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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Best Zombie ball for gimmick-less routine? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Quote:
On 2011-07-16 13:40, makeupguy wrote:
Ian:

I saw you perform your "floating ball/ zombie" at Tannens magic camp in 1984 in near blackness in what was then the new theater at the Oaklawn Military Academy... You said THEN (28 years ago) that you were on the verge of releasing it.

It's never come out.

I can only assume that is because
a) you're the only one who can do it.. via real magical powers or something
b) you can't really do it at all and it's just camera trickery.. when it's live.. it's merely a projection
c) it's not practical.. and can only be performed in near dark and only under very special circumstances.

poop or get off the pot.

On an unrelated note.. I don't think that a plastic christmas ornament ball has enough weight for the momentum needed for contact juggling.

You got me,
a) I am probably the only one who can do it, but I discussed it with a guy named Jeff (forgot his last name- he has a zombie dvd out) and he was working on some moves as well with a similar gimmick.
b) no cameras
c) Is most correct, but it doesn't stop me from trying. I did it with very god lighting at the video show (which was in 2007), but I had good audience position, the video was shot from the side of the stage, so I darkened it.

I have released it to a few magicians. One guy was floating a gun in a 007 theme. Another floated a candle.
I am working on brighter lighting conditions with black art back drop and lights toward the audience.
-------------
I only mention my effect when zombie conversations arise on the Café and I get a lot of PM inquiries, so, it may seem excessive to some of the professional posters who follow zombie threads but I get what I need out of it.
Glad you were ther years ago.
---------
On a release note: I only sold through distributors years ago and was going to release it but Robbins already carried my "Spirit ball", and Tannens did not want to compete with Spina's astrosphere which looked similar. So, I shelved it and only take it out every 30 years or so.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Marc Christopher
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@lawrens: Thank you for your suggestion. I have, indeed, already thought about doing a few moves from contact juggling to convey the impression that the ball floats. I would like to try the mime techniques, as well, however. Just have to find a way to combine those two.

@Walt: Thank you very much for your PM and your help! That was more or less exactly the information I was hoping for. Much appreciated. (I guess, I'll order a ball today.)

@Michael: You may be right in that Crowe's routine might look more impressive to magicians than to laymen (if I understood your point correctly?). I admit, it might be easier to convey a "magical impression" (whatever that might be) with gimmicks that with a routine like Crowe's.
To me, however, there lies a certain poetic aesthetic in conveying the impression of magic by pure movement, i.e. mime. I don't care so much, if my audience knows how "it's done". If I can make them open up, so that they experience the magic, *even though* they know how it's done, I have achieved, what, to me, (magical) theater is all about.

@Ian (magicians): Your video is nice and your technique looks undeniably interesting. However, I was specifically asking for help with gimmick-less methods - and I did not just mean "standard-gimmick-less" methods.
In particular, I was interested in which balls are best suited for Crowe's technique (considering weight, size, d***h and w***h of the h**e and so on). While your method might use some very basic mime moves, as well, having seen your video has not really helped me find a suitable ball.
No offense, but it seems your postings have turned the thread into a discussion of gimmicks again. You wrote: "I mention my effect when zombie conversations arise on the Café and I get a lot of PM inquiries, so, it may seem excessive (...) but I get what I need out of it." I guess, that's what's called "thread hijacking": http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.ph......ijacking
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Quote:
On 2011-07-17 05:44, Marc Christopher wrote:


@Michael: You may be right in that Crowe's routine might look more impressive to magicians than to laymen (if I understood your point correctly?). I admit, it might be easier to convey a "magical impression" (whatever that might be) with gimmicks that with a routine like Crowe's.


This is not exactly what I was saying. I think Crowe is an excellent magician. I don't necessarily think though, that everyone else is (although some are). In order to perform via these methods, at this level, one has to take the "magic" well beyond what the audience understands as commonplace. otherwise, there is no magic.

As I said, I was playing Devil's Advocate. The reason was simple... to encourage the magician not to stop thinking too soon. It is for exactly the same reason that many Zombie performances suck. Those magicians are incapable, or unwilling to put forth the effort to turn methods into magic.

Quote:
To me, however, there lies a certain poetic aesthetic in conveying the impression of magic by pure movement, i.e. mime. I don't care so much, if my audience knows how "it's done". If I can make them open up, so that they experience the magic, *even though* they know how it's done, I have achieved, what, to me, (magical) theater is all about.




