David Roth's coin that floated like a kite

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Joe Fraher » 06/27/09 02:46 PM

At the 1986 New York Magic Symposium in Tokyo, I saw David Roth perform a beautiful and amazing effect that he said he created especially for his appearance there in Tokyo. To the best of my memory, here's what he did: While talking about the Japanese fascination with kite flying, he tied a string to an old Japanese coin with a hole in its center. While pinning one end of the string to the table, he opened a fan, and started fanning the coin. The coin gradually lifted into the air like a kite. It stayed like that for a few seconds until a bolt of lightning (FISM Flash) struck and the coin/kite fluttered back to the table. He then untied the string from the coin to conclude. For over 20 years, I've hoped to find that on one of David's videos or in one of his printed contributions, but sadly I have never chanced upon it. Is anyone aware of this on video (perhaps even performance only) or in print? It was a brilliant combination of plot, method, skill, and artistry. - Joe
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Postby Lou Serrano » 06/30/09 02:57 AM

I've never heard of the effect before, but this sounds awesome!

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Postby Curtis Kam » 06/30/09 04:27 PM

Joe, thanks for recalling that--I had forgotten completely. I saw David do that routine there, and have never seen it again anywhere, unless it's in the Symp books. I don't recall seeing it, but I haven't read them all, and David contributed interesting material to all of them, as far as I know.
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Postby Denis Behr » 06/30/09 05:44 PM

It's not in the 5 Symposium books (or Spectacle), otherwise it would show up HERE.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 06/30/09 07:17 PM

Perhaps better to ask such of David Roth directly if in NYC or via Mike Rubinstein via the NYC Coin Symposium site?
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Postby Joe Fraher » 06/14/11 09:19 PM

I just learned that David's routine "The Kite" is performed and explained in "New York Coin Magic Seminar Vol 16". I've never forgotten that routine and waited nearly 25 years to see it again. Thank you, David Roth for recording and releasing this!
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Postby y3xprm » 06/28/11 07:10 PM

A clip of this routine is in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUW_9E9rGnU
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Postby Brandon Hall » 07/02/11 12:52 PM

Wow...I'm sorry, but that just was not magical in the least.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/02/11 01:22 PM

If there was a way to switch the coin and string for the gimmick that didn't involve covering it so broadly with the fan (and it doesn't help that Roth doesn't do this as smoothly as his best material), then the effect might work. The audience must be convinced of the flexible nature of the string or there's no effect. Also, the fact that the string seems to be holding up the coin, rather than the coin pulling on the string, hinders the illusion. Here's an instance where some invisible thread would be a better method.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 07/02/11 01:36 PM

Much respect to Roth for his normally excellent coin magic, but I'll agree with those who say this isn't exactly his finest moment.
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Postby Bob Gerdes » 07/02/11 03:04 PM

Well, the OP remembered this trick after 25 years, so it must play well in live performance.
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Postby erdnasephile » 07/02/11 03:22 PM

Jamy Swiss has some interesting thoughts on this sort of animation/floating effect on his "Live in London" DVD where he talks about why some of these effects succeed better than others.

On a somewhat related note, here is an entertaining application of a smiliar principle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dcmDscwEcI
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 07/02/11 03:55 PM

Bob Gerdes wrote:Well, the OP remembered this trick after 25 years, so it must play well in live performance.

There are things I remember from 25 years ago, precisely because they didn't play well. So I don't see the correlation here.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/03/11 12:53 PM

I sometimes watch movies that seemed to be great when I was 16 years old. Now they're not so great. A particular one I recall is "Chosen Survivors," about a bunch of people brought to an underground bunker to survive after a nuclear war. Loved it as a kid and sat through two shows at the Trylon theater on Queens Blvd in 1974.

I just watched the DVD. What a piece of CRAP!

Such is life.
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Postby mrgoat » 07/03/11 01:31 PM

y3xprm wrote:A clip of this routine is in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUW_9E9rGnU


That really looks like something someone would do as a gag, and then tip the stiff string after.
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Postby JHostler » 07/03/11 10:50 PM

Chris Aguilar wrote:
Bob Gerdes wrote:Well, the OP remembered this trick after 25 years, so it must play well in live performance.

