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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Once upon a time... » » Peruvian Pipsissewah: Lota Vase presentation (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ProfessorMagicJMG
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Tom Crecelius of Nine Dragon Pottery sold me the most beautiful cobalt blue and crimson pottery Lota vase, and as I was thinking about routines that would work with an adventure theme for 12 year old boys, I came up with an idea that worked really well in performance. I found a pretty blue artificial flower at the craft store and told a story like this: "Explorers climbing high in the arid mountains of Peru discovered the amazing Pipsissewah flower, which clings to the rocks and can grow in the driest rocky cracks high above the cloud layer. It absorbs water from the air like an air plant, and in more humid climates like Alabama, placing it in a vase like this, it can fill a vase with water in less than a minute. The capillary action of the plant fibers funnels the water right down through the stem into the vase, so it never needs to be watered and needs no soil. Here, I will demonstrate: I can take the flower out of the vase and pour out the water from the vase into this glass (I used a deep champagne glass with a very short stem that will hold almost half a bottle of wine), and then return the flower to the vase. Now we can wait a few moments and see what happens." After about 15 or 30 seconds of watching the flower in the vase, and relating interesting information about the flora and fauna of the Peruvian mountains, I poured the second shot of water into the glass, and repeated the process several times. Throughout the show, I kept "checking" the vase to see if the flower had "produced" any more water. This produced an increasing and ongoing reaction through the show.

The vase by itself is very beautiful, natural and deceptive, so shifting the focus to the flower being the source of the water makes it an even more amazing effect. The show is more of an exhibition of strange items and impossible artifacts, and includes some Higley 'Zibits that are not "tricks" per se, but add to the feel of the adventure exhiibit theme. I found the coolest creepiest music to go with the show that helps the mood: the soundtrack from the Dark Shadows TV show.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Clarke's 3rd Law

"Any sufficiently primitive technology can mystify a postmodern audience." - JMG's Corollary to Clarke's 3rd Law
friend2cptsolo
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Does the rest of your show involve this adventurer's theme.
Any good adventurer may have several artifacts to help him/her on the journey... like oddysseus
The flower has provided him with a never ending supply of water.
ProfessorMagicJMG
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Yes, thanks for your reply, the show is loosely based on Doug Higley's 1942 Higley Expedition that goes with his Dark Museum props. "Professor Higley's Eurasian Expedition of 1927," in my show, was the earlier, successful enterprise that inspired his expedition in 1942 to the jungles of South America during WWII.

In keeping with your suggestion, any trick could also be incorporated that could supply an "endless supply of food" like a multiplying Banana trick or other production utility, or one that allowed him to navigate via some strange method, such as using one of Doug Higley's floating eyeballs that would mysteriously always look straight in the direction the explorer wished to travel, so he never needed a compass.

An appearing 10-foot pole would be great, as a magical object that allowed the explorer to navigate a treacherous waterway riding on a log. A cut and restored rope routine would be perfect to illustrate the magical explorer's solution to having his climbing rope break while he is traversing a dangerous mountain path. Even a "spirit lamp" would work as a demonstration of an impossible object, with a few added wires and switches, and a routine about how the explorer ran out of torches but cobbled together this light from the wreckage of a downed airplane they found high in the mountains; the trick is more a demonstration of the eccentric genius of the Professor, who could apparently defy the laws of electrical engineering in a pinch.

One prop that works well with this show is an antique world globe, with some sort of markers to indicate important locations. For a costume to present the show, a photographer's vest and a "Tilley" style sun hat, maybe with some cargo pants, a fishing shirt, and some desert or duck boots, make the perfect explorer's garb.

Hope you get to try out an "Expedition Exhibition" story magic show sometime. It's wonderful, like bringing your own classic pulp adventure to life.
jmg
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Clarke's 3rd Law

"Any sufficiently primitive technology can mystify a postmodern audience." - JMG's Corollary to Clarke's 3rd Law
friend2cptsolo
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Sounds great. I like the use of the pole while traveling down river.... that could be really good production.
I do a story about a medieval or fantasy style magician on a "quest"..... but I am changing to work almost all close up stuff so somethings that need space or distance to perform are not usable.
Still an adventure takes place and progression from one effect to another is within the confines of a single story/narrative.

I also like the use of the globe that is a good prop in something like what you have.
0pus
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If I recall correctly, pipsissewa was an ingredient in root beer (I think Hires Root Beer listed it in its ingredients list).

Here is a photograph of the actual pipsissewa plant:

http://www.michwildflowers.com/pyrolaceae/pipsissewaFS.html
ProfessorMagicJMG
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Haha yes, it's not actually a Peruvian flower but I liked the alliteration of "Peruvian Pipsissewah" better than the actual mountain lily of Peru, called Alstromeria, which does not actually produce water either. Smile
My Grandfather used to scare me with tales of the "Pipsissewah that lives deep in the woods" and I thought it was like a Bigfoot or a "haint" or "boogerman" as the folks in the country called them. I didn't find out until years after he had died that it was a wild flower.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Clarke's 3rd Law

"Any sufficiently primitive technology can mystify a postmodern audience." - JMG's Corollary to Clarke's 3rd Law
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Man eating flower??
0pus
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Ah! But you can identify the actual pipsssewa, which grows in southern Canada, northern US and is known for its mystical and healing powers.

The flower in your story is also mystical, etc., and has become popularly referred to as the Peruvian pipsissewa, because of its mystical similarities (but, scientifically it bears no relationship to the "true" pipsissewa).

