Sign up Latest Topics Chat
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
Kenneth Lee

Member
Registered:
Posts: 24
Reply with quote  #1 
I've noticed a trend in magic that I'm sure many of you have noticed as well. In fact, I'm equally sure that opinions regarding this trend are varied and strong. As you might have guessed after reading my subject line, I'm talking about the difference between magic that primarily impresses people and magic that actually creates a sense of genuine astonishment, even if it's only for a moment. I'm not saying you can't do both, but when I have to choose (in selecting a repertoire, for example), it's more important to me to actually try to create at least a moment of genuine astonishment than to impress someone with my technical prowess.

Granted, I don't have much technical prowess anyway. I probably could if I practiced more, but I have to ask myself whether any particular trick I might want to learn is really worth the effort I anticipate it might take. Provided a move doesn't require a knack for which my hands just aren't built, I'm willing to put in the effort as long as at least one trick I can use it in is one I genuinely believe will in fact create that fleeting moment of astonishment for most reasonably intelligent participants. (By the way, it seems that too many magicians underestimate the intelligence of the lay audience when, in reality, people are just being nice to them.)

On the other hand, a lot of magic these days seems more and more like little more than juggling. On the other hand, a lot of magic these days seems more and more like little more than juggling. Even though some "move monkeys," may be hesitant to admit this painful truth, some applications are so poorly constructed that they wouldn't fool most people even when executed smoothly and flawlessly. I bet if, every now and then, magicians would make a regular habit of pulling a spectator aside and asking, "If you had to guess, how do you think I did that?" it would be an eye-opening experience to say the least. 

Of course, this tension begs a question that isn't easy to answer. How does one predict whether a particular piece is actually going to create that moment of astonishment for most people? Obviously, performing it will provide some evidence either way, but I don't have all the time in the world. I'm also an English teacher, and I (like most of you) have interests other than magic. How then, does a person decide whether a trick has enough potential for astonishment to be worth the time to learn it in the first place? I think part of the answer must be that the construction of a trick with a good potential for astonishment is such that it incorporates what I heard Ammar call "multiple layers of deception." As an extremely basic example, consider the strength of combining gimmicks and sleight of hand or sleight of hand and psychological (or mathematical) subtleties.

At the simplest level, try to see every new trick to which you're exposed through the eyes of an intelligent person attempting to reverse engineer it. Would you run into enough mental road blocks to force your brain to give up, sending you down what Tamariz calls "the rabbit hole?" If not, consider restructuring the routine to add in additional layers of deception. If you can't think of a way to do that, perhaps you should simply move on to a piece with a higher potential for astonishment.

Kenn
0
Robin Dawes

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,645
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Kenn

Thanks for the very thought-provoking post.  I think a lot of people focus on the astonishment factor of magic, and that is a good thing.

But it's not just a choice between amazing and impressing.  There are many other potential reactions we can aspire to evoke in our audiences: joy, sorrow, fear, anger, affection, glee, nostalgia, etc etc. It's an interesting exercise to pick a desired emotional response and try to design a magical effect and presentation that is aimed at that.

Here's Ryan Hayashi on Fool Us: 
He pumps so much emotional engagement into Matrix that it's almost overwhelming.

Eugene Burger's book The Experience of Magic is devoted to this question:  what do we want our audience to experience when we perform magic? 

Robin
0
Kenneth Lee

Member
Registered:
Posts: 24
Reply with quote  #3 
Robin,

Thank YOU for your thoughtful response!

You're right, and what a great video you've shared! I completely agree that one should strive, whenever, possible, to create a theatrical experience that goes even further than astonishment itself. I guess what I'm trying to say is that without astonishment, whatever it is we're doing isn't what I would call magic. I know hundreds (if not thousands) before me have made this point, but I guess words like juggling and puzzles are more apt in the absence of astonishment. 

The magician in the video you shared, however, supports our claims beautifully. As you've noted, he creates an experience that does more than astonish. For a lay audience, however (not to mention more than a few magicians), he definitely includes astonishment. 

I guess what I dislike is the kind of magic that merely confuses the spectators. It's like Vernon famously said, "Confusion is not magic." Of course, I haven't met anyone at this forum who doesn't already do a good job of including astonishment, so I'm probably preaching to the choir here. :-)

Kenn



0
Mike Powers

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,549
Reply with quote  #4 
Kenn - I'm with you on the importance of astonishment. Robin correctly pointed out that many emotions can be involved in a performance of magic. But as you pointed out, astonishment is what comes from the magic itself. 

