Cylinder & Coins

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/30/09 06:19 AM

This is a great thread. Keep going!
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/30/09 06:34 AM

El Mystico wrote:Incidentally, I'm sorry that neither you nor John seem to like the feints in the routine.

Would you consider it a good idea to expose a riveted hollow stack, throw it aside and then proceed with the original routine (using a second fake stack) ?
That way, the feints would "play" equally well for both laypeople and magicians.

By the way, these feints are rather interesting to study in the light of Tamariz' book "The Magic Way"...
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/30/09 07:16 AM

... Another idea to keep the feints, but to "feed" them back into the story:

Handle the loose coins as if it were a riveted stack until the laypeople start to suspect that there is something fishy with the coins. Then at step 9 (in The Ramsay Classics by Andrew Galloway), separate the coins with a smile and the words "I'm just messing with you - I wanted you to think the coins were hollow and riveted together!"
...Then end the routine at step 28 - stop after the stack is revealed inside the cylinder. Just steal out the hidden piece of cork, and leave the rest.
As the spectators discover that the previously loose coins have transformed into a hollow stack, like a "Solid Deception" ending - the feint at the start suddenly makes sense from a story perspective (as per illustration 1 in my essay).
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Postby Bill McFadden » 07/30/09 02:45 PM

In my view, the Lodestones columns provide the reader with much greater value than the mere $6.50 price of an issue of Genii. When applied to the individual's magical thought processes, Tom Stone's writings are, to me, a vehicle for expanding my consciousness, to question what I currently do and apply the thinking of others for continuous improvement. Tom's C&C essay/experiment left me brain-refreshed, motivated, and energized.

Please forgive my name-dropping, but about nine years ago, I was fortunate to have a long conversation with Bill Malone - mostly pertaining to areas of a close-up magic curriculum. He advised me to study Vernon's Cups & Balls and Ramsay's Cylinder and Coins for their application to premise, motivation, construction, prop management, misdirection, timing, technique, routining, and performance to list the obvious. I have been studying and practicing them ever since, and will continue working on them for the rest of my life.

My first step was to acquire as much in print as possible, and carefully study the life and works of John Ramsay. Then came the Galloway tapes. Then, the Vernon handling from The Gen (much better than what's in the Ganson book). From there, I began studying the various "streamlined" routinings of Carney (who is a god, BTW), Paul Wilson, Mike Gallo, and Tim Conover. I believe each of these masters would agree that until the student learns Ramsay, he should leave the subsequent versions alone.

None of those gentlemen (including Mr. Stone, I think) would even suggest that Ramsay's invention and lessons be discarded or rejected. But what happens when the student builds upon the origin can be a thing of beauty. Given what Stone has offered in challenging the student to think and build, other paths should be revealed as well.

To view Tom's article as a repudiation of Ramsay is short-sighted. Anyone interested should read it carefully and thoughtfully. Then, reader cannot help but begin to overcome the dangerous tendency to stop thinking too soon.

And, if you get nothing else from Lodestones this month, then at least you can glean a brilliant lesson in the application of Crossing the Gaze.

Finally, there was a terrific thread on this subject back in 2001, but my pathetic database search skills left me unable to find it in the archives. Perhaps another Forum member could post the link?
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Postby Jim Riser » 07/30/09 04:35 PM

Like Tom I feel that the thinking should not stop with the Ramsay routine. I feel that everything about this effect/routine or any effect/routine should be open to questioning.

While the discussion here so far has been mainly about the handling of the props, I suggest that the props themselves should also be questioned. Many of us have disliked the cork as part of the effect.

It is possible today to make props that Mr. Ramsay could only have dreamed about. So I propose the following as a new set of props for creating the effect but eliminating some of the problems inherent in the current selection of props.

Cylinder as always.

No hollow coin stack. Instead a stack of loose coins. The bottom coin containing a tiny neo magnet.

No cork. Instead a steel shimmed postage stamp.

If desired by the performer, all coins in the stack could contain a magnet to hold the stack together yet allow showing separate coins when desired.

Both stamps could be shimmed if desired.

By using a postage stamp, the thickness of the cork is avoided and the coin stack will effectively cover the stamp by just sitting on top of it. No hollow stack is required. The stamp would come away with the coins whenever they are lifted.

