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Topic: The new T A Waters DVD's: a preliminary review
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (May 3, 2013 02:53PM)
L & L's new T A Waters DVD's came in the mail today. I devoured the first one, and thought I'd post a preliminary review. (This project warrants an extended discussion.)

One viewing of the first DVD settles one question: Was the late T A Waters a good performer? IN my estimation, he would be (say) one of the two or three best regional performers in and around (say) Toledo, Ohio, but national calibre he was not. With the contracting attention spans of today's audiences, a couple of his effects (such as when he or a spectator is counting cards, again) would be experienced as laborious. His humming during a laborious phase can be distracting. His performances, however, can shine with an effect's revelation; he had thought through his revelations, and he became more energized and cogent in an effect's revelation phase.

Waters was stronger as a teacher. He is very organized, engaging, and clear when he is explaining one of his effects to his viewers. When, however, he is offering general advice about performing mentalism, he sometimes indulges in commonplace, even prosaic, advice: such as "Be contemporary," or "Be nice to the spectators." He can contradict his own advice; at least twice, he engaged in sexual innuendo with a female spectator. Again, Waters explains that one reason to be nice to, and not demean, spectators is because they paid to see your show. However, we paid for his DVD's, and at least twice, as he explains a move that is involved in an effect, he declares that if the viewer does not already know that move, he or she "shouldn't be watching" this DVD. It would have been better to teach the move or refer the viewer to sources that do.

At least two of his effects, on the first DVD, appear more plausible performed and explained than I experienced them when reading Mind, Myth and Magic. But he features a couple of effects that I cannot imagine anyone else ever doing. Nevertheless, I spontaneously adopted, and fell in love with, one of the effects; I will be preparing and performing it.

Overall, this is a VERY worthwhile resource for any mentalist's library. I cannot imagine why the publisher sat on the video for more than a decade before releasing it. It will become one of our field's enduring treasures.

George
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (May 3, 2013 03:14PM)
I seem to remember feeling the same thing about his performance after seeing him on video years ago.
Message: Posted by: MichaelCGM (May 3, 2013 05:05PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-03 15:53, George Hunter wrote:
L & L's new T A Waters DVD's came in the mail today. I devoured the first one, and thought I'd post a preliminary review. (This project warrants an extended discussion.)

One viewing of the first DVD settles one question: Was the late T A Waters a good performer? IN my estimation, he would be (say) one of the two or three best regional performers in and around (say) Toledo, Ohio, but national calibre he was not. With the contracting attention spans of today's audiences, a couple of his effects (such as when he or a spectator is counting cards, again) would be experienced as laborious. His humming during a laborious phase can be distracting. His performances, however, can shine with an effect's revelation; he had thought through his revelations, and he became more energized and cogent in an effect's revelation phase.

Waters was stronger as a teacher. He is very organized, engaging, and clear when he is explaining one of his effects to his viewers. When, however, he is offering general advice about performing mentalism, he sometimes indulges in commonplace, even prosaic, advice: such as "Be contemporary," or "Be nice to the spectators." He can contradict his own advice; at least twice, he engaged in sexual innuendo with a female spectator. Again, Waters explains that one reason to be nice to, and not demean, spectators is because they paid to see your show. However, we paid for his DVD's, and at least twice, as he explains a move that is involved in an effect, he declares that if the viewer does not already know that move, he or she "shouldn't be watching" this DVD. It would have been better to teach the move or refer the viewer to sources that do.

At least two of his effects, on the first DVD, appear more plausible performed and explained than I experienced them when reading Mind, Myth and Magic. But he features a couple of effects that I cannot imagine anyone else ever doing. Nevertheless, I spontaneously adopted, and fell in love with, one of the effects; I will be preparing and performing it.

Overall, this is a VERY worthwhile resource for any mentalist's library. I cannot imagine why the publisher sat on the video for more than a decade before releasing it. It will become one of our field's enduring treasures.

George
[/quote]Very accurate review. I watched both DVDs and came away with the same, basic impressions.
Message: Posted by: GDGrey (May 3, 2013 06:10PM)
Nice review, thanks mate :)
Message: Posted by: george1953 (May 3, 2013 07:29PM)
Excellent review, good job
Message: Posted by: scalito (May 4, 2013 03:24PM)
Thanks George....Which effect was it that you liked the most? I've been real disappointed lately with some recent purchases and I get scared when someone mentions 'resourses' or 'library' since that's where most of these wind up. I'm real tired of spending $50 plus on DVDs with only one effect anyone would actually use.

Any other info would be greatly appeciated.