Mike
0
Anthony Vinson

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,150
Reply with quote  #5 

Astonishment. We magicians see it as the grail, when in fact, I think, it is the cost. Astonishment isn’t difficult to accomplish, but to do so requires supplanting one’s own sense of wonder with another’s.

For me, empathy is the grail. “How will this make a spectator feel?” Achieving that end requires setting aside ego – it’s not about me – and instead focusing on the other person. If I want them to experience astonishment, I can quickly vanish a coin by way of a false transfer. But the astonishment is fleeting. Prolonging, and even amplifying, that sense requires a deep understanding of human psychology. Not in the formal sense, but rather in the universal. Astonishing another person means taking responsibility for their reaction and softening the blow to their senses. If we have truly astonished, we have temporarily upset their perception of reality. That’s why humor and whimsey are critical to the proper performance of magic.

Now, how do we turn that flash of feeling into a deeper emotional experience? How do we want them to feel later, when they replay the moment in their imaginations? What do we want them to remember? How do we want them to relate the experience to others? These questions, I think, can guide us toward answers that help us create magic that not only astonishes, but also inspires. For me, it’s storytelling.

We are all storytelling machines. Story is how we make sense of the world. It’s how we define ourselves. By constructing magic around stories – and I do not necessarily mean “story tricks” – we open direct channels of communication, allowing us to go deeper than the trick itself. We include them, make them a part of the magic, and touch their humanity. That’s the trick, and it is hard work.

Those of us who study magic know that it’s not in the props or the sleights or the secret; it’s in the execution. Everyone must answer for themselves the questions: Is the outcome worth the effort? And, Am I willing to accept responsibility for the emotions my performance elicits? Tailor your tricks accordingly, and you will be fine, I think.         

Av

0
Kenneth Lee

Member
Registered:
Posts: 24
Reply with quote  #6 

Quote:
We are all storytelling machines. Story is how we make sense of the world. It’s how we define ourselves. By constructing magic around stories – and I do not necessarily mean “story tricks” – we open direct channels of communication, allowing us to go deeper than the trick itself. We include them, make them a part of the magic, and touch their humanity. That’s the trick, and it is hard work.


As an English teacher, I certainly agree with you about the power of a great story. :-) I do wonder, though, why not just be a storyteller? Why do magic at all? What is it about the audience's experience at a magic show that makes it different from the experiences they have while enjoying other forms of entertainment? At the most basic level, I maintain that the simple sensation of mystery--of not knowing how what they thought they saw could possibly have happened--is the only thing that makes magic different from any other art form.

And so, I return to the foundation of astonishment. I never meant to insist that astonishing one's audience is all one can (or should) ever accomplish through performing magic, only that it is an absolutely essential ingredient of anything we're going to call a performance of magic. Otherwise, it may be juggling, storytelling, presenting a puzzle, or something else, but it isn't magic. 

I like you, and you write well. :-) I do, however, have two other tiny areas of respectful, slight disagreement with you:

Quote:
If I want them to experience astonishment, I can quickly vanish a coin by way of a false transfer. But the astonishment is fleeting.


Unless you go south with the coin, I've always believed that 99% of spectators immediately think, "Oh, okay. It's in his other hand." Therefore, this is not quite the kind of astonishment I'm talking about. :-) Paul Harris probably says what I'm trying to say a lot more effectively than I do in his essay at the beginning of The Art of Astonishment Volume 1, which brings me to another point of yours with which I respectfully disagree:

Quote:
If we have truly astonished, we have temporarily upset their perception of reality. That’s why humor and whimsey are critical to the proper performance of magic.


Dai Vernon once wrote that the only humor that belongs in magic is that which arises out of the situation (Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact source). I understand the mechanism of comedy as a release from the tension which arises after you "upset" a person's "perception of reality," but I believe some people need to have their perceptions of reality upset. Here, I think we as magicians can actually provide a powerful service to our fellow human beings simply by reminding them that things aren't always as they seem. Especially in this age where so few people ever allow themselves to be exposed to information that doesn't already support their previously established point of view, it can be a very healthy experience for a person to be reminded that every now and then, someone else knows something they don't (and that changing one's own point of view in light of new facts is actually intelligent and mature, not weak). 

