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Ron Giesecke
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Andrew,

Those cups are really cool. I happen to have a brass set of the "Sisti Cups." I couldn't ask for anything more.

I'd like to see your routine some day (and to catch you in your own audience as well).

Ron Giesecke
MagiUlysses
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Danny, Harry, Payne, George et al

Many thanks for all your posts. You are a wealth of information, and to share it so freely is a treasure. That's a hint to the new lurkers ... search this forum and site for some of the best info and opinions on the web!

Thanks for the tips on the cups, and the historic references. I think a set of Cellini cups are on my 2003 Christmas List.

Now to hit the bricks and share the magic.

Joe in KC
Pokie-Poke
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Whit, thanks for the info. I do not doubt the workmanship that is involved in making the cups. But as cups and balls are my lattest craze, I want to know all I can about them. I will be needing a larger set by summer if my plan is to work, but as I try to make all my props pay for them selves, I have to be careful as to not waste to mutch on props that I will later replace.
The flower pots struck my fancy as it is an every day thing, not a prop. People tend to look at shiny "Pro" stuff as if there must be a gimic and anyone could do it if thay had the gimic. I hate that.
www.pokie-poke.com
The Adventure cont...
ASW
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Pokie,

A tarnished set of copper cups doesn't look anything like a fancy magic prop. To my mind they look like a classical item - an icon of magic straight out of the middle ages. I think audiences see them as props - but not in the way they would some fancy box covered in stars. They see the cups the balls, the wand and it strikes a chord in a lot of people. It just looks right - even if they think, hmmm, con game.

Most good street workers would hand each cup out for inspection at the beginning anway. Once a handful of spectators gets to see the cups are plain steel cups - they'll stop thinking they're odd (if they ever did).

Ron - my cups and balls routine is nothing special. Just a 'cut to the chase' version of the Vernon routine with some bits from Benatar and Thompson. I'm sure yours is way better than mine - I'm more of a card guy.

I love street magic but have only done it a couple of times (at venues like our National Museum, working their pre-launch open day) so I'm not qualified to give advice in the way that guys like Danny Hustle are!

Best
Andrew
Whenever I find myself gripping anything too tightly I just ask myself "How would Guy Hollingworth hold this?"

A magician on the Genii Forum

"I would respect VIPs if they respect history."

Hideo Kato
Whit Haydn
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I really love this forum. There is so much good thought and helpful sharing here. Danny, Harry and the rest have been most informative.

And I agree thoroughly with my friend Andrew. The copper cups especially look ancient and have a "classic" feel to the spectators. The tarnished cup is the best in my opinion, not only for the "old" look, but because they contrast better with the balls (which I think should be bright--yellow or white).

The cups should not draw the eye as much as the ball--the balls are the stars of the trick. When the cups are too shiny, I think that they detract from the effect. One reason that I do not like the brass cups, is that they don't look good tarnished, and that if they are lacquer-coated, the coating will scratch and wear badly eventually. Keeping them polished is a pain in the butt, and when they are shined, they seem too shiny for my taste, and the balls don't show up well against them.

The School for Scoundrels is going to be putting out a new set of Gazzo Street cups soon. These are identical to the large copper sets we have now, but will be made of silver-pewter.

This is a unique pewter which shines with a rich silverlike gleam, but never tarnishes. These are not as shiny as steel or chrome cups, but have a good expensive lustre which I like a lot. Gazzo raves ecstatic about them.

These should be coming out within a couple of months. We will have a booth at World Magic Seminar next week where you can see the copper Gazzo Street Cups, which I think are among the finest available, as well as the Gazzo giberciere and street table.

There is no one set of cups that is the best. So much depends on the individual tastes and needs of the performer. I have a large collection of cups, myself, and use different sets for different situations.

I would like to point out to all of you, that the market now is full of wonderful sets of cups that are each unique and have different things going for them.

