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Ben Morris-Rains

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Reply with quote  #1 
Living in Colorado, I've got to see Eric Meade perform a handful of times. He was always one of my favorite magicians to watch, especially after reading Art of Astonishment. 

His version of the Cylinder and Coins is on YouTube elsewhere, but his performance on Fool Us is pretty damn good. I think I actually prefer his performance at the EG conference which I will also post below. 

Fool us performance: 


EG performance: 

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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #2 
Eric is  a really nice guy too.  When working on the AOA books, I'd have to make calls to Eric and took him to be a real down to earth person.  Not being a big fan of Cylinder and Coins, found his (Tim's version) extremely well done and clear.
He performed Oil and Water at the first Genii Bash and killed it.  By the final phase, it looked to be impossible.
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JustChico

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortunato Luchresi
I enjoyed Eric's performance on 'Fool Us' tremendously. He's a class act in every way. His presentation was immaculate, from the way he speaks, the way he dresses (I'm not a fan of 'T' shirts, and washed out jeans) and the way he respects his audience, ... and he didn't feel the need to 'shout' out his words like so many other performers on shows such as this ... instead just speaking in a normal voice ... and what a relief that was .... I can't stand these 'shouters' on stage .... I mean ... they've got microphones rigged up to a PA system .... so why shout?


I'm on the exact opposite end of the spectrum for the attire. I have to wear "business casual" for work and absolutely hate having to "dress up" if I don't have to. Casual Fridays ROCK! LOL So, I'm always on the lookout either for effects that don't require 40 pockets or ways around the pockets. I really like Carl Andrews's "No Jacket Required" for that very reason. That being said, I can appreciate the fact that that's one thing that makes it fun to watch different magicians perform. The "trick", I think, is to make sure that what you are wearing is completely irrelevant. If, say, a jacket is needed for a load or ditch or something, it is the job of the magician to give the illusion that he could do the same effect in a speedo (yeah, I'll let y'all conjure your own images there). On the other hand, if the magician is working "around" not having a jacket, then the motions and mannerism have to appear as if he is not "fidgeting."

As to the yelling on FU and anywhere else for that matter, I have often wondered if part of that is that some magicians can only convey excitement or "wonder" through yelling. It sometimes (very often?) comes across as hokey acting. I realize that as magicians, we are merely actors playing the part of a magician. But, overacting or bad acting is still bad (have y'all seen "Now You See Me" 1 or 2?) and audiences pick up on it. Unless, of course, your shtick is an overacting magician. In that case, carry on [biggrin]
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Intensely Magic

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Reply with quote  #4 
If you haven't seen it, take 10 minutes and watch his presentation of the Sympathetic Cards. I think most will enjoy it.


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GreenKnight33

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Reply with quote  #5 
Loved his performance.  Everything i like.  Elegant, classy, engaging, and no yuck yucks.  But not overly serious either.  Impeccable.

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #6 

I too loved Eric’s performance. He did an entire lecture on the Ramsay Coins and Cylinder at the MagiFest not long ago. He is one of the top thinkers in magic – a true magic “intellectual” if you will. The Conover routine has some cool advantages over the original but the handling is very similar. And the effect is essentially the same. Although I don’t think the vanish of the cork is in the original?? Also, his handling was impeccably clean – absolutely beautiful sleight of hand.

Having heaped well deserved praise on Mr. Mead, I do have issues with the notion of fooling P&T. I must give him credit for getting them to treat him differently than other contestants. He got them to buy into the notion that the normal rules of engagement shouldn’t apply to his performance. Even his telling Allison that he didn’t think that he fooled them played into his psychology. Also, saying “Don’t even pretend that you weren’t fooled by that.” (BTW I was initially fooled by the vanish of the cork. But a rewind made it clear what happened.) And it worked. They changed the rules for him. But, in the end, isn’t the trophy really a consolation prize? Wasn’t it “OK we are not really fooled but we are charmed by how you have framed things. So here’s a trophy.”