Therein lies a fundamental difference... It is perfectly acceptable to entertain and impress an audience with movement, dance, juggling, or whatever "understandable" means may be employed. I am confident that your performances are that and perhaps more. However, such performances (with no direct reference to yours) while perhaps "magical" and beautiful, are by definition, performance art. It has always been my contention that "magic" requires mystery at its core. Magic defies logical and physical explanation. Worldly understanding must elude the observer.

From an audience's viewpoint, how something is done, and how it feels, while perhaps intertwined, are two completely different things.

A gimmickless ball routine can certainly be beautiful, But I feel that even the tiniest of glints that say without question that the ball is unnattached will do wonders for amplifying the "magic" of the rest of the routine. Methods that employ gimmicks, such as Zombie or Okito Ball, if used in combination, can tremendously augment a gimmickless routine and support the "magic". This would be true even if the gimmick method were employed only for a brief second. It has already been shown that ungimmicked methods (whether or not you consider the thumb a gimmick) can augment an otherwise gimmicked routine.
~michael baker
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Quote:

On an unrelated note.. I don't think that a plastic christmas ornament ball has enough weight for the momentum needed for contact juggling.


Quite right. Neither would a metal zombie. Crowe's routine doesn't involve body rolls, butterflies etc. It uses mime rather than what we think of as contact juggling.
Crowe says he uses a plastic ball for his routine.
If you did try to do contact juggling with a zombie you would give the game away...
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On 2011-07-17 11:36, Michael Baker wrote:
This is not exactly what I was saying. I think Crowe is an excellent magician. I don't necessarily think though, that everyone else is (although some are). In order to perform via these methods, at this level, one has to take the "magic" well beyond what the audience understands as commonplace. otherwise, there is no magic.


I totally agree.


Quote:
Quote:
To me, however, there lies a certain poetic aesthetic in conveying the impression of magic by pure movement, i.e. mime. I don't care so much, if my audience knows how "it's done". If I can make them open up, so that they experience the magic, *even though* they know how it's done, I have achieved, what, to me, (magical) theater is all about.


Therein lies a fundamental difference... It is perfectly acceptable to entertain and impress an audience with movement, dance, juggling, or whatever "understandable" means may be employed. (...) However, such performances, while perhaps "magical" and beautiful, are by definition, performance art. It has always been my contention that "magic" requires mystery at its core. Magic defies logical and physical explanation. Worldly understanding must elude the observer. (...)


Hmm, I see your point and to a certain degree I can agree to what you are saying. I don't want to take this rather philosophical discussion too far (not in this thread, at least), so let me say just this:

Dance, juggling, mime and other forms of performance art are really just that: performance art. I would definitely not put them on a level with what we call "magic". (And by saying this I do not want to belittle these performances.)
When I am saying that I don't care much if the audience knows "how it's done", I mean exactly that. I do not mean, however, that I don't want to use any secret techniques at all. Of course, I do. After all, obscuring the exact techniques for achieving a certain effect is exactly what sets magicians apart from, say, (contact) jugglers.
Nonetheless, I have to say, I really don't care much, if my audience happens to know my techniques (from books, the masked magician or whatever). I do not want to reduce "magic" to the secrets and gimmicks.

What is more, I feel that it is very difficult to make a "gimmicky" performance look "gimmick-less", no matter how expertly the gimmick is handled. I guess, I am okay with using, say, the Zombie gimmick very sparingly. Maybe as a "bonus" at the end of an otherwise purely gimmick-less routine.
But in general, I think, an intelligent audience will always attribute routines that seem "too magical" to "some unknown device". With performances based on movement, mime, (mis-)direction, focus etc. they at least give the performer credit for being the one who creates the magic.

But, again, I do not want to carry this too far. Maybe in another thread?
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Marc Christopher, I totally disagree with your comments in the above post. I can only say if you truly feel that way, perhaps you are in the wrong Internet forum altogether. Coming on a Magic forum and asking how to present a trick putting aside all the known advantages is puzzling and gutsy of you as well. Most magicians just work it out for themselves then prove their intention through winning a competition or giving a great performance.

In magic, we want our audiences to enjoy the presentation and at the same time wonder if what they are seeing is truly possible. That is where the mystery comes into play for magic.

Perhaps if you go to some magic conventions and witness professional magician from around the world perform you may get a chance to view a truly mystifying floating ball effect. I know I have, and it was delightful.
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@wmhegbli: I am not sure what provoked you to post such a harsh reply to what I have written.

