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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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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.
Casey Sullivan
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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
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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
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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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
Aaron DeLong
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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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Raymond Singson
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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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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
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evanthx
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I always thought street magic was just close-up magic; other than marketing terms I just don't see a difference.

I walk up to strangers at restaurants who have no idea who I am and blow them away quite often. The street magic stuff is doing exactly the same thing, just outside instead of in a restaurant. It looks to me like the tricks marketed to street magicians are pretty much exactly what would work for me in a restaurant. And the selection criteria by which I would purchase them is the same, as well.

Most of the public has never seen a close-up magician before, though - so seeing Blaine come on in his first special using store-bought tricks that every restaurant worker has been using for years was a bit of a revelation. So I think most folks thought it was new, just because it hasn't gotten the exposure and they hadn't seen it. To me, everything else just led from folks getting that first bit of exposure to something new to them.

So to summarize, I just don't see the difference. Same stuff, different setting. Does that make for a new classification?
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Quote:
On 2007-04-11 00:17, silverking wrote:
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.


Suddenly we're not allowed to have an opinion?

Perhaps I should just let people tell me what to think now. Since any thinking that I now do for myself is 'suspect' in your eyes.

It doesn't matter who I work for, or what I do for a living, I'm still allowed to have my own opinion.

David.
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Hey guys, I can settle this RIGHT NOW. Street Magic MUST exist! After all Wikipedia wouldn't lie.... right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_magic




Lordy it was hard not to add Swiss' name to that list for a goof.

~Craig

p.s. - read this with heavy sarcasm in your 'silent' voice.
silverking
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David,
I DID post that the opinions of those who make a living off 'street magic' marketing hype were 'suspect' and of 'lighter weight' because of the inherent perception that there's a conflict of interest.

I didn't state anywhere in my post that I felt opinions should be restricted in any way, shape, or form.
Kronos9326
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I have absolutely no problem with Swiss's Essay... I DO however take issue with the tone, and the completely unprofessional manner in which portions of it were written. There is absolutely no call for some of those comments and for us to simply allow it speaks of the incredible bias that some of us claim we don't have, when we actually do.

I know that what Swiss wrote is supposed to be 'his' opinion, but for a person in his position to take the low road speaks more about him, that his article does about his thoughts.

I've said it before. His thoughts regarding people who's opinions aren't his own are legendary. I've personally seen him dismiss (and not in a good way) people who were able to provide him their thoughts on a subject, simply because they 'DARED' to disagree with him.

That is not the type of magician that I want speaking for me, or telling me what do/learn/think. Someone that is that close-minded shouldn't be speaking for any of us.

I honestly don't care what a person's beliefs are, but I respect them, and that persons right to have them. But what I can't respect is the manner in which those beliefs are conveyed to those who think different.

THAT is the issue I have with this essay, and a lot of the comments that people are making. Everyone is screaming 'I'm right, and you're wrong' when there is no CLEAR answer to the whole situation.

David.
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I did not think Swiss was rude or unprofessional. He writes well and has a good vocabulary. Sometimes that is enough for people to label someone rude.

But that is just MY opinion. I like that Swiss states his and backs it up. We need more people like that in magic.

Casey
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The delivery Swiss is giving is merely his perception. I believe he states that over and over again that this is how he sees it. As a columnist, he gives us insight into a subject matter that is obviously a hot button. I see no unprofessionalism in his delivery.

I have heard a lot about Jamy's reputation of being rude to magicians that aren't on his level. Maybe that is why everyone is responding negatively to his column. Had Michael Ammar written this column, using the exact same words it might have been better received. But the guy who already has so many enemies perks up and says what everyone is thinking gets boo-ed.

Separate Jamy from the article itself if you are able and tell me that the points in it aren't valid. He makes a great argument. I have not heard anyone argue the other side of it effectively without being completely contradictory to themselves.

Cheers,
Aaron DeLong
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silverking
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The article is professional in tone, and obviously written by a wordsmith with considerable experience at his craft.

Folks seem to have difficulty with the fact that Jamy ISN'T a pandering author who's primary goal when writing is on not pi_sing off the person he's writing about.

His opinion is personal to be sure, but he has provided context for his statements and has not 'tailored' the article to suit a full page advertiser or somebody else with a perceived stake in what he says in his article.

Quite frankly, I'd prefer a LOT more articles like this on magic, and for that reason will be dropping my subscription to one of the big magic magazines and subscribing post haste to Antinomy. (I'm keeping my Genii subscription though, as Kaufman still has what it takes to give HIS real opinion on something without worrying about who he's pi_sing off).

Most importantly, the Swiss article has generated more discussion in the Café than any other article to date that's been refered to in the Café magazine forums.

I think this is a good thing as I consider discussion between practitioners to be a big part of the lifeblood of any hobby or profession.
Agreeing with each other isn't remotely part of the formula, but speaking with each other about it in an effort to see all sides of a topic certainly is.

Vive la Différence
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I took a look at the Street Magic magazine in a store I visited yesterday. Not something I would pick up but it is quality produced (not commenting on content)

The one thing I did find funny and is also food for thought...there was an ad from Levi in there showing how a "street" magician should look (of course wearing levi jeans). Even retail corporations understand that street magic is simply an image to sell and I believe further lends more credibility to the Swiss article recently written.