Over the past forty years I have spent in magic this has never been the case. Soon, I fear they will all be gone again, and they will probably all be collector's items.

It is the recent resurgence in street magic, the popularity of Cellini and Gazzo's recent puplished work, the rise of the internet that enables producers to get in touch with this limited market, and the general popularity of magic that has made this possible.

But the expense of this kind of craftsmanship and the price of metal has become much higher, and will probably go higher still in the future. There are very few people left who can handspin heavy metal. The cost of machining cups like Joe Porper's has also gone up with the cost of metal.

So I would like to point out to the wise, that it is the best time in the last forty years to purchase a set of great cups. I am so glad that twenty years ago I spent $40 at Magic, Inc for a beautiful set of hand spun Bertram/Miller cups. At the time I thought they were really expensive.

Now you have a wide choice of great cups available at what I think are really fair prices. Twenty years from now these prices will seem like a steal, and there probably will not be a similar flux of new cups available at that future time.

You guys will be fighting over these same items, and paying a fortune for them, and the collectors will be upset that you are scratching up these beautiful "collectible" pieces using them for actual performances.

Word.
Ron Giesecke
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I agree with you Whit. I have personally gleaned more from this Street Performing area than any other to date (Danny Hustle has given me ideas that, had I learned them from a book, would be "worth the price of it alone")

I only perform street a few times a year, although not for hat, but for a local business association that puts on street festivals. I really do love it, despite the occasional, figurative bruise.

Since the people in this arena really do contend with the "human element," devoid of any artifical posturing, I believe the best advice is thus delivered. While not all street handlings are translatable to the close-up table, there is a subtext of understanding people, and their ebbs and flows that could vastly improve the indoor constituency's outlook on performance.

Andrew, thanks for that cup link. I want a set of those, and I'm saving my money even now.
Whit Haydn
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Those cups are beautiful, Andrew, but I think way too small for the street.

Ron:
I suppose you are thinking of them for your regular close-up act?
Ron Giesecke
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Quote:
Ron:
I suppose you are thinking of them for your regular close-up act?


Absolutely, Whit. Sorry I didn't differenciate. I have a two track-mind.

Like I said earlier, I have the Sisti cups, and they work fine for my work, and get me by on these street-ish things, but I can really see the value of the larger cups and a gib, especially after seeing the Gazzo tape.
ASW
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Hi Whit and Ron

You're right - this is a great forum. (And for some reason the street forum seems to attract more people who are actually performing! At least that's the sense I get.)

You're right, those JES cups are way too small for the street. I would also be paranoid about dropping them as although each cup is quite hefty, copper dings and scratches when you drop it on ashphalt. I would have no qualms about using the Cellinis (really tough build ) and the Galli's - the latter are just PF stage/chick cups and look just like the ones in Gazzo's booklet. These cups look even better when they tarnish and get a few dents in them (check out Gazzos!) so I'm always thumping them with my brass-tipped wand, LOL. (Whit knows all of this so I'm just thinking out loud).

I use the JES cups for formal close up and they are really elegant. They have a perfect heft and feel and have tarnished to a buttery golden brown colour. But the loads need to be limes or nectarines - fine for a parlour but on the small side for a street crowd. The other problem is that while they will nest three standard cork balls, the balls will fall off when you lift the upper cup - no good for the sequence where you vanish each ball and show them appearing one at a time under the bottom stacked cup.

When I use them I skip that sequence - especially as my favourite balls are a largish set that were made for Dai Vernon. They are about an inch with a golden thread covering that has gold metallic streaks in it, covering a super ball. I agree with Whit! Yellow balls are the best! (Better than white, IMO, which can look a bit gray after handling them awhile - yellow seems to cover some of that tardiness).

Ron - you'll love those cups. I only wish you could get a combo set...

The Cellini's won't hold three balls on top (two at most) unless you use slightly smaller ones - but they do allow for a big final load - an orange or baseball. And as I said they ring like church bells when you whack them.

