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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » ANTINOMY - Perception & Deception » » Swiss on Street Magic (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Payne
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Interesting article on Street Magic by Swiss in the current issue of Antimony
http://antinomymagic.com/swiss.htm
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
phillys
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Hey Payne, thanks for posting the article! I really enjoyed reading what he has to say and managed to broaden my scope of what he was talking about really thought that was enlightening Smile

The writer has a great way of presenting the truth without being overly aggressive and even a guy as stubborn as me finds it enlightening and very very well written.

Interesting article and made a lot of sense. All the 'street magicians' should check it out and maybe well, accept the cold hard truth.

Thanks!
Raymond Singson
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LOL, my fawning reviews litter Ellusionist's website. I like that.

While I do agree that Swiss is a respectable figure in the magic community, I can't really understand where his spite is coming from. I'm not sure if he's unintentionally flaming Ellusionist or the neo-street fad, but I do feel like he's taking an age-old argument and re-igniting it for the sake of not having anything else to say. He strikes me as the type who enjoys the sound of his own voice...

Admittedly, he's written on better topic in the past-- I don't feel like there was much substance in this particular essay. I admire his Shattering Illusions compilation, but this artcle was somewhat of a letdown. Although I agree with the majrity of his arguments, I don't think it consisted of anything that hasn't already been said and argued before.

Just my opinion. I digress.

Semper,
Ray.
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Alex Linian
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Didn´t neccesarily agree with all of it, but I liked it very much.
phillys
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Yeah, it is true that some of the things that he said about Ellusionist is a bit too harsh but if you think about it, some magicians just need to read this article to know that magic existed long before Ellusionist.
Raymond Singson
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Quote:
On 2007-04-04 02:33, phillys wrote:
Yeah, it is true that some of the things that he said about Ellusionist is a bit too harsh but if you think about it, some magicians just need to read this article to know that magic existed long before Ellusionist.


I don't think that was ever an argument...

I guess the street phenomenon has its place in the community, but I never saw it as a substantial foundation to modern magic at all. I've been on various forums and talked with a variety of people of different backgrounds, and the whole Blaine/Angel fad just never seemed to be a prominent figure in people's understanding of magic today. Perhaps I'm naive, but Swiss arguing that street magic isn't anything groundbreaking is like Joe Schmoe arguing that the sky is blue. The argument's a null point. Granted, the reading's very entertaining because everyone enjoys the occasional bashing, but I didn't see the point behind it.

Am I overestimating the quality of magic's newcomers? Or do people actually think Brad Christian, David Blaine, and other hyped figures are the founding fathers of the art? Quite sad if that's the case...

Ray.
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” -- James Arthur Baldwin



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Dannydoyle
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I am glad it was Mr. Swiss who wrote this. He and his rich knowlege of magic and its history, lend an incredible amount of credability to the issue.

I have screamed this for years, it is nice to be validated.
Danny Doyle
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Dave V
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Quote:
On 2007-04-04 12:35, RTShowmann wrote:
...Or do people actually think Brad Christian, David Blaine, and other hyped figures are the founding fathers of the art? Quite sad if that's the case...

Ray.


You haven't been to the Penguin forums lately, have you? Yes, nearly any young magician under the age of twenty who shops there believes that magic was invented no more than three years ago by people named "Oz" "Jaysin" and "Brad" and there was no such thing as Street Magic until David Blaine came along.

Sad, but true.
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Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On 2007-04-04 13:41, Dave VanVranken wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-04-04 12:35, RTShowmann wrote:
...Or do people actually think Brad Christian, David Blaine, and other hyped figures are the founding fathers of the art? Quite sad if that's the case...

Ray.


You haven't been to the Penguin forums lately, have you? Yes, nearly any young magician under the age of twenty who shops there believes that magic was invented no more than three years ago by people named "Oz" "Jaysin" and "Brad" and there was no such thing as Street Magic until David Blaine came along.

Sad, but true.

So your saying this is wrong? My reality keeps exploding!
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Casey Sullivan
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Quote:
On 2007-04-04 12:35, RTShowmann wrote:

I don't think that was ever an argument...

I guess the street phenomenon has its place in the community, but I never saw it as a substantial foundation to modern magic at all. I've been on various forums and talked with a variety of people of different backgrounds, and the whole Blaine/Angel fad just never seemed to be a prominent figure in people's understanding of magic today. Perhaps I'm naive, but Swiss arguing that street magic isn't anything groundbreaking is like Joe Schmoe arguing that the sky is blue. The argument's a null point. Granted, the reading's very entertaining because everyone enjoys the occasional bashing, but I didn't see the point behind it.

Am I overestimating the quality of magic's newcomers? Or do people actually think Brad Christian, David Blaine, and other hyped figures are the founding fathers of the art? Quite sad if that's the case...

Ray.


I think they do. A lot of people pretend that this is a "new movment" or that magic has changed. One blog talked about how these kids are shaking magic to its core. And yes, people do talk about OZ and Nozebleeda like they are magic heros.

I thought Swiss said what needed to be said. Especially when it comes to Ellusionist selling tricks that have only that one good looking moment but no real way to get into them and no real way to get out of it. If you cant do the trick then they shouldnt sell the trick.

that's my humble opinion
silverking
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Whether you agree with Swiss or disagree with him, one hopes that the negative responses to his article are AT LEAST as well presented as was the Swiss argument.

Mr. Swiss made some some bold statements in his article. He also backed them all up with additional information designed to put everything he said into context and offer additional credibility.