There are other advantages of using the magnetic coins to be considered.

As for Tom's storyline, perhaps with these new props it could be changed to a trip to the post office and the resulting problems.

How do these suggestions fit into this discussion?
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Postby erlandish » 07/30/09 05:07 PM

El Mystico wrote:Incidentally, I'm sorry that neither you nor John seem to like the feints in the routine. I think the proper understanding of, and intelligent use of feints is as useful now as it was in Robert-Houdin's time. They are not just to fool magicians. I think Michael Vincent's work, as one example, shows a great understanding of this.


The thing is, there's a larger purpose at work, to which feints offer one tactic -- namely, the direct manipulation of spectator's suspicions over the course of a routine. I'm not anti-feint myself, but one can also substitute tactics. Carney, for instance, does not use the same coin vanish four times -- he switches to steal methods for the latter two. This allows him to handle the suspicion of "The coin isn't really in that hand" which is aroused by false transfers (specifically, false takes). If somebody thinks they've "got him" after the first two vanishes, he's ready. Later on, with the fourth vanish, there's no feint in the traditional sense, but instead a sort of pantomiming of what other magicians might do, and immediately answering, "No, I didn't do that, it's still over there." which motivates the subsequent actions in a very similar way that traditional feints might.

Like I said, I'm not anti-feint, but there's a larger purpose at work, and one can use different tactics to achieve the same ends -- namely, the arousal of suspicions according to the terms of the magicians, only to later trump them.
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/30/09 07:57 PM

Jim Riser wrote:I suggest that the props themselves should also be questioned. Many of us have disliked the cork as part of the effect.


That's mainly because the cork isn't a part of our "normal" set of props, therefore it is easy to question its presence... But in the eyes of a layperson, the cork isn't more strange than those old coins or the cylinder.
A simple solution, if one is concerned over the cork, is to give the cork a place earlier in the performance - so its presence is natural and taken for granted when the time comes for the Cylinder and Coins.
Like, I've got a "2 in the hand, 1 in the pocket" routine with three bits of cork, which ends with the production of a wine glass. The appearance of the wine glass becomes the answer to the question "Why use bits of a wine cork?". And after that, the cork is an established part of the story.

Good ideas, Jim!
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Postby Chris Deleo » 07/30/09 09:13 PM

Ive been performing this for years, never once has the cork been questioned. Personally, I like the cork. It fits in nicely with the "earthiness" of the rest of the props; silver, leather, wood wand, and cork. All natural ingredients that compliment each other in a primitive kind of way.


I remember reading how Ramsay would cut a sliver of cork on the spot, right in front of his audience....is this correct?
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Postby John Carney » 07/31/09 01:48 AM

Thought I would chime in here.

Magic was greatly advanced when Ramsay took familiar elements and designed a new way of using the hollow stack, a new approach to vanishes, as well as pioneering a new kind of misdirection which was utilized not only in the Cylinder and Coins, but in every other trick he did. He took it far past the palming and pointing of the old timers. He also brought a whole psychology to his magic, far more sophisticated than those who had come before. Ramsay didn't just rest on the laurels of others, he sought to solve problems and contribute in his own way. He was not just about the moves.

Doc Daly said that all good tricks have a discrepancy. Magic advances when someone recognizes discrepancies and weaknesses in a routine, and actively seeks the solution to the problems. There is not such thing as a perfect trick. But if we acknowledge weaknesses, and seek a solution, we can come closer.

So Tom is doing just what Ramsay did..... exploring other possibilities. He was not satisfied with the status quo.

I took out the faints myself, as it does not fit my style. Ramsay knew his audience well, and structured the routine with their knowledge in mind. It is perfect for that.

Would Ramsay say that his routine was perfect the way it was? I would guess not.....I would guess that he was still thinking about it to the very end, adding touches and still trying to continue its evolution. That's what made him a great artist.

If Tom would have said his routine was better than Ramsay's, I might be posting a different message.......as it is, I appreciate that there are people out there that build on the what the giants like Ramsay have created.

How else will magic advance? We need to ask new questions and try different approaches. We may have to fail many times before we succeed. But I am not in favor of stopping the clock. What else is out there? ....Ramsay would be looking.

Do I prefer Tom's routine? ......No (sorry Tom)........but then again, neither does Tom.