There are things I remember from 25 years ago, precisely because they didn't play well. So I don't see the correlation here.


Are you serious? OK, I'll explain the "correlation:" The OP referenced a "beautiful and amazing effect" from decades ago. It obviously left a strong, positive impression - regardless of what we're seeing in the video. Hope that helps. Feel free to PM me with any questions.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 07/04/11 02:42 AM

JHostler wrote:
Are you serious? OK, I'll explain the "correlation:" The OP referenced a "beautiful and amazing effect" from decades ago. It obviously left a strong, positive impression - regardless of what we're seeing in the video. Hope that helps. Feel free to PM me with any questions.


There are also plenty of things that I remember very positively from 25 years ago that I would now consider crap.

Why should I care if someone thought something looked great 25 years ago? Is that supposed to be compelling/persuasive in some in terms of why someone should enjoy it today? What we can see now, no long ago memory required (in a video approved by Roth) looks, well... not so great.

And that's OK. No disrespect to Roth is intended as I think he's great. His other magic comes off quite well on video (even that instance with Letterman in his face).
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/04/11 10:58 AM

IMHO the good stuff, the poetry of magic, say Hofzinser's work and a good amount of Roth's work will stand as art for another twenty five and more. About that video clip - IMHO the blocking for the part of the method, the delivery (perhaps just for want of a glass of water) and the distant/flat angle of the shot don't despoil a fine work of magical poetry. I expect the kite will have its place next to the tuning fork as offering strong magical moments for audiences as folks explore the work in performance.

@JH, thanks for defending the validity of someone's subjective experience. Some folks forget that basic stuff.
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Postby JHostler » 07/04/11 11:06 AM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:@JH, thanks for defending the validity of someone's subjective experience. Some folks forget that basic stuff.


Deleted my last post, as I have no interest in the inevitable you-know-what match w/ Aguilar. Not worth my time or energy. But thanks for the thumbs-up!
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Postby Brad Henderson » 07/04/11 11:18 AM

I didn't get it. For the first 3 viewings I thought 'whats the coin doing on that stick, what's that supposed to be'? But the stick is supposed to be the thread, taut by the wind, right?

Not trying to be snarky. The clip was just confusing to me
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 07/04/11 12:21 PM

Jon,

It's perfectly OK to acknowledge "25 years ago" rose tinted subjective memory without feeling particularly bound by it.

I'll reiterate again for those who obviously missed it (not you) that I think Roth is great, a true master. But even the greatest sometimes take chances that simply don't work out. There's no shame in acknowledging that.
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Postby Steve Hook » 07/04/11 05:23 PM

You don't like the routine, do you, Chris?
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Postby A1exM » 07/04/11 08:39 PM

Me too! Sorry, comedy at best.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/04/11 09:02 PM

? you don't think the mime can work or you feel the get-set was(has to be) impossible - what don't you believe is workable?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/05/11 12:36 AM

The problem is that the coin is too heavy for the wire, so as I mentioned before, it appears that the string is supporting the coin, rather than the coin pulling the string.
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Postby lawrens godon » 07/05/11 07:17 AM

Another important for this kind of effect is the fixed point.
As a contact juggler, I use it all the time, and I do also with my coin work, in fact, all the time.

Here, Mr Roth should have moved the string around with the coin stucked in air (this is the same principle in good zombie ball routines). After all, that's exactly what happens when you do real kite...

I had the pleasure to watch this effect in Milano last november, and it is a fact that it is better seing live.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 07/05/11 03:48 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:The problem is that the coin is too heavy for the wire, so as I mentioned before, it appears that the string is supporting the coin, rather than the coin pulling the string.


Perhaps a shell would work better?
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Postby Joe Fraher » 09/30/11 02:45 AM

I wish you had seen this when David Roth performed it 25 years ago live in Tokyo. It was pure magical poetry.
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Postby Mike Rubinstein » 11/17/11 09:32 PM

David's routine caused quite a buzz when first performed all those years ago. It was never performed again until the New York Coin Magic Seminar. The live performance was well received by all the attendeees. We filmed the show the following day in the studio. Unfortunately, sometimes one take video shoots don't always do justice to a routine. That being said, there is some damn good material on the three volume set (14, 15, and 16).
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