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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All tied up! » » Missing days gone by... (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cliffg37
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Long Beach, CA
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Wow, I was reading over some older posts here in all tied up and I realized that Since I found the Magic Café things in All Tied Up had changed. Right now this is basically a dead forum. Only a few posts here and there. Back in the days, this forum was alive with conversations about stages, straitjackets, cuffs, performances etc. There were far more people her too. So what happened?

At least two participants have passed away.
One is alive and too ill to do much.
Some are buried under day job work.
Some may have lost interest.
Three were banned off the Café.
At least one retired.
At least two moved on to different entertainment.
How many were driven away through in fighting and bickering? No clue.
Why are there not new EA's coming up to replace them?

I try to start interesting conversations. I usually seem not to succeed.

I don't know what answer I am looking for. Maybe an escape forum just isn't relevant any more.

Any thoughts?
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Ian McColl
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I'm banned from posting any where else but just this thread because I am an atheist and this is a American christian run website.
Riley
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Spain
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I still look in here from time to time. After my escape from the Ripon Cell in 2015,I "retired" to Spain.

I remember thinking that several years earlier, a cell escape would have drawn a lot of comment. In 2015' it managed comments from several EA's who know me, two nice comments from people who don't know me, and a few silly posts to finish off the thread.


http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=18

I didn't perform the escape to gain pats on the back on here, but the apathy was a surprise.

Cliff asked what happened. I don't know either. Maybe Facebook took over.
Riley
WitchDocChris
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Forums in general are dying out. Social media sites have indeed changed how people interact online and forums like the Café are products of a fairly bygone era. The Café just happens to be massive enough, with enough sub forums, to keep going.

But honestly I think this particular sub-forum isn't terribly active because escapology isn't as exciting as it once was. Escape artists have been proving they can get out of things for decades now. It becomes "John Doe will ATTEMPT to escape suchandsuch" and then "John Doe HAS escaped suchandsuch".

Basically, at least from my perspective, either the escape artist is going to get out of whatever situation he has contrived to escape from or he won't. If he does, it was a foregone conclusion and therefore not super interesting. If he doesn't, it's anticlimactic (or horrific, depending on what the escape was supposed to be).
Rev. Christopher
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Dick Oslund
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Back in '95, the escape artist that Jack Lythgoe and I had booked for a full tour with National School Assemblies, canceled, at the last minute. Jack West, NSA manager/owner, called me. I was on Christmas "break" in Sacramento. If we couldn't fill the scheduled bookings, both Jack, myself, and the bureau would lose a lot of money in commissions.

I called a young friend, who had experience, clowning in several circuses, and local club date experience. Janary club dates are often "slow" after the Holiday dates. Jim had a young family. He was willing to hit the road. He had experience as a magician, but none as an EA. We discussed presenting an escape program, and decided that he would do a brief talk about HOUDINI, and, then "demonstrate" some escapes that Houdini had done.

I had done a few basic escapes with cuffs, and a strait jacket, so, I loaned him my jacket and an assortment of cuffs (mostly "jumpers", and a loop & chain prop. He hit the road, and, got great reviews in the high schools, in Utah, Idaho, and Montana.

Jim didn't want to go east to Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia, so I did those schools, with the "same" style of program. The program played very well.

We never heard anymore of the young fellow who had canceled his tour!

The comments above mine, are interesting. I suspect that there just isn't enough work available. Maybe on fair grounds?

I enjoyed my brief tour. But, I'm retired, too!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Riley
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Always such a pleasure to read your posts, Dick. Smile

Riley (now performing "close-up" in restaurants again, and the street markets, lol)
Roslyn
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I agree with Christopher. Escapology has become very "samey" and predictable, which has led to its downward spiral.

The stuff that generally gets performed these days is the same stuff that was performed 50 years ago, which in turn was the same stuff that was performed 50 years before that. Even those escapes that are advertised as "new" are, when boiled down to the bare bones, an escape from a straitjacket, handcuffs, chains or ropes. Also, most escapes are still very magical in nature. There is a hidden element that the audience wants to see. The problem is that once they see it, it becomes a case of "oh, he just picked the lock".

Escape performances are also generally not that engaging either. A lot of performers rely on the power of the escape to cover up the lack of performance skills. Then there are those with bags of performance skills who realise that the reason the audience is having a good time is because of them and not the escape. They then drop the escape in favour of anything else. Because it doesn't matter what they're doing on stage, it's them that the audience is enjoying.

Those with diminished performance skills are then left and escapology gets graded on their shows, which aren't great. So they either leave the ents biz entirely or they discover magic shops with their prepackaged professional routines and start doing those instead. Either way escapology loses out.

