Danny Goldsmith is a professional magician from USA specialized in coin magic.
As many I came to know about him as some of his eye candy creations popped in my social media feed. I met him in “person” a few months back when part of the line-up of an online magic convention organized by The Milagro.
I do consider him an underground and independent figure, not in terms of repercussion, but in the sense that he designs, produces, and distribute his own projects, as far as I know most of his creations are not available in the main marketplaces and you can only get directly through him.
“Mythos” is his latest didactic audiovisual project.
It runs approximately for 2 hours, and a half and it is divided into chapters. The chapters can be grouped into four sections: theory, technique, routines, and bonus material
- A Magical Mythos: Here Danny outlines his understanding of what magic is, leaning in the shoulders of giants such as Doug Henning, Paul Harris, or Juan Tamariz, he describes the desirable goal of having the spectator suspend their disbelief, to guide them into a place where they take pleasure in not knowing, to let them rediscover their sense of wonder so and the nature of experience is not defined by the pursue of a rational explanation or a conceptual understanding.
- The Psychology of wonder: In this section Danny shares some experiences as a street performer the provided him with valuable insight of the spectators’ psychology as well as presentational resources to engage and stimulate the imagination of even the most rational spectators, the ones more prone to see a magic performance as a puzzle to be figured out. Danny defines and outlines three basic types of magic presentation, magic blended with storytelling, magic based on the character and magic as a demonstration of a particular phenomenon.
- The Science of Creativity: Danny shares some thoughts on creativity, telling apart between creativity based on analytical process (in the box), and creativity based on intuition, playfulness, and spontaneity (out of the box), and how both are reflected in different biochemical processes in our brain. Danny stresses the importance of being present and practicing activities such as meditation that can boost the inception of new ideas.
- The Finger Fling: This technique is a refinement on Curtis Kam “Finger tip muscle pass” that enables you to propel a coin from the fingertips with no apparent move of the fingers. The technique in explained prior to go into the routines since it used in all of them in different ways.
- Fiction: A very clean three-coin production. The presentation is based on a story. The performance requires you to work on a table with the audience seated on the front of you, although some tips are provided for less parlor-like settings. You also need a mug as it is both part of the presentation and the method.
- Engage Discoinbobulated: A two phased very visual coin transposition (dollar and Chinese coin) that is performed standing up with no table or other element. This presentation falls into the category of “magic based on character” defined by Danny in the theory section. The routine includes more original techniques such as a Retention of Vision Vanish handling or a coin transformation that tales place as you toss the coin and catch it with the fingertips.
- Celestial: a magnetic coin interlude type of routine performed standing up. Two silver coins behave as magnetic coins for a brief period of time. This and the next one belon to the “magic as a demonstration” category.
- Through time: A Three effect routine performed with a coin where the phenomenon or the plot is time travel. First some antigravity stunts are performed with the coin, then it vanished and finally it disappears. The performance requires you to work on a table and also involves a coin purse.
In this section alternative handlings and presentational ideas for the original techniques are presented.
Let me comment a little more on the routines presented.
ON THE FINGER FLING
I do consider it a significant improvement for the fingertip muscle pass, it opens more possibilities for that technique as it reduces the visible finger movement and allows a stronger propulsion.
I like how some of those are possibilities are explored by Danny, not limited visual applications (antigravity coin) but also as part of the secret method in different ways.
For sure I will be playing with it and try to incorporate it to my toolbox. I understand is Danny’s child, but I don’t see myself using it more than twice or trice in a single performance, let alone in the same routine.
It is a really deceptive 3-coin production, the method departs from most of the standard sleights, and it is performed flawlessly. Danny proposes a very refreshing presentation blended with storytelling that contributes to a wider experience for the spectator.
The version on the performance is ideal for a parlor setting, people sitting on the front with no with no seating stand and of course for online events where the camera angle is completely controlled. Sleights and set up can be adapted for a different type o venue but definitely it is not a table hopping/close-up surrounded (Tamariz-Daortiz) kind of routine.
