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Bill Palmer
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Hudson -- You say that The Sponge Book is dated, but okay. Here's a question for you. How many people do you think have actually seen a sponge ball routine?

Question 2 -- Did you actually try the routine on page 15 -- "Big and Little Balls"? That's way ahead of some of the things I have seen people crowing about that you find on DVD's.

And then, there's the Eugene Burger variant of Dr. Jaks' Multiball. That's not in The Sponge Book, but it's a very strong routine. The only disadvantage is the cleanup afterwards.

Regarding the preference towards DVD's -- it's not just a matter of a generational thing. It's a matter of laziness. At the IBM convention in San Diego this past summer, David Roth told about a Darwin Ortiz lecture in which he was referring to a certain book as source material. A teenager in the front row interrupted him and said "I can't learn from books. It has to be a DVD." Darwin ignored him, and the teenager popped off again.

Darwin leaned toward him and asked "Is it the capital letters? Or is it the spaces between the letters?"

This is one reason I'm really disappointed that Erdnase is now available on DVD's. This material is so important that people who want to learn it should really be required to get it out of the book. If you aren't willing to put forth the effort to interpret it, then you shouldn't be doing it.

Of course, it IS more than 100 years old, so I suppose it would be considered to be dated.
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55Hudson
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Bill,

I agree with you that books make an excellent reference for learning magic -- or for learning anything for that matter. I also believe that there is a great deal to be gained by combining books with videos. I try to obtain several good written and video references when working on any effect. I also look for guidance from members at the local magic club. Combining all of these together, I am able to arrive at a routine that is based on tested principles and yet still my own. For sponge balls I use the skills learned in the Tool Kit and skills developed in lessons from a teaching professional. However, my preferred routine is a variation of Eugene Burger's routine on the World's Greatest Magic DVD. I doubt that I would have concluded this was the right basis for my routine without watching the video.

I do trust your judgement and will try the routine on page 15, Big and Little Balls. It looks like it is simple and yet would have a strong impact on the audience.

Hudson
Bill Palmer
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You won't regret it. It's really strong. Interestingly, if your spectator acts like most of mine have, they will be reaching for the big ball when it makes its appearance, and there is a good chance that they will remember it (incorrectly) as having expanded in their hand rather than in yours.
"The Swatter"

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Christopher Lyle
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Back in the day, I saw a video tape from Hampton Ridge Magic that taught basic sponge technique and I remember it being pretty good. The quality of the video was poor even for the time, but the information on the video seemed to be good.

The best source I have ever read on sponge magic was Frank Garcia's Sponge Book.

Christopher
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Dale Houck
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Quote:
I found The Sponge Book, from Magic Inc. to be dated but okay.



This comment made me remember something I learned (indirectly) from David Copperfield. I was in Arturo's Magic Shop in Topeka, Kansas about 30 years ago when Arturo (can't remember his real name) received a phone call from Copperfield, who's first words were, "What's old?" Later, in a discussion with Ben Stone of Delben Magic, I mentioned that call to Arturo and Ben said Copperfield asked him the same thing many times. I'm guessing that the things that are "new" pale in comparison to all the great old, and often forgotten magic that has come before us. Copperfield knew that and for the same reason, I am grateful for the wisdom shared by the many great magical minds I find on the Magic Café. I'm also grateful to all those dated books in my magic library. To most of the world, everything in them is new.
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Bill Palmer
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This is spot on. Think about this. When David Copperfield did his first special, one of the levitations he performed was Harbin's Super Simplex levitation. This was one of the "Forgotten Gems" in the Harbin book. The hookup Harbin described in his book was actually rather rudimentary, and wouldn't work without some modification. but it did allow the performer to have the back curtain raised when the person being levitated was at the top of the rise. There was nothing behind the curtain to be seen.

The neat part about that levitation was that it didn't require any fancy equipment at all. It could be done in any well-equipped theatre. While it wasn't exactly "old" compared to some others, it had been used successfully by Harbin for quite a while. Still, it was much more deceptive than some of the ones I have seen that cost THOUSANDS of dollars to do. This one could be fabricated for less than $250, these days.
"The Swatter"

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Noah Riley
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Thanks for all the input and suggestions everyone. I really appreciate it.

I agree with Hudson. I'm not at all opposed to learning from a book. But I do think there is something beneficial about learning from video format as well. Having both types of references at my disposal I'm sure will help me to develop more fully the proper techniques and subtleties.

Unfortunately I don't have the privilege of knowing another magician personally to study under so I was assuming that a well made and taught video may be able to satisfy that more visual and interactive part of learning (though I know not nearly to the same degree.)

-Noah
Bill Palmer
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Why don't you know another magician to study with? There are more than 25,000 magicians in the US and Europe. There are a couple thousand in Australia and New Zealand. Almost every major city has a community of magicians. If you let them know that you are serious about magic, they will help you. Granted, some of them are probably less informed than you are, but an educated set of eyes can be a great help when you are working on a routine.

If you are using books and DVD's to learn from, that is much better than using DVD's alone.

A couple of decades ago, I noticed a trend in magic that has almost disappeared. That was what I would call "regionalization." Every area in the country had a couple of magicians that everyone else imitated. The guys who initiated the use of a particular routine in a given area really had to protect their material. If they performed it at a magic club meeting, then pretty soon everyone around there was doing that particular material.

