One magic trick that I’m fascinated by is the Cup and Ball trick. Most of these are “Chop Cup” routines as that reduces a lot of sleight of hand. Unfortunately many of these routines are very similar and use the gimmick in the exact same way. My Cee Lo routine uses the gimmick as a holdout, and not to replace sleight of hand and it’s a great, working cup and ball(s)/chop cup routine.
I’ve had an idea in a notebook for while and finally got around to figuring it out and posted it on Tik Tok. Also if you’re on Tik Tok, give me a follow @LouieFoxx
What’s interesting about it is that it doesn’t have the traditional chop cup move where you shake the ball in the cup. It also has a final load not being a physically larger version of the ball, but the bill changing to a larger denomination bill. I don’t know if that ending is better than producing a bigger item…
One of the things that I really like is using confetti in my show. I think it’s something that makes a lot of tricks “pop”. It’s an interesting challenge to frequently use in a show. It’s not easy to steal as a pack, unless you’re using a snowstorm packet, which is a lot more than I want to use for most tricks.
It’s got some limitations, and I don’t like that the gimmick ends up on the floor after the trick. While it sorta blends in with the confetti, if it’s in the performing area, you will need to pick it up, or kick it out of the way.
Yesterday I hit another solution. A while ago I picked up one of Jay Scott Berry’s FS2 gimmicks from a junk magic bin. I just happened to see it the other day and realized that it would be a perfect confetti holder!
Here’s the trial run:
I don’t know if Jay Scott Berry has used confetti in it or not, but it’s looking like the solution I need for the confetti production I was trying to add to the end of my ball routine!
This discovery for me is a classic case of having routines never being finished AND having your vision of what the trick will look like and constantly trying to achieve that. Sometimes you won’t get there, other times you figure it out quickly and usually for me it’s a years long journey to hit the solution. The key is sticking with it!
Right now I’m on a cruise ship and it’s pretty bumpy out, and I noticed that all of the floors at the stairwells have “sick bags”. These look like paper lunch sacks, but are made of plastic and have a tab at the top to seal them.
I grabbed one and took it back to my state room to see if I could figure out something to do with it. Here’s my brainstorming from this morning:
Chew up some food, spit it in…then blow up the bag and pop it and it’s confetti
Someone reaches into the bag and pulls out a single cookie (it’s the only thing in the bag). You take a few bites and spit them back into the bag. Shake the bag and dump out a whole cookie
You have the bag sealed. You tell the audience you breathed into the bag after breakfast and have someone try to guess what you ate. You have a note that confirms they are right!
Someone from the audience breathes into the bag, and you tell them what they had for breakfast
you have a line of people onstage. With your back turned, someone breathes into the bag and seals it. It’s handed to you and smell the bag and tell whose breath it is
You put food into the bag and it turns to rubber vomit
You say you opened the bag on the plane and captured the air at your seat. Someone smells the air and guesses your row and seat number.
What I like about this is the specific property of the bag, it being plastic and sealable ended up taking me away from tradition paper bag tricks. I really like the idea of trapping air in the bag. I think that the row and seat number might be the winner as it doesn’t involve anyone’s breath, so it’s not cringy.
I don’t know if I’ll ever do this stuff, but it’s a fun creativity exercise. -Louie
I just stumbled across a video of the trick Ink Hole and I really like it!
Here’s what the trick has going for it:
it’s not a card trick. Yes, I know there are plenty of tricks similar to this with a card and hole. My thinking is the less tricks that I do that don’t use cards, the better. I’m not anti card trick, however for texture in the show, if I can avoid a card, I do!
It’s very visual and in a strange way!
it happens in front of your body and not on a table.
What I don’t like about it is that there is (as far as I can tell) a requirement that you wear a black shirt. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it is definitely a consideration.
I’m on the fence about getting it, it’s more the wardrobe condition that’s keeping me from ordering it.
Even if I don’t get it, I still think it’s a really cool effect!
A couple of months ago I had a garage sale find of a lot of vintage magic. I sold most of the props a few weeks ago. I kinda regretted selling the spirit bell that was part of that find. Well, the magic gods led me to another spirit bell! This one belonged to John Pomeroy whose company was GEM magic.
This one is a little bit bigger than the previous one that I had, it’s also heavier. The nice thing is that I have an extra glass bell. This one doesn’t have a stand, but it does have the wand that makes it ring.
The wand on this one has a better design than on the other one. The previous one had a button you pressed, where this one has a button you slide. The sliding action is more ergonomic and makes your hand move less when the bell rings.
Life is funny sometimes, I’ve never seen a spirit bell in person, and in the span of four months, I’ve owned two different ones!
The Linking Safety Pins has been one of my favorite tricks for years. One of things that I do are two phases where the pins are totally out of my hands and someone from the audience links or unlinks them. However my favorite part is the final unlink where I pull the pin through the pin that they are holding.
What draws me to this trick is the simplicity of it. It uses two large safety pins. Everyone knows what they are, they can be examined before and after the trick. Also they take up virtually no space in my pocket.
