Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
Jack Shalom
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Jack Shalom » January 30th, 2019, 10:55 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Gazzo's final loading sequence > 2:40 to 4:45.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxy8A2Yg75c

What do you think?


Thre's a difference between what Gazzo does and what a magician does.
Gazzo's aim is to get the money, not to make magic. That may mean that absolutely "fooling" the audience is not paramount. Getting money=being likeable=not being perfect=making them feel they're on the inside along with you if they pay attention.
Mark has talked about this dynamic as well when pitching Svengalis.
Many in the audience know exactly where the melon came from. They appreciate that they didn't catch the load. "What a clever man!" as they feel clever.
For a magician, it's different (or should be IMO). They shouldn't even know where the load comes from.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 30th, 2019, 1:45 pm

Many years ago about 10 of us were at the Maryland Renn Festival and joined the audience to watch Gazzo. He was so rude, so racist, and so sexist, that we all looked at each other and decided to leave.
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » January 30th, 2019, 2:14 pm

how can you tell the difference between actually fooling someone and them just being polite. I'm asking because I've witnessed non-magicians who have reacted rather enthusiastically to a tableside magician, then when the magician leaves, clearly describe everything the magician has done in graphic detail.


First off, please call me Ian. I hate being called Mister or Sir...

As to your question, I think there is a very real difference between a genuine reaction, and a polite one (although it's very hard to describe adequately; it's something one _feels_). Often there are audible cues - an immediate gasp or laugh is almost always real.

In the video I posted last night, I think the quietest reaction was for the first clip, which was from a show I did in 2008 called Golden Age of Magic. The routine was done to a recording of my daughter reading a diary entry, so there was a much lower energy, which I think muted the response somewhat. (The whole routine is here if you are interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T96rqy453yI)

Compare that to the reaction in the Castle Parlour, and I think it's clear that it was a genuine reaction (That routine is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsRocAIgVL4)

As for Gazzo; when I returned to street work in 2006 (after eight years out) I was given some advice from him - do you want to be a magician who entertains, or an entertainer who does magic? Because only one of those will make money.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Al Schneider » January 30th, 2019, 2:39 pm

All of this has taken an interesting turn. I have somewhat studied this problem for some time and came up with a kind of explanation. It is presented in my book The Theory and Practice of Magic Deception. An attempt at an explanation is by organizing magic into clown magic, theater magic, and virtual magic. A point is that in theater magic, the type most practiced, is aimed at entertainment and aimed at that highest goal of audience reaction. Virtual magic does not depend on suspension of disbelief but is unexplained from any perspective. Virtual magic tends not to get any reaction from the audience.

My goal here is to share a note from someone claiming to be a professional table hopper. He essentially agreed with my analysis and said when selling his services to some restaurant; he would show the general manager a virtual magic effect. That is, he wanted to hammer the boss with shocking magic. Then he would work a table to show the GM his style. At the table he would do theater magic. His opinion was that the theater magic got visible reaction to sell the GM. But he did virtual magic for the GM to demonstrate real magic.

Just thought you would find that interesting.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 30th, 2019, 3:12 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Many years ago about 10 of us were at the Maryland Renn Festival and joined the audience to watch Gazzo. He was so rude, so racist, and so sexist, that we all looked at each other and decided to leave.


I guess my feelings, while not explicitly voiced, were implicit in my open-ended question as to what people think re the performance in the video. Now I don't begrudge anyone the right to make an honest living and I do have some level of admiration for those who can do so by performing magic. Jack mentioned that Gazzo's focus is on getting the money, not on magic. But he does perform magic tricks. Maybe its just me, but I have to say, I am perplexed if his often brash, rude and abrasive, even demeaning, style, coupled with moves like repeatedly and obviously sticking a cup literally right into the gib to load, are somehow inducing people to throw money at him. But then, I guess human nature can be a funny thing...

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » January 30th, 2019, 4:10 pm

WRT gib loads and melons.

