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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workers » » Be Natural. What did Vernon mean? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

BeforeMagic
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Hi,

This is a question that has been bothering me and discussed a lot. So I wrote an article with my thoughts on what it means to be natural and do natural magic.

http://beforemagic.com/modern-magic/201 ... de-ascanio

Please let me know what you think.
AaronSterling
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Vernon was as influential a magician as anyone ever, but he was "only" a decent performer. I'd recommend you think about Armando Lucero's definition of a natural motion, since I think it's likely that Lucero is a more artistic performer than Vernon was, though I don't know how representative the Vernon video I've seen is. At any rate, Lucero's point is that "natural" means "whatever you can convince the audience is natural." A beautiful pressure fan is extremely unnatural, but if you perform it smoothly, it can be natural for you.

More than natural, I think the audience wants you to be successful at overcoming challenges. If you perform unnatural things naturally, then the audience knows they are not wasting their time watching you.

Edit: I just realized who you might be. Your link is broken by the way. If you're Mahdi, good to "meet" you.
asherfox
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Check out Tony Chang interview for more interesting idea on natural.
WitchDocChris
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Full link: http://beforemagic.com/modern-magic/2018......-ascanio

I enjoyed the article. Always happy to read about other folks' thoughts on theory of magic and performance.

asherfox - Which Tony Chang interview? He's done a few.

AaronSterling - Has Lucero put out any books? I checked his site but only saw videos and workshops.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
magicfish
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Quote:
On Jul 17, 2018, AaronSterling wrote:
Vernon was as influential a magician as anyone ever, but he was "only" a decent performer. I'd recommend you think about Armando Lucero's definition of a natural motion, since I think it's likely that Lucero is a more artistic performer than Vernon was, though I don't know how representative the Vernon video I've seen is. At any rate, Lucero's point is that "natural" means "whatever you can convince the audience is natural." A beautiful pressure fan is extremely unnatural, but if you perform it smoothly, it can be natural for you.

More than natural, I think the audience wants you to be successful at overcoming challenges. If you perform unnatural things naturally, then the audience knows they are not wasting their time watching you.

Edit: I just realized who you might be. Your link is broken by the way. If you're Mahdi, good to "meet" you.

The Lucero ideas you mention above are Vernon's.
Harry Lorayne
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Magicfish: Please email me.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
AaronSterling
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WitchDocChris: I'm pretty sure the PaperCuts DVD series is the only thing Lucero has published generally.

magicfish: Vernon lived a long time and said a lot of things, so maybe you're referring to something somewhere. And I never met him. But from Revelations, books and stories, my impression has been that he defined naturalness almost from time-motion studies of lay people. Put on and take off your jacket the same way a normal gentleman would, that sort of thing. Avoid flourishes because they are an expression of unnatural skill. But for some people's stage persona, performing flourishes are natural, and in fact it would be unnatural for that persona to avoid flourishes. Also, it's important to remember where Vernon was strong and where he was not. He was among the best ever at the need for motivation for sleights. But he was not strong at putting together a commercially successful act. Important to bear in mind when looking to him for advice. So I don't think you're correct here. My read on Lucero is that he defines naturalness in a theatrical context. Vernon was using more of a "real life" context.
asherfox
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On Jul 17, 2018, WitchDocChris wrote:
Full link: http://beforemagic.com/modern-magic/2018......-ascanio

I enjoyed the article. Always happy to read about other folks' thoughts on theory of magic and performance.

asherfox - Which Tony Chang interview? He's done a few.

AaronSterling - Has Lucero put out any books? I checked his site but only saw videos and workshops.


There is one on magic stream.
Pop Haydn
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If you are supposed to be picking up one card to show the audience, it should look exactly like you just picked up one card to show the audience. When you show a knife on both sides to the audience, it should always look as if you just showed a knife on both sides. If you supposedly put a coin in your hand, it should look like you just placed a coin in your hand.