On a final note - hate to give a gratuitous plug for anything other than my own material (joking!) but Whit's published books are some of the best ever. His booklet on the Chicago Opener not only has a great handling (or two) for the effect but has some of the finest theory in print today. I wish Whit would put out a big book on performing with some tricks in it too (hey, I'm greedy) - it would certainly be on a par with books like Our Magic and Strong Magic.

All the best
Andrew
Whenever I find myself gripping anything too tightly I just ask myself "How would Guy Hollingworth hold this?"

A magician on the Genii Forum

"I would respect VIPs if they respect history."

Hideo Kato
Hernan
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There is an American small factory metal miller out there. His name is James Riser his website http://www.jamesriser.com/Cups/SelectingCups.html

This particular page reviews a few differant cup designs. As of october 2002 he was unaware of the Gazzo cups.
This page also tips the craft of making cups.

This year he is coming out with a traditional style.
Whit Haydn
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Thanks for the plug, Andrew. You are absolutely right about everything, imho.
JamesinLA
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Great discussion, everyone. I hadn't realized I would need a new set of cups for street work. My normal cups are only 2 3/4 in diameter and 3.25 tall. Unlike the original question, I'm not looking for a period cup, but just something big enough for street work. After reading around, I guess that a cup with a squat shape helps with the illusion, making the final loads seem that much bigger.
So with that in mind, what does everyone think of the above mentioned Johnson cups at a price of $170? I'm told they are heavy and copper. Are they big enough for the street? Thanks.
Jim

PS: I couldn't find Gali Gali cups last night. I'll do more searching...
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
ASW
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James,

The Johnson cups are brass (eugh!) not copper. You can get the Galli's from Pete Biro at: pete@petebiro.com. Tell him I sent you! And make sure you get copper as they tarnish nicely.

Cheers
Andrew

PS. Whit - you can buy me a beer next time I work the Castle...
Whenever I find myself gripping anything too tightly I just ask myself "How would Guy Hollingworth hold this?"

A magician on the Genii Forum

"I would respect VIPs if they respect history."

Hideo Kato
JamesinLA
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Thanks, Andrew. I thought they might be brass, but the vendor told me copper. I specifically asked him. Hm? I'll have to call him on that. Material aside, do you know if they're big enough for street work? They look smaller than Gazzo cups.
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Danny Hustle
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Jim,

The Johnson cups are much smaller than the Gazzo cups. As a matter of fact, I think you could use the Johnson cups as a final load in the Gazzo cups (The new Gazzo cups, the older ones were smaller).

I use Pete Biro’s cups and they along with Gazzo’s routine are the best magical purchases I have ever made, period. They have both paid for themselves at least 20 times over in the two months I used them last summer in Harvard Square.

Biro’s cups are beautiful to look at and get even nicer with age. The do not look beat up and tarnished when you have used them hard but more weathered with a beautiful patina <Grin>. A lot of cups do not take abuse well, when they get beat up they look it. When these cups get beat up they look magical. It’s nice. They are thinner than both the Gazzo and the Cellini cups and will dent. But they look good dented! At some point I will pick up a set of the big Gazzo cups, but I will not throw away my Biro’s. If you ask me all three sets of these cups are beautiful. But for a circle show where you are going to have or hope to someday have 100 or more people watching you the bigger cups will be a necessity. People will just not be able to see a small lemon coming out from under a small cup.

To go off topic for a second I’d like to point something else out if you’ll bear with me. A lot of people think the bigger load is more effective to the reaction of the audience. I believe that is not the case. The reaction comes from the change from a ball to a lemon or another fruit. You have changed not one but three or six things at the same time to your audience. That is what is impressive. It is not a vanish and an appearance. It is a transformation to them. That is cool when you think about it. Cellini does a doorway size act most of the time, as he prefers the intimacy he can obtain when his audience is close and just a few people. For years he used very small Bertram cups and produced small lemons, limes, peaches, or whatever. When he does the cups and balls it is every bit as stunning and amazing to his audience when the small fruit comes out as it is when a gigantic orange comes out of a big cup. The only difference is really in the size of the audience that you can play it to.