I don't use a hat load at the moment, but I've seen it done countless times. Watching audiences for not quite thirty years, I know that the loads are effective and deceptive for the large majority of the audience.

In the early 90s I was having a chat with my performing partner at the time, Mitch Benn. He told me that in the 80s he had seen a magician in Amsterdam - after some questions and showing him a picture, I worked out that he had seen Jim Cellini in his prime. Mitch is easily one of the most intelligent people I know (there's an entire chapter about him in a 70s book about child prodigies), but he said that the melon load caught him twice. After the first time he stayed to watch again and was caught again. On the third time he watched the show from the side, and concentrated on Cellini's hands (rather than following the misdirection) and he saw the gib load. Remember that the second time he knew the melon was coming, but still missed the load.

There is _so_ much misdirection built into the routine that the most shoddy load from the gib will fly in most situations. Remember that saying about being able to load an elephant under the plate? That happens all the time with the cups.

As for Gazzo's character; it's not for everyone, but you cannot deny that he was extremely successful with it. That's the wonder of working the streets; something either works, or it's discarded very quickly.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Bob Farmer » January 30th, 2019, 4:35 pm

I believe in the Vernon routine an appearance of a ball always immediately precedes the load. This makes sense: if a cup is lifted and there is nothing there, the audience has literally nothing to focus on and its attention is defused. If a ball has appeared, then there is a subject for focus combined with the mental jolt created by the surprise.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 30th, 2019, 4:48 pm

Sometimes the most "intelligent" people are the easiest to fool. And since, as Ian notes, the hat load is largely successful - well it's hard to argue with success. It is undoubtedly a hugely surprising production if one is not caught out.

I often find myself wishing I had more opportunities to perform seated at a table. Such opportunities are few and far between when you work strolling magic and (obviously) stand-up shows. When seated, the lap and the floor are great built-in servantes for ditching, vanishes and, of course, productions. (Also, when you can work from behind the bar, that is also highly advantageous). With a case or box holding the props on the floor below the table, it would be relatively easy to "produce," for instance, a small melon or large grapefruit "from" a cup after the revelation of a big ball or piece of fruit, or two - after getting the melon or grapefruit conveniently into the lap and bringing the cup to the table's edge under the misdirection of the big balls or lemons or whatever. Johnny Ace Palmer, for example, who typically performs seated, manages to cop hold of a dang raven from under the table, as a mind-blowing, super-powerful extra zinger after he produces the chicks at the end of his Cups and Balls. It's really hard to conceive of anything more powerful than such a sequence in a close-up show...

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 31st, 2019, 8:52 am

Bob Farmer wrote:I believe in the Vernon routine an appearance of a ball always immediately precedes the load. This makes sense: if a cup is lifted and there is nothing there, the audience has literally nothing to focus on and its attention is defused. If a ball has appeared, then there is a subject for focus combined with the mental jolt created by the surprise.


Absolutely! And giving the little ball a tap or nudge with the back of the cup causing the ball to roll forward as the cup is lifted to reveal it, adds even more misdirection and extra insurance that the load of the fruit, big ball, or whatever, is not detected.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby erdnasephile » January 31st, 2019, 10:16 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:
Bob Farmer wrote:I believe in the Vernon routine an appearance of a ball always immediately precedes the load. This makes sense: if a cup is lifted and there is nothing there, the audience has literally nothing to focus on and its attention is defused. If a ball has appeared, then there is a subject for focus combined with the mental jolt created by the surprise.


Absolutely! And giving the little ball a tap or nudge with the back of the cup causing the ball to roll forward as the cup is lifted to reveal it, adds even more misdirection and extra insurance that the load of the fruit, big ball, or whatever, is not detected.


With this technique, I think it's possible to have too much insurance because a little goes a long way.