For that reason, I like to let my audience linger in that uncertain place of not knowing. I don't want to relieve that tension too soon with a laugh. That's basically Harris' whole point in the aforementioned essay. I realize that you may disagree with me, but I hope you've enjoyed our discussion as much as I have and that we can be friends. What I like about you (aside from the fact that you write well) is that you think so deeply. Even if we don't 100% agree, I think everyone should think more deeply about whatever it is they're trying to do, magic or otherwise. It certainly seems like we agree on that. :-)

Kenn

0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,006
Reply with quote  #7 

Comedy born of bewilderment is the only comedy that should be in magic.

0
Michaelblue

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,292
Reply with quote  #8 
Impressed : card flourish kind os stuff

Amazed : Magic
0
Mike Powers

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,549
Reply with quote  #9 
Good points Anthony and Kenneth Lee. Surrounding magic with something else e.g. story can enhance the experience. However, it's also true that a simple "watch this" followed by something that really looks impossible, can be all that's needed to create the experience of magic. 

M
0
Paco Nagata

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 397
Reply with quote  #10 
EMPATHY. You said that, Anthony.
That's the key.
There was a time in my card magic performances I thought that a mathematical card magic effect would be labeled as "just impressing," so, not amazing. Whereas to amaze I had to transform a card into another or to change the colour of the back and things like that...
I discovered that I couldn't be more wrong after the following experience:

I did a little card magic show during a family meeting (a barbecue) in the summer of 1994. I was 18.
I performed "Dr Daley's Last Trick."
I had had always great reaction by that trick, but that time some of my cousins said:
- "Hey, man, you should have changed the cards in a moment we didn't notice, right?"
So, they weren't very impressed because of the dull comment of that guy (the guy you never want to meet in your magic shows).
I didn't say anything to EMPATHY with him. So, if that's not very impressive for him it is not impressive.
"The customer is always right."
It was disappointing for me, but something happened right after:

Some of them asked me for doing some more card magic.
Well, because of the presence of that "Evil" cousin of mine I preferred not to do anything "special" (from my point of view at that time), so I "just" performed a mathematical trick using the Bob Hummer "CATO Principle."
Amazing!!
Everybody, including my "Evil" cousin were amazed! He asked me a lot of time for explaining the trick!
My answer was: It was just magic!

So, the thing is that "Amazing" is what "they" say it is amazing, and "impressive"
is what "they" say it is impressive...

The customer is always right!

__________________
"The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician" https://bit.ly/2lXdO2O
"La pasion de un cartómago aficionado" https://bit.ly/2kkjpjn
Latest erratum corrections and improvements update, 16/06/2020
0
Kenneth Lee

Member
Registered:
Posts: 24
Reply with quote  #11 
Paco,

I should clarify that I, too, have had similar experiences. Part of the point I was originally trying to make is that so-called "simple" magic, like with the CATO (or TOAC) principle, can, to the lay audience, be more amazing than some of the knuckle-busting stuff which impresses us magicians. it's like I heard Michael Ammar say on one of his "beginner" videos, "Never underestimate the power of even the simplest magic."

Kenn
0
Anthony Vinson

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,150
Reply with quote  #12 

Kenn,

I don’t believe we disagree to any important degrees. In fact, it appears to me that we’re near enough to call it a draw. I also appreciate your kind words and compliments; I have worked hard to become a competent writer, and am happy to hear from a pro that my efforts are paying off!

So, why not just be a storyteller? Well, I believe that all arts and entertainments are, at heart, storytelling. Magic, music, songwriting, painting, prose and poetry… all steeped in storytelling, but using varying means and mediums of expression. What’s your muse, and how do you translate what it whispers in your ear from its perch on your shoulder, and then communicate it to the world? That’s your medium. For some of us, those fortunate enough to have been bitten by the magic murder hornet, it’s tricks. Ah, but how to provide those tricks with emotion? Ah, I know! Story.

I agree that the effect of magic is what matters most, but can’t the same be said of music? Or poetry? If we both read Emily Dickenson, we will likely raise our eyes from the page with at least a slightly different interpretation. (Perhaps Wallace Stevens is a better example, because who understands Stevens? Except maybe an English teacher.) But, hey, that’s poetry. With magic, we don’t want our audiences to walk away with different interpretations, and it is up to us to draw them in and direct them along the right path. Or the garden path, if you will.

Consider my earlier example of the simple vanish of a coin. You are correct; ditching or transforming or otherwise extending the effect beyond the vanish serves to further the narrative. That was my point, even if I didn’t make it clear. By extending the narrative (story) we craft our magic through story, providing room to create astonishment. Make sense? (I don’t mean “make sense” in the sense that you agree, but rather, have I made sense?!)

