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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magical Accessories » » Best Cups and Balls set? (31 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Davidicus
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Quote:
Well if you don't practice enough and you're extremely clumsy, sure, any cup can tip over

I'd rethink this statement if I were you. In your own words, "Think about it for a second"...

I checked out your site and saw you were a musician and artist. Let's use one of those as an example:

Would you go to a paid gig with a $20 Casio keyboard picked up at a local Walgreens, or a Roland Fantom? They both do the same thing don't they? Play music?

You need to consider not only the cosmetics, but the quality, and confidence.
WalterZ
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I'm not saying you should use crap to present yourself... I just don’t think spending hundreds of dollars on cups is a smart idea.

Ok, thought about it. I've used a Morrissey set of cups and balls for years and never had it tip over. Sure, it'd be nice to have original Paul Fox cups that are worth thousands of dollars, but I don’t think it's necessary for this certain effect. I doubt laymen could tell the difference in value between a $40 set and one worth thousands...Which is why I said that it's value is known only to you. Sure if it boosts your ego and therefore allows you to conduct a better presentation, by all means do so if you can afford it.

By the way, thanks for checking out my site. Smile
~WalterZ~

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tabman
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The Morrissey cups are nice and there are many inexpensive sets that fill the bill. Even the great John Ramsay did a routine using ice cream cups.

The thing about some of the more expensive cups is that you are paying tribute to the master craftsmen who made them. The absolute thrill of owning a set of Paul Fox cups made by Danny Dew himself (not Jeff Busby) for example must be wonderful thinking that Mr. Dew himself had them in his hands laboring over them, wanting them to be just right.

Conrad Haden is another example. Conrad loved magic and his coin and cup work was both supurb and inspirational in the way he approached precision.

And Jim Riser who has spent a lifetime developing his craft to the place it is today. Who wouldn't want a set of hand spun Riser cups????

All the best,

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
WalterZ
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Somehow though, I think this has developed into an obsession. I must admit, I wish I had a set too... but still, FORCE yourself to think only with logic! Only then will you see what I'm talking about.
~WalterZ~

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Tophie
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WalterZ,

Your point is well taken....

If it were true, people would all be driving the same type of car, economical, fuel efficient, etc....

Logically, you must own one of those...

Personally, I like my current impractical, illogical sport car!
tabman
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We're all on the same page. My personal set of cups is an old set of copper cups that look like flower pots and an old set of P&L cups that I bought for $15 at a convention in the 80s. I'm not that great at performing the routine and a set of Danny Dew cups would do little to enhance it. I just couldn't do them justice.

The important thing from the audience perspective is the craftsmanship that goes into the performance. The truth is, I can't afford to own many of the things that I make in the Tabman USA Shop but I'm happy that there are those who can and in return I strive to always do the best work I can for them. I'm sure this is what drives many artists and craftspeople.

The fact that we can't afford something doesn't mean that we can't appreciate it for what it is. Without the patrons of art and craft who support the artists and craftspeople the world would be a lesser for it as far as I'm concerned.

WalterZ, I love your avatar. You are obviously an artist and Tophie, thank you!!!

Ya'll have a great day!!!

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Craig Dickson
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I have a Tabman wand, I could have used plastic, but I do classey magic. Hey Tabman, long time.
tabman
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Sir Craig??? Is that you? So glad to see you. You did me a huge favor many years ago when you sent me that great dust mask set. I still use it almost every day and think of you and remember your kindness. I'm very proud of you and your accomplishments in magic. Glad to hear you're still using that tabman wand. That makes me proud too!!!

Your friend,

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
WalterZ
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I think you guys are misinterpretting what I said. I'm not saying use cheap props. I was saying that a standard set is fine to use for the cups and balls, and by that I DON'T mean cheap looking. You can get paul fox knockoffs for like 50 bucks. (You can in Sac)

I'm saying to a layperson, it doesn't matter, they're metal cups... as long as they're metal, they're metal.

And yes, using a plastic wand would be cheap. I agree, I do classy magic too don't get me wrong.
~WalterZ~

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tabman
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WalterZ, I know what you mean and agree with you from the lay perspective but some of us perform our magic for other magicians. In my case, magicians depend on me to build them the best props I can and my name means something. I would hate to hear that someone was using a knock off tabman table just because it looked the same from the lay perspective and I wouldn't feel comfortable using a set of Paul Fox knockoff cups because I know that there was a real man behind the design and a Fox family that continues on today. I would rather use ice cream cups like John Ramsay did or better yet make my own. It has nothing to do with cheap or expensive it just has to do with my own personal views and this is not a knock against yours, honestly.

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Davidicus
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I agree...I think it boils down to preferences, ethics, and confidence.
WalterZ
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On 2004-12-11 16:14, David J. Greene wrote:
I agree...I think it boils down to preferences, ethics, and confidence.

