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Socrates

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If you find yourself minus all your cards, coins, tricks, and gimmicks - would you still consider yourself to be a magician?  And a more intriguing question is what does it mean to you to be a magician?  
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #2 
Yes, because you can create magic with just words. 

If you don't believe me, walk up to someone and tell them how you like something about them; nice shirt, nice hair, nice whatever. Just don't make it crude. 
It will put a smile on that person's face and make them walk a little taller. 

On the other hand, walk up to someone and tell them that something on or about them looks stupid; shirt, haircut, whatever and it usually has the opposite effect of the above. 

Or you can choose to do nothing. 

In that sense, we're all potential magicians. 
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
If you find yourself minus all your cards, coins, tricks, and gimmicks - would you still consider yourself to be a magician?  And a more intriguing question is what does it mean to you to be a magician?  


As we've discussed here a few times, you don't need props to do magic.  Or shouldn't.  Believe it or not, there were magicians before Murphy's!

I digress.  So let me share a quick story that happened last year when I had traveled to Georgia for my wife's cousin's birthday.  We stayed at my wife's aunt's house.  Charming cabin-style home up in the mountains of northern GA.  The aunt's boyfriend is very nice and we share a lot of interests.  I do some leatherwork, and he is a knifemaker.  So as we were talking about magic he mentioned that he is a fan of Shin Lim.  Blew me away because I didn't expect that to come out of him.  We talked about magic for a bit and I remembered I had a small pen knife in my pocket.  I pulled it out and showed it to him.  I asked him if he could fix my knife.  I then proceeded to show him that it had a Buck insignia on both sides.  He looked surprised, knowing that it is only supposed to be on one side.  So I asked if he could remove one so that it looked like this, as I made the insignia vanish.  I then showed that both insignias were gone, both sides now blank.  He was perplexed.  It really caught him by surprise.

So with only a single, normal pocket knife, I was able to fashion a multi-phase routine based of course on the paddle move with a couple fancy twists added for good measure.

If I cared to, I could have borrowed a few coffee cups and some dollar bills or napkins and done cups and balls.  

There is always something you can do.  You might have to improvise, but I believe the mystery and the impact are commensurate.  When you can do magic they don't expect, it heightens the reaction.
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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #4 
I know we live in the age of plastic, but does everybody venture out without cash? I doubt it and I certainly don't. So coins aren't gimmicks and neither are handkerchieves. Coin-Through-Hank has been a favourite of mine forever. Ditto, ungimmicked pen and/or pencil through hank.

On the subject of writing implements, a sheet of paper and any number of bits and bobs come to mind. First and foremost, Magic Square.

At the dining table, or in the kitchen, a few pieces of tissue on a table knife, and much like Rayj we have a paddle routine. With tissue and glass or cup, we're ready for glass/cup through table. Enough cups and tissues and we've got cups and balls.

And on it goes. Rubber bands?

And while I'm here...."What does it mean to you to be a magician?"

Well, a very deep and meaningful question to be sure, but I don't have a deep and meaningful response. I know I'm a let-down to all the philosophers out there, but that's me. A suitable case for treatment. [smile]
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #5 
I love topics like this because I continue to think about them as my day unfolds.  I was thinking this might make a good stand-alone thread, but actually it fits here perfectly.

Over the years I've come to believe I'm a magician not because of what I do, but because it's who I am.  It goes way deeper than "doing a trick" for someone.  It is a mindset, a constant one, not one I turn off and on.

Maybe a silly example, and I've mentioned it before, but I cannot visit a department or hardware store without imagining all of the magical things I could do with normal everyday objects that line their shelves.  Over the weekend I had to visit a store and I saw a bunch of ID card holders with reels attached.  The wheels began turning.

Doing magic doesn't make you a magician any more than painting a room makes you an artist.  It is something deeper, something which permeates nearly every facet of your life.  


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GregB

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Reply with quote  #6 
Alan, the only time I have cash on me anymore is if I'm doing a magic trick with it haha, other than that I never carry cash. 

If you are worried about getting stuck without any props and not being able to do any magic when asked, learn a quick mentalism effect. I have a "which hand" effect that is pretty fun and doesn't require anything but something small for the other person to hold, which you can find just about anywhere you're at. 
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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #7 
“Magic is not what I do, but what I am.”

Jeff Mcbride

Like Ray, I have a little birthday party story:

In a birthday party of a friend of my son, they were playing using imaginary coins, has if they were selling things.
They were playing with the adult as well.
Then, I had the idea of taking secretly a real 1 euro coin from my pocket. So, when one of them offered me the imaginary coin, I did a quick movement taking the imaginary coin from his hand and showing the real one. I said:
"Hey, it wasn't an imaginary coin; it was real!"
They were astonished. Even the adult people were amazed althought they might know how I did that.

Well, magic is YOU. Not your props.

There is a great diference between being a magician and being a magical props handler.

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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks for all your replies so far.  Most of you are still referring to tricks you can do utilising everyday objects which is a great concept, however I did mention minus your tricks, but I like the examples of people using their ingenuity to perform with what is available wherever you happen to find yourself... and I'll be honest, this was a very important question I considered for many years... and one I think would make a good topic all of it's own, although I would imagine it has been answered on many different occasions, in various forums by numerous magicians.

So heading back to the beginning of the thread, and returning to my initial point - minus the actual performance of any tricks/magic, would you still consider yourself to be a magician?  And the continuation of that question, what does it mean to you to be a magician?  

