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RayJ

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Maybe it is just me, but I seem to vacillate these days.  Some days I think magic is heading in a good direction and some days I think it isn't.  

I think it is good when I view a new video of a talented young performer and I think it is bad when I see yet another exposure video.

There are other things that influence me, but I want to hear what the rest have to say.

For example, if you think things are great, what is your barometer?

If you don't think so, what is leading you to that conclusion.

I thought briefly about it and except for new playing cards, there doesn't seem to be too much in the way of "new stuff".  There are more decks available now than there are shufflers it seems.

What about conventions.  Are attendances up?  Are websites and forums growing or declining?

Are hardback books viable anymore or is everything going digital?  Does it matter?

Is there any magic in your hometown?  Opportunities to work at restaurants or clubs?

Any big shows coming to visit your town?  How often?

Thoughts?  Opinions?
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Anthony Vinson

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The state of magic is sound.

Magic is evolving. Evolution is a glacially slow process, with progress measured only in retrospect.

From my perspective, magic seems to have a healthy following, with several major online retail sites, YouTube videos, televisions shows - both those dedicated to magic and those featuring magicians. Quality books are being written, quality effects created and distributed, and new "superstars" are appearing.

The internet has thrown open previously unimaginable doors. We have forums like this one, where the like-minded from around the world assemble virtually to discuss our shared passions, and perhaps more importantly learn from some of the art's best and brightest. We can access mentors on the other side of the planet, watch video clips of classic effects by the superstars of yesteryear. While eschewed by some, ebooks are opening new markets for authors and creators. (Those wooden shoes tossed into the gears aren't doing a thing to slow down production!)

I've loved magic since first being introduced to it way back when long-haired hominids roamed the earth, and doubt that love will fade or change. When I see beginners join this site and share their enthusiasm, it makes me smile.

Yeah, the state of magic is sound.

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RayJ

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AV, I have a question regarding your post.  Back in the day, when you wanted to see someone perform you either had to go find them or wait until they came to your town for an IBM/SAM lecture.  Now you can pull up video on youtube.  Is that one reason why certain conventions don't hold the appeal they once did?

Arguments can be made that either way it is progress.  But the flavor is different somehow.
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RayJ

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Another point worth pondering.  AV, you mention ebooks.  I know that digital is the way of the future.  No doubt about that.  I'm in the construction chemicals business and let me tell you, architects and engineers stopped relying on product binders many years ago.  They still maintain sample libraries because hard samples are different than pictures on the web, but for product information, the internet is quicker and more up-to-date.  Plus it doesn't gather dust.

Ebooks are quicker to the market and don't cost much compared to printing, shipping, etc.  So it makes it possible for more folks to be published in the first place.

Still, isn't it fun to sit back and look at your library shelf?

The younguns coming behind us are asking what is a library shelf?
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Mbreggar

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You pose an interesting question.

I think what has changed dramatically is the performance platforms. Not a lot of big stage shows (unless you are in Vegas), but intimate magic theatres seem to be popping up all over the place. Close up and parlor type shows are now out there again and accessible. And the visibility of "cool" magic on TV is helping to legitimatize the smaller theatres. 

There is also growth of hack performers. They do not show up at these new venues, but are a staple at bars and private gigs. Sadly, their "hackiness" hurts us all. Solid performers need to grab their audience quickly before they are dismissed as one of the hacks.

Fortunately, there is a lot of good magic stuff outweighing the bad. But those of us who really care need to make it a point to deliver only the highest quality work when we perform. In a sense we represent all magicians. 

 
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mbreggar
You pose an interesting question.

I think what has changed dramatically is the performance platforms. Not a lot of big stage shows (unless you are in Vegas), but intimate magic theatres seem to be popping up all over the place. Close up and parlor type shows are now out there again and accessible. And the visibility of "cool" magic on TV is helping to legitimatize the smaller theatres. 

There is also growth of hack performers. They do not show up at these new venues, but are a staple at bars and private gigs. Sadly, their "hackiness" hurts us all. Solid performers need to grab their audience quickly before they are dismissed as one of the hacks.

Fortunately, there is a lot of good magic stuff outweighing the bad. But those of us who really care need to make it a point to deliver only the highest quality work when we perform. In a sense we represent all magicians. 

 


Mbreggar, you bring up a very good point.  I know that when soldiers are sent home on leave they are reminded that they are representing the military and how they behave will impact the public's perception of same.

We as magicians need to uphold the highest levels of professionalism.  That level includes guarding secrets, which is why I think that youtube exposers are posers, not real magicians and should be called out for what they are.  

I know there is risk in bringing attention to them, but like weeds they will grow unchecked unless someone does something.  Going away doesn't seem to be happening.

Thanks for your optimistic reply!
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Bear
Being the pessimistic person that I am, I can see the day coming when insurance companies will refuse to cover your home against fire if it contains unnecessary combustibles ... such as books! .... lol

Jack.



