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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Minimalist cups and balls? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Nate The Magician
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Hello!
I don't remember who said that magic should be as simple as possible- but it's good advice. Advice that I'll wager that 99 percent of all magicians don't follow because we like showing off moves or patter or such (I am guilty of this myself)
The standard routine has two sections: the primary routine- where you have the balls go through cups in fifty thousand different ways, and the final load- where you show the routine over with the production of something different. The problem with the cups and balls IMHO is the transition between the final loads and the primary where most routines have you rummaging through your pockets while saying you're putting a ball in... Great big mess, and obvious to boot.
That being said, what do you consider to be the simplest and most effective use of the cups and balls? What do you find necessary to include in your cups and balls routine?

Thank you,
Nate
kentfgunn
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Nate,

I think you pulled that quote out of your own head. Magic, by its very nature . . . isn't simple. Simple effects are great. If you can perform a simple effect, that's clear to your audience and still fool them, great.

The cups and balls, by it's nature, tends to having multiple, related effects. If you can't stitch the effects together with a thematic rant, you'll probably get lost in the effect and so will your audience.

You simplify how you see the routine with a pretty sarcastic tone. Many routines have no parts where the balls "go through cups in fifty thousand different ways." Many routines feature zero penetrations.

Really good loading sequences feature no rummaging about through the pockets.

Simplest and most effective are rarely hiding in the same place. Simplest and most effective is probably a chop cup. Watch Don Alan do the trick. Every single magician that does the chop cup takes something from his routine. Many take it all and do it poorly.

I'm with you with your general tone. Many magicians do a routine that is all too close to Vernon's. That's a complex, sleight heavy version that takes a really good magician and technician to make effective.

What do I find necessary to include? I have five effects in the routine I do.

Balls gather in the middle (this happens twice)
One ball jumps from one cup to another (happens twice)
Balls put in the pocket return.

Pretty simple. Requires zero sleight-of-hand.

Looks like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wksAZSAccvQ
BeThePlunk
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Thanks, VanishedAce, I hope you get many responses. I'm trying to work up my first C&B routine and struggling with the same questions. How much is too much? How much is too little? What ties it all together? I want to say something more engaging than "the balls can do this and the balls do that".

Mr. Gunn, I hear the points you're making. I'll think about no penetrations.
BrianMillerMagic
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Nate, consider the version directly from Mark Wilson's "Complete Course in Magic" - it seems to fit your requirements. You can see a 14 year old student of mine performing it recently. Watch till the end and you'll hear the audience's reaction build very strongly for such a "simple" routine:

http://youtu.be/Kuh4fTSCVa8

Kent - As always, that was stunningly beautiful. Kudos.
afinemesh
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Quote:
On 2013-11-13 19:28, kentfgunn wrote:
Nate,

I think you pulled that quote out of your own head. Magic, by its very nature . . . isn't simple. Simple effects are great. If you can perform a simple effect, that's clear to your audience and still fool them, great.

The cups and balls, by it's nature, tends to having multiple, related effects. If you can't stitch the effects together with a thematic rant, you'll probably get lost in the effect and so will your audience.

You simplify how you see the routine with a pretty sarcastic tone. Many routines have no parts where the balls "go through cups in fifty thousand different ways." Many routines feature zero penetrations.

Really good loading sequences feature no rummaging about through the pockets.

Simplest and most effective are rarely hiding in the same place. Simplest and most effective is probably a chop cup. Watch Don Alan do the trick. Every single magician that does the chop cup takes something from his routine. Many take it all and do it poorly.

I'm with you with your general tone. Many magicians do a routine that is all too close to Vernon's. That's a complex, sleight heavy version that takes a really good magician and technician to make effective.

What do I find necessary to include? I have five effects in the routine I do.

Balls gather in the middle (this happens twice)
One ball jumps from one cup to another (happens twice)
Balls put in the pocket return.

Pretty simple. Requires zero sleight-of-hand.

Looks like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wksAZSAccvQ


Kent's routine continues to be one of my favorites. Proves once again that one does not have to hurry an effect!
Beautiful, nostalgic and just plain fun!!

Jorey
"I've always been mental, I'm sure of it" Boris Pocus Smile


"Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny". . .Bruce Springsteen
Nate The Magician
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Kent, forgive my acerbic tone- I'm not knocking the cups and balls, nor am I knocking The Professor or his routine. I've been performing the cups since I was six (or so) and that was over a decade ago. What triggered my curiousity was that recently I came across some new kinds of presentations- "Cups and balls revolution" and "Table hopping cups and balls" to name a few- and that just started me wondering about what was really NEEDED for the routine- if you only were given twenty seconds to do the cups and balls, what would you do, etc.
IMHO the cups and balls can most certainly be a longer routine with tons of penetrations, teleportations and transformations (I busk for a living and my routine can last for up to 20 minutes depending on the crowd gathering time)- I'm just wondering about what people consider the NECESSARY things.
My personal routine has the three balls appear, do the dai vernon penetration bit, all three vanish and reappear under the cups, I take one cup and one ball off the table, make the two balls on the table vanish and appear under the cup on the ground then produce final loads from the two on the table. You can see why I'm asking for help simplifying.

