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Topic: Michael Vincent -- The Evolution of a Classic -- the cups and balls
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 3, 2008 03:05AM)
This DVD set is the fourth volume of Michael Vincent's series "The Tapestry of Deception."

I've known Michael for 10 years now, having met him the night that the Magic Circle held its last meeting in the Victory Services Club in 1998. I had seen his photo in the Magic Circular and had read about him. I knew he was something special, and meeting him in person underscored this for me. Later, I got to see him perform at a limited attendance lecture in Houston, where he spoke about his series of DVD's called "The Tapestry of Deception." During that lecture, he demonstrated his cups and balls routine, and went into a little of the reasoning behind it. This set of DVD's covers the routine as it stands today in great detail and depth, and gives all of the background of it as well.

The first DVD is in the form of an interview with Matt Fields, editor of the Magic Circular. Michael and Matt trace the development of the routine from the Vernon routine, which Michael started working with at the age of 15, through the Don Alan chop cup routine, through the John Mendoza combo cups and balls routine (the VM routine) to Michael's current routine. All of these are shown with video clips of Michael performing each routine with a live audience. The work on each of the routines is well done.

We see the routine evolving from a standing version of the Vernon routine, then a seated version of the Don Alan chop cup routine, then the VM routine, also seated, which is the one John Mendoza did with the combo cups. Finally, we see Michael doing his version of the VM routine while standing, with very clever ways of obtaining the final loads. Each of the loads is obtained in a different way from a different place. I'll be the first to admit that there were a couple of these that caught me completely off guard!

Between the routines, he explains how he modified the Vernon routine, for example, and what the influences were that caused him to try different approaches. He cites Cellini, Peter Wardell, Slydini and Tommy Wonder for several of his inspirations, as well as Larry Jennings and Alex Elmsley. He also mentions the work of Gazzo. Interestingly, Gazzo, Wardell and Cellini will each tell you that their routines are versions of the Vernon routine; however, each of them has modified it to fit his own way of working. That is very important, because that is what this set of DVD's is all about.

As you watch Michael's progression through these routines, you begin to gain an understanding of how much cups and balls material he knows. Basically he knows all of it.

This brings us to DVD 2, which is the explanation of Michael's current routine. He breaks this down into several phases. Each phase is short enough to be a separate practice session, so that you can work on the parts and perfect them before you work on the next.

One thing that I should point out is that with all of the vast knowledge that Michael has of the cups and balls, there are certain moves and flourishes that he chose not to include in his routine. Why? Maybe it's because they added less to the routine in his hands that the things he included. And this is an important part of art. Real art often consists in knowing what to leave out.

The DVD also goes into all of the nuances of the work. Michael addresses body language, eye contact, technical mastery and audience attention control. These are the foundation of the work that Michael teaches on all the DVD's in this series.

One of the things I should point out is that Michael claims this is still a work in progress. Knowing him, I understand his attention to detail and artistry. His explanation of the various phases of the routine fit in perfectly with the concept of the Three Pillars of Magic, which he explains on the other DVD's in the series as well.

So, if you are a potential, prospective cups and balls worker, when should you get this set of DVD's?

I would recommend purchasing them soon after you have worked your way through the Michael Ammar DVD's. Once you have a basic routine down, and you know your basic cups and balls sleights, you need to know how to direct what you are doing. The DVD's give a lot of insight into how to apply the techniques you already know.

Although Michael's routine uses a set of combo cups, I think the savvy cups and balls worker will figure out how to apply the principles Michael uses here to a routine with standard cups.

I highly recommend this set of DVD's.

You can get them directly from Michael at http://www.magicofmagic.com/main.htm

I don't have a price for them yet, but will post that as soon as I have one.
Message: Posted by: Richard Evans (Aug 3, 2008 03:06PM)
Nice review - thanks Bill.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 3, 2008 08:07PM)
Thanks for the kind words. Michael just sent me the following information:

[quote]
The DVD can be purchased from my online store at: 
http://www.michaelvincentproductions.com
The price is in pounds sterling  at £40.00
All orders will be processed by Pay Pal
[/quote]

I had expected the price to be a little higher. These DVD's are, IMHO, well worth the price.
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 4, 2008 03:26AM)
Dear Bill

Thanks again for the great review of my product.

I look forward to serving anyone who is interested in purchasing this DVD set.

Many thanks

Mike Vincent
London
Message: Posted by: cfrye (Aug 4, 2008 03:49AM)
I ordered Mike's DVD set on Saturday and received a note confirming his staff put it in the post this morning. Terrific attention to detail, but now the set's in the hands of Royal Mail and the US Postal Service.