Ok, I understand your standpoint... but I still think that a simple trick (I don't mean simple in terms of construction and psychology, but simple effect) such as the cups and balls should be such a huge investment in your show. After all, coming from a professional sense, you wont have many very high paying gigs where you would be able to perform it. Almost all the gigs I've done that I've charged over $300+ were for school assemblies and the like... for large audiences. The cups and balls is just not a big enough production to be seen from far away, and I'm not going to invest in a projector to blow up my hands, or be like Ammar who just doesn't really care that people can't see what he's doing. (I love the guy, just not the fact that he performs close-up on stage.) Please read the essence of closeup magic in the Books of Wonder.

You really should step back and look at what you’re saying and doing. Are you really buying those cups to enhance your performance, or are you really doing it for yourself? Are you just adding glitter to your show, or are you adding any true value? Perhaps you just want to enhance your “social status” among magicians. But this I fear is what many are doing and they fail to understand the reason they’re doing magic. You should be charging solely for your performance, to GIVE the gift of magic to those watching you, and you shouldn’t be charging a large sum of money just because you have expensive props... you are not your props, and neither is your show.

I understand that you'd rather give credit where it's due, and I see where you're coming from. I mean, look at the rampant software and music piracy! However, in my opinion, you're better of investing that money in say, a digital camera with which you can film yourself performing and advance your choreography.

Ever heard the saying, all that glitters is not gold?

If however, you’re a well-polished performer and you’re confident that your show is first class entertainment, THEN you can think about upgrading your props. Just make sure you have your priorities straight.
~WalterZ~

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Davidicus
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I not sure if you are misunderstand what I am saying, or trying to take pot shots in the dark:

Quote:
The cups and balls is just not a big enough production to be seen from far away

I still will have to disagree, unless of course your vision is 20/2000. The cups in general have been performed on stage, and in the streets for years. Most cups can be seen for a nice distance.

Quote:
Are you really buying those cups to enhance your performance, or are you really doing it for yourself

Again, let me refer you to (part) of what I said: PREFERENCES (=performance), ethics, and CONFIDENCE (=yourself).

Quote:
you shouldn’t be charging a large sum of money just because you have expensive props

I agree! You should chage based on several aspects, including value (or percieved value). Who said they were charging more based on the value of their props? Certainly not I?

Let me suggest this:

Go to a magic show where you will know there are a lot in attendance, and you know the performer will be using cups. Sit in the back row and enjoy the show. THEN tell me you couldn't see the cups.

You sound like, and correct me if I am wrong, you are making assumptions and generalizations. Have you tried cups on large audiences? Do you know for a fact whether I have or have not read the Books of Wonder (great books by the way)?

Curious, I am wondering who, if anyone, are you directing these comments to:

Quote:
investing that money in say, a digital camera with which you can film yourself performing and advance your choreography" and "you have your priorities straight

I certainly hope not me. Have you been to my show? Did you see the cups? Did you see th standing ovation when I produced the final loads (and not because they couldn't see)???

Please don't think I am insulting you. If so, I apologize. Reading your posts you are making (or at least in the wording) general opinions based on assumption, not experience.
tabman
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On 2004-12-12 03:22, WalterZ tells us that: Almost all the gigs I've done that I've charged over $300+ were for school assemblies and the like...


I'm happy to hear that they still book magicians for school assembly shows someplace. The educational system around here and most elsewhere, I understand, is so strapped for cash that they can hardly man the classrooms and put books in the libraries.

Can you share some of your secrets with us. I know a couple of magicians that could use some tips on booking school shows.

Thanks,

-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
WalterZ
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I not sure if you are misunderstand what I am saying, or trying to take pot shots in the dark:

I wasn't aiming my comments towards you, but to everyone in general. Sorry if it appeared that I insulted you.

Quote:
I still will have to disagree, unless of course your vision is 20/2000. The cups in general have been performed on stage, and in the streets for years. Most cups can be seen for a nice distance.

No, you can see the cups. But you can't see what you're doing because the balls are too small, and this causes the presentation to become confusing. The visibility problem isn't with the cups, but with the effect. For my professional show, I substituted my billiard ball act in place for the cups and balls because they're along the same lines. (balls multiplying, and changing places etc...)

Quote:
Again, let me refer you to (part) of what I said: PREFERENCES (=performance), ethics, and CONFIDENCE (=yourself).

Yes, you did type this, and I understand. Once again, my comments were for everyone, sorry.

Quote:
I agree! You should chage based on several aspects, including value (or percieved value). Who said they were charging more based on the value of their props? Certainly not I?

Once again, I didn't mean that you charge too much or that you don't have a good show. I've never seen your show, who am I to judge? Once again, you're taking my comments upon yourself and interpreting them as insults when I didn't mean for them to be.

Quote:
Go to a magic show where you will know there are a lot in attendance, and you know the performer will be using cups. Sit in the back row and enjoy the show. THEN tell me you couldn't see the cups.