Dai Vernon said… Well, that’s cool. I am a fan of the writings of Emerson and Thoreau, but disagree with much of what they committed to paper. This despite my respect and admiration for both. Same with Vernon. Note that I wrote humor, and not comedy. Humor is the valve through which we relax and open our minds to possibilities. Humor is sort of a laxative for the mind, flushing away those preconceptions and dogma, and clearing space for things the likes of astonishment. And I agree with your desire to hold that dramatic tension a bit longer; that’s one of the keys to good humor, right? Timing. And delivery. Too soon is too bad. Too late? The same. Ah, art!

I think I’ve hit upon at least your most salient points. If I missed any you feel important, or failed to be clear, let me know. And to return a compliment, I responded to your post only because it was well written, well thought out, and intriguing. The philosophy and psychology of magic fascinate me to no end. Perhaps as much, if not more than, the tricks. There’s never a need to apologize for disagreement. I love learning, and so I love reasoned discussion and debate. It’s only doctrinaire pronouncements that ruffle my fur.

Looking forward to future discussions!

Av  

0
Anthony Vinson

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,150
Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paco Nagata
 

So, the thing is that "Amazing" is what "they" say it is amazing, and "impressive"
is what "they" say it is impressive...

The customer is always right!


Paco,

I couldn't agree more. Well said, and a great example. I had a similar experience decades ago. I was performing some [fairly] technical card work for a group of coworkers who were visibly less-than-impressed. One of them asked to borrow my deck and proceeded to blow the others away with a series of silly, simple mathematical tricks. Initially, my feelings were hurt and my ego bruised. But after some time to mull over the incident, I adopted a new attitude to what's generally referred to as self-working magic. Lesson learned!

Av
0
Robin Dawes

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,645
Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson

...

We are all storytelling machines. Story is how we make sense of the world. It’s how we define ourselves.

...

Av




Anthony, your posts in this stream reward multiple readings and much reflection - as usual!

I pulled out the line above not because it was the only important one, but because it gives me an opportunity to throw in one of the most powerful ideas I have personally come across regarding story-telling.   Powerful because it more or less overturned my way of thinking.

Yes, we are story-telling machines ... but what is the value of telling stories?  I had always blithely believed that the main purposes were entertainment, sharing memories and sharing information.

But then ... Rashomon.  In that film, a character says "We all want to forget something, so we tell stories.  It's easier that way."

Wham.  We tell stories to help us forget.  It still makes my head spin with the depth of its insight into what makes us human and how we carry the weight of our lives.
0
Mike Powers

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,549
Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Humor is sort of a laxative for the mind, flushing away those preconceptions and dogma, and clearing space for things the likes of astonishment.


Anthony - I'm putting this line into permanent memory.

One of the takeaways from what I've read above is that the mood of the audience greatly affects how they experience magic. That notion accentuates the importance of setting the stage properly before performing magic. All sorts of factors besides the effect itself go into how the magic is perceived. Tamariz is an expert on this subject.

M
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 626
Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson

With magic, we don’t want our audiences to walk away with different interpretations, and it is up to us to draw them in and direct them along the right path. Or the garden path, if you will.

 

But they do, they always have and they always will. An audience of two will draw their own inferences, conclusions, interpretations and no matter how much drawing in is attempted, they will go their own way. Up and down and across and over their own garden path.

0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 626
Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson

Humor is sort of a laxative for the mind, flushing away those preconceptions and dogma, and clearing space for things the likes of astonishment. And I agree with your desire to hold that dramatic tension a bit longer; that’s one of the keys to good humor, right? Timing. And delivery. Too soon is too bad. Too late? The same. Ah, art!



I note you said "humor", but anyway....

“Freud's theory was that a joke opens a window to the subconscious and all the beasts and bogeymen fly out and you get a marvellous sense of relief and elation.

The trouble with Freud is that he never played the old Glasgow Empire on a Saturday night after Rangers and Celtic had both lost."

Ken Dodd

0
John Cowne

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 419
Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
He pumps so much emotional engagement into Matrix that it's almost overwhelming.