Jack, you are probably not too far off.  And there might come a day when environmental concerns make the production of books untenable.  The amount of materials, chemicals and even plain old water required to produce a book is probably offensive to some nowadays.
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RayJ

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There is a specific reason why I posted this today.  It actually was inspired by a thread on another forum (yes, there are other forums, just not as good nor as friendly as this one!) that caused me to wonder if magic is really doing well.
Sometimes it is easy to say it whether you mean it or have even thought about it.  My personal opinion is that there is good and bad going on (like everything else in the world) but that many magicians seem resigned to sit and not say much about the bad.  Either because they don't want to stir it up and bring more attention or they simply feel they won't be successful.  I'm in the camp where when I see something that clearly violates a copyright or reveals a marketed effect I do something about it.  If you choose not to, that's fine.  But as for me, I will continue to try to stamp out the fires as I see them.  I reported one last night.  Hope it helped.
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Mbreggar

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As a magic creator who is always pirated, I can only say THANKS!!!! And THANKS again!!!
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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
AV, I have a question regarding your post.  Back in the day, when you wanted to see someone perform you either had to go find them or wait until they came to your town for an IBM/SAM lecture.  Now you can pull up video on youtube.  Is that one reason why certain conventions don't hold the appeal they once did?

Arguments can be made that either way it is progress.  But the flavor is different somehow.


Dunno. My guess is that there are a variety of factors leading to the demise of certain conventions. Others seem to be doing quite well, though. MagiFest, the TRICS Convention, MAGIC Live... Even the Atlanta Harvest of Magic continues to thrive, although it is every other year now rather than annually.

Perhaps there's a generational element? We have tickets to see P&T when they perform in Atlanta in the fall despite faithfully watching their show and having seen them twice before. But we're Boomers, so...

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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
Ebooks are quicker to the market and don't cost much compared to printing, shipping, etc.  So it makes it possible for more folks to be published in the first place.

Still, isn't it fun to sit back and look at your library shelf?


Yeah, but we know that feeling only because we know that feeling, if you get my meaning. Those young'uns have a leg up on us, though. While we have to box up and move our heavy books, they just take along the tablets to the next WiFi hotspot! [biggrin]

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MagickDon

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


Yeah, but we know that feeling only because we know that feeling, if you get my meaning. Those young'uns have a leg up on us, though. While we have to box up and move our heavy books, they just take along the tablets to the next WiFi hotspot! [biggrin]

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Plus, they have them all indexed so they can find what they want, rather than having to physically leaf through a number of books. (I still prefer books though)

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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


Yeah, but we know that feeling only because we know that feeling, if you get my meaning. Those young'uns have a leg up on us, though. While we have to box up and move our heavy books, they just take along the tablets to the next WiFi hotspot! [biggrin]

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True! You can fit your library on a flash drive and pocket it.
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagickDon


Plus, they have them all indexed so they can find what they want, rather than having to physically leaf through a number of books. (I still prefer books though)


It does suck having to weight a book down to prop it open while you fiddle with your props. And you can't get coffee (insert beer) stains on a .pdf unless you print it out.
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MagickDon

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


It does suck having to weight a book down to prop it open while you fiddle with your props. And you can't get coffee (insert beer) stains on a .pdf unless you print it out.


But if you spill "coffee" on your device it is a major problem.....a book not so much  [wink]

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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagickDon


But if you spill "coffee" on your device it is a major problem.....a book not so much  [wink]


No worries! It won't be long till everyone's wet-wired into the system and everything's on heads-up display!

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Bizzaro

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I have a lot of thoughts on this subject but I will try and keep this brief.

The new crop of kids calling themselves magicians have poor role models. There is a large amount of amateurs teaching amateurs right now and none of them have any performing ability and while I accept that social media magic is a new genre, it is not going to be a sustainable career and we will see a lot of these younger "hip" guys fade away. (probably)

People used to discover magic through TV and see actual working performers do their acts. We don't have that anymore and it shows by the lack of presentational ability of the current generation. I also feel they suffer from ignorance and arrogance more so than before but that is everywhere not just magic. I'm curious to watch what happens over the next decade or so.

As for conventions and clubs, the attendance of young blood is not what it used to be due to the lack of the competition scene being gone and the fact people can jam with their friends on their phones and don't have to wait a whole year to show off what they have been working on for three days straight.

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Senor Fabuloso

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Magic has no wellness. It simply is. Magicians on the other hand, are another story. Things are moving forward. Submitted for your approval is this
I'm a fan of X and see the craft moving in this direction. A combination of media, technology, influence and shared experiences all meld together, to give our audiences visceral sensations common to us all. This is how magic becomes meaningful by relating and connecting to one another through the art.

Imo this is where the future of magic is going and it's up to each and everyone of us, to take responsibility for that movement.

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Socrates

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Many thanks Senor.

BGT is not my normal viewing. However this performance is a superb example of how you can add meaning to your magic. There is much to learn by watching this performance. First and foremost, it demonstrates the importance of connecting with your audience.