The normal rules of engagement allow P&T to say that they have not been fooled when they have a basic understanding of the method. They’re not mandated to explain every detail. Penn even says things like “We basically have it right, don’t we?” They did this with Glenn Morphew. They just said, “Nice palming. There were a few moments when we lost track, but we basically understand what you did.” No trophy.

When Captain Kirk basically cheated on his exam by reprogramming the simulation of the Kobayashi Maru scenario, he still impressed his professors, albeit with his programming skills and his big cojones. But Eric didn’t change the test. He changed the graders of the test and got them to agree that the normal rules didn’t apply. They gave him an A but others who did as well e.g. Glenn, got a C. I wonder how others who didn't fool them feel about the change of the rules. Had the new version of the rules applied to them, they'd have a trophy.

I also wonder if P&T have any remorse about getting talked into treating Eric differently. One thing for sure. That was a onetime deal. No one else will ever be allowed to ask for a rules change.

So kudos to Eric for a stellar performance of a wonderful trick. But were P&T fooled? You be the judge.

I’m curious as to whether others have different views of how to interpret what happened. Maybe I can be talked into a different way of seeing this.

Mike

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #7 
Mike,

I considered your point of view too, at least initially. Then I thought, "Well, obviously Johnny and Mike endorsed the ploy, otherwise Eric wouldn't have been allowed to use it, right?" If that is true, then Eric did fool them, but he did so in a different way than those who came before, using a method not previously used. Namely a psychological flurry, if you will, that left them with little choice. Assuming there's any validity to my theory, Eric won the trophy fair and square without resorting to cheating or even breaking the rules. Instead he just bent them, but with the apparent blessing of the judges. I agree with you, though, that it will be both the first and last time the ploy is used on the show.

To quote the once humorous Dennis Miller, "Of course that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."

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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #8 
I do like GreenKnight33's take on Eric's performance. 

Have to say I agree with Mike as I'm sometimes surprised by some that win the trophy, and by some that don't, but I guess that's personal perception.
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Ben Morris-Rains

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Reply with quote  #9 
I totally agree with Mike. I actually purposely didn't get into the "did he fool them" topic because I just enjoy watching Mead perform. I thought we had all kind of realized that Penn and Teller often seem to give a pass to great performers. Majority of the stuff that fools them wouldn't fool most people on this forum. Like even Eric Jones... We all know that he was using gaffs and I'm sure they could have deduced to what he was using. I think that for Fool Us to work, they sort of go by the "Willing suspension of disbelief" mantra. If you have been in magic for as long as Penn and Teller, there really isn't much that should get by you unless you WANT it to. 
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #10 
I'm not sure if the judges viz. Mike and Johnny have to OK a presentational ploy?? I'll certainly ask Mike next time I see him about that. I guess my sense of fairness is ruffled in that the rules are different if you're more famous e.g. David Roth automatically fools them even with a poor performance using techniques that really didn't fool them.

Maybe they should have a couple of different trophies e.g. 1. You totally got us 2. You didn't fool us, but you were awesome. We want you on our show.

I don't think the trophy should be given because the vanishing cork got them but they knew most everything else. I think Eric deserves a trophy for a wonderful and expertly executed display of sleight of hand magic. And maybe for bamboozling B&T and making it very difficult to not give him the trophy. Maybe the alternate trophy would be called "the Eric Mead award of excellence."

I certainly want to give Eric and award. Just not the "you fooled us" award.

Thanks for the thoughtful commentary and insights. Mike Close was at the Buffalo Get Together last year. Maybe he'll be there next month. I'd love to ask him about it.

Mike
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David Johnson

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Reply with quote  #11 
Regardless of the "rules" or lack there of on the "FU" I completely agree that  Mr Mead is worthy of the acknowledgement, (Mike I second your motion to want to give Eric an award) his dedication and devotion to what magic is to him and what he wants it to be for us is astounding.  The presentation is driven by the psychology that is required to physically perform the effect.  I love the concept of telling someone that you are not doing EXACTLY what you are. (A little off topic, but not far in this case.)

As a genuine person he has this ability to connect with others that does not scream I AM BETTER THAN YOU but truly I have this gift, this talent and I want YOU to be a part of it.  

I was fortunate to have this very conversation, in person, today with our own Robin Dawes and I stand by my opinion that ... yes I am physically and psychologically misdirecting you and that is why you are experiencing an effect and affect.  It really is a perfect tangled web!


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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #12 
Tangled Web indeed!

M
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JustChico

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
I'm not sure if the judges viz. Mike and Johnny have to OK a presentational ploy?? I'll certainly ask Mike next time I see him about that. I guess my sense of fairness is ruffled in that the rules are different if you're more famous e.g. David Roth automatically fools them even with a poor performance using techniques that really didn't fool them.

Maybe they should have a couple of different trophies e.g. 1. You totally got us 2. You didn't fool us, but you were awesome. We want you on our show.

Mike


Talk about feeling completely "not in the club," but, who are Mike and Johnny? LOL

As to your take, Mike, I completely agree. I thought the exact same thing when I saw the episode with David Roth. I know they knew exactly what he was doing. I even remember Penn yelling (to a different performer whom I can't recall off the top of my head), "You magnificent bastard, I read your book!" If that same sentiment doesn't apply to David Roth, I don't know who else it would (Harry Lorayne maybe?). I thought something similar when Greg Wilson made his parents appear. But, I have to give Penn props for saying something to the effect of "You didn't fool us at all but I don't care because you brought out Mark and Nani." But yeah, let's put together a "You didn't fool us but you absolutely killed it" trophy. I mean, my wife has agreed that if we ever go to Vegas, she will graciously accompany me to P&T's show as soon as we're done with Celine. So, yeah, I'd like to see more of some of the guys that are just a joy to watch.
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Barden

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Reply with quote  #14 
To JustChico,

Mike and Johnny are Mike Close and Johnny Thompson who are consultants on the show. They work with the contestants on the presentation of their magic and if the contestant challenges P&T on whether they where fooled or not, they act as the final judges on the matter.


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JustChico

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortunato Luchresi
It's great reading what you guys have to say. I often get frustrated by the outcomes, wondering to myself things like 'How the hell did that fool them'?  or 'They got fooled by a piece of double sided sticky tape'??!! (this latter in reference to a card trick that featured on the show recently, a trick that I enjoyed immensely too) My attitude now is .... I'm going to stop looking for logic amongst the chaos. I'm going to sit back and enjoy the show for as long as it lasts. We're lucky to have it and it is rather good after all. Long may it continue!

One more quick thought ... I wonder what the show and quality of the acts would be like if instead of a trophy, there was a money prize! ... a sum large enough so as not to be sniffed at.

William. [smile]


William, I fear that the show and quality of the acts would be akin to Wizard Wars, unfortunately. Don't get me wrong....some of the stuff I saw on that show was really good considering that the contestants (allegedly) only had a little bit of time to come up with the effects. My issues with it were 1) I don't believe that the "Wizards" had the same time limitations as the contestants, 2) as an "audience member" I questioned some of the "winner" decisions (but, I do that when watching MMA, too, so, there's that) and 3) I think there were a few more instances of where the contestants should have won. Don't get me wrong, I never get tired of watching Gregory Wilson do his thing. But, at the end of the day, we typically knew what was coming if he was one of the chosen Wizards. I guess the same could essentially be said of all the "Wizards," although the paper balls over the head with marshmallows was a hoot!
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alexandercrawford

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Intensely Magic
If you haven't seen it, take 10 minutes and watch his presentation of the Sympathetic Cards. I think most will enjoy it.


A very nice relaxed performance. Immac

I love Jorg Alexander's version of the Sympathetic Cards, but he has lost an element of the original Herbert Milton trick where the moment of magic is shifted allowing the changed cards to be held by an audience member throughout (Milton didn't use the Karl Germain wineglass change and instead used jumbo cards held together with large rubber bands).

Interestingly, Juan Tamariz (who is an enormous admirer of Milton) has told me that this is one of his favourite parts of the trick.

I will start a separate thread at some point on this. I'm part way through writing a book on Milton, based on his unpublished notebooks, so it's a bit of a passion for me!
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