mat, uncovered.  He puts the top right card back.


Jason picks up the top left visible coin and the card.  He waves the card over the coin in his left hand and the coin vanishes.  He asks the spectator if she saw it go, she says that she did not.  He then says okay, let's go back to the beginning, when the box was empty, and the four coins were under the four cards.  He opens the box to show it empty, and slides away the four cards to show that the coins have returned.


Thinking twice, he indicates that it would not be such a great idea to start over, and instead asks the spectator to put the coins inside the box and put the lid on.  She complies.  Jason waves his hands over the box and the coins suddenly appear outside of the box with the lid and the box next to them.


He asks her to put the coins back inside the box, she cannot; the box has turned solid.


Jason calls this routine a monstrosity of a routine that is basically a compilation of other people's effects.  The production sequence was influenced by Chris Korn, Jay Sankey, and B.J. Bueno.  I thought that the production looked fabulous.  It really looks like the coins come out of nowhere.  I don't often get to use close up mat productions, but this one is a winner for sure.


The Okito box routine itself is a variation of Chad Long's "Okito Reversembly."  The advantage to Jason's routine is that you do not have to use a gimmicked Okito box, thus a higher level of inspect-ability.  The downside is you lose one of the really visual "shows" of a full Okito Box at the end of the routine before they all go back under the cards.  It also makes the handling a bit more difficult at the end.  Personally, I prefer Chad's original primarily because of the visual aspect of just seeing a full box of coins immediately before the backfire.


There is only one thing I really don't care for in this routine.  And that is for the beginning phases when you cover the coins and box with cards, only to immediately remove the cards to pick up the coins in your hands and to open the box.  It always seemed to me counter-productive to cover something you will only uncover moments later to pick it up.  The only solution I could think of is to try to work out a method whereby the coins vanish from under the cards like in a Matrix routine, instead of covering a coin, then uncovering it, then making it vanish in your hand.  This would eliminate the only negative in my mind about the routine.


The final routine, Oktio Unplugged is novel.  I do like the move Jason uses to make all the coins suddenly appear outside of the box instantly.  That caught me.  Nice look to it!


Jason walks outside and founds two young ladies to perform for…


Routine #9:  "The Gambler's Cards Across" – Two spectators are used.  Spectator A deals 20 cards.  Spectator B inserts a joker into the deck.  The pile of 20 cards are cut so that each spectator has a packet of cards, when then in turn sit on.  A card either above or below the joker is used to determine how many cards are going to travel from spectator A to spectator B and back again.  The spectators count their cards out to show that indeed cards are traveling back and forth between the piles.


The routine gets its name from the method, which is the gambler's cop.  Jason teaches this palm and how to use it in the context of the routine.


Since you made it to the end of the review, you are going to get a heads up on a secret...  Jason clued me in on an Easter Egg on the DVD.  If you go to the Extra Features Menu and move the cursor over the "Behind the scenes" then hit enter.  A black screen shows with the title in white, if you press up, up, down and then enter (in that order) a new menu will appear that gives you access to a bonus routine called "My Three Coins."  The routine is very reminiscent of Troy Hooser's "exTROYdinary" routine, but Jason uses three coins (no gimmick).


Jason tells me that they filmed that segment specifically to use as an Easter egg and it was supposed to be performance only.  Later on (due to the pleading of the director) Jason agreed to do a voice over explanation.  Both versions are available from this menu.


Jason indicated that he was not entirely happy with the voice over explanation as it doesn't go into the level of detail as a traditional explanation segment.  He feels that the routine deserves more detailed explanation.  He is currently working on an Adobe Acrobat PDF document that goes into much greater detail explaining the routine.  His plan is to email the finished PDF to anyone that buys the DVD directly from him.  The PDF will include a coins across phase not on the video.  At the time of this review, I do not believe that his PDF is complete, so it looks like it would be a future commitment that Jason would fulfill to those who purchase from him.


Final Comments:  I like the DVD.  I see some similarity in a couple of Jason's coin routines to some of my own, obviously these routines immediately appealed to me.  I am usually not a big fan of card material, but I found Jason's card routines entertaining.


This is an all around nicely produced DVD with solid material.  I recommend it.  It retails for $30.  Email Jason to purchase it directly from him by clicking HERE.


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Creative Coin Magic DVDs

1986 and 2004 Lectures

By Dr. Michael Rubinstein.


By now post people should be aware of the coin magic of Dr. Michael Rubinstein from the release of the L&L DVDs, Knockout Coin Magic or his Encyclopedia of Coin Sleights set.  Many of you may not have had the chance to see Mike's coin work more recently.  After over a decade long hiatus from the magic scene, Mike resurfaced at the 1st ever Coinvention held in Las Vegas in 2003.  Those who were there were treated to a lecture of his newest routines which included most of the material on the 2004 Lecture DVD


Mike has since taken part in a few lectures as well as the New York Magic Seminar with David Roth and Geoff Latta.


Creative Coin Magic Lecture 1986 was shot during a live lecture at a magic shop in Philadelphia in 1987 with a single video camera.  While not up to the video, lighting, and sound quality of present day studio shot DVD releases, the video clarity, quality, and sound are surprisingly good for a video of this era.  Since the camera microphone is used, there is a consistent low level camera hum throughout the video but not loud enough to be an issue.  A few times during the lecture, Michael may turn away from the camera to show a move to some of the audience, but the videographer was able to catch a good angle on all of Michael's moves.  Bottom line:  you will be able to see what Michael is doing, and learn from it.


Creative Coin Magic Lecture 2004 was shot once again during a live lecture in Philadelphia at Casa DeSouza (Marc DeSouza's lecture theater).  I happened to be present at this lecture, and I enjoyed it very much.  Marc filmed the lecture from the back of his 30 tiered seat lecture theater with a single Mini DV camcorder mounted on a tri-pod.  Since the camera mounted microphone was used, the sound level is too low, so you need to turn your volume up high.  You can hear everything without much problem, but the applause will come in very loud.  Like the 1986 DVD, this one is not up to the same video, lighting, and sound quality of present day studio shot DVD releases, but, you can see and hear what Mike is doing and learn the material.  One funny thing on this DVD is the numerous coin clanking throughout the room as Mike explains his coin moves (A bunch of coin nuts following him through his moves).


The DVDs are not mass produced nor are they available from magic retailers.  They are only available directly from Mike.  You can see from the covers what Mike looked like in 1986 and 2004 – yes that's the same guy J


The DVD menus are bare bones.  The 1986 main menu lists the name of the routines, which you can select.  The 2004 main menu is slightly different, it shows little thumb nails which are numbered.  The numbers correspond to the numbed routines on the back of the DVD case.  To play everything, you just select the first chapter.  They discs will continue to play through onto the next routine when it reaches the end of a preceding one.  You can use "chapter skip" to jump to the beginning of the next routines.


The 1986 Lecture DVD is structured so that each chapter is a performance followed by explanation.  The 2004 Lecture DVD is structured so that four of the performances are in chapter 1, and then are explained in subsequent chapters.  The remaining two routines are performance followed by explanation.


Only one routine (Twilight Zone Wild Coin) from the 1986 video is performed and explained in Knockout Coin Magic Vol 1, and two routines (Crazy Coins Across, and Quadra Coin Reverse Matrix) are in a bonus performance only section of Knockout Coin Magic Vol. 3.  Bottom line: if you have the Knockout Coin Magic series, there is not much overlap on either of these DVDs – if you wanted to know how three of the Knockout bonus routines were performed – here is your chance.



Creative Coin Magic 1986 Lecture DVD:

Running time: 50 min.


Routine #1:  Crazy Coins Across:  Is a coins across routine with a very entertaining story.  The coins are Italian Olympic acrobatic performers…The Speecholini brothers, who magically, invisibly, jump from hand to hand.  3 silver performing coins (Franco, Mario, and Guido) and a copper coin manager (Irving).  One by one the silver performer coins jump from one hand, to join the manager in the other hand.  The last coin misses the hand and comes out of Michael's mouth.  The last coin is replaced into the empty hand, and finally invisibly travels to the hand containing all the coins.


Michael's use of Italian Olympic acrobatic performers instead of coins, is a very entertaining bit of patter for a coins across routine.  I particularly don't care for putting coins in my mouth, but it is definitely a shock – you will NEVER see it coming.  Michael introduces a very nice looking click pass that he created.  It is very commercial and is not hard to learn.  The other move Michael teaches is his ROPS move (Retention of vision Open Palm Steal), as the acronym suggests, it is a retention of vision steal of a coin.  This move requires exquisite timing to look right.  It's one of those moves that will require practice to acquire the knack for it.  Michael does it beautifully, and uses the technique a lot in his coin work.


Routine #2:  Twilight Zone Wild Coin:  George Midas, a shoe shine boy counts his tips from his tip cup at the end of the day.  He only has 4 measly tarnished copper coins.  As he picks them up one at a time and rubs them, they magically change into gold, and he dumps them back into his tip cup.  After the last coin changed to gold, George Midas starts to think about all the wealth he will now have, his greed breaks the magic, and the gold coin he held in his hand turned back to copper.  He looks back into his tip cup, and dumps the coins out…. they all have changed back into copper.