Ok, now you're insulting me. I've taped numerous shows and that's exactly why I said what I did. Please don't assume that I'm just mindlessly speaking my mind. I know specifically that when you're on an elevated stage in front of 300 kids, they will NOT know what you’re doing. Sure, they'll see your nice shiny cups...

Quote:
You sound like, and correct me if I am wrong, you are making assumptions and generalizations. Have you tried cups on large audiences? Do you know for a fact whether I have or have not read the Books of Wonder (great books by the way)?

If you have read the Books Of Wonder, then please read them again because you don't understand that essay I was referring to. Close-up magic is meant to be performed close-up, not on a stage. You cannot hope to create successful interaction with a trick like that for the masses.

Quote:
Curious, I am wondering who, if anyone, are you directing these comments to:

Good, good, now you figured out that I wasn't bagging on you...

Quote:
I certainly hope not me. Have you been to my show? Did you see the cups? Did you see the standing ovation when I produced the final loads (and not because they couldn't see)???

Standing ovations for the Cups and Balls? Please come out with a lecture and a DVD! Please tell us your secret!

Quote:
Please don't think I am insulting you. If so, I apologize. Reading your posts you are making (or at least in the wording) general opinions based on assumption, not experience.

I've been performing for 8 years professionally. I don't open my mouth unless I can back it up thank you.
I’m not saying I have more experience than you, I am saying that from the experience that I have, I have come to these conclusions:

1. Cups and Balls requires too much talking for a semi-stage show. This is often seen as dead time on stage… like talking heads.. you know.
2. Not enough action is going on. If you’re trying to dramatize your show, you need movement. With the Cups and Balls, you end up standing in one place…
3. The balls are too small to be seen from afar. White balls are the most visible.
4. Cups and Balls is GREAT for intimate performance for 5-10 people, perhaps at a private dinner party.
5. Most people have seen the Cups and Balls before and are expecting to see the loads at the end thus depreciating the shock value. It becomes more difficult to get the same reaction with the trick if they know the ending ahead of time. And if what you’re saying is true, that you have been getting standing ovations from it, your methods, handling and presentation must be better than anything I’ve ever seen.
~WalterZ~

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WalterZ
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Quote:
I'm happy to hear that they still book magicians for school assembly shows someplace. The educational system around here and most elsewhere, I understand, is so strapped for cash that they can hardly man the classrooms and put books in the libraries.

Yes, this is true. But, if the school has something like a "book-tastic" or whathaveyou, then you can promote the sales of books. For example, I did two performances to help sell the new Harry Potter book when it came out. One for a library, and one for a school.

Quote:
Can you share some of your secrets with us. I know a couple of magicians that could use some tips on booking school shows.

The real secret is to be persistent. I designed brochures, posters, and fliers. I basically saturated my town with them, and I even have a website. But nothing beats word of mouth, so... here's a true secret:

-Pay people to start a buzz about you.
-Someone can't afford you? No problem, make them put you in the paper as an upcoming even with your phone number and cut them a deal
-And the last thing I can think of: Be confident, and write up a contract. This way, once they signed it, they can't back out and you wont fall on your face.
Thanks,

-=tabman
~WalterZ~

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Tophie
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I saw Johnny Ace Palmer do his cups and balls routine with the chick finale in a large room with 200+ people and it got a standing ovation!
Davidicus
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Ok, now you're insulting me. I've taped numerous shows and that's exactly why I said what I did. Please don't assume that I'm just mindlessly speaking my mind. I know specifically that when you're on an elevated stage in front of 300 kids, they will NOT know what you’re doing. Sure, they'll see your nice shiny cups...

I apologize if I sound harsh. I certainly am not trying to insult you. It seems to me that we are each standing our own ground.

I don't think you, nor anyone else can convince me to change my stance on this matter. Therefor it looks as if this discussion is moot. I just feel that there are some that do not realize the full potential of a good cup and ball routine and all that is put into it.

Not accusing anyone...just my thoughts.
Doug Peters
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It's all about venue, folks:
- if the performer's table is low relative to the audience's eyes, then C&B will play for hundreds.
- if the performer's table is high relative to the audience's eyes (the usual case when performing for children), then C&B cannot play for the crowd.

Both David and Walter are right, they are just considering different conditions.
"if you have any answers, it's time to ask harder questions!"
WalterZ
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Very good point. It all depends on the performing situation. I guess what I was really trying to say is that it's often difficult to make the venue work for the cups and balls without a projector of some sort. And if you're not on an elevated stage, what kind of magic are you doing? What else would you include in you're show that's visible from afar? How do you position your audience? Do they sit in chairs?

Personally, I did perform the Cups and Balls in my professional show for a long time. But after I noticed people having to straighted up to see what I was doing, that heads were swaying left and right to try to look through the forest of heads in front of them, I just dropped it from my professional act. Now I do an interesting billiard ball routine.

So back to the topic, I think the cups made by JES magic are the most attractive. And if I could somehow make the cups and balls work for my venues, I would buy that set.
~WalterZ~

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