Technology has changed the way we connect and interact. If that was not the case you wouldn’t be reading these words. Every one of us has close-friends, and family members with whom we have a deep connection. This is common knowledge, and X uses this fact to his advantage. Doing so allows the audience to relate to his magic - This lesson alone is worth its weight in gold

How can we apply this to our magic?

First off it is worth considering your own tricks and what they demonstrate. What is the value of making a coin vanish and reappear? Why should you care that I can locate your card? How is cutting the four aces from a shuffled deck of value to those watching?

Some magicians will continue to perform the tricks, whereas others will look to create magic with those very same tricks. The difference between the two is really nothing more than how they are presented, and whether they connect with the audience.

RayJ’s original post asks for thoughts and opinions on the current state of magic. This is quite a difficult question to answer. It would be easy to address how my magic is progressing. But magic as a whole, who knows? In fact the initial post and questions appear to relate more to the business of magic… but I will offer my thoughts.

As someone who has never joined a magic club, followed any magicians, or attended their shows, lectures or conventions it would be amiss of me to comment on those topics. However I have used the internet, purchased books, watched Youtube, and experienced the forums. And have the following thoughts to share:

Reading the forums suggests that most magicians are doing many of the same tricks, buying the same books/DVDs lectures etc. In a previous thread/post RayJ mentioned the current trend of ‘Any Card At Any Number’ and how this reflects his experiences in the world of magic. Apparently 40 years ago everywhere he went you’d see the same tricks each time. Linking rings, Cut & Restored Rope, Professors Nightmare etc. etc.

It seems to be standard in the world of magic to copy one another. Viewing Youtube magic would suggest the same. There are many children there performing the same tricks as everyone else. And in a recent B’Wave thread there is footage of an English guy doing magic for Ellen DeGeneres; he seems to like David Blaine’s tricks.

Walter Lippmann once said “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much”

It’s the same with venues as with tricks.

The internet doesn’t help.

We often see beginners, and others asking questions such as:

What are the best tricks for walk-around, what’s your strongest card/coin/mentalism trick, what are the best books/DVDs etc.?????

There seems to be little in the way of guidance for beginners, or original thinking… although I have to recommend you all check out Bizarro’s creativity notes – he shared them on the forum recently, and reading them may help stimulate some change.

Perhaps the forums have a role to play in this too. How often do we see reviews and adverts for new books/DVDs tricks, lectures and so forth? It is like the forums have become the place to advertise your wares, whereas originally they were places to offer each other help/assistance.

Which brings me to RayJ’s point about “new stuff” – Do magicians really need new stuff? How much stuff have you already got? Many people on the forums share their book-lists/DVDs, library collections… how many books do you really need?

How do these guys have the time to read all their books, view their DVDs, downloads and lectures? Do they ever perform, use or read the material they already have? Or is it just a case of having to have the latest and greatest? Eugene Burger called it the “Tyranny of the new” – he seemed to do fine with a few old tricks.

Rudy just created a feature on the forum called ‘Old is New Again’, and there is an absolute wealth of material available in the old books and magic magazines – yet many magicians are still chasing the new stuff.

The original Tarbell course in magic is full of gems of wisdom and tricks hardly anybody is performing nowadays. You could learn a great deal from reading his sage advice, take these couple of excerpts as an example:

"A magician is not a magician because he knows tricks, but because he knows magic ' the principles, the fundamentals.”

“Another reason I give you the science of magic is that I want you to be able to do other tricks besides the ones I give you. I want you to be able to originate new methods and even new tricks. You can do this easily if you really know the science of magic”

This advice was shared in 1926. The year Harry Lorayne was born, and the year Houdini died. Yet how many people have even read it, let alone put it into practice. Perhaps someone reading these words will understand the gift Tarbell shared for all magicians.

I’ll leave it here for now.

Soc

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
...the importance of connecting with your audience.

First off it is worth considering your own tricks and what they demonstrate. What is the value of making a coin vanish and reappear? Why should you care that I can locate your card? How is cutting the four aces from a shuffled deck of value to those watching?

Some magicians will continue to perform the tricks, whereas others will look to create magic with those very same tricks. The difference between the two is really nothing more than how they are presented, and whether they connect with the audience.

Reading the forums suggests that most magicians are doing many of the same tricks, buying the same books/DVDs lectures etc.  

It seems to be standard in the world of magic to copy one another.  

We often see beginners, and others asking questions such as:

What are the best tricks for walk-around, what’s your strongest card/coin/mentalism trick, what are the best books/DVDs etc.?????

Do magicians really need new stuff? How much stuff have you already got? Many people on the forums share their book-lists/DVDs, library collections… how many books do you really need?

How do these guys have the time to read all their books, view their DVDs, downloads and lectures? Do they ever perform, use or read the material they already have? Or is it just a case of having to have the latest and greatest? Eugene Burger called it the “Tyranny of the new” – he seemed to do fine with a few old tricks. 



Lots of wisdom and insight contained in the post, Al. I sliced and diced a bit to highlight one or two of your points. 