;

Robin

“Almost overwhelmed”? Ryan broke the whelming barrier in my tiny mind less than a minute into his routine. He seemed to capture one of his idol’s key concepts - Bruce Lee often talked about focussing ‘emotional content’ (it wasn’t just a line from Enter the Dragon, although it was there) into his pursuit. Ryan did a remarkably clever job of transferring that attitude/skill from his martial arts background to his magic. I guess that’s another way of seeing how his own astonishment was ‘captured’ and shared with his audience. I also enjoyed Anthony’s assessment of what humour does within us, and saw in Ryan’s routine an excellent example of how humour raised the ‘emotional content’ to another level, wooing his audience into joining his enjoyment..his wonder. I’ve found every post in this thread absolutely enjoyable. A lot to think about. Thanks guys.
0
Anthony Vinson

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,150
Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee

But they do, they always have and they always will. An audience of two will draw their own inferences, conclusions, interpretations and no matter how much drawing in is attempted, they will go their own way. Up and down and across and over their own garden path.



Yes, and,  they do, they have, and they always will... but that's not what I said, is it? No, I said we don't want them to. And as my grandmother used to say, want in one hand, spit in the other, and see which fills up first. Only she didn't say spit. [wink]  

Av
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 626
Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


Yes, and,  they do, they have, and they always will... but that's not what I said, is it? No, I said we don't want them to. And as my grandmother used to say, want in one hand, spit in the other, and see which fills up first. Only she didn't say spit. [wink]  

Av


Indeed you did, and I certainly have no desire to get into a rage over this. Nor would I wish to drive you to any outrage, I have therefore amended the offending post.

Incidentally regarding whatever your grandmother said, was it an anagram of sips?

0
Anthony Vinson

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,150
Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee


Indeed you did, and I certainly have no desire to get into a rage over this. Nor would I wish to drive you to any outrage, I have therefore amended the offending post.

Incidentally regarding whatever your grandmother said, was it an anagram of sips?



Rage? Moi? Al, you never offend me - and that's not a challenge! I rather enjoy our repartee. And no; it was an anagram of hits. 

Av 
0
Paco Nagata

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 397
Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers


Anthony - I'm putting this line into permanent memory.

One of the takeaways from what I've read above is that the mood of the audience greatly affects how they experience magic. That notion accentuates the importance of setting the stage properly before performing magic. All sorts of factors besides the effect itself go into how the magic is perceived. Tamariz is an expert on this subject.

M

That's the first scatological metaphor I've ever heard that sounds great! (^_^)

Mike, you know that everybody that talk nice about Tamariz will be my friend for ever, right?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
Paco,

I couldn't agree more. Well said, and a great example. I had a similar experience decades ago. I was performing some [fairly] technical card work for a group of coworkers who were visibly less-than-impressed. One of them asked to borrow my deck and proceeded to blow the others away with a series of silly, simple mathematical tricks. Initially, my feelings were hurt and my ego bruised. But after some time to mull over the incident, I adopted a new attitude to what's generally referred to as self-working magic. Lesson learned!

Thank you Anthony! I have learnt quite a few lessons by means of bad experiences, but I try not to talk much about it because of embarrassment feeling, whereas you are very brave to talk about yours.

When I was a teenager, a cousin of mine told me something devastating that, nevertheless, made me increase my magical maturity enormously, and I think it's worth to tell here:
"You can't be a magician... because you are a "normal" guy... magicians are those special guys that appear on TV shows... You may do just tricks..."

And that was, maybe, the very first time I started thinking about writting a book about how is it to be "just" a family amateur card magician in contrast with how must it be to be a professional.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson

...
We are all storytelling machines. Story is how we make sense of the world. It’s how we define ourselves.

...

Av




Anthony, your posts in this stream reward multiple readings and much reflection - as usual!

I pulled out the line above not because it was the only important one, but because it gives me an opportunity to throw in one of the most powerful ideas I have personally come across regarding story-telling. Powerful because it more or less overturned my way of thinking.

Yes, we are story-telling machines ... but what is the value of telling stories? I had always blithely believed that the main purposes were entertainment, sharing memories and sharing information.

I have been performing card magic along with tales frecuently since ever.
I remember a nephew of mine told me once:

"Can you tell us some of your card tales, please?"

As you can see, they were so implied in my tales that the concept of magic became just a kind of adorndment!

So, from that I learnt something quite intereting:

A magic show doesn't have to be just a magic show; It could be considered simply a show. A show with:
Storytelling, humor and magic. So, a show.

How cares if your people consider it a magic show or just a show?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
But then ... Rashomon. In that film, a character says "We all want to forget something, so we tell stories. It's easier that way."

