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Aaron DeLong
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I agree with the majority of you. The part of the article that hit home with me was the sales tactics used. "Be cool, do magic" is the theme of street magic that is targeted towards young men with low self esteem that have little or no social skills to make them part with their own or their parent's hard earned money.

Magic has so much more than deception to offer its students. It can teach communication skills, presentational planning, thinking development through theory and challenge you to your innermost core as you perfect and hone your craft. As a young man, magic offered all of this to me. It caused a young man who was introverted, quiet and searching for who he was to become more. Magic didn't define me, but it taught me things I couldn't learn anywhere else.

This is part of Swiss' blasting, because "Street Magic" as it is known today does not teach these things. There is no presentation, very little communication, very little planning (getting in and out of the effects) and much of it is not practical. It's like sending yourself to a vocational school that does not teach you a proper vocation.

"Street Magic" today is the *** child of the great thinking of our heroes from bygone years. You get the EFFECT, but nothing else. Swiss seems to seek only to prove that this type of presentation simply does not fit into what we can define as a profession, venue or performance type. It works on TV, but no where else.

It makes me sad to see the kids at the local magic shop who can do a great routine when it comes to handling, but puts their audience to sleep long before the climax that will make them pee their pants.

Street Magic can be a great beginning to magic, but there is so much more to it than what it has been made out to be by Blaine/Angel on TV.

Viva Swiss and I enjoyed his article. Someone had to say it.

Aaron DeLong
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rick727
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I happen to like a lot of Ellusionst products. In particular, "Crash Course 1" is an excellent DVD for people who want to learn sleight of hand card magic. I have purchased this DVD, and other beginner DVDs (Ammar, Kaufmann, etc.). I feel that the Ellusionist video is better than any other DVD I have purchased for people trying to get started in sleight of hand card magic. If you are an absolute beginner and want to learn sleight of hand card magic, then "Crash Course 1" is the best DVD I have seen on this subject.

As far as the "Ninja 1" video, I do not like the fact that the pass is revealed in the plot, so I would change the nature of the plot to not reveal it. Regarding Brad Christian's pass mechanics, I think that his pass is as good as any other pass I have seen. I own Ninja 1 (and 2) as well as Kaufmann's "On the Pass", and Cassford's "Pass with Care". Although Ninja 1 does not teach the pass as well as Pass with Care, that does not mean the Brad Christian has a bad pass as Mr. Swiss implied.

BTW - I am 43 years old, not one of the kiddies that Mr. Swiss refers to. I do have a personality, unlike Mr. Swiss's stereotype descriptions.

I wouldn't take a bullet for Brad Christian, but I would recommend that students of magic purchase some of his products (not all, but some).

I won't comment regarding the aspects of "Street Magic" in the article. But I will say that Mr. Swiss was a little heavy handed in his criticism of Brad Christian and the Ellusionist web site.
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WoodRat
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Come on now, "white-bread, middle-aged bland male" is name-calling and opinion, not fact. It's just a mean-spirited personal attack and Swiss's argument would be stronger without it.

Hype is hype, and hype will be with us forever. So that's news?!?

Lemme see, folding quarters, nickels to dimes, ball and vase, Ickle Pickle Nickel, self working card tricks, etc... And what was so special about these beginner tricks? Just go through the motions and do them. It was much later that the power of patter and presentation was discovered. The same holds true for "Street Magic" and the effects marketed as such. It really depends on what you do with them.

Swiss does a fine job of breaking down the taxonomy of magic genres. However, those who deny that "Street Magic" exists are just being silly. Perception is reality. Who among us does not understand that? Is it not part of the basis of our craft? If the spec does not perceive and believe the reality we create for them, there is no magic.

Looks like Blaine, Brad, etal have done a good job at re-creating that reality, whether for good or for evil, and they have built very sucessful businesses upon it.
Learn something new everyday.
Aaron DeLong
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I don't think that Swiss' argument is that Street Magic doesn't exist. He merely points out that it is not a workable venue for most people because they don't have cameras, a crew of advisors or a tv network waiting to pick up their show. Because truly, outside of TV, Street Magic as it is known doesn't exist for the rest of us.

He isn't saying that walking up to someone and sharing magic is not right, he merely says that no one makes a living walking up to random groups performing magic on the street. That is unless you are busking. There is a clear difference in the two types of performance and he points that out in the article.

For crying out loud, most of the effects that Criss Angel does on TV cannot be duplicated or performed on the "Street". He doesn't even do them on the street. He uses a set that looks like it, complete with stooges and props that look like park benches. The same goes for Blaine anymore. The effects he does cannot be duplicated anywhere. Like popping someone's teeth out and putting them back in....

Street Magic doesn't exist anywhere but on TV my friends.