It will be a tough article to present an effective counter to considering most of what Swiss said is...........well, true.
Dannydoyle
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I could never hope to articulate myself nearly as well as Mr. Swiss. His gift for metaphor, his use of language, his remarkable insight, is a thing of beauty.

I am just glad I agree with him LOL.
Danny Doyle
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Dave V
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I posted a link over for the Penguinites to see. They thought it was a bit too long. They don't know Jamy very well, do they? I thought it was rather short. Jamy was recruited to rewrite a set of instructions for a routine I developed. He took my half page of instructions and turned it into an 18 page booklet!
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JoeJoe
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I hate reading long passages, but I will confess I read nearly all of this. A very good read indeed. A lot of what he has to say is dead on.

I would disagree that there is not a "street magic" venue; but I don't think "street magic" is a good name for the venue ... to me, the venue is one you create yourself when there is no venue. Like how I was doing Blaine-style street magic on the Ocean City Boardwalk ten years before anyone had ever heard of David Blaine.

Certainly not a lucrative gig, but for a kid like I was that had no experience and no contacts ... it got me started. I paved my own street.

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johnnymystic
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Quote:
On 2007-04-05 20:37, JoeJoe wrote:
I hate reading long passages, but I will confess I read nearly all of this. A very good read indeed. A lot of what he has to say is dead on.

I would disagree that there is not a "street magic" venue; but I don't think "street magic" is a good name for the venue ... to me, the venue is one you create yourself when there is no venue. Like how I was doing Blaine-style street magic on the Ocean City Boardwalk ten years before anyone had ever heard of David Blaine.

Certainly not a lucrative gig, but for a kid like I was that had no experience and no contacts ... it got me started. I paved my own street.

-JoeJoe



Wow, I hear you Joe-Joe, I went thru the same kinda thing long before there was a "Street Magic" fad.

johnny

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Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On 2007-04-05 04:43, Dave VanVranken wrote:
I posted a link over for the Penguinites to see. They thought it was a bit too long. They don't know Jamy very well, do they? I thought it was rather short. Jamy was recruited to rewrite a set of instructions for a routine I developed. He took my half page of instructions and turned it into an 18 page booklet!


It actually takes him 20 minutes to say "hello". LOL

I kid but as I said earlier he is a quite talented writer to say the least.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
silverking
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After waiting to see the rebuttals here (or anywhere) I'm a bit confused.
Nobody has even attempted to contest the Swiss argument.

Do those who call themselves 'street magicians' simply read an article like that, realize they're a fraud, and pack up to go home?

Has Swiss shown that the Emperor's been naked all along?
Dannydoyle
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I was wondering the same thing. Silverking, we have BOTH made almost every point in that article at one time or another and been set upon by the throngs of "professional street magicians". Now Jammy does it and no reaction.

I think your question definatly is interisting.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Pathian
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I agree with a lot of the points that Swiss makes in the article. Mainly his points about "street magic" not being its own unique branch of magic or the next stage of the evolution of the art.

However, while I'm not the biggest fan of Ellusionist's business practices, I lost a lot of respect for Jamy Ian Swiss for this pretty blatant ad hominem attack

"The general impression one gets of Mr. Christian on his videos is that of a bland, middle-aged,[5] white-bread guy, with little performance ability, and sleight-of-hand skills at about the level of an amateur hobbyist with, by contemporary standards, perhaps one or two years of experience."

Say what you want about the somewhat ineffectual performance "style" of the Blaine generation of street magicians, I agree. But to attack the his technical proficiency with such hyperbole shows a complete lack of class. The man was a student of Slydini for crying out loud. He's got one of the smoothest passes in the business and he'll show you his chops if you see his Ninja 2 or ACR videos. It's true that he prefers to use more simplistic methods as opposed to knucklebusters in practical settings, but Aldo Columbini ascribes to a similar theory of simple methods for maximum impact, and I don't think anyone has ever called him a hack with the skills of a 2 year amateur hobbyist.

All in all I thought the article was spot on. I have no desire to debate his argument, but he could have made his argument just as well without resorting to the ugly logical fallacy of a spiteful ad hominem attack. While he made his ideas clear and concise in other ways, any high school speech/debate class will teach you that using the argument "I'm right because the other guy sucks" isn't a valid way to make your point.
silverking
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I too found the personal comments about Christian a bit out of place , but I clearly understood what Swiss was saying.

In response to a series of posts on Ellusionist here on the Café a while ago, a chap added to the thread with a one line thought......"I'd take a bullet for Brad Christian".

I believe that Swiss may have been saying that to have Christian as one of the figureheads of the street magic movement is similar to having Paul Anka chair a workshop on the state of Goth Music in England.

As far as Christian being a white-bread, middle-aged bland male.......it's hard to argue with a simple factual description of a person. I don't think Swiss was stretching at all in his description.

Folks like Mr. Christian contribute little to magic unless it involves adding to their bottom line....they're businessmen after all.
The history of Ellusionist revolves completely around marketing to young men in order to seperate them from their money, which in and of itself doesn't' have to be a bad thing if done with integrity and honesty.

It would seem that Swiss is simply trying to state the obvious, and that's that folks need to take a hard look at WHAT street magic really is.
Upon examination under the bright light Swiss shines on it, street magic appears as little more than a dream that is fostered by a few companies taking in large amounts of revenue by INSISTING that such a thing as street magic really exists and that hundreds, if not thousands of guys are actually doing it every day......neither of which bears out as fact.

Swiss is stating clearly that street magic doesn't exist outside of the hype that's put forward by those who make huge profits off that hype.

I read the Swiss article and see solid truth in it, and sans the slightly out of place personal observations regarding Brad Christian, it seems that many others are doing the same.
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