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Topic: Need advice from all doveworkers & magicians.
Message: Posted by: dove-boy (May 19, 2003 01:21PM)
Dear All

I recently entered an International Stage contest with my dove act.

One of the effects was called the Dove Pyramid to Flower AKA Botania... where I placed 2 doves head down into the botania which transform into a bunch of flowers.

However, this led to some comments from the lay audience & a couple of judges that I am very cruel to the birds ... 'Ill-Treatment' ...but some magicians I spoke to said it is ok.. some even didn't noticed any cruelty... anyway this is the way it should be performed according to the instructions given.

As a result of this, I lost many marks due to to the ill-treatment of the birds. I even had a phone consultation with the world renowned teacher of magic who happened to be the judge). He asked me to remove this item from the act as well. He told me this was the main problem with my act. My problem is that, not all magicians feel this way, as some asked me to keep it in, I have no idea whom I should try to please..

But when I spoke to the well-known manufacture of this brillant flower effect, he told me it is perfectly all right... this is the way it should be done and just as in many other effects, the doves go in the same way. He said to just ingore the comments. Anyway, this is the first time I am using this in a competition and wondered if I should keep it for future contests, and risk the same thing happening again with the negative remarks. If the remarks are the same, then I will call it quits.. any advice??

However, I personally feel it is ok for the birds. I can even put them in head up (Does placing a dove head up or head down into the Botania make any differences..?) ....I do not wish to remove this item because it cost me USD $1800 plus shipping and there are only 2 in the world.

Is it maybe because the judges are not dove workers themselves that led to this problem? Anyway, I am hoping for any advice on using this botania effect.

BTW, you can view the item at these sites.



Thanks for all your help.

Warmest regards

P.S. Dear Dave, I hope you can give me some comments too, based on your expertise.. thanks!

Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 19, 2003 01:44PM)
Joe: It's impossible to please everyone all the time. Having not actually seen your act I can't comment on your handling, however, trying to think like your audience, I can see why they, including the judges, may feel you are mistreating the birds. This is strickly my opinion but I don't know if it matters whether you place them in head up or head down. The impression is that they FALL to the bottom of the tube. I'm not exactly sure how your prop works but I am familiar with the botania. I might suggest that if possible, you hold the prop horizontally and put the birds in that way. Then you can set it upright on the table. That may be all it takes to change their opinion.
Since we both know you are not mis-treating the birds, with this effect, you have to think about whether you are going to enter another competition with this prop or just perform it. For competiton purposes, I would suggest you take the judges advice and change that routine, however if you are just going to perform it in normal shows, I don't believe the average layman will be upset with the routine as you already have it.
Message: Posted by: dove-boy (May 19, 2003 02:12PM)
Dear Dave

Thanks for your expertise.. Yes, the Pyramid works exactly like the botania. I think it is because they assume the 2 birds fall into the base, or it seems I 'squeezed' the 2 birds into the small hole of the Botania.

Anyway, it is only a 6 min act. After the show I removed them immediately. Perhaps they just don't like the birds going into a
'small' hole... sigh

Tilting the pyramid horizontally is a neat idea, but I can't use it as the pyramid is fixed to the rolling base.

hmm, anyway, I did kiss the birds before placing them in, to show a sign of love & concern. I guess this doesn't help either. BTW, do you advise dove workers to kiss each bird when they are produced?

I am very surprised by the comments, especially by the well known magic teacher, who told me not to kiss the birds when they are produced. Don't most dove workers kiss their bird to show the love & concern. I was pretty confused. Do you advise dove workers to kiss the bird?

Thank's for your advice...
deeply appreciated!

Have a nice day!
dove-boy :angel:
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 19, 2003 04:37PM)
Well, again in my opinion, magicians can overdo kissing their doves. I personally produce 11 birds and I only kiss one, just before I make it vanish. Kissing every bird gets to be monotonus for the audience. You don't have to show affection to show you care for your birds. The fact that they sit on your finger unafraid proves that. Kissing the bird before a vanish is like saying goodbye to it. Very natural.

I'll try to think of another way for you to use your pyramid.
Message: Posted by: dove-boy (May 19, 2003 08:56PM)
Dear Dave

Thanks again for your reply & help again, it's deeply appreciated!

Have a nice day!
dove_boy ;)
Message: Posted by: Jason Wethington (May 20, 2003 11:36AM)
Well, I want to preface what I am about to say with a plea.

Think about what I am saying before anyone gets mad. These are only my opinions.

I believe acts that produce or vanish animals via sleight of hand or by stage props ARE mistreating the animals. Loading a dove into a harness, putting it into a vest and whipping it out in the blink of an eye is cruel. Putting an exotic into a bag to be produced is cruel. I shudder every time I see the clip of Brett Daniels "splitting" his macaws or Greg Frewin producing a bird "seemingly" off the sole of his shoe. It is awful.