Wham. We tell stories to help us forget. It still makes my head spin with the depth of its insight into what makes us human and how we carry the weight of our live

Kichijirô Ueda, the commoner with the conversation with the priest. I have seen that movie at least 10 times (the last 9 times with my wife).
Curiously, that line may reflect how magicians make the viewers forget "little" things.



__________________
"The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician" https://bit.ly/2lXdO2O
"La pasion de un cartómago aficionado" https://bit.ly/2kkjpjn
Latest erratum corrections and improvements update, 16/06/2020
0
Mike Powers

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,549
Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Mike, you know that everybody that talk nice about Tamariz will be my friend for ever, right?


Glad we're now friends Paco! Ever since I first saw Juan at 4F many years ago I have been a fan. He's at the top of the list of my favorites. I have a good story about Juan that I'll detail sometime. 

Mike
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 626
Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


Rage? Moi? Al, you never offend me - and that's not a challenge! I rather enjoy our repartee. And no; it was an anagram of hits. 

Av 


I recall a Jerry Sadowitz book called Cards Hit. I might still have it somewhere.
0
Tom G

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 1,284
Reply with quote  #25 
I learned an important lesson.  We stopped procedures for a short while as there was an electrical problem in the recovery rooms.  So there was a bunch of us in the break room.  There was the usual deck of cards on the table and one of the nurses picked it up and asked another to pick a card... I instantly became interested.  He had the card put back and the deck behind his back and came out with the card.  It was pretty roughly done, but he got accolades from miracle to real magic.  Who'd a thought.
0
RayJ

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 4,006
Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom G
I learned an important lesson.  We stopped procedures for a short while as there was an electrical problem in the recovery rooms.  So there was a bunch of us in the break room.  There was the usual deck of cards on the table and one of the nurses picked it up and asked another to pick a card... I instantly became interested.  He had the card put back and the deck behind his back and came out with the card.  It was pretty roughly done, but he got accolades from miracle to real magic.  Who'd a thought.


Magic, when least expected can be very strong.  If you are known as a magician, then a lot is expected of you.  A nurse can do a simple trick and get a strong reaction because they are not known that way.  Very cool story
0
Buffalo McKinley

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 230
Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenneth Lee
...it's more important to me to actually try to create at least a moment of genuine astonishment than to impress someone with my technical prowess.

Granted, I don't have much technical prowess anyway. I probably could if I practiced more, but I have to ask myself whether any particular trick I might want to learn is really worth the effort I anticipate it might take. Provided a move doesn't require a knack for which my hands just aren't built, I'm willing to put in the effort as long as at least one trick I can use it in is one I genuinely believe will in fact create that fleeting moment of astonishment for most reasonably intelligent participants....



You raise some reasonable questions and people much more experienced than me have provided their sagacious insights.

Recently, I asked a similar question regarding how to see things from the audiences perspective when you are familiar with the secrets of how tricks are performed.

When evaluating effort vs. impact, one other thing to keep in mind is something a stand-up comedy teacher told a class I was in....you need to go for the laughs that are important to you.  I've thought about that comment many, many times over the years.

Many people would think a laugh is a laugh, just like money is money.

I could do really base jokes (and probably have a few times) and get a great reaction from the audience.  Or I could put a lot of trial and error into jokes that are unique and thought provoking and risky.  Easy joke vs. hard joke.  Is there a difference between the laughs elicited by those two approaches?

If you study and work hard and make a million dollars doing something you love, is that million dollars any different than if you inherited it?

The audience reaction is essential to choosing the types of tricks you want to perform, but also essential is the value you place on those tricks, no?

I could buy a self-working trick that astonishes just as much as the trick I perform with the diagonal palm shift or the Elmsley count (thanks, Ray!).  However, the self-working tricks don't bring me nearly as much enjoyment as the tricks that required many hours of practice.

-Buffalo
0
Mike Powers

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,549
Reply with quote  #28 
A couple of posts in this thread have alluded to lay people performing a trick after the magician has performed a trick. I suspect that most of us have had a spectator say, "Hey. I know a trick too. Give me the cards." 

Contemplate this: If Eric Clapton had just finished playing a tune at a party, how many guitar players would say, "Hey Eric, I'm a guitar player too. Give me the guitar." This would likely also be true of an unknown but highly skilled player. An amateur would not want to jump in after the professional had performed and say, "Now watch me."

The question is - Why do so many people who know one trick want to grab the deck after the pro does magic?

