One of my earliest Daily Doses was of Gazzo (www.gazzoshow.com) doing his Cups and Balls routine on Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us.” (jasonstackmagician.com/?p=145) Considering today was the first day I’ve gone out busking in 2014, I thought I would revisit Gazzo’s routine, but this time in its most natural habitat, the streets where Gazzo performs. In this performance, which is a lot longer than the “Fool Us” version, you get to see all the interaction he does with the crowd. In the pantheon of busking magicians, Gazzo really is one of our patron saints.
Bob Sheets (www.bobsheets.com) is one of the rare breed that comes from experience in circus, sideshow, trade show, bar magic, festival, and street performance. Man, his manner, patter and crowd handling is the type of performance I really dig and pretty much aspire to. His recent DVD of a “boot camp” course in the Three Shell Game will probably become a new standard in teaching a routine until it is drilled in as second nature. This video, though, is of him doing a Cups and Balls routine, and what sets it apart from most performances is how he is working not only closely surrounded, but also has members of the crowd (in this case, kids) involved and working with him. The magic community knows Bob Sheets’ name, and everybody who is into life performance should, too.
Don Alan’s (1926-1999) style was relaxed, yet charming. Many of his tricks and routines have been copied, imitated, and adapted over the years and many performers owe a lot to what he brought to the magic world, both in style and technique. This is from the 1960’s, and though I’ve not been able to verify it, I believe it is from “Don Alan’s Magic Ranch,” although if somebody is able to confirm this one way or the other, I’d love the input. Jon Racherbaumer’s book, “In a Class By Himself: The Legacy of Don Alan,” is a great read about the man and his work and is always at hand for me as I’m looking to develop a trick. His timing and patter are as much a science as an art.
OK, I got seriously into magic late, so my first exposure to David Regal (davidregal.com) came only about a year ago when I saw his version of the Ambitious Card in a compilation DVD and I’ve been a fan ever since. His routines tend to appeal to the kid inside me, even though the routines, while generally family-friendly, are not necessarily children’s magic. These two videos are from a 2012 appearance at the Magic Castle and combined time out to a bit less than 20 minutes as he performs while discussing his path into magic. These are a lot of fun.
Between Chop Cup and Cups and Balls routines, I’ve went through quite a few number of routines trying to find routines as starting points for doing my own. Jim Swain (www.jimswain.com) is mostly noted for his card magic, but his Chop Cup routine is definitely one that resonates with me as being one I want to adapt for a standing and/or busking routine.
Taiwanese magician Red Tsai took third place in the 2012 FISM competition in the micromagic category. In this video, we see his take on some classics of magic done with a fun twist.
In 2009, Charming Choi (twitter.com/magicianchoi) took Most Original Act at FISM largely due to his inventive take on the classic Cups and Balls. This excerpt is from that act, and it really is a fun routine. This one really is noteworthy for the creativeness and should appeal to children of all ages.
Gary ‘Gazzo’ Osbourne (www.gazzoshow.com) is probably the current King of Busking Magicians. From performing all over the world to getting kicked out of the Magic Castle for being too belligerent with the audience, he’s great to watch. Many street magicians have adopted his Cups and Balls routine, even going pretty much word for word with the patter. This was his appearance on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” and Penn’s compliment at the end was about the best honor they could bestow on him. Gazzo’s act on the street is over 24 minutes, but he shortened it up for the show (also, he doesn’t play around as much with the crowd as when he’s working the streets). This is, though, the best footage I know of of his act.
Jason Latimer (www.jasonlatimer.com) is one of only three U.S. magicians to win the FISM “Grand Prix World Champion of Magic.” This is his performance of his award-winning “Clear Cups and Balls” on “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson” which really does take one of the standards and stands it on its ear. Most of the times, with the Cups and Balls, you’re judging the singer more than the song. Here, though, it’s a whole new tune.
Paul Daniels (http://pauldaniels.co.uk) is certainly well-known in both the magic community and also with the public. His TV show, “The Paul Daniels Magic Show,” ran on the BBC from 1979-1994. Here is his “Cup and Ball” routine in which, even though his technical performance is flawless, man, I just dig his delivery.