Thanks.....Scalito
Message: Posted by: CardsandCoins (May 4, 2013 04:02PM)
Good Review, George. I think you're spot on.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (May 4, 2013 07:25PM)
Thanks, Guys:

Scalito, the effect on the first DVD thatI plan to prepare and perform some is Symbo-Chart. It is also featured in Mind, Myth and Magic (pp. 510-11), but the video performance is even better. I will probably have the prop made at Office Max.

Since I posted the review, I have studied volume 2. That DVD features a couple of strong effects with Tarot cards, BUT . . . who does effects with Tarot cards any more? I may explore adapting one of the effect to use five-color ESP cards.

George
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (May 5, 2013 11:44AM)
"BUT . . . who does effects with Tarot cards any more?"

actually after re-reading Enrique's material I am beginning too, really enjoying it.
Message: Posted by: PsiDroid (May 5, 2013 02:35PM)
I'm partial to tarot card effects but those dvds are to me the perfect companion to his MM&M book and I would have bought them just to heve the full set of waters products
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (May 5, 2013 05:01PM)
More has been written, and is being written, in our field than any informed mentalist can read, so my generalization about trends in the use of tarot cards may be wrong.

Nevertheless, let me test this impression: Mentalists are much less likely to perform with tarot cards than 15 years ago--when Waters was videotaped; however, Bizarrists continue to use them, and this is one difference that distinguishes bizarrists from mentalists, somewhat more now than earlier.

George
Message: Posted by: cpbartak (May 5, 2013 05:17PM)
So, let me get this straight...you all are reluctant to do effects with tarot cards...because no one else is? isn't that a good thing that your competition isn't using the same material as you? or is the only way we can tell if an effect is "cool" is if other people are doing it too? these are some strange comments to me. if you like something, do it. don't be sheep.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (May 5, 2013 05:57PM)
I believe the reason that fewer mentalist are using Tarot cards is because many have abandoned the psychic/mind reader persona and have copied/adopted the "psychological illusionist" character popularized by Derren Brown.

I agree with cpbartak insofar as I intentionally avoid doing effects that everyone else is doing. Thus, I'm more likely to use Tarot cards now than I was twenty years ago when everyone was using them.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (May 5, 2013 06:56PM)
Mr. cpbartak:

There is a range of possible ways to interpret my very brief comment on tarot cards; you have apparently chosen the most demeaning possible interpretation that occurred to you. I am not sufficiently adept at either cold reading or hot reading to know why you have indulged in an unprovoked ad hominem attack, so I will leave your motives to you. I would have thought that, by actually using my real name in this forum, no one would glibly assume that I am like a small, meek, self-protective animal; so you have surprised me, and you have lowered the level of conversation on this thread.

If you knew me (I am turning 75 next month), you would know that being "cool" is not a driving priority in my life. (Indeed, I regard the category as astonishingly superficial.)

My tarot-reluctance is twofold. 1) Tarot cards are not indigenous to the mid-south regional culture where I live and perform; most folks do not recognize them. I have no interest in explaining what they (allegedly) mean before I can perform with them. (ESP Zener cards are much more widely known and, in any case, are very easily explained; I do perform with those.) 2) People who do recognize tarot cards are likely to associate them with the psychic realm, the occult, etc; I am not interested in the rhetorical challenge of overcoming those connotations and, in any case, the occult perspective does not reflect who I am, nor the closely-related persona that I present.

If you like performing with tarot cards, good for you.

George
Message: Posted by: MichaelCGM (May 5, 2013 07:15PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-05 19:56, George Hunter wrote:
Mr. cpbartak:

There is a range of possible ways to interpret my very brief comment on tarot cards; you have apparently chosen the most demeaning possible interpretation that occurred to you. I am not sufficiently adept at either cold reading or hot reading to know why you have indulged in an unprovoked ad hominem attack, so I will leave your motives to you. I would have thought that, by actually using my real name in this forum, no one would glibly assume that I am like a small, meek, self-protective animal; so you have surprised me, and you have lowered the level of conversation on this thread.

If you knew me (I am turning 75 next month), you would know that being "cool" is not a driving priority in my life. (Indeed, I regard the category as astonishingly superficial.)

My tarot-reluctance is twofold. 1) Tarot cards are not indigenous to the mid-south regional culture where I live and perform; most folks do not recognize them. I have no interest in explaining what they (allegedly) mean before I can perform with them. (ESP Zener cards are much more widely known and, in any case, are very easily explained; I do perform with those.) 2) People who do recognize tarot cards are likely to associate them with the psychic realm, the occult, etc; I am not interested in the rhetorical challenge of overcoming those connotations and, in any case, the occult perspective does not reflect who I am, nor the closely-related persona that I present.

If you like performing with tarot cards, good for you.