When I was a little kid, my parents took me to Hollywood Magic (the one in Newport Beach). The guy behind the counter did a chop cup routine, which was new to me. As he lifted up the cup to reveal the small ball, he kicked it forward towards me with vigor, and loaded a large ball. Even though I had not seen a chop cup routine before, intuitively, I knew the amount of force with which he kicked the ball forward was unnaturally large, so I sensed that something sneaky had gone on, even though I was watching the moving ball. As a result, I wasn't fooled at all when the final load came. The kicker in the story was that just before revealing the load, the demo guy saw me watching the rolling ball and said: "You didn't even see that, did you?", meaning the final load.

I was too polite to tell him the truth.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 31st, 2019, 11:03 am

It is a good point and one which I had not considered before. Although I have never kicked it forward with the kind of force the guy at Hollywood Magic apparently used, I will still need to rethink kicking it forward at all. It would be quite ironic and obviously undesirable to have the forward-kick back-fire. It may be a bit like over proving, which can achieve the opposite of the desired goal. I certainly do not want to mislead any one here. The truth is, kicking the ball forward with the cup is probably not necessary at all when the loading is done smoothly. The appearance of the little ball under the cup should really provide ample misdirection. Thanks for calling this to my attention.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Pete McCabe » January 31st, 2019, 2:54 pm

I've seen Gazzo live twice, both times in the Parlour at the Castle. The first show, all his rude material went over well, and everyone laughed—a great show. The second show, for one of the opening bits he interacted with me, in the audience, and did a few jokes about how I was gay, or looked gay, something like that. I didn't find it offensive, but no one in the audience laughed even once, and the entire show died a horrible death.

That kind of material is always so much more risky. If you're on the street, and the show dies, that's just one show. But if someone hires you, and your show dies a horrible death, that could cost you many shows.


I think the use of the Gib is very challenging for many magicians' world view—mine included. Right before the routine, Gazzo takes a huge bag and straps it to his waist, and then dips the cups into it many times during the routine. It seems that any conscious spectator, even if they were initially fooled by a load, must be able to backtrack and figure out that it came from the big bag the performer strapped on for this one trick. Especially when the trick is over, and the performer removes the bag. How can this reminder not give away, in retrospect, the secret of all those amazing appearances?

And yet it does not seem to detract from the effectiveness. As Ian said, if it doesn't work on the street, you'll know immediately.

I know many magicians who believe that it's vitally important to keep their audiences from being able to back-track a routine. What if it's not?

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 31st, 2019, 5:10 pm

Pete McCabe Wrote: "I know many magicians who believe that it's vitally important to keep their audiences from being able to back-track a routine. What if it's not?"

I guess I am among those magicians who does believe it's important. I have people videoing me routinely with their iPhones/Smartphones, and it is a lot more gratifying to have them come back and tell me a week or two later, "You know, I slowed down the video and watched it over and over, and I still couldn't see how you did it," rather than, "I figured out how you did it - it was when you did such and such" or "I watched the video and I saw how you did it." The latter kind of takes the wind out of the sails of the magic, and just doesn't feel very good - from my point of view, anyway. Whether the audience is laymen or magicians, fooling them is only the starting point, but without it there is no "magic." And, to continue the metaphor, if they are able to successfully backtrack, it's like the air went out of the magical balloon.

In any event I think it is equally, if not more important that moves are not so obvious or sloppy that they don't even need to backtrack - to where they can see what's going on in real time. I use my own iPhone a lot to video myself doing tricks and routines - it's a tremendously advantageous tool to spot the flashes and weak points, and can be a very sobering eye-opener. But it fosters significant improvement. As Erdnasephile suggested in an earlier post, just because a spectator says nothing doesn't mean he/she did not see or figure out how and when a final load was accomplished. If you want to really learn how convincing your vanishes and final loads are in the cups and balls and chop cups, well, as they say, "The camera never lies."

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » January 31st, 2019, 6:09 pm

If you want to really learn how convincing your vanishes and final loads are in the cups and balls and chop cups, well, as they say, "The camera never lies."


While I agree with the use of cameras in rehearsal, there is a fundamental flaw in the quote above. A camera is unblinking, and does not alter its point of focus, whereas eyes will move all over the place as directed by the performer (if they are doing it right).