Mike


0
Anthony Vinson

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,150
Reply with quote  #29 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffalo McKinley



When evaluating effort vs. impact, one other thing to keep in mind is something a stand-up comedy teacher told a class I was in....you need to go for the laughs that are important to you.  I've thought about that comment many, many times over the years.

The audience reaction is essential to choosing the types of tricks you want to perform, but also essential is the value you place on those tricks, no?

...self-working tricks don't bring me nearly as much enjoyment as the tricks that required many hours of practice.


Shouldn't both factors play a role? I should think so. Selecting material that is personally meaningful, but lackluster to an audience, is akin to onanism. Selecting material that is personally lackluster, but geared toward maximum audience impact, is artistic sophistry. The mid-ground, or perhaps better said, the balance point, would be material that is personally satisfying, and also compelling for an audience. I see no reason that his balance shouldn't be the grail. Play hard. Play fair. Everybody wins. Otherwise, why play?

Av    


0
Anthony Vinson

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,150
Reply with quote  #30 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
 The question is - Why do so many people who know one trick want to grab the deck after the pro does magic? 


Good analogy. I have thought a lot about this question. It's the same with storytelling. I can't tell you the number of times I have been approached after a performance by an audience member certain that they are already a master storyteller. No, they're not. Not unless they've put in the practice, the study, the flight time... And even then "master" may not be the proper title. Still.

Here's my evolving answer: it looks easy from the outside. Some Dunning-Kruger switch in the brain flips, convincing people that they already possess the skills and knowledge necessary to be every bit as good as the gal or guy onstage, or at the table, or ditching the coin. AKA Dunning-Kruger.

I suspect the same thing happens with professional athletes or Olympians. Or dancers. Or actors and actresses. When someone has worked to achieve the skill necessary to perform and meaningfully entertain an audience, they have subsequently developed the ability to make it look easy. Even when it isn't. 

Av 

0
Buffalo McKinley

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 230
Reply with quote  #31 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


Good analogy. I have thought a lot about this question. It's the same with storytelling. I can't tell you the number of times I have been approached after a performance by an audience member certain that they are already a master storyteller. No, they're not. Not unless they've put in the practice, the study, the flight time... And even then "master" may not be the proper title. Still.

Here's my evolving answer: it looks easy from the outside. Some Dunning-Kruger switch in the brain flips, convincing people that they already possess the skills and knowledge necessary to be every bit as good as the gal or guy onstage, or at the table, or ditching the coin. AKA Dunning-Kruger.

I suspect the same thing happens with professional athletes or Olympians. Or dancers. Or actors and actresses. When someone has worked to achieve the skill necessary to perform and meaningfully entertain an audience, they have subsequently developed the ability to make it look easy. Even when it isn't. 

Av 



I'm not familiar with Dunning-Kruger, but I'm guessing it's pretty much Kramer vs. Kramer all over again.  ;-)

Regarding the point you and Mike are making, this is pretty much a guy thing, isn't it?  How often do you see women have the arrogance of thinking they're really good at something without the requisite many hours of training or experience?

-Buffalo
0
Anthony Vinson

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,150
Reply with quote  #32 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffalo McKinley


I'm not familiar with Dunning-Kruger, but I'm guessing it's pretty much Kramer vs. Kramer all over again.  ;-)

Regarding the point you and Mike are making, this is pretty much a guy thing, isn't it?  How often do you see women have the arrogance of thinking they're really good at something without the requisite many hours of training or experience?

-Buffalo


Dunning-Kruger is worth learning about. Explains a lot.

In the storytelling world, which is disproportionately female, it's not at all unusual!

Av
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 626
Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


Here's my evolving answer: it looks easy from the outside. Some Dunning-Kruger switch in the brain flips, convincing people that they already possess the skills and knowledge necessary to be every bit as good as the gal or guy onstage, or at the table, or ditching the coin. 



That's why karoake was created, to show how truly easy it all is.
0
Buffalo McKinley

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 230
Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


Dunning-Kruger is worth learning about. Explains a lot.

In the storytelling world, which is disproportionately female, it's not at all unusual!

Av



The identification derived from the cognitive bias evident in the criminal case of McArthur Wheeler, who robbed banks while his face was covered with lemon juice, which he believed would make it invisible to the surveillance cameras. This belief was based on his misunderstanding of the chemical properties of lemon juice as an invisible ink.[2]


The fool!  Everyone knows that you need to cover your face in lime juice to make it invisible, not lemon juice.