But Tom did succeed in making us think about things we have not considered, or things that we think we already understand. In doing so, we are following Ramsay's example.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 07/31/09 03:48 AM

When I interviewed Rafael Benetar for Scripting Magic, he related that he will frequently ask his lute students to play a piece as though they were making it up as they went along. He explained "Magic helped me realize that this was the illusion Im attempting to create when performing classical music. Even if the spectators are holding a program that announces the composer, the artistic illusion of creating the music on the spur of the moment remains.

So, what is the illusion you are trying to create in magic? I dont mean the tricks, but the larger illusion you are attempting to convey when performing magic."

This idea of the larger illusion really struck home to me, and it is the reason that I don't use feints (or sucker tricks). It always seems to me that when you deliberately do things that make the audience think they've caught you doing something, then the larger illusion is that the audience can't catch you because you're too clever. The focus of the trick becomes: can the audience catch you doing something? Literally the last thing I want my audience to think about when I'm doing a trick is the idea of catching me doing something.
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Postby mrgoat » 07/31/09 04:59 AM

Pete McCabe wrote:This idea of the larger illusion really struck home to me, and it is the reason that I don't use feints (or sucker tricks). It always seems to me that when you deliberately do things that make the audience think they've caught you doing something, then the larger illusion is that the audience can't catch you because you're too clever. The focus of the trick becomes: can the audience catch you doing something? Literally the last thing I want my audience to think about when I'm doing a trick is the idea of catching me doing something.


In contrast to Vernon's Ambitious Card then?

It seems the feints were designed for a magician audience? (I've not studied Ramsay, so am going from this thread). Is that the case or did he perform it with feints for laypeople?

As Mr K said, great thread.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 07/31/09 07:33 AM

mrgoat wrote:In contrast to Vernon's Ambitious Card then?

It seems the feints were designed for a magician audience? Is that the case or did he perform it with feints for laypeople?


Back (probably)in the 1980's I saw Vernon on a TV show performing his Ambitious Card routine right out of Stars Of Magic. It included the sucker move. It was also the most entertaining, funny and easy to follow Ambitious Card routine I've ever seen.

Audiences hate being made fools of, but they do enjoy being played with.
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Postby El Mystico » 07/31/09 11:27 AM

I'm sorry that due to my post this has moved from the original focus - for now at least.
I think part of the issue now is one of definition.
For Robert Houdin, a feint was e.g a fake take of a coin - to pretend to do something you dont. Thats not what we are talking about.
For Hugard, a feint was about "establishing the move" - eg waving your hand over the pack before repeating the move to do a color change. That's not what we are talking about.

For some a feint is when you make a move that looks like a move to draw out likely hecklers, to squash them in a controlled way. As Vernon shos on the Revelations DVD with relation to the ambitious Card trick.
But there is another angle, which Ramsay used, and which is hugely valuable. That is to make a move that looks like a move...but subtly. and then to reveal that nothing took place - but without drawing attention to it. eg, you do a color change and draw the hand away face down; but in a casual gesture with no attention, show the palm empty - the card has not been palmed.
The aim here is absolutely not to draw out comments. And should be done so that many of he audence will not notice anything unusual. But for the spectator determined to try to follow your methods, wih absolutely no attention on them, they realise they were wrong.
Repeating such a thing two or three times will lead them very quickly, within their own space, with no one being made a sucker of, that they havent got a hope of following your method; so they may as well relax and follow the effect. I think that is what Ramsay was a master of.
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Postby erlandish » 07/31/09 02:00 PM

There was a huge discussion about this over at Magic Video Depot, and through the debate, about six different reasons for using a feint came up.

1) To manipulate tension and relaxation, which can create good timing for a sleight. Tension is raised at the moment of the sleight, things are shown innocent, relaxation ensues.
2) To motivate a sleight, such as the Han Ping Chen.
3) To maintain focused redirection, such as with the Spider Grip Vanish.
4) As a presentational ploy. For instance, to heighten the cat-and-mouse feeling between audience and performer. Not always undesirable.
5) To cancel a method, such as faking a top change in an Ambitious Card Routine. ("Ah! He's just switching the ca- Oh, no he isn't...")
6) To condition a necessary action, such as in Ramsay's Five Fly Cards (or, at least, Galloway's performance of it).