There are many times when I have caught a load on video (there's one fairly obvious flash in the video I posted the other day), but it's not seen by the spectators, because they are focused elsewhere.

Given that there are many layers of misdirection in the average cups routine, it's a tad unrealistic to judge them based on something that is not affected by misdirection.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 31st, 2019, 9:11 pm

Ian Kendall Wrote: "While I agree with the use of cameras in rehearsal, there is a fundamental flaw in the quote above. A camera is unblinking, and does not alter its point of focus, whereas eyes will move all over the place as directed by the performer (if they are doing it right)."

Perhaps so. But when they are watching you on video (and that they will be is a reaity of this age), their eyes will see what the camera sees...

Furthermore if you're flashing a lemon during a load, you're flashing a lemon. I want to know if I am, and not just hope that attempted misdirection will cover faulty technique. There are spectators who are wise to misdirection and will burn your hands and look where you are trying to get them not to look despite best efforts.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » February 1st, 2019, 3:36 am

I would dispute that most people will be watching on video - unless they have recorded a street show (which happens), or I upload a video that I have recorded myself, and I'm unlikely to do that if there is a _glaring_ load flash.

Also, by the time you get to the big loads, the audience should have been conditioned to your direction so that they are not burning your hands. If this is not the case, flashing loads are the least of your problems!

Time to quote Carney again: When I was younger I thought that technique was everything, and misdirection was insurance against poor technique. Now I know that the opposite is true.

If you have a spectator who is going to burn your hands throughout the performance, they are unlikely to enjoy the show anyway, because they are treating it as an intellectual challenge. Whether that is a symptom of their personality, or the magician's presentation style, I would direct more of my efforts towards entertaining the rest of the audience; the burner is more likely to be brought along with them.

Slightly related story; many years ago I was doing a small close up show in the Fringe. Twenty seats around a table, not unlike the close up room in the Castle. A couple came in and sat in the two seats to my right - the hot seats for the show - and announced that their son did a little magic, so they know what to look for. Very much a challenge attitude, but I laughed it off and got on with the show. Towards the end, I was going through a card under cup routine (using my chop cup that had featured earlier) and after the third time the card ended up under the cup right in front of the couple the woman turned to her husband and said, quite loudly, 'You are supposed to be watching him!'

Moral: sometimes, the people who think they know about misdirection are the easiest people to direct :)

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 1st, 2019, 4:15 am

Ian, I did not say, "most people will be watching on video." I pointed out that I have had people videotape me when I perform, and that this is a reality of the times. So when you say you "dispute" that most people will be watching on video, you are shadowboxing. I recounted my own experience with people videotaping me. Usually they will ask first, and I'm not inclined to say, "No, you may not." I'm not here to dispute anything with anyone, but if I was, I would call into question your staunch defense of strapping on a gib and the efficacy of loading cups from it. The fact that many people are too polite to call out a magician does not necessarily mean that they were fooled. But you know, magicians, are sometimes very good at fooling themselves. IMHO, videoing our performances and watching with an open mind, is a good way to prevent or minimize that from happening.

Also, I never said or implied that, "misdirection was insurance against poor technique." It is not. Although, Lord knows, I have a lot of improving to do, I strive to believe make both the technique and the misdirection strong. I believe the strongest magic is composed of great technique, misdirection, subtlety and, of course, presentation. None of these are in a vacuum.

Finally, I am not familiar with the quote you attribute to Carney: "When I was younger I thought that technique was everything, and misdirection was insurance against poor technique. Now I know that the opposite is true." So, if the opposite is in fact true, that would mean that "misdirection is everything and technique is insurance against poor misdirection." I don't understand the logic there.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » February 1st, 2019, 6:41 am

I think my point was that the number of people watching on video is comparatively small compared to those that are not.

As for the efficacy of using a gib; as we discussed before, it's not hard to tell the difference between a real and a polite reaction. I do not believe that every reaction I've had while using one is down to polite audience members.