Sigh...



Curt
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 4, 2008 08:02AM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-04 04:49, cfrye wrote:
I ordered Mike's DVD set on Saturday and received a note confirming his staff put it in the post this morning. Terrific attention to detail, but now the set's in the hands of Royal Mail and the US Postal Service.

Sigh...



Curt
[/quote]

Hi Curt

The DVD is on its way to you.
You will have it in about five days.
Hope you enjoy it.
Many thanks
Mike Vincent
London
Message: Posted by: walid ahumada (Aug 4, 2008 10:17AM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-03 04:05, Bill Palmer wrote:

One thing that I should point out is that with all of the vast knowledge that Michael has of the cups and balls, there are certain moves and flourishes that he chose not to include in his routine. Why? Maybe it's because they added less to the routine in his hands that the things he included. And this is an important part of art. Real art often consists in knowing what to leave out.

[/quote]

I like when he "activate" the power of the magic wand, then he does the gag holding the wand with the index finger and then he just spread his fingers apart.

I wonder if he explain this part of the routine in this DVD.
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 4, 2008 04:18PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-04 11:17, walid ahumada wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-08-03 04:05, Bill Palmer wrote:

One thing that I should point out is that with all of the vast knowledge that Michael has of the cups and balls, there are certain moves and flourishes that he chose not to include in his routine. Why? Maybe it's because they added less to the routine in his hands that the things he included. And this is an important part of art. Real art often consists in knowing what to leave out.

[/quote]

I like when he "activate" the power of the magic wand, then he does the gag holding the wand with the index finger and then he just spread his fingers apart.

I wonder if he explain this part of the routine in this DVD.
[/quote]

Hello Walid

Greetings to you down Mexico Way.

Thank you for your interesting post.

You will be pleased to know that my entire routine is explained in full detail, including the wand suspension.

Warm regards from London

Mike Vincent
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 6, 2008 05:10AM)
The response to my new DVD has been most gratifying, so much so , I am temporarily out of stock.

Should have more in stock in about ten days.

I will keep you all posted, thanks again.

Mike Vincent
London
Message: Posted by: sethb (Aug 6, 2008 10:33AM)
If I'm correct, a quick check on the currency conversion shows that the Cups & Balls DVD set would be about $78 in U.S. dollars, not including shipping.

While this isn't cheap, it sounds like you are getting some professional-level advice, which would justify the cost. SETH
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 6, 2008 10:42AM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-06 11:33, sethb wrote:
If I'm correct, a quick check on the currency conversion shows that the Cups & Balls DVD set would be about $78 in U.S. dollars, not including shipping.

While this isn't cheap, it sounds like you are getting some professional-level advice, which would justify the cost. SETH
[/quote]

Thanks for your post Seth.

The Cups and Balls is over 5000 years old and my relationship with the subject spans my entire life in magic, whichis about 25 years.

The Two DVD special editions represents a snap shot of my life in a little under 2 hours.

I said to Darwin Ortiz recently that I consider the effects in his book Cardshark to be worth more than the $35.00 asking price for the entire book, The Unholy Three is perfect example.

I can only hope that magicians who love The Cups and Balls as much as I do, feel that the $80.00 they invest in my DVD will be money well spent and that the value and inspiration they receive will be support them in their personal quest for mastery in the craft of magic.

Thanks again

Mike Vincent aka "The Duffer"
London
Message: Posted by: sethb (Aug 6, 2008 01:00PM)
Mike -- One general question: how much of the material, in Volume 1 (Misdirection, etc.) is duplicated or referred to in Volume 4 (Cups & Balls)?

In other words, will someone who owns Volume 4 learn anything additional about misdirection/presentation from Volume 1, or are those same concepts just applied specifically to the Cups & Balls effect in Volume 4? SETH
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 6, 2008 02:39PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-06 14:00, sethb wrote:
Mike -- One general question: how much of the material, in Volume 1 (Misdirection, etc.) is duplicated or referred to in Volume 4 (Cups & Balls)?

In other words, will someone who owns Volume 4 learn anything additional about misdirection/presentation from Volume 1, or are those same concepts just applied specifically to the Cups & Balls effect in Volume 4? SETH
[/quote]

The Tapestry of Deception is an ongoing series, which addresses important concepts, which can assist you in performing highly deceptive magic.

The first volume is an introduction to many of the concepts. At the time of shooting the first volume, I had no structure to the series; it was just a brain dump of ideas floating around in my mind. These concepts made perfect sense to me but I struggled to communicate my thoughts elegantly at the time.

