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Topic: Seattle Times Op-Ed on Magic
Message: Posted by: Maritess (Aug 17, 2013 02:19AM)
Hello! Check out my Seattle Times Op-Ed on magic and popular culture: http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2021629628_maritesszurbanoopedmagicwomen17xml.html
Message: Posted by: Discordia (Aug 17, 2013 12:50PM)
Hi Mari! I absolutely agree with what you are saying in the article...I used to go to a magic club in Vegas that was pretty much all men. They were nice don't get me wrong, however they would often tell inappropriate jokes(I was around 13-18 at the time) and would objectify women and it made me feel really uncomfortable honestly. And it isn't just magicians either....male dominated groups such as gamers and even skeptics have similar problems!

Message: Posted by: Maritess (Aug 18, 2013 01:31AM)
THANK YOU DEBBIE--a true Las Vegas local magician and insider who knows the magic history, the magic books and the major players in the magic scene that includes authors, inventors, performers and more. For those who say there are no porn tapes traded at magic clubs or there are no major magic books illustrated with chicks in bikinis or porn stars--they do not have access to a vast library and are lacking in their magic history information. For those who think there is no porn exchanged at magic club meetings, they do not hang out in the inner circles of magic.
Message: Posted by: slyhand (Aug 18, 2013 07:18AM)
I and my wife read your article several times. We both have failed to understand the point you are trying to convey.

Would you please explain it to us in a couple of sentences.

Message: Posted by: Maritess (Aug 19, 2013 02:15AM)
You need to read it again. Get someone to help you.
Message: Posted by: slyhand (Aug 19, 2013 05:49AM)
Wow. I ask for some clairification and you basically tell me I am too stupid to understand. Obviously you are unable or unwilling to to tell me your basic point in a few sentences.

Sad. What you are doing is very troll like.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 19, 2013 09:29AM)
WOW! Now it is clear why you can't make it in magic or mentalism, bad personality and attitude does not come off well from anyone including a woman.
Message: Posted by: Godzilla (Aug 19, 2013 09:38AM)
She,does seem to be an expert on PORN ! :)
Also,there is a nice picture of her in the tub with cards,in the above link!
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Aug 19, 2013 04:13PM)
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Aug 19, 2013 04:23PM)
Mariess is simply a hypocrite - without a shred of doubt.

I have no issues with the super Cheesy photo of her nude in the bathtub covered in Tallo Ho cards - publicity shots (both male and female) are par for the course in the entertainment biz.

But her commentary makes her sound like some kind of angel that has had to endure porn and a lack of respect my male perforners.

Odd - strange - weird. Just is.

Maritess is probably reading these threads (most of which she started) and probably feeling that these kinds of statements only prove somehow how this horrible male dominated industry doesn't respect her.

If that is all she takes away, then she is missing the boat entirely...

Magic and the industry I feel wants to be an inclusive industry - talented people of all stripes, colors, male or female should work hard and succeed and go as far as they want to.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Aug 19, 2013 07:12PM)
Angela Funovits (as one example) appears extremely talented - professional, confident, and not whining either as far as I can tell:

Message: Posted by: SWNerndase (Aug 20, 2013 01:35AM)
I posted a reply to this editorial in another forum here where it was duplicated. Seems to be more action and discussion here, so I'm going to repost my comments. Hope that's ok:

Originally Posted: Aug 19, 2013 8:01pm

Don't know anything about the widespread trading of porn by magicians, never seen that at a ring meeting or convention.

But Lee Asher did have porn actresses in the pictures (and on the cover) of an old set of lecture notes. Richard Kaufman published a book called "Sexy Magic" with scantily clad illustrated women in provocative poses, and there is a history of misogynistic plots in the art. So Ms. Zurbano is not delusional on those points. However I do think it's prevalence is exaggerated for her own purposes. There have been a few topless magic shows in Vegas, never to my knowledge many at the same time, so a flippant remark like "...the number of topless magic shows in Vegas has fallen to zero." says a lot about the authors agenda.

It starts to get interesting when she makes the, in my opinion accurate, observation that women are often displayed as having the same occupation or assignments as men, but not at the same level. Instead of exploring this rich idea further, we divert into a historically innacurate paragraph about the Discoverie of Withcraft. Amusing though that Ms. Zurbano chided others in this thread for not having basic history, apparently not realizing she got the publication date of Scott wrong in her editorial. And while some of the witches burned and tortured at the time were women, many were men and most from either sex were not actually conjurors.