Consumer culture aside, I find books to be an invaluable resource. I'm not creative when it comes to crafting magic. Oh, I can script it, bend it a bit, and make minor changes to suit my personality and performing style, but I cannot create. I am reluctantly required to depend on the creativity of others, especially those who share their ideas in print. Have I read every page of every book in my library? Of course not. But I have read many of them cover-to-cover, some more than once. Others I use as touchstones or treasure chests of ideas. With rare exception I have never regretted  a book purchase. (Well, except when moving...)

As to stuff... Now there you have a point. Who doesn't have a drawer or two full of rejected bits, pieces, odds, and ends? Those tricks that looked cool, but turned out to be impractical, or too time-consuming, or whatever. We spent too much. As Wordsworth wisely wrote, "Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." It shall likely always be so with we humans. These days I don't buy much, and when I do I carefully consider the purchase for several days before placing an order.

Asking for advice is natural. Remember some 30 years ago when Max Maven created a stir with his assertion that amateurs and pros should remain, for the most part, incommunicado? Today the rankest amateur is able to rub elbows with the likes of Harry Lorayne and Mike Powers and Paul Hallas and Michael Breggar and Steven Youell, et al. How wonderful is that? Well, only so wonderful as the advice is carefully considered. Wise words from a pro, a seasoned amateur, a maven? Why it's far easier to watch a fumbling beginner walk through his tutorial of the Diagonal Palm Shift! 

Again, wise words. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #21 
From what I have seen, magic is becoming less social.
When I was first into it I would hang at Al's Magic in D.C. and everyone was friendly and giving. Jsck Birnman would sometimes be there and he was very nice, as well as Darwin Ortiz and others.
Last christmas I was st Magic Inc for their holiday bash. A guy much older than me was showing the John Bannon Paint it Blank trick to another guy and I commented that it was also in Mentalisimo. Both of them looked at me with contemp and moved actoss the room.
It hurt my feelings so much that I went outside and started crying.

Of course, not everyone is like that. But I'd not encountered that kind of thing before. And I hope that is not where magic going.
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Senor Fabuloso

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Michael


First and foremost I'm sorry that happened to you but it wasn't magic that let you down, it was a couple of magicians. As in life, people will always let you down, how you handle it, is what separates the men from the boys.

We are a sensitive bunch, we magicians. Even people with years of experience and accomplishments to many to mention, can be hurt by the slightest perceived offense or misunderstood criticism. insecurities, awkwardness, low selfesteem may even be some of the reasons we were drawn to magic, in the first place? But magic isn't the place to work out these issues and will in fact, complicate things if we are not well adjusted and confident in ourselves.

Performing in general, puts us on the spot. It shines a light figuratively and in reality, on us. If we shutter in the face of scrutiny, we will fail. Fail in the sense of projecting our true selves, to our public. See all that awkwardness and insecurities are mere illusions of who we think, we are. Each and everyone of us brings a unique and dynamic self, to the craft and in so doing, to the public. There is nobody with exactly the same circumstances and experiences in life as you and that's what makes you special.

So if I can be so bold and don't take this badly but "man up". Those guys at the magic thing, were the ones who lost out because they missed out on YOU. Their loss my friend and don't you ever, forget it.

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelblue
From what I have seen, magic is becoming less social.
When I was first into it I would hang at Al's Magic in D.C. and everyone was friendly and giving. Jsck Birnman would sometimes be there and he was very nice, as well as Darwin Ortiz and others.
Last christmas I was st Magic Inc for their holiday bash. A guy much older than me was showing the John Bannon Paint it Blank trick to another guy and I commented that it was also in Mentalisimo. Both of them looked at me with contemp and moved actoss the room.
It hurt my feelings so much that I went outside and started crying.

Of course, not everyone is like that. But I'd not encountered that kind of thing before. And I hope that is not where magic going.


Michael, I had a somewhat similar thing happen at a Midwest Magic Jubilee.  I was walking down a hallway and there were three people standing at a table, Al Schneider and two attendees.  I didn't know either of them.  I saw Al demonstrating his "pop-up" move to the two guys and stopped to watch.  Instantly I could tell that the two guys' hackles went up.  It was as though they owned Al and I was intruding.  Al seemed pleased that he had another spectator and we actually spoke back-and-forth a bit.  I gave him feedback on some slight variations of the pop-up move that he was experimenting with.  He appreciated my comments.  I decided to move on after getting the cold shoulder from the two men.  

While it didn't really bother me it did stick with me a bit.  Many magicians are jealous sorts.  First, the fact that you recognized a trick might set some people off.  Second, the fact that you knew where it was published might threaten them because it shows you are well-read.  

I remember performing in a close-up competition and afterwards I was surrounded by several magicians asking me the names of various tricks and asking where I learned them, from what book, etc.  I patiently answered a few and finally just laughed and said "Guys, I found everything on my own, I suggest you start looking for yourselves".  I hope I didn't come across as brusque, but it was getting ridiculous.  

I have no doubt there are those types still around.  
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #24 
Rather than cut-and-paste a bunch of quotes I thought I would just comment on a few points raised in the last few posts.