Here in the UK venues for performing escapes are also decreasing. Bookers, like everyone, have less money. So they stop booking the big escape acts in favour of other stunt shows that offer more than one trick. Things like motorbike stunt shows are very popular. Or they book smaller sideshow acts rather than main arena stuff.

Then there's the negative attitude from older members of the escape arts towards those breaking in to it or those who are trying to travel a different path and try new things. Because these newcomers aren't doing it the way these veterans of the art did it they get, for want of a better word, stroppy. So these newcomers either walk away from escapology completely or at the very least they walk away from the community.

Also, the community itself is far from being a community. The support for each others work is limited and it seems that everyone is out for themselves. They all want to be the star. And as a result nobody shines.

Of course there are a few who are doing great things. Jonathan Goodwin has been slowly making a name for himself and is probably the most successful modern escape artist as far as high profile shows and TV appearances goes. He was also a target for some. Yet he's weathered the abuse and has come out on top. Or certainly seems to have done so anyway.

I still think there's a place for escapology in the 21st Century, just not in it's current form. It needs space to evolve and those interested in doing escapes need encouragement. Until then, it will lie dormant.
The Magic Cafe account of The Conwy Jester, Erwyd le Fol formerly known as Roslyn Walker.
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jimgerrish
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I'll get "burned" for this, but in my humble opinion, escape artists "doomed" themselves when they forgot their magic roots and decided to separate magic from escapes to give themselves more "validity" whatever that means. Houdini never did that, you notice. He performed magic right along with his escapes up until the last show of his life. He was a magician who could also escape. There are plenty of magicians who do some escapes in their shows, as PART of a complete performance of their skills, which may also include juggling, acrobatics, clowning, unicycling, and yes, even balloon twisting. This is called ENTERTAINMENT and there will be a demand for entertainment as long as people get bored with ordinary life and want something new, clever, and mysterious to watch. Word to the wise: don't give up your magic roots and make use of all your skills in all the circus performing arts.
Jim Gerrish

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Riley
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I totally agree Jim. The EA must understand misdirection and spectator management. Without that, there's no mystery and entertainment.

For me, the interaction with the audience/spectators before, and particularly AFTER the performance is THE important thing!
Harley Newman
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Magic hasn't been the basis for escapes, except for Houdini and his many wannabe followers. There are thousands of years in the history of the art form.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Ian McColl
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The point of the OP was to asked why this website thread is failing. People seem to be getting off track of the OP. Norm Bigelow removed the mystery from escapes when he introduced the full view lock picking method of escapes. Escapes went down hill after that. many full views escape are like watching a locksmith open your front door. Boring and the outcome is expected. Full view escapes also offer the performer an easier way to get into the business as they don't need to learn the subtleties of the art form. Even Harley uses magic and vanishes from his trunk escape, advertised as an escape, not as an illusion. In the earlier days of escapes, knowledge was past was one person to another, usually a novice learnt from someone with experience. Now people think that they don't need the basics, they don't start with the simple and work their way up. We have seen here all too often that young new comers want to do the up side down SJ, burning rope or bridge jump as their first escapes. Most of the people who posted here were/are novices or enthusiasts themselves but hand out so called knowledge at the drop of a hat. A lot of information posted in replies is wanting or lacking in overall detail. These type of replies, posted here for the world to see made the art cheap and foolish. I remember one guy coming here to find out how to do a handcuff escape in a river which turned out to be an illusion (where he appeared after a very long time in a canoe) and even called the handcuff by the wrong name in the youtube clip. The loud novices here said, don't be critical as the guy is PROMOTING escapes (??) and it doesn't matter is you lie a bit, it's what the audience think not was is real in reality. Silly catch phrases like that are misconstrued by novices and even more experienced people as a licence to do very poor performances and belittle the art unwittingly. The 'I want information NOW" and "I don't need to learn" is the new age, that is why this site is dead and also that it is not inclusive of all people. Good minds like Santini and a few others have been banned for no other reason is that they stood up for their beliefs. Most other professional don't come here as novices care about pirating ideas or just outright stealing acts.
Kevin Connolly
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When Rick Zilmser was alive, this place was hoping. Man, the fur would fly when the old crowd was around.
Please visit my website.
www.houdinihimself.com

Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
Ian McColl
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Last line of my post edited and corrected to read, Most other professional don't come here as novices don't care about pirating ideas or just outright stealing acts.

you are right Kevin, when there was a bit of argy-bargy, it was fun. but this holier than thou and goodie too shoe attitude is very far from real life communication.
Harley Newman
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Ian, trunk escapes? You're thinking of somebody else. Most of my material is heavy-duty stunt work.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
Ian McColl
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Do you also perform the USD SJ with fire extinguisher on a separate rope?? TODAY show NY?
Cliffg37
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Ian Said...