(There's possibly others we missed...?)

This is probably why I'm not personally anti-feint, myself (even though arguably all of the above could be substituted with alternative tactics). I see where Pete McCabe is coming from, but it seems to me to be a very powerful tactic to give up.
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Postby Andy Galloway » 07/31/09 09:59 PM

Tom,
I am not in the least offended that you disagree with what I wrote. I was trying to answer your questions about the Cylinder & Coins based on my experience learning it from Mr Ramsay and I did note your admiration for him in the May issue of Genii. I feel sure that he would be pleased that magicians of the present generation were developing their own versions of his routines. He always said that the starting points of his tricks could be found in the works of Sachs,Lang Neil and Downs.

Chris,
When John was a young man in the grocer`s shop he used to do the standard Cap & Pence apparently impromtu by taking some copper pennies from the till, removing the drawer from a matchbox,then pick up a cork and cut a slice from it with a penknife. He of course had a dulicate piece in the hollow fake palmed ready for switching.

mrgoat,
Ramsay made no distinction between laymen and conjurors when performing his routines, he did them the same way for both. He believed that magicians tended to underestimate the ability of the public to work out how our tricks were done.
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Postby Chris Deleo » 07/31/09 10:54 PM

Thanks, Mr. Galloway. Cutting the cork is great lesson in itself on being way ahead of your audience

Is there footage of Ramsay performing his Cylinder and Coins?
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Postby Tom Stone » 07/31/09 11:37 PM

Andy Galloway wrote:Tom,
I am not in the least offended that you disagree with what I wrote.

That's a relief! :)

There is one thing I'm curious about, Andrew. Do you know if Mr. Ramsay usually performed this routine on its own as a separate piece, or in the context of several effects?

I curious, because if we view the feints in the light of what Tamariz writes about in The Magic Way, they could possibly be considered to be "false solutions". But with a few differences.

Usually, people are not searching for a solution until after they've seen something strange, and at that point it might be useful to 'guide' the spectators to suspect something that immediately can be refuted.
But it's not that common that people are searching for solutions before anything unusual at all has happened.

But in the Ramsay routine, many feints are done before even the first effect has occurred, but not that many once the routine has started. To me, it seems that the placement of these 'false solutions' are a bit odd.

So, I wonder if the reason might be that he usually preceeded Cylinder and Coins with other effects, so that the spectators had a reason to search for solutions already from start.
Or if he had a "catch me if you can" attitude that encouraged his audience to question everything that was done?
Do you have any theory on why Mr. Ramsay assumed that his actions would be scrutinized before the first effect even had occurred?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/01/09 02:45 AM

Yes, Chris, there is footage of Ramsay performing the Cylinder and Coins. We gave it away on a DVD that came free inside last November's issue of Genii! Why don't you subscribe. :)
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Postby mrgoat » 08/01/09 07:20 AM

Andy Galloway wrote:mrgoat,
Ramsay ( please note the spelling of his name ) made no distinction between laymen and conjurors when performing his routines, he did them the same way for both. He believed that magicians tended to underestimate the ability of the public to work out how our tricks were done.


Massive apologies for the name mistake. And very interesting to learn. Thank you for sharing.
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Postby Chris Deleo » 08/01/09 07:29 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Why don't you subscribe. :)


Just did :)
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Postby Q. Kumber » 08/01/09 11:12 AM

My Genii arrived today and the first thing I read was Tom's column. Like his previous ones - thoroughly thought provoking and interesting. I read it with his intention in mind - the bringing together of the previous three articles.

I've seen a number of magicians perform the Cylinder and Coins. They have all fooled me intellectually but none ever touched me emotionally. I suspect that Tom's presentation would because of his emphasis on story, which can be implied rather than spoken.

Tom, you said that your next column will be your last. I hope you will reconsider as I have found each of your columns to be worth the full year's subscription.
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Postby Tom Stone » 08/01/09 12:28 PM

Tom, you said that your next column will be your last.

Did I? That was a mistake then, because I have two left, in october and december. Then I'm done! :)

Although, Richard is trying to convince me to do next year also, and he can be quite persuasive.
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Postby Steve Vaught » 08/01/09 03:09 PM

I "2nd the motion" --like Quentin--your articles Tom are well worth the subscription.