Cheers,
Aaron DeLong
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sickmagic
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My thoughts on this are simple, everyone has a opinion and it is there right to share that opinion even if some agree or disagree. I personally see magic changing and since this is a art we should all embrace it for what it has been and what it is becoming. Sure there is a difference in what it is today from the older days, but the bottom line is why do we have to put labels on things. We should accept the changes and not label them and learn from them and see what we as artist can create to further the art of magic.
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Quote:
On 2007-04-07 14:02, silverking wrote:

Folks like Mr. Christian contribute little to magic unless it involves adding to their bottom line....they're businessmen after all.


I'm probably going to take a little heat for this, but so what.

Jamy's attitude towards people that don't think EXACTLY like him is legendary. He's got skill and ability, there's no denying that, but the pedestal that he's placed himself on only shows that he's interested in one thing. Himself. I've not been able to find a copy of "The Gospel according to Jamy", but most of the preaching that he does from it is self serving and only accomplishes one purpose. To prove you're wrong, and he's right.

Period.

If you don't think Jamy's interested in his bottom line then someone should remind you of all the stuff he sells from his site, not to mention his beloved (but now defunct) master classes where you too could learn to be like him.

David
Raymond Singson
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Quote:
On 2007-04-07 11:15, silverking wrote:
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?


In my opinion, Swiss hasn't shown anything at all. As I already said, this argument is as old as the hills, and its fire really doesn't need much more reignition. A simple search on the Café will show a variety of other people's opinions in regards to the status of what is currently considered "street magic." ...And to be quite honest, I'd rather just not involve myself in immature namecalling with someone who's so set in his ways that it would simply be a waste of time trying to prove/disprove anything at all. ...But allow me to try anyway. Ha.

I agree that the 'street magic' hype is somewhat irritating and the business behind it is probably a passing one. Despite that, to call it non-existent is a bit of a stretch. Swiss argues that it's impossible to do what Blaine and Angel perform without a camera crew. That may be true for someone with as much persona and presentation as a rock (no offense, Jamy), but I've seen quite a few magicians do extremely well without the backup of a television station under their belt. What is modernly called street magic has always existed. People have performed in spontaneous settings since magic's origins. In fact, that's why so many magicians were surprised Blaine was so successful: they'd been doing the same thing for decades prior! Jamy also argues that "street magic" should be discredited because no one can make a living off of it. Last time I checked, there was more to magic than a paycheck.

In any case, "street magic" can become a profitable occupation. In fact, I currently work in a variety of bars and nightclubs in Philadelphia due to a reputation doing magic on the streets. Granted, I didn't get paid or ask for tips at all, but it was a great way to do some guerilla advertising and hand out my business card to my desired clientele. Many magicians, such as Michael Ammar, Jay Sankey, and Gregory Wilson have devoted a lot of time and effort into producing teaching material that send home this very idea. Yes, "street magic" probably cannot acquire as much income as its traditional busking definition, but it can lead to a wealth of opportunities for more professional work.

From my experiences, the typical newcomer is much more knowledgeable and eager to learn the intricacies of magic. Swiss seems to bemoan them altogther, lumping them in a generalization of magic hacks and internet losers. Magic hacks have always been a part of magic, even before the dawn of "street magic." I felt that Swiss undervalued the potential of today's amateur magicians-- and in some cases, he did so to simply toot his own horn. From what I hear, he's very accomplished in that instrument. Newer guys know there's more to magic than Ellusionist and Penguin. If they don't, there's no harm in setting things right and educating them without putting anyone else down. It's simple communication...

With all that said, I do agree with a lot of Swiss' article, and I respect the man's experience very much. But I'm a firm believer in the idea that one has to take every rant and bashing with a grain of salt. That is, after all, all his supposed article was-- a mediocrely witten rant consisting of his own personal opinion. In my opinion, a lot of his statements were uncalled for and sadly show a lot of his true colors as an individual.

I digress.

Semper,
Ray.
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Hay Harrey
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[/quote]
With all that said, I do agree with a lot of Swiss' article, and I respect the man's experience very much. But I'm a firm believer in the idea that one has to take every rant and bashing with a grain of salt. That is, after all, all his supposed article was-- a mediocrely witten rant consisting of his own personal opinion. In my opinion, a lot of his statements were uncalled for and sadly show a lot of his true colors as an individual.

[/quote]

So does this mean that we are to take your opinion with a grain of salt. You clearly state that any bashing should be considered lightly and then you bash him.

It would almost seem as if you are upset that he mentions you in his article and are coming to defend yourself.

Harrey Hay
silverking
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Ray, as a guy who is identified as a pandering reviewer in the Swiss article, it is hard to read your posts here without thinking that you're trying to respond to that accusation, but trying to conceal it in a 'serious' review of the article.
Having actually read your reviews on Ellusionist, that will be a difficult if not impossible thing for you to do.

