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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » L A Street Cups Philosophy (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Al Schneider
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A corn field in WI surrounded by
1080 Posts

Profile of Al Schneider
He said, “We have a problem.” The convention manager stood before me with a long face. “Everyone wants to go to your lecture.” The convention had organized four lectures. The attendees could pick one and attend it. I just got the message that they all want to go to mine. Then he said, “Even the guys giving the other lectures want to go to yours.” He sighed, “Can you give your lecture in the main hall for everyone?”

I felt very honored and said, “Yes.”

It was a heated lecture. A lot of people do not like my ideas. But, it was an entertaining lecture. During it, someone asked a question about cups and balls. A guy with long hair and curly mustache asked, “How do you do a cup and ball routine for the same audience and still get away with the big finishes?”

I did not have an answer for that question and have worked over the years for a suitable answer. This post presents an answer and more.

In this post, the design constraints for the L. A. Street Cups are presented. I hope you find it fascinating.

The major constraint was that the final load needed to be powerful enough to bear immediate repeating.

As I proceeded with development I observed that many magicians seek routines in a walk around environment. So, two additional constraints emerged: perform while standing table side and no body loads or pocket steals. Everything should be contained in the cups when beginning the performance. That is, the stack of cups is the performance unit.

As time passed and I thought of all this, I remember the words of a cute lady. Sometime during my performances I performed a cup and ball routine for a lady friend. I began with the bit in which a cup is pushed through another cup. She looked at me with beautiful eyes and said,”Al, that is beneath you.” With that I decided a sophisticated routine should be done without the push through bit, the cup is deeper inside than outside, and showing there is a hole in the cup.

Another event caused me to question another classic sequence. At a party I brought up a video of me doing a cup and ball bit on Youtube for a lady at the party. It included the Adam’s penetration sequence many people do. I can visualize her now, watching the action on the computer screen. As she watched she said, “xxxxx xxxxx xxxx.” She described the mechanics of the sequence. I remembered when I got into magic and my first visit to the magic shop downtown Detroit, the owner’s wife did the Adams cup and ball routine consisting of the penetration sequence. I thought the balls were stuck to the top of the cups. Then during a visit with Jerry Fishman in Chicago, he revealed to me that he thought the sequence was weak. With all that, I decided to drop any of the classic penetration sequences.

At some different party, after performing, I overheard the comment, “I think he does something with the balls when his hand is in front of the cups.” That was not the first time that was mentioned. With that, I decided the false roll back move was taboo.

Then, while building this new routine, I kept two of my operating principles in mind. The first is, keep the three small balls visible at all times. A routine consists of magic events. Before and after each event, the audience should see all three balls so they can track where they are. The second principle is to keep the initial condition and magic result close together in time as possible. This enhances the appearance of magic. For example, a ball disappears and a cup is immediately tilted back to reveal the arrival of the ball.

Another goal was to minimize use of false transfers. I felt previous routines had overused them.

With all of this in mind, here is how things fell into place. The first magic was a gather sequence in which the small balls travel to the center. I have always felt that is the most powerful sequence, other than final loads. False transfers and roll back steals were not used.

The second phase consisted of cup to cup transfers. The same action was repeated three times to communicate to the audience what was going on. Curiously, this sequence opened the door for interaction with the audience. Each time the magic happens the hands are clean and one can pause for chatter from the audience.

The last phase consists of a homing sequence. In most homing sequences, three balls disappear to be found under the cups. Here, the balls go home one at a time. The goal was to build a suspicion in the audience a ball was under each cup already. Then the third ball reveal is the final load. Hopefully, that makes the surprise stronger.

The routine was structured to keep moving forward and keep the magic happeneing.

That’s it.
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
bigfoot
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I'm going to apologize in advance for asking this because I do realize that this was not intended to be the focus of your topic but could you explain the " a lot of people don't like my ideas" a bit more. It strikes me as odd that this would be the case if everyone wants to see your lecture if this were the case. I really don't mean to be obtuse I am just curios as to what event would make say that. Perhaps it is a common knowledge thing I am unaware of?
Al Schneider
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A corn field in WI surrounded by
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Very well.
In general, on this forum many have attacked my ideas calling me old fashioned. For example, at one time a few people ran a thread very long that blasted my original Matrix. I was told it was not good theater. I was told it was the first but by no means the best. I was told that many routines out there were better than mine and put me ME, to shame. It was very, very cruel. Some guy from England said I should be shot. Well, you asked. Furthermore I have been criticized for being a know it all. I was told why a person of my stature even comes to post on this forum. It goes on and on. I was told I was an inferior magician because I can only perform while sitting at a table. It goes on and on.