You can tell the articles are written under much thought and consideration. And as a subscriber, I appreciate that.

And Tom I side with you (in part)on the topic of theory ("Theory isn't worth squat if it can't be applied in a practical manner")

I love to read about theory but sometimes the "air gets a little to thin for me".


Just a quick note about Jamy Swiss.

If you read his review on the book "Performing Magic on the Western Stage"; it is wonderfully funny when he helps (in my opinion) to bring some balance to this evergrowing topic of theory by paraphrasing what a master had once said "Sometimes, a wand is just a wand". LOL

STeve V (the other one)
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Postby Andy Galloway » 08/01/09 07:42 PM

Tom,
I have seen John perform the Cylinder & Coins as a solo item and as part of a programme of other effects.
Magicians who had seen him before or had heard of his reputation would watch his every move hoping to catch him out. John would invariably begin a routine by setting the minds of the spectators on train of thought which would seemingly lead them to the explanation of the trick, then pull the rug from under them. He also felt that you could overdo the use of feints and this would detract from the effect.
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Postby Chris Deleo » 08/01/09 08:03 PM

Did Ramsay ever switch over to a leather cylinder? Also, who manufactured the stack in those days?
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Postby Andy Galloway » 08/02/09 08:41 PM

Chris,
He always used a cardboard cylinder. In those days grocers sold spices in cardboard tubs, the interior diameter of which was slightly larger than a halfcrown and ideal for the purpose. When John was in America in 1950, I believe he gave Conrad Haden permission to manufacture the props for the Cylinder & Coins with either dollars or half dollars, I`m not sure.
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Postby Koudai Iwatou » 08/08/09 02:12 AM

Nice to meet you. My name is Koudai from Japan in Tokyo.

It's a first time that I write in it at here. It was introduced by Magic cafe, and I came. I'm sorry for my poor English skill, but I'm studying.

Well, I thought about a reason with a wand. Actually, it's not a stick, but it is a tool to cast a spell on. So, Here is the video of my performance.

Koudai's Cylinder and Coins
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9xUdvBeVEw

I am happy when I have you give advice.

Regards.

Koudai.
--Etranger--

by Koudai
http://hp.kutikomi.net/buroko/
http://www.youtube.com/user/kienboss
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Postby Q. Kumber » 08/08/09 05:25 AM

Tom Stone wrote:
Tom, you said that your next column will be your last.

Did I? That was a mistake then, because I have two left, in october and december. Then I'm done! :)

Although, Richard is trying to convince me to do next year also, and he can be quite persuasive.


My error. I re-read the article and you said that it is the column after next that would be your last.

I hope Richard's persuasion works!
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Postby Chris Deleo » 08/08/09 06:42 AM

Beautiful work, Koudai. Very original

How long have you been studying coin magic?
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Postby Tortuga » 08/08/09 10:41 AM

Koudai, that was very nice. Probably would be even better if you weren't forced to sit in front of a camera and keep your gestures confined to such a small space.

Saw a slight flash of the stack in the initial loading sequence, but then again, I was prepared and was looking for it. Certainly no layman would see it. It was very slight.

I know that you are using soft coins, so I am sure that noise is kept to a minimum, but music obviously prevents us from any hint of talking that would likely occur in performance. Do you do this routine for audiences? Do you use patter or music? If patter, what do you do, just talk about transporting the coins from spoon to cylinder and back? I'd be interested in knowing.

Thanks for sharing the video.
It's never crowded on the extra mile.....
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Postby Tom Stone » 08/08/09 08:09 PM

Koudai Iwatou wrote:Nice to meet you. My name is Koudai from Japan in Tokyo.

It's a first time that I write in it at here. It was introduced by Magic cafe, and I came. I'm sorry for my poor English skill, but I'm studying.

Hello Koudai :)
Your english is good. No need to apologize.

It is a pleasure to see your video. You are very skilled.

However, it would be interesting to see a wider camera angle.
I would like to see your head and your eyes better.

For misdirection and the Ramsay material, the eyes are very important.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/09/09 12:10 AM

I've gone through this thread and correct some spelling errors of names that were threatening to lead things off track. The substance of this is excellent and I would like it to continue.
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Postby Koudai Iwatou » 08/10/09 12:20 AM

Thank you for everyone. I was encouraged very much.