The problem with using video in that respect (as I mentioned) is that the camera does not change its viewpoint as a human does.

The Carney quote is from Carneycopia. Your interpretation is correct. Rather than concentrate on a flawless technique and rely on misdirection to cover any faults, you should aim for flawless misdirection, and good technique will cover any mistakes there. In the context of the current discussion, the misdirection that is inherent in any cups routine is usually adequate to cover any potential flashes with loads. For example, did you spot the flash in my video before I pointed it out? (and I won't be upset if you did :) )

Again, and going back to the street because that's where the gib started, people simply don't pay if they are not entertained or fooled. They just walk. The gib would not have endured for hundreds of years if it were not effective. (and to illustrate this, a while back I found a video of my first ever cups routine on the street. It's terrible. I didn't get paid much at all, because people were not fooled. Or entertained for that matter, but it was Glasgow, and the two do tend to go hand in hand...)

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Kent Gunn » February 1st, 2019, 11:05 am

Ian,

1. We both know you're, by far, the better magician, betwixt we two.

2. You've done the cups, for paying audiences far more times than me.

3. This still stinks, to me:


While I agree with the use of cameras in rehearsal, there is a fundamental flaw in the quote above. A camera is unblinking, and does not alter its point of focus, whereas eyes will move all over the place as directed by the performer (if they are doing it right)."

I FIRMLY believe if you can see a flash or any flaw in video of yourself, it needs to be addressed far more sternly than, it'll fly in front of a live audience: insert BS excuses about points of focus or eye movement here.

You're a better magician than that. I've seen you live. At some point you've videoed yourself for and made harsh assessments.

KG

PS. I hate giberces and the cup through cup move.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » February 1st, 2019, 1:21 pm

Kent,

I think you've misunderstood my point (or, more likely, I've been less than clear in my posts).

I am not suggesting that flashes are all fine and dandy because no one is looking. I'm saying that they are not the be all and end all of the routine.

The fact is that a minor flash will not be noticed in (arbitrarily chosen random number) 97% of cases. No one will flash in exactly the same point every time (and if they do, then that's a completely different problem).

I wrote something a decade ago, on the subject of the pass; an invisible pass is one that no one sees. Whether that is through exceptional technique, or direction of attention, the end result is the same. Tying the Carney quote into the mix, obviously we strive for the best technique we can attain, but at the end of the day, misdirection provides far more shade than finger placement. Remember Ken Brooke's bright red thumbtip? Same thing.

I am emphatically _not_ saying that one should be complacent with shoddy technique. At the same time, I'm not going to lose much sleep over one flash in a hundred shows that no one saw :)

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Kent Gunn » February 1st, 2019, 6:27 pm

I did take your post incorrectly.

I'm often a chucklehead. You're gracious, as always.

Hope you are going to be at Genii, this year.

KG

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 1st, 2019, 6:50 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Finally, I am not familiar with the quote you attribute to Carney: "When I was younger I thought that technique was everything, and misdirection was insurance against poor technique. Now I know that the opposite is true." So, if the opposite is in fact true, that would mean that "misdirection is everything and technique is insurance against poor misdirection." I don't understand the logic there.


Carney's approach here is that you should always strive to get the spectators to look away from your hands during a sleight, no matter how flawlessly you can execute the move. His classic example here is Ramsay's Cylinder and Coins. The performer should look up at the audience during the "take"of the coin to get them to look at your face instead of your hands. When they glance back down, the move is over, which subconsciously suggests innocence, that nothing sneaky has transpired.

If the performer fails to get the spectators to look away from his hands for the necessary moment, which can happen with stubborn audiences who are wise to misdirection, as Alfred pointed out, then flawless technique is good to have.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 2nd, 2019, 6:34 am

Well, the way you have articulated it, Leo, certainly makes sense.

