Saturday, 15 December 2012

Balls and Beer

This came out of a session while brainstorming. The production of a liquid almost always is met with a sure fire awe of the audience. And one of the good old ways to close a open glass with a liquid used to be the rubber ball. So I've been playing around with both props for quite a while. I also have a silk and ball routine... never imagined putting both together.

In most bottle productions the bottle is loaded under a silk moments before the production. The beer can be underneath the for much longer, giving you more of the good old time misdirection. Cellini used to have a pretty sweet but ballsy wine glass vanish with the use of a cloth. It's called the T-Bar Glass Vanish and it's from "The Royal Touch" book. Reversing the process makes it a great production.

In terms of angles it is actually pretty good, if you have the beer inside a bag or something that you can drape the cloth over for a brief time. Once it is ready for production the whole routine is angle proof. Sponge balls are actually even better as you can hide them much better. If this was done for kids.... a production of cookies and milk would spring to mind immediately.

So if you need a practical production of a liquid.... there you go.

PS: if you go for a bottle instead of a glass, you can even hand everything out for examination at the end.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Thing

Bill Abbott released "The Thing" a few year ago. Technically a variation on the zombie ball. The levitation of "nothing" was something I liked, as it motivated the cloth. Without it there would be no effect. So I bought it. Then after experimenting with it became apparent to me that there needed to be "something" that that is levitated. The "nothing" was just not enough.

So I wondered what object could be "something" and "nothing" at the same time. So the soap bubble was the logical outcome of this. Soap bubbles float, which is a nice thematic link to the levitation.

So things fell together. And the presentation I used to do was way too kitschy for my character, so I changed it more and more and it became this script of our brain refusing magic. This version you hear in the video is much abbreviated and the original German version is a lot more fine tuned.

Also adding the glass ball enabled me to draw attention away from the cloth near the end. In fact I have a spectator take out the ball from the hat. The popping of the "Soap bubble" is a rather recent addition... I don't know why I didn't think of this before as it logically ends everything nicely.

let's talk about the handling of the thing. Most moves are taken straight from the DVD that Bill Abbott supplies with the routine. But two finesses are my own. First the twirl of the cloth. It may seem like a minor point, but it adds to the deception a little. Holding a cloth from the diagonal corners and twirling it like a rope sells the idea that the cloth is normal. The gimmick is unseen and even to those magicians knowing the secret this struck them as nice. The other thing is the starting position of the levitation. I don't hold on to two corners that are next to each other. I hold on to diagonal corners. And then I make the ball jump. Once. Somehow this really resonates with regular audiences. When the ball jumps, they jump. I like that. It's just a small touch, but I proud of it.

The music used in this video is by Darkmaster603 and is used by the Licensing Terms of That means Attribution: "You must give credit to the artist." Check! And Noncommercial: "You may not use this work for commercial purposes unless you make specific arrangements with the artist." Check!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Just A Cup

Axel Hecklau sells this commercial routine. This is my presentation and I made a few changes to the structure. My version is about how magicians lead you to wrong assumptions and use that to fool you. Which I demonstrate. It is a very satisfying premise and the structure resets. The Hecklau version is great but the reset is not instant and the bag that is being used caused me much trouble.

But the main thing was the reset issue. I use this while table hopping. And between tables I don't have the time to set up the neck breaker gimmick which is used in the Hecklau routine.

In terms of method I cannot say much, as Axel Hecklau is very secret about the gimmick. I respect his wish will say nothing further.

But it's darn practical and secure. Therefore the routine is fun to do.

Unlike most Chop Cup routines it allows for interesting phases. Like taking out the die from the bottom of the cup. The leather cup has the advantage of having a final load in there and holding the cup with the mouth side down. That means you can do one final load in the spectators hand. Just saying.