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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #1 
I thought a while about posting this.  I hope it generates some good conversation.  I have read discussion about this topic on other forums.  It used to be a conversation centered around adding flourishes to traditional routines.  Many argue that it takes away from the effect, others say it heightens the experience for the spectator.  Arguments would generally involve Vernon's admonition to "be natural" and then he breaks the rule (in some folks eyes) with his wand spin vanish.

What I'd like to hear opinions on is this video which was posted elsewhere.  it certainly is eye-candy, but is it magic?



If you revealed 4 aces like that, would you really expect your audience to be impressed when you locate their selected card?

Think about it.

What say you?
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #2 
Great topic, Ray! Will Roberts and I were just having a discussion about this.

I have to run to some meetings but will return to this thread later today to share my thoughts.

Have a great day everyone!

Rudy

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Bmat

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Reply with quote  #3 
my view on this is simple.  No they are not magic.  Nor is a sleight, nor is a fancy box, magic is in the performance and how your audience relates to it.  Flourishes can either add to or distract from an effect.  It is all on the performer and how he/she uses them.  Personally I loved the video shown smiled most of the way through it.

Is it all magic?  I don't know.  Nor do I really care.  I enjoyed it. 

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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmat
my view on this is simple.  No they are not magic.  Nor is a sleight, nor is a fancy box, magic is in the performance and how your audience relates to it.  Flourishes can either add to or distract from an effect.  It is all on the performer and how he/she uses them.  Personally I loved the video shown smiled all the way through it.


OK, but what about the question of whether after having seen that type of skill your audience would be impressed by anything you did?
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #5 
Short answer: No. Cardistry, like juggling, is an allied art to the art of magic, but it is different. It is also impressive, and in many cases leads to an interest in magic. The reverse is also true; many magicians enjoy practicing cardistry.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #6 
So here's a subject for discussion.  Cardistry can be merely "eye-candy", a performance where cards seemingly defy gravity and do all sorts of interesting things.  There can be a complete performance of cardistry with nothing "magical" going on, not finding 4 aces, etc.  But what happens when some of those same moves are added to a traditional performance?  I think that is worthy of more discussion.

When Daryl began doing the Hot Shot Cut, it caused oohs and aahs, but it was a singular moment within a routine.  What if he followed that up with a series of cardistry stunts?  What would the effect be on the audience?
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #7 
Still eye candy since it has nothing to do, apparently, with bringing the trick to a conclusion. There's also a danger of detracting from the trick itself and destroying any inherent magic. As a flourish, fine. Say the Benzais Spin Out move or Hot Shot Cut as a reveal. Flashy? Yeah, but to a purpose. 

I think cardistry is impressive, but only in small doses. Personally I grow bored after several minutes despite the obvious skill and evident hours of practice. YMMV.

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #8 
I think what's on the video could be thought of as high visual art. But magic? I think there's some mystery surrounding the cards that seem to jump by themselves to the table and the deck. That appears to be impossible. But the flourishes are eye candy which reveal creativity and practice, but not magic. I love to watch things like this. Often they're a combination of magic and juggling to create a visual extravaganza. Great fun to watch but generally light on magic and heavy on visual appeal.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
Still eye candy since it has nothing to do, apparently, with bringing the trick to a conclusion. There's also a danger of detracting from the trick itself and destroying and inherent magic. As a flourish, fine. Say the Benzais Spin Out move or Hot Shot Cut as a reveal. Flashy? Yeah, but to a purpose. 

I think cardistry is impressive, but only in small doses. Personally I grow bored after several minutes despite the obvious skill and evident hours of practice. YMMV.

Av


AV, that is what I was interested in opinions on, is there an inherent danger of detracting from the trick?  As you say, "destroying the inherent magic".  


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Bmat

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Reply with quote  #10 
I can’t really answer. I know a lot of cardistru but I use very little in performance. I’ll use a card spin, and I’ll have one card jump out of the deck almost to the ceiling. And people know it’s a form of juggling, but it doesn’t seem to take away from the magic.

They know I’m a card magician and I think they expect me to be able to handle cards better (?) than the average person. I don’t think the occasional flourish makes them question the magic, it’s just a small part of the show,

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmat
I can’t really answer. I know a lot of cardistru but I use very little in performance. I’ll use a card spin, and I’ll have one card jump out of the deck almost to the ceiling. And people know it’s a form of juggling, but it doesn’t seem to take away from the magic.