Dear Tom Stone,

I began a coin magic with 15 years old at 21 years old now. Near future, I will use a wider camera angle, and to show my head and my eyes better. But, more exercises and power of expression are necessary for it. So, will you give advice again if the performance is completed?

By the way, this is my answer why use the magic wand. Many people use the magic wand, but there are few people in pursuit of the shape and meanings. Anyone can explain it was magic tool with the words. However, without words, I need the shape to understand how I use it. There are a knife and the fork, but a spectator may feel unpleasant. (Because there is a sharp part)

There is one question. I want to watch a demonstration by Tom Stone. Would you teach me if there are video or DVD?

Regards.

Koudai.
--Etranger--

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http://hp.kutikomi.net/buroko/
http://www.youtube.com/user/kienboss
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Postby BlueEyed Videot » 08/10/09 08:13 PM

Gentlemen, I'm a magical nobody just undertaking (at a ripe old age of 57) a study of the Cylinder and Coins, and I'd just like to say that the preceding thread is one of the most vibrant and literate discussions I've ever read on any magic forum. You are all to be congratulated, your passion and your love of magic shines like a guiding star.

I thank each and every one of you for your insights and wisdom. Magic shall not fade with teachers and practitioners like yourselves.

Humbly and awe-struck,
Richard Hart
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Postby Tom Stone » 08/11/09 11:16 AM

Koudai Iwatou wrote:Near future, I will use a wider camera angle, and to show my head and my eyes better. But, more exercises and power of expression are necessary for it. So, will you give advice again if the performance is completed?


Yes, if you want advice, I will be happy to assist.
But remember, I am no 先生, just a student. :)

By the way, this is my answer why use the magic wand. Many people use the magic wand, but there are few people in pursuit of the shape and meanings. Anyone can explain it was magic tool with the words. However, without words, I need the shape to understand how I use it.


Your idea is great! "Liquid silver" - the coins transforms into invisible water. When poured down the cylinder, the cork obviously floats up. The spoon makes perfect sense.

Can you take that a step further? Perhaps wipe the spoon with a cloth at the end, and a hard silver smudge appear on the cloth?
Or, start with a small glass and no coins. Pour a little from the glass into the spoon. Then turn the spoon over, and a coin falls to the table? Or anything else that introduces, reaffirm or strengthen the plot that the coins turn into liquid.

Another thought - your performance is rather strict and formal, almost like a ritual. But it is little unclear if that is what you are aiming for.
So, I think it might be good to either increase or decrease that aspect.
I mean - if you want it to look like a formal ritual, add more ritualistic movements.
Or if you want it to look informal, try to relax more inbetween each effect. Think: "Contrasts!" (Tension/relaxation/tension/relaxation - high/low - whisper/explosion - fast/slow... )


There is one question. I want to watch a demonstration by Tom Stone. Would you teach me if there are video or DVD?

Sorry, I do not own a video camera. But if I can borrow a camera, I might put something up on YouTube soon.
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Postby Tom Stone » 08/11/09 11:57 AM

Koudai Iwatou wrote:to show my head and my eyes better. But, more exercises and power of expression are necessary for it.

By the way - I recommend a study of this book:
https://bookweb.kinokuniya.co.jp/htmy/0878301054.html
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Postby Curtis Kam » 08/11/09 01:46 PM

That's it--ritual! I think Tom has (again) hit on something quite insightful. For me, the spoon-as-wand idea fit this routine and your style very well, but I could not say exactly why. Now I know: the formal style, the long and narrow shape of the spoon, and the fact that many magicians perform the routine as a ritual, where things are done a certain way out of a sense of tradition.

I think the spoon fits well beause the way you do this suggests a tea ceremony. And I think that's not only an unique way to present the routine, but also says something interesting about the routine, and the traditions that surround it.

Congratulations to both of you, and thank you.
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Postby Tom Stone » 08/12/09 03:07 AM

John Carney wrote:Thought I would chime in here.

Magic was greatly advanced when Ramsay took familiar elements and designed a new way of using the hollow stack, a new approach to vanishes, as well as pioneering a new kind of misdirection which was utilized not only in the Cylinder and Coins, but in every other trick he did. He took it far past the palming and pointing of the old timers. He also brought a whole psychology to his magic, far more sophisticated than those who had come before. Ramsay didn't just rest on the laurels of others, he sought to solve problems and contribute in his own way.


