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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The September 2005 entrée: Jade » » The Chinese Rice Bowls » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Steve Brooks
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Northern California - United States
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Though close-up magic is my specialty, I have performed stage magic in the past and always enjoy watching others perform the various illusions and effects that the stage allows as opposed to being just inches away from an audience. I guess what I'm trying to say is I can very much appreciate the work involved in presenting magic on the grand stage before a large group.

Now, my personal view is that there are certain tricks that really shine when performed on stage (e.g, The Linking Rings, Billiard Balls, etc), but few performers who have the ability to make them work properly.

Oh sure, magicians as a whole may indeed understand the mechanics and operation of certain tricks, but knowing the secret and having the ability to present the trick as a real piece of theatre are two different things.

Having said all that, I can honestly say that you are the only performer I have ever seen who performs the classic Chinese Rice Bowls, and does so in a manner that can only be called a piece of art. I have yet to see another magician make this effect shine the way that you do.

I bring this particular subject up because I feel it is something that should really be talked about.
Think about it - for years magic shops have sold this item in its various forms (e.g, Plastic, copper, aluminum, etc), or at the very least offered magic sets for beginners, which included a set inside. Yet, how many performers actually perform this trick? Those that do, rarely do the trick justice.

Now one could simply brush this idea aside and say the trick is simply not any good. Yet, anyone who has seen your elegant presentation would no doubt be ready to argue the point.

In that light, perhaps you would care to discuss how you chose the rice bowls for your act, your unique approach to deciding just what the best way to perform this classic of magic was, and perhaps a little history of this age old effect (Did they really originate in China?). Thanks Jade. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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I won't try to answer for her, but... I was with her one day and we went shopping in Chinatown's Grant Ave. in San Francisco, where she bought a bunch of just plain, real, bowls... she said she would use them for the Rice Bowl routine. (I assume she made the gimmick herself).
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
J A D E
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Jade
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The Rice Bowls.... Great trick that many would overlook. I chose this effect because I was specifically putting a Chinese Act together and it just made sense to include it in my repertoire. There are so many gimmicked sets out there that I thought I would just make bigger versions of the rice bowls that came in the magic sets! So Pete is right, my bowls are just plain, real bowls.

As for the history of the rice bowls, I'd love for someone to shed some light on it for me. I've probably read it somewhere, a long time ago when I was doing research on the effect. But for some reason, historical facts seem to have a teflon effect on my brain. I work on the basis that I have a problem and I need to find a solution. All else seem to fall on the wayside and only the information necessary to make the trick work is retained.

But, I CAN tell you what you said about your best friend during our elevator ride at the hotel three years ago! Selective memory, yes indeed.

As for the presentation, John Carney told me about Charlie Miller's rice bowl routine a while ago and I felt it was the right thing to do for me. I think it was Charlie that would thrust the lip-to-lip bowls away from his body, turn them over and then reveal that the rice has doubled. Because my Chinese Act is dance oriented, this movement is perfect for me. I turn my whole body around the same time the small bowls are turned over. It's the bigger movement hiding the smaller one that makes this bowl-turning deceiving.

Charlie did not use rice. Neither do I. There are two reasons. One, if the rice gets on the stage, it's very slippery and any act or dancer that follows the rice bowl routine will have an increased chance of injuring themselves. Two, the rice is so heavy that once the upper bowl is removed to reveal the "doubled rice", the rice levels itself as quickly as the upper bowl is removed. So the visual is not there for the audience.

Charlie used that fake snow stuff for the rice. I tried to use them but the plastic nature of fake snow made them cling to everything they come in contact with. No good. My friend, Joan Lawton, had suggested using mash potato flakes. Thank you Joan! And that is the secret to my sustained "doubled rice". If the flakes fall on the stage, no one will slip on them. And besides, if I'm EVER caught in a situation where there is no food anywhere around, except for my magic case, I can always make myself some mash potato!

Hope this helps.

Jade
Steve Brooks
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Northern California - United States
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Very informative, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Jade. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Paul Chosse
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1955 - 2010
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Hi Jade,

Welcome to the Café. I remember you from a long time ago, with Bob Koch, Bill Whittington and the other SF guys. Congratulations on your success!

Actually, Charlie's first presentation of the Rice Bowls has always impressed me. It appears in his unpublished letters to Faucett Ross. Charlie got three effects out of the Bowls. Most performers DO NOT discuss this, IF they know about it.

The first effect is the doubling of the rice. And the last effect is the production of the water. There CAN be a third, in-between, effect. After the rice doubles, and you've leveled off the bowl, rather than go directly to the water you shake the bowls, stop, and separate them. Turn both bowls mouth down, then turn them toward the audience, showing the vanish of the rice. With the Baker Bowls this looks particularly good. So, you fill one bowl, the rice doubles, you level it off, the remainder vanishes, then you produce the water...

