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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Best cups and balls dvd's (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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tnmagicgator
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Fayetteville, TN
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I'm interested in adding a cups and balls routine to my close-up show. There are several instructional DVD's available but I wanted to find out the opinions of forum frequenters on this topic. Also, when I acquire a set of cups, should I include a chop cup with the set? I assume most high end sets would also offer a chop cup option....is this a correct assumption? Looking forward to your thoughts and suggestions on the DVD's and cups.
Tom Fenton
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If you are a beginner at cups & balls I would recommend the Michael Ammar DVD's, follow these with the Steven's DVD then whatever takes your fancy.
The DVD's I have mentioned gives a really firm foundation to build upon.

High end cups do not come with a chop cup, to get this option go for what is known as a combo set.

It is all very well having this option so long as it is not overused.

As far as cups go, there are some very good sets available here at the Café quite often.
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Best of luck with your journey into the cups & balls.
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dcjames
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Tom's advice is spot on. The Ammar DVDs are the best introduction to the cups and balls. Once you have the basics down there are numerous videos that show different routines. (The Steven's Magic DVD, and WGM Cups & Balls 3 volume DVD set come to mind.)

If you can afford to get a nice combo set,(RNT2 Mendoza's for example) you will have cups that can be used either way. (Just because you have a chop cup in the set doesn't mean you have to use it as such in your routine.)

The reason I mention going with a nicer combo set is because you shouldn't be able to see or feel much of a difference between the straight and gimmicked cups with a high end set. Some of the lesser combo sets have a visible gaff in the chopped cup and feel a bit off balance.

Another benefit of purchasing a combo set is that you will also have a chop cup if you ever want to perform a stand alone chop cup routine.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

Best,

dc
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TravisRobertson
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I also highly recommend Bob White's dvd....Cups and Balls: A Practical Approach. Its a great dvd and he talks about a lot of things that many others overlook. Its definitely worth checking out.
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Billgussen
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Like the people above, I suggest Ammar's 2-DVD set to start out with. He shows you all the moves and setups that you need, and it also comes with a few history lessons regarding the routine as well. A perfect beginner's instruction. By the way, Magic Makers has a video which is a poor copy of Ammar's DVDs.

Ammar gives you all the tools to create your own routine, but he doesn't give you a routine (although he includes a clip of Dai Vernon's routine and explains the opening moves for his own). For routine ideas, the best place to go is the World's Greatest Magic Cups & Balls 3-DVD set. I am most impressed with Volume 1 that includes Dai Vernon, Tommy Wonder, and Frank Garcia and Volume 3 for David Regal's really interesting take and the excellent work by Al Schneider. (Volume 2 is good also, but one is tremendous and I'm so impressed with Al Schneider.) I have not seen the Stephen's Magic DVD so I can't comment on that.

By the way, once you've gone through Ammar's DVDs, and gotten some of the moves down, I really like Dennis Loomis's short book on his Cups and Balls routine for it's concentration on providing misdirection for every sleight. I won't be using his routine, but the way he routined it really taught me something.

Finally, cups and balls can be a big investment. If you know you're going to take the time to build yourself a routine and use it, then going for Johnson cups or the RNT cups right at the start may be worth it, but if you're not 100% sure, I'd go with a cheap set of regular cups (not combo) to lay your groundwork. I think Bill Palmer mentioned that the Uday set is good enough and has a low price. Here is the thread:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......m=115&17

One more thing, I have had the Johnson cups for years and recently become interested in buying the chop cup for a combo-cup routine. But my present set are showing a bit of age, and if I bought a new chop cup, it wouldn't match the rest. If you go for Johnson, get the chop cup at the same time.

Good luck,
Bill
Hansel
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tnmagicgator
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Looks like I'll acquire several DVDs. I have some Ammar DVDs, and they are exceptionally well done. Also have some WGM, and I think Bill's idea of getting these make sense. I have an "old" set of aluminum cups to get started that were given to me many moons ago, but I've never used them. Looks like there are plenty of cups to choose from when I get to the point of performing. Thanks to everyone for all the good advice.
Bill Palmer
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There are several things I would recommend.

1) The Ammar DVDs are by far the best source of information for the beginner and/or the intermediate student. If you can find a copy of the Ammar book on the cups and balls, get it. There is excellent material in there.

2) The Bob White DVD is good, and you should have it, but it is not quite as well organized as the Ammar material. It's almost like having a conversation/demonstration with Bob.

3) To find out what cups are available, check out the Cups and Balls Museum. It is online. Almost every set of cups that is currently made is viewable there.

The Fun, Inc. booklet on the cups and balls is very good. So is Ron Bauer's booklet on the cups and balls.
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aitchy
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Ammar Ammar Ammar!!!

If you've fully mastered everything on those DVDs - you're a world class cupsmith as far as I am concerned.
Bill Palmer
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Bob White has some excellent advice on handling and misdirection that isn't on the Ammar DVD's, but Ammar is the starting point.
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TheAmbitiousCard
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From where I sit, the most important thing that is left out of most routines is the entertainment factor.