Regarding magic becoming less social.  Perhaps less social in the face-to-face context, but who can argue that the internet forums haven't increased the social aspects of magic.  That is why many of us are here, to develop relationships with other forum members and share and learn.  So I cannot agree with the premise, but I understand that the comment was made specifically for conventions and the like.

Regarding copying and such, while it is said that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, it is still imitation.  We all do certain tricks exactly as written, but hopefully most of our effects morph into our own stylized versions of the original.  There was a recent thread where someone was asking about a certain trick and I suggested that the last thing they should do is to try and perform it.  The routine was so personal to that magician, so in sync with his character that to me trying to copy it would be ill-advised.  Just enjoy it and move on.
Imagine any of us donning a purple suit and top hat and attempting to perform like Sylvester The Jester.  Preposterous.

Regarding magicians and new stuff.  That is a huge topic.  We as magicians are like any hobbyist in that we drool over new stuff.  Golfers buy the lastest and greatest drivers hoping for a few extra yards.  Fishermen have to try out the newest type of lure.   So we are not immune to looking for that special deck of cards that is going to render all of our sleights invisible.  As if it existed.  There is nothing wrong with new stuff, it is a sign of growth I guess.  It also adds to the magic economy and that helps keep it healthy.  But dollar-for-dollar, we all have a fortune sitting in unread books and/or untried routines sitting on our shelves.  I agree 100% with Socrates comments on this above.

Another thing to comment on is what I can sum up as practicality.  There are a lot of "internet" tricks that are simply impractical.  I've seen several discussed here on the forum.  Some magicians such as Shin Lim have even discussed the fact that they create their magic for the screen.  Nothing wrong with that, but don't expect to necessarily perform those types of effects in your local restaurant.  Lighting, angles, etc. prohibit many of the tricks you see on the screen.
The other thing that may not be practical is what typically is called "eye candy".  That is the instant card change or vanish that looks great when viewed from a specific angle and gets a million hits on youtube.  Then you try to do it in public and get busted every time.  Just not practical.  Vernon, when shown a move, frequently asked the practitioner "How do you get into it?".  The genius in Vernon's question was that many moves are impressive and fun to watch but they have no practicality in the real world, whether magic or gambling.  I see magicians do gambling demos all of the time and the first thing I think is they wouldn't live very long if they attempted to deal like that in a real game.  The second they adjust and re-adjust their grip on the deck the heat would be on.  So when you learn a fancy move or sleight, ask yourself if it is practical.  Ask how you are going to "get into it".  If the answer is that you have  to go into another room or turn your back and set it up or duck under the table, maybe it is best left on youtube.  Or maybe not.  But at least think about it.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bizzaro
I have a lot of thoughts on this subject but I will try and keep this brief.

The new crop of kids calling themselves magicians have poor role models. There is a large amount of amateurs teaching amateurs right now and none of them have any performing ability and while I accept that social media magic is a new genre, it is not going to be a sustainable career and we will see a lot of these younger "hip" guys fade away. (probably)

People used to discover magic through TV and see actual working performers do their acts. We don't have that anymore and it shows by the lack of presentational ability of the current generation. I also feel they suffer from ignorance and arrogance more so than before but that is everywhere not just magic. I'm curious to watch what happens over the next decade or so.

As for conventions and clubs, the attendance of young blood is not what it used to be due to the lack of the competition scene being gone and the fact people can jam with their friends on their phones and don't have to wait a whole year to show off what they have been working on for three days straight.


Bizzaro, I agree with many of your points.  My role models and the role models of the current crop are drastically different.  It shows in how they perform and it shows in the seeming willingness to tip any and every secret without thought of the consequences.

I haven't attended a convention in years so I cannot speak to the demographics of such but I can totally agree with the accessibility folks have now as compared to previously.  Facetime and such allow real-time back-and-forth collaboration.  You used to have to meet face-to-face and that was self-limiting due to time, money, etc.

You bring up competitions.  Competitions were great in that you had to really work and polish your act.  Whether close-up or stage, you had to keep time in mind, the setting, the audience, if you wanted to do well you had to be very prepared.  Then, afterwards you got feedback from seasoned pros.  How great is that?  Now you see someone upload a trick to youtube and a bunch of folks laud the magician as the next great thing while a few sour apples act as trolls.  The truth is they are both probably wrong.
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Mbreggar

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Reply with quote  #26 
Wow, RayJ... you ask a "simple" question and .....


Anytime the awareness of an art form is increased, it is good for the art form. So, from that perspective, I think magic is in good shape. And kudos to Penn & Teller and David Blaine for showing that magic is so much more than just giant show-y illusions. Indeed, the successes of the smaller magic theatres, bars and venues around the world has also validated this fact.

Inside of magic is another story. I don't think it is better and I don't think it is worse. If you spend a little time researching the history of magic, this type of jealous sniping has occurred forever! Pull out some old issues of any magic magazine in the 1900s - today and you will read of the exact same type of nose-thumbing that MichaelBlue described. Yes, RayJ, it's is jealously, territoriality and flat-out ignorance that fires up the insecurities of these already insure people. Michael, just stay away from them ... there are far too many OTHER nice and sharing people in this community. (A few of them are even on this forum!)

