||Posted by: Raymond Singson (Apr 10, 2007 06:17PM)
[quote]So does this mean that we are to take your opinion with a grain of salt.[/quote]
Yes. As others have said, because I was particularly mocked in the article, it may appear as though I'm desperately trying to defend myself. It's a sad case really. While there is admittedly some truth in the statement, it's easy for people to forget that Swiss merely ridiculed my [i]writing[/i]-- he knows nothing of [b]how[/b] or [b]what[/b] I [i]perform[/i]. [i]That[/i] is, after all, the source of the argument and topic of discussion-- whether or not street magic exists and if people actually [i]perform[/i] it.
[quote]To date, I've not seen ANY rebuttal post that uses facts to speak to what Swiss was saying in his article, I've only seen personal opinions sans supporting arguments.[/quote]
Swiss' entire article consisted of his own personal opinion with very little fact behind it, itself. He's saying after looking online, all he's witnessed were amateur hacks trying to be like Blaine for a webcam. There's no argument that those individuals are a potential harm to the craft, but they're not doing "street magic" and it's unfair to blame "street magic" for that type of laziness, because the same hacks have plagued magic before the likes of Blaine and Angel and others. I think one could just as easily consider Swiss' article "a gooey quagmire of BS" in the opposing direction. He says this. He says that. I feel people value his opinion more, merely because he holds a respectable reputation in the community. The fact that there was little to no substance behind his accusations fly by those who simply want to agree with him. Unfortunately, I additionally feel that his opinion stems from looking in the wrong places.
FACT: Philadelphia's South Street is often overrun by a variety of street performers on Friday nights. These range from jugglers to musicians to close-up magicians a la the Blainiac fad. No camera crews are present, but they do make money and get good opportunities for outside work. I'm sure there are other similar spontaneous performances in other cities around the country.
FACT: Criss Angel accented his old New York show with occasional street performances outside the WWF/WWE theater. It was a great way to promote his show and do some guerilla advertising. He did simple things like metal bending and card tricks. While I'm not a particular fan, I think his current fame speaks for itself.
FACT: Andrew Mayne proposes a variety of "street-oriented" venues in one of his e-books concerning how to make money with magic. While these magicians may never become rich or famous, they're still performing what popular culture would consider "street magic."
FACT: It's not hard to get the same reactions that Blaine and Angel do. Any experienced performer can attest to that fact. Someone who's been in magic for less than a week can acquire that reputation among family and friends. With this said, "street magic" really isn't on the high pedestal that Swiss presumes. It's just like any other traditional realm.
FACT: "Street magic" has attracted a lot of attention to the craft as a whole. Involvement in IBM Rings and SAM Assembies have increased a lot since the spawn of the "street magic" hype. If it's not a legitimate interest or avenue for the craft, I feel that many magic organizations would relatively suffer from the lack of new life and interest in magic. Because "street magic" can generally be anything one would like it to be (without strict limits to cards, coins, etc), any other experienced performer can help a newcomer develop his own style.
FACT: If someone asks a layperson if "street magic" exists, they'll agree and probably give a brief explanation as to what their ideas are about it. If a layperson not only believes that street magic is real and alive, but can also point it out when they see it, what exactly else is there to argue? It's a legitimate form of performance art, and if a client asks to see street magic, I highly doubt any professionals would contest and say it's actually just a passing fad that's disinteresting and harmful to the art.
FACT: To add some legitimate celebrity to the argument, Paul Harris is essentially one of the most respectable characters in all of magic. I'm sure most magishes would agree. It's to my understanding, that he enjoys playing around with new ideas with people on the street for the hell of it. In fact-- I think I remember Blaine stating his work on street magic was affected directly by Paul. His material isn't ideal for busking or traditional street performing, but his magic has made him an icon, and he's obviously an avid supporter of what Blaine is doing. The man's consulted a variety of his specials.
My stance is that "street magic" obviously exists in today's era. But it's really not anything new. It's always played an active, often nameless, role in the magic community. Now that it's been identified, it's easy to attain and market it. I don't understand why magicians are often offended by the term and those associated with it. I don't see much difference between the hype that Blaine gets when he's on television and the hype that Copperfield receives when he's on television. Magicians are naturally inspired by other magicians. Newcomers and hacks will come and go when they see magic on television or have a live experience with it-- regardless if it's on the street, in a restaurant, or on a stage. Magic is magic.
LOL. It's come to my realization that the fact that we can argue this day and night for all eternity only supports the stereotype that magic is truly a lonely nerd's pastime.