I do think there is an important caveat to the concept of directing attention away from the sleight, and that lies in the distinction between sleights that need to be done surreptitiously and those that must be executed in the open. An example would be the final loads in the cups and balls, versus the vanishes of the little balls earlier in the routine.

For the final loads (where, let's say the magician is standing), ideally, they will not even perceive that a cup came back near the pocket to a waiting hand that just emerged from the pocket and which meets and makes contact with the mouth of the cup, much less catch a flash of the big load. Their eyes should, instead, be fixated on the little ball that has been shown to have appeared or reappeared back under the cup - at least in the typical, almost universal, Vernonesque sequence. But for the vanishes, we clearly don't want them looking elsewhere (whether it is at our face or somewhere other than the hands) because there would be no perception that "magic" has happened. We want to direct attention not away from, but to focus it directly upon the place where the very sleight is transpiring. Please forgive me if I'm stating the obvious here, but perhaps I just need to clarify the distinction for myself. The same would seem to be true with, for instance, a retention vanish with a coin, a shuttle pass, or a color change of a card. I think another good example would be the use of the pass as a card control, versus using it to make a card visibly and magically appear on top of the deck.

BTW, I'm excited - the Bob White video on the C & B is arriving in a few days. I'm looking especially forward to trying to make my vanishes more convincing.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » February 2nd, 2019, 8:29 am

But for the vanishes, we clearly don't want them looking elsewhere (whether it is at our face or somewhere other than the hands) because there would be no perception that "magic" has happened. We want to direct attention not away from, but to focus it directly upon the place where the very sleight is transpiring.


I'm going to disagree with this (as does Carney, per the quote above); it's not necessary for someone to be staring at an object when it vanishes in order to perceive a magic effect (not all the time, anyway). The idea of sleights being performed on the off beat is ingrained in our theory (and the whole gubbins about 'changing the moment' is in there as well).

Now, for overt effects like a colour change or similar it is desirable to focus on the object, but for others, certainly not. Vanishes are still extremely effective when combined with some direction of attention.

I've written extensively about the use of peripheral vision as an aid to misdirection, and unfortunately don't have enough time to repeat it here, but suffice to say that my experience is that one does not have to be focused on the exact area of the vanish in order for the vanish to be effective.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 2nd, 2019, 8:58 am

i have feeling that if I said "White is white," I would probably be contradicted by a certain individual who said, "No, white is black." I'm sorry, but I am having a hard time understanding that individual's posts. I do know that said individual (who shall go unnamed) likes to give a dissertation to the audience of 4 and 1/2 excruciating minutes in length out of the total approximate 8 minutes of the first cups and balls performance video he posted on here, without a stitch of magic happening.

Ian Kendall
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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » February 2nd, 2019, 11:12 am

Heh. Not at all; however, if I had evidence that white was not white, I might take issue :)

As for Githa's Cups; that was part of a show I did in the Fringe in 2008 called The Golden Age of Magic. It was a discussion about the magicians from ~1850 to 1930s, where I gave some background to the routines, and then performed them; that's why there's a lot of talk before the routine started. I realise that on its own it might seem a tad strange, but I can assure that within the context of the show it worked fine (and the cups routine was singled out in one review as a highlight). The other reason is that I needed a framework for using the narration during the routine, and that was it. Had I posted the video without any of the exposition, it would have seemed very strange :)

Alfred, I'm not attacking you personally, I'm just taking issue with some of your assertions. This is the basis for discussion. Hopefully I'm providing examples or evidence for my opinions, but if I'm not, please do ask for clarification. So far your take seems to be at odds with not only my own experience but also history and the basic tenets of misdirection; that's why I'm offering alternative pints of view.

Without malice.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 2nd, 2019, 11:37 am

Glad to have cleared the Carney quote, Alfred. So according to Carney, you look at the object getting transferred? to the other hand. Then you look up at the audience while you make the transfer, then back down at the completion of the transfer to open the fingers and display the vanish. Be that as it may, White's false transfers are so beautifully convincing, it might be better if the audience does look at his hands!

