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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Cups and Balls size for Busking (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Las Vegas
122 Posts

Profile of Eldini
Hello all,

Looking through Rings and Things amazing products right now for a cups and balls set.

Is the large size best or necessary for busking?

Thank you!
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Inner circle
1472 Posts

No. Size is what you can handle. How big your loads are. For the audience it does not matter. It is the routine and suprise ending.
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I went to the Magic Cafe and all I got were these lousy
806 Posts

Profile of Rook
While you may be a bit concerned with having a large enough cup (and corresponding load) to be seen at a fairly large crowd, I've found that the standard size cups still do well. One of the primary things to be concerned with, however, is weight. If you have light cups (as many of the inexpensive versions are), you might find them blown over on a windy day. I use an old set of Paul Fox cups (standard, not the larger chick cups) and have had no problems.
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

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9 Posts

Profile of whocares
Rook said it well. What kind of cups act do you do. I had nice big Gary Animal Cups and used oranges as final loads.

And how big of a crowd would like to draw. If it is five or six folks, any set of cups will play well enough. If you want to draw a real crowd, push them back behind a rope line, and still be seen well enough, the bigger, the better. And once you have drawn that many, you need a solid act, or they will all turn and walk away. But if you engage them, and entertain them, drop the right Hat lines throughout the multifaceted performance, you WILL get paid.

Tip: If performing outside, and you are using your hat for the tips, start the process by throwing a dollar rubber banded to a full deck of cards into the hat.

1. It confirms to the pitch that you want money in the hat.
2. The deck of cards keeps the hat from blowing away in a light breeze. If it is very windy, use two decks of cards to anchor the hat.

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Pittsburgh PA
51 Posts

Profile of EllisJames52
That’s a cool tip! Thanks
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Inner circle
Myrtle Beach
1910 Posts

Profile of JoeJoe
Michael Ammar teaches to start with the final load ... then find a cup that it fits in best. You want the load to fill as much as the cup as possible.

In other words, don't use a cup large enough for a grapefruit if your load is a lemon. If your load is a lemon, use a cup that the lemon fits into just right. Smile

Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=]
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Profile of StarkRavingMatt
I have two sizes for two different routines... One is a found set for producing juggling balls in a two person routine, the other is a super cheap aluminum chop cup set I use in my solo routine. The light ones have never blown over (I keep them in a bag until the routine starts) but it would be trivial to weight them.
I admire the workmanship of well designed cups, but I have never found a legitimate reason to put an expensive beautiful cup into my rancid street rat esthetic. (the found set of cups we use with a walnut as a ball are at 49 seconds in
Harry Murphy
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Inner circle
5352 Posts

Profile of Harry Murphy
All great advice above, let me reinforce the one variable that friend ROOK mentioned that is critically important to working outdoors. That is weight. Heavy cups don't get blown away and they make a nice sound when being stacked or struck with the wand.

Gazzo and others like and use the large cups because their routines call for orange or baseball final loads. As JoJo mentions the final load and routine demands a large cup.

Jim Cellini worked with a smaller cup. In Amsterdam in the 70s he was using the Ross Bertram cups sold by Magic Inc. in Chicago. They were about the heaviest cups made at that time. I saw him two decades later still using those cups. They are not big cups and hold a lemon final load. Interestingly he rarely (outside of lectures) used the cups that carried his name. He didn't design our use on the streets the so-called Cellini cups. He said that if he had designed them he would have designed the saddle and skirt differently. They do take a baseball or lacrosse ball as the final load. Funny story. I saw Cellini perform his Cups and Balls routine in Baltimore inner harbor using aluminum, standard (small) Morrissey cups. His working cups were not available at the time and he grabbed wha a local friend magician had on hand. He played to a crowd of about 80 and, judging from audience reaction, he amazed the crowd. There was a slight breeze that day and he kept good control of the lightweight cups.

Mario Morris (member here on the Café') uses heavy porcelain coffee mugs right off the shelf. His routine calls for the unique quality of them being breakable for his finale.

I use the Biran Watson "Anytime Anywhere" cups. They are about the same size as the smooth copper Sherwood cups and a hair shorter than the R&TII polished copper Mendoza cups. They take a tennis ball final load. They are proportionate to my hands thus easy for me to handle compared to my old Gary Animal "Babe" cups and a joy to use. They are heavy and won't be blown about by the wind.

Good luck on the quest.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Sideshow Rod
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Profile of Sideshow Rod
So would a set of Gary animal cups be a good investment?
On the fence with so many options !
Any help appreciated.
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Profile of kcmagic1
I have found that even crowds of 100 or more can see standard cups as long as you understand audience management. The idea is that your loads are bright. The loads are what people react to. Sideshow Rod, it depends on your routine and how your routine is structured. There are 2 issues that I have found with the Gazzo cups. Although well made, for my routine, copper cups last about a year of performing. I am rough on my cups. That being said, the dimple on top of the cup is shallow. A swift breeze will cause the ball to fall off the top. The second, as I said I was rough on my cups, the beads start to deform. I am a true believer in noise helps draw and engage audience, which is probably why I go all out with my cups. That is why I came up with the virtually indestructible 1000-G cups. At least I know that it is an investment that will last me for years to come and I won't have to replace them every year!
Designer of the 1000-G cups - the most durable cups in magic
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Profile of rhone
Sideshow Rod , if you search for cup , I have to say that I'm please with the Biran Watson"Anytime Anywhere" cups. Each cup can take a tennis ball final load. They are short enough and very smooth. And the copper cup don't be afraisd of wind. The alu work well inside and outside if no blowing wind.
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Eternal Order
Northern California
13405 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
No reason to kill yourself carting around 6 melons and an orange.
Especially for busking but really for any show.

Unless it's your trademark, like Gazzo,
you should be find with lemons and a coconut final load.

If you need to go big to get a reaction, you need to work on your act. Hand Crafted Magic
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Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
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New user
St. George, Utah
9 Posts

Profile of TreyP1T
One of the things I love about Rings-N-Things is how completely they list the specifications for their cups on the website. When trying to decide which set I wanted to get I looked up the size of final loads for the sets I was considering, then went out and found some balls that matched those sizes and just practiced carrying them, and seeing how comfortable I was with the different sizes stashed in my pockets. Granted at the time I was not yet using a pouch and I am now, which slightly nullifies the pocket consideration, but I do like knowing that I could easily accommodate the final loads for the same cups even if I didn't have my pouch. I use the same cups if I'm busking or doing a parlor/closeup show, so I do actually use them without the pouch fairly regularly.

There are many options, and many considerations to take. First ask yourself; do you do cups and balls other than just busking, and if so do you want a set of cups that is just for busking? When busking do you intend to use a pouch? If yes, do you intend to ever not use the pouch/do you want to be able to do the same show with out it if necessary? How much else are you putting in the pouch/how much room do you really have even with a pouch? Once you've made these decisions then you can start figuring out the size cups you want because you'll have a more complete sense of just what you need, and are comfortable with, regarding the final loads.

If I were only ever going to perform C&B with a pouch, or were looking to have a separate set of cups just for busking (still a possibility down the line for me) I personally would totally go for big ones, like Gazzo cups, but I find the smaller Paul Fox cups I have are more universally useful for me, pouch or no pouch I can easily and comfortably accommodate the final loads, and they work on the street or in an intimate theatre space.
I'm Trey, I'm a magician, a liar, and a cheat. But you can trust me!
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