With each DVD in the series, I was able to break things down into smaller chunks of information, whilst retaining the integrity of the broader concepts. The remaining volumes, while they look at different effects, still make full use of the concepts outlined in volume one.

This series is designed to be a point of reference for magicians to use the concepts in line with the material they already perform; this is where the real benefit is.

When I studied with Slydini I learnt his entire repertoire. Slydini insisted on his students learning everything, his way. I only spent a week in New York at the time in 1982 and most of my time was at Slydini's apartment and after the trip, I never saw him again. He left this world before I could say a big heartfelt thanks. He really changed my life.

I was lucky, because of my limited time in Slydini's company, I had to think deeply about his concepts and think broader in terms of applying principles outside the domain of his magic.

The Tapestry of Deception is a tribute to Slydini’s legacy. The Cups and Balls is a perfect showcase for many of the concepts and yes, you will learn a lot about audience attention control and presentation, more so with Volume 4 than with any of the others because The Cups and Ball relies on audience management, attention control and showmanship in order for it to be successful.

Check out my live performance for an illustration. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_MSKFJtaS5k

Thanks

Mike Vincent
London
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 8, 2008 10:56AM)
Dear friends

I want to thank all of you of who have purchased The Cups and Balls DVD and thanks again for the feedback about the product.

The last couple of weeks have been challenging, I had come CGI scripting errors pop up and many of you had problems placing your order.

The internet is a mind field of information and I am improving my expertise in this area slowly but surely.

Things appear to be working fine now and you should be able to place your orders without any problems now.

If you do experience any challenges then do send me an email and I will do what I can to assist you in completing your order.

Once again thank you.

Sincerely

Mike Vincent
London
Message: Posted by: sethb (Aug 8, 2008 11:14AM)
Mike -- Great YouTube video, nice routine! I liked the "activating the wand" bit a lot, also the initial production of the three balls, very slick. I'm not sure I would do it that way, because the specs might reason that the balls were hidden in the cups somehow, which then might lead to them making some other interesting assumptions. But it was definitely a neat idea and very neatly executed. SETH
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 8, 2008 11:48AM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-08 12:14, sethb wrote:
Mike -- Great YouTube video, nice routine! I liked the "activating the wand" bit a lot, also the initial production of the three balls, very slick. I'm not sure I would do it that way, because the specs might reason that the balls were hidden in the cups somehow, which then might lead to them making some other interesting assumptions. But it was definitely a neat idea and very neatly executed. SETH
[/quote]

I have studied this effect for 25 years and tried many different routines. Three of the finest routines appear on my DVD, with a considered evaluation.

I am delighted to hear that you are already evaluating how you feel your routine should look and feel to an audience.

That is the whole point behind my new DVD.

The purpose is to stimulate you and any other magicians who love this effect to really question what is the best approach for "me"?

It took me a long time of trial and error to answer that question.

I found the answer in the routine you have seen, and it is still a work in progress, it is not finished. Only yesterday I was doing some fine tuning on the routine and made an adjustment, which has improved the pacing considerably.

I hope this quest never ends.

As Racherbaumer would say "Onwards"

Cheers

Mike Vincent
London
Message: Posted by: Mitch Schneiter (Aug 8, 2008 12:32PM)
Mr. Vincent, I'm really looking forward to your upcoming lecture in Portland Oregon. Will the Cups and Balls be part of your lecture? And will you have copies of the C & B DVD available. Thank you.
Mitch
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 8, 2008 01:40PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-08 13:32, Mitch Schneiter wrote:
Mr. Vincent, I'm really looking forward to your upcoming lecture in Portland Oregon. Will the Cups and Balls be part of your lecture? And will you have copies of the C & B DVD available. Thank you.
Mitch
[/quote]

Hello Mitch

The Cups and Balls will not feature on this lecture tour, but if there is enough interest, I will consider bringing my Cups with me for a live performance.

I will keep an eye on this thread to see how much interest is generated.

Thanks and see in a few weeks

Mike Vincent
London
Message: Posted by: Mitch Schneiter (Aug 9, 2008 12:03PM)
Thank you for the quick reply Sir. As for interest, I can't imagine anyone in attendance at one of your lectures not being interested in seeing you perform the Cups and Balls. Then again, there are some weirdos out there. Anyway, I certainly hope to see you perform this classic live.

Mitch
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 9, 2008 12:53PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-09 13:03, Mitch Schneiter wrote:
Thank you for the quick reply Sir. As for interest, I can't imagine anyone in attendance at one of your lectures not being interested in seeing you perform the Cups and Balls. Then again, there are some weirdos out there. Anyway, I certainly hope to see you perform this classic live.