The downside is that the good oversized linking pins haven’t been made for a long time, so they have to be found on the used magic market. There were soo many sold, they frequently pop up and I’m always buying them whenever I find them. If you’ve never done the linking pins, the trick Shrapnel which is currently available is a good routine and it uses more standard size safety pins and worth looking into.
A couple of days ago I wrote about finding some rocks that were attracted to a magnet and trying to figure out a trick to do with them. The idea that I came up with that’s the best is a “heads or tails” sort of trick. You have two rocks, one is black and one is gray. You hold a cup behind your back and someone from the audience picks a rock, holds it in their fist and drop the other one in the cup behind your back. You know which rock is where.
The method is simple, it’s a magnet in your hand. You could put a magnet in a thumb tip, however with how your hand would hold a cup behind your back a Sanada Gimmick with a magnet in it would be a better choice as it’d be behind the cup. You simply tip the cup so the rock would be near the magnet, then tip it the other way and if the rock moves, it’s the one that’s not attracted to the magnet.
Now we need to add a layer to the trick. What if it ended with a prediction? So you guess which one the person is holding correctly two out of three times. On the third time, you reveal a prediction that says:
I will WIN – LOSE – WIN and you can keep the GRAY rock you are holding
Method wise, it’s pretty easy. Since you can know which rock is where, you can control the outcome of the three rounds. For the prediction, you will need two predictions, each revealing a different colored rock. You would keep this in a double sided envelope, Himber Wallet, Shogun Wallet, or whatever that would allow you multiple outs.
Adding the layers of multiple guesses with a final specific guess makes it much harder to backtrack to a rock with a magnet in it.
It was nice out, so I went magnet fishing out at the river. Essentially magnet fishing it having a very strong magnet on the end of a rope and tossing it into the water and seeing what metal it brings back. Unfortunately I didn’t get any big chunks of metal, but I did get a handful of decent sized rocks that are attracted to a magnet.
I think the average person who is not a “rock hound” thinks about river rocks as something that you would use with a magnet. That’s something that I could use to my advantage. The key to any trick using these would have to be that the trick isn’t about the rock being attracted to a magnet.
What I mean by that is that if you did a trick with Frixion Ink and just made the ink disappear, the method is the trick. However once you add a layers, like it reveals a card AND not all the ink disappear, the method is no longer the trick.
Trying to distance the obvious method from the trick is another challenge. For example you make a nail move by itself on the table, it’s less effective than if you made a die roll by itself. This reason is that dice aren’t normally associated with a magnet, which is the obvious way that trick would work, where it’s not a huge intellectual leap to connect a magnet and a nail.
I need to sit down and do some brainstorming to figure out what I can do with these… -Louie
One of the things that I wanted to do when I was in Las Vegas to hang out at Magic Live was to go to Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart. Omega Mart is a huge immersive art installation that’s a strange grocery store and you can actually buy the things there. If you explore there are hidden doors that take you to the crazy places!
It’s totally worth a stop in you’re in one of the cities where they have locations. While we were in the store portion of the Omega mart, I saw an avocado purse, this is a realistic avocado that is made of rubber, but is hollow and has a zipper on it.
The magician in me got thinking about what I could do with it. The obvious trick would be to take something out of it, then at the end of the routine it becomes a real avocado! The addition would be to have a zipper on the reel avocado that you peel off at the end then cut open the avocado.
For a routine you open the purse and take out an avocado pit. Do a trick with it, like a one coin routine, with the pit continually reappearing in the avocado purse. Then the finale is it’s a real avocado.
Another idea is you could cut it in half and now you have an avocado shell. You could do multiplying avocados, or use the shell to steal something else.
Hmm…what if you have a paper cup, an plastic knife and an avocado pit. You do a cup and ball routine, ending with the avocado purse. You get the surprise of the avocado appearing, but then you blow it off by revealing it’s a purse and the pit is inside it. Use that moment of surprise to steal the real avocado and switch the purse for the real one. Do another phase, and steal the avocado like a in Tommy Wonder’s cups and balls and produce it again. This time ask them to open it, and they can’t. Offer the plastic knife you’ve been using as a wand to them to cut it open!
I hope this inspires you when you see things that would be good for magic tricks to think of things you can actually do with them and not just that you could do things with them.
I’ve been playing with adding remote controls to things recently. The company that I get the remote controls for my Remote Control Chattering Teeth had send me the wrong ones a while ago, and instead of sending them back, I decided to keep them in case I needed them for another project.
Here’s the most recent thing that I’ve made:
The idea is that the bell is rung by the corded button. However I can also secretly ring the bell via the remote control.
Some ideas for routines to use this to add comedy to are:
Having someone ring it when a trick happens. This would probably be better for a juggling style trick.
When doing a timed trick, like an escape.
When someone does something. For example, you need a kid to stay standing on a spot, and you if they move someone is supposed to ring the bell.
Those are all routines that you could very easily add the bell into. It’s the sort of thing that can turn a 2 minute trick into a 5 minute trick. For an example of this style of trick, look into my Order Up routine from Vanish Magazine #43. It’s the Cube Libre magic trick, but I added a bell and I used a sound effect on my PA to make the ring, but it played really well.