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Topic: New to sponge balls
Message: Posted by: Andy Gemini (Aug 18, 2011 02:57PM)
Hi Guys

I have been studying card magic as my 'introduction' to this wonderful hobby but I am interested in most forms of magic and I am thinking of delving into the world of sponge balls.

Just wondered if anybody has some great advice for a newbie? I am thinking of buying Steve Dacri Spongeball Toolbox as the reviews I have read make it sound ideal for a beginner. Have any of you guys learnt from this?

Look forward to hearing from you sponge ball masters!
Message: Posted by: Gary Kosnitzky (Aug 18, 2011 03:33PM)
I highly recommend Brad Burt.
He is an excellent teacher and his sponge ball DVD is really all you will need and a little creativity of your own.

http://store.nexternal.com/shared/StoreFront/default.asp?CS=bburt&StoreType=BtoC&Count1=532543361&Count2=449683785

By the way I do not work for Brad Burt or have even met him.

I also extremely recommend Pat Page's Secret Seminar of Magic with Patrick Page Vol.5- Sponge Balls DVD:

http://murphysmagiccommunity.com/forum/topics/secret-seminar-of-magic-with-patrick-page-vol-5-sponge-balls

Only use Goshman Balls.
Message: Posted by: Andy Gemini (Aug 18, 2011 03:43PM)
Thanks Gary

I have had a look, they both look excellent.

Hmm, as always, choices, choices! LOL
Message: Posted by: KingNothing (Aug 18, 2011 03:47PM)
Agreed, Goshman has nice balls.
I have two sets, 1 1/2 inch regular, and 2" super soft. I like the big and soft balls.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 18, 2011 04:22PM)
There are lots of other great sponge ball video resources available, such as the World's Greatest Magic - Sponge Balls DVD, Ben Salinas has the Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic, there is a video by the King of Spongeballs himself, Albert Goshman, called the Life and Times of Albert Goshman which also includes other things from his act and there is the Steve Dacri Sponge Ball Tool Kit. All of these are excellent resources for beginners!

I hope this information is useful to you.
Message: Posted by: Andy Gemini (Aug 18, 2011 04:31PM)
Thanks for the info guys, I will give it some thought.
I have been thinking about buying Spongeball Toolkit for some time, so may start with that and see how I go.And I will certainly use Goshman balls, as advised.

Thanks again
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Aug 18, 2011 09:11PM)
Andy,
Many Sponge ball resources out there. They provide an opportunity for great interaction. I am partial to World's Greatest Magic, which has several different routines - helps you develop your own routine without copying another routine directly. Also a number of booklets out there that are very good. Run a search on this forum and you will find many recommendations.
Good luck!

Hudson
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 18, 2011 10:04PM)
I must also add, without the intention of overloading you with choices, if you can find the book called the Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic by Frank Garcia, get it. That book is one of the classic tomes on sponge ball magic and there is lots of very, very good material within its covers and it was even praised by Albert Goshman himself. That should say a lot.
Message: Posted by: rklew64 (Aug 18, 2011 10:29PM)
Yea, I hear Frank Garcia's book is easy to find and get, really inexpensive.
Message: Posted by: mahucharn (Aug 18, 2011 10:31PM)
While it is not for everyone, I found Jay Noblezada's Sponge! to be quite a good introduction to sponge balls for me. I use his routine all the time and it kills. Also, the DVD comes with a set of 2" Goshman super soft sponge balls.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Aug 19, 2011 09:58AM)
As Gary mentioned above, get the Patrick Page DVD on Spongeballs. Tons of great ideas, methods, routines, technique.

The nosebleeda DVD teaches bad magic. Worst of all, it calls itself "the last word on sponge balls".
Wow. Got a lot of balls to call it that when it's full of mistakes and poor technique.
Not that a beginner would notice.

It's a shame it gets noticed thru heavy marketing and kewl sunglasses when these wonderful routines do not...

john carney's routine in "Carneycopia". A book that everyone should own, anyway.

Scott Guinn's routine teaches all sorts of good ideas, methods, etc.

Carl Andrews also has a great routine.

