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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #1 
Yesterday I was discussing magic with a couple of muggles.  They both spoke about figuring out how the tricks were done.  And one of them is going to see Derren Brown next year and told me:

"Everything is logical and if I see it again I will be able to work it out"

Derren will be pleased to know this guy has purchased two sets of tickets.  He has decided to pay to watch the show again the following night in order to work it all out.  My initial thought to his response and reasoning was, "how bizarre!"
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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #2 
My response is Good Luck.

Oh yes and "Logical"? Have a day off.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #3 
Some people WILL do that. Some can't stand not knowing and they'll go the extra mile to find out. 

So, this brings up a point of discussion. 
There are those magicians that will say what they do is magic. 
And there are those that watch and say, it's just tricks. 

Kind of like a mentalist playing it strong and the audience saying, if you could really do what you claim you do, yo wouldn't be here on stage doing it. 

So what if we acknowledge that we are entertainers with a special skill set that combines secrets, stagecraft, stage setting to create a magical experience. 
Would this give magic more credibility as an art form? 
Would it be like acknowledging that playing guitar is more that hitting the strings in the right order, with the right timing?
Or that dancing is more than learning a routine and not having two left feet? 

There are a lot of art forms that have good and bad performers. For dancing, look at the show Dancing With the Stars. You can learn the moves, but can you execute them with the feeling and energy needed to make you stand up and cheer! Or, you can learn the moves; 1, 2, 3, step - turn, twirl, repeat and look like a robot going through the moves devoid of any other expression. 

Maybe if we acknowledge that there are secrets and trickery and a lot of other artistic factors that go into a really good magical performance, and not try to insult our audience by saying "it's magic." that we might actually take the challenge factor out of magic and in the process elevate it into the performing art that it should be acknowledged as? 

Just something I've always thought about.

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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
Some people WILL do that. Some can't stand not knowing and they'll go the extra mile to find out. 


But they won't find out, will they?
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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #5 
Many moons ago I began to read the book 'A Way of Being Free' by Ben Okri - his words have inspired me and my approach to magic on many occasions, there are many great quotes which I could draw upon from his book in order to understand the world, and magic in a deeper way, and one of my favourites is:

"Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide" - Ben Okri

The best secrets in magic are invisible anyhow, but even those that are not can be extremely fascinating when we expose them in an artistic manner.  One of my favourite performers is Apollo Robins because he tells you what he is doing, and whilst doing so he teaches you how your mind is easily mislead, rather than actually misleading you - and that is an extremely clever approach to magic. 

We can heighten magic to the level of art if we rethink how we perform.  So many folk are following in the footsteps of those who have gone before, and that is cool, but a lot magicians only ever follow the footsteps, whilst others use them as a starting point.  I guess it all comes down to how we are taught magic in the first place.  It has always struck me as a strange thing that magicians put other performers on pedestals, I can understand admiring those who have gone before, but perhaps we need to remember there are many ways to walk the yellow-brick road, and not forget that the wizard is only a little old man hiding behind a curtain [smile]

I think EvilDan is definitely onto something here - I guess at the end of the day it all comes down to your intention!
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Magic Harry

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Reply with quote  #6 
Sometimes I don't understand people. You buy tickets and go to a show (any type of show) to enjoy the performance. That's why I go. Even on TV I just like to watch and enjoy Dancing With the Stars, a movie or whatever. I don't even try to figure out how the tricks are done in a magic performance except on Fool Us which is the theme of the show.
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SamtheNotasBadasIWas

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Reply with quote  #7 
This has made me think, which is not good because its in the early morning hours, I am at work, and I am tired and frustrated with a bad week that doesn't seem to want to end. So, if this post goes screwy, blame Socrates.

People will plop down $40 bucks, or more, to go to a movie about people in capes and leotards that can fly, knowing it's computer generated images, and they will still engage fully with the emotions of the movie. I remember when Superman came out an there was a scene where the military was questioning his allegiance to America, and Superman said something like, "I'm from Kansas, you can't get more American that that." The theater cheered (I live in Kansas.)

But a magician who claims to have some sort of special power(s), and then proves it (by trickery), even if obviously just for entertainment purposes, and people feel challenged. There seems to be an innate, unspoken (or maybe spoken "Ima gonna fool ya") challenge to people in magic. I suppose it is in hiding how the (special) effects are done. Henning Nelms would say if that happens, then there is too much trick and not enough drama. I think he might be right. Houdini, so I have read, would escape quickly, but then hide that fact as the minutes ticked away while he read a newspaper, creating more and more tension in the ever agitated audience until he emerged, apparently half-dead from his narrow escape. I bet no one in his audience was thinking about how he did the trick when that happened. Conversely, I have seen bad movies with great special effects and great movies with bad special effects. It all seems to revolve around the story, whether it is dramatic or comedic, and how well it is told.

Opinions expressed in this post a subject to change with sleep.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheNotasBadasIWas
This has made me think, which is not good because its in the early morning hours, I am at work, and I am tired and frustrated with a bad week that doesn't seem to want to end. So, if this post goes screwy, blame Socrates.

People will plop down $40 bucks, or more, to go to a movie about people in capes and leotards that can fly, knowing it's computer generated images, and they will still engage fully with the emotions of the movie. I remember when Superman came out an there was a scene where the military was questioning his allegiance to America, and Superman said something like, "I'm from Kansas, you can't get more American that that." The theater cheered (I live in Kansas.)

But a magician who claims to have some sort of special power(s), and then proves it (by trickery), even if obviously just for entertainment purposes, and people feel challenged. There seems to be an innate, unspoken (or maybe spoken "Ima gonna fool ya") challenge to people in magic. I suppose it is in hiding how the (special) effects are done. Henning Nelms would say if that happens, then there is too much trick and not enough drama. I think he might be right. Houdini, so I have read, would escape quickly, but then hide that fact as the minutes ticked away while he read a newspaper, creating more and more tension in the ever agitated audience until he emerged, apparently half-dead from his narrow escape. I bet no one in his audience was thinking about how he did the trick when that happened. Conversely, I have seen bad movies with great special effects and great movies with bad special effects. It all seems to revolve around the story, whether it is dramatic or comedic, and how well it is told.

Opinions expressed in this post a subject to change with sleep.


Sam, you managed to present a lot of thoughtful stuff for a guy in your condition!

But seriously, when folks go to the movies there is the desire to suspend disbelief, to forget the wires and CGI for a minute and truly believe.

I think magicians can achieve that same effect with some audience members.  Certainly not all, but some.  And their chances are increased through the presentation that they use, the atmosphere they convey.

Good post!  I especially liked you repeating the Henning Nelms quote.
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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #9 
To pay for trying to discover by oneself how a magic trick is done is truly bizarre, provided that you don't want to become a magician. However it is not so much bizarre when you can try it for free; I used to pay attention (not money) to the card magician's on TV to discover secrets, simply because I wanted to become a card magician.
Another way to try to discover some magical secrets for free (and for fun), is just paying attention to an amateur magician's performance. Furthermore, when the magician is a kid!

I was a "kid card magician" and I was fed up with adult people that asked me to repeat a trick just to try to find out the secret. Fortunately, my 3 years older brother made me become aware of those people's intentions. So, I didn't repeat any trick for intolerant people.

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