This is a spruced up version of David Roth's Wild Coin with a cup.  Michael uses a really slick way get rid of the gold coin.  The spellbound work that Michael uses is also very nice to study.  He uses some really great invisible coin transfers.  Most of the spellbound moves are original with Michael.  There was one move in particular where a copper changes to gold, the empty hand is cleanly shown.  The coin is placed into spellbound position of the hand just shown empty.  Now the 2nd hand is shown empty.  The move is stunning.  This move is actually a precursor to the more recent "Nabil's Change" that Apollo Robbins Teaches on the Cultural Xchange DVD.


Routine #3:  Quadra Coin Reverse Matrix:  A matrix routine using an American half dollar, a British penny, a Chinese brass coin, and an American quarter.  The coins are arranged in a square, and all the coins are covered with playing cards.  The half dollar travels to the quarter, the copper coin travels to the quarter, and the Chinese coin is shown, picked up, vanished, and the card is lifted off the quarter.  Only the quarter is there!  All the cards are picked up to show all coins are back to where they started.


This matrix is very smooth.  No snappy pick up move is used.  Everything is done very slow and deliberate.  Cards are turned up slowly and fairly.  There are few matrix routines that are this squeaky clean looking.  It relies heavily on Paul Harris coin steals.  Michael claims to have originated the double coin steal used in this matrix.  Mike tells me he put a routine called "Ultra Coin Reverse Matrix" on the up and coming Coinvention DVD that uses similar techniques, but uses similar coins.


Routine #4:  Triple Coin to Card:  A business card is shown.  A half dollar is also shown.  A circular sticker is placed on the coin, and signed by a spectator.  The business card obviously has the magician's name and the coin now has the spectator's name.  Michael demonstrates that no matter how hard he tries to separate the names, they will not stay separated.  He slides the coin off a card into his hand.  The coin disappears from his hand and appears under the card.  The coin is placed into Michael's hand once again.  It disappears and reappears under the business card.  One last time, Michael picks up the coin, places it in his hand.  The coin disappears, the spectator turns over the card, and yet again his coin is there.  Michael peels off the sticker, adds it to his business card and hands it out to the spectator. 


This is a very nice way of giving out your business card.  It is a very deceptive routine that is not terribly hard to learn.  Michael shows a very nice retention vanish using a card.  He gives a detailed explanation of a retention vanish (very similar to David Roth's). "Triple Coin to Card" is also performed and taught on the LVMI Live 2003 DVD set.



Creative Coin Magic 2004 Lecture DVD:

Running time: 1 hour.


Michael starts out the lecture with a nice stand up coin show where he goes through all of the effects, and smoothly segueing between them.


Item #1:  Introduction and Show: 


First, he takes out a coin purse to show some coin magic, unfortunately the coins are not there.  Quite embarrassed, he searches for he coins in his pocket and instead retrieves a deck of cards.  He asks if anyone wants to see some card magic.  Realizing that no coin magician in their right mind would actually want to see card magic, he tables the deck of cards and the purse, and he decides to try reaching out into thin air and grabbing a piece of dust.  ("Triple Play")  He does so, and it changes into a coin.  He does it again, and produces another coin, he dumps this one onto the first.  He reaches out a third time and produces a third coin and dumps it onto the first two.


Then Mike wonders, "What if I had not wished hard enough?  One of those coins might not have been real."  He opens his left hand and shows that one of the coins has vanished – his right hand is shown empty as well.  He transfers the coins to his right hand to show those to his right and then tosses back to his left.  Mike continues to explain, that if he had not wished hard enough, his wish might not have come true, and the trick would not be possible, because he would only be left with one coin.  He opens his left hand and shows only one coin is left.  He spins it around at the fingertips of both hands to show it and puts it back into his left hand.  Mike further reminds us that if he hadn't wished for the last coin, this could have vanished as well (as he taps the coin).  He squeezes his left hand and opens it to reveal that the last coin has vanished as well.


Luckily Mike did wish hard enough and he rapidly reproduces the three coins, the first from behind his elbow, the 2nd from behind his knee, and the last one right out of thin air in front of him.  Mike further explains that magicians, whenever they make something appear, they have a terrible propensity to make them vanish.  He squares all the coins up at his left hand and takes them with his right, and tosses them downward.  They vanish.  He continues to explain, "That is why I should have had the coins in my purse all along."  He reaches to the table, picks up his purse, and pulls three coins out.  He places them on the table and informs us that he can now start the magic…


Mike then segues directly into his "Crazy Coins Across" routine as described above (Routine #1 in the 1986 Lecture).  Unfortunately it doesn't look like the copper coin manager, Irving, made it.  (I did not get a chance to ask Mike how old Irving is doing).  Franco, Mario, and Guido perform their old act, albeit with some handling changes that I liked very much.  If you are familiar with Mike's work you can follow the new methods if you watch close.  The new handling was not taught on this DVD.  And for all of you dying to know, yes… Guido still jumps into the mouth before getting it right…


("Stand Up Coins Through the Table")  After the performance the three coins are tabled and Mike takes an invisible hole out of his pocket and places it on to the close up mat.  He demonstrates that one at a time the coins can fall down through this invisible hole and come out underneath the table.  Every time before he puts his hand below the table, he shows the hand going under to have the appropriate number of coins.


("Silver Lint 4")  Mike gets rid of one of the coins by tossing it into his breast pocket.  He states that he will do something with the remaining two coins.  He says that one of the coins is a trick coin.  He picks up one of the silver coins, and identifies it as the trick coin.  Mike passes his hand over it and it changes into a copper coin.  Mike makes the coin change three more times at his fingertips (Spellbound routine).  Then he makes the coin travel from inside the left pocket to outside of the right pocket.  The coin is placed into the left hand.  When the left hand opens, it is revealed that the coin had changed into a Chinese coin with a hole in it.


("Stand Up Sucker C/S Routine")  The Chinese coin is placed onto the close up mat next to the last remaining silver coin (not sure if it is Franco, Mario, or Guido).  Mike says, "Let's play a little game here."  He picks up the Chinese coin with his left hand and the silver coin in his right.  Mike asks the audience if they can tell where each coin is, even if he crosses his hands back and forth.  Everyone can follow it.  He drops the coins onto the mat again.  This time he picks of the Chinese with his left hand and deposits the silver coin onto the Chinese coin with his right hand.  Leaving it in the left.


Mike lets the Chinese coin spill out of his left hand onto the mat, and then picks it up with his right hand.  He bangs his knuckles against the table and then asks the audience for the disposition of the coins.  He reveals that the coins have actually changed places.


Since it is a magic lecture, Mike explains that he was using misdirection.  Banging his hands on the table causes us to blink, when we blink, since the hand is quicker than the eye, he was able to switch the coins.  Mike says that he will prove it.  He puts both coins back into the left hand.  He lets the Chinese coin fall out and he picks it up with his right hand.  This time after he raps his knuckles against the table, he explains, "Since you were watching close this time, I decided to vanish the coins."  He shows that both hands are clearly empty.


After the applause, Mike explains, "We all know that matter cannot be created or destroyed, it just goes from one place to another.  If we were to pursue this, we might think about the purse that I had over here in the beginning with no coins in it, because inside, that's right, are two coins."  Mike dumps out the Chinese and silver coin.


That is the end of the show.


Mike explains that he will be teaching some of the routines that made up that show, but before he does, he mentions that often magicians while standing will make use of their sleeves, or topits.  When they are seated they use their lap, etc.  Mike doesn't always perform with sleeves or a jacket or seated, so he needed to come up with a way to vanish coins throughout a show (like the one just presented).  His solution is a technique he calls "Matting".


Item #2:  "Matting"


I don't want to divulge exactly how this is done, but Mike exposed that he had used this technique to hide five coins during the show.  Mike proceeds to teach how this works, and the techniques to do it.  After you learn the technique, you can re-watch the performance show and try to catch all the coin vanishes. J


Mike also teaches the retention pass during this segment.


Since Mike performed four of the explained routines in advance as part of the show, I am not going to retype their descriptions below.  I labeled the names of the performance components during the show description.  Refer back to the appropriate descriptions above.


Item #3:  "Stand Up C/S Routine":  Mike explains that this is a routine that he developed 20 years ago.  You can see a performance of the original handling of this routine in the bonus performance section of Knock Out Coin Magic Vol. 3.  There was a move in that routine called the MAES move, that he never liked (I did not care for it myself).  He said it worked in the routine, but it always "looked" like a move was being done.  Mike uses this as an example to revisit your older routines as your ability with coin magic increases.  You may find better ways of performing.  Mike replaced the MAES move with a new Drop Load move that looks much better.  A coin is transferred to the other hand under the same motion as displaying it.


