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"Baltass," the Ultimate Cups-and-Balls Illusion

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Yann Frisch is a French sleight-of-hand artist best known for a routine called Baltass (a portmanteaux of the French words for "ball" and "cup," balle and tasse), in which he elevates the old cups-and-balls trick into a serious art form. This is true performance art -- aside from the astonishing dexterity required to perform this routine, it evokes surprise, laughter, and even empathy for the frustrated conjurer. In the routine, Frisch's character seems simultaneously dejected that he can't rid himself of the balls, but also curious to see where they keep coming from. It's funny, weird, and very French.

If you enjoy magic, art, or just having your mind blown, watch this performance of Baltass from the 2012 Beijing International Magic Convention:

For more context on the cups-and-balls routine, enjoy this six-minute history lesson/sleight-of-hand demo from Ricky Jay:

If that's still not enough, enjoy Frisch experimenting with a poker chip.

(Via The Kid Should See This.)

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“Merry Christmas” is a special greeting in English, since it’s the only occasion we say “merry” instead of “happy.” How do other languages spread yuletide cheer? Ampersand Travel asked people all over the world to send in videos of themselves wishing people a “Merry Christmas” in their own language, and while the audio quality is not first-rate, it’s a fun holiday-themed language lesson.

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