Even though the main technique, the Finger Fling, is used in different ways for different purposes I would avoid using it on all three effects, especially in the last one. The original technique for the last production looks really good, I did not play with it may be a little more angle sensitive, that is not a problem as it can be easily substituted for alternative holdings.
Being an avid fan of Perverse Magic I find this quick effect a much more interesting premise than most coin transpositions.
The routine is performed standing and requires just two ungimmicky coins. It only consists in two effects (two transpositions) but features a wide arsenal of moves, what I consider a good thing. Here the Finger fling is used only once integrated with other sleights, standard and original. It is very versatile angle wise while keeping a very attractive visual appeal.
Same as the next piece I think this can work best as a interlude effect in between more formal and lengthy pieces.
What I consider more interesting in this piece is the presentation premise. While other approaches fail trying to deliver this type of routine as a standalone magical piece, Danny proposes this piece to be presented as a this a playful and ephemeral interlude or interruption, with a very clear way-in and way-out.
Since it gets the spectator off guard there is no high expectation that eventually is not met, at the beggining it seems like the magician is kidding, as the sequence progresses interest grows, in the end it leaves a plesant and satisfying magical feeling.
Another high point is that the presentational premise does not include a “gotcha” punch line at the end, as the “clever magician” reveals that the coins are not really magnetic proving the spectator’s understanding of the situation wrong.
Danny shares a few original ideas on the plot quite interesting and disarming, the use of the Finger Fling here is for me possibly the best visual application of the move.
ON THROUGH TIME
I like this routine very much for its external simplicity. Other routines exploring the time travel plot typically include a much more ambitious sequence of effects, that fails to convince the spectator (as time travel is a phenomenon very hard to sell), and tipically involve too many effects and elements that only contributes to the confusion. (I myself worked this plot with a copper silver brass set and miserably failed for that reason.)
In this piece only a coin and a purse are involved. A couple of small effects and stunts progressively leads to the main effect which is a very clean vanishing and reappearance of the coin. With a very concise and memorable choice of words a nice DeJa’Vu feeling is achieved, but with no fireworks or delusions of grandeur.
Overall, I consider it to be an inspiring, refreshing, and solid project with a good balance of theory/philosophy and practical content (techniques and routines). The way Danny approaches magic philosophical-wise, technical-wise, or performance-wise, may resonate with you more or less, but with no doubt what he says and what he does is consistent.
I like the manner in which the content is organized from the didactical point of view, presenting first theoretical and philosophical ideas, then the technique and then the performance pieces, it makes a lot of sense. The routines are taught in great detail, with practical tips and insight about the mechanics of the particular techniques, when necessary, several camera angles are provided. I do appreciate the closeness and humility with which ideas and routines are presented.
Danny has a very personal performance style, very calmed in pace both for the speech and the body movements and when it comes to deliver the effect, which is also not so common especially in the coin magic field given the effects tend to be very visual in nature. I do appreciate that in his performance pieces each of the effects are given the necessary time and care so they can cause more impact and be more meaningful, that is especially true on “Fiction” and “Through time” which are my favorite pieces on this project, those routine departs from the flurry of unrelated effects so typical in modern coin magic.
The level of perfectionism in the sleight of hand stands out. From the technical point of view, the routines are demanding, as most coin magic is, especially when no gimmicks are employed as is the case. There is an additional “cost” of learning new techniques you have to master first to perform the routines, I believe the techniques are also a reward on their own.
I also have to say, as it cannot be otherwise, my style and usual performance setting with coins in not coincident with Danny’s, so there are some decisions of structure or handlings that I would have done differently, some of them I had outlined before. But that is not a problem for me because when I study a project from another magician, I am not looking for routines to readily incorporate to my repertoire, I look for inspiration, premises and ideas that click something on me so I can work them and eventually make their way to my repertoire but in any case, I look for broadening and enriching my understating of magic, and this project definitely contributes to that goal.
Thanks for reading!