The structure of this routine is a great setup for the final vanish.  The structure of the transposition conditions the spectator the think it will occur again.  Then in the same apparent moves, you get reeled in by it and fooled (if you were not familiar with the matting technique).


Also taught is the ROPS Double Clink Pass, which is a technique similar to the ROPS move, but it is used as a click pass to supposedly add a coin to one already in the hand.


Item #4:  "Triple Play":  This is Mike's 3 coin production, vanish, production, vanish, production routine that he started the show with.  He explains all of the techniques needed to perform the sequence including, the Edge Grip, the Fingertip Shuttle Pass, the ROPS Double Clink Pass, the Rubinstein Click Pass (the same as taught on the "Crazy Coins Across" routine from the 1986 Lecture), a Spellbound Changeover Palm.  The ROPS move is taught for the first time on this Lecture (same ROPS move as the 1986 Lecture). 


Mike explains that after the 3rd phase (production) you can end at this point.  Mike gives tips on using a certain type of gaffed coin to ring in the third coin for the ending since the method thus far has been the one behind method.  Last thing taught is a Spidergrip Vanish used to perform the extra vanish and production sequence of all the coins at once that he did in the show.


Item #5:  "Stand Up Coins Through the Table":  Mike performed the routine with three coins during the show, but he usually does it with four coins.  He explains it with four coins.  Among other techniques taught are the Tenkai Pinch and a quick steal into Tenkai pinch called the "Quick Steal."  He also teaches a funny little quick thing you can do for close up spectators using this move.  I thought it was clever.  The last technique taught is a Purse Palm concealment to hide one coin of many in your hand.  This routine uses interesting techniques.  I especially enjoyed Mike's thoughts on consistently showing the proper number of coins in the hand before they went under the table.


Routine #6:  "Retro Fly":  This is Mike's take on "3 Fly" where coins visibly travel from the fingertips of one hand to another.  His routine is a bit different than many of the other published 3 Flies.  It combines the visible nature of 3 Fly with the more traditional closed coins across.  The coins visibly vanish from one hand and arrive in the closed fist of the other, which he then pushes to his fingertips.  Mike makes use of the clinking sound of coins traveling which he feels is very important to the magic.  The last fly is handled a bit different, as he uses not only some magic, but some style, pizzazz, a twist, a spin, and a catch.  You'll have to get the video to see what that is.  I will say that I did not particularly care for the ending.  It is more of a personal preference than any methodical objection to the ending.  One other thing I did not particularly care for was that the routine was done with half dollars.  I much prefer silver dollar sized coins for "3 Fly".  Mike's hands are small, so he is more comfortable with halves.


Mike gave some brief history on the effect, and detailed what he liked and didn't like about the general plot, and why and how he changed his handling.  I am not going to detail all of this; you will need to see the DVD.  I agreed with Mike on a lot of his points, but not all.  They are valid points he makes nevertheless.  He is definitely thinking about why he makes the changes he did.  One of the things I liked was his use of his Drop Load again to do one of the coin transfers.  This is a great change-over.  His idea to get around the "coin that goes back" gag is also interesting and will appeal to some who don't like that phase.


Item #7:  "Silver Lint 4":  Mike has published several "Silver Lint" routines which are his Spellbound routines.  This is… well take an educated guess on the number it is.  He quickly performs the sequence again, but starts with a production and ends with a vanish.  In the show, he already had the coin in play, and instead of performing a vanish, he rung in the Chinese coin to continue the next phase of his show.  Mike likes to perform routines with a beginning (production), middle (Spellbound sequence), and end (vanish).


If you like Spellbound routines, Mike's is very solid.  He starts with a teaching of a modified L'Homme Masque load.  He teaches several very nice Spellbound changes, one particularly nice looking called the Wave Change.


Just when you thought it was over, Mike does the same Spellbound routine with a chocolate coin.  I won't say exactly what he does, but it is really funny, it looks great, and has a surprise ending.  This would be great for kids.  The best thing is, you get to ditch the extra coin by eating it.


Routine #8:  "Merlini Purse Routine":  This is a new presentation of Mike's for the Wild Coin plot.  He pours three copper coins out of a small black purse that has gold insignias on it.  I won't get into Mike's full presentation for it, but his presentation provides a reason why the coin changes occur.  One at a time he rubs the copper coins on the gold insignias and they change to gold.  After he does so, he drops them into the purse.  The last coin he rubs the purse with his finger, and then touches the coin.  It changes to gold.  He rubs too much however and it turns back to copper.  He puts the copper coin back in the purse, and finds that all the coins are now copper.


This routine bares some relation to his "Twilight Zone Wild Coin" routine from the 1986 Lecture.  This version is newer, updated, and has a different story.  The purse actually is part of the method, and affords very clean looking changes.  Taught is the Nail Grip, an Impromptu Touch Change.  Mike also teaches the move from "Twilight Zone Wild Coin" that I really liked, which was the precursor to the more recent "Nabil's Change" that Apollo Robbins Teaches on the Cultural Xchange DVD.


I enjoyed both DVDs, but for me, I felt that the 2004 Lecture DVD was a better value for the following reasons:


If you have the Knockout Coin Magic DVD set, you have the "Twilight Zone Wild Coin" routine.  Plus the Merlini Purse Routine was similar enough and more practical to learn on the 2004 Lecture.   If you have the LVMI Live 2003 DVD set, you have "Triple Coin to Card".  You get to see a performance of "Crazy Coins Across" on the 2004 Lecture DVD as well as the Knockout Coin Magic DVDs.  Mike tells me that "Ultra Coin Reverse Matrix" will be taught on the Coinvention DVD.  This is a similar handling to "Quadra Coin Reverse Matrix".  So… you can get most of these routines in other sources, also the 1986 Lecture only had those four routines.  If you don't own any Rubinstein material, than the 1986 Lecture will be a better value for you because it collects all those routines that have stood the test of time in one place.


With that said, I still think the 2004 Lecture is the better purchase.  Not only does it have more routines, but you get to see how Mike integrates a lot of the work into a complete flowing showpiece.  Mike's coin work has evolved in the last 20 years, and I really like the techniques he taught in 2004.  I think Mike taught more techniques on this DVD as compared to the 1986 one.  Most of the guys at the lecture were a bit knowledgeable with coins so Mike did not have to spend too much time on any one technique.  This made the pacing of the instruction good.  The 2004 was a bit more entertaining as well.  Mike was very relaxed and his personality really showed through.


I recommend getting both DVDs if you can.  If you can't get both, then I recommend getting the 2004 Lecture DVD.


As I indicated at the beginning of this review, the DVDs are only available from Mike directly for $35 each plus $4 shipping.  To order them you can email him at


Back to Contents



Cutting Edge Cards and Coins

By John Born and Jason Dean


Cutting Edge Cards and Coins is a 2005 three volume DVD release by Magic Makers, Inc. featuring the card and coin magic of John Born and Jason Dean.  They call themselves "The J Team" (for the slow students, that is because their names both begin with "J").


Each DVD contains a lot of material.  The DVDs are a three camera shoot, with high quality cameras.  You can see everything perfectly.  The production value is good, though not quite up to the same lighting and picture quality of the well established L&L and Bob Kohler Productions DVD releases.  The backdrop is a flat black background and the J Team tends to wear dark clothing.  This combination is not too bad during the close up table explanations, some of the DVD footage turned out slightly under-lit.  Black on black does not make the best color combination, but, everything can be seen very clearly.  There is one segment on the third DVD that is shot in a hotel room, called the "Jam Session".  This was shot by a cameraman holding the camera as opposed to using a tripod.  This gave the whole thing the look of someone videoing a secret jam session in a hotel room during a convention.  I thought it was a pretty fun segment, it held my attention well.  The Jam Session footage was very well lit and had good contrast.  The DVD is also filmed in a widescreen 16:9 picture, however it is not true widescreen; it just a standard 4:3 image with black bars top and bottom.  I own a widescreen television that can benefit from a true 16:9 film, but black bars on a 4:3 image defeats the whole purpose.  There was a few times (not many) where hands would veer out of view below frame.  If they did not put the black bars in, you would have seen the hands.  Luckily these moments were quick during performance, nothing essential to learning the material.


The DVD menu itself is adequate.  You can play the DVD straight through or access a one page menu (which is better than multiple pages) that lists all of the routines and explanations.  The DVD is structured to play a performance followed by explanation.  There is no feature to view performances only, without manually skipping the explanation chapters.  I really enjoy performance only features so that I can share some of my library with non-magic friends, unfortunately this feature is missing.


I guess the last technical issue is the overuse of one single soundtrack.  There is one soundtrack that permeates every performance (many are performances without speech).  This gets a bit tedious, but you block it out after a while.


As all reviews at, the focus will be on the coin material.  For sake of completeness I will describe the other effects, but I will not provide commentary.  Since I am focusing on coins, I am going to review the DVD's out of order, starting with:



DVD 2:  Cutting Edge Coins

Running Time 1 hour 7 min.