They know I’m a card magician and I think they expect me to be able to handle cards better (?) than the average person. I don’t think the occasional flourish makes them question the magic, it’s just a small part of the show,


So in your experience so long as you limit the flourishes, it doesn't detract?  I agree with your statement about the audience expecting you to be able to handle cards better than the average person.  
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Bmat

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Reply with quote  #12 
Yes and no. In MY experience I don’t think the flourishes I use. And the way I use them takes away from the actual magic. However I have seen Magician’s who use a lot of flourshes every chance they get and it does take away from the magic,
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #13 
I don't perform professionally, but I have done many gigs.  In the past, I used to have people accuse me of "doing something".  Sometimes right after a simple flourish and other times after a routine even ones with no sleight at all (just shuffle and cut kind of thing).  So I actually like to practice making it look like I don't know how to handle cards, in as natural of a manner as possibly.  Although, I've even had people ask how I fan cards so perfectly (just holding in left hand and spread with right finger tips), so there are some things that just after doing thousansa and 5housands of times, I just cand unlearn.

I'm with AV, I can watch for a few minutes is ok, especially if there are unique moves I haven't seen before, but if it all looks the same, I get bored.  Of course, I appreciate the skill level and the hours of time dedicated to practicing the cardistry moves.  

I watched this the other day...  




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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #14 
Great video!  Fits our discussion perfectly.  I like how the gambler "cheated" on the last ace.  He was doing Ed Marlo's Miracle Aces or Estimation Aces.  The 4th ace is difficult, but with a little work you can nail it every time.  In this case, he did the first 3 in the usual manner and then pulled out the sleeved ace.  Not a bad strategy.

The cardistry performer was amazing and to me it supported the notion that too much skill takes away from the "magic".
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DJ

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Reply with quote  #15 
I think Dan and Dave Buck have been able to incorporate cardistry and still create something magical.  One trick that I always liked by them is The Queens...


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #16 
OK, so here's my opinion on that routine, The Queens.  In my opinion you can do almost the exact same routine and eliminate all of the "cardistry" moves and simply turn the packet face down and achieve a more "magical" effect.  The routine is eye-candy of the first magnitude, but what it lacks is mystery.  Adding the flash, in my opinion makes it more fun for magicians to watch, but for the layperson, maybe not so much.  

If you are sitting at a table in a restaurant and somebody came up doing cardistry exhibitions, how would it play?  I mean if you were a "normal" person, whatever that is?  Would you go, cool, and then lose interest pretty quickly?  

We know folks don't believe there is really magic, but if you downplay your skill, they have at least a chance to suspend their disbelief.  Overt exhibitions of skill telegraph the fact that you can make the cards do most anything and many things that look superhuman.  That isn't magical, pretty, not magical.  In my opinion the Buck's routine is fun, but not really magical.  YMMV.
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #17 
"The hand is quicker than the eye."

I also heard that too many times, and I didn't like it.  It made me realize, at times, I was moving too fast (or at least the spectator thought I was doing something tricky).  So I do things slower, and often with no sleeves.  I don't hear that comment much anymore.

In that Buck routine, I didn't follow everything that was happening visually, so I lost interest after the first few flips and first 2 queens gone.  I think a spectator finds that if you're moving so fast of course you can make the cards vanishing repair you doing a faster than they can see.

Don't get me wrong though, sometimes fast and/or flourishy moves are necessary in magic but not at the expense of making confusion.  

Tom
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Nathan_himself

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Reply with quote  #18 

As a mind reader, this isn't a topic I spend a lot of time thinking about. But I do want to add this to the conversation:

There is a difference between a magic trick and a magical experience. I wouldn't classify most of these effects as "magical experiences", but that is just my opinion. However, I think it is not impossible for them to cross over into that realm. Shin Lim is known for extremely difficult slight of hand that both visual and uses a lot of flourishes. He also won AGT... twice. 

So regardless of what we might want to label it, it is slowly becoming the main stream. I don't know if that is a good or bad thing. But whatever it is, it looks amazing and I am very impressed. 

 


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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #19 
I consider cardistry to be juggling. Normally, it just convinces the audience that you are very skillful, and that can be very impressive. Much like a really great , day Olympic, dive into a pool. However, it rarely leads to a magical experience. There are exceptions, but primarily when the juggling is disguised or hidden. To move away from cards, I would suggest you take a look at Yann Frish’s work. He is one of the finest jugglers I have ever seen, in a classical sense - juggling balls. But, it all comes off as magic. You never get the sense, as I did with the first video in this discussion, that it is just someone showing off. And that is my primary problem with cardistry. Usually, the performer seems to be more of a show off than someone sharing something marvelous to entertain an audience.
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Bulla

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Reply with quote  #20 
I hear this all the time so I would like to ask this to those who see cardistry as just showing off. Do you also see jugglers in the same light? I have a feeling that we tend to be a bit bias in our assessments about cardistry because we compare it to magic instead of judging it own its own merit.
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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulla
I hear this all the time so I would like to ask this to those who see cardistry as just showing off. Do you also see jugglers in the same light? I have a feeling that we tend to be a bit bias in our assessments about cardistry because we compare it to magic instead of judging it own its own merit.


