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Topic: Parlor act belongs to stage or close-up?
Message: Posted by: jiayi (Jan 2, 2015 05:16AM)
Hi guys, I am trying to figure out whether my act should be entered into stage or close-up category. I have seen stage act mostly consists of manipulation plays to music, but my act requires audience participation and more of a interactive comedy magic type. I think it has a good viewing distance for hundreds of people at least. Based on your experience, what do you think?
Message: Posted by: Mike Gilbert (Jan 2, 2015 06:49AM)
I have not participated in a contest personally, but from what I understand, most competitions try to stick to FISM regulations as much as possible. As you read, you will see that Parlor fits in with Close-Up. FISM rules state:


a) The contest performances are open in the following categories:

Stage Magic Performances:
- Manipulation: A magic stage act wholly or largely based on sleight of hand.
- General Magic: A magic stage act which is, in most cases, a mix of several of the other categories. The props used are usually smaller than the ones used in a Stage Illusion act.
Some performances using modern high-tech or video technology can also be categorized under this denomination.
- Stage Illusions: A magic stage act in which huge props are used (even when these are not visible to the audience). Often several people and/or animals are involved.
- Comedy Magic: A magic stage act of which the main purpose is to make people laugh. It can be based on any one of the aforementioned categories, provided the emphasis is laid on the
magic nature of the performance.
- Mental Magic: Branch of magic comprising demonstrations of apparent extraordinary or supernatural mental powers, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, super
memory, lightning calculation and simulations of mediumistic phenomena.

[b]Close-up Magic Performances:
Acts, intended to be performed for small groups of people in close proximity. The contestant can be seated or standing behind a table, mostly with some members of the audience also seated at this table, but the act can also be presented standing up without any use of a table. The items used are generally small and most effects directly involve the spectators or participants.

Three categories are distinguished:
- Card Magic: the act is exclusively based on effects using playing cards.
- Micro Magic: although playing cards are not to be excluded, the act is of a more general nature.
- [i]Parlour Magic:[/i] An act, midway between close-up and stage magic, meant to be performed for a group of people in a moderately sized room.[/b]

b) If the Judges are of the shared opinion that it would be in the best interests of a contestant to change his category, they are entitled to make such a change.

I hope this helps!
Message: Posted by: jiayi (Jan 2, 2015 11:11AM)
Thanks that helps!
Message: Posted by: Mike Gilbert (Jan 2, 2015 08:21PM)
Good luck and let us know how it goes!
Message: Posted by: Payne (Jan 4, 2015 12:03AM)
I've won or placed in several close-up contests over the years. I don't do close-up, I do stand-up or parlour magic. Most close-up contest I've seen or participated in the guys who do real close-up magic usually lose to the guys doing parlour as the close up guys rarely do anything that can be seen beyond the first row and fail to perform to the back of the room.
Message: Posted by: jiayi (Jan 6, 2015 11:44PM)
Thanks Payne, I think I will enter mine in close-up too, higher chance of winning. :)
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Feb 7, 2015 07:05AM)
I've mentioned in other discussions that European magic societies use the term "micro magic" for what we here in the U.S. usually call "close-up magic." "Micro magic" connotes the use of small items in an act--which would include a lot of coin tricks and tricks like linking pins, dice, etc. It is a much more precise and appropriate term than "close-up magic."

For the volunteers from the audience who examine the sub trunk, Metamorphosis is technically a close-up trick. For the volunteer who puts his arm in an arm chopper or or his head in a guillotine, those tricks are technically "close-up tricks." But none of those would likely be construed by anyone as "micro magic."

There are certain tricks that span the spectrum of close-up and platform magic--"The Professor's Nightmare" and most "Cut-and-Restored Rope Tricks" for instance. The size and white color of the rope enhance the visibility of those tricks. "The Gypsy Thread" might also be effective in both venues.

Doing card tricks in an American-style close-up act would be more effective if the cards used in the routine are low number (ace to four) because the eye can immediately distinguish those values without having to count them, whereas a card like an eight or a ten would require the audience to try to count the number of pips since the index might not be discernible from the back rows of a room where close-up magic is presented. A card trick where the cards are used as counters (like "Six Card Repeat" would work well close-up as well as stand-up. If you do coin magic, tricks where the coins are held at the audience's eye level would be effective--like "Three Fly" or Vernon's "Coins to Glass." A trick like Phoa's "Cut and Restored Silk" would work well close-up.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez