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Topic: I have committed - Just bought 1-3/4" White Fakini Set - New Act Imminent
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 10, 2012 09:41PM)
I bit the bullet. I am going to be working on next years show over the winter. This show is going to have a ball theme. Currently I am going to be doing a Billiard Manipulation piece, Silk, Cone, and Ball, ala Dai Vernon, and likely the Cups and Balls. I have been practicing the basic dexterity exercises for Billiard Balls with 1.5" silicone balls I bought at party city. I have been watching billiard ball manipulation acts. I have been studying different texts on the subject. I got a set of white fakini's and an extra green ball for color changes. I will be looking into an extra shell to match the green ball and probably a flash four production, does anyone know what the angles are like on a flash four?

I will manipulate my balls off! Then if I am not satisfied I will probably buy Levent's DVD on Billiard Balls, I hear it is one of the best. I am seriously considering matching Fakini 1" Close-up balls for my cups and balls. I was seriously considering using the Billiards as final loads for the cups as part of the whole idea of cohesion I am working with here.

I know this post is random and all over the place but I just wanted to share. As I start to get the act together I will share more, including experiences with my ideas and videos of me doing it.

I love Sonny's work, and one other gentleman that I can't remember right now. I decided that it would be good for me as a performer to learn billiard manipulations as well as do a stage bit on the street.

I look forward to suggestions and comments from everyone, hope everyone's season has gone well!



P.S. I am with Devious, Card Tricks are boring and my least favorite effect category right now. Personally, I love working on card magic, but more in the sense of gambling sleights. These are not ideal for street work. In my experience, almost anything plays better than cards. That isn't to say that good performers can't make cards entertaining, I just think they have to work harder to do so. You can make other stuff fun and entertaining easier.
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Sep 10, 2012 11:32PM)
Wow! Ambitious (no pun intended)!

I've been sloooooooowly working with my Vernet Porcupine Balls (that's what I call them, anyway) off and on; such a deceptively simple routine, so HARD to get smooth. I stop when my fingers feel like they're about to start bleeding...

I'm in the same boat with card tricks, in my experience on the street they just don't play that well unless they're rising card, haunted deck, ect type effects. That's not to say that I don't use a few (currently working McDonald's Aces into the second set) but they're few and far between. Generally the cards come out and people drift...

Good luck and keep us posted, Shaun!
Message: Posted by: Zombie Magic (Sep 10, 2012 11:57PM)
On 2012-09-11 00:32, Ekuth wrote:
Generally the cards come out and people drift

I never realized that. I always learn something new when you post.
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Sep 11, 2012 12:18AM)
Meh, nothing new in that fact, just took *me* a while to figure it out.

After you've got your set down to the 'auto mode', you can concentrate on performance and actually watch your audience; the ebb and flow, the reactions to various effects... which can, actually come down to a simple turn of phrase in your patter. It's odd, really, the way some effects just fry some folks and others just stare blankly.

It's the latter that make me constantly re-examine and tweak the routine, patter... sometimes it's just one word that can make a difference.

Like in C&B... there's a huge difference between "examine THE balls" vs. "examine MY balls".


Gotcha! ;)
Message: Posted by: Zombie Magic (Sep 11, 2012 01:45AM)
HAHAHAHA. You got me!
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 11, 2012 07:06AM)
Funny, I almost said that my new show was going to be centered around my big white balls, but decided not to derail my own thread with the first post.

I won't know if people like it for a while cause this is a serious endeavor as far as far as practice goes not to mention balls, droppers, etc.

I hope the similarities of the effects don't hurt the show. I am also considering writing rhymes for the first part.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 11, 2012 08:07AM)
On 2012-09-11 01:18, Ekuth wrote:
It's odd, really, the way some effects just fry some folks and others just stare blankly.

So true is this statement; in some cases, you can just hear the crickets chirping...

