OVERVIEW: Magician Kevin Li firmly believes that magic isn't just about creating an illusion. It's about fun, passion, and connecting with people. For Kevin, adding a small magical moment to someone's life can be the ideal way to interact with some one, start a conversation, and make a connection with them. And what better way to do that than with every day objects like sticks of chewing gum?
VIDEO: This video demonstrates and teaches six main effects, three with sticks of chewing gum, and three with listerine strips, with Kevin Li performing and explaining each effect. The entire video is about 70 minutes long. The videography is very high quality. It's very pleasant to view, with super clear images, and the sound quality and editing is also very professional. This is definitely not a backyard style production, but has been lovingly produced, and the quality really shows. There are multiple camera angles and lots of close-ups. In the opening part of the video, Kevin explains the inspiration behind Cohesive, including mention of Jeff Prace's "Gum" DVD that got him started on this journey. Kevin also discusses the kinds of gum you'll need for these effects, where to buy them, and what to look for.
1. GUM 2x/3x: With Gum 2x, you'll learn how to turn a single pack of gum and instantly turn it into two packs; with Gum 3x, you'll learn how to extend this effect even further by creating three packs of gum from just one. This is a very visual piece of magic, and I was surprised how easy it is to make and perform.
2. RECYCLED GUM: You show an empty pack of gum, close it, and when you open it the pack is completely full of gum sticks! This is Kevin's own favourite trick. It's not quite as visual as Gum 2x, but it's still very strong, and definitely had me fooled the first time I saw it. Although handling is a bit finnicky, it's really quite straight forward, and surprisingly effective.
3. FRESH MINT: This is the third and final trick involving packs of gum, and has the sticks of gum change colour. This requires the use of a simple gimmick that you can easily make yourself. Of the three tricks with gum, it's probably the weakest, but it's still quite visual.
4. X MARKS THE SPOT: The next three tricks don't use sticks of gum, but Listerine strips. Here Kevin teaches an interesting idea where you write an X on the outside of the box, but with a magical gesture the X disappears and now is printed on the inside of the box. The method for this isn't that hard to guess, and I'm not sure how practical this effect is.
5. APPEARING STRIPS: This effect is somewhat similar to Recycled Gum, in which sticks of gum appear out of nowhere, although the smaller size of the Listerine strips makes it slightly less impressive.
6. INK CHANGE: In this simple effect you turn a sad face into a happy face, or generate a visual transition of a drawing of your choice in the mint strip pack.
7. BONUS: SELF OPENING GUM: In this bonus effect, you use a foil package of gum (the type in which individual chewing gum pieces are packaged separately on a sheet of foil), and make the foil with the gum automatically emerge from the box. It's probably the easiest of all the tricks in the video to perform.
The final 10-15 minutes are spent discussing tips, alternative methods and ideas.
TEACHING: Kevin does a great job of covering everything you need to know, including details like how to make the gimmicks needed, the ideal angles, and best handling. He speaks clearly and cogently, and the explanations are complete and easy to follow. It also helps that his explanations are accompanied with very good visuals and close-ups.
DIFFICULTY: You will need to build your own gimmicks to perform the effects Kevin demonstrates. But in most cases these are made very easily, and his explanations cover everything carefully. Besides the gum or listerine strips, you'll need basic householld items like sticky tape, scissors, and markers. None of the effects require difficult sleight of hand, or tricky moves. At times you have to watch your angles, but for the most part it's the gimmick that does all the work for you. You just need to remember your patter, and the basic moves, and you're good to go. So on a difficulty scale, the tricks taught here are between Easy and Intermediate, leaning towards the Easy side of the scale.
IMPRESSIONS: I love Kevin's approach to magic, especially his idea about using magic to add a special moment to someone's day, and to connect with people using everyday objects, and sharing something with others. These aren't the kind of tricks that you'll use in a professional routine, but you might use them to strike up a conversation with someone on a train, while sharing a stick of gum with a stranger while waiting for a bus, or to connect with a colleague at the office or a classmate at school. The Listerine strip effects seem inferior to the tricks using gum, and for me the real highlight of Cohesive are the tricks with sticks of gum, particularly the effects in which you make gum appear (Recycled Gum) and multiply (Gum 2x). This is magic that you can apply to those moments in life outside your role as an magician, and as a way to connect with people.
RECOMMENDATION: With this video, Kevin Li has made a very good contribution to casual magic with everyday objects. There are a couple of killer effects that make this very worthwhile, and the real visual gems this is worth getting for are the multiplying gum effect (Gum 2x) and appearing gum effect (Recycled Gum). The gimmicks are easy to make, and the tricks are easy to learn and perform. Kevin has had a lot of fun performing these himself, and you probably will too!
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame