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Alyx

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Reply with quote  #1 

I've been trying to build a small-packing table-hopping/strolling repertoire given the requirement that table surface need not be necessary. Then, to blow my tableless plan, I've been re-studying old Knuckle Buster manuscripts, and some of these coin routines are just too beautiful to not consider.

So, given all the flaws that tabled tricks bring, does anyone actually make it work using a mat? If you do, I would love to hear all about it. What are your tips? Are there specific attributes of your workplace that make this doable, when do you put the mat on the table, what do you say -- whatever you can offer would be great!

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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #2 
Pattrick  makes all sizes and shape worth checking out.   http://www.pattricksmagic.com/
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Waterman

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hey Alyx...good for you in your pursuit of "table hopping magic"!
I've done a good share of it these past few years and can honestly say that my close-up mats...even the smallest ones...eventually became more of a pain than they were an asset.


However...if you feel that the close-up pad will enhance your magic, purchase a cheap one. Food and beverage spills can easily stain a close-up mat beyond what a good scrubbing can remedy!

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Barry Allen

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Reply with quote  #4 
Working in the UK (and no doubt elsewhere!) just rarely affords you the opportunity of using a close-up mat; there just isn't the table space available - apart from the very small circular ones, used for a chop cup I guess. It's a great shame as they would become the 'stage area' where people can focus their attention; as well as keeping cards clean, assisting with coin moves, etc.

The best mat to use is probably the spectators hands - particularly in poorly-lit locations, where spilt drinks may not be so easy to see on tablecloths, etc.

I have used them to practice on over the years - but also like to practice on harder surfaces; including both wooden and also glass top tables.
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #5 

Good luck with the hopping. There are mats available here and there. Somewhere I have a circular mat, about six inches in diameter. I picked up a couple of these at a long ago convention. They’re no good for major layout routines, but the do have all the properties that mats usually have. Okito box stuff works well. It also focuses the spectator’s attention.

Sadly, here comes the caveat. You knew there’ be one!!!   [wink]  [smile]

Portability remains a factor, along with finding table space. And time. And a spare seat if the routines are sit down affairs.

This is not to be particularly bleak, and we all like to perform our favourite tricks, but the realities can be frustrating, disappointing and, for the true Artists among us (me for example) marginally heartbreaking.

Barry Allen offers a similar comment about conditions on this thread. It’s the last post as I write this.

But the thing is that we don’t try we never know. All the best. 

 

http://www.themagiciansforum.com/post/building-your-magic-into-routines-9959105?trail=#23 


Quick footnote. I was in the process of scribbling this when Barry jumped in!!!   [smile]

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #6 
I'm basically addicted to using a CU pad in walk around situations as long as there's a table to put it on. I can work just standing with groups away from tables, but then Chop Cup is out and so is  anything requiring spreading the card on a table. We all need a good number of items for the no CU pad situation. But I prefer to have a pad on a table.

The pad I use is about 6.5x11.5 inches and rolls up into a 6.5x2 cylinder. I have another one from Pattrick that's 7x10 and folds into 7x5. I just say, "This is my magic mousepad. It keeps the cards dry." 

The black pad not only defines a stage or performing area, but it provides really good contrast between the cards and coins and the background. The table might have a white surface against which the cards largely wash out. Also, once the cards get moist or pick up spaghetti sauce, they don't spread nicely.

I'm addicted to the pad.

Mike
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Alyx

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Reply with quote  #7 

Waterman, thanks for the encouragement and also the tip about using inexpensive mat given food mishaps. A few years ago I took my kids to see a friend who was performing, and WE were that table that spilled a tall glass of ice water during the performance. Oops!

Barry Allen, I agree totally about using the spectators' hands as the "mat." In the table-less sets I'm designing, one of my criteria is to look for tricks that use their hands to get them involved. Check! Thanks also for the additional mat insights. 

And Blathermist, I'm not surprised by your bleak assessment and I totally get the heartbreak. For a while I busked with pouches and a huge table, and to loose those ultimate utilities is pretty devastating. I know the heartbreak of loosing material to working conditions. And to boot, the costuming I have in mind involves wicked limited pocket space. Tough stuff!

And finally, Mike Powers, that's the encouragement I was looking for! I love your phrasing to introduce and explain away the pad. It makes perfect sense, and I'm filing this away for future use (if you don't mind). Right now I'm thinking that I'll try to keep three sets in the hands and off the table, but I'm going to indulge myself in playing with the idea of one tabled set. I'm looking at Reed McClintock's "Scotch and Soda for Real" and it needs a medium-ish mat. The "disposable" one that I have is a bit bigger than what you described (mine is 10x13.5). So it'll be fun to play and if it doesn't work out, I'll fall back on the tabless sets. Fun stuff, hope I can find a gig to get back into the game soon. 

Thanks everyone for offering up insights!

 

Edit:  I do actually know how to spell "lose" and "losing." Maybe not enough coffee, yet?

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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyx
Edit:  I do actually know how to spell "lose" and "losing." Maybe not enough coffee, yet?


Blame the spellchecker. Works for me.  [smile]
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blathermist


Blame the spellchecker. Works for me.  [smile]


Well, to be honest, we humor you. [biggrin]

Av
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


Well, to be honest, we humor you. [biggrin]

Av


Ar sew thas worritiz. Eye offin wunerd

Av med a nowt mus trie ardour

[bawl]

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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #11 
When working in restaurants, which I've been doing on and off since the mid eighties, I tend to use a small black close up mat similar in size to the one Michael mentioned. Normally room to place it right at the table edge, I refer to it as my portable stage. Occasionally the odd glass might need moving. It rolls up so I can be carrying it or it can be stuffed in my back pocket. If for some reason there wasn't enough room then I wouldn't use it and adapt,  but usually there is.

For banquets, table hopping at big functions I never use one, because there generally isn't enough room for one and you're squeezing between people to entertain. I'm constantly doing different stuff in the restaurant, at a banquet I'm not.

Another small mat I sometimes use doesn't roll up, it's stuck to a stiff place mat I picked up at the dollar store.

Apart from the fact you can do little card spreads etc. and a wider variety of material, the mat prevents anything you place down getting food, gravy or sauce on it.

Funny, last week I was going to give a little girl something to hold then realized she'd been squirting ketchup onto both palms and licking it off...
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fredreisz

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Reply with quote  #12 
This takes some getting used to but then pays off with huge dividends. In walk-around magic and table hopping if the space allows, I carry a stool with just a flat top with a mat. This gives me a flat surface to work on, a place to sit from time to time, a space creator because generally people will stand back a bit from the stool, an "attractor" because "What is he doing with a stool, etc.
I can carry the stool in one hand by a rung, in the other hand. if needed, aa small closeup bag.
Stools come in varying heights or you can always add something to the bottom of the legs to get it higher.

Peace.....Fred  (Reisz)
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Alyx

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Reply with quote  #13 

Paul, thanks for the real-world insights! Hopefully, my parenting-developed "food on hands" eye will pay off in keeping my props clean. Nice job spotting that Ketchup. 

And Fred, that is seriously the most unique, innovative solution I've ever heard for this particular challenge. Nicely done! I could totally see using a stool like that in busking scenarios. I wish I had the confidence to attempt it in table-hopping and strolling situations. Very cool.

Right now, I'm thinking to work on a few routines that require a table, and just plan to try them out as openers in sidewalk-type busking this Spring. Hopefully, I'll have a restaurant before then, and I can judge for myself if a mat is possible depending on the venue I pick up.

Hang lose, everyone. [Get it?]

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