Routine #1:  "Translocation Reborn" – Four coins are lined up in a row on one side of the close up mat.  One at a time, the coins travel from one side of the close up mat to the other.  This is done under the cover of John's hands.  The effect is seemingly repeated, but this time all of the coins travel together over to the original side.


One nice feature of John Born's version of John Kennedy's Translocation is that before each coin goes, his hands are shown to be empty.  The method employed also allows for a repeat backfire ending.  It is not a full backfire because he openly slides two coins back to the left, and then the remaining two instantly go - so it is more accurately a half backfire.  The routine is structurally sound, and John gets a lot of mileage out of the employed gaff coins.  This is one of the best Translocation routines I have seen.  John did a good job tossing in the proper credits as he explained the routine (Bertram, Kennedy, Dean Dill, etc.).


John also performs and explains "1-2-3-4 Backfire" for Translocation, which is another way to make all the coins travel across the close up mat in a very quick fashion.  It is based on a Peter Mui idea.  Two coins are visibly dragged to the left side, the hand moves away briefly to show that a third coin traveled, both hands move outward to show that the last coin traveled.  This is a backfire that can be used with the typical gaff method for Translocation.  I like John's backfire from "Translocation Reborn" better than this one.


Routine Group #2:  "Balance Palm" and "Layover" applications:  I am grouping the next several effects all together.  A very large part of the remaining coin DVD is taken up by John Born's applications of what he calls, "Balance Palm", the "Back Thumb Palm" (which he generically refers to as a "backclip"), the "Layover" move, and sleeving from the "Layover" position.  John learned the Backclip (Back Thumb Palm) from J.B. Bobo's Modern Coin Magic.  I don't remember an outright claim of originality of the other moves; however, both John and Jason refer to them as techniques of John's.  John further describes how he came up with the moves.  I would not go so far as to fault John for his indirect claims since the positions are relatively unknown and unexplored, and in the case of the Balance palm, published in obscure places; however, any indirect claims of originality are not entirely accurate.  The "Balance Palm" position can be found published in Michael Rubinstein's routine "Triple Thru" from Creative Coin Magic Notes 2.  The Layover move only in brief context of the subsequent sleeving applications were recently taught by Shoot Ogawa in his "Slide" application from the Cultural Xchange DVD, wherein he stated that he had been doing for about ten years.  Precursors to this technique can also be found published by Frank Chapman in The Bat and more recently in J.B Bobo's Modern Coin Magic.  Several years ago I personally saw Bob Fitch of New York use both the "Balance Palm" and "Layover" move numerous times in his coin work.  In effort to provide more insight for this review, I sent Bob an email in effort to gain some information on his usage.  Bob essentially confirmed that he has been extensively using both of these moves for the last thirty years, but has not published them.  He adds that he believes that others such as John surely would have independently come across these moves.


Pointing out obscure references is not the purpose of this review, the point is:  while the "moves" themselves may not be entirely original with John, I have not seen them (or their applications) explored in such detail prior to this DVD.  Most of the other references were not developed (with the possible exception of Shoot Ogawa's teaching).  I believe John's explorations and contributions using these concealments are very interesting and well worth the study.  I would draw a parallel to what Kainoa Harbottle has recently published with his work on the Edge Grip.  Kainoa doesn't claim originality for the Edge Grip; however his applications and contributions using this sleight are extremely interesting to study.  John's techniques have a really good potential, and I believe he should recognized for independently understanding and developing them.  These are definitely techniques not known or utilized by the general coin magic populace, so hopefully this DVD set will spur further developments of these ideas.


As for the sleights themselves, the moves are best performed by a standing performer with spectators (preferably seated according to John) directly in front of the performer.  Both sides and rear angles quickly become problematic.  They can be negated to some extent with the repositioning of the magician's body, but they do not lend themselves well to a surrounded environment.  I don't view this as a problem, but rather a performance consideration.  I use back clips extensively in my own magic, but I know when to use and when not to use them.  I opt for routines with safer angles in more surrounded performance situations.  Angle considerations for John's routines apply.  John provides useful tips how to help hide the concealments from view.


With proper angles, the magic looks very stunning.  John has combined all three of the aforementioned concealments and transitions between them to create vanishes, productions, color changes, size changes, complete vanishes, splitting coin applications, etc.  He has put a lot of work into various combinations and applications of the moves.  I really enjoyed watching and learning what John had to offer.


I am not going to list all of the descriptions and my comments for each separate application of these techniques since most of my commentary on the methods have already been stated.  The following items listed on the DVD all deal with the aforementioned techniques:  "Balance Palm & Layover Full production/vanish routine, Balance Palm Alternate, Layover Coin Change, Color Change Sequence, One Handed Color Change, Turnover Change Variation, and Toss Change.  The routines combine different combinations of coins and uses of the aforementioned techniques to create various sequences varied in effect, but related in method.


The Toss Change was my least favorite application because of sight angles.  This technique creates a color change as a coin is being tossed back and forth between the hands.  Because of the sleights used, you need to turn your body to the side.  When you are turned to the side and are tossing objects from hand to hand, it is not the easiest thing to see since the back of your hand (left hand in this case) blocks what is being tossed back and forth.  So it basically looks like you are tossing a coin back and forth several times, and somewhere in between, it changed colors, but you don't see this until the tossing around stops.


Item #3:  "Muscle Pass Coin Change" – A copper coin is shown.  It is placed into the magician's right hand.  Suddenly it flies out of the right hand and is caught at the left fingertips.  The coin is now silver.


This combines a muscle pass with a standard coin gimmick.  The change itself is easy.  The muscle pass and fingertip catch of the coin will take a great deal of control and practice. This change is only applicable to those who have put in the practice time to consistently catch a muscle passed coin in the opposite fingertips.  If you cannot catch it with 100% consistency, than you risk completely botching the trick.  If you can do it, it does look pretty neat.


Routine #4:  "BQM" – This stands for "Borrowed Quarter Matrix".  Four quarters are borrowed and are placed in a square pattern.  The magician's hands hover over the coins and they one at a time assemble to the top right.


This is basically a variation of Roth's Chink-A-Chink/Ammar's Shadow Coins.  John uses an extra quarter that is gimmicked in a minor inexpensive way.  The preparation John makes to his extra quarter allows him to seemingly end clean without having to lap a coin.  So while this routine appears impromptu, you do have to have your modified quarter setup and with you.  For that matter, having a quarter size shell coin on you would enable you to do Ammar's Shadow Coins routine and appear as impromptu as this.  But if you don't want to use a shell, this version works splendidly.  The big advantage to this routine is that after the last coin goes you pick your hand straight up, and there is no load/unload for clean-up, no palming, and the coins can immediately be picked up by spectators.


Routine #5:  "Trans-Knee-Cation" - The magician is seated in a chair and four coins are lined up on the magician's left leg.  One at a time, the coins invisibly travel from the left leg to the right leg.


This is a routine by Jason Dean.  It is John Kennedy's "Translocation" done without a table.  Obviously when you don't have a table and close up mat to slide your hands around, you will need to somehow pick up coins to get the coins across.  Jason has a creative solution to the problem.  If you are a fan of "Translocation" and want to perform it in more impromptu situations, this just may the routine for you.  The coin transits are really wonderful looking.


Jason also teaches an alternate handling to perform the routine on a spectator's legs.  (Obviously which would only apply if they are comfortable enough with you).


Routine #6:  "The Woble Vanish" – This looks like the old stunt where you bring your hand up to your ear with your elbow out in front of you, you balance a coin on your forearm just above the elbow, and then swing your hand rapidly down to catch the coin.  The magician in fact does this stunt a few times.  Then on the last try, the coin vanishes to reappear elsewhere or it can change into another coin.


Okay, this one got me.  I did not have any idea what happened.  The method is actually quite simple; the trick is very easy to do.  It uses a very inexpensive gimmick, much like John's BQM routine.



DVD #3:  Cutting Edge Flourishes & "The Jam Session"

 Running Time: 57 min.


The last bit of coin material can be found within "The Jam Session" on DVD #3.  I'll jump right in and highlight the coin stuff:


The Jam Session does not contain routines per se, but insights and discussions on various items.


The first coin item of note is Jason Dean's insight on a way to start a "3 Fly" (Fingertip Coins Across) routine with three un-gimmicked coins, and then afterwards ring in the fourth coin in the context of an effect.  He also explains how he prefers to tilt his hands backwards as the coins "fly" to obtain a different look the coin transits.


John Born provides some ideas applicable to "3 Fly" as well.  His first contribution is an idea to end clean (to ditch the last coin).  Shoot Ogawa recently taught the exact same thing on the Cultural Xchange DVD however it was not in the context of a "3 Fly" routine.  One difference to John's idea is that you have to cross your arms in front of you to end this way.  The second idea John provides is utilizing the "Balance Palm" and "Layover" sleeving technique taught on DVD #2 to end clean.  This works, and I prefer it better to the arm "cross over" idea he presented.  The third item he discusses is an alternative to the "visibly making a coin travel gag" used in most 3 Fly routines.  His alterative was to muscle pass the coin out of one hand and catching it right at the fingertips with the other coins.  This looks pretty neat, while it is a difficult move, it is not as hard as I originally thought it would be.  It's tough to hit it perfectly 100% of the time but it looks fabulous.  The last item John talks about is a way to make the "J.W. Grip" easier with a silver dollar sized coin.  It was a pretty interesting (and very easy) solution to help with the big coins.