As you might know, in magic there is usually more than one method for presenting an effect: some methods use gimmicks and gaffs, some don't. Take, e.g., the effect known as the "Invisible Deck": As you might know, the deck is gimmicked. But a lot of magicians have tried to achieve the same effect with an ordinary deck of cards. Would you also argue that these magicians are "putting aside all the known advantages" and that they, too, would be wrong in this forum?

I merely asked for help with finding a suitable ball for a routine by Raymond Crowe, whose work I find amazing. Mr. Crowe chose to use mime techniques for presenting an effect, which is usually performed with a gimmick. I do not know, what made Mr. Crowe develop a gimmick-less routine, but he did an amazing job, don't you think? So, what is wrong or "gutsy" in asking for help with that exact routine?

Finally, I would like to ask you not to take your arguments down to the personal level. You are implying that I'm inexperienced. Let me tell you that I have performed magic professionally for many years, been at a lot of conventions, witnessed a lot of professional magicians and participated in a few championships. But all of that is besides the point of this thread. So, let's keep that out of the discussions.
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Quote:
... so let me say just this:

Dance, juggling, mime and other forms of performance art are really just that: performance art. I would definitely not put them on a level with what we call "magic". (And by saying this I do not want to belittle these performances.)
When I am saying that I don't care much if the audience knows "how it's done", I mean exactly that. I do not mean, however, that I don't want to use any secret techniques at all. Of course, I do. After all, obscuring the exact techniques for achieving a certain effect is exactly what sets magicians apart from, say, (contact) jugglers.
Nonetheless, I have to say, I really don't care much, if my audience happens to know my techniques (from books, the masked magician or whatever). I do not want to reduce "magic" to the secrets and gimmicks.

What is more, I feel that it is very difficult to make a "gimmicky" performance look "gimmick-less", no matter how expertly the gimmick is handled. I guess, I am okay with using, say, the Zombie gimmick very sparingly. Maybe as a "bonus" at the end of an otherwise purely gimmick-less routine.

But in general, I think, an intelligent audience will always attribute routines that seem "too magical" to "some unknown device". With performances based on movement, mime, (mis-)direction, focus etc. they at least give the performer credit for being the one who creates the magic.

But, again, I do not want to carry this too far. Maybe in another thread?


Your own words caused my comments. It sounds like you totally have no respect for the art of magic, or you don't understand what magic is and how it should be presented. I you want to go in another direction then magic, that is fine. This is not the forum for creating a new art form. I see it as disrespecting the art of Magic.

Your question on the ball was answered in the 1st few posts.

Oh, and I never heard of you, so sorry, but I don't know who you are and what you have accomplished.
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Marc Christopher
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Your own words caused my comments. It sounds like you totally have no respect for the art of magic, or you don't understand what magic is and how it should be presented. I you want to go in another direction then magic, that is fine. This is not the forum for creating a new art form. I see it as disrespecting the art of Magic.


First of all: Who are you to define with any authority "what magic is and how it should be presented"? If you have never met any magician who had a different opinion than you, I suggest you head over to the forum "Food for Thought", where a lot of knowledgable magicians discuss these and other questions.

I don't see how "creating a new art form" based on techniques from the "art of magic" could be seen as disprespecting that very art? But, in any case, I am not trying to do this.

I wrote: "I do not want to reduce magic to the secrets and gimmicks." How is this disrespectful? I am trying to use what I learned in illusionary mime and physical theatre to enhance what my audience experiences during my performances. And I really cannot think of a better way of showing my respect for the art of magic than trying to enhance it.
Or is there a limit as to how I am allowed to approach magic? Do I HAVE to use gimmicks to show my respect? Does Raymond Crowe not respect the art of magic?

Finally, yes, my question was indeed answered in the first few posts. However, Michael Baker offered some interesting thoughts to what I wrote. These I wanted to reply to.
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You don't seem to stay on with what you are saying. It was your words and how you said it. So who are you to say these things. It is not my understanding of magic, it is documented history. Read Dariel Fitzkee trilogy.
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I cannot easily respond to you, if you don't tell me, what you mean. What is it exactly that I wrote that you find so disrespectful? What are you referring to by "these things" and who do you think I have to be to say them? What is "documented history" and how have I contradicted that history?