It is a pity that lessons from those who are responsible for big paradigm shifts seldom are interpreted properly.

Either they becomes the subject of a personality cult, where they becomes deified, and every word they've said becomes like holy scripture... but as in any religion, the words are often quoted and taught, but seldom lived by when it comes to pragmatic handling.

Or the new paradigm becomes a natural part of the current reality, and their discoveries becomes so ingrained with the culture, that many people fail to see the value of the work, as they can't even imagine how it was before.
Like the gags of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton - those gags have been borrowed, stolen, adapted, varied so much that the originals now feels bland, boring and uninteresting. Most people today fail to understand how revolutionary Keaton and Chaplin was. If you haven't experienced the "before", then it is difficult to appreciate the value of the "after".

So Tom is doing just what Ramsay did..... exploring other possibilities. He was not satisfied with the status quo.


One should never be satisfied with the status quo. Always move, always try to progress. Doesn't have to be fast though, slow progression is also progression. Evolution is life, stagnation is death. Progression is soothing because constant velocity is actually a state of rest.

Learning from the past masters, reading their work - it is like being carried on their backs as they explore uncharted territory in their search for the ultimate goal. When reaching the place when they stop, should we thank them by climbing off, backtrack and then walk exactly in their footsteps all over again? Focusing on the placement of each exact footstep... or should we raise our gaze, see the goal they aimed for, and proceed towards it, out into the unknown and uncharted from the point we was carried to?

Do I prefer Tom's routine? ......No (sorry Tom)........but then again, neither does Tom.


Heh, well put! :)
But I can say this - the routine I eventually will fall for, is going to contain the misdirection ideas and techniques that have emerged since Ramsay's time. Ramsay was revolutionary, but things have evolved further since then. To perform Cylinder and Coins today, without considering or trying to adapt the techniques of Slydini, Tamariz, Tommy Wonder and others, then you are needlessly restricting yourself.

Sorry for the rambling and the illconsidered analogies ;)
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Postby Curtis Kam » 08/12/09 05:43 AM

Tom, I had the opportunity to do a late night lecture on the Cylinder and Coins at the World Magic Seminar earlier this year. One of the things I learned from doing the lecture is that there are many magicians who love this piece of magic, and most of them have work on the routine. The ones who have decided that the routine should fool other magicians are, understandably, rather reluctant to openly discuss their approaches. The ones who have chosen to make the routine one they will perform for lay audiences are a bit more forthcoming.

I fall into the latter group, and will happily bore you with the details of my research, but that's perhaps better left to private correspondence. Here, I'll just relate a few of the products of my explorations:

The signature moment in the routine is when you lift the cylinder, and the audience sees the stack of coins under the cork. This moment is what separates this routine from all others in which coins vanish and reappear elsewhere. Unfortunately, at that moment, the coins are presented to the audience by their least visible aspect, their edges. In order to make sure that the situation is clear, I use a six coin stack, and instead of a cork, a large metal nut. The nut is recogniseable, and almost looks too large to fit inside the stack. I don't think the audience appreciates this consciously, but it still is significant.

One interesting substitute for the cork sliver is an "X" drawn on the table with a marker. The "X" marks the spot where the coins are to arrive. When the stack is revealed, the "X" is on the top coin.

Another interesting item is something that actually is too large to fit in the stack, but (secretly) expands. Not only does this negate the idea of a stack, but there's the tempting possibility of the audience seeing the item peek over the top of the cylinder as the coins appear beneath it.

There are quite a few people working on vanish sequences that will fool magicians. If fooling other magicians is one of your goals, then I think this is the right approach.

Eric Jones and I (and perhaps others) have discussed a version where there is no cylinder. Eric might even perform this. In other words, the cork is placed on the table, the magician stands in front of the table and vanishes the coins. He steps aside, and the coins are under the cork.

There's more, but only if somebody's interested.
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Postby El Mystico » 08/12/09 07:00 AM

I completely agree with what Tom wrote.
but would add the rider - that we need to properly understand what it was that the old masters learned before we can reliably conclude that things have evolved further.
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