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.
I believe Swiss hit every point with 100% accuracy, and that his article is a breath of fresh air in a gooey quagmire of BS and marketing hype.
Raymond Singson
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Quote:
So does this mean that we are to take your opinion with a grain of salt.


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 writing-- he knows nothing of how or what I perform. That is, after all, the source of the argument and topic of discussion-- whether or not street magic exists and if people actually perform 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.


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.

Semper,
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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silverking
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Now that's the best rebutal to the Swiss article I've read Ray....I read your post twice.

I'm not sure it swayed my personal opinion one way or another, but it's a strong counterpoint to what Swiss was saying in the article.

Like you, I'm not sure this conversation is even one that can be had.
It's one mans perception of what 'street magic' actually is against another mans perception of the same thing, and it's hard to call another persons perception of something 'wrong' simply because it doesn't match your own.
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Quote:
On 2007-04-07 13:12, Pathian wrote:
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.


1)In college I studied with some of the finest teachers in the world. There were lots of students in those classes. Some got A's, some flunked. They were all students of the finest teachers in the world.

2) Ask Jim Cellini who were Slydini's student, Christian is not on the list. Slydini gave lessons to lots of people. That did not make you a student.

3) I think the same people who think Christian has a compentent pass are the same who thought Cassford's DVD on the pass was good. The pass is a move few have mastered. Christian is not one of them. Not an attack. When you see someone who has mastered it, you will know the difference.

4)Yes, many well known magicians consider Aldo a hack. He is a nice guy though so most people overlook it. I like Aldo. But you should not speak for everyone when you do not know what everyone thinks.

Quote:
On 2007-04-10 18:17, RTShowmann wrote:

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.


Jamey talked about the difference in "Street Magic" and busking. Busking is not "street Magic". If you think he meant the same, you did not read careful enough.

Quote:
On 2007-04-10 18:17, RTShowmann wrote:


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.


Standing outside a theater to sell tickets is not "Street Magic." It is standing outside a theater to sell tickets. Sheets and Spill did it. This is not the phenomon Jamey is talking about. Jamey took examples of what passed as Street MAgic (by people who call it that) and extrapoloated what they point to. Selling tickets outside a theater was never called "street magic" and is not what he is talking about.

Quote:
On 2007-04-10 18:17, RTShowmann wrote:
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.


Do you have the numbers? Magic club memberships have (as I was told by people in both national boards) declined over the years. Kids like Street Magic. They do not like futzy meetings with old, smelly people.


Quote:
On 2007-04-10 18:17, RTShowmann wrote:

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.


Let's test this. Right now it is a guess not a fact. I predict if you go to any major city and ask the average person what street magic is they will guess magic done on the street. Restating the name is not proof something exists. If you are lucky you might hear "isn't that what the guy who levitates does." How many people get calls from clients asking for "street magic." How many clients own streets for you to do magic on?

Quote:
On 2007-04-10 18:17, RTShowmann wrote:

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.


People also believe that the guys on ellusionist make their living performing magic. They are magic dealers. They create tricks to sell to people. We want to believe these people are working trade shows and doing shows. They don't. They make tricks to sell. (There are rare exceptions - but talk to people who really know).

Paul changed the way magic is. But what you wrote about him is not a fact. You admit it is hearsay. I bet if you ask people who know Paul, you might find disagreement.

Last: It seems that you want to make "street Magic" = impromptu. There is more to Street MAgic as a phenomona. Otherwise they would have just called the thing "impromptu magic."

Casey
Hay Harrey
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Bravo Casey! You wrote what I didn't want to take the time to say. A man after my own heart!
Jamie D. Grant
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I thought I would stay out of this but what the heck.

Let take it from the top!



It is unclear to me that there are any other street magicians operating in the world today.

Mr. Swiss appears to think that an art is only valid if you're paid for it. How many musicians, dancers, painters, etc., have devoted their lives to their art and have never received a penny. Van Gogh never sold a painting while he was alive. Obviously not an artist then...



The art and craft of the busker lies not only in his ability to get people to pay for the privilege of watching - but to bring the audience to him.

I welcome Mr. Swiss to join me on a Magic Friday, wherein I perform a magic trick all day at my other job. I'll usually say, "Hey, it's Magic Friday today!", they'll reply, "What's that?", I'll explain and they will ask to see something. Always. Let me repeat that-Always. And they'll enjoy themselves. I'll do this service for free, I'm afraid.



Above all, however, what seems consistent with the vast majority of these tricks is that they are short, fast, one-beat effects. There is no routining, there is no theatrical build, there is little if any presentation to speak of.