Okay, that finishes up the coin content.  Here is a brief description (without commentary) about the remaining card items and flourishes:


The rest of the stuff in "The Jam Session" were as follows:


"The Dean's Double" – A double lift performed and taught by Jason Dean where it appears as though he picks up the top card of a deck, twirls it by holding diagonal edges of the card, and snaps it onto the top of the deck.  The action is repeated to turn the card(s) back face down on the deck.


"The Toss Double" – A double lift similar to Jenning's "Snap Double", however John uses one of his fingers to pop the double vertical down the side of the deck, then he picks it up and tosses it onto the top of the deck.  Or you can use the pop open move to view the card, and then close it back down for an Ambitious Card routine.


Jason Dean then teaches a variation of Lee Asher's Diving Board Double where he makes a double snap off of the deck, rotate in the air, and land back onto the deck.


"The Glide Double" John teaches a very natural looking double lift.  It appears as though you break just one card off the top of the deck with the hand that holds the deck, the card slides down the top of the deck, and the other hand simply turns the card over.


"The Finger Flick Production" - Jason Dean teaches a card revelation that involves a multiple packet flourishing shuffle, half the deck is dribbled, and the other half closes down on top of the dribbled cards.  As the top of the deck closes down, the card to be revealed slides out from the middle of the deck and falls on top of the deck.


John Born teaches a variation to Ed Marlo's "Convincing Control."  The variation is essentially a way to camouflage controlling a selection to the bottom of the deck.


"Flip Out"  This is a method taught by John to control a free selection to the top of the deck.  It has a flourish look to it where multiple packets of cards are falling onto each other and rotating, etc.  You don't even need to know what the selection is; the sequence puts the card on the top.


Jason teaches a move you can apply to a card to box routine.  It is based on Steve Bedwell's Dribble Toss Control.


John's up next with his "True Cut Zarrow False Shuffle" – which as the name implies is a full false shuffle that looks very convincing to me.


Afterwards, John and Jason get into the coin material which I already described above.


Now I am going to jump back to the beginning of DVD 3, which focuses on card flourishes (I am really getting out of my element here!).


"Splat and a Half":  This is a three packet cut, with the middle packet being tossed out of the deck, flipping over and landing on top.


"The Pasteboard Popper":  John riffles down half of the deck with this thumb to a break, outjogs a middle card, and uses that card to lever the top part of the deck up and then under the bottom of the deck.


"Flip Out":  This was performed and explained above as part of "The Jam Session".  It is simply repeated as a separate item here.


"Fan Flip Freak":  This is a flourish card revelation whereby a one hand card fan collides with a one hand deck cut, the top part of the cut is flipped up into the air by the fan, and lands back on the deck.  When the cut lands, the selection pops out face up between the original cut.


"Replay":  Similar to the mechanics of "Fan Flip Freak", but no selection is used, it is a pure flourish.  After the original cut is flipped off the fan and lands on the deck, John makes the packet of cards jump back over the fan and land once again back onto the deck.


"Johnny B's 6 Way":  It is a six packet cut flourish, in the same vein as a Sybil sequence.


"Get a Life" Is a four ace production in combination with multiple cut flourish and an aerial flourish.


Jumping back to:



DVD #1 Cutting Edge Cards:

Running Time 1 hour 24 min.


"The Sandwich Outdone":  Performed by Jason, with two spectators.  Spectator 1 chooses a card as Jason dribbles them from hand to hand.  The selection is a queen.  It is placed face up on the deck, and then immediately turns into the two jokers.  The jokers are tabled.  Jason picks a card for himself and places it face down on the table.  Spectator 2 chooses a card as Jason dribbles them from hand to hand.  She picks the Jack of hearts.  Jason places her selection into the middle of the deck.  He takes the tabled jokers one at a time and rubs them on top of the deck, they vanish.  He spreads half the deck face up and finds the selection between two face down cards (jokers).  Jason shows that he predicted that she would pick the jack of hearts by turning over his tabled selection to show that it is the jack of diamonds.  Then he flips over the "jokers" and reveals they have changed to the black jacks.  Jason informs spectator 1 that his selection is not forgotten, and spreads the deck face down to find a card between two jokers.  This is revealed to be Spectator 1's queen.


"Twisting the Illusion":  The spectator picks a card and signs it.  Jason removes the four jacks and puts them face up on the face up deck.  The selection is returned to the middle of the deck which is tabled face up.


Jason performs a "Twisting the Aces (Jacks)" sequence where one at a time the jacks turn over as the packet is twisted around.  Jason shows all of the jacks cleanly, and then gives them a little shake over the deck.


Now he shows one card at a time that all four jacks have changed into the signed selection.  Jason squeezes the selection and it vanishes.  He shows that the four cards have changed back into the four jacks.


He then picks up the tabled deck, places it onto the jacks, and then shows one card reversed in the deck.  He turns the deck over dropping the overturned card out, which is the spectator's signed card.


"One-Handed Card Trick":  Jason puts his right hand into his pocket and holds the deck in his left hand.  He riffles down through the deck with his left index finger; the spectator calls him to stop.  Jason does a one handed cut to supposedly show the card that was selected.  He completes the cut and then thumbs off every card to the table one at a time counting them.  There are only 51 cards.  The selection is missing.  The selection is found in Jason's pocket where his right hand was the entire time.


"Punch Transpo":  A four and a queen are selected and marked with a Sharpie.  They are briefly placed facing each other on top of the deck.  Then the queen is then removed and placed under the card box.  The four is turned face down and punched with a hole puncher.  It is made clear the card is indeed punched.  Then it is restored and tabled.  The card box is removed to show that the queen now has a hole punched in it.


"The Vanishing Lesson":  Jason shuffles the deck, and then takes two jokers out of his pocket and puts them on the deck, and then puts them on the table.  Jason dribbles the deck from hand to hand and the spectator tells him when to stop.  The selected card is signed by the spectator.  The card is placed face down on the deck, and then the deck is turned down to drop the selection (face down) onto the table.  The deck is shuffled and tabled face up.  The face down selection is placed between the two jokers, and it vanishes.  The deck is spread to reveal one face down card, which is the signed selection.


"Pik-A-Nip":  Jason Hindu shuffles the deck and has the spectator tell him when to stop.  The selection is signed by the spectator and then lost in the deck.  The deck is cut.  The top of one cut and bottom of the other cut are shown not to be the signed selection.  One of the deck halves is fanned.  Jason unbuttons his shirt and exposes a pierced nipple.  He waves the fan over his pierced nipple.  As he moves the fan away, the signed selection is seen dangling from his nipple ring.  (Yes you need a pierced nipple complete with nipple ring to perform this, definitely a hit for your next corporate gig).


"Sand-U-Wich-A":  John peels two jokers off the top of the deck.  He riffles down into the middle of the deck and removes a selection.  The selection is replaced back into the deck, which is squared up.  The two jokers are then pushed into the middle of the deck and quickly removed.  The selection comes out between the two jokers.


"The Flying Sandwich":  Two blue backed jokers are placed onto the table.  The spectator chooses a card out of a red backed deck.  The card can be signed.  The card is out-jogged as the deck is placed back together and the selection is stripped out and tabled face down, and then immediately placed back, and squared up into the deck.  The deck is spread face down on the table.  The two jokers and placed onto the spread.  The spread is flipped over thus catapulting the jokers into the air.  The jokers are caught in John's right hand.  A red backed card appears between the two jokers, it is shown to be the signed selection.


"I Love You":  John dribbles the deck from hand to hand and the spectator tells him where to stop.  She stops on the ace of hearts.  She signs the back of the card.  John writes "+ Johnny B" under her name.  The card is cut to the bottom, and the deck is turned face up.  John passes his hand over the ace and now the ace says, "I Love You" (actually "I" above the heart and "You" below the heart).  John turns the deck face down and causes the card to fly out from under the deck and he catches it.  The back is shown to have the signatures.


That's the scoop on this DVD set.  In a market where three volume sets typically market between $75 to $100, the $50 price is definitely a very competitive price point.  Considering the quantity of material on the DVD's, and if the material as described above is of interest to you, I believe it is a good value.


For me the stuff that qualifies for the "Cutting Edge" title is John's "Balance Palm" and "Layover" work.  I think it is definitely paving new ground. 


I am not in a position to evaluate the flourish or card material,  I can follow card magic to a degree from being around it enough, but I really don't care for card magic: So I don't have a layperson perspective or a magician who performs card magic perspective either, therefore, while I have opinions on the card stuff, I do not feel I am the best source to evaluate them.  In general I really enjoyed the Jam Session card material the most, I don't care too much for card flourishes (regardless of who does them), and the card DVD was interesting, I don't get excited about card magic - even by the big name guys.  Some stuff I liked, some I did not.