If a non-magic related firm can get into selling the "street magician" image, a question comes to mind...Has magic become too capitalistic?
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That article was too long for me. I'll wait until the DVD comes out.
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I agree and disagree with some of his points. I also appreciate his honesty, even if it is insulting. I'm pro-honesty and I'm not a believer in sugarcoating.

However, with that sense of honesty, you should have a motive of wanting to help solve the problem, or a motive with respectful criticism. In some parts, while he claims to care, his attitude reflects carelessness. If a parent were to handle a problem with their child like he's handling the problem with his art, they'd go to prison for abuse.

Surely, when he was writing some of the low remarks on his fellow magi, he couldn't have expected everyone to take him seriously. Not only does his argument commit informal fallacies, but he seemed to only poke fun at the problem rather than providing a solution. Banishing the name/genre of Street Magic? What is that supposed to do? People are still going to do it.

If he's so adamant about leading the revolution for pure, brilliant magic, then he needs to take a break from writing insults and throwing a temper tantrum, and get off the armchair, and help teach some reality.

He can start with the importance of being humble before your art, if he CAN, which I doubt.

The way I see it, "Street Magic" is a name, it's a "cool" term to give to the outdoors, walk-around setting STYLE of performing.

The problem is not Street Magic. Street Magic is helping the art by bringing in people to help advance it. The real problem spawns from the people who are not willing to humble themselves to such an artform, thus resulting in poorly done magic, poor attitudes that reflect a sense of carelessness, and a childish perspective on the true goals of magic.

So instead of covering our mouth and shunning the poor guy who accidentally mutters the fateful words of "Street Magic," let's abolish all this arrogant, self-righteous, "I know everything" bullcrap. That's my opinion of a solution, and I stick by my words.

||sean ||
//Sean Beard
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On 2007-04-16 03:10, Tempesta wrote:
I agree and disagree with some of his points. I also appreciate his honesty, even if it is insulting. I'm pro-honesty and I'm not a believer in sugarcoating.

However, with that sense of honesty, you should have a motive of wanting to help solve the problem, or a motive with respectful criticism. In some parts, while he claims to care, his attitude reflects carelessness. If a parent were to handle a problem with their child like he's handling the problem with his art, they'd go to prison for abuse.

Surely, when he was writing some of the low remarks on his fellow magi, he couldn't have expected everyone to take him seriously. Not only does his argument commit informal fallacies, but he seemed to only poke fun at the problem rather than providing a solution. Banishing the name/genre of Street Magic? What is that supposed to do? People are still going to do it.

If he's so adamant about leading the revolution for pure, brilliant magic, then he needs to take a break from writing insults and throwing a temper tantrum, and get off the armchair, and help teach some reality.

He can start with the importance of being humble before your art, if he CAN, which I doubt.

The way I see it, "Street Magic" is a name, it's a "cool" term to give to the outdoors, walk-around setting STYLE of performing.

The problem is not Street Magic. Street Magic is helping the art by bringing in people to help advance it. The real problem spawns from the people who are not willing to humble themselves to such an artform, thus resulting in poorly done magic, poor attitudes that reflect a sense of carelessness, and a childish perspective on the true goals of magic.

So instead of covering our mouth and shunning the poor guy who accidentally mutters the fateful words of "Street Magic," let's abolish all this arrogant, self-righteous, "I know everything" bullcrap. That's my opinion of a solution, and I stick by my words.

||sean ||


Spoken like a true Ellusionist team member.

Harrey Hay
Kronos9326
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Quote:
On 2007-04-16 15:13, Hay Harrey wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-04-16 03:10, Tempesta wrote:
........


Spoken like a true Ellusionist team member.

Harrey Hay



Perhaps you might feel like actually CONTRIBUTING something to the discussion rather than taking potshots?

David.
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Quote:
On 2007-04-16 16:28, Kronos9326 wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-04-16 15:13, Hay Harrey wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-04-16 03:10, Tempesta wrote:
........


Spoken like a true Ellusionist team member.

Harrey Hay



Perhaps you might feel like actually CONTRIBUTING something to the discussion rather than taking potshots?

David.


It wasn't a potshot. You are reading into what I wrote.

You seem tense, relax. I know these guys are cracking on your employer, but they are allowed to voice their opinions about it just as I am allowed.

Harry Hay
silverking
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The concept of an Ellusionist employee telling us all how an independant author like Swiss SHOULD have written the article is in and of itself some fine marketing!
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Ahem.... so someone else noticed that too.
jclark
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LOL. This is too fun. There's another revival thread here:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......art=0#12

JC
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Is that true about the Street Magic magazine telling street magicians how to dress to look cool? In jeans!? Pleeeeese tell me this was a parody or some kind of joke. It has to be. If it wasn't, I think think that pretty much would some up everything Jamy was saying, right?

Anyway, I'm thankful that we have excellent thinkers/writers like Swiss, Kaufman, and Mike Close who care enough about the art to express their opinions honestly.
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This was an enjoyable read for me "A thinker" as somone pointed out earlier. It is things like this that we need to think of kind of like eating fried chicken. What do we do with it. We eat the meat and throw away the bones. In other words... Take Swiss' message for what it is worth. and due away with undo criticisims.
"Magic as art cannot live without love. Love of some kind. There are novels without love, other arts without love. But there can be no magic without love." - Rodney Reyes
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Quote:
On 2007-07-20 18:09, closeupcardist wrote:
...We eat the meat and throw away the bones. In other words... Take Swiss' message for what it is worth. and due away with undo criticisims.


Hold onto that text. When you are ready... we can discuss.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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