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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2007-02-19 19:50, Howard Coberly wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-02-18 17:14, Bill Palmer wrote:
Performing for FISM is to performing for a real audience as running in the New York Marathon is to running for your life.




Hi Bill,

So you're saying that if Aldo were to perform this routine with the same cups for an audience of laymen, it would not play well?? I have to disagree. If this were the case, then by implication, you are saying that any Cups and Balls worker who uses plastic cups for his/her routine (Ammar, Gertner, Gazzo) will not get as good a response as they would if they were using a $900 set of Sherwood cups.

Does this theory also carry over to card magic?? I've seen Shoot Ogawa perform an entire show with those cheesy Chinese-made playing cards, and I would be willing to bet that had he used Bikes, the audience would have appreciated it all the same.

Granted, the heavy cups are prettier and will give your performance a more sophisticated look, but I can in no way agree that they will make your audience (magicians or laymen) appreciate a great routine any more.

Many of the pros, including Gazzo and Ammar, have said that they have performed their routines with Styrofoam cups. I would be willing to bet that they got great reactions with these performances because the routines make the trick, not the cups.

I also have to say that it's a bit irresponsible for the veteran performers to condemn the plastic cups over the expensive sets, which will give the younger, less experienced magicians the impression that they have to use the more expensive cups in order to entertain their audiences.

Daniel Cros has been performing the Cups regularly for over 30 years with 3 plastic Pepsi cups. I'm sure that if he thought he would get a tremendously better reaction with the expensive metal cups, being the consummate showman that he is, he would switch in order to give his audiences the best performance possible.

I switched to Penguin metal cups several years ago from the standard cups, and I will say that they feel better, but I don't agree that they make the routine any better in the eyes of the lay audience.

I have seen several pros at the bar at the Magic Castle doing the Shell Game with the standard plastic shells. Again, by the prevailing logic on this thread, these magicians would get a better response if they switched to the $100 gold-plated heavy shells. Then, why haven't they??? Because as all the seasoned pros on this forum are always saying, it's the skill and ability and routining of the trick that makes it play well or badly, not how pretty or how heavy the props are.

This is an outlook perpetuated by hardcore collectors and those performers who just like the feel of the cups. And there is nothing wrong with that outlook, but I think it's an incredibly far leap to the conclusion that if you use heavier, bigger, more expensive cups, your audience will enjoy the routine more.

Last month, I saw John Carney in the CU room at the Magic Castle. He closed his set with a Chop Cup style routine using a plastic drinking glass wrapped up in a piece of newspaper and a small fruit. He ended by producing a glass fishbowl full of water with a fish in it from under the paper where the glass had been before. He used pretty much the standard Chop Cup/Cups and Balls moves and received a collective gasp after the finale. I don't believe that, had he been using a $900 gold-plated glass wrapped in a $300 silk, the audience reaction would have been any different.

I have seen many magicians, including Darwin Ortiz and Tommy Wonder, do the Card to Box routine using a simple little box instead of one of those very expensive gaffed boxes that are available out there. Obviously, they know that their routines are so well constructed that they could make that card come out a rusty Band-Aid box, and it wouldn't make any difference. It wouldn't be any stronger were they to use the prettier box.

We won't even get into the argument about how laymen might believe those fancy cups are gaffed somehow (as I have heard people say while milling around the Castle after a show wherein the performer did the Cups).

I think the evidence is strongly against those who believe that the prettier/heavier cups make the routine better or more appreciated by the lay audience.


No, Howard. I'm saying that the audience reaction of FISM judges may or may not reflect the value of a routine that is done for a live audience.

I probably should mention that Johnny Ace Palmer won FISM a long time ago with basically the same routine he is doing now. He used a set of Ross Bertram cups, which cost him about $35 at the time.

When have you actually seen any of these people, other than Daniel Cros, perform for a lay audience? I don't think you actually have.

I've seen Gazzo work for a lay audience. I know the reaction he gets. A set of plastic Pepsi cups wouldn't last until the end of his routine.

And his comment, directly from his old web site, about cheap plastic cups is
"Professional magicians can't afford cheap props. Cheap cups are for looooozers!"