That being said, the other thing to consider when selecting cups is how big of a show do you want to build? The Johnson cups are beautiful as well as the Sisti cups. But they are smaller. If you are putting together a doorway act they might be a better choice than the Biro or Gazzo cups because they pack better and a doorway act is all about portability. It is just one more thing to consider.

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
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Leland
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I had a great experience a few months ago, I went camping with the boyscouts and was asked to perform. I got three plastic cups and some aluminum foil for the balls. I surprised myself at what I was able to acomplish! Not the greatest show of my life but the cups and balls routine went great. I used some of the boys hotwheel cars for the final load. Goes to show you, use what you have! Your mind is the best prop you own!
Life of Magic!
Ron Giesecke
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Andrew,

The fact that mine are brass is the only drawback, although they have tarnished nicely nonetheless.

Copper or bust for me, from now on.

--Ron
mslj
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The Johnson cups area joy to use. They are perfectly balanced, wonderful to hold and chime like a bell. I'm a great believer that sound must play a big part in any cups routine and the Johnsons acheive that easily. As Dan notes they are small but that is not in most cases a drawback (as Dan also notes. However, they are not for the big audience, a large circle. Also if a routine finishes with a melon and a hat I'd suggest that the Johnsons would not be the ideal choice. I think that the balls and final loads and thus the melon have to be congruent in size and the small balls used with the Johnsons along with the small(ish) lemons (for example) would really not match a melon production. Just sticking with the final lemon production, either three or four, is the stongest finish for the Johnsons.

Finally I keep my Johnsons highly polished. Just my opinion but that is their best presentation and when unpolished they look, well unpolished - it doesn't add anything.

On to the Gazzo cups. I have a set of the older model. Just holding these cups makes me feel like a street worker, I get a confidence just from their touch. Now I'm no expert or indeed experienced street magician but these are just a wonderful addition to my street persona. Yes alot of what we do is a reflection of our personality but there is an element of charecterisation. A tarnished set of Gazzo cups look like they belong on the street, people expect magic from them.

Going back to my earlier point the final melon load fits well with cups of this size because the melon and indeed the hat won't dwarf the cups or their final loads.

Regards

Simon
JamesinLA
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Thanks, Danny and Simon, re: Johnson and Biro's cups. Great point, Simon about the size of the cups needing to be proportional to the hat/mellon. Danny, thanks for helping me remember the audience's POV (point of view) that the final loads are transformations not a vanish/appearance. Funny idea actually to use smaller cups as the final loads, which then would have final loads within them too! Though I think that would play best to other magicians. Maybe not? Anyone done that before?
Jim

PS: should the balls themselves be larger to go along with these larger cups? My one inch red balls are okay or too small also?
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Danny Hustle
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Jim,

A 1" ball is perfect size if you ask me. I use Mike Rogers (I miss that guy.) 1" baseballs covered in tinfoil. I only use the tinfoil because it is part of my shtick. Just a plain 1 inch is fine.

Whit is also right about the color. It should be brilliant! The only caveat is you need to be dead sure of your moves. A flash with a bright yellow ball would turn a great trick into an exposition. Although, Some say (and I tend to agree) that it makes the final loads even more powerful if the catch you a bit and think they know what is going on. You lead them down the garden path and then jump out of the bushes at them!

Gazzo even exposes the fourth ball on purpose! I wish I had a buck for every post I’ve seen by some snooty magic guy that goes something like this, “I saw that Gazzo guy, he STINKS! He dropped the fourth ball on the table three shows in a row. What a hack! The man doesn’t know anything about the cups and balls.”

Some folks just do not get it.

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
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