I enjoyed the DVDs.  I was relieved that I don't have to pierce my nipples to perform the coin magic J.


I am told that the J Team plan on doing a lecture tour in the near future.


You can purchase the DVD directly from The J Team for $50 including domestic priority mail by emailing:  John Born at , or Jason Dean at


Back to Contents



Extreme Dean Volumes 1 & 2

By:  Dean Dill


Extreme Dean Volumes 1 and 2 are 2003 DVD releases from Mad Tad Magic.  The DVDs contain a sampling of Dean Dill's classic and new coin magic effects.  Some of the effects have been previously released on Dean's two prior coin magic videos, "Intimate Coin Miracles" and "Coinmagic 2000".  If you are not familiar with Dean's brand of coin magic you are in for a treat.  Dean is well known for his "Matrix" and "Bare Handed Assembly" routines.  These are routines that feature coins magically traveling from place to place on a table (usually on a close up pad).


Traditionally "Matrix" routines (originated by Al Schneider) have four coins arranged in a square and then covered by cards.  One at a time, the coins assemble under one of the cards.  "Assembly" routines such as David Roth's "Chink-A-Chink" have four coins arranged in a square.  The coins are covered by the magician's hands and one at a time the coins assemble into one of the corners.  The last traditional type of routine is a "Translocation" (originated by John Kennedy) whereby four coins are arranged in a straight vertical line on one side of the close up pad.  The coins travel one at a time from under the magician's one hand to under the magician's other hand on the close up pad.


I am going to make a confession up front:  I don't really perform a lot of "Matrix", "Assembly", "Translocation" type effects.  I don't often have the chance to have a close up pad with me.  Much of my coin magic is done standing with spectators, without a table.  I only know a couple variants of the three basic types of these routines in case the opportunity presents itself that I should need to perform one.


There are three main things that I have seen that will kill these types of effects: 


  1. A magician moves his hands around too fast and you lose track of the magic.  It looks like the magician quickly pushed coins around the mat, and they wound up in the corner.  Effect ruined.
  2. I have seen routines where the magician reveals a coin in one place and (under this apparent misdirection) quickly slides another coin from another part of the mat and reveals it too has traveled.  It looks like a coin was openly slid, and in fact, that is what happened.  To me, this completely misses the point of the effect.  Magic takes place when hands or cards cover two coins, and one magically travels, not when one hand openly slides a coin to another place and reveals it.  I know this sounds like common sense, but believe me, I have seen it done.

Obviously you do need to slide coins around to make these routines work.  When done properly, the sliding of a coin is done between a vanish and reveal (or vice-versa) of a coin somewhere else on the mat.

  1. Too much criss-crossing of the hands makes it too difficult to track what is going on, and confuses the magic.


I am happy to say that Dean does not suffer from any of the above effect killers.


The video is professionally shot at Dean's Shoppe, which is Dean's barber shop and magical studio in Glendale California.  The videography catches everything that you need to see and learn.


The DVDs are broken up into sections:  Effects, Bonus Material, and Credits.  The Effects Section is further broken up into:  Effects, Explanations, and Overhead View.  The performances and explanations are shot from the audience perspective across the table.  The overhead view, as the name implies, is from the magician's point of view, which is a helpful tool for learning the routines from the perspective you would see them.  The overhead view also does not contain as much detailed explanation.  The routines are performed at speed, and the work is exposed.  So the overhead view is also a quick way to refresh yourself on the work (nice feature).


When I describe the positioning of the coins, I am going to do so from the magician's point of view.


The Effects on Volume 1:


Routine #1:  Call Shot - Begins with a "Translocation" sequence where four coins are lined up vertically on the left side of the close up pad.  One at a time two coins travel over to the right under Dean's hands.


The coins are then re-arranged into a square formation.  Dean begins to "call" where the coins are going to travel.  He first makes the lower right coin travel to the upper left.  Then he makes one of the upper left two coins travel to the upper right.  The remaining upper left coin travels to the lower left, and then immediately to the upper right (a bank shot).  He pushes the remaining lower left coin to the upper left position, and then magically makes it travel to the upper right to join the other three coins.


Afterwards, Dean arranges the coins back into a square formation and performs "Call Shot Instant", which I will describe following my comments below.


"Call Shot" starts out as a "Translocation", turns into an "Assembly" whereby coins travel a couple different paths to eventually make it to the upper right.  It is clean.  It is magical.  It works.  One of its unique feature is an interesting "bank shot" (described above).


Comparing it to other variants of a "Translocation" combined with an "Assembly, I will leave that analysis up to you.  This comes down to what type of sequencing strikes your personal fancy.  I find no problems with this handling.


Routine #2:  Call Shot InstantFour coins are arranged in a square on a close up pad.  Dean's openly kicks two of the coins over as he mentions that if you slow the trick down, you can see the coins go across.  He returns the coins back to their respective corners.  He moves his left hand back, and keeps his right hand forward.  He reverses the placement of his hands and instantly, all the coins travel to the upper left corner.


You actually get to watch this routine twice in a row since Dean performs it at the end of "Call Shot", and then immediately it is performed again as a separate item.  He presents it as an after-thought to a previous effect.  These instant coin travels always get me.  They come out of nowhere.  I have seen other routines that do essentially the exact same thing.  So it comes down to what methodology you like best.  Dean's is very magical and is not hard at all to learn.


Routine #3:  Isolation – Four coins and two small dome shaped clear glass sauce bowls are shown.  The glass bowls can cover two coins that lay side by side.


The four coins are lined up overlapping and a bowl is placed upside-down on top of them.  The bowl is moved so that all the coins crowd-up inside it.  A small silk is placed over the bowl.


Dean takes the second bowl, overturns it, and moves it back and forth with his right hand.  He moves the silk covered bowl back and forth with his left hand.  Suddenly a coin appears inside the right bowl.  The left bowl is uncovered and it is revealed that only three coins are inside.


Once again Dean covers three coins with the overturned left bowl, and one coin with the overturned right bowl.  He moves both bowls back and forth without cover.  Magically one of the coins travels from the left to the right bowl.


Next, Dean turns the bowls mouth up, picks up the two coins in each hand, and dumps them into their respective bowls.  Instantly, it is revealed that one coin has traveled from the left bowl to the right bowl.


Lastly, Dean removes the right bowl, and overturns the left bowl over the last coin.  He covers the bowl with a silk and moves the bowl back and forth so that you can hear the coin clinking inside.  He quickly covers the three that lay on the close up pad with his hand and then removes it.  Simultaneously he removes the silk.  The coin from the bowl is now with the other three coins on the right side of the close up pad.


This is a very nice routine that looks like there isn't any coin manipulation whatsoever occurring because the coins are isolated by the two bowls.  I really enjoyed this routine.  It would be a valuable addition to your repertoire if you perform coin routines at a table. 


I recognized the evolution behind this routine from some of Dean's earlier releases using a clear drinking glass, coins, and a silk.  I think this evolution is a stronger routine than its already strong predecessors.  Volume 2 contains a routine called "Coins, Glass, and Silk" where very similar techniques are used.  I feel "Isolation" greatly surpasses the ground work created in "Coins, Glass, and Silk."


Routine #4:  The Dinner Napkin #1 – A dinner napkin is laid flat onto the table.  Four coins are placed into the four quadrants of the napkin and the napkin corners are folded toward the center covering each coin.  One at a time all the corners are folded back to show that a coin has traveled to the upper right quadrant.


Dean's routines remain very true to form.  They are unhurried, direct, and seem to have no manipulation of the coins.  Dean utilizes various steals and loads to make this look squeaky clean.  As the name suggests, it would be a perfect impromptu after dinner trick.  You could borrow the coins and use one of the napkins from the table (assuming the proper napkins).


Routine #5:  The Dinner Napkin #2 – A dinner napkin is laid flat onto the table.  Four coins rest at the bottom of the napkin.  The top right corner is folded over.  Dean explains that he is going to make the coins vanish and appear under the folded corner.  One at a time he picks up two coins and vanishes them.  The third coin he places under a folded top left corner.  When the corner is opened, the coin vanishes.  The last coin is placed under a fold made in the lower left corner.  When it is opened, the coin vanishes.  Dean then opens the top right fold to show that all of the coins have arrived.  Instead, to the audience's surprise, all the coins have vanished!


This routine utilizes a specialty gaff.  If you are not familiar with it (and possibly if you are familiar with it) this routine is going to fool you pretty bad.  This is a great example of how the combination of coin gaffs and sleight of hand can create a wonderful effect.  The combination allows for an extremely clean and deceptive handling.  When performed directly after "The Dinner Napkin #1" you get the added benefit of prior conditioning that the coins are supposed to assemble under the folded top corner.  When they instead vanish, it is a shock.


Routine #6:  Vanishing Matrix – Dean selects the four kings from a deck of cards and places them face down on the table.  Dean then dumps a pile of coins out of a small change purse.  He selects four quarters and places the four cards face down over the four quarters in the standard matrix pattern.