Mitch
[/quote]

Hi Mitch

It's a done deal

I will bring my Cups with me.

See you soon


Mike Vincent
Message: Posted by: Mitch Schneiter (Aug 9, 2008 06:42PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-09 13:53, Michaelvincent wrote:
Hi Mitch

It's a done deal

I will bring my Cups with me.

See you soon


Mike Vincent
[/quote]

Great! I'm really looking forward to it. Please save a DVD for me, I'd hate for you to run out. Thanks again.
Message: Posted by: Darwin Ortiz (Aug 9, 2008 08:24PM)
I've just finished watching Michael Vincent's Cups and Balls DVD set and I wanted to add to the chorus of praise. I've never performed the Cups and Balls but I've seen a lot of Cups and Balls routines. It seems to me that Michael's routine manages to incorporate just about every good feature I've seen while eliminating every bad feature.

On the second DVD, Michael teaches his routine in depth. On the first DVD, he first prepares the ground by performing and analyzing the various classic routines that influenced his. The analysis happens through a conversation between Michael and Matt Field that is intercut with the performances. The counterpoint between conversation and performing works beautifully.

Matt Field deserves a lot of credit for clearly having prepared thoroughly in advance. Almost every video I’ve seen where the performer explains to an interviewer rather than directly to the camera has been pretty much of a waste. The interviewer only gets in the way of the performer communicating to the viewer. This is a dramatic exception. Matt is the perfect foil for Michael. (Keep in mind the origin of that term, the foil being the reflective background that makes the diamond shine brighter.)

I found myself completely engaged throughout. I wasn't simply a passive viewer, a consumer of video footage. I was thinking about what I was seeing and hearing and eager to hear the next revelation in the conversation. I felt that I wasn't just learning about the Cups and Balls. I was learning about magic. The quality of the thinking was such that the routine itself seemed almost a bonus.

Elsewhere on the Café there is a discussion of magicians that people have been inspired by. This DVD is an inspiring view into how a great magician arrives at a great piece of magic. It doesn’t happen from copying what you see on Youtube. It doesn’t happen from going on magic forums and asking others what the best five tricks are. It happens as a result of study, work, commitment, tenacity, and passion, all of which are on display here.

In a capitalist society, you get the products you deserve. If you support projects of this caliber, you'll encourage more of them. If you opt instead for gorging yourself on the endless stream of fast-food magic releases that are intended to be purchased today and forgotten tomorrow to make room for the next round of buying and forgetting, you'll be served more of that.

What you're purchasing here is the result of a lifetime study. If you want to see what separates a great routine from an average one, buy these DVDs. If you want to see what separates a great magician from an average one, buy these DVDs.

Sincerely,
Darwin Ortiz
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 11, 2008 03:58AM)
Hello Darwin

Thank you for your kind words.

Your evaluation of my product is a great compliment.

You have put into words exactly my intentions with this DVD.

I hope all the people who have purchased this DVD feel the same way.

Sincerely

Mike Vincent
Message: Posted by: MField2000 (Aug 11, 2008 04:27AM)
I'm blushing!

Thank you, Darwin.

Matt Field
Message: Posted by: Dave McFarland (Aug 13, 2008 11:57AM)
Mr Vincent,

Here's another enthusiastic request for a cups and balls presentation in Portland.
Message: Posted by: Turk (Aug 13, 2008 02:12PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-13 12:57, Dave McFarland wrote:
Mr Vincent,

Here's another enthusiastic request for a cups and balls presentation in Portland.
[/quote]

And another.

Michael Vincent is my favorite magician to watch and learn from. His "Tapestry of Deception" videos are a "must watch and learn from" resource. The first time I watched "Tapestry of Deception". I just sat there in stunned silence--and then quickly watched and re-watched the video in that first single setting. Watching anything Michael Vincent performs is to be treasured. Frankly, Michael Vincent could stand on the corner handing out toilet tissue squares, and I'd be there to take notes.

Describing Michael Vincent as a "Magician's Magician" and his magic as an entertaining "Tour d'Force" are totally inadequate descriptions of each and merely highlights the shortcomings of the English language in such regards.

I can hardly wait for Michael's upcoming Portland lecture.

Mike
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 13, 2008 03:25PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-13 15:12, Turk wrote:
[quote]
On 2008-08-13 12:57, Dave McFarland wrote:
Mr Vincent,

Here's another enthusiastic request for a cups and balls presentation in Portland.
[/quote]

And another.

