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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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Andrew Zuber
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Kent's routine is indeed awesome. It's a pleasure to read through.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
Bill Palmer
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It's an even bigger pleasure to see "live."
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Tom Fenton
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Someday...sigh
"But there isn't a door"
Woland
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I don't know whether it was ever recorded, but James Randi has nice things to say about Charles Reynolds's Cups & Balls routine, in the obituary notice he published a few days ago:

Quote:
Charlie was also a very accomplished sleight-of-hand performer, and could bring an audience of professional and amateur magicians to their feet with cheers as he carried off a routine such as the Cups and Balls, in which a set of metal cups inverted over a simple ball would confound the spectators’ expectations of just where that mystically furtive object could be found at any given time, only to end up in Charlie’s pocket while lemons or baseballs dropped out of the just-emptied cups… It was a classic, a wonder, a stunner, an illusion, a beautiful prestidigitation from the hands of a master.


-and-

Quote:
Yes, Charlie Reynolds lived a long, productive, and exciting life. One cannot really expect more, I guess. He was not only very talented, he was a fine human being. He was my friend for some half-century or more, a valued buddy. I will miss him greatly, and every time I see a performance of the Cups and Balls routine, I will compare it with his…

I will try to be kind.


Thought the readers of this forum might find that of interest.

Woland
Dale Houck
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Dakota J Magic at Saint Cloud, FL
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I agree the Ammar and Bob White DVDs are the place to go as far as DVDs are concerned when starting out. As a "buffet" type of viewing and learning, I recommend the Volume 3 of the World's Greatest Magic Cups and Balls. It has Bill Malone's version of Rub-A-Dub-Dub (which in my mind I still think of as Michael Skinner's routine, even though it's a lot older than even Skinner's performances) and David Regal's Cups and Cups and Balls and Balls. The real jewel (for me) on that DVD is Al Schneider's explanation of his routine. I think Al is a lot like Tommy Wonder in his attention to detail and making the moves seem natural. I think they both take/took their routines to the highest levels of perfection.
Magic is where you find it.....
Bill Palmer
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This reminds me of people learning to play a musical instrument. I taught guitar and banjo for a couple of decades -- sometimes when work is scarce, you take advantage of your other skills. Smile

I used to have people come in to my studio and say, "I want to play the banjo just like Earl Scruggs or just like Larry McNeely." To tell the truth, there are very few players who can do that, even after YEARS of work.

But they all have to start at the same place -- basic chords, basic left hand technique, basic right hand technique and basic ear training. Granted, unless a person is absolutely devoid of any musical talent whatsoever, I can have him/her playing "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" in two months. But what will they know? They will know one song. That's it. Period. They won't know how to play the banjo.

The next time you watch one of these Chinese magic acts that have won a competition in Europe, bear in mind that for the most part, that act is ALL THEY KNOW about magic.

At the combined convention in Louisville, KY, a couple of years ago, a friend of mine spoke at length with one of the competitors who did a really beautiful manipulative act. He learned that she didn't even know what a TT is. She couldn't do a DL. She did her act. That was it.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Dale Houck
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Dakota J Magic at Saint Cloud, FL
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I don't think I've ever read any magic books as fascinating as "The Books of Wonder." However, to watch Tommy Wonder's performance and explanation on the DVD set "Visions of Wonder" was also enlightening. In his books and the dialogue on the Visions of Wonder, you could almost see the magical wheels turning. I also have Ammar's Cups and Balls book as well as his DVDs. Even though I recommended Ammar's DVSs as the place to go when starting out, it was because this thread is about DVDs. In truth, I haven't watched but about 50% of his DVDs because I think they move too slow. I'd rather skim through the book again.

When reading through this thread, I didn't see any mention of Al Schneider, and to me, Al deserved mentioning. I can see similarities in his and Tommy Wonder's thinking processes. Both men go beyond explaining how their routines work into some valuable teaching tools that could benefit many people. I don't think there's any more danger in someone imitating Al Schneider or Tommy Wonder by watching their performances than there is in imitating Michael Ammar by watching his DVDs.

You can't learn to do a cups and balls routine by watching The World's Greatest Magic Cups and Balls DVDs. But, you can learn some things that will help build your foundation if you have an open mind.
Magic is where you find it.....
Swann101
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I have heard the same story about some of the chinese acts. That is so strange, it is almost like a factory making magic robots.
Woland
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In China, and I think in India as well, the population is large enough to allow for intensive specialization. Thus you can find a chef in India whose specialty may be a biryani for 50 people, and another chef who makes a biryani for 150 people. Based on the size of your gathering, you hire your chef. Similarly with the performing arts. In India a man will traditionally have inherited his occupation as part of his place in the caste system, in China the arts are also hereditary, and training is often restricted to members of the clan. For an interesting Chinese film about a man whose life was devoted to one effect, Bian Lian or face changing, I recommend "King of Masks" directed by Wu Tian-Ming in 1996.

Woland
Bill Palmer
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In China, magic is part of the Chinese opera system. This includes acrobatics, the opera, itself, stage fighting and a host of other similar related arts. The Chinese have branched out into Western style magic, without gaining any of the grounding in the traditions behind it or the foundations of it.