This allows you to provide a google-able "fact" and, as a by-product, you can say "pipsissewa" over and over again. That would be fun.
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I have put in many Google- able facts into some of my routines... but I never had anybody research
and if they did I am not sure I would have found out about it.
0pus
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How many times can you say "pipsissewa" before it sticks in someone's head?

And how long do you think it will be before someone says, "I wonder if that's a real thing?" And if that person is a young, internet-hip person, don't you think it will be googled?
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But at the same time you have story or patter going on...with some arrangement of moves and then the actualy effect. So when the effect is over what do people walk away with in memory???
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Personally, I think it should be BOTH the effect AND the story.

You think that the audience will remember that the bowl kept refilling and NOT remember that that was because of the Peruvian pipsissewa?
Dick Oslund
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Speaking of LOTAS~:~

I have a "Gen" Grant Lota that can be MINUTELY EXAMINED ('cuz it "aint got no gimmick")

Grant was the father of Mary Ann Grant. She married a magician named King. Her initials M A K, are the "new" name of Gen's old magic shop.

The bowl (actually, it's "vase shaped" much like the EARLY Abbott Lotas in the '30s '40s, and '50s. Early Abbott Lotas were "remodeled" Revere Brass vases..

The late Jack GWynne had a routine for my "ungaffed" Lota, so, you KNOW that it's old!

The "gimmick" is of celluloid, and it is easily removed and inserted.

I haven't used a Lota for eons! If anyone is interested, I could be persuaded to sell it!
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Sardonicus
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Professor, I'm so excited by the theme of your routine that I almost can't stand it. Everytime I come back to this thread I get a little bit more wound up. The whole notion is screaming with potential, and I can't picture any red-blooded 12 year old boy not being totally captivated by it. I sure am, and I'm a long ways from being 12. Some things in us never go away, I guess. Are there any examples of your performances online? I'd love to see some!

Just one thing, if I may be so bold. I'd use the cut and restored rope in the context of repairing one of those rope bridges that seem to be in every adventure of this sort. The rope bridge is ubiquitous in adventures stories, and they always seem to fail right when you're standing in the middle of them. If ever a bit of magic could help in a real adventure, that'd be the time! Just a thought...I'm sure whatever you're doing is tremendous as it is.
"Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." Carl Sagan, Cosmos
ProfessorMagicJMG
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Sardonicus, thanks for the kind words! Love your idea of the rope bridge; that's great and yes fits perfectly and I'll probably use that. Very Indiana Jones, very fitting.

I get excited about the concept as well. A Storytelling Magician named Stephen Gillham in NC has a character named Montana Jones and does a similar storytelling show; I was putting my Carnival show together when I discovered him and made a connection and his character inspired the combination adventure show and sideshow exhibition since I was getting the Higley 'Zibits anyway.

I'm working on what I think is a unique twist that if you like this, you may go bananas over, but I don't want to spill the beans just yet. Suffice it to say, it think it could be a huge innovation in presenting kid magic shows with an adventure/exhibit theme. I'm actually putting a short book together about the concept. I will start a new thread when it's ready.

Thanks again for your encouragement!
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Clarke's 3rd Law

"Any sufficiently primitive technology can mystify a postmodern audience." - JMG's Corollary to Clarke's 3rd Law
friend2cptsolo
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I had a kids show once and had one idea I never put to use but would be a great thing here as well.
Make a comic book, something short but as either part of an up-sale package or just a free give away for the birthday boy/girl. This comic would be one of your many other adventures, so a different story featuring different magical moments and magic items.


Another question... Indiana Jones has a whip do you have ONE special item you might keep going back to during the course of the story?
Sardonicus
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Professor... I'm glad you found my little idea useful, and I can't wait to hear your new idea. Hopefully you'll be posting it soon!
"Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." Carl Sagan, Cosmos
ProfessorMagicJMG
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Hi Friend, thanks for the coloring book idea, I might do some coloring sheets and let them choose the one they want.
Also, the recurring item will be "The Professor's Log Journal" which will have some hidden secrets and special effects.
By the way, here's a great resource for creating a cool "secret log book" - inspired by "Gravity Falls," which I loved because not only was it a very good and funny "X-files" for kids, but it actually had a mind-warping and satisfying epic ending:
http://elderprops.com/post/136583188142/......download
You could print those onto "parchment" resume paper and bind them into a notebook, then stick it in a custom leather cover.
I also found an incredible maker of custom journals and journal covers that would be perfect for building the log journal:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/288506279/o......ctive_49
And, finally this oil is supposed to be great for giving things an antiquated smell:
http://www.unleashyourdreams.co.uk/Unlea......ity.html
So if you want to create your own funky smelling log book full of odd pages for an Expedition Exhibition, that's pretty much all you need!
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Clarke's 3rd Law

"Any sufficiently primitive technology can mystify a postmodern audience." - JMG's Corollary to Clarke's 3rd Law
friend2cptsolo
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Great links...
Chathlu website is awesome
sounds like some great show ideas
Sardonicus
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I too think they're awesome, no surprise there. You may have missed a question of mine. Do you have any video available online, and if not are you considering it? Personally I don't know that I ever would...that makes for an awfully big audience! I can sure think of several reasons why some people wouldn't want to.

Come to think of it, that might make an interesting thread topic for another forum.
"Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." Carl Sagan, Cosmos
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