At that lecture I presented a point of view of the difference between being interesting and interested. Some performers want to be interesting for they just want attention. Other performers are interested in the audience getting what they want. There were several hundred people at that lecture. Some were standing and screaming at me that I did not know what I was talking about. After the lecture some chased me down to tell me how stupid I was.

Well, glad you asked.
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
bigfoot
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Wow I am very sorry that it was that extreme. I had no idea it was that way I guess in my head I thought maybe it was a bit simpler than that. I have always thought that sometimes people often confuse opinion for fact. Though both are often subject to personal belief as well as personal experience especially when dealing with things that are less tangible. Even if you don't agree with someone that does not mean that nothing can be learned from them.
As I said I am sorry I did not mean to offend you in any way it was truly just curiosity.

I love the term "old fashion" when referring to magic because everything is old fashion. Time and time again we see people fried by a move or a subtlety that everyone goes crazy for then when asked where is that from it's often from a book twenty to thirty years older than the person performing it. Just makes me chuckle when I hear it.
kentfgunn
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Al,

You remain a seminal figure in magic.

Your little white book and the original Matrix pamphlet made many trips to sea with me on various submarines.

Thank you for your contributions to magic. Thank you for teaching me, through your writing.

Your detractors are jealous of your abilities or do not understand how to create magic that deceives an audience.

Fanboy-Gunn
Charles Gaff
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Forgive me if this is common knowledge, but do you have lecture notes or similar on your routine? I recently got the matrix pamphlet from the Café. It was one of the first "magic" memories I have, watched at a children's fair as a kid. I've always enjoyed your style and ideas.
Al Schneider
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A corn field in WI surrounded by
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As I reread my post I attempt to see what the most important point is. I do not want to sound as if all should do it my way. But there is something that jumps out at me. The really important aspect of that story is that listening the things the audience says or feels is of critical importance. I like to remind people that at the end of a performance, the performers bow to the audience for they are the masters and the final judges of your worthiness.
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Bill Palmer
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Al, this thread is an example of what makes you a master of the art.

Thanks for posting it. Your insights are wonderful.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
RiffRaff
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Al, sometimes we humans don't take the time to thank those that have contributed to our development.
I wanted to take the time to say, "THANK YOU".
Jamie-boy
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I've said it before, and I'll say it again: It will always be the Schneider Pick-up Move to me.
James Sievert
Sleight of Hand Hobbyist since 1990.
Bassist since 1973.
pabloinus
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Very nice routine, the final load is always a surprise, however the one I like the most is your one cup routine. Not too many routines with one cup and 3 balls and the final load is invisible.
J-Mac
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Al,

Very few have attacked your ideas (that I have seen). And their opinions aren't the same as most. For most here you are considered a true master of the art! And your Matrix is THE Matrix for me; I don’t perform any other variation of the coin assembly. No need to, in my opinion. Your posts are treasures to me, to be read carefully and remembered for all time.

Take care.

Jim
Moonstone76
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Italy
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Al...you are UNIQUE.
Your visions and ideas maybe are not the best ones to everyone but every serious student of Magic should study your works.
Mobius303
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Lakewood, Ohio
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Al,
I have been studying your stuff for the last 20yrs or so. Keep at it. This is a wonderful thread on your L.A. Street Cups. I first found the routine on your website. I have enjoyed studying it.
I then got your book and was pleased it was in there.
The pick up move will always be the Schneider pick up move for me too Jim. Back in 1992 Bucky (Cleveland Magic Shop owner) showed it to me as that and that is what it will always be to me.

Thanks Al Schneider.
BeThePlunk
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LA Street Cups is where I started. The essential move is absolutely central to the routine I am building.
AndreaMooreMagic
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I have never liked the idea of a convention giving you a choice of options where you can miss out on something. That being said, well handled sir.
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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Just now getting your Al Schneider Magic. I really hope this is in there
Lawrence O
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Al you are a visionary and a genius perfectionist. Your difference between "interesting" and "interested" is summing up for me the difference between being a magical juggler and being a magician.
Your "Cross cards" and your approach to Chink a Chink have changed my magic life and your writings would be the ones I'd take with me on a desert island (in the hope not to stay there with what I would have learned from reading them over and over again)

Just receive another expression of gratitude
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
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