It has some similarity to the old Soviet system. NONE of these performers is asked what they want to be when they grow up. They do not have any choice in the matter. If the governing board decides that the child is best qualified to do back palms and ballet, then the child will undergo intensive training in just the things necessary to produce one outstanding magic act, which will be designed for them. There is NO artistic freedom. In fact, there is NO freedom.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Woland
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Quite a sobering reflexion, Mr. Palmer. There is no freedom in the traditional caste system, either. We are fortunate to live in a different kind of society, I think.

Woland
Dale Houck
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Dakota J Magic at Saint Cloud, FL
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Quote:
On 2010-11-21 18:49, Bill Palmer wrote:
In China, magic is part of the Chinese opera system. This includes acrobatics, the opera, itself, stage fighting and a host of other similar related arts. The Chinese have branched out into Western style magic, without gaining any of the grounding in the traditions behind it or the foundations of it.

It has some similarity to the old Soviet system. NONE of these performers is asked what they want to be when they grow up. They do not have any choice in the matter. If the governing board decides that the child is best qualified to do back palms and ballet, then the child will undergo intensive training in just the things necessary to produce one outstanding magic act, which will be designed for them. There is NO artistic freedom. In fact, there is NO freedom.


The people in China have no freedom of the press nor can they criticize their government without suffering the consequences of prison or worse. You also can't own land in China. You can own a home or apartment, but the government owns the land underneath the improvements. But as far as everyday life is concerned, the people of China have a great deal of freedom. It's de facto freedom in many cases rather than de jure freedom. For example, according to the "law" if you are from a family of farmers, you're supposed to be a farmer too. You aren't supposed to be able to move to a city and work in industry or whatever. In fact, tens of millions or hundreds of millions have moved to the cities to work anyway. Supposedly there's a one woman - one baby law. That's also not followed if you are a family of means. Organized crime is against the law as well, but organized crime is huge in the cities. When I was in my wife's home city of Chongqing in the summer of 2009, there was a sting where about 100 members of a crime family were arrested and their pictures displayed in the local (state controlled) newspaper.

I've been to China four times. My wife owns an apartment there and we try to get back there about every other year. It's a fascinating place, but I definitely wouldn't want to live there. I've seen some "magic" at the Beijing Opera. The opera stars who do the rapid mask changes are amazing. Their art is a closely guarded secret and often passed down from generation to generation in the same family.

Interestingly, in my four trips to China I never saw a single handgun. I saw a lot of policemen, but they were unarmed. I saw a lot of military people at the Beijing and Shanghai airports, but even then there were no weapons.

The Chinese propaganda machine works well on the masses. Chairman Mao is revered there like George Washington is here. Many people (like my wife's parents) believe that China peacefully liberated Tibet in 1951 from western influence and that the Dalai Lama is a western puppet. But, politics and freedom of speech excepted, there are a lot of freedoms in China, including the freedom to become a millionaire. China is Communist, but definitely NOT socialist.
Magic is where you find it.....
Woland
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Dale,

I agree that the Chinese people seem very "free" in their daily lives. One gets a very different feel in Beijing than in Seoul, or I imagine, Tokyo.

Woland
inaciolino
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The Ammar DVDs are the best for beginners. WGM set is awsome too. Mr. wonder has a verry inteligent routine too. Bill Malones's version is so clever and fun. Gazzo is well known for this effect. Some of the material in this thread I don't know but I'm very curious of them. See you!!!
WesleyBryan
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I will definitely get the Ammar set. I worked a festival this past weekend and used the routine that Mark Wilson teaches in his Magic Course book.
Michael Landes
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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.


Yes. And thanks.
WingChun
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Daryl has produced a dvd on cups and balls quite recently. I don't see any mention of it in this thread. Why? I don't own this dvd so I'm just curious to know your opinion of it, considering the title of the thread. Thanks.
RobbinMarksMagic
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Yann Frisch is one of the the best I have seen. I just wish he would come out with a DVD. His cups and balls routine is a bit unconventional though.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy0T-55dru4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSxfP1FzO7o
"Money is how people without talent keep score."
BeThePlunk
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I'll add Suzanne's C&B routine to this list.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGC-hmrVpmU

I think that its value for a beginner is: (1) It's an example of a different approach. It's set within a story, the same sort of approach that makes Kent Gunn's routine even more special than his clever manipulation. (2) As she explains in her recent DVD, the core moves are Al Schneider's routine -- something I hadn't picked up until I heard her say it and went back for another look. The lesson (as others have indicated) is that the entertainment is in the presentation not technical skill alone. And don't get me wrong, her techical skills and misdirection are very sharp. She didn't win Close-up Magician of the Year for nothin'.

And while I'm on the topic, I'll hype her new DVD. I found it a rich resource -- something new each time you watch.
tomsk192
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As well as adding my vote for Kent (ooh, he's a popular bloke), I would mention Ken Brooke's routine. It is taught by Cameron Francis, and is available from Rachel Colombini, or as a download from Cameron.

I'm currently having a lot of fun (and frustration) creating a three ball, non-stacking routine. Brooke's routine is a polished little three-ball masterpiece, and is well worth looking at.
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