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Topic: Cups and Balls Learner's Dilemma
Message: Posted by: Avrakdavra (Jul 16, 2004 02:30PM)
I bought the Bazar da Magia beginner's set and Ammar's book and hunkered down for the months of learning and practice. Then, I made the mistake of doing a search on the Café and horrors! I am now worried about combination sets (i.e. with a chop cup), too-light aluminum cups, and so forth.
Can I learn with this set before moving on to superior cups, or must I accept that I have made a terrible mistake and immediately melt the set down for aluminum foil? Will I irrevocably damage my technique if I recklessly proceed with what I have?
Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Jul 16, 2004 02:41PM)
The set you got is absolutely fine. The wonderful thing about the cups is it is pure sleight of hand. I've done routines with everything from heavy brass cups (Charlie Miller's cups - my favorite and the closer of my parlor show for the last five years) to paper dixie cups. I've used chinese tea cups, flower pots, coffee mugs, and coconut shells.

As long as you are comfortable with the size and weight of the balls, you will have no obstacle to learning with what you have.

Personally, I would stay away from an expensive set until you are absolutely sure you will continue with performing with them. The only real advatage is the "feel" of the more expensive cups. And depending on your performing style and your hands, different things will feel right to you than to someone else.

Also, don't worry about the combo cup. If you have one now, great - use it. But if you don't, avoid them. The chop cup is a great prop, but in combo with a cups and balls set, I think it destracts. One of the cups is obviously different from the others with a small amount of examination. Even though you may not use the gimmick in your routine, your audience will suspect it and take away from the effect.

The cups is something you can spend you life learning. It is a branch of magic all to itself and you are in for a lot of surprises and joy in working with them. The Ammar book is a great place to start.

Good luck and if you have any questions, let me know. The cups are a passion of mine and I would be glad to share what I have learned.

Message: Posted by: Avrakdavra (Jul 16, 2004 02:53PM)
Thanks for the encouragement, Richard. When reading about the cups and balls, I sometimes get the feeling that they are virtually a fetish object for some performers, which, I have to admit, I can understand--they are so iconic, the materials so inviting, the emphasis on sleights so pure. I'm off to practice....
Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Jul 16, 2004 03:28PM)
PM me your e-mail and I'll send you a PDF of the the cups and balls chapter from Robert-Houdin's Secrets of Conjuring and Magic. It was written in 1878 and has the full routines of both Conus and Bosco. I'm sure Mike Ammar talks about them in his book.

Message: Posted by: what (Jul 19, 2004 09:47AM)
While you are experimenting with your combo sets, take a look at a routine that utilizes the chop cup. The one I learned is the Mendozza Cups & Balls. It takes good advantage of the chop cup. Truth said, I don't perform that routine much because it is better done sitting, but it is a great routine and worth a look. The booklet is available for under $7 at many online stores. Also, don't discount the Mark Wilson routine form his Complete Course in Magic book. It will have you performing this great classic in no time at all, and to great response
Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Jul 19, 2004 11:07AM)
I agree about the Mark Wilson routine. It plays very well.

On 2004-07-16 16:28, rtgreen wrote:
PM me your e-mail and I'll send you a PDF of the the cups and balls chapter from Robert-Houdin's Secrets of Conjuring and Magic. It was written in 1878 and has the full routines of both Conus and Bosco. I'm sure Mike Ammar talks about them in his book.



A few people have asked if I would send them the cups and balls chapter from the book. There's lots of great history here and if you do the cups, you'll probably want to read it.

I'm happy to send this to anyone who wants it, just PM with your e-mail and I'll send it off to you right away.

Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 19, 2004 11:36PM)
While I truly love the chop cup, I don't like it in combination with the C&B. My first serious cup routine (beyond the Adams' plastic set) was also the Mendoza routine. It is a good routine, but the included gimmick will sometimes cause your mind to stray from the path of clarity. You may find yourself using that feature "just because it's there".

The set you described will bring you countless hours of joy. I teach a Magic Camp each summer and overwhelmingly the kids' favorite trick, and the one they work the hardest at, is done with 3 styrofoam cups and some little red pom poms.

I can also say that the best cup routine, as far as spectator amazement, I ever saw was a guy sitting in a bar with 3 paper coffee cups and some wadded up napkins. The routine was the most basic one we all learn, but every time a ball penetrated a cup, it was treated as a miracle, and the people watching were absolutely transfixed!
Message: Posted by: okito25 (May 17, 2005 07:18PM)
When I do my "impromtu" bar style Cups and balls , coffee wadded up balls .sometimes I borrow three bills of simialr denomination , usually fives , I do not push the point that it would make a Nice tip .. However it is amazing how the sublty lends to it self , and in some cases it gets me the tip I may be looking for .. another funny ending ,, is . wow thanks guys you were great glad you enjoyed it .. let me buy you a drink :P , of course it is bought with thier money ;)
Message: Posted by: Andy_Bell (May 18, 2005 04:08AM)
I spent a good hour or so selecting my cups after talking with the guys in the shop (I ended up with the Bazar da Magia copper set).

I was put of the combo set as I wanted some good quality cups, as far as we could work out the only way to make a set a combo for the same price was to cut the overall quality. I am delighted with the ones I got, they just look the part, far more so than aluminium (although my okito box is aluminium so it kind of spoils prop continuity!)

I'm working on the Dai Vernon routine as it was the one recomended to me, I was considering the Ammar book but one routine will do me for now! Here's to all the other newbies out there who are on the same road as me! (so much to learn so little time left to do my day job!). Oh well back to real work.

Message: Posted by: the_houdini_jester (May 18, 2005 04:28PM)
It is completely fine just get very good and then you could get another set after your good
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 19, 2005 06:53PM)
On 2005-05-18 17:28, the_houdini_jester wrote:
...you could get another set after your good.

Just for argument's sake, that's not always true. Sometimes cheap props hold you back from getting any better. There are some things you just can't do unless you have some of the higher grade stuff.

But in this case, the Bazar de Magia cups fall into the "perfectly fine for now" category. If he had anything else cheaper I'd suggest donating them to a budding new magician and buying something better.
Message: Posted by: Roland Henning (May 19, 2005 07:38PM)
In my very first set of the Cups and Balls, one of the cups was a Chop Cup. I threw the thing in the corner. That's why I do a 2 Cup routine. I have never used the Chop Cup ever since.