By the way, Anthony, regarding Max Maven's comment regarding the uncomfortable mix between pros and amateurs ... I recall thinking about it very differently. I am not a full time pro. Nor am I an amateur. I sit sort of in-between. "Semi-pro"? Semi-amateur"???? Hey don't hold it against me! Bannon's not a full time pro (in fact, he calls himself an amateur!). Same as Stuart James, Dr. Daley ... and the list goes on and on. The status doesn't limit our love for the art and wanting to make it better. But goals and objectives for pros differ than those for amateurs. SIGNIFICANTLY. Max's comments, therefore, spoke to that difference, and not towards the quality or quantity of the effects developed or performed.
And to THAT... I  say, "Vive la difference!!"

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #27 
FWIW, I agreed with Max's comments at the time, and was a bit surprised by the resulting butthurt. To my recollection his main point was that pros owe nothing to amateurs, and that amateurs should not expect pros to simply "give it all away" at their request. There was a hierarchy in place, and it was in place for a reason. Practice, study, perform, and perhaps one day you can earn a place at the table. In the meantime, put in the work.

Since those comments were published in MAGIC Magazine, in its first year, I need to go look them up just for kicks. 

Av 
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Mbreggar

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Yeah... thanks for the ref ... i'll go look too.
I'd love to (re) read
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #29 

Interesting, and relevant to this thread. Here're a couple of comments from Max Maven's first Parallax column in MAGIC Magazine, dated September '91. The more things change?!

"Most would-be conjurors are actually collectors of available secrets. The hunger for novel methodological information is never satisfied. This is problematic.

buying lots of books doesn’t mean they’re actually studying them. A quick perusal yields a new set of “secrets” - then it’s on to the next.

Mind you, this situation has its beneficial side-products, one being that a solid market has come into existence which allows the creative community a reasonably secure circumstance for releasing material for sale hence the current magic publishing boom, which is hitting a surprisingly high standard of quality.

Instead of tallying secrets in terms of quantity of ownership, it would be of value for magicians to stop for a moment and consider just how many secrets they don’t possess. Maybe this would put an end to the annoying tendency on the part of magicians to presume peership where it doesn’t exist."


Av

 

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Mbreggar

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Thanks for digging this up .. you fast-fingered-librarian you!!
Re-reading this, I am more bother by the "would-be conjurers" epithet. That being the case, Max is 100% correct. Those are the same cretins that buy books and knock-off props from the pirates.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #31 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mbreggar
Wow, RayJ... you ask a "simple" question and .....


Anytime the awareness of an art form is increased, it is good for the art form. So, from that perspective, I think magic is in good shape. And kudos to Penn & Teller and David Blaine for showing that magic is so much more than just giant show-y illusions. Indeed, the successes of the smaller magic theatres, bars and venues around the world has also validated this fact.

Inside of magic is another story. I don't think it is better and I don't think it is worse. If you spend a little time researching the history of magic, this type of jealous sniping has occurred forever! Pull out some old issues of any magic magazine in the 1900s - today and you will read of the exact same type of nose-thumbing that MichaelBlue described. Yes, RayJ, it's is jealously, territoriality and flat-out ignorance that fires up the insecurities of these already insure people. Michael, just stay away from them ... there are far too many OTHER nice and sharing people in this community. (A few of them are even on this forum!)

By the way, Anthony, regarding Max Maven's comment regarding the uncomfortable mix between pros and amateurs ... I recall thinking about it very differently. I am not a full time pro. Nor am I an amateur. I sit sort of in-between. "Semi-pro"? Semi-amateur"???? Hey don't hold it against me! Bannon's not a full time pro (in fact, he calls himself an amateur!). Same as Stuart James, Dr. Daley ... and the list goes on and on. The status doesn't limit our love for the art and wanting to make it better. But goals and objectives for pros differ than those for amateurs. SIGNIFICANTLY. Max's comments, therefore, spoke to that difference, and not towards the quality or quantity of the effects developed or performed.
And to THAT... I  say, "Vive la difference!!"

I read your first sentenced and nearly fell off of my chair.  There are a lot of threads that get some views and little response and some that get decent response and then flame out.  I was hoping to put a fairly simple question out there and hopefully see it blossom into a number of discussions.  It has pretty much done that.

What I attempted to do is to not "cover the waterfront" in the question but put just a little meat on the bones and let everyone else add on.

Some took my question to focus on the business side of magic, although that was not my intent I could see why them might think that.

Thanks for making me laugh and for your great response.

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Reply with quote  #32 
For anyone interested, Max's "controversial" column is found in the May '92 issue of MAGIC Magazine. Here's a tidbit:

"The idea of automatically according equal rank to any person who enters into the study of magic is equivalent to granting a graduate degree to every college freshman on their first day on campus. This is a notion which seems to have come into existence only during the past seventy years. (Curiously enough, that is also the approximate age of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, but I won’t explore that coincidence because I’ve already exceeded the Alienation Quotient for this month.) I am well aware of the argument which contends that distinctions between amateurs and professionals are wrong, because after all, every professional started as an amateur. This is quite true. It is also true that the page you are currently reading began as wood pulp, but if you think that wood pulp is the same as printed text then I’d hate to see your library."