I highly doubt that 99% of spectators really care where the balls go, what happens to them, or how you're doing it.

When I started doing Cellini's routine outdoors for spectators, people walked away halfway thru, and right at one of the coolest parts. I could not figure it out.

So I whittled, snipped, changed, and modified the phases. I came up with lines, and bits and gags that were funny or surprising. I no longer knew where the balls would end up after each phase. And eventually everyone stayed. But that was several years later.

If you're going to do a straight routine, a la vernon's, a room full of magicians will politely applaud after each phase. If you add dexterity and a little flash in how you handle the cups/wand/balls, that will help.

But in the end, you usually need some witty, or smart, or interesting, or funny lines to make it entertaining for a paid gig.

Now the balls are here, now they're here, and here, and here, and now there are a bunch of oranges... just doesn't cut it.
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Jeffrey Cowan
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David Williamson's first DVD/video "Sleight of Dave" contains a superb routine (2 cups), and perhaps the best tips and explanations for certain techniques that I have seen. I'd put it and Bob White's at the top of your list, along with the Stevens compilation dvd.

By the way, Frank Starcini is spot on about the need to make the trick compelling/engaging. You might want to study Bob Read's work on the trick. The great thing about guys like him, Williamson, Gazzo and Bob Sheets is that the use the trick as a vehicle to showcase for their personality.
Sir Richard
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Quote:
On 2010-01-02 12:52, Frank Starsini wrote:
From where I sit, the most important thing that is left out of most routines is the entertainment factor.

I highly doubt that 99% of spectators really care where the balls go, what happens to them, or how you're doing it.

When I started doing Cellini's routine outdoors for spectators, people walked away halfway thru, and right at one of the coolest parts. I could not figure it out.

So I whittled, snipped, changed, and modified the phases. I came up with lines, and bits and gags that were funny or surprising. I no longer knew where the balls would end up after each phase. And eventually everyone stayed. But that was several years later.

If you're going to do a straight routine, a la vernon's, a room full of magicians will politely applaud after each phase. If you add dexterity and a little flash in how you handle the cups/wand/balls, that will help.

But in the end, you usually need some witty, or smart, or interesting, or funny lines to make it entertaining for a paid gig.

Now the balls are here, now they're here, and here, and here, and now there are a bunch of oranges... just doesn't cut it.
I'm in total agreement here! As I've mentioned before, I once had the unique opportunity to watch a then very young Cellini perform his C. & B. routine over & over again at a convention we were both at in Denver Co. (1979 or '80.) His entertainment factor is what got my attention the most.! Saying that, since then I've bought the Ammar DVD set, David Regal, Gazzo, & Bill Malone...Right now I do Malone's version of "Rub-a-Dub-Dub" the most. It can even be done with a small plastic "El Cheapo" set, although I have a small set that Magic Makers makes myself for really close-up.

Sir Richard.
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Billgussen
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Just as a side note to Sir Richard's post. Both David Regal's and Bill Malone's routines are on Vol. 3 of the WGM Cup & Balls DVD.

I wish I could use Bill Malone's Rub-a-Dub-Dub, but most of my audiences are Japanese...

Bill
Hansel
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I have the same problem with the spanish...but Malones routine is Great!
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magus-inc
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Hi, does anyone use the cups and balls routine for either a wedding or a corporate event.

I love the idea that the effect is exceptionally old but is it practical to use at a large event.
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Bill Palmer
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Lots of people do.
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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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trickymagic
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Im suprised not to see Paul Gertner's Steel and Silver on here. I love this routine and dvd set.
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Bill Palmer
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Paul Gertner's Steel and Silver routine is one of the best. However, I don't think it is a good platform for a magician to make his entry into the cups and balls. It requires a bit more precision than the average routine.

If you aren't from a "steel town," the routine will have to be rescripted, as well.

Go back to the original post and think about the context where the poster will be using the routine.

The main thing is to be able to entertain the audience with your routine. The biggest advantage I see in the Ammar DVD set is that they give the person who is just starting his journey into the cups and balls a simple, but effective starting routine, a more advanced routine, the Vernon routine and Ammar's routine.

It's not something you learn to do in an afternoon or even a month of afternoons.

Learn the bare basics. Then figure out where you are going to start and end. The rest of what goes on is the journey, and that's where the entertainment is.

Even though the David Williamson routine is great and the Vernon routine is great, I wouldn't base my own routine on either of these. I would figure out exactly what I have just mentioned, and use that for the journey.

One of the main things about the cups and balls is also one of the main things about painting, sculpture and music. You have to know when you have finished. Then you stop.
"The Swatter"

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Swann101
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I am also suprised not to see Tommy Wonder being mentioned. Although this might also not be seen as a entry routine, his got some amazing ideas. I loved the theory behind all his moves and it has definately been one of the best routines I have ever seen!
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