>>> Norm Bigelow removed the mystery from escapes when he introduced the full view lock picking method of escapes.
>>> Escapes went down hill after that. many full views escape are like watching a locksmith open your
>>> front door. Boring and the outcome is expected.

Ah ha. While I am not sure that the actions of one man who performed to limited audiences, single handedly did the deed you speak of, you do have a point. I love the fact (BTW Ian, you get the credit for some of this) that I do two different escapes in which I tell the audience they will see everything. In both cases it is a lie; they see nothing. But talk to them after and they will swear they could see everything I did.

As to Norman and his full view picking, I think it was the impending doom of a door full of knives closing on him which drew the audience favor and excitement. I agree just watching someone pick a lock does not make an entertaining show.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Kondini
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Once more on here the remarks made seem very odd to those doing rather than saying. I'm a very old man who has made the Inland Revenue wealthy with my efforts.
A firm believer that escapology is a jacket to hang on yourself as it's yourself that's being promoted not the escapes. Escapes as a means to an end are diminished if tangled with magic or illusions. Ask any who have made a good living from this if a magic illusion sold as an escape diminishes the escape. Of course it does.

As an escapologist the escapes stand alone and as such command top fee, unless of course you fail and come out looking like an idiot (This is happening more and more) Which ruins the whole object,which is to escape. There is a two hour tv special made up of failures, which is very sad. Also an angle of self promotion that I am the big I am sponsored by rich parents or a production company who couldn't give a **** about the "Art". Many so called escapologist that arnt, who have brought the rest of us into the idiot frame.

Is the whole thing deteriorated,,,,not as far as I'm concerned.

Right now I'm overseas doing shows and talks with demonstrations which are pure escapology. This contract runs through to next August with me country hopping back and forth weekly (Gotta get home to feed the cat now and then) So all my Summer outside gigs have been cancelled till next year and these have already been rebooked for then. Yes I will be doing Side Show as well, but not mixed with escapes.

So I'm happy, Pat should get a new handbag, I owe nothing to anyone, all from this so called dying art. From my point of view that's ********.

Ken. (The OAP escapologist). Smile
DavisG
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Having read this sub-section for a number of years, I feel that often the in-fighting got to be too much for a lot of posters and they have quit commentng. It is a shame, as I enjoyed the positive interaction.
Cliffg37
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Hey Ken,

What was the name of the 2-hour show that showed EA's failing? I doubt I would enjoy it, but I would love to see it.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Kondini
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Still away so have no details to hand but from memory it was a Uk Ch 5 production When Magic Goes Wrong which first aired back in September 2016. A lot on ea failures as well as magic, think it went on for over two hours so had a lot of content ! Hope that you can get a copy,,,,,no I'm not on it haha haha thank God !!
Roslyn
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Cliff,

When Magic Goes Wrong is one of those compilation shows that's dead cheap to make because it uses other's footage.

It was a three-hour plus marathon of a show that made up an entire afternoon of magic on the channel when it was first aired. It ran alongside a Penn and Teller show and a TV special I think. I don't remember all that many EAs on it. Maybe 30-minutes worth, possibly a few more. Most of the show was showing magic tricks not working. Tbh, most of the show was extremely boring to watch. The escapology section was the most interesting, although even that started to get a little tedious after a while. Those EAs I remember appearing were Shahid Malik, Antony Britton, Alan Alan, the US chap who got dragged behind the car a few years ago (I'm sorry I forget his name), I think Spencer Horseman and also Joe Burris (The Amazing Joe) were shown too.

I know Ken and others don't think that showing things going wrong is a good idea. Personally I feel it strengthens the overall perception of escapology as something that is genuine and could end in disaster. Just telling a modern audience that 'such and such' could happen isn't enough. The internet generation is used to seeing it happen, and even then they'll cry fake if they suspect fancy editing has been used.

I see showing failure in escapology the same as showing a montage of people getting the smash and stab wrong before performing the smash and stab or dropping a knife before successfully juggling them. If the audience thinks the outcome is inevitable then why would they want to watch it? Escapology suffers from this idea that the performer will always get out. Of course there are ways of making the performance look like a close shave, and that can be exciting. But its only exciting if people believe it genuinely was close and the only way to do that, in my opinion, is to convince them that sometimes things go wrong.

With regards to Bigelow, I loved his full view stuff. And especially The Doors of Death. It was an exciting piece that I believed. Part of that belief (at least for me) came from the evidence he had for past failures. How true those failures were was known only to himself. I never questioned them, I had no reason to. But they worked for me. They really pulled me in to his performance and I bought every word.
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