I still think he's right, but then again I'm just an amateur!!!

Av

 

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
FWIW, I agreed with Max's comments at the time, and was a bit surprised by the resulting butthurt. To my recollection his main point was that pros owe nothing to amateurs, and that amateurs should not expect pros to simply "give it all away" at their request. There was a hierarchy in place, and it was in place for a reason. Practice, study, perform, and perhaps one day you can earn a place at the table. In the meantime, put in the work.

Since those comments were published in MAGIC Magazine, in its first year, I need to go look them up just for kicks. 

Av 


AV, this is the was it used to be and perhaps it should be more that way, at least a bit.  Anything given away is appreciated less than that which is earned.  I think most of us understand that.

I've posted about this before but I was in a stage competition and professional magician Tim Star was one of the judges.  After the competition he approached me about one move I did that he didn't think was the best option.  Basically I had to ditch a large dye tube.  I thought the way I did it was fine but he didn't care for it.  No problem.  He suggested that I simply "vanish it".  I didn't understand what he meant at the time and now I think I do, but maybe not.  The point is that he steered me into a direction of thought.  He didn't hand me the solution on a silver platter.  That is how creativity starts, but figuring out the path on a journey where you only know where you are and where you want to end up.
The getting there is most of the fun.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
For anyone interested, Max's "controversial" column is found in the May '92 issue of MAGIC Magazine. Here's a tidbit:

"The idea of automatically according equal rank to any person who enters into the study of magic is equivalent to granting a graduate degree to every college freshman on their first day on campus. This is a notion which seems to have come into existence only during the past seventy years. (Curiously enough, that is also the approximate age of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, but I won’t explore that coincidence because I’ve already exceeded the Alienation Quotient for this month.) I am well aware of the argument which contends that distinctions between amateurs and professionals are wrong, because after all, every professional started as an amateur. This is quite true. It is also true that the page you are currently reading began as wood pulp, but if you think that wood pulp is the same as printed text then I’d hate to see your library."


I still think he's right, but then again I'm just an amateur!!!

Av

AV, I also think he is right.  Paying dues was always, and should always be part of the process of growth.

 

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Reply with quote  #35 
Would it be beneficial to hear a lay-persons response to this question? 
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Reply with quote  #36 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterman
Would it be beneficial to hear a lay-persons response to this question? 


Do you mean the question about paying dues?  Not sure I understand the question you are referring to.

Or do you mean the state of magic or whether it is doing well or not?  

In any case, a lay-person's perspective is  always instructive!
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Reply with quote  #37 
Mbreggar- thanks! Thanks guys. I'm not always a crybaby. Something about that night set me off. Ray, hanging with Al Schneider. Very cool
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #38 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelblue
Mbreggar- thanks! Thanks guys. I'm not always a crybaby. Something about that night set me off. Ray, hanging with Al Schneider. Very cool


Al was very nice to speak with.  He had a few minutes because his girlfriend at the time was taking a nap.  So he was just hanging out in the lobby demoing some new moves and getting reactions.  If you have never seen Al perform live I can only tell you it is an experience not easily forgotten.  He works slowly, naturally and never says anything funny but folks laugh because they cannot believe what he is doing.  Many magicians scratch their heads and laypeople have no chance.

I remember attending a David Roth lecture and we all just sat and watched him demonstrate his handling of the ROV vanish.  You get a giddy feeling because you know exactly what he is doing but it just looks too good to be true.  Same way with watching Al work.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Bear
It's always been my understanding that an 'amateur' is someone who performs his skills as a hobby, and maybe has the odd paid gig at weekends etc, just to cover expenses and maybe make a few bucks profit, and that the 'professional' is someone who performs full time, charges higher fees, and depends on gigs/engagements for their livelihood.  But it seems as if a lot of folks think that a 'Professional' is someone who is far more skillful than an 'amateur'. I do not see it like that at all.

Jack.


Jack, you are correct that whether one is paid has no bearing on whether they are good or not.  
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Mbreggar

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Reply with quote  #40 
"But it seems as if a lot of folks think that a 'Professional' is someone who is far more skillful than an 'amateur'"


Jack -- I will remember that the next time the IRS wants me to pay taxes on my magical stuff! "Hey, you can't tax me, IRS person! I'm not that talented!"  [biggrin]

As I said earlier, the art is littered with amateurs who have created and performed some of the best magic you will ever see and who have absolutely moved the art form ahead by miles and miles.

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Reply with quote  #41 
If I recall history, Marlo was mostly an amatuer.
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelblue
If I recall history, Marlo was mostly an amatuer.


