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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Sponges on the Streets (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Brandon Beauchesne
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How do the sponge balls play on the streets? I perform them every once in awhile for friends and such, but is this something that works in front of a large group of people? Also any info on some good routines would be a great help.

-Brandon Beauchesne
TheAmbitiousCard
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Hi Brandon,

Of course sponges can work well on the street if you have an entertaining routine.
This goes way beyond slight of hand and into the realm of entertainment.

Consider this re-combobulted-quote:

"Before you can entertain a crowd with sponge balls you must first be able to entertain a crowd without them."

There's the obvious wind factor but I'm sure you can work something out to solve that problem. Elastic strap, etc.

Routines: I cannot think of a routine that would go well on the street from what's out there right now. You'd have to put several ideas together. Watch comedy performers. See how they get mileage out of simple props and ideas.

The solution you seek is not in the routine itself but audience management, comedy, projecting your personality, etc.

Personally, I use sponge balls as a "building" item and not a showpiece but that might change this year.

You might consider a benson bowl routine instead. But what you add to a simple routine like that to make it funny is the key.

Get your notebook and jot down all the funny things that come to mind as you think of them. From there, your audience will evolve the routine for you over the years as long as you consider the pros and cons of your performances as you gain experience.


Stupid question time: Are you talking about busking or are you talking about "street magic" like david blaine? if you're talking about the later, just ignore everything I wrote, and I can't help you.
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Brandon Beauchesne
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No, when I say street magic I mean real street magic/busking. How awkward would it be just to walk up to someone with two little red balls out of nowhere and be like (Insert David Blaine Voice Here)... "Watch". Yeah, he's one of a kind!
TheAmbitiousCard
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I think anything can be a winner with the right thought put into it.

I did a one ball routine as an opener at an adult birthday party and it got HUGE laughs. And all I did was vanish one ball. But it was done in a very special way with a lot of thought put into the delivery. That's where the work comes in.

The key ingredient is creativity. Make it your own. Make it special and memorable.

Best of luck.
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ROBERT BLAKE
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In my early days I used the sponge balls.
I do a miser's dream kind of routine.

1) 1 ball productions: I produce a ball do a fake transfer and pretend to put the ball in my pocket. I do this all the time. productions from the air - from behind ears (hildren)

2) multiplying balls: in the same pocket I put the ball (pretend) ia have a second ball. I produce right handed a ball (left hand has a ball palmed) I do afake transfer to the left hand and show the ball in left hand. I put this ball in the pocket an the same procedure is done again. on the second time youput the balls together and do the cutting in half to make two balls.

3)the classic sponge ball trick.
nola
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I know a guy who used sponge balls on the street with his cups. He put little fishing weights inside them to stop the wind from whisking them away. I thought it might interfere with the standard sponge move where the two appear in the spectators hand. I was wrong.
nola
Brandon Beauchesne
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Thanks for the info guys. I guess I'll really just have to pick my brain to come up with a good routine.
noland
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I perform a variation of Dick Stoner's sponge ball routine on the street as well as as part of my other stand-up performances. You will find it on one of Stoner's two videos at his web site, wwww.dickstoner.com.

Stoner does a 3 phase routine using two spectators, two balls (apparently) and a fishing net. The purpose of the fishing net is to catch any balls that fall out of a spectator's hand, including in the final phase when the assisting spectator opens his hand and instead of finding the expected two balls in the hand, he's holding a bunch balls that fly out of his hand.

Thanks to the net, they are all caught in the net. The net both allows the performer to do all the magic "in the air"--and therefore plays "bigger" than in your usual close-up style performance-- and ensures that even on a windy day, any fly-away balls land in the net and don't get away from the performer.

All the other material on Stoner's videos is extremely commercial and highly recommended as well.
TheGiz
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Do a Benson Bowl Routine. All you really need is a wand, 2 spongeballs, and a final kicker load. Start in the hand, balls to pocket, and go to the bowl. Let the spectator wave the wand and produce the balls ending with the kicker.
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ed rhodes
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I've only performed "on the street" a few times. Most of those, over twenty years ago. But your comments on sponge balls made me remember something I'd posted here earlier.