While I wouldn't go quite that far, I would say this. I worked for many years as a professional musician. I wouldn't have considered playing a plastic banjo, saxophone, or guitar for a paying audience, unless what I was doing was a joke.

The quality of your props, as well as the quality of your routine, is part of the respect you show your audience and the magic you are performing.

There are good reasons to use plastic cups, or other cups you find at hand, for the Cups and Balls. If you have visited the Cups and Balls Museum in the past, you would see that I have many sets of "found" cups -- some plastic, some metal -- all quite well suited for doing the Cups and Balls.

But I wouldn't perform with them under most circumstances, because they don't suit my style and I don't have to.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
WoodRat
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Quote:
On 2007-02-19 21:19, Chessmann wrote:
It would be interesting to take a poll of professional magicians who use the C&B regularly, and see what kind of cups they use.

Mark


I'm currently using 2 sets of "found cups". One is a nicely engraved set of pewter and brass tea cups, the other a set of nesting, silver shot glasses similar to those found in Bill Palmer's museum, except mine come in a nice cylindrical metal container. Both were great finds at the local thrift store.

Soon, I'll be getting use to a set of RNT2 mini PF-style coppers. Smile
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Quote:
On 2007-02-19 21:19, Chessmann wrote:
It would be interesting to take a poll of professional magicians who use the C&B regularly, and see what kind of cups they use.

Mark

Quote:
On 2007-02-19 19:50, Howard Coberly wrote:
Hi Bill,

So you're saying that if Aldo were to perform this routine with the same cups for an audience of laymen, it would not play well?? I have to disagree.


Like it or not, you are judged by your audience by not only how good of an entertainer you are, but also by the props that you use...it's part of your presentation.

I'd like to think of it as an extension of my dress...I wouldn't perform in a t-shirt at a venue, and I wouldn't use what could be perceived as inexpensive or child's props in my show. The exception to 'my rule' (as I'm an adult and not a younger performer) would be if there was a logical reason to do so, i.e. dramatizing a story line about when I was a child, etc.

But like everything, this is all about personal choice...to each their own.
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled." - The Prestige (2006)
Bill Palmer
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I should also add that my friend, the late Bob Read, was famous for his Penultimate Cups and Balls routine, which he published shortly after he placed second at the Desert Magic Seminar with it and other material. He quit performing it about 20 years ago, when some thief nicked his props.

This didn't stop him, because he usually performed the Cups and Balls with teacups and rolled up balls of bread dough. But he missed his old props, so I saw to it that, in the winter of 2005, he had a complete set of all the props he needed to perform the routine once more. Alas, he never got it back to performing shape.

That's part of the versatility of the Cups and Balls. You can do them with anything that fits your style.

My style does not call for cheesy, plastic cups (with no slur on Aldo's skills and talents). To each his own.

Think about this. Aldo Colombini has worked out enough routines that are different from the Vernon routine that anyone who wanted to fool magicians (or their poor, suffering relatives) could easily learn one of his routines and be different from the regular cut of cloth.

Or not.

Another thing to think about is this. In magic, just as in music, there are "standards." In music, these would include "Stairway to Heaven," "Stardust," "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," or any of the other definitive pieces of the idiom in question. Musicians in the three idioms I have referenced here are expected to be able to play these without thinking.

Magic has standards, too. ACR, Cups and Balls, Sponge Balls, Egg Bag. We call them "classics."
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
kammagic
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If you have a great routine, I bet these cups are just fine. Your audience is not dazzled by the cups, they are dazzled by what you do with them. I think they look great, and I bet your audience would too. In fact, I think they would be great behind the bar. If you dropped one into the glassware, it wouldn't harm them. It would simply be a matter of getting used to the feel of them. Plus, they are much lighter to carry around. I think they are a great idea. $200 sets, you have to take care of. These, you wouldn't have much to worry about. With the expensive sets, if you damage one cup, you usually have to get an entire new set. I like working without having to worry about stuff, so plastic sounds great to me!
Bill Palmer
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If you are going to perform with plastic cups, get the ones from Empire or Houdini's Magic in Vegas. They are also chrome-plated.

