Mikame's Blackboard Art

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Postby Guest » 04/25/02 01:24 PM

Has anyone purchased this product, performed it or seen it performed. I am a big fan of Mikame products, mainly for collecting, but before purchasing this one to perform with was wondering how convincing it is.
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/25/02 10:46 PM

You mean the one you write "ROPE" and pull off a piece of rope?

I wouldn't care if it is convincing or magical, it is just a "link" and a throw away to me, one that I think is TERRIFIC.

BTW I have the Mikame Pom Pom sticks and they suck... you can't make 'em work.

Any collector that wants a set make me a low offer...

:rolleyes:
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Postby Guest » 04/26/02 06:07 AM

Pete, Sorry to hear you do not like the Mikame Pom Pom sticks. I purchased these and they work very well. At first the string kept sticking, but after using it for a while in practice they started working great. Everyone I have showed this trick to has thought it was great - especially the surprise ending where you pull them apart and let them see down into both hollow pieces of wood and they can see nothing. The most important part of this trick though is a fun patter, which makes or breaks the trick.
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Postby David Nethery » 04/26/02 06:46 AM

Regarding the Mikame Craft ROPE BLACKBOARD:

It's well made and is a very cute intro. to a rope routine.

HOWEVER, the dealer/catalog description that is being used by all the dealers selling this effect (Hocus Pocus, Joe Stevens, Hank Lee) is one of the most deceptive ads I've seen recently. (Shame ) The ad copy description of the trick reads very clean:

"Performer shows a slate on both sides. Writes the word "Rope" across the board with a piece of chalk. He then takes hold of the chalk writing and magically pulls it right off the board! The chalk word "Rope" has changed into a real piece of rope. All that's left is an outline of the letters."

This is NOT what actually happens in the routine. By the description given one would be led to believe that the performer is standing with the chalk board, writes the word "Rope" on it, and without setting down the board or doing anything else , simply yanks the word "Rope" right off the board to show that it has transformed into a real piece of rope. Nope.

The Mikame instructions say to show the blackboard on both sides, then set it down on a table which has a newspaper spread out on the table (the Mikame instructions tell you to inform the audience that the newspaper is there to prevent chalk dust from getting all over your table top.........duh....... don't draw attention to the newspaper, just have it there on the table and then use it in an effect later in the show. It's just an "innocent" piece of newspaper, why draw attention to it ? But , I digress........) Then , with the blackboard sitting flat on the table (on top of the piece of newspaper, mind you) you write the word "Rope". Then pick up the blackboard, turn it over to the other side and write something else , such as "Rope" written in Japanese or a big "?" question mark , or whatever, but the workings of the trick require you to turn the slate over to write something on the other side after you write "Rope" on the first side. Or at least, you must turn the blackboard over, whether you write anything on the other side or not, but you must turn the thing face down on the piece of newspaper before picking it up again to yank the word "Rope" off the blackboard.
After all this setting the board down and turning it over stuff you proceed as in the dealer description.

Doesn't sound quite so clean , now does it ?

I eliminate the obvious setting it down except for one brief moment . What I do is write the word "Rope" on the board (from a standing position) with the face of the blackboard facing me. I then briefly set the board on the edge of my table as I turn to take a pair of scissors from the assistant on stage with me.
In that brief , casual moment of misdirection (turning to take the scissors back from the assistant) I ditch the gimmick from the blackboard onto the top of the piece of newspaper (which, by the way, I do use in the act , so there's a reason for it to be there). Then immediately turn to hand the blackboard to the assistant to hold up facing the audience , who now see that I have written the word "Rope" on the blackboard.
Gesturing "magically" with the scissors I then seize the end of the "Rope" letters and pull them off the board , showing the chalk letters having transformed into a real piece of rope. You can guess the rest with the scissors, etc.

All this takes just half - a - minute or so. Don't dwell on it or make a huge deal about it, it's just a cute throwaway gag intro to get into the rope routine.