While I was at DisneyWorld in 2005, we were in the crowd waiting for Jasmine and Aladdin to show up for autographs and pictures. We were second in line and the family in front of us had a little girl who was getting antsy. So after her mother told her to settle down (and sprayed her with a little mist, it was <hot> out there!) I said; "Wait a minute. I see why she's so antsy." Reach behind her ear and pull out a sponge ball. "She's got one of these stuck back there." (<Never> imply the sponge ball was <in> the ear! Always behind!) I then did the first half of Mark Wilson's Sponge Ball Routine from Cyclopedia of Magic. I stopped because a) it was almost time for A&J to show up and b) for a scary second I couldn't remember the next step! Better to quit than to make a fool of myself!
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troppobob
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G'day Brandon

I do a modified version of the routine form Mark Wilson's Cyclopedia. This routine is explained very well in the book with plenty of pictures and as indicated above is able to be broken down to a series of sections. I like the idea of the net as I do find that the wind is drama at times.

The feed back I get is always positive which I reckon is a good way to determine if an effect is just something I like or if it actually works for the audience. What I have done with the presentation is have a volunteer who will assist me in performing a trick about nothing -n you know we show our hands empty and nothing up the sleeves etc and then I discover one of the balls either "behind" the ear of the assistant or even better a kid from the front row with a really short hair cut.

From there the assistant can be involved in actually performing some of the sections because several of the moves have the magic happening in their hands. It works for me and it is a positive experience for the assistant but you have to watch the wind.

Bob Latta (aka Troppo Bob)
mdspark
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Quote:
On 2007-02-14 19:14, noland wrote:
I perform a variation of Dick Stoner's sponge ball routine on the street as well as as part of my other stand-up performances. You will find it on one of Stoner's two videos at his web site, wwww.dickstoner.com. Stoner does a 3 phase routine using two spectators, two balls (apparently) and a fishing net. The purpose of the fishing net is to catch any balls that fall out of a spectator's hand, including in the final phase when the assisting spectator opens his hand and instead of finding the expected two balls in the hand, he's holding a bunch balls that fly out of his hand. Thanks to the net, they are all caught in the net. The net both allows the performer to do all the magic "in the air"--and therefore plays "bigger" than in your usual close-up style performance-- and ensures that even on a windy day, any fly-away balls land in the net and don't get away from the performer.

All the other material on Stoner's videos is extremely commercial and highly recommended as well.


How did his set up look? Did he or someone hold the net? Was it help by some type of stand or what? I would be very curious to know, this is a great idea thanks for sharing!!

Mark
noland
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The magician invites two spectators up to help him. One stands on his right, one on his left. One is given a fishing net to hold. This is the type of net that consists of netting strung on a hoop at the end of a short handle and is about the size of a tennis racket—I bought one at Sports Authority for about $4.00.

Stoner’s routine is a 3 phase routine initially involving two balls, where the magician apparently gives the spectator who isn’t holding the net one ball to hold in his closed fist, then makes a second ball disappear from the magician’s hand and appear in the spectator’s hand together with the first ball. This same sequence is apparently repeated, but using a different method to introduce the 2nd ball into the spectator’s hand.

In the third and final phase, the spectator who has been holding the net hands it to the other spectator and is given two balls to hold. The magician introduces a third ball, makes it disappear but when the assisting spectator opens his hand, seven or eight balls fly out of his hand. The role of the net in all of this is to catch the balls at the end of each phase when the spectator opens his hand. Thanks to the use of the net, all the magic occurs in the air rather than on top of a table, and the routine can be performed even out of doors on a windy day because the balls are always caught in the net.

I strongly suggest you take a look at Dick Stoner’s video tape, available on his web site, called: “More I Spell Magic F-U-N.” All the other routines on it are first rate, very commercial routines. His other video, called “I Spell Magic F-U-N,” is equally good.
Sammy the Kid
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A tip I use for doing spongeballs on the street: Put some velcro (the coarse part) on your table top, off to one side of course. It holds a spongeball securely in most wind conditions.

Sammy the Kid
Whit Haydn
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Billy McComb's routine, The Stage Sponge Balls is available in pamphlet form.

It would be perfect for the street.
JamesinLA
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Sammy, that is a great tip on the velcro! I will use it since I do sponges a lot on the street.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
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