As for the billiards, Gr8gorilla, you made an excellent choice in purchasing Fakini balls - they are an absolute dream to work with and Frank "Fakini" Radtke was a dear friend for many years; he created an amazing thing for the magic community. Whether you even use any of the material within or not, I highly recommend the Levent DVD on billiard ball manipulation. It is very well produced and is just chock full of many different ideas and lots of great references that you will find useful, sleights and specific acts aside.

Having said that, whilst the Vernet porcupine balls (lol, Ekuth - I like that!) are not exactly Fakinis, they are unique and have their own place in routines with many different ideas. For the longest time I was using silver Vernet balls in my close-up act for a different style of manipulating balls; I handled them much like one would handle Baoding balls (sometimes called Chinese therapy balls). As for their colour and texture, they were "a derivative material made from a strange amalgam of metals".
Message: Posted by: Stperformer (Sep 11, 2012 08:47AM)
My 2 cents worth on ball manipulation on the streets.
The fakini balls are great, of course, and you can do a ton of things with the 1'5" balls.

It honestly took me a few years before I was able to work out a routine on the street that I was happy with and got the response I wanted. I will say however that the effort was well worth it :) Few are gonna copy something that takes that much effort.

Okay, the nitty-gritty. The standard classic ball routine on the street will be sorta okay but....from the laymen's point of view rather repetitive and boring with those 'trick balls'.
Several years ago I was sitting in a Café with a rather accomplished magic who had placed extremely well at FISM (and gloating)with his billiard ball routine. I bet him that I could get a better response on the street by simply doing the human hen (balls from mouth) than he could doing his routine. He bit. Out he went and performed his routine (it was brilliant). I followed with a balls from mouth routine I do. After his routine people applauded commented how good it was and walked away. I did mine, people laughed, bantered with me during the trick and stayed wanting to know if I was going to do more.

This somewhat points out the problem you gotta overcome with the billiard(?) ball routine on the street. First of all, no one thinks they are billiard balls. Secondly, it is more of a puzzle where people deduce that balls are 'coming out of each other'. And most ball routines have closure where you finish the routine, people applaud, and you go onto your next unrelated trick. This is where people walk.

Size of the balls makes a huge difference. A 2 1/8" ball routine is very much visually different than a 1 1/2" ball routine.
My advice is to spend time becoming technically proficient and than keep it real simple. And entertaining. Adding music can add a certain touch.
Angles aren't as much of a problem as you might think if you put in some thought.
Color changing ball is nice but I get a much much much greater response by using Benson's no move color change and turn it into a lime.
I find the routine does better once you've established a relationship with the audience, rather than using it a the beginning.
And of course as Vernon use to say, how do you get into it and how do you get out of it.

There you go Shaun. Hope you have fun with it. I find the billiard balls are addicting. Luv 'em.

Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 11, 2012 12:06PM)
I got the 1.75 fakini balls.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 11, 2012 03:37PM)
The difference between the 1.5 and 1.75 balls is pretty much negligible and you should have no problems doing just as stperformer mentioned. If you were to go up in the 2 inch, 2-1/8 inch or 2-1/4 inch range, then you really notice a difference, especially if you have smaller hands.

Also mentioned above, angles are not hard but you do have to keep your mind on them once you figure it out as they will obviously change from place to place. One maxim to remember: If the audience sees the 'seam' then your magic is not 'seamless'!
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 11, 2012 05:01PM)
I wanted to go bigger but wasn't sure how big. I figured the 1.75" would be good for starting out.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 11, 2012 06:07PM)
Yes, 1.5-1.75 are ideal for starters. The age-old idea in billiard ball manipulations (and other things as well) is to start with smaller sizes, then once you have learned the effect very well and can do rehearsed routines without hiccups, then you can move up in size. Roy Benson was known for telling his students that as well.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 11, 2012 07:02PM)
The 1.5" balls I have been practicing with are silicone balls from party city...$2.50 USD for 6. Can't wait for my Fakini Set to arrive! I am READY!
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 12, 2012 01:35PM)
I fully expect it to take until next season for me to have a passable billiard ball routine I can start putting through the ringer on the street. I figure that I will do like I do with most routines. I will start with the long version. I will show it in my shows and note what gets good reactions and what doesn't. It will evolve from there. I would guess by the end of the year (next year that is) I will have something that the streets enjoy!
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 12, 2012 04:36PM)
On a side note: Where did you order your set from, if I might ask? Just curious.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 13, 2012 01:18PM)
I ordered these from Tannen's. They have a pretty good stock of everything right now. Everyone's price is about the same, give or take $5. Only a few "real" shops have them these days, aside from a couple of eBay sellers. I didn't get a Flash Four finale yet. Can anyone tell me if it is difficult or simple to perform? I mean is it a lot of practice time? Should I get it soon or can it be added to the ending without excessive practice?