I did read Fitzkee. And many others.
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If you are a good mime, you can use the stick with the zombie and make it look like real magic. It's all in the attitude. Please check out Tommy Wonder's take on it and you will change your mind. And also it will solve your problem. My mime teacher was not a magician, but everything he did looked like magic. He said his goal was not to create dance like moves, but to blow away the minds of the audience. He did this by creating the illusion so well that what he did looked real even though the audience knew there was nothing there. He attacked his techniques like a magician.
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These plastic Zombie balls from Fab Magic look interesting http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-55079769872886_2163_91613167

Or how about http://Yardlover.com/silver-stainless-steel-gazing-ball These are stainless steel and come in a variety of colors. The turquoise stardust looks very attractive!
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Quote:
On 2011-07-17 14:38, Marc Christopher wrote:
I do not want to reduce "magic" to the secrets and gimmicks.

Of course, neither do I! Smile
Quote:
What is more, I feel that it is very difficult to make a "gimmicky" performance look "gimmick-less", no matter how expertly the gimmick is handled. I guess, I am okay with using, say, the Zombie gimmick very sparingly. Maybe as a "bonus" at the end of an otherwise purely gimmick-less routine.
But in general, I think, an intelligent audience will always attribute routines that seem "too magical" to "some unknown device". With performances based on movement, mime, (mis-)direction, focus etc. they at least give the performer credit for being the one who creates the magic.

This is precisely why I think we are NOT on opposite sides of the fence here. This is not a matter of all or nothing. Please allow me to lay out an example...

Suppose a magician decided to create, or recreate a Zombie routine that relied on mime techniques to accomplish the illusion of a ball defying gravity. The audience would very likely surmise that the illusion was created by exactly the methods used... regardless of how much they enjoyed the routine, or "suspended disbelief", etc. This in itself is not a problem.

However to me, this presents the ideal opportunity and the best time to hand them a brief second that unequivocally destroys what they believe to be the truth. Nothing need be done overtly, but it must defy all logic up unto that point.

Let's assume that they are at a point where they have become accustomed to seeing the ball tossed from one hand to the other, only a few inches perhaps. But then, at the proper moment the ball is tossed but instead of the expected outcome, the ball travels those few inches in slow motion. This episode lasts but a mere 1 1/2 seconds, but forces the audience to completely doubt what they think they know. By then, the magician is back to the methods originally employed, i.e., no gimmick.

Such a routining technique would avoid the problem you mentioned of a "too magical" performance.
Quote:
But, again, I do not want to carry this too far. Maybe in another thread?

If there is more to discuss. Smile
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The idea of the non gimmick is not to be a purest. A gimmick may be the perfect solution if it does its job and that is fool the audience. The trouble with most people that do the zombie is that it looks like a ball on a stick. The object of the Naked Zombie is to use the ball with the hole principle and go one step further. You use your phalanges as the stick. It is shorter, but the benefits is that you get to remove the scarf that hides the stick. This can seem some time like a hindrance to the mystery.

Once again, going back to Tommy Wonder. Watch him do the Zombie. He bypasses this hindrance and makes it actually look like the ball is floating.

I don't understand why there is no Youtube video of Tommy Wonder doing the zombie with the ball. All they have is his FISM act where he floats a birdcage. However, there is one of Losander doing Tommy's floating ball http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ2us_lF4xo. I like his technique. This shows you that even the Zombie can be made to look like a floating ball.

The gimmick is designed different. You can see Tommy doing this on Zombie Ball DVD by L & L.

I feel if you combine both the Wonder ball and the Crowe Naked Zombie, you would have the perfect mystery.
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Quote:
On 2011-07-18 00:19, Michael Baker wrote:

(...)
Suppose a magician decided to create, or recreate a Zombie routine that relied on mime techniques to accomplish the illusion of a ball defying gravity. The audience would very likely surmise that the illusion was created by exactly the methods used... regardless of how much they enjoyed the routine, or "suspended disbelief", etc. This in itself is not a problem.

However to me, this presents the ideal opportunity and the best time to hand them a brief second that unequivocally destroys what they believe to be the truth. Nothing need be done overtly, but it must defy all logic up unto that point.

Let's assume that they are at a point where they have become accustomed to seeing the ball tossed from one hand to the other, only a few inches perhaps. But then, at the proper moment the ball is tossed but instead of the expected outcome, the ball travels those few inches in slow motion. This episode lasts but a mere 1 1/2 seconds, but forces the audience to completely doubt what they think they know. By then, the magician is back to the methods originally employed, i.e., no gimmick.