Chris Capehart's unique routine on his kid's DVD (not just for kids)
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 19, 2011 12:57PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-19 10:58, Frank Starsini wrote:
The nosebleeda DVD teaches bad magic. Worst of all, it calls itself "the last word on sponge balls".
Wow. Got a lot of balls to call it that when it's full of mistakes and poor technique.
Not that a beginner would notice.
[/quote]

I quite agree - avoid the Noblezada DVD - especially as a beginner. Maybe once you have gotten all of the basics down and you have a good, solid routine and handling with the sponge balls, then you might look at it for the effects. Either way, I think it is terrible and not only does it teach bad magic, but bad technique as well - again, especially for the beginner.
Message: Posted by: KingNothing (Aug 19, 2011 01:37PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-19 13:57, Dr_J_Ayala wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-19 10:58, Frank Starsini wrote:
The nosebleeda DVD teaches bad magic. Worst of all, it calls itself "the last word on sponge balls".
Wow. Got a lot of balls to call it that when it's full of mistakes and poor technique.
Not that a beginner would notice.
[/quote]

I quite agree - avoid the Noblezada DVD - especially as a beginner. Maybe once you have gotten all of the basics down and you have a good, solid routine and handling with the sponge balls, then you might look at it for the effects. Either way, I think it is terrible and not only does it teach bad magic, but bad technique as well - again, especially for the beginner.
[/quote]
I believe I winced when he said "let me show you how it works" as a lead-in to his next sequence.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Aug 20, 2011 02:14AM)
The good news about the NoseBleeda sponge ball DVD is that it's not as awful as his shell game DVD.
Message: Posted by: Tom Fenton (Aug 20, 2011 03:14AM)
David Stone has a good routine using spongeballs.
Message: Posted by: Andy Gemini (Aug 20, 2011 04:30AM)
Im glad I asked now as the Jay Noblezada DVD was one I was thinking of getting, think I'll get the toolbox for now.
Thanks guys.

By the way, are all Jays DVDs to be avoided then? Get the impression you guys don't rate him too highly!
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 20, 2011 04:31PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-20 05:30, Andy Gemini wrote:
Im glad I asked now as the Jay Noblezada DVD was one I was thinking of getting, think I'll get the toolbox for now.
Thanks guys.

By the way, are all Jays DVDs to be avoided then? Get the impression you guys don't rate him too highly!
[/quote]

I cannot speak for Jay and his personality as I have never met him or seen him iperform in person, but most of his material is, at least to me, worthless and poorly taught. Just as an example: He has an effect that is sold as an instant download (the name escapes me) but it is basically an effect found in the classic Mark Wilson book. It uses a piece of rope where you form a small loop with part of it and show how long it would take to thread a loose end into the loop, then you proceed to quickly penetrate the rope inside the loop. It is akin to threading a needle. His handling and presentation is terrible and the whole outfit is poorly taught - the book does 10 times better at teaching it.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Aug 20, 2011 06:15PM)
When I was growing up, Steve Dacri was the guy who was performing sponge balls on the talk shows and doing it well. He showed me how the magic should look. So when I put together my routines, he was a major influence. I even recorded one appearance on a talk show and reverse engineered everything, and had a routine to be proud of. I imagine that The Spongeball Toolbox would be a great starting point.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Aug 20, 2011 06:25PM)
If you want to learn a tried and true complete spongeball routine with full script, you may want to get my new book and DVD, [url=http://barnowskymagic.com]The Book of Destiny[/url]. The routine is taught in detail in the book and performed and explained on the companion DVD. That's just one of 44 chapters.

The book ships October 10, 2011

Larry
Message: Posted by: KingNothing (Aug 20, 2011 07:15PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-20 19:25, Larry Barnowsky wrote:
If you want to learn a tried and true complete spongeball routine with full script, you may want to get my new book and DVD, [url=http://barnowskymagic.com]The Book of Destiny[/url]. The routine is taught in detail in the book and performed and explained on the companion DVD. That's just one of 44 chapters.