Here are the pics of what I ordered. I set of White and a single Green ball. I have noticed that the shell does grab at the ball or vice versa and it will take practice to separate them reliably.

Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 13, 2012 08:57PM)
I was just curious where you got yours because everyone was on a VERY long waiting list for backorders, and they just shipped the new stock to dealers a couple of weeks ago. In a matter of another week or two, this new batch will be pretty much gone at all major dealers, so you got yours just in the right time frame!

Flash four is not hard to do, but it does take some experimentation of placement and you do have certain routining angles to watch for, but nothing difficult. Personally I hardly ever use my F4 because I do the 8 billiard routine from the book, The Principles and Deceptions of Arthur Buckley, but from time to time, I do cheat. ;-) Also, the space inside your jacket is premium real estate, you also have to account for a bit more space for the Flash Four.

As for the s***l issue, I like mine to have that grab you are talking about and you will be able to separate them easily with practice, but if you do not want it to stick, there is a solution. Have you ever seen those little felt or rubber pads you stick under certain types of boxes (or other items) to protect the furniture/cabinetry that they sit on? You can stick one of those in the middle of the s***l, and stick four more around the inside of the edge, spread out evenly. The felt ones work fine and all it serves to do is put a gap between the s***l and the ball to prevent it from fully nesting. This technique is used in plastic and wood sets to prevent noise during a certain move.
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (Sep 13, 2012 10:27PM)
Jimmy Talksalot gets a lot out of his ball act on the street. I think he uses the loop ball.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 14, 2012 12:58PM)
I got the Buckley book, principles and deceptions. For some reason I always believe that trying to learn from Buckley is extremely ambitious. Regardless of whether it is cards or or any type of magic. Does anyone else ever feel this way?
Message: Posted by: AndyLuka (Sep 14, 2012 02:35PM)
Wow, I can’t believe I have been missing out on this. There is some amazing information in here. Gorilla, I think it’s really odd that at the same time we were working on the cups, and now like you I am working on multiplying balls.

I was at the Houdini club Convention over labor day weekend (have to brag real fast and let everyone know I won first place in the close up competition) Anyway, I was lucky enough to sit and talk with Tim Wright (Skilldini). But he inspired me to pick up my set of Billiard balls again and actually routine it. I ended up getting his DVD that teaches some basics (much of which I already knew).

I don’t have Fakini's I use the JL Mirage Billiard balls. To be honest these ball are great but I am not too sure which size they are.

I currently have Tim Wrights DVD, and the chapter in “now you see it now you don’t” by bill Tarr. That’s all the material I have on Ball manipulation. Does anyone have any other recommendations?
Message: Posted by: noland (Sep 14, 2012 03:19PM)
Levent's dvd entitled "Ultimate Guide to Billiard Balls" is a comprehensive treatise on billiard ball manipulations, and quite outstanding.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 14, 2012 04:55PM)
Yes, he is out of town for the next 10 days though, so anything ordered will be shipped on the 24th. When he gets back I will be ordering.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 14, 2012 10:30PM)
Tim "Skilldini" Wright is from the Toledo, Ohio area and knew Frank "Fakini" Radtke very well also. Tim is a very funny and very talented performer who is credited with creating the now popular repeat balls-to-pocket sequence.