P.S.: Very nice routine, sir!

P.P. S. I believe it was Thomsoni who said (in an interview on a "Starz Profile" or watever on Teller) that magic should be simple.... to the SPECTATOR. Dai Vernon said "Confusion isn't magic." I have a magic book made in the 1940's that says that a good magic effect is simple to explain afterwards, in one sentence- as did the Blackstone Book of Magic. My head has nothing to do with it, thank you very much. Harumph!
pabloinus
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John Mendoza in his My Best DVDs has 3 C&Bs routines, one based on Vernon's but with a modification that eliminates the hand to hand ball move, then he has the Combo cups that he made famous and a very fast (seconds) C&Bs routine that could answer your question on a 20 seconds routine.
Count Lustig
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Quote:
On 2013-11-14 01:21, VanishedAce wrote:
P.P. S. I believe it was Thomsoni who said (in an interview on a "Starz Profile" or watever on Teller) that magic should be simple.... to the SPECTATOR. Dai Vernon said "Confusion isn't magic." I have a magic book made in the 1940's that says that a good magic effect is simple to explain afterwards, in one sentence- as did the Blackstone Book of Magic. My head has nothing to do with it, thank you very much. Harumph!

To say that magic should be simple is not the same as saying, “Magic should be as simple as possible” (which was your original statement). To say that magic shouldn’t be confusing isn’t the same as saying that it need be simple. An effect can have a measure of complexity and yet avoid confusion. In fact, the Cups and Balls is a good example of that. (To follow the as-simple-as-possible rule, you’d have to favor a Chop Cup routine over a three-cup routine.) Even saying that an effect should be capable of being summarized in one sentence--as many have said--doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be “as simple as possible.”

However, if you can cite someone who actually said that (as opposed to saying all those other things), I’ll accept that you didn’t pull that quote “out of your own head."
Nate The Magician
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Count Lustig- I'll assume you're taking that particular quote from Blackstone Jr.'s book-
"If you cannot describe the effect of a trick in one simple sentence, it is probably not a good trick."

When I said "I don't remember who said that magic should be as simple as possible" what I meant by it was not "Simple methods are best" but instead "Simple looking effects are best."- also note I did not give an exact quote on the advice either.

Now, I can carry on with a battle over semantics all day with you hecklers- but I'd rather people focus on the question: What are the bare bones necessities to your cups and balls routine?
BrianMillerMagic
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VanishedAce - First of all, semantics is the study of meaning. A "battle over semantics" is PRECISELY what's required when there's a misunderstanding of meaning, as there is here. It's the first and most important object in any intellectual discussion.

Second, you've got lots of suggestions here already. Have you read or considered any of them?
BeThePlunk
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Phew! Everybody take a breath. Remember that it's easy to misread the tone and intent of emails.

VanishedAce, I loved your student's performance. He's got style. You must be a good teacher. I'm going to make full use of vanishing the ball from the center to appear on either end. In fact, I plan to have an audience member (from their seat) "draw" the ball from the center and "send" it to one end or the other themselves.
BrianMillerMagic
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Quote:
On 2013-11-15 10:50, BeThePlunk wrote:
VanishedAce, I loved your student's performance. He's got style. You must be a good teacher. I'm going to make full use of vanishing the ball from the center to appear on either end. In fact, I plan to have an audience member (from their seat) "draw" the ball from the center and "send" it to one end or the other themselves.


My student, and thank you Smile I'll pass along your kind remarks to him.
BeThePlunk
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Ooop, sorry. Got the posts mixed up.
Nate The Magician
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No worries. I've been reading these posts- lots of good ideas!
john oleson
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Not really minimalist, but am wondering ... Ricky Jay's version ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgm4wZCACYg ... in his three cup routine, does he use combo cups??

Thx ... johno from tropical Michigan
Nate The Magician
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Quote:
On 2013-12-01 14:36, john oleson wrote:
Not really minimalist, but am wondering ... Ricky Jay's version ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgm4wZCACYg ... in his three cup routine, does he use combo cups??

Thx ... johno from tropical Michigan



Ricky Jay... Gadzooks, I'd never think I'd hear that name on a minimalist thread BUT! At one stage he uses a gaffed cup. Also, his routine is amazing on so many levels.
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