Bulla raises a great objection to my previous post, and I would like to amend what I previously said. I should not have used the word "just," as in "just showing off." I do think that cardistry is showing off as is the Olympic diver I mentioned and the traditional juggler. And, I am not sure there is anything inherently wrong with this. If the words "showing off" carry too negative a connotation, think of it as "demonstrating an ability." Sometimes, such a demonstration can be very impressive and entertaining as one can see with a great juggler or diver. However, I don't think it is very appropriate for magic.
     One of the great tragedies that the magician has to live with is that ideally nobody ever appreciates him or her for what was actually done, for the skills that required all of those hours of study. So, there is a great temptation to make a demonstration of those skills. But, I feel this is a mistake as a magician - though not as a juggler or a cardistry guy.
    The problem is that this signals that the performer has great skill and what we are perceiving is a great demonstration of skill. I feel that magic (in the perception of the lay audience) should be more aligned with acting than with juggling. When you see a great actor in a play or film, ideally (unless you are another theater person) you shouldn't be constantly thinking about his choice of gestures or how well he does the accent. If you are concentrating on his technique, then he is not doing a terribly good job of creating the illusion of the theatrical piece. So also with magic.
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #22 
Magicians practice to make things look natural and not detected.  I look at this as: if they don't notice or catch me, then its my way of showing off.  I think, "look at how many doubles you didn't see me do".

Cardists practice "to be seen".  They are card artists.

Magicians will all have unique experiences.  If it fits their performing style and they are comfortable doing a few flourishes, then fine.  If not, then don't.  Hopefully they also entertained the audience, gave them a magical moment and memory.

I do a muscle pass routine with the silver dollar jumping up (like many of you probably do).  I do it because I can (and I know many magicians that can't at all or cant make the coin jump as high as I can), but I also do it because it is something unique that most spectators haven't seen.  Its kind of flourishy but its also something I do only a few times at most, and its something they remember.

Tom
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicTK
Magicians practice to make things look natural and not detected.  I look at this as: if they don't notice or catch me, then its my way of showing off.  I think, "look at how many doubles you didn't see me do".

Cardists practice "to be seen".  They are card artists.

Magicians will all have unique experiences.  If it fits their performing style and they are comfortable doing a few flourishes, then fine.  If not, then don't.  Hopefully they also entertained the audience, gave them a magical moment and memory.

I do a muscle pass routine with the silver dollar jumping up (like many of you probably do).  I do it because I can (and I know many magicians that can't at all or cant make the coin jump as high as I can), but I also do it because it is something unique that most spectators haven't seen.  Its kind of flourishy but its also something I do only a few times at most, and its something they remember.

Tom


The statement "Magicians practice to make things look natural and not detected" is what this whole thing is about.  Your statement is true for many of us but clearly not for all magicians.  There are some magicians that mix flourishes in with their magic and exhibit high levels of skill.  That display of skill is the point I wanted people to think about.  Does it help or hinder the experience?  

I think at the end of the day it depends upon the performer.  Some can pull it off while others maybe not so much.  Like everything we probably should strive for balance.  If we mix in displays of skill, be aware that overdoing it might diminish the impossibility of the illusion.

Your point about the muscle pass is interesting.  There are several routines in print that use a muscle pass surreptitiously, the audience isn't aware that it occurred.  Fascinating that a "move" can be overt or covert depending upon what you need it to do.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulla
I hear this all the time so I would like to ask this to those who see cardistry as just showing off. Do you also see jugglers in the same light? I have a feeling that we tend to be a bit bias in our assessments about cardistry because we compare it to magic instead of judging it own its own merit.


Bulla, I have great respect and admiration for those that practice cardistry.  It is its own unique artform.  Some practitioners can create emotional reactions that are breathtaking.

I remember reading a review of one of the Buck twins first performances.  The magician who wrote the article kind of felt sorry for them.  The way he described it they sat there, silent, while cards went through all sorts of gyrations.  They made no connection with the audience apparently.  

The art of cardistry has progressed nicely since then.

I hope the issue isn't perceived as derogatory towards cardistry proponents, I'm simply looking to explore to what extent overt displays of skill actually impact people's perception of magic and their enjoyment.
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Your point about the muscle pass is interesting.  There are several routines in print that use a muscle pass surreptitiously, the audience isn't aware that it occurred.  Fascinating that a "move" can be overt or covert depending upon what you need it to do.


I forgot to mention, I don't actually tell them I'm doing a muscle pass or even show them what I'm doing.  They just see the coin jump.  My story line is using gravity to make it fall down, but I tell them coins can also jump up.  I let them in on a secret, and I proceed to show them the invisible frog hair I keep in my pocket.  I pretend to tie it around my left finger then around the coin, then place the coin in my right hand, and suddenly it jumps up.  Then I say, actually its a rubber coin (do the rubber coin move) and drop/slam it on the table so they realize it's actually solid.  