Margarita's will work in a pinch.

-Buffalo
0
Paco Nagata

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 397
Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
The question is - Why do so many people who know one trick want to grab the deck after the pro does magic?

Mike



Well, I think that if someone from your family audience knows a magic trick, he or she would desire to contribute with the Magic Show with it. Every time that it has happened to me during my magic shows I have reacted as a regular spectator applauding and showing amazement. I think that's ok as long as anybody don't say scornfully something like:
"I know how that trick is done."
I've NEVER said something like that to anybody, because it would damage the art of magic.
If you just applaud whoever does a magic trick, you will always contribute positively to this art. And, the most important thing: you will get the sympathy and support as a magician from anyone.

__________________
"The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician" https://bit.ly/2lXdO2O
"La pasion de un cartómago aficionado" https://bit.ly/2kkjpjn
Latest erratum corrections and improvements update, 16/06/2020
0
Mike Powers

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,549
Reply with quote  #36 
Paco - I agree that when someone steps up to the plate and performs a trick after you have shown something excellent, you should support them. 

I'm wondering if these episodes show that people don't appreciate the skill you have. What's the old line? "Magic is easy when you know the secret." 

Another question: If the magician had been introduced as a world class magician who's in town performing at Lincoln Center. Or a magician who had fooled Penn and Teller, or had been on the David Letterman show etc. Would that lay person feel comfortable asking for the deck and showing the 21 Card Trick? I doubt it. I think that these phenomena are indicative of a lack of respect for the magician's talent. This is probably due to ignorance. When an expert plays a musical instrument, their talent is manifest. This isn't usually true with magic. Who knows whether the magic is in the hands or in the props?

Mike
0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 626
Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers


Contemplate this: If Eric Clapton had just finished playing a tune at a party, how many guitar players would say, "Hey Eric, I'm a guitar player too. Give me the guitar." This would likely also be true of an unknown but highly skilled player. An amateur would not want to jump in after the professional had performed and say, "Now watch me."



For what it’s worth:

Among other non-magic books I’m rereading is “Always Magic In The Air,” by Ken Emerson. It’s a look at 14 of the major songwriters of the very early 1960s. including Sedaka/Greenfield, Pomus/Shuman, Mann/Weill and Goffin/King.

Backstage at Carnegie Hall, following a Dylan concert, Goffin was chatting to Dylan..….

“Meanwhile King picked up Dylan’s guitar and started to strum. Her presumption, Goffin recalled, incensed Bob Neuwirth, one of Dylan’s most rabid acolytes.”So I had to rush to her defense.”

King wasn't an "amateur," but where were her manners?

Emerson makes no mention of Dylan's reaction, if any.

0
Alan Smithee

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 626
Reply with quote  #38 

Pack grabbers and pack-grabbing can be analysed from now until forever, but there isn’t an answer. It’s one of deepest philosophically, immutable laws of scientific baffledom. People do it and that’s it.

I can’t be bothered trying to fathom an answer to this deep and elusive mystery. It’s not worth the effort. And in truth I couldn’t care less.

That said, if I’m at a paid gig and someone wants to show me (and the rest of the gang) a trick, what do I care? It passes the time and keeps the customer happy. The object of the exercise. Especially if the graboid is the guy or gal who’s paying.

0
Mike Powers

Avatar / Picture

Honored Member
Registered:
Posts: 2,549
Reply with quote  #39 
Great Dylan story Alan. 

And another line to log in permanent memory storage: ".. immutable laws of scientific baffledom."

M
0
Paco Nagata

Avatar / Picture

Inner Circle
Registered:
Posts: 397
Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
(...) I think that these phenomena are indicative of a lack of respect for the magician's talent. This is probably due to ignorance. When an expert plays a musical instrument, their talent is manifest. This isn't usually true with magic. Who knows whether the magic is in the hands or in the props?

Mike

Good point. Absolutely agree with that.

I wouldn't dare to invade the show of a well known magician (unless I were in a friendly magicians meeting). But... It's me...
How about others that ignore the talent of the magician? as you well said.
At least (and fortunatelly) reputation helps professionals, whereas amateurs have to be kind of acquiescent with the spectators.

__________________
"The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician" https://bit.ly/2lXdO2O
"La pasion de un cartómago aficionado" https://bit.ly/2kkjpjn
Latest erratum corrections and improvements update, 16/06/2020
0
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.