So, bottom line, I like the effect, but the dealer ad currently running in magic magazines and on certain web sites is not an honest description of what happens. If done correctly it is what the audience should remember after the show (if they think about it at all) but the dealer description leaves out some of the moves that must take place to finish the effect.
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Postby Guest » 04/26/02 07:01 AM

Dai,

Thank you very much for your indepth description of how the trick really is and your suggestions on how to improve the handling from what is written in Mikame's instructions. This is very helpful.

Richard should publish your review of this product in Genii, as there are probably many people purchasing this affect based on dealer desciptions and who are very disappointed upon receiving the trick.

Thanks again :genii:
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Postby David Nethery » 04/26/02 08:03 AM

Another thought on handling the Mikame ROPE BLACKBOARD:

It occurs to me that if your style of act is such that uses those nifty little black draped side tables (with the little gold or silver fringe, like Abbott's ) you could eliminate the newspaper on top of the table and just ditch the gimmick by covering it in a matching black velvet material, so the black art principle hides it when you ditch it on top of the black table top.

Also occurs to me that you could build an upright stand to hold the blackboard, sort of like those table top presentation stands for business presentations of charts and graphs. The blackboard gimmick would be painted to match the back panel of the stand , so when you momentarily set the blackboard down on the stand the gimmick gets left behind when you pick up the blackboard again.
(does that make sense ? Wish I could post a quick sketch of what I mean......)
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/26/02 03:02 PM

Frankly, anyone with a knowledge of magical priciples would guess the "slate flap" had to be ditched... and my guess was what you have written. I don't see any problem with putting the slate on the table for a second... it shouldn't be called attention to and a short bit of business would be easy to come up with...

Again, like I said, "It ain't a miracle" but I think it is a great bit of business.

Am working on some ideas to use with one.

pb :eek:
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Postby David Nethery » 04/26/02 03:57 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Frankly, anyone with a knowledge of magical priciples would guess the "slate flap" had to be ditched... and my guess was what you have written.
pb :eek:
Pete -

You're going to laugh at me , but in this case I ordered the thing based only on reading the ads and I actually took the dealer's jargon at face value ! (silly me) Based on the description I leapt right over the "flap" principle and thought it must be a piece of slate colored flexible plastic or heavy canvas attached to a small roller shade concealed inside the upper part of the frame;
you know those small , thin roller shades that attach to the side window of a car, to keep the sun out of passenger's eyes ? That sort of roller would fit inside a hollow frame, which would allow the fake to be pulled up inside the frame without setting the board down.

I was thinking way too mechanical on this one!
Of course, it turned out to be the old principle you guessed, but I still say that the dealer description of the Rope Blackboard is disingenuous

I hope I didn't come off sounding like I thought the effect wasn't good or was too much trouble........actually as I posted above and as you had already surmised, the "ditch" of the gimmick is pretty easy to do (but no one should do it like the Mikame instructions suggest, drawing attention to the newspaper on the table, etc.)
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Postby Guest » 04/26/02 05:54 PM

I agree with Dai on NOT following Mikame's instructions for this. Really that holds true for the majority of Mikame stuff. Mikame Craft's instructions have never really been a step by step routine...rather a guide to show the workings. Also...keep in mind that the instructions we get in the USA for this and basically all of Mikame's items are translations from Japanese text, which do not always work out so well.

Pete...you could not be more right. The Mikame POM POM Stick is a true piece of crap...and thats coming from the biggest fan of Mikame Craft on earth. I have been collecting Mikame for over 15 years and I was in shock when I got mine. A number of items in the current Mikame "flooding" are nice, but the 1970s and 80s...those were the best years for Mikame Craft.
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/26/02 10:43 PM

I can't figure why he made the Pom Pom sticks the way he did with such fragile thread and such "lightweight" Pom Poms... they need weight.

Also, they are like toys, way to small for a stand up performance.

The ones I make (blatant plug) have been tested under real world shows for years... and Joe Stevens (who sells 'em for me) told me on the phone tonight he has NEVER had a trick catch on and sell as fast and as many units as my "Plumber's Sticks."

(I can barely keep up with making them)!
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Postby Guest » 04/29/02 01:58 PM

At last Chris at Magic Smith has described the trick as it is performed in reality. The first dealer I know to have done so. Kudos to Chris.
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