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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workers » » Art of Astonishment (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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J.Warrens
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Canada
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Quote:
On 2011-09-08 17:02, BarryFernelius wrote:

Most of the magicians who have an irrational love of Paul's material have seen Paul perform it live. (Irrational love is the best kind of love.) Paul's laid back performance persona was charming, whimsical and magical. Paul's character was a thoughtful shy person who was pretending to be confident in front of his audience. He was a huggable, lovable guy with an offbeat sense of humor.


Absolutely true. Nobody can make Paul's material dance more merrier than Paul himself. He's one of those people that is just so extremely interesting that you want to know more about them.

I think my girlfriend would have left with him if I wasn't looking. She thought he was quite charming. LOL

Cheers
Ximines
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Minnesota
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Oh - and by the way - this exchange is what I really love about the magic Café: trying to see through the eyes of others who have spent a significant amount of time thinking about the art of performing magic. I truly appreciate all of your insights!!
J.Warrens
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Sorry, I was writing my last post when you posted your reply!

I should probably state right up front that when I was a younger man back in the late 80's and in the early 90's, I used to perform pretty much ALL of Paul's effects. LOL.

Nowadays, I only a perform a small handful such as the "Anything Deck" which I only do outside of paid performances because pocket space for me is extremely important. I do however, perform the MAJ version of "Tap Dancing Aces" (albeit with some flourishy additions)and also "Real-World Invisible Palm". Pieces that I perform with less frequency, but still come out occasionally: "Bizarre Twist\Vanish" and the "PH Vanishing Deck".

I too, perform a lot of other material from the same names that you have mentioned above. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that Paul had the GREATEST influence on me in my early years - and yes, it absolutely is his charm and personality (in addition to his material) that gives him a cult-like following.

The "A-ha" moment comes quickly when you see him in action.

Cheers!
J.Warrens
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Just a quick question, because I've always wondered about this one: Did anybody out there ever try "Pain"?

I was never certain if it was a joke! I don't have the courage to try it. Smile
molsen
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Quote:
On 2011-09-08 17:52, Ximines wrote:
[SNIP] - what is it about Harris' material that sets him apart from others in the field?


I think it is the fact that he still allows his inner child to offer suggestions during his creative phase. His work often has this childlike openmindedness that allows the performer to bypass the logic filters in the spectators brain that normally prevents the state of astonishment. Although Paul talkes about it in joking terms (see the intro where he relates how he visits several shops and try to explain what his new book is about), he has a very clear vision for clearing the pathway to astonishment. He seems to work from the perspective that an idea is only a bad idea if it is proven to be bad. And still, it might be a fantastic idea that he just didn't find the right way to use yet.

What inspires me more than anything else in Pauls material is that you can feel the creative process that resulted in the effect, and you are not only encouraged, but almost coerced, into trying to take it further.

Many other authors/originators present the finished result in a way that hides the creative process. Maybe this is thought to add clarity, but it also separates the originator and the effect somehow.

Michael
MerlH
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I saw him live at a few conventions back then. I specifically remember him doing "Vacuum Cleaner Cards". The complete table was out of control laughing. Great card trick-maybe not. Great entertainment-OMG. If I can still remember him doing it after 30 years, it had to be special. He followed that with "wack your pack" and got the same reaction. The number 1 greatest ENTERTAINER I have ever seen.
Merl Hamen
Merl Hamen Old dog-- New tricks
Dr. JK
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Quote:
On 2011-09-08 16:29, Ximines wrote:
Jeff - thanks for the suggestion -- I will re-read Overkill (Close-up Fantasies, Book 1, right?). If I recall, it's a largely self-working prediction trick, with multiple 'reinforcers' which prove convincingly that you knew in advance what the spectator was going to pick. My reaction to this trick, with all due respect to Mr. Harris, is that it needs something *more*. Otherwise, to me it's just a fancy f**ce of a card, and it feels like I'm hitting the spectator over the head repeatedly, leaving them no other explanation than that I somehow f**ced their selection (which I in fact did). If I'm going to perform a trick which relies upon a card f**ce, I feel it needs additional window dressing to camouflage the method (or perhaps make the f**ce incidental to a sub-plot of the routine). Alternatively, if I'm going to perform a trick that leaves the audience with only 1 explanation, I want the f**ce to be ultra convincing (e.g., use a psychological-type f**ce, with multiple 'outs'. I guess you can tell by my response that "easy" card tricks aren't usually my bag. But I want to approach this with an open mind. What are your thoughts?


I have found the exact opposite in my peformances. No one even considers that I manipulated them in any way. Each of the reveals which makes it "overkill" tend to gradually and continuously erase from their minds any clue as to how it worked. I do change one thing from the original, though. I don't write down the prediction. Instead, I take a card from a different pack and set it aside. To me, that gives the spectator enough doubt that I could have switched out cards, etc. But ultimately, it doesn't matter. Each reveal is like a blow to the head, leaving the spectator's mind blank as to reason. That's just my experience. I'm sure others have had people suggest a f**ce. I'd be curious to hear your results should you choose to revisit the effect.
- Jeff
Cameron Francis
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I think what people love about Paul's work are his original plots and his playful style. A lot of his tricks are modern classics, inspiring loads of variations.