It is fascinating to think that some moves can be versatile enough to be showy if displayed, as well be very effective when not seen/detected.

Tom
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicTK


I forgot to mention, I don't actually tell them I'm doing a muscle pass or even show them what I'm doing.  They just see the coin jump.  My story line is using gravity to make it fall down, but I tell them coins can also jump up.  I let them in on a secret, and I proceed to show them the invisible frog hair I keep in my pocket.  I pretend to tie it around my left finger then around the coin, then place the coin in my right hand, and suddenly it jumps up.  Then I say, actually its a rubber coin (do the rubber coin move) and drop/slam it on the table so they realize it's actually solid.  

It is fascinating to think that some moves can be versatile enough to be showy if displayed, as well be very effective when not seen/detected.

Tom


Tom, you might already know of the trick, but Jet Coins uses the MP in a covert way.  Here is a clip and you can see what I mean.  Fun to play with if you can do a good MP like yourself.

https://www.seomagic-usa.com/product_info.php/manufacturers_id/36/products_id/254
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #27 
Ray,

Thanks for sharing this clip.  I haven't seen it before, but now I'll have to work on some of these ideas.

I have played around with using the muscle pass to shoot a coin across during a matrix routine (kind of under the cover of my arm), but never actually used in a performance.

I know the topic title is cardistry, but what are your thoughts about coinistry?  I'm guessing similar comments as with cards.

Great ideas!

Tom
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #28 
Muscle pass in a matrix-type routine is interesting, but the thumb kick and/or heel slide might be less risky.  

Coinistry?  lol.  

I guess coin rolls and coin stars qualify.  And then there are the "poker chip" moves that can also be done with coins.  The Betz Poker Roll from Close-up Entertainer by Paul Harris would qualify.

T. Nelson Downs was widely considered as the greatest coin manipulator of his day and he did fancy-schmancy coin moves.  


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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #29 
Yes, thumb kick was much easier, less risky, but I just wanted to see if I could do it with MP.

Fanning a stack of slick silver dollars...

So back on the topic of cardiatry, who is your favorite cardist?  Not for any magic aspect, but for pure showy skills, impressive, unique moves, etc?

Tom
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #30 
Personally I have no favorites.  I think I can name about 4 people that do it and 2 are Dan and Dave Buck.  
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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #31 
I view Cardistry the same way I view "contact juggling". I'm fascinated by how they do what they do. To be honest, contact juggling holds my interest longer.

As for flourishes detracting... just this morning I was watching a video I had purchased. The author at one point did an elaborate multi-packet false cut and ended by popping the top card from one hand to the other. I thought it detracted - particularly the multi-packet in-the-hands cut that was more cardistry than false cut. To me that was like 'hey look what I learned - it doesn't have anything to do with this trick, but it's cool".

Just an opinion from the cheap seats 😉

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Campbell
I view Cardistry the same way I view "contact juggling". I'm fascinated by how they do what they do. To be honest, contact juggling holds my interest longer.

As for flourishes detracting... just this morning I was watching a video I had purchased. The author at one point did an elaborate multi-packet false cut and ended by popping the top card from one hand to the other. I thought it detracted - particularly the multi-packet in-the-hands cut that was more cardistry than false cut. To me that was like 'hey look what I learned - it doesn't have anything to do with this trick, but it's cool".

Just an opinion from the cheap seats 😉


Dave, you bring up a great point and that is context.  If in the context of a trick a flourish makes sense then by all means, do it.

But to just do it out of the blue just because you can might not be the best approach.

If you felt it detracted, there's a decent chance a layperson might agree.
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Reply with quote  #33 
I've always thought it was important for an audience to appreciate that they are watching an artist and not some guy that walked into a magic store and bought the stuff they are seeing off the shelf.

There's nothing wrong with getting credit for the magic. The misspent youth line after a flourish does it all and works well after a flourish. Yeay, it's juggling, but in some respects so is most magic.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Intensely Magic
I've always thought it was important for an audience to appreciate that they are watching an artist and not some guy that walked into a magic store and bought the stuff they are seeing off the shelf.

There's nothing wrong with getting credit for the magic. The misspent youth line after a flourish does it all and works well after a flourish. Yeay, it's juggling, but in some respects so is most magic.


You reminded me of something with your comment about walking into a magic store. My mom used to refer to that as "sleight of store". Her way to disparage magicians that bought self-working tricks and rushed out to perform them. My late mother could be a harsh critic!
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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #35 
I agree with Mike, visual art.  Even if they end up cutting to all 4 aces, any spectator would know it's just a skill thing, nothing magical.  There's the dividing line between performers as those that want to show their magic comes from skill, and those that aren't squeaky clean with their handling (think Williamson) the magic just happens.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #36 
Nice discussion. Thanks to everyone for chiming in.
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