He gathers up the unused coins and dumps them back into the purse.


Instantly Dean shows that the coins have vanished and the four cards have turned blank.


Dean uses this for someone who has seen a Matrix routine or is familiar with the plot.  It uses a really funny way to vanish all the coins right in front of the spectator without suspicion.  This is a fun quickie of a routine.  Not only do you get the coin vanishes, but you get card face vanishes as well, two quick and direct effects for the price of one.


Routine #7:  Swirl Assembly – Dean places four coins in each corner of a close up mat.  He begins to swirl his hands in a circular motion (never crossing them).  The coins begin to travel around on the mat eventually all assembling in the top right corner.


This seems to break the mold of Dean's routines which are typically done in a very slow methodical pace.  The swirling motion of his hands makes the routine happen at a faster pace.  The whole thing is over very quickly.  Your mind has no way to keep track of what just happened.  I commend Dean on making a fast paced routine work.  A huge key to keeping the routine magical is the fact that the hands never criss-cross each other.  That one attribute creates a magical routine instead of a chaotic mess.


The routine is a bit more difficult to manage than a standard assembly due to its methods, but should be within reach of magicians who enjoy performing this type of magic.


Routine #8:  Simple Matrix with Backfire – Four coins are placed into four corners of a close up mat.  Four cards are placed onto the coins.  One at a time the four coins begin to assemble to the top left corner.  After the last coin appears to go, all the cards are removed to show that all the coins have returned.


Dean really excels with these routines.  This is a superbly designed Matrix routine that does not use any extra coins or gimmicks.  Dean's initial focus with this routine was to eliminate the "snap pickup" move in the original Schneider Matrix that was done in conjunction with picking up a card to reveal a vanish.  I have been told that the "no pickup move" is an idea pioneered by Michael Rubinstein in his "Quadra Coin Reverse Matrix" from the early 80's.  Dean extensively uses the Paul Harris steal and superb sequencing to steal away the coins on off beats.  The backfire also provides a great surprise ending to the routine.  I like endings that come out of nowhere and bite you.  This is one of those routines.  For those who want to learn Dean's Simple Matrix without backfire, it can be found on his previously released "Intimate Coin Miracles" video.


The Bonus Material on Volume 1 consists of the following:


Dean on the "Tonight Show" – this is performance footage of Dean performing on the late Johnny Carson's Tonight show.  Included is a routine with three silks that Dean causes to vanish inside of each other and appear inside of each other, Dean's "Tonight Show Matrix" which is taught on Extreme Dean Vol. 2 (described below), and a selected card to Orange routine.


Sleights – taught are the following individual sleights needed to perform the routines on Volume 1:


  1. Heel Clip
  2. Purse Palm
  3. Dill Displacement Move
  4. Paul Harris Steal
  5. Fingertip Rest
  6. Retention Vanish
  7. Twirl Load


Explosion Demo – Dean performs (but does not teach) his favorite effect, "Explosion".  Briefly, the first two coins start out as in "Translocation", and then he performs an extremely clean assembly where the coins all assemble in the upper right corner.  The coins are all placed back into a square pattern, and an instant assembly occurs to the upper left corner.  The coins are resituated into a square pattern again and Dean begins to wave his hands around the coins.  As he does so, they begin to multiply culminating into a production of sixteen coins on the mat.


The Effects on Volume 2:


Routine #1:  No Extras – Dean demonstrates this routine three ways:  One with four similar objects (four half dollars), one with four different types of coins, and one with four distinct objects (a die, a Chinese coin, a key, and a ring).  Essentially the routine is a bare handed assembly.  The coins are put in a diamond format as opposed to the typical square format.  All of the objects travel to the top corner.  The first to go is the object to the right, the second to go is the object to the rear, and the last to go is the object on the left.


I can see the value in this routine, and what Dean was going for: a minimalist approach that can be done in an impromptu situation.  Most bare handed assemblies require an extra coin, or a certain gimmick often used to create an "extra" coin.  Without the use of such devices, the veil of deception becomes incredibly thin when attempting to create an assembly routine.  The good thing about this routine is that it is perfect if you get cornered by someone who tosses four coins or four objects at you and challenges you to do the magic with their coins (objects).  I don't often use assembly routines, but I can relate to the situation.  I have been given quarters and asked to perform a Coins Across, or through the table, vanish, etc. with them.  It is always good to have in your arsenal routines that work in these situations.


Now, the tradeoff:  This routine relies on a few well timed moves.  Because you are using "No Extras" you really need to steal away the coin you want to travel.  This is definitely not the optimal situation (you have to steal the coin while the heat is very focused on it).  Because of Dean's exceptional setup to the routine, the first coin is very strong and deceptive.  The last two rely on critical timing and what could be considered cozy hand positioning.  When I say "cozy" I mean that the hands come pretty close to each other while the heat is on.  While it is not readily apparent that something "tricky" is going on (Dean's timing and execution are flawless) what may be apparent is that something could have happened during those brief moments of hand proximity to each other.  I have no doubt that the routine done once is probably going to fly past the spectator, but this is not something you would want to keep repeating, especially for someone really trying to "burn" you. 


If I had advanced warning, I would still opt for the extra coin or gimmick handling to these routines, so that they can be done slower, with more apparent fairness.  However, without the convenience of advanced planning, when challenged, this routine is an excellent answer instead of being left empty handed. 


During the explanation phase Dean did show what the routine looks like if you replace one of the coins with the standard gaff used for assembly routines.  Dean uses this gaff to create clean "shows" of the proper amount of coins and empty hands before each coin assembly.  The addition of this one device makes the routine much more disarming because eliminates the heat on some of the moves.  Dean likes to use this handling while in "Fast Company".


Routine #2:  No Extra's Instant Assembly – Done immediately after "No Extras", Dean apparently places the coins back into the diamond configuration, and moves one hand back to the leader coin, immediately all the coins assemble at the top.


This routine also requires critical timing; however it has a few things working for it to increase its deceptiveness.  The first thing is that the spectator's just saw a one at a time assembly, so they are conditioned already to expect that.  The second thing is, Dean's setup gets him two coins ahead.  Third, there is only one "move" and since there is not much heat on the moment, it seems to fly a bit more than the same move used in "No Extras".  The result is a stunning instant assembly that seemingly comes out of nowhere.  I would definitely add this ending to "No Extras" given the opportunity.


Routine #3:  Coins, Glass, and Silk - Four coins are lined up overlapping and a clear drinking glass is placed upside-down on top of them.  The glass is moved so that all the coins crowd-up inside it.  A small silk is placed over the glass.


He moves the silk covered bowl back and forth with his left hand.  He mimes taking an "invisible coin" out of the top of the covered glass.  With a wave of his other hand, the coin becomes visible.  The glass is uncovered and it is revealed that only three coins are inside.


Next, Dean covers three coins with the overturned glass, and holds the forth coin in his right hand.  He moves the glass back and forth without cover.  Magically one of the coins travels from the glass to join the coin in his right hand.


Once again Dean covers two coins with the overturned glass, and holds the other two in his right hand.  He moves the glass back and forth without cover.  Magically one of the coins travels from the glass to join the two in his right hand.


Lastly, he overturns the glass over the last coin.  He covers the glass with a silk and moves the glass back and forth so that you can hear the coin clinking inside.  He quickly covers the three that lay on the close up pad with his hand and then removes it.  Simultaneously he removes the silk.  The coin from the glass is now with the other three coins on the right side of the close up pad.


As I mentioned earlier in this review for Volume 1, this routine is very similar to Dean's new routine, "Isolation".  I know Dean has used this Coins, Glass, and Silk technique before for coins through the table as well as coins across, it has showed up on his previous videos.  During the explanation phase, Dean confirms that it is an older effect, and alludes to something he is going to show after this one.  I believe he was alluding to "Isolation", and "Isolation just got edited to the 1st volume instead.  "Coins, Glass, and Silk" is a great routine, however "Isolation" is a newer routine, and I think that it is better than this routine.  I can't help but compare them since the techniques for this routine are used almost verbatim in "Isolation" for the left sauce bowl.  The only thing that changes in "Isolation" is the third phase where the coins are openly dumped into the sauce bowls.  This was one of the stronger phases, definitely superior to just repeating the first two transits.  Also "Isolation" uses a matching bowl whereto the traveling coin goes.  I think this is also stronger than having the coins simply travel to your hand, it seems more impossible.


Coins, Glass, and Silk gives you a valuable technique to incorporate to change up coins across routines, or coins through the table routines, but if you can get the sauce bowls, I think the same application in "Isolation" obsoletes this particular routine.


Routine #4:  The Power of 3 – Dean lays a handkerchief on the table and brings out three separate coin envelopes.  He dumps a coin out of each of them.  One is a silver dollar, one is a half dollar, and one is a quarter.


The spectator is given a free choice of a coin.  The two not chosen are put away in Dean's pocket.


The spectator chooses the half dollar.