Even when you are doing something else.
WitchDocChris
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On Jul 17, 2018, Pop Haydn wrote:
If you are supposed to be picking up one card to show the audience, it should look exactly like you just picked up one card to show the audience. When you show a knife on both sides to the audience, it should always look as if you just showed a knife on both sides. If you supposedly put a coin in your hand, it should look like you just placed a coin in your hand.

Even when you are doing something else.


I agree with this - I just added emphasis on the part that I think some folks get confused on. It should look the same as when you, the performer, are doing an innocent action.

The way I put a coin in my hand may not be the way Pop puts a coin in his hand. We all develop our own idiosyncrasies for perfectly normal actions over time.

Personally I think one of the best examples of this in magic is the double lift - the double lift/turnover should look the same as when you turn over a single card. Personally, when I was young I saw movies and TV shows where they pushed off the top card and flipped it face up with their fingertips and thumb. I thought that looked cool, so I started doing that, too. A strike double doesn't make sense for me, because I don't turn over a single card that way, normally.

So the natural movement is whatever fits the rest of what YOU do normally.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
magicfish
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"But he was not strong at putting together a commercially successful act."
What makes you think this?
Harry Lorayne
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I must have written it dozens of times --- do the action of the sleight without doing the sleight - then make it look just that way when you do the sleight. Obvious.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
AaronSterling
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On Jul 18, 2018, magicfish wrote:
"But he was not strong at putting together a commercially successful act."
What makes you think this?

His inability to make a living as a performer. I think it's instructive to compare Vernon's biography with that of, for example, Del Ray, who was perhaps the busiest and best paid performer of all Vernon's contemporaries. Depending on how you define contemporaries. Probably most magicians have never heard of Del Ray, much less seen video of his performances, and Del Ray almost took his best secrets to the grave. He had no need to publish, and even avoided TV. By contrast, part of the reason we all know Vernon is due to the fact that he had a harder time getting rebooked, so he faced financial pressure to publish often.

Anyway, about the natural double lift. Do you make your double lift look like your single lift? Or do you choose the best double lift for your character, and make your single lift look like your double?
WitchDocChris
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I generally make doubles look like singles, but I also put effort into matching my singles to my doubles.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
magicfish
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"His inability to make a living as a performer. I think it's instructive to compare Vernon's biography with that of, for example, Del Ray, who was perhaps the busiest and best paid performer of all Vernon's contemporaries. Depending on how you define contemporaries. Probably most magicians have never heard of Del Ray, much less seen video of his performances, and Del Ray almost took his best secrets to the grave. He had no need to publish, and even avoided TV. By contrast, part of the reason we all know Vernon is due to the fact that he had a harder time getting rebooked, so he faced financial pressure to publish often."

Interesting viewpoint.
I can't say I'm convinced however you may be at least partially correct.
Magicians who are successful performers often publish as well.

For the personification of Vernon's concepts and interpretations of naturalness, look no further than sleight of hand expert John Carney.
ssibal
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Natural may mean to do the sleight and the action you’re supposedly doing the same but with many sleights like the double lift ( any method ) the action looks absolutely nothing like how a normal person would handle cards.
danny
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I think that being "natural" is different for everybody to a certain degree. What is natural for person A may look totally unatural for person B. Benjamin earl, in his recent lecture talked about naturalness and how he thinks Vernon's ideas on the subject were unclear, or not fully conceved
mdspark
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I think you will find the detailed answers you seek in
The Dai Vernon Book of Magic in the chapter called
The Vernon Touch. Going to the source is always a good idea...
Mobius303
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Harry got it right. Doing an action surreptitiously that looks exactly like the actual action you are supposed to be doing.
Picking up something without undue attention is an example of doing something naturally. It is something everyone is familiar with and it does not look funny or odd.

It goes with everything. Tony Slydini is another perfect example you can watch doing things in a natural manner for him but looks odd when someone else does the same thing. Try to adapt to you and try not to overthink it.
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