This article/essay hints at being about something insightful, then collapses from lack of real content. I agree completely with some of her assumptions and observations, but they are neither argued well nor supported by facts. In the end the piece is vaguely accusatory, makes all male magicians into creeps, and comes off as written by a victim of the male dominated culture of magic--who sees all knows all and tells all from a superior point of view.

Too bad. It could have been a powerful piece from a underrepresented, and I believe, welcome point of view. I hope she is not deterred by the somewhat negative responses here, but writes more, argues better, and stakes out a place in this decidedly male dominated culture.


PS--As much as I don't want to admit it, I have to agree with some of the more vitriolic commenters that Ms. Zurbano's own promo pic from her linked site--being nude in a bathtub strategically covered with cards--undermines her position on this. I suppose it could be argued that a woman choosing that shot of and for herself is far different than being objectified by another. Still…it's hard to argue in favor of having it both ways.
Message: Posted by: Misty Lee (Aug 20, 2013 04:45PM)
Posted this in the other thread on this topic, but am posting it here, too.

With all due respect Maritess, I think you are dead wrong, and your article made me angry.

Full response is here:


It's lengthy, but I'll copy and paste it here if necessary.

Interested in reading your thoughts.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Aug 20, 2013 07:19PM)
This was a comment Maritess left on the Seattle Times site in response to the Op Ed:

"When I use sex, I am in control. That is my marketing, my PR. I am in power because I have the final say, I am the CEO of my identity and image. Even if I had a male dancer in a thong, first of all, that would telegraph soo gay, and I'm not the status quo, so no one would even care. When sex is used inadvertently or purposely by the status quo to make others in the workplace (or students reading important tomes in magic that are illustrated with photos mocking only women) feel uncomfortable and excluded, then that is a problem in a male-dominated field--if it truly hopes to welcome others into the fold."

Since we aren't hearing from the original poster (Maritess) we are left scavenging for some crumbs of her thinking.
Message: Posted by: reese (Aug 21, 2013 12:06AM)
It might be time to let her digest all of this... ya know, give her time and let her be. It's a lot to have on one's plate.
Message: Posted by: paulapaul (Aug 21, 2013 11:49AM)
Good points, SWNerndase. You hit the nail on the head. I’ll add my 75 cents worth.

I have heard that this section of the Café gets little activity, and what it DOES get is lame. I am guessing that now I can see why. Yikes! Chill, everybody.

My experience with men in magic has been satisfying, for the most part. But I don’t doubt for a moment that Maritess makes valid points. Why? Human nature.

I have a bit of experience here. For 26 years, I worked 50 weeks a year with my act and my full show. Let me take up the points that were more interesting to me in the original post. I understand what Maritess says, because I’ve walked a mile in her stilettos. I can express similar ideas in a few stories … none of which include porn.

For a few years, there were occasionally casting calls for a “Female Magician”. At first, I thought, “Well, finally!” But then I found that I never qualified for the spot. The shows looking for a “Female Magician” were never as fertile a source of jobs for me as those simply looking for a magician. Many such shows already had a dove worker booked, a comedy magician and an illusionist. For the “Female Magician” spot, these producers needed a novelty act that included baton twirling and doing the splits. I am not complaining. I’m pleased with being a good act, and gender has not been an issue. But, the product called “Female Magician” generally did not include a magic act like mine. This was not the case in EVERY instance. Several shows did have good female magicians. I am just relating a trend that existed for a few years.

Years ago over coffee, a West Coast publisher brought up the idea of the perfect act for a woman: She enters as the Magician’s Assistant. The audience soon realizes that the magician has not shown up, and the “assistant” pulls off the act, doing the absent magician’s effects. In truth, a great way to use an “acceptable”, or maybe more accurately, a familiar character for selling an act. As we all know, magic is quite elegant when the audience does not have to work out “who” we are. In this regard, the publisher’s idea was sound, even artistic or at the very least commercially viable. But, although my eyes may have merely widened when he suggested this useful ploy, every part of me yelled “No!” I started looking for the female images, icons or characters that were commonly thought of as magical. I read “The Goddesses in Everywoman” and other mythical books. I bought anything that had fairies, angels or sorceresses. They all had magical power. From Tinkerbell to Morgan Le Fay to Glenda the Good and her wicked sister from the West, the mountain sprite and the goddess who scourged the earth, the Crone and the guardian angel … each has mastery of her powers. Oops, maybe that’s the miz-try of her powers (wink). It is this sense of power – no matter what shade it may be – that is a topic of interest.