I believe Marlo's day job was a machinist. He did work in a magic shop for a time and of course had dozens of publications. Definitely not a full time working pro.
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Reply with quote  #44 
Amachers
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #45 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blathermist


Or possibly armatures.


Armatures, shocking!
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #46 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senor Fabuloso
Magic has no wellness. It simply is. Magicians on the other hand, are another story. Things are moving forward. Submitted for your approval is this
I'm a fan of X and see the craft moving in this direction. A combination of media, technology, influence and shared experiences all meld together, to give our audiences visceral sensations common to us all. This is how magic becomes meaningful by relating and connecting to one another through the art.

Imo this is where the future of magic is going and it's up to each and everyone of us, to take responsibility for that movement.


OK, I don't want to be a naysayer, but I have to be honest about my feelings on this one.  I think the performance was OK, but it didn't really turn me on that much.  And as for this becoming the future of magic, I can't say that I agree.  As a novelty act, this was fine, but I could not see watching any more of it or multiple performers doing the same type of thing.

I'm all for tying in messages with magic.  It has been done before.  Some weave patriotism into effects, some religion and I've even seen performances that deal with (or attempt to) social issues.  There is also "trade show" magic where corporate themes and/or products are tied to performances.

But if this becomes more commonplace I think it loses a lot of the impact and once the novelty wears off, the attention goes with it.

I admire the mixing of visual, aural and tactile effects and can see why it might appeal to some.  To me, not the kind of magic I want to see.

Just my $0.2 and I'm happy to be wrong if I am.  

Hoping my opinion is met with gentleness and respect because that is the spirit in which it is offered.


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Reply with quote  #47 
Don't sweat it, Ray. I'm with you. This may well be the future of magic - who can say? - but if so, then I'll stay stuck in the past. It left me feeling a bit bewildered, but only at the audience's bewilderment. 

Av
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Reply with quote  #48 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
AV, I have a question regarding your post.  Back in the day, when you wanted to see someone perform you either had to go find them or wait until they came to your town for an IBM/SAM lecture.  Now you can pull up video on youtube.  Is that one reason why certain conventions don't hold the appeal they once did?

Arguments can be made that either way it is progress.  But the flavor is different somehow.


Magic conventions are amazingly expensive to host.  Made even more difficult by the limited people interested.  (magic is a very small community).  Other industries can get sponsors etc which eases the price tag for the host.  

In order to break even or make money the price of admission has to be very high.  Gone are the days when one can book a top lecturer for 250.00 and a meal.  (Even though a good lecturer can make tons of money on sales alone).

Then what is the real incentive to attend.  Like you said, you can pull up anyone on youtube, the dealers room used to be the draw at any magic convention.  Now why would I spend time and money going to a convention when I can get most of what I want shipped free on amazon?

Magic always has ups and downs.  Magic is also a recessionary business.  When people start losing jobs, the hobbiests go pro to make a little extra money, they use that to buy more product, which in turn drives the industry.  

Right now magic is on a high, with shows like Fool Me. The Carbanaro effect, a few on netflix,  magicians like Shim Lim on the reality shows, look how many magicians get on those.  There are magicians still working conventions, on the cruise ships, in restaurants, Vegas baby. 

Plus there are tv shows and movies about magic, (doesn't matter if they feature actual magicians or not)  they all help drive the business forward.  

Magic, and the business of magic has changed.  Thankfully otherwise it would stagnate and die.  

My little town of State College PA hosts two magic clubs and a few working magicians. 

Your question however is not unique or new.  I've been fielding that question for 40 plus years now, and the answer has not changed. 

Magic is doing just fine. 






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Buffalo McKinley

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Reply with quote  #49 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
 

The internet has thrown open previously unimaginable doors. We have forums like this one, where the like-minded from around the world assemble virtually to discuss our shared passions, and perhaps more importantly learn from some of the art's best and brightest. We can access mentors on the other side of the planet, watch video clips of classic effects by the superstars of yesteryear. While eschewed by some, ebooks are opening new markets for authors and creators. (Those wooden shoes tossed into the gears aren't doing a thing to slow down production!)

I've loved magic since first being introduced to it way back when long-haired hominids roamed the earth, and doubt that love will fade or change. When I see beginners join this site and share their enthusiasm, it makes me smile.

Av    



Absolutely!

I was into magic briefly as a kid.  I really liked it, but I found the books and diagrams extremely confusing....I just couldn't get it.  I know others can.

Also, who do you turn to for advice?

Now, I can see actually what the effect looks like, get expert instruction and get advice from the sages in this forum.

Incredible.

My son and I actually got into magic shortly after watching "Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed" on Netflix.

Some of you may cringe at that statement, and I can't blame you, but it inspired both of us to start learning magic.

Thanks to everyone who manages this forum and the members who have provided invaluable help!

-Buffalo
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Reply with quote  #50 
Ray and Anthony

I'll let Marc know the next time I see him how unimpressed you are, with his performances. I'm sure he will be crushed and want to end his career immediately.

You see some of us perform for the real world and don't really care, what magicians think? Then again others are but shells of men, ready to crumble at the slightest barb.

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