Or go to the drugstore and buy some party cups. The pretentiousness of "professional" plastic cups is fulsome.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
walid ahumada
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Didn't know Penguin's were that bad...
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lint
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Quote:
On 2007-02-22 04:18, kammagic wrote:
These, you wouldn't have much to worry about. With the expensive sets, if you damage one cup, you usually have to get an entire new set. I like working without having to worry about stuff, so plastic sounds great to me!


You do understand you are talking about plastic-coated with chrome, as opposed to solid metal, right? Have you ever played with a plastic toy that had a chrome coating? The first scratch that chrome gets that cuts to the plastic, and your cups are done with. Why on earth anyone would chose these cups (putting aside their MManufacturer) over equally affordable Bazar De Magia (yes, deals can still be found for them) or Morrissey cups is beyond me.

-lint
"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
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On 2007-02-22 04:18, kammagic wrote:
If you have a great routine, I bet these cups are just fine. Your audience is not dazzled by the cups, they are dazzled by what you do with them. I think they look great, and I bet your audience would too. In fact, I think they would be great behind the bar. If you dropped one into the glassware, it wouldn't harm them. It would simply be a matter of getting used to the feel of them. Plus, they are much lighter to carry around. I think they are a great idea. $200 sets, you have to take care of. These, you wouldn't have much to worry about. With the expensive sets, if you damage one cup, you usually have to get an entire new set. I like working without having to worry about stuff, so plastic sounds great to me!


The audience can be dazzled by the cups, too. Just depends on the cups! Not too many like that, though.

Plastic cups are *much* lighter. This means that they are much more accident prone (inadvertent tipping over), less flexible re: working environment (easy to blow over working outside if there is a breeze).

If you damage a cup, you must replace the set with either material, but it is MUCH easier to damage a plastic cup. On the flip side, much less expensive to replace.

As always, do what is preferred.
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kammagic
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On 2007-02-22 14:02, Chessmann wrote:
The audience can be dazzled by the cups, too. Just depends on the cups! Not too many like that, though.

Plastic cups are *much* lighter. This means that they are much more accident prone (inadvertent tipping over), less flexible re: working environment (easy to blow over working outside if there is a breeze).

If you damage a cup, you must replace the set with either material, but it is MUCH easier to damage a plastic cup. On the flip side, much less expensive to replace.

As always, do what is preferred.


Just a matter of learning how to use them. Cards are pretty light, and we all know how to use them on a windy day. What I like most about these is their shape. They look like the expensive cups, but they are inexpensive. So I am thinking of all the creative possibilities they have. You can experiment with these. Drill holes in them, paint them, do whatever you wanted to do with your expensive cups but were afraid to try. I can see their potential. Many of us use coffee cups, paper cups, or whatever is available, so these are actually a step up. I don't even know if I would stop using them if they got scratched up. Spectators are suspicious of a prop that looks too perfect, too shiny, too fancy. "Why is that magician handling those fancy cups so carefully?" Hmmmmmm?
It's funny, most of us understand not to use a special looking deck to perform card tricks. But many magicians love having the fanciest, prettiest set of cups for the Cups and Balls. It's a simple solution for a layman to look at them and think, "Oh, those are just trick cups!"

I like these plastic cups, and I think many of the members here see their potential.
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By the time the final loads appear, most quasi-intelligent people realise there is no way for the cups to be gimmicked...duh...and that true skill is/must be required to pull off such a feat.

johnny
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kammagic
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Johnny,

I have to disagree. In most Cups and Balls routines, the cups are removed from a fancy bag, and the cups themselves are not something layman see in their normal life. They are a special shape and highly polished, and usually never given out for examination. This makes them very suspicious. All a spectator has to think is "those are trick cups", and we give them many reasons to think that. A set of banged-up plastic cups draw much less suspicion than a $200 set of highly-polished cups that have their own special bag to carry them in. If you can eliminate the cups as a solution, you create a stronger effect. Personally, I don't perform Cups and Balls any more, but I am always interested in new ideas. I regularly perform a Chop Cup routine, but it uses an ordinary ungimmicked coffee cup.
lint
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On 2007-02-22 16:12, kammagic wrote:
A set of banged-up plastic cups draw much less suspicion than a $200 set of highly-polished cups that have their own special bag to carry them in. If you can eliminate the cups as a solution, you create a stronger effect.