Dean then shows that he "knew" which coin was going to be picked by sliding a message out of each envelope that says, "You will choose the half dollar."


The routine was created by Pepe of Spain and will be slightly different if different coins were picked.  It is a mentalism effect with coins.  It is not my personal favorite type of coin magic (not sure if I would call it coin magic per se), but if you are looking for mental trick that uses coins – this might do it for you.


Routine #5:  81 Cents – A half dollar, a quarter, a nickel, and a penny are arranged in a straight diagonal line on the close up mat in descending value (half dollar topmost).  Dean covers each coin with a playing card.  Dean picks up the card covering the half dollar and the card covering the quarter.  The quarter has joined the half dollar.  He briefly touches the cards together and lays the top card down as he picks up the card covering the nickel.  The nickel vanishes and appears under the card covering the half dollar and quarter.  He briefly touches the cards together and lays the top card down as he picks up the card covering the penny.  The penny vanishes and appears under the card covering the other three coins.


This is a pretty straightforward routine that heavily uses Al Schneider's Matrix pickup move.  The best part of the routine is the set down that puts the coins in different places than what the audience thinks.  This allows you to be one head throughout the routine.  The only thing that I did not really care for in the routine is the repetitious touching of the cards together.  To me it looked like it was done to transfer a coin (which it was).  However, it is tough to hide these supposed to be "off beat" moments on video.  I am sure live that they would be less noticeable with a smidgeon of misdirection.  The quick touches are necessary.  I cannot think of any better way around it.


Routine #6:  Translocated – This starts out as what appears to be John Kennedy's "Translocation".  Four coins are placed in a straight line on a close up mat.  One at a time they begin to travel from left to right as Dean's hands cover the coins.  Dean shows an example of what is supposed to happen by making one coin magically travel.  Then he puts it back in the row of coins, and repeats it!  He covers the coins again, and a second coin travels from left to right.  He crosses his hands, covers the coins, and the third coin travels.


At this point Dean says that he can make the last coin to travel to be with the three or he can make the three travel back to be with the one.  After the spectator makes his choice, Dean says, "Three to join the one?  How about one to join the three?  They have always said that you can't have it both ways, but in this case, you can."  He lifts both hands and under both hands are lines of four coins (eight coins total).


The routine starts off looking like the standard "Translocation" routine, however, right of the bat, Dean will throw off those privy to the traditional "Translocation" routine by repeating the first coin.  You cannot normally do that with the original "Translocation".


In the explanation section, Dean gives a bit of history.  John Kennedy invented "Translocation", Mark Lefler created the backfire to "Translocation."  Dean explains that he likes the backfire because it is unexpected.  He performs and teaches the standard "Translocation" with Lefler's backfire for those who want to know how it is done.


Dean further explains that he wanted to come up with a routine to fool John Kennedy and the rest of the guys that knew "Translocation" using the exact same hand motions as "Translocation", but obtains the eight coin ending.  "Trasnlocated" is the result of that goal.


Obviously with the extra coin count, there is more coin management going on behind the scenes.  This does create an added level of difficulty.  Dean teaches exactly what he does to create this.


One thing worth mentioning here, even if you don't want to perform "Translocated" per se, but you want to learn "Translocation" with the backfire, Dean teaches you.  If you want to do the original "Translocation" it is not hard to figure out after this teaching as well.  I think the teaching provided here is very valuable to anyone interested in any three of these "Translocation" type effects.


Routine #7:  Coins Thru Table – Dean uses a clear drinking glass to catch the coins as they pass through the table.  Dean starts by dumping three coins out of a glass onto the table.  He then takes the glass under the table and picks up one of the coins and pushes it through the table.  The coin is heard to clink into the glass, Dean's hand is empty.  The glass is brought up to show that the coin is indeed inside.  The coin is dumped out.


Dean repositions the remaining coins and drops the first coin back into the glass and takes it under the table.  He picks up one of the coins and again pushes it through the table.  The coin is heard to clink into the glass, Dean's hand is empty.  The glass is brought up to show two coins are indeed inside.  The coins are dumped out.


Dean picks drops the two coins back into the glass and takes it under the table.  He picks up the last coin and appears to drop it to the table.  The coin is gone.  It is heard to clink inside the glass.  The glass is brought back up and sure enough, three coins are inside.  They are dumped out.  Everything is examinable.


This is a very nice, straightforward coins through the table.  One nice characteristic is that the coins that are being pushed through the table are done one at a time, while the remaining coins stay in view on the table.  Typically in coins through the table routines, all the coins are picked up into a fist and then dumped to the table.  The glass adds a nice audible confirmation of the coin arriving, and helps create the moment that the magic occurred.  A really useful feature of this routine is that it can be performed standing (there is no lapping).


Routine #8:  The Tonight Show Matrix – Four coins are placed in a square pattern on the close up pad.  Four cards are placed over the coins.  One at a time the coins vanish from under their respective cards and assemble under the lower right card.


Dean then explains that it is only an illusion.  The reality is that the coins are back in the four corners where they began.  To demonstrate, Dean replaces the cards, and makes each coin vanish one at a time from the assembled lower right pile and travel to their respective piles.  After all four coins vanish from the lower right pile, all of the cards are removed to show that indeed, the coins traveled back under their cards.


This is a really nice circular two phase routine.  The first phase is a very clean traditional matrix.  The second features a nice reverse matrix where the coins one at a time vanish from the pile and go back under their original cards.  I liked this methodical reversal as opposed to an instant backfire.  Dean's routine presented here is very clean and is a very worthwhile version to learn.  It uses a standard gaff coin to help create some of the clean look.  No coin steals are made at all on the initial card lay down.  Dean says that this routine is his absolute favorite Matrix routine to perform.  I can see why.


The Bonus Material on Volume 2 consists of the following:


Dean's Photo Album – This is a compilation of still photos that shows Dean's Shoppe, Dean performing for various people, Dean pictured with some celebrities, as well as a few Photo's of him with his family.


Sleights – taught are the following individual sleights needed to perform the routines on Volume 2:


  1. Heel Clip
  2. Purse Palm
  3. Finger Palm
  4. Thumb Palm
  5. Dill Displacement Move
  6. Paul Harris Steal
  7. Al Schneider Steal


Dean's Box Demo – This is a performance only demonstration of "Dean's Box" which is an effect marketed by Dean Dill.  What happens is this:  A square box with curtains on the side, a hinged door that opens upward in the front, and a small hatch in the top is shown.  Two ropes are folded in half and the middles of each rope are inserted into the box; one rope through the left side curtain, one rope through the right side curtain.  The small hatch at the top is opened and the middles of the ropes are pulled up through.  Strangely, the two middles have linked.


Dean removes the rope and this time puts the rope middles into the box one at a time through the opposite side curtains and up through the hatch at the top.  The front door is opened to show that the ropes are definitely separate.  The door is closed and a spectator on each side of the box holds the rope ends.  The middles are pushed back down into the box from the small hatch above.  The two spectators pull the opposite ends of the ropes to find that the ropes have linked inside the box again.


Lastly, Dean eliminates one of the ropes, and passes one rope into the box through the curtain on one side and out the curtain on the other.  He takes a small brass ring and tosses it into the box from one of the side curtains.  The small ring is heard to land inside the box.  When the front door is opened, it is revealed that the solid brass ring has linked onto the rope.


For those of you who have made it this far in my review, I'll throw in one of my personal handling tips on the last phase of this routine.  For the last phase I perform it as instructed, however since the first and second phases were about the middles of the ropes linking, I keep the same focus for the last phase.  Instead of eliminating one of the ropes, I present it this way:  I hold both ropes by their ends (letting the opposite ends dangle freely) and insert them through the side curtain and exit the opposite side curtain.  I ask the audience if they have any idea how the box can link the middles this time?  Since both ropes are passing through the box parallel to each other, it is impossible.  The only way to link them would be to use this… and I point to the little brass ring.  Essentially it is the same last phase as Dean presents, but framed slightly different so that the objective is still trying to link the middles of the ropes.  When I throw the ring in, the ring in essentially links the two rope middles together.


In Summary, these two volumes contain close up coin magic routines predominantly done at a table on a soft surface.  Dean excels at Matrix-Translocation-Assembly routines.  If you are a fan of these plots, Dean's DVDs are a necessary part of your library.  As a coin magician who does not often perform these types of effects, I enjoyed Dean's performances very much.  Dean is one crafty magician; he has a laid back, friendly, performing persona.  You get the feeling of sitting down in his Shoppe across the table and having a friend show you magic – very good magic.


Not only is the quality of the material excellent, but the quantity of material presented on each DVD is more than sufficient.  Often multi-volume sets are released simply to make more money on something that should have been put on one DVD.  This is not the case with Dean's DVDs.  You will have plenty to work on in each DVD.  I would recommend getting both as a set, but if you are on a budget and only looking for one, it is honestly a toss up.  Both are of equal value.  Use this review to decide which effects appeal to you the most.


You can get the DVDs directly from Dean Dill at


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