Such a routining technique would avoid the problem you mentioned of a "too magical" performance.


I absolutely agree. This is also why I think we were never "on opposite sides of the fence". Smile

In fact, the example you are giving perfectly illustrates how I like to treat gimmicks and gaffs in general. I just wish there was a way to achieve a very open "slow motion" movement without a cloth. Do you happen to know a technique?
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Quote:
On 2011-07-18 03:45, mtpascoe wrote:
The idea of the non gimmick is not to be a purest. A gimmick may be the perfect solution if it does its job and that is fool the audience. The trouble with most people that do the zombie is that it looks like a ball on a stick. The object of the Naked Zombie is to use the ball with the hole principle and go one step further. You use your phalanges as the stick. It is shorter, but the benefits is that you get to remove the scarf that hides the stick. This can seem some time like a hindrance to the mystery.

I wouldn't go so far as to call the fingers a "gimmick" (as Ian did) or compare them to the "stick" normally used in the Zombie routines. But I basically agree to your thoughts.

Although mime techniques can create the illusion that the ball is floating freely, an observant spectator will naturally realize that the ball does not really float away form the hands. To me, this is not a disadvantage: It makes the effect believable and tightly links the routine to the performer. In that sense I would call it "pure". (And the fact that I can do away with the cloth or scarf adds to the "purity".)
I do see, however, the advantage of using a gimmick briefly, as in the example mentioned by Michael.

Quote:
Once again, going back to Tommy Wonder. Watch him do the Zombie. He bypasses this hindrance and makes it actually look like the ball is floating.
[...] There is [a video] of Losander doing Tommy's floating ball http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ2us_lF4xo. I like his technique. This shows you that even the Zombie can be made to look like a floating ball.
[...] I feel if you combine both the Wonder ball and the Crowe Naked Zombie, you would have the perfect mystery.

I have seen Tommy Wonder perform the Zombie ball and admire his technique (I don't like Losander's version so much). I also think, combining these two approaches would make a great routine. Personally, however, I would really like to work without a cloth.

In most Zombie routines, the cloth or scarf does not really make much sense. Why is it there in the first place? There certainly are routines, where the cloth is well motivated - the bird cage being a good example. Such routines, however, make it necessary to create a good (sometimes rather elaborate) setup for motivating something that has to be there for technical reasons. Personally, I like the simple and direct "floating ball" approach (without any elaborate or even story-like setup) better.
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Quote:
On 2011-07-18 06:16, Marc Christopher wrote:


In fact, the example you are giving perfectly illustrates how I like to treat gimmicks and gaffs in general. I just wish there was a way to achieve a very open "slow motion" movement without a cloth. Do you happen to know a technique?


Well, this is how most magic effects should be created! Imagine the effect, and then find a solution that achieves that end! This is a much better approach than beginning with a method in search of a trick (not that we were doing that!).

Having watched Ian's ball routine, I think he comes close to creating that illusion. Unfortunately, I think his method has severe limitations. These woefully point to suspected methods, which for me were somewhat confirmed by an ill-timed camera flash.

My next thought would be Okito techniques, which needn't be elaborate... just enough of a self-contained rig to complete the task before disappearing ahead of potential discovery.

I am then reminded of a profoundly unique manipulation act by Dr. Peter Gloviczki, who I would consider one of the world's magical geniuses. In his billiard ball sequence, he at one point placed the last ball on his arm near the shoulder, and it visibly "walked" along his arm, coming to rest in the final open space between his fingers. It was a beautiful moment in the act, and rarely do I ever witness something that to me conveys pure magic as this did. Of course I won't disclose his methods which he explained in one of his lecture notes, but suffice to say they were simple, yet elegant and brilliant.
~michael baker
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Bill Hegbli
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The perfect Zombie has been created and Steven's Magic is selling it. With this on you hand out the Zombie ball for inspection to the audience. When an if the ball is passed back to the stage and handed to the performer, a Zombie routine commences. Then the ball is handed out to the audiences again.

A perfect ball with no seam, no holes. This is a wonder. So great. So perfect. To bad there is not a demo video.

http://www.stevensmagic.com/index.php?ma......d=112772
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Michael Baker
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"When and IF the ball is passed back to the stage??? Ha-ha!!!

Magician: "Here."

Spectator: "Thanks... bye."
~michael baker
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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Best Zombie ball for gimmick-less routine? (0 Likes)
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