In his cups and balls video, Ammar shares a piece of advice for the wand spin vanish given to him by the Professor. It mirrors Carney's suggestion: You look at the object before the spin, look up at the audience during the spin, and back down at the hand for the conclusion. This is added insurance for any possible flash of the ball as it drops out of the hand during the spin. I wonder if Vernon learned this from John Ramsay.

The cup loading moves are supposed to be what Ascanio called "In Transit" actions: Transferring the cup momentarily to the other hand (to load), out of the frame of attention, while the focus is on the small ball on the table. That moment is not supposed to register in the minds of the audience. It is supposed to go unnoticed.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 2nd, 2019, 12:00 pm

Leonard Wrote: "Be that as it may, White's false transfers are so beautifully convincing, it might be better if the audience does look at his hands!"

Well yes, that is my thinking. While I am sure I have eons to go to catch up with White, I want them looking at my hands during the vanishes. I picked up an idea from Brad Burt years ago, I think it was his teaching on his chop cup video. He would kind of let the ball roll of its own momentum in the process of making the transfer for a vanish after displaying it at his fingertips. It was just so dang deceptive and convincing. I practiced that move day and night. People on the bus in San Francisco would look at me like I was nuts. (And you know, they were right). My feeling is that I want them watching throughout the vanish. If there is no vision, there is no retention of vision. Same thing with my retention pass with a coin, which seems to inevitably get a great reaction from laymen and magicians alike. But to quote Harry yet again: "To each their own."

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby erdnasephile » February 2nd, 2019, 1:47 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:Glad to have cleared the Carney quote, Alfred. So according to Carney, you look at the object getting transferred? to the other hand. Then you look up at the audience while you make the transfer, then back down at the completion of the transfer to open the fingers and display the vanish. Be that as it may, White's false transfers are so beautifully convincing, it might be better if the audience does look at his hands!

In his cups and balls video, Ammar shares a piece of advice for the wand spin vanish given to him by the Professor. It mirrors Carney's suggestion: You look at the object before the spin, look up at the audience during the spin, and back down at the hand for the conclusion. This is added insurance for any possible flash of the ball as it drops out of the hand during the spin. I wonder if Vernon learned this from John Ramsay.


Giobbi has also written about this same concept at length. I use it every time I do a double lift.

Bob White is amazing! You still can't spot the false transfer, even when you know exactly what is happening.

While we are on Bob White, he makes the assertion that the cups and balls is really best as a close-up trick. He doesn't explain exactly why, but I'm wondering if it's because the misdirection for the cups works better when the spectator is close. Sometimes when I've watched platform cups and balls performances, I can see the entire picture and I suspect attention is harder to direct away from the jiggery pokery going on.

PS: I do note that Derek Dingle challenged the notion of directing the attention away from the hands in his seminal handling of the riffle pass.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 2nd, 2019, 2:08 pm

Erdnasephile Wrote: "While we are on Bob White, he makes the assertion that the cups and balls is really best as a close-up trick. He doesn't explain exactly why, but I'm wondering if it's because the misdirection for the cups works better when the spectator is close."

This is speculation (but I guess educated speculation), but it makes an exceedingly strong impression on a layman to see sleight of hand from close up, when it is done well. I'm sure many members on here have had spectator's comment along the lines of, "You know, it's one thing when it's up on a stage, but I was right there!" or "I was two feet away from him!" (or her), or similar comments. I know that I have heard this many times.

Also, although the spectators are further away when the trick is performed on a stage or platform, there is, at the same time, a wider frame of vision for them to look through, which may make it harder to do the final loads deceptively.

The other thing is that since virtually all of the action, until the denouement, centers around the antics of pretty small objects (i.e. the balls), it becomes an issue of visibility, as well.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Al Schneider » February 2nd, 2019, 3:33 pm

For what it is worth.
I have devoted my life in magic (59 years) developing effects wherein spectators look directly at the move being performed.
The single absolute truth is that we don't know.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 2nd, 2019, 4:03 pm

Al, it is worth A LOT to me. And, having studied your work fairly extensively, I believed that this was your view and approach, and I found myself wishing you would weigh in. My wish has come true. Thank you, I was beginning to feel like I was in a pretty lonely and isolated place...