I would consider all of the tricks below true workers:

Bizarre Twist
Ultimate Rip Off (best impromptu T&R out there)
Las Vegas Leaper
Solid Deception
Interlaced Vanish
Reset
Limo Service
PH Vanishing Deck
Vacuum Cleaner Cards
Immaculate Connection
Stapled
Tap Dancing Aces
Galaxy

Practical, fun, clever and not difficult to do.

And if you haven't seen Paul do this stuff, get the two Stars of Magic dvds. Loads of great magic and really reasonably priced. $20 each I think. A total steal!
Moment's Notice 10: Six Impromptu Card Effects Available Now!
http://cameronfrancismagic.com/moments-notice-10.html
andre combrinck
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I have the AOA books, Stars of Magic set and AOA vol.1. They are all brilliant. I'd like to add Backlash, Unshuffling Rebecca, Nightshades, Color Stunner and Fizz Master to Cameron's list. Paul is the master of in you face-WTF?

AJ
Daniel Clemente
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I'm going to get flamed for this, but I've had the entire set of 3 since I was about 17-18 years old (27 now), and have yet to actually open them up and look at it...your all making me want to go to my room next to my bedroom and get them out!!
Chatterbox41
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Trooper, I think we all have been guilty of that at one time or another. The impressive list of titles on the bookshelf... the only thing more impressive is the person who has actually read them! LOL!

Seriously, Paul Harris was the new big thing when I started card magic. He was the innovator. I got away from magic for a long while so not quite sure who holds that distinction now, but I always loved the way Paul didn't disgard an idea because of the simplicity or the complexity of the method. There's something for all levels in his work as long as you can handle the entertainment part of the effect.

Gary
Douglas Lippert
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The AoA books..what hasn't been said? Paul brought a Doug Henning quality to close-up magic that wasn't there before. I mean most published material was real serious and Paul brought playful ideas that other magicians just ate up. Not to mention all the innovative plots Paul Harris has created.

If you haven't done so check out his AoA books and his Stars of Magic dvds to see his performances. Also check out his MAJ issue, Art of Astonishment dvd, True Astonishments dvd set. Paul's material has influenced a lot of magician's creativity. One of my favorite effects was "Shape of Astonishment". I have an effect in the June 2011 issue of M.U.M. magazine that was influenced by that effect. It's a simple but cool way to start to start a coin routine that is angle free.
Douglas Lippert
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jhostler
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Even back in the dark ages, most readers were aware of the fluff in Paul's books... but we didn't care. Why? The "A" material was fabulous, the writing hilarious, and - most importantly - his stuff never failed to jumpstart your imagination. Paul was, is, and always will be the Court Jester Genius of modern close-up.
SimonG-97
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So how much is doable impromptu? Normal deck, no dupes the lot. Of course a quick 4-5 card set-up or something little is fine.
hackmonkey
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While I agree there are many effects in AOA that are 'impractical' or definitely 'situational', many are still good effects.

But I would have to disagree that none are 'workers'. I regularly use at least 3-4 Harris routines I have learned from AOA I use in my walk around gigs, the are both 'strong', 'practical' and go down well with audiences being easy to understand and follow plot wise.

There are many amazing card and coin routines published that magicians love but don't seem to hit as hard with 'lay people'.
'
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Blueroyalty
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I've never stopped using reset (granted I've updated to reswindled) and his gambler vs mentalist vs magician, and whack your pack ever since I've learned them 15 years ago...whewww
Chatterbox41
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Quote:
On 2011-09-28 11:37, hackmonkey wrote:
... But I would have to disagree that none are 'workers'. I regularly use at least 3-4 Harris routines I have learned from AOA I use in my walk around gigs, the are both 'strong', 'practical' and go down well with audiences being easy to understand and follow plot wise.

There are many amazing card and coin routines published that magicians love but don't seem to hit as hard with 'lay people'.
'


I have to agree with hackmonkey. Lay people love a lot of the Harris material. Not all of it is knuckle busting moves, but that means you can put more thought and time into presentation. Whack Your Pack for example always plays strong for me. The first time I saw Illusion way back when I was stunned! Great stuff to have practical fun with.

Gary
PendletonThe3rd
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Just got this set as one of my first forays into actual books. I was pretty much doing the DVD/DL thing but love a good ol fashion book (or three in this case).

In fact, I actually bought Regals Approaching Magic first and while I'm not knocking it, it just didn't do anything for me. It was a bit too practical, for me... I don't know, can't explain it but now I have it up for sale on craigslist.

Anyway, So I get this set and I'm immediately blown away. I still have to dive deep into it but from what I've already read, there is some really great stuff in here. I mean, the first page introduction had me literally laughing out loud...I love this guys tone/humor. And it's sprinkled throughout which is great since even if you don't like a certain effect, it's fun reading about it nonetheless (and still insightful).

Anyway, I'm super happy with this purchase. I shopped around for a while on this and got it from the below for $108..seems to be a deal considering others are selling for it more and even a used set on ebay just recently sold for over $105.

http://www.elmwoodmagic.com/full/books-a......1684.htm

Now back I go to reading this...
kShepher
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I just got this Saturday. Vol 1.

Wow!

It kept coming up here, and I have never been steered wrong by you guys.

This is so much fun.
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