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
Pete Biro
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And Charlie used those kitchen pads you hold hot pots and pans with.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Mike Ching
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Honolulu, Hawaii
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...if I'm EVER caught in a situation where there is no food anywhere around, except for my magic case, I can always make myself some mash potato!"

:lol: that is so true. I work professionally in Hawaii and audiences have no idea half the stuff in my act can be replaced at any LONGS DRUGS! But.. you Gotta make it work... and who needs to know?

-MC
kaytracy
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Greetings!
I find your performing style to be truly delightful to watch! Your flow and grace come through and are a true inspiration!
While I cannot attest to the true origin of the Rice Bowls as a magic effect, it seems that if there is a section of any culture or group that must work hard to feed itself, then any legend or tale of a wonderous food supply would lend to acceptance of suce a feat as truly magic!
I did recently read a Japanese "Mythology" story, and I am told that there are versions in China and Korea.
I find it makes a very logical, if not slightly unusual reason for the effect, wtih slight modifications to use bowls.
It is a morality story of an old woman who befriends a bird injured by local children.
After being healed and set free the bird returns to the old woman with a magical gourd seed. The story has her saving two gourds to dry for containers-It turns out one is a never ending supply of rice, and the other-Sake!
Being a morality tale- the jealous neighbor woman makes an attempt to gain the same good fortune-by not so nice means, and gets gourds with snakes, and poisonous insects that bite and sting her to death.
Okay, so gourds, and not bowls, though I find the reason for the outcome to be logical!
Best Regards

Kay
Kay and Tory
www.Bizarremagick.com
DerekMerdinyan
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Where can you learn the construction for a set of rice bowls. I have heard there are several different methods for gimmicking the bowls. However, it seems that people are praising what ever Jade is doing. Any suggestions?

Derek Merdinyan
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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Look in the Tarbell Course, or buy a set from a dealer.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
DerekMerdinyan
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Will do! Thanks

Derek Merdinyan
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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Wait, ask Jade to make you a set (pay her well)!
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
J A D E
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Jade
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Thanks Pete! As a matter of fact, I was JUST thinking that I might start selling copies of my rice bowls on my website...if there was any interest. The bowls aren't used just as purchased, of course. Some preparation is involved. Anyone interested in purchasing a set of my rice bowls can email me at Jade@magicjade.com.

Thank you,
Jade
DerekMerdinyan
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Could I see a picture of the bowls?

Derek Merdinyan
Pete Biro
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I think if they are good enough for Jade they would be good enought (looking) for ANYONE... don't worry about a picture. They are standard bowls from a shop in San Francisco and the modifictions are invisible. Trust me, trust Jade.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
DerekMerdinyan
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I have no doubt that if they are good enough for Jade that they are good enough for anyone. I am just curious as to the color/ shape to see if it would "fit in" with what I have going on in my show. I have faith that Jade puts quality work in her bowls.

Derek Merdinyan
camikesrd
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Richmond,Virginia
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I have a tape somewhere of you doing the rice bowls into the snowstorm ending

and it is great.I have about 18 hours of Luis DeMatos show , If you ever did a

guest spot on his show that where it is.

What I wanted to call to your attention you mentioned you used the instant mashed

potatoes for rice. Also you said your act is dance oriented. There was a 1960's

Amercian pop dance called the " Mashed Potatoes " If you spilled some of the

potatoe flakes in the floor and then some of the water you could do the " Mashed

Potatoe " in the "Mashed Potatoes "

Mike Walsh
J A D E
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Jade
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Mike! You're the man I want to talk to! I did make an appearance on Luis' show and although a copy of the show was in my contract, I never got one (a common story). Any way I can get a copy of the show I was on? Please email me at Jade@MagicJade.com. Thanks a million!

Thanks,
Jade
J A D E
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Jade
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Thanks Pete. Thank you Derek for your interest. I am scheduled to headline the South Carolina magic convention in the middle of January (where I'll also do a lecture) 2006. I'll put together a few sets of bowls for that convention. So in the process, if anyone is interested, I can make a few extras ones while I'm at it.

Let me first go and purchase the bowls. I will make them even BETTER than the ones I've had since I've put together my act (I'm still using those bowls)! Once I've got them, I can send you the pictures. Please email me at Jade@MagicJade.com for your request for the bowls. Then I will keep track of those that are interested and answer any questions you have as I go through the process of making the bowls for the trick.

Thank you,
Jade
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