Unless Mr. Swiss has apparently made a bagillion copies of himself and started shadowing performers around the world, I have no idea how this comment can even make sense. Is he trying to say that all practitioners of Street Magic must perform exactly as they learn from the videos? Maybe that's how Mr. Swiss performs his magic but not me. Every second of my magic is thought out, routined (I think I just made that word up), and honed.



If what we see in the online world is any indication, street magicians spend a lot of time performing in empty lots.

I guess Mr. Swiss has never performed a magic trick for a friend, for someone he has met, for someone he was out with for dinner, for someone he had coffee with, for a child that asked. Unless the child paid, of course.



Brad Christian

I don't know Mr. Christian personally so I'll leave this bit alone. Mr. Swiss's personal attacks speak enough for himself.



I have an Amadeo Acrobatic Matchbox. Dizzy Dominoes. The Money Paddle.

These are good tricks. This is real conjuring.


Ummmmmmmmmm. I work as a corporate walk around magician. Ask me if I would ever bust out the old money paddle. Toooo funny.



After that, I pretty much stopped reading. I just felt that we're dealing with someone, sorry someones (as he accurately represents a majority of people I'm sure), who just don't get it. And that's fine. Better yet, that's awesome. Just like when people said that Rock'N'Roll wasn't music so we have people saying that Street Magic isn't magic. That makes it all the more cooler for us that do get it. So I completely agree that Street Magic isn't an art, that if you aren't paid for an art then it isn't acceptable, and that the old Dizzy Dominoes are a rip roarin' good time. If you'll excuse me, however, I'm going to go practice for Friday, return some calls for shows, and do some writing for some magazine that I just can't remember the name of...

Jamie D. Grant
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silverking
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To be honest, comments on the Swiss article from people who make ANY money of MARKETING street magic in any of its forms are instantly suspect and carry lighter weight due to the inherent conflict of interest experienced by their author.

Overtones of protecting ones paycheque and all.
Casey Sullivan
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Mr. Grant.

Impromptu and social magic is not "street magic." "street magic" has never been given a real dictionary definition. Swiss looked at what we (or the people who sell it )call "street magic" and from that extrapolated a definition. I think the conclusions he made were right.

Showing a friend a trick at work is not "street magic." All you have to do is look at what we (people who sell it) have called "street magic". There are certain elements that seem to be in common. Swiss listed those.

That is what Swiss did. He looked at what people have chosen to sell as "street magic" and put together a definition. It is based on real things in the real world - real products labeled as "street magic".

If you think "street magic" should have a different definition, then please tell us. But be careful. If you define it so it is no different than "impromptu" or "social magic" then you accuse those who sell "street magic" anything of being guitly of labeling/hype/selling a facade that is nothing different from stuff that has been done for years. If "street magic" is real and different and new then what is it?

But When you look at what people choose to sell as "street magic" you see the problems Swiss talks about.

I get to deal with teen agers every now and them. Some are Ellusionist buyers. They do believe that there are people who live there life walking up to strangers like they see on TV and in DVDs and doing "street magic."

These people do not exist. People do not live as "street magicians." These compainies are selling a lie.

Social magic is a great thing. But that is not what is being sold. What they are selling is a myth.

Casey

p.s. your bottles are amazing
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I couldn't agree more with you Casey. And truly, Grant had an awful lot to say about an article he didn't even find worthy enough to finish reading. Not the best argument in the world for all the Street Magicians.

And the score is:
Street Magic - 0
Magic - 6

Cheers,
Aaron DeLong

PS - I like your bottles too. What's in the box?
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LOL. I forfeit.

Semper,

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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Jamie D. Grant
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Hiya,

I don't know why everyone's calling me Mr. Grant as all my friends call me Jamie. I encourage you guys to as well.

And okay, I'll go re-read it, hold on a sec...
TRICK OF THE YEAR: Industrial Revelation, BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Approach, The AIP Bottle, and my new book Scenic 52, can all be found over here: SendWonder.com
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Jamie D. Grant
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Profile of Jamie D. Grant
Nope, he definitely said he loves the money paddle.

p.s. Thanx for the bottle comments-I always appreciate those!

And, as much as I'd like to devote more time to this thread, I simply can't. There are some excellent writers and thoughts here but I'm simply not one for arguing. I've been on the Café long enough to know how this will turn out, lol. That said, I'll head off saying that the way I view it is that we're all playing music and some people are simply calling theirs by a different name. Rock, country, etc. can sometimes sound exact and many people have difficulty distinguishing one form from the other and question what one song should be labeled. In the end, what does it matter? As long as you enjoy the music.

p.p.s. the previous p.s. was waaaay too long.
TRICK OF THE YEAR: Industrial Revelation, BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Approach, The AIP Bottle, and my new book Scenic 52, can all be found over here: SendWonder.com
Kindness takes practice. My TEDx talk
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