The way we express power is as individual as snowflakes. But let me put forth a scenario that may have at the heart of it what Maritess is saying. I saw a woman do an act in which she put a man (we’ll call him assistant 2) in a box to hide him from Assistant #1. Using a male assistant may SEEM to answer the gender issue. But the rest of the routine was off the mark. It was a cute idea wherein the guy is hidden in the box when her “main guy” (assistant 1) almost catches the magician and asst #2 together. What followed broke my heart. First, the magician has trouble putting the swords through because her dress was too short and heels too high. Plus, she put the swords through the box when Asst #1 pantomimed his disbelief that the box was empty. See – HE called the shots.

Now we are 2 for 2.

Solutions: There is no reason to get rid of the short skirt or the 3” heels (They look great) … just don’t try to crouch. In my preferred version of this act, Asst #1 demands an answer, the magician snaps her perfectly manicured fingers, puts asst #1 into a trance. Another snap of the fingers is her command for him to put the swords through the box … while she, presumably, files her nails. See – ditzy can be powerful. So can funny, !@#$%y, regal, smart, plain, etc. At issue is not the flavor we choose for ourselves, but is in the sense of who the PRINCIPAL character is. That is, who the magician is.

Now, here is the rub. With this idea that the woman can claim her power in a number of ways, even the “magician’s assistant” idea can work. However, it runs contrary to dispelling the idea that female magicians are former magicians assistants.

Enter Juliama Chen. There is nothing in her act or her persona that suggests anything other than an artist who pursued her craft, and achieved a great marriage of power and beauty. Her act has an integrity that makes gender unimportant. It also celebrates her gender. Not every act can have that, but it is a great goal to aspire to.

Back to Maritess. I produced and directed a full evening magic & illusion show around Maritess for a contract in Japan years ago. The venue was known for never renewing a show, but that magic show was the 1 show I sent to that venue which was held over. Her comments, and even her attitude seem to me to be her politics. Her stage presence is a separate matter. She is bright and engaging on stage. She has the b*lls to do hypnosis. In fact, if I had her nerve and one tooth, I’d rule the world.

I hope she will post again. This is a provocative subject.
Message: Posted by: paulapaul (Aug 21, 2013 12:31PM)
Misty - Yes. Yes. Yes to being a strong MAGICIAN, not the best Female Magician. I could say it over and over, but you've got the picture. Totally my belief, too.
Message: Posted by: Godzilla (Aug 21, 2013 12:50PM)
Misty,does tell it like it is! :)
And,she does know how to work the room,as she did here on Café! lol
We all can learn from,Misty!

I wish all you Lady Performers,the best!

I always wondered why so few Women posted here ?
Now I truly know,you gals are working magicians! :)

Message: Posted by: Misty Lee (Aug 21, 2013 03:22PM)
*pats Godzilla on the head* Thank you, luvvie. :)

Paula Paul: THAT's what I'm talkin' about. Get it, girl! *highfive*
Message: Posted by: Godzilla (Aug 21, 2013 04:20PM)
I'm hoping Autumn Morning Star,chimes in here to!
No telling where she is performing!

@Misty,you have a new Fanboy! :)
Message: Posted by: Godzilla (Aug 21, 2013 07:18PM)
Maritess,come on back... Please ???
Eyes,have been opened at several levels...

You're one of us,it is not right you are not here!

This is the 'World of Magic'!

You've overcome the other challenges,this is a cake walk! :)

Roll with the punches,turn the other cheek!

We,all love you!

Message: Posted by: edhagins (Aug 22, 2013 05:03PM)
50 years in magic and never once saw porn or heard it discussed. Is it really prevalent? As for pictures of porn actresses, I guess you'd have to be familiar with them to know if you've seen them. I don't know any.
I do know that the image of Magic (or of Maritess)was not enhanced by the contents of the article.
There is a Forum for these discussions, and we have found it here.

Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Aug 23, 2013 02:26PM)
I will comment at Godzilla's request. While I have had mainly positive experiences with my world of magic and the guys here at the Café have always been wonderfully helpful. I, like edhagins, have never seen anything pornographic anywhere in the magic world. I even attended the magic clubs in Vegas and still did not run into this. (Are you attending a particular club which has a propensity toward this sort of unkind behavior? If so, go to another club or hang out with full-time pros.)

On rare occasions I run into a few members with the 'old boy's club attitude' (they pretty much act like a clique and ignore me, but still do nothing risqué) I politely extract myself from situations like this and move on.

In situations like this, I have to be like flowing water, going around the stones. Don't give people like this your energy, Maritess. When I run into barriers, I USE them as stepping stones.
Message: Posted by: Maritess (Aug 24, 2013 11:59PM)
Yeah Paula! Right on!