The book ships October 10, 2011

Larry
[/quote]
I'm not sure about that.
It's not that I don't think your sponge ball routine is good; indeed, I've never seen it.
I just don't think a performer should use scripts developed by another magician.
Because it uses another's humor, another's mannerisms, another's way of speaking, it fails to mesh with the rest of your performance, and can lead to a robotic scripted performance.
To OP, if you decide to go with this, consider changing the script, if only to make it yours.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Aug 20, 2011 07:55PM)
In the book I say many times to use the routines I provide as a guide and change the script to fit your style.
As far as robotic scripted performances, that is a sign of a performer who cannot deliver lines properly. Some people do not have the theatrical ability to present a magic routine from a script. If you can't, then of course don't do that. Some of the best performances of magic I've seen were scripted word for word. That includes Lance Burton on stage at the Monte Carlo and Ricky Jay on Broadway and on TV. In fact one of the card routines that Ricky Jay performed on TV (I think on a Doug Henning Special) was the exact script word for word from Erdnase, The Exclusive Coterie. The key is to be prepared. Follow an outline, follow a script. Have a plan. If you are talented enough to improvise then do that. But the important thing is to know what you are doing in advance. To quote a line from my book, the audience should remember you as the star in the spotlight and not the deer in the headlights.

Larry
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 20, 2011 08:06PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-20 20:55, Larry Barnowsky wrote:
In the book I say many times to use the routines I provide as a guide and change the script to fit your style.
As far as robotic scripted performances, that is a sign of a performer who cannot deliver lines properly. Some people do not have the theatrical ability to present a magic routine from a script. If you can't, then of course don't do that. Some of the best performances of magic I've seen were scripted word for word. That includes Lance Burton on stage at the Monte Carlo and Ricky Jay on Broadway and on TV. In fact one of the card routines that Ricky Jay performed on TV (I think on a Doug Henning Special) was the exact script word for word from Erdnase, The Exclusive Coterie. The key is to be prepared. Follow an outline, follow a script. Have a plan. If you are talented enough to improvise then do that. But the important thing is to know what you are doing in advance. To quote a line from my book, the audience should remember you as the star in the spotlight and not the deer in the headlights.

Larry
[/quote]

Right on, Larry! To add to this, has anyone ever seen Ricky Jay perform The History Lesson in person? The words are exactly the same, without change or variation in any way whatsoever, every single time.
Message: Posted by: KingNothing (Aug 20, 2011 09:39PM)
Oh, I didn't say to eschew a script or any type of plan entirely. I just said "make it yours." If you encourage changing the script in your book, that's definitely a good thing.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Aug 21, 2011 10:40AM)
We're in agreement. :)

:readingbook:
Message: Posted by: Andy Gemini (Aug 21, 2011 11:56AM)
This is one reason I enjoy using this forum,there is so much for me to learn about magic it is great to get opinions from you more experienced guys.

Many thanks for all the advice, I will let you know how I get on!
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Aug 22, 2011 08:07PM)
Sponge balls still never fail to entertain, young and old alike. :kewl:
Message: Posted by: billappleton (Aug 22, 2011 09:40PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-22 21:07, Decomposed wrote:
Sponge balls still never fail to entertain, young and old alike. :kewl:
[/quote]

People love sponge balls. Its hard to explain. If you had to give up cards, coins, or sponge balls, which would it be?
Message: Posted by: mago.niko (Sep 3, 2011 09:18AM)
Hello guys.. I'm also new to spongeballs. I recently made an order whithout asking anyone more experienced and got some 2.5 inch spongeballs..
And guess what.. They are huge!! For routines like David Stone's or Greg Wilson's what size is the best??
My hands are medium size to large.
Message: Posted by: bowers (Sep 5, 2011 11:32PM)
Mago.niko 2" spongeballs are the most common
people use for your size hands.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Sep 18, 2011 11:36AM)
If I had to choose, I'd give up coins. Cards are too versatile and, as it's been mentioned, sponge balls are just too entertaining.
I bought car wash sponges, cut them into six squares and started trimming corners until I had something between 1 1/2" and 2". So I have three sets of sponge balls in case I lose one or it wears out.

I use the basic sponge ball routine in Mark Wilson's book.

Here's a thought BTW. Wyler's fruit drinks makes a "no calorie" drink. The envelopes come in a plastic tube with a cap. My sponge balls fit perfectly in one and don't get dented in my case.
Message: Posted by: VE Day (Sep 18, 2011 01:58PM)
Andy,
I don't know about the Spongeball Toolkit, it doesn't look like the sort of thing I would personally buy. I learned my Close-Up Spongeball Routine after reading the Chapter on Balls in Patrick Page's "Big Book Of Magic". You will learn a lot from Pat Page, he was a great teacher and talker and one of the kings of the spongeball. You can usually find plenty of copies of the Big Book Of Magic knocking around very cheaply and it is a very handy bible of magic to have.

