People love to crowd source information on the internet. The problem is that you don’t know the quality of the information you are getting back. Recently someone posted a picture of a prop they had acquired, but didn’t know what it did. It was a dice cup with a hole in the back, four dice and a jumbo die.
The misinformation starts when people don’t know what they are talking about start it tell the person what the cup is for. Here’s the first couple of responses:
Then a couple of people took the dice stacking suggesting a bit further and said you could look through the hole to see the number on the top die. Let’s start with that idea of using it to see the number on the top of the top die. Learning to stack the dice is hard…once you can do that, knowing what number is on top of the stack without a gimmicked cup is VERY EASY. It makes no sense to make the stacking aspect harder without make knowing the number uppermost easier.
Now let’s look at the props. You have regular game dice, where any marketed dice stacking set would come with casino dice which are the standard for people who stack dice. In the picture below, the casino die is on the right.
Yes, I’m aware you can stack game dice, however it’s much harder than on casino dice due to their size, rounded edges, and lack of consistent 90 degree angles. I learned to dice stack with a drinking glass and game dice, so I know it can be done, I also know who much easier it got when I had proper tools.
Next if you look at the cup, it tapers and is not straight sided. Some people stack with dice like this, however most people use straight sided dice cups. On it’s own the tapered cup wouldn’t say it’s not for dice stacking, but then you look at the height of the cup in relation to the dice. Once you get them in the up and ready to stack, they have a long way to fall, which is where you will give you trouble.
Looking at the whole picture, the style of dice and style of cup, I’m 99% sure it’s not for dice stacking. I’m leaving 1% as it’s some strange homemade prop that was never marketed.
I made a quick replica of the props shown and here’s the style of routine that I think the props are for:
The internet is a great way to crowd source answers, but the problem is that it’s hard know the quality of those answers.
One of the things I’m always doing it trying to improve what I currently do. Right now in my virtual show I do a modified version of my Cee-Lo trick, which is a cup and dice routine. This ends with the production of two large dice. The large dice are 1 1/4 inches on each side. To give you some perspective, the picture below is one of the jumbo dice next to a regular die.
The reason that the trick uses 1 1/4 inch dice is that for a live, in person show, it makes the loading procedure work. The cup will hold two 1 1/2 inch dice, but the method where the spectator loads the cup for you doesn’t work well with a larger die.
I was cleaning up and found the old set of 1 1/2 inch dice I tried using for Cee-Lo. It hit me, since I’ve changed my loading procedure for virtual shows, and there are no spectators to handle the props, why not move to the larger size dice. To give you an idea of visually how much bigger they are, the pictures below are a 1 1/2 inch die next to a regular die and a 1 1/4 inch die.
That extra quarter inch makes it look massive! The nice thing about how I load the cups for live virtual shows is that the size of the die doesn’t really matter. I’m getting a little more visual impact for no extra work! I’m a fan of that.
Many years ago I remember watching a VHS tape with Dan Fleshman who did his Fleshman Flash as part of his cups and balls routine. This is a cool loading move for cups and balls that is a virtually invisible way to load two balls into the cups.
It looks like he teaches the Fleshman Flash on The Restaurant Magic of Dan Fleshman DVD vol. 3.
I remember rewinding that VHS tape over and over, the move was virtually invisible. Early on, that got me thinking about loading sequences and how you need to do more than simply put something into your pocket and steal it out the load.
Here’s and early version of my Cee-Lo Trick and at the end you can see the how the load of the second jumbo dice isn’t from my pocket.
And here’s another loading sequence that I’ve put together:
I think that varying your loading procedure is important. If they all come from the pocket at you put things away, it’s still surprising to an audience, but not as amazing. The more you go to your pockets the easier it is to backtrack. Start to think of clever ways to sneak the large production items in that aren’t all from the pocket.
Apparently I’m pretty guilty of having some disgusting props. I was looking over what I use and my personal set of dice for my Cee Lo (cup and dice) routine are gross. I think how they got this bad is that I’m the only person that handles the dice, so I haven’t gotten anyone to … Continue reading “Clean Up Your Act!”
Apparently I’m pretty guilty of having some disgusting props. I was looking over what I use and my personal set of dice for my Cee Lo (cup and dice) routine are gross. I think how they got this bad is that I’m the only person that handles the dice, so I haven’t gotten anyone to react to their grossness.
The die with the number 1 up is the clean one and when compared to the other die, you can see how gross they were!
Right now is a good time to take a look your props and give them a good wipe down, even if they don’t need it!
Well, in the span of two days the world has really changed, or at least the United States has. In a span of 48 hours we’ve have bans on events of over 100 people and entire states close their school districts for over a month! Many performers are complaining about this, instead moving forward and … Continue reading “Social Distance Magic”
Well, in the span of two days the world has really changed, or at least the United States has. In a span of 48 hours we’ve have bans on events of over 100 people and entire states close their school districts for over a month! Many performers are complaining about this, instead moving forward and innovating.
Right now as a performer you don’t have control over attendance caps on events or the venue being able to sanitize it, so let’s look at something we can control, close up magic. Right now no one wants to touch anything. Everything is getting wiped down and people are constantly sanitizing. It’s gotta be a hard time for a close up magician. One of the advantages is that people can touch the props and the magic happens in their hands.
Currently having someone hold sponge balls isn’t socially acceptable, I’d argue it hasn’t been for a while as they are full of germs. Even if you wash them every night, they are gross by the time the second person holds them. Sponge balls are crutch for lazy close up performers. It’s easy for a beginner to get a reaction with them, and I’ll admit it’s a good trick. If you took it out of your close up set, would people like your act the same?
I’m looking at my close up show and thinking about what I can do without people touching anything. I don’t do sponge balls, or sponge anything, so that’s no problem. My ambitious card routine (technically a multiple revelation) needs one bit cut out of it, which is the card to mouth phase. This is a bit I started to get uncomfortable with a few years ago, and this is what I need to force me to take it out. My linking pins routine has two in the hands phases, however those are newer additions to the routine, and I can revert to the old routine which is almost as strong as the current one. The shell game,and cup and dice routine all can be done without people touching anything.
Look at your close up show, can you do it in our current climate of “social distancing”?