I am sure you don't have any intentions of being cruel, however, putting your animal into a small container is.

I will tell you that I think keeping exotic animals in cages and even in a zoo is also cruel. I see them, though, as necessary evils. We need zoos to educate people of the dangers that exist for these animals as a result of our species. For some species, captivity is the only thing standing between them and extinction. That, my friends, is cruel.

The reason I am saying all of this is because I want you to consider that even though using animals in magic is considered an acceptable practice, it doesnít make our methods acceptable.

Try to consider how your animals feel. We all know the horror stories of animals dying from asphyxiation before being produced. I feel if it has happened once that is too many times. You have a choice of what you feel is an acceptable risk. Our animals donít.

Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 20, 2003 02:02PM)
Jason, your point is well taken, and I feel the same when I see someone rapidly producing a dove.

There is no reason for this to happen. If the effect is perfected, the bird should just slide out of the vest into the hand. There is no reason to jerk it out which is definitely traumatic to the bird. That is why I never do a bare handed dove production.

I've seen too many magicians who think they are dove workers and don't pay attention to what they are doing to the bird.

I personally customize my dove bags to fit the bird. It does not restrict the dove and it's head is never covered. Most new dove workers take a standard bag and try to use it for every bird. This is just not practical.

I personally would not get mad at your opinion for any reason but I do feel that there is room for flexibility. To me, sliding a dove out of a bag is actually less cruel than keeping a dog on a leash and tugging on it when he doesn't obey. Yet, I don't think the general public would find anything wrong with that.

I've said repeatedly that my approach is that "Doves are people too" and should be treated with the utmost respect and care.
Message: Posted by: DJ Trix (May 24, 2003 08:36PM)
Wow, hearing all that makes me think twice about the productions and vanishes I had in mind...

I have had my doves for about 4 days now and one of them flew off my hand, tried to perch on a clock, and when it turned, it fell behind my TV and was stuck. I felt like crying. They also take off sometimes, can't perch, and just hit the ground. It seems so painful, and they just stare at me. I don't really know what to do, but afterwards they just climb right back on my finger and seem just as happy with me..

Will they learn that they must always land on my hand or will this happen sometimes?

God, I hope it doesn't happen again..

Be careful with your birds...
Message: Posted by: Zack (May 24, 2003 10:24PM)
What about ripping a dove's head off? Is that cruel? (I'll put it right back on.)
Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 25, 2003 06:57AM)
DJ, the birds need to get used to you. Four days is not enough time for that to happen. You need to work with them every day. Just let them sit on your finger and gently stroke them from head to tail and along the feathers. I'd give it a few weeks. I'm assuming that these are adult birds since they are able to fly already. They have to get comfortable with you. Even after that, you'll find that once in awhile, they'll take off. That's what birds do.

We don't all have the luxury of space, but I have my basement/practice area set up as a stage with black curtains all around. They are set a few inches from the wall so if a bird does fly into them, it won't be like hitting a solid object.

Just keep working with them, it takes time.
Message: Posted by: DJ Trix (May 25, 2003 08:32PM)
Well, my doves are 6 or 7 weeks old.

When I ordered them, I was told I was getting an 8 week old pair, but they were sold so he sent me these. They are quite big (8 or 9 inches from head to tail), and I can't picture them being only 6 or 7 weeks. Could this be?

Message: Posted by: Dave Scribner (May 25, 2003 09:19PM)
DJ, size isn't always a factor. I've had fully grown birds smaller than my younger ones. Look at their feet. Are they pink or darker red? New doves have pink feet and they turn darker as they get older. In any case, it's not how old they are but how long they have been with you and how often you work with them. It takes weeks of work to get them used to you. They are probably still a little traumatized if you've only had them 4 days.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Online (Aug 14, 2005 04:49PM)
On 2003-05-20 12:36, Jason Wethington wrote:
These are only my opinions.
I will tell you that I think keeping exotic animals in cages and even in a zoo is also <b>cruel</b>. I see them, though, as <b>necessary</b> evils. Jason
How odd a concept: <b>"necessary cruelty."</B> Although I disagree with your opinions regarding keeping and using animals as being cruel, I must say I find it very inconsistent for you to approve cruelty when it is <u>arbitrarily</u> necessary.
If you are correct and it is cruel to keep animals in a cage or zoo, then how can it ever be right?
Go to the library and get Penn & Teller's Showtime show on DVD. They do an expose on the hypocritical beliefs and actions of PETA.
Message: Posted by: kregg (Aug 14, 2005 05:29PM)
No matter how delicately one handles an animal, perception is everything.