Ray has begun to delve deeper into the question beginning to talk about the mindset of a being a magician, and I find that quite intriguing - what does the magician's mindset entail? 


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #9 
As magicians, we can be the source of amazement whether we choose to use props or not as EVILDAN pointed out in another thread with his 'mental coin flip prediction'.

As far as the world, it is full of magical experiences.  Ask anyone who has seen the northern lights or the southern lights.  But it doesn't have to be that grandiose.  How about the mushrooms that appear when the air is thick with humidity?  You'd swear they weren't there just a second ago.  Dandelions do that too but aren't as much fun. [mad]

What is really cool is when we as magicians weave the wonders of nature into our magical presentations.  Much like the Dr. Sawa seashell trick I linked the other day, or the Doug Henning sand effect.


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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #10 
Meir Yedid's vanishing finger(s) comes to mind. Talk about organic! 

Are we allowed to ask "Do you have a coin?" or are we talking about magic at the nudist camp? Then it's back to Meir, which BTW, is a great totally impromptu trick. There are other tricks with fingers and body parts too. Like putting your finger through your ear lobe etc. 

Mike
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Waterman

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Reply with quote  #11 
Is a guitar player still a musician if she isn't with her instrument? Is a doctor still a doctor without his stethoscope and lab coat? Is Superman still Superman when dressed as mild mannered reporter Clark Kent??

As magicians we seem to be more susceptible to being put on the spot to prove our skills. I have friends and relatives who I can always count on to bring up the fact that I am a magician when we are in a social setting. In one respect it's flattering, but in another it can be very annoying. They don't expect their artist friend in attendance to paint a group portrait, or the author of the family to write a few pages of fiction for everyone to read, but I am expected to always have a deck of cards or a few coins to entertain with at the drop of a hat, even if the only thing I want to discuss is the NBA playoffs and have a few beers! 

Its taken for granted that the artist can paint and the writer can write, but for some reason the magician is expected to perform like a trained seal. Long story short, I avoid bringing props, or performing impromptu with objects found around the house when I go to social gatherings...especially where it's common knowledge that I am a magician. Am I still a magician in this context? I believe I am as much a magician without a deck of cards as a comedian is still funny without needing to tell jokes. 


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chris w

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Reply with quote  #12 
I think I would consider myself a magician even in the absence of "tricks" as such, for the way my mind tends to turn toward finding opportunities to give people surprising, memorable experiences that feel personal to them.

There's magic just in noticing others and trying to imagine what you could say or do for them that would be meaningful. There's a game I often play while walking city streets of singling out individuals in my attention and wondering "What would this person most like to hear right now?" Sometimes I come up with something, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I find a way to say it, sometimes I don't. But it's a constant practice of training attention toward others, toward noticing, toward presence.
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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #13 
Mind/Body magic is an lucrative area to investigate - and as Ray says weaving the wonders of nature into our performances is really cool.  In fact I believe you will find this is the direction in which magic will begin to flow as people are becoming more aware of our connection to nature in recent times.  As magicians we are in a unique position, we can choose to follow the old patterns of performing, or lead our audiences and other magicians into new areas.  There is much more to this world of magic in which we find ourselves than card and coin tricks... magic is a state of mind, and their is a definite reciprocation between our thoughts and the actions we take... it is only a matter of time before the paradigm shifts.
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SamtheNotasBadasIWas

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Reply with quote  #14 
It seems that most people seem to think that being a magician is based on what you are, and not what you do. But, to me, that begs the question of how to be a magician if you aren't doing magic? Can someone be a magician who has never done any tricks?

I am not arguing here, just thinking out loud.

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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #15 
If I understand the question, I would have to go out on a limb and say “no.” A craftsman needs his tools. Now those include both the physical tools (saw and hammer) as well as the skills and knowledge required to use them effectively, and perhaps even the conception of design - the intent beyond their use. I would not consider you a carpenter or plumber or teacher or doctor if you had none of these tools. For an actor, for example, tools could include voice, body, ability to memorize, courage, costume, etc. I realize that this is a wide definition of “cards, coins, tricks, and gimmicks.” But without them, I don’t think you can claim to be a magician. A Marxist might refer to them as the “means of production.”

However, I don’t think that those tools are the most important element in the making of a magician. Rather, it seems to me, that some people have a strong drive to inspire delight through creating the appearance for a moment that something that cannot occur is happening. If you think about it, this is completely bizarre. It represents an overwhelming desire to do something that in practical terms is useless (it produces no apparent physical effect such as food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and yet requires intense effort (e.g. learning a good bottom deal). I suffer from this malady, and I suspect many of you do as well. It seems to me, that this peculiar madness is the prerequisite for becoming a magician through the acquisition of the tools.
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Socrates

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Reply with quote  #16 
Lots of great responses. I guess my definition of a magician is broader than most here. Magic is a state of mind and the art of magic requires no tricks as astonishment and transformation can come in many guises.
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SamtheNotasBadasIWas

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
Lots of great responses. I guess my definition of a magician is broader than most here. Magic is a state of mind and the art of magic requires no tricks as astonishment and transformation can come in many guises.


Your ideas seem to be more Jungian in construction, that is the Magician as an archetype of one who is a wise creator in the world. Channeling my inner Joseph Cambell, I would guess you would see the stories a magician tells as the real magic and the tricks, which are ultimately optional, are there to facilitate the telling of the story, or the presentation of the drama, as Henning Nelms might say.

But does that make the guy just pulling rabbits out of a hat less of a magician? I don't know. Maybe being a magician is not a single thing but something tht exists in a spectrum.


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