As said above Pat Page's Secret Seminar 5 DVD - Sponge Balls has even more stuff in it than his book and you can polish the stuff you learned from his book or elsewhere and also he shows you various other great ideas and routines using spongeballs for both your Close-Up Act and your Stage Act. I'd say it is well worth the investment ahead of anything else on spongeballs.

Remember that you don't have to spend much money to learn or buy spongeballs. Just the material I've described above is more than plenty, and the big reactions they get from your audiences is worth a million.
Message: Posted by: jolyonjenkins (Sep 19, 2011 12:10PM)
I love Geoff Williams' "Hairballs". It's on his Miracles for Mortals DVD but for some reason the performance got left off the DVD so you can find it on Youtube. You can off course customise it - I start with purse frame and Sanada gimmick and finish with some stuff from Mark Wilson.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 19, 2011 12:50PM)
How you produce and dispose of the sponge balls depends largely upon the venues where you are performing. So do the balls themselves. For example, I have found that cubes work better in restaurants than balls. Cubes don't roll. So when you have the inevitable "ball drop to the floor" you don't have to chase the balls around under all the tables.

If you can find Frank Garcia's "Message from Garcia" pamphlet on sponge balls and the Magic, Inc. "Sponge Book" you will find some extremely practical material that you will use.
Message: Posted by: dantitmussmagic (Sep 26, 2011 02:24PM)
This thread is a massive help! I'm starting up with magic and have only really done card stuff, and want to try coins and sponge balls next - coins is proving to be really difficult. I think I'm going to get the instant download 'World's greatest magic - sponge balls' download, unless anybody wouldn't recommend this or has a better instant download in mind?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 27, 2011 01:35AM)
Seriously, get the two booklets I recommended. They will cost you about $20. There is excellent material in there. Don't be so impatient.
Message: Posted by: dantitmussmagic (Sep 27, 2011 04:51AM)
Yeah, had a look at Patrick Page's sponge balls DVD (5), really like the routine he has on there - time to get practising! Bill Palmer, was "Don't be so impatient" directed at me?
Message: Posted by: billappleton (Sep 27, 2011 09:59AM)
I can't really recommend the "World's greatest magic - sponge balls" DVD. If you are trying to see everything about sponge balls then you have to have it, but for the most part this was disappointing. How many different ways can two balls jump to the spectator hand? The only thing I really liked was the Steve Dacri segment with Martians, which is incredibly well thought out. Watching Garcia and Thompson with the Benson Bowls was not what I was hoping for. The Goshman segment was way too short.

And at the risk of nasty PMs, I don't think the quality of the sleight of hand was where it should have been among these workers. There is flashing all over the place, even in this fairly controlled environment with lots of cute girls in the front row. You just wouldn't see Kenner, Dill, or Jones performing at this skill level. Maybe sponge balls are the problem, I don't think they get the attention they deserve, there just isn't the level of innovation and focus on sponge balls that I see in other branches of magic. Sorry, just keepin' it real.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 27, 2011 01:08PM)
I cannot recommend the World's Greatest Magic - Sponge Balls DVD enough; It was all very well performed and there is something on it for everyone. Magicians that have been doing sponge balls for a long time may not get much from it, but it is still fun to watch and there are still ideas they can use. There is a LOT of material on this DVD.

As for the posed question of, "How many ways are there to make a sponge ball jump from one hand to another?" That is like asking how many ways are there to make a coin, card or silk change color...the answer to which, for that matter (including sponge balls), is: More than you think. In the end, it is the presentation that counts.

I recommmend this video on top of the books that I have mentioned in past posts, as well as what Bill Palmer mentioned above. Take your time in the different genres and give each one the time and practice they deserve and they will all serve you well. It is absolutely true that sponge ball magic does not get the attention it deserves.

At any rate, avoid the Jay Noblezada DVD. That thing is HORRIBLE.

While I recommend books over DVDs any day, there is one more DVD on sponge work that I would recommend, which has yet again something for everyone, and that is the "Balles Eponges" DVD from Jean Pierre Vallarino. I am not sure if it is available with English dubbing or subtitles, but it is very much worth looking into. It has a lot of unique material on it.

I hope this information is useful to you.