The references cited by Andy (the Tim Wright DVD and the Bill Tarr book) are excellent resources, as well as the Levent DVD (which is VERY thorough - 3 discs long!). There is also the Jeff McBride World Class Manipulation Vols. 1-3 DVD set, which covers billiard balls, coins and thimbles - another of the best references out there.

You can also find routines in the following books, and these are just a few off the top of my head from my personal library:
Greater Magic by John Northern Hilliard
The Tarbell Course Vol. 2
Garcia's Billard Balls by Frank Garcia

Encyclopedie des Boules Billard Vols. 1-2 by Zum Pocco (This set is in French and is VERY thorough.)
The Principles and Deceptions of Arthur Buckley
Routine Manipulation Vols. 1-2 by Lewis Ganson
It's Easier Than You Think Vols. 1-3 by Geoffrey Buckingham
Billiard Ball Manipulation by Burling Hull
The Magic of Alan Wakeling by Jim Steinmeyer

And some more DVDs with billiard manipulations on them:

Expert Card and Billiard Manipulation by Romaine
Manipulation Without Tears by Jeff McBride
The Greater Magic Video Library Vol. 3 - Shimada Manipulation (Just for reference, that would be Hiro Shimada, father of magician Luna Shimada)
The Greater Magic Video Library Vol. 27 - Richard Ross
The Basics of Expert Billiard Ball and Thimble Manipulation by Brad Burt
Geoffrey Buckingham Magic and Manipulation

That is all I can think of at the moment, but there are more out there. I hope this information is useful to you.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 14, 2012 10:32PM)
On 2012-09-14 17:55, Gr8gorilla wrote:
Yes, he is out of town for the next 10 days though, so anything ordered will be shipped on the 24th. When he gets back I will be ordering.

Unless that fact has been explicitly stated, he has a warehouse staff that usually handles orders and shipments when he is out of town. You should be able to order it and have it in short order.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 14, 2012 10:42PM)
I went to his website and it said that "LeventMagic.com is on vacation from September 14 - September 24. Any orders placed during those days will shipped upon our return on September 25." It is very similar to that if not exact.
Message: Posted by: IDOTRIX (Sep 14, 2012 10:49PM)
I have a set of 2" white fakinis. 2 shells. 1 extra red ball and a ball dropper that I'm willing to sell for $325.00
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 14, 2012 11:32PM)
On 2012-09-14 23:49, IDOTRIX wrote:
I have a set of 2" white fakinis. 2 shells. 1 extra red ball and a ball dropper that I'm willing to sell for $325.00

You may get a better response to this if you post it in the Tricks & Effects For Sale or Trade section of the Café, found here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewforum.php?forum=76&2773
Message: Posted by: IDOTRIX (Sep 15, 2012 08:28AM)
Thanks Doc.
Message: Posted by: Devious (Sep 15, 2012 10:22AM)
On 2012-09-13 14:18, Gr8gorilla wrote:
I ordered these from Tannen's.
Nice Balls Shaun!
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 15, 2012 10:41PM)
I am soooooo glad you like them. When I come to see you next year will you play with them?
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 17, 2012 10:19AM)
On 2012-09-14 23:42, Gr8gorilla wrote:
I went to his website and it said that "LeventMagic.com is on vacation from September 14 - September 24. Any orders placed during those days will shipped upon our return on September 25." It is very similar to that if not exact.

Now I see it - I missed it before! In this case I think the whole crew is on vacation. Well deserved if that is the case - they are great people and very easy to work with.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 17, 2012 03:43PM)
I also just discovered Lybrary.com. This is a great source for digital copies of hard to find books. Lewis Ganson Routined Manipulation Vol 2 is like $7.00 and it is an instant download.

I like to start with books and practice on my own then go to DVD's to get what I didn't already understand.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Sep 17, 2012 08:50PM)
Yes, lybrary.com is a most excellent resource. There are lots of other great classics available on there, including some of the books I reference earlier in this thread.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 20, 2012 09:15PM)
Did I mention that I have managed to get each hand doing the finger roll? It is not as fast as I would like but it will be. So I am making good progress.