First, please go to Target and find anything that is plastic with a chrome coating, and imagine how utterly bad it would look "banged-up". This is not a material that will weather nicely. The chrome will peel off like a sticker, and you will be left with a tacky plastic color under your "working" cups.

Second, I don't know any professional magician that doesn't address the topic of "gimmicked cups" thoroughly in either the introduction of their routine or at the end. People are not as suspicious as you think about fine performance pieces.

There obviously is a place for innocent looking items in magic. There is also a place for finely made props and personal pride in what you bring to a performance.

-todd
"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
lint
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On 2007-02-22 16:12, kammagic wrote:
...and the cups themselves are not something layman see in their normal life. They are a special shape and highly polished, and usually never given out for examination. This makes them very suspicious. All a spectator has to think is "those are trick cups"...


I also don't see how this quote wouldn't apply to these plasti-chrome cups.

-todd
"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
walid ahumada
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If you tell lay people how much we pay for the cups, they won't believe you.
I do not think they care about the props, all they worry about is the effect, and some of them will try to find out the modus operandi.
“Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide.” BEN OKRI quote
kammagic
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Quote:
On 2007-02-22 16:31, lint wrote:
First, please go to Target and find anything that is plastic with a chrome coating, and imagine how utterly bad it would look "banged-up". This is not a material that will weather nicely. The chrome will peel off like a sticker, and you will be left with a tacky plastic color under your "working" cups.

Second, I don't know any professional magician that doesn't address the topic of "gimmicked cups" thoroughly in either the introduction of their routine or at the end. People are not as suspicious as you think about fine performance pieces.

There obviously is a place for innocent looking items in magic. There is also a place for finely made props and personal pride in what you bring to a performance.

-todd


There are different types of plastic chrome. I often use the plastic party trays you find at Party stores. They make great mirrors. They look like polished silver trays. These trays are shiny all the way through, not just a chrome covering over plastic. So these cups could be very nice. Don't knock it til you try it.

As far as explaining that the cups are not gimmicked, it doesn't change what a spectator is thinking.
lint
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I'm pretty sure it is already been established that these cups are plated. Jake received his cups pre-nicked!

On another topic, I read these cups come with some sort of no-bounce rubber balls that look like crocheted balls? That actually sounds pretty neat to me. Any comments on those balls?

-todd
"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
kammagic
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On 2007-02-22 16:55, lint wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-02-22 16:12, kammagic wrote:
...and the cups themselves are not something layman see in their normal life. They are special shape and highly polished and usually never given out for examination. This makes them very suspicious. All a spectator has to think is "those are trick cups"...


I also don't see how this quote wouldn't apply to these plasti-chrome cups.

-todd


I agree. I even love the feel of a well-balanced metal cup. But these plastic cups are a great idea and definitely have a usefulness for magicians. People love to bash something new. I would only listen to negative comments about these cups from someone who has bought them and given them a thorough test drive.


Quote:
On 2007-02-22 18:55, lint wrote:
I'm pretty sure it is already been established that these cups are plated. Jake received his cups pre-nicked!

On another topic, I read these cups come with some sort of no-bounce rubber balls that look like crocheted balls? That actually sounds pretty neat to me. Any comments on those balls?

-todd


The balls do sound interesting.
Mr. Muggle
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In the case of these plastic Faux Paul Faux Cups, I don't think people are bashing them because they are new...from what I've read, heard, and posted, it's because of how these cups came into production and who they are being made and sold by.

Simply put, these plastic Faux Paul Faux Cups are unauthorized, cheap knock-offs that were made in China in an effort (as I see it) to corner the inexpensive Cups and Balls market with a design favored by most magicians.

To some, this won't matter and more than likely those same people will buy them because of the cheap price and desired look - either that or they won't know any better and purchase them as a cheap starting set because they recognize the shape of the cup. Unfortunately, most consumers are either uneducated or misinformed about what they are really buying.

On a lighter note, I have to agree with Kammagic...these would be great to drill holes into. Smile
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled." - The Prestige (2006)
Bill Palmer
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How many cups do I need to damage by use before I can convince you that they are crap?
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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