George
[/quote]Just shows how two people can read the exact same text and come away with completely different impressions. I didn't find the sleightest hint of "attack" in cpbartak's response. On the contrary, I think he offered some very sound advice, and in a polite and reasoned manner. In fact, I bellieve he persuaded me to invest in some taro cards.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (May 5, 2013 07:16PM)
George-

Seventy-five and still performing is THE definition of "cool" as far as I'm concerned. :)
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (May 5, 2013 08:16PM)
Bob:

I started performing again at 70--after a 55 year detour. I am still learning at 75!

Michael:

Thanks for your feedback. But I was, after all, responding to a colleague who inferred motives from the slimmest of evidence; and the terms like "cool" and "sheep" (in the context of the sentences that he or she wrote) do not read like terms of endearment or affirmation.

I need to ask, what was it in cp. . .'s comment that persuaded you to make an investment?

With your encouragement, I re-read the comment that both of us responded to, and--yes, would now be more inclined to reconsider tarot cards if, in my audiences' experiences, I had any actual "competition." Most of them cannot recall ever having seen a Mentalist before; so whatever prop I use, they have never seen anyone else use it! In any case, no mentalist performs with the entire range of props that it is possible to perform with; so I cannot think of any reason why any performer is bottom tier if they do not make use of any specific prop, including tarot cards.

George
Message: Posted by: Andre Hagen (May 5, 2013 08:42PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-05 20:16, mastermindreader wrote:
George-

Seventy-five and still performing is THE definition of "cool" as far as I'm concerned. :)
[/quote]

Thanks for the kind words to us 75+ guys still in the game Bob. I'm not ashamed to say I'm still learning from those younger than I...including yourself.
Message: Posted by: Zombie Magic (May 5, 2013 11:38PM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-05 20:16, mastermindreader wrote:
George-

Seventy-five and still performing is THE definition of "cool" as far as I'm concerned. :)
[/quote]

:applause: :applause: :applause:
Message: Posted by: jesse_james_mcguire (May 6, 2013 12:53AM)
T.A. Waters is dead and does not care...
Nice review btw.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (May 6, 2013 11:04AM)
Yes, Jesse:

This did start as a thread about Waters' new DVD's. I can summarize some reflections over the last three days, as follows. Most mentalists will find value in the DVD's; those who are rooted in his book will find more value in the DVD's, as will those who perform with tarot cards


George
Message: Posted by: Rory Raven (May 6, 2013 12:23PM)
Looking forward to picking these up; I've always liked Waters's work.

>"he sometimes indulges in commonplace, even prosaic, advice: such as (snip) "Be nice to the spectators."

Actually, I'm surprised at how many performers DO need to be told that!

Be well, all.

Rory
Message: Posted by: jesse_james_mcguire (May 7, 2013 05:13AM)
Well stated George...
Message: Posted by: kazuba6511 (May 11, 2013 03:20PM)
Google: stevens magic t a waters gemini archives to see T.A. Waters Column Archives for Stevens' magic. You can pick each column.
Message: Posted by: Leonardo Martins (Jun 18, 2013 06:32PM)
Today I finished watching the DVD package "Miracles of Mind." A class, as be expected of a master.

The effects are simple (deliberately simple, I think), but to illustrate great ideas.

I recommend.
Message: Posted by: Circusman (Jun 19, 2013 04:08AM)
[quote]
On 2013-05-05 18:17, cpbartak wrote:
So, let me get this straight...you all are reluctant to do effects with tarot cards...because no one else is? isn't that a good thing that your competition isn't using the same material as you? or is the only way we can tell if an effect is "cool" is if other people are doing it too? these are some strange comments to me. if you like something, do it. don't be sheep.
[/quote]

I agree fully with what you're saying CP.
I make use of Tarot cards in many situations but, not because others don't use them, just when it suits me to do it.

Admittedly, I do have a tendacy, when using props, to mostly use ones that that were issued in limited numbers to give me edge over other 'run of the mill' performances. It certainly works for me in that aspect.

Like many others I suppose that, before buying a trick, I waited to see what others thought about it first. But now I make a purchase, then find a way of fitting it into my style if it does not initially seem to fit. Obviously, this is not always possible as there is a lot of crap out there.
Message: Posted by: Andrew_Jeffrey (Jun 22, 2013 04:34PM)
A very interesting thread, thank you to all contributors. I have MM+M, and am wondering whether the DVDs cover anything which is NOT in there? Thanks.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Jun 22, 2013 08:39PM)
Andrew:

It has been almost two months since I started this thread, and I did not make a direct effect-by-effect comparison between the book and the DVD's, but I can give you two impressions.

1. At least most of the DVD effects are printed in the book.

2. But in the DVD's, at least several times, he changed or updated the effect from the printed version--I think for the better.

It was interesting to see evidence that the effects had evolved in his own mind and experience.

George