And I might add, your work on the cups and balls is impeccable.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Brad Jeffers » February 2nd, 2019, 4:36 pm

Ian Kendall wrote: I'm offering alternative pints of view.
Image

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 2nd, 2019, 4:54 pm

Very clever, Brad. But methinks he is partaking of something a wee bit stronger before he makes these posts. I understand that such spirits can induce hallucination to the point where he has me pitted against and at odds with not only his "own experience," but "history" and "the basic tenets of misdirection." In good conscience I am going to need to contact all the repeat clients and events planners who've hired me over the course of the last 20 years or so, and let them know that I am not qualified to perform for them, and that anytime they were fooled by anything I've done it must have been pure luck...

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » February 2nd, 2019, 5:40 pm

A typo. Mea culpa.

Alfred, you seem to be taking this a tad personally. Also, I don't drink alcohol.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 2nd, 2019, 6:02 pm

"Also, I don't drink alcohol." Then I am trying to imagine what the excuse could be?

Am I taking it personally? Yes. When someone acts condescendingly, acts as if they are all-knowing, distorts my words and viewpoints, and calls my professionalism into question, you're *#!@*^%*!#%* right I take it personally!!!

And as far as the justification (and I was sure there would be one) that the 4 and 1/2 minute speech in the cups and balls routine was because the audience was being taught history of the effect, I would be more inclined to leave such matters to Ricky Jay - I sure wish he was still around. He somehow managed to perform great magic all throughout his history lesson on the C & B.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Ian Kendall » February 2nd, 2019, 6:29 pm

Alfred,

Here's what happened; you posted an opinion. I disagreed. You got upset. I'm fairly sure that this is exactly the situation for which the internet was invented.

I never called into question your professionalism. The thread started with you asking about the cups. I answered from the scope of my knowledge of the routine, giving examples where possible. I still disagree with much of what you have said, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I suggest you do the same.

As for the Golden Age of Magic; it was fun to do, but after the 25 shows, I didn't repeat it. The speech was less about the history of the effect (in the case of Githa's Cups), but more a device to introduce the voiceover. The other routines in the show did have more of an historical bent, I grant you, but since that was the premise of the whole show, I'm not too concerned. However, if it makes you feel better to say that a show you didn't see must have been sh1te, then I'm fine with that. Do what you have to do.

I hope you enjoy the Bob White DVD; I met him briefly with Jared Kopf at the first Genii Bash. A wonderful man, full of knowledge - I'm sure you'll find what it is you seek there.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 2nd, 2019, 6:48 pm

Ian,

I think it is best that we not have any further interaction. I wish you no ill will. And, if you can find it within yourself to respond to any of the other infinite number of posts on here other than mine, I would prefer that, as well. I feel great about this Forum, the people on it, what I've contributed, and what I've learned. I would really like that feeling to continue into the future.

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls

Postby Jonathan Townsend » February 2nd, 2019, 10:36 pm

That sequence in the Vernon routine which starts with the balls on top of the inverted cups is elegant when using the wand spin vanish.
MagicbyAlfred wrote: I want them looking at my hands during the vanishes.
During some action you use as cue for the magic? And/or during the sleight you used to set up showing an empty hand?

@erdnasphile: Dingle's Roach Pass? :D
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Your Views on Cups & Balls and One Cup Routines

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 2nd, 2019, 11:52 pm

The appearing third ball on top of the cup from the opening sequence in Ammar' s routine. He does a wand spin with the left hand fairly extended while quietly depositing the ball on top of the third cup with the right hand. Is the misdirection too obvious here? If the audience catches on that they were deliberately misdirected...

Tommy Wonder warned that misdirection should be subtle.


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