Michael Vincent is my favorite magician to watch and learn from. His "Tapestry of Deception" videos are a "must watch and learn from" resource. The first time I watched "Tapestry of Deception". I just sat there in stunned silence--and then quickly watched and re-watched the video in that first single setting. Watching anything Michael Vincent performs is to be treasured. Frankly, Michael Vincent could stand on the corner handing out toilet tissue squares, and I'd be there to take notes.

Describing Michael Vincent as a "Magician's Magician" and his magic as an entertaining "Tour d'Force" are totally inadequate descriptions of each and merely highlights the shortcomings of the English language in such regards.

I can hardly wait for Michael's upcoming Portland lecture.

Mike
[/quote]

Dear Turk and Dave

Thanks for your kind words and support for my forthcoming appearance.

I am really excited at the prospect of sharing my work with you all in a few weeks.

I am set to bring my Cups with me and to perform my routine for your enjoyment.

I need to ask a favour, can anyone provide a table for me?

I am looking for something very specific; I need a stand normally reserved for electric Pianos or Synthesisers. These are legs which can be adjusted to different heights. It would be too much hassle to travel with mine; I can bring everything else I need. If someone could provide one for my lecture, that would be a great help and much appreciated.

It is very gratifying to learn that my DVDs are really inspiring magicians to dig a little deeper into this craft of our. Learning our effects is only about 10% of a much bigger picture. My DVDs, I feel is only the tip of the ice berg.

I am even re-structuring my entire repertoire to achieve greater clarity of effect for my audience. It's a never ending process of evolution.

I can't wait to meet you all.

See you soon and thanks

Sincerely

Mike Vincent
Message: Posted by: Turk (Aug 13, 2008 07:00PM)
Michael,

I have put out feelers with a magician friend of mine who is a classical guitarist and who might either have such a table or know of one of his musical buddies who does. I'll let you know ASAP as to his ability to provide this table.

Best regards,

Mike
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 14, 2008 03:56AM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-13 20:00, Turk wrote:
Michael,

I have put out feelers with a magician friend of mine who is a classical guitarist and who might either have such a table or know of one of his musical buddies who does. I'll let you know ASAP as to his ability to provide this table.

Best regards,

Mike
[/quote

Turk

Thanks very much,much appreciated.

Keep well and see you soon

cheers

Mike Vincent
Message: Posted by: Turk (Aug 16, 2008 12:57PM)
Michael.

I have located a stand with adjustable legs from a friend of my wife. I haven't seen it yet but, does it matter if the adjustments are "detent specific" versus "infinitely adjustable"? I don't know which one this stand will have. Stay tuned; I'll let you know after I have the stand in my posession later today.

Best regards, cheerio and ta-ta for now.

Mike

P.S. Just to clear up any possible confusion, the adjustable legs are on the synthesizer stand,...NOT on my wife or her friend. (badda-boom!)
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 17, 2008 01:45PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-16 13:57, Turk wrote:
Michael.

I have located a stand with adjustable legs from a friend of my wife. I haven't seen it yet but, does it matter if the adjustments are "detent specific" versus "infinitely adjustable"? I don't know which one this stand will have. Stay tuned; I'll let you know after I have the stand in my posession later today.

Best regards, cheerio and ta-ta for now.

Mike

P.S. Just to clear up any possible confusion, the adjustable legs are on the synthesizer stand,...NOT on my wife or her friend. (badda-boom!)
[/quote]

Thank Turk

check out my DVD for a full on view of the stand I use.

Cheers

Mike
Message: Posted by: cfrye (Aug 17, 2008 05:11PM)
The stand on the DVD is infinitely adjustable by tightening or loosening a turnpiece at the middle of the X; it doesn't have cut-outs (detents).



Curt
Message: Posted by: michaelvincent (Aug 19, 2008 03:41AM)
The Stand on the DVD is adjustable infinitely.

It is perfect for the routine.

Thanks again

Mike Vincent
Message: Posted by: magical expressions (Aug 22, 2008 01:15PM)
I have recently purchased Michael's cups and balls dvd and have found it a great source for inspiration. It is not often a dvd will hold my attention from start to finish but this was viewed in one sitting without having to resort to the fast forward button and it is one that I will have no reservation in revisiting often. It clearly shows Michael's thinking behind the evolution of this effect, and although it may still be a work in progress, the priciples contained can and should be applied to our own performance pieces. Highly recommended, regards, Paul.
Message: Posted by: startingout (Apr 15, 2021 02:21AM)
Hello.
Does any body have the link to Michael's performance? previous youtube link now removed, If its from Michael I know its going to be special.
Thanks in advance...