Some of us retaliated by learning sleights and/or techniques that the lazy ones couldn't do. But most of the guys were basically doing what they saw the other fellows doing.

Sometimes, they would get a good idea at a lecture. But by and large, there was a big chunk of incompetent performers who used "well, I'm not a professional magician" or "well, I'm an entertainer, not a magician" (as if the two were mutually exclusive) as their excuses.

The problem with the DVD-trained magicians is that they look like copies of Jay Sankey, Oz Pearlman or whatever other pitchman du jour happens to be on their latest DVD. The danger of this is that some of these guys are very regionalized in their own way. New York humor, for example, doesn't play well in some other parts of the country.

If you use the DVD's as a technical reference only, you will probably be in good shape. But please be careful not to become a clone of one of the fellows who pitches for a mail order house.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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tabman
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On 2010-08-22 02:52, wmhegbli wrote: The best sponge ball book is Frank Garcia's Sponge Ball booklet, not the out of print hard bound but the booklet now being printed and sold by Magic Inc. It has the 10 count routine which even fools you after you learn it well....


You bet. Frank Garcia gave his sponge ball lecture at the TOAM in 1973 or thereabouts. He was a great teacher. I also have a low quality vhs tape of him teaching the routine to someone in his apartment in NYC back when he was buying magicians wands from me and selling them to his students.

Whenever I see sponge balls mentioned, Frank Garcia is who I think about. You can't go wrong with this booklet, and all you need besides practice.
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Noah Riley
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If you use the DVD's as a technical reference only, you will probably be in good shape. But please be careful not to become a clone of one of the fellows who pitches for a mail order house.


Yeah, that's what I plan to do. I'm mainly just looking for techniques and structure. I mean, the fun part is putting your own ideas and personality into the magic that you do. What's fun about being like everyone else?

-Noah
Bill Palmer
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Bravo! That's the way to do it. Here's the ticket. Learn it the way it's done in the book or on the DVD, just to get the technical part down. Then, when you have it really smooth, put your own twist to it.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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bwarren3
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Tabman is right on the money along with Bill...
I have that same video of Frank Garcia, think it's called the last teach in or last lecture, something like that. Back in the 80's Frank Garcia actually spent some time with me going on what is in his sponge book while we were attending one of the New York Magic Symposium events....I was pretty good but I watched in amazement as the Man with the Million Dollar Hands performed...I will never forget it..He drew a crowd in nothing flat. Invest in the book and you will never regret it..
Noah Riley
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Thank you guys very much. I'll definitely have to get the Sponge Book then. Smile

-Noah
Bill Palmer
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Frank Garcia's sponge book is a different book, by the way. There were actually two of them. One was a very small pamphlet put out by Gene Gordon. This one is still available from some suppliers. It's part of his "message from Garcia" series. It has some good basic sponge ball material in it.

The other is the Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic, which is unavailable unless you have $300 - $400 to spare.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Noah Riley
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Hmm.. yeah, I don´t have that kind of spare change to spend on a book at the moment. Are there any other good books that you could recommend that don´t cost such a pretty penny?

There´s the one by Gene Gordon you suggested, Bill, and The Sponge Book by Magic Inc. that people have mentioned. Are these good starters or does anyone else have any other suggestions?

Thanks,
Noah
RiffRaff
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Quote:
On 2010-11-06 21:39, Bill Palmer wrote:
Question 2 -- Did you actually try the routine on page 15 -- "Big and Little Balls"?


The DVD camp can use this routine as an example of the difficulty of learning from the printed page. Figure 2 illustrates a performer with two left hands and Figure 10 shows a performer with two right hands!
Bill Palmer
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That's where the "reading" part comes in. Smile
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
tabman
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Quote:
On 2010-08-22 02:52, wmhegbli wrote:
The best sponge ball book is Frank Garcia's Sponge Ball booklet, not the out of print hard bound but the booklet now being printed and sold by Magic Inc. It has the 10 count routine which even fools you after you learn it well.


You don't need the hardbound book. Get the booklet mentioned above. Just like the man said, its available from Magic Inc and for a paltry $5.95.

http://www.magicinc.net/garciasspongeballs.aspx
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

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Bill Palmer
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Maybe I'm reading something into wemhegbli's original post that really isn't there, but there is an inference that the 10 count is not in the larger book. This is not true. EVERYTHING in the small book is also in the large one, as well as lots more. IF you can find a copy of the big one and you can afford it, and you plan to do the sponge balls, you should have the book.

I bought my copy directly from Frank when he was at the TAOM in 1976. It was reasonably priced then.

There is no reason this book should not be in print. However, it is hung up in the bickering between his estate and people who think they were unfairly left out of his estate.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
tabman
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On 2010-11-09 11:18, Bill Palmer wrote:...I bought my copy directly from Frank when he was at the TAOM in 1976. It was reasonably priced then.....


Was it '76? I was thinking it was '75. Time's not flying by as fast as I thought. Smile

Was it at the same one Ron Wilson lectured at??? I've still got all those notes I got those guys to autograph. Garcia was so smooth and polished. I became a life long fan. Ron Wilson too.
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
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