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Topic: 5 Fun Parlor Effects: with Particular Praise for Cody Fisher
Message: Posted by: oscarf (Jan 26, 2019 11:00AM)
Iím 64 years old and have been obsessed with magic as an amateur for well over 50 years. Generally, I'll do a little close-up magic for people when it comes up organically, and from time to time I am asked to do some magic at a party or two, which I do either at a table or strolling.

Like many of us, I monitor the magic releases to see what's new that I like, and a couple of years ago I got going on some coin magic. In that process I discovered a Cody Fisher DVD to help me improve the basics.

So I knew who he was, but recently, two things happened at once - I bought Cody's Penguin lecture AND coincidentally also bought a trick which was based on Cody's Comedy Confabulation. I loved Cody's lecture but didnít much care for the other Confabulation version I had bought, but that in turn led me back to Cody's own Comedy Confabulation.

Long story short, this New Yearís Eve, I was asked to perform an actual parlor show for a party with a regular guest list of attendees most of whom had seen some of my little close-up tricks at this yearly party many times over the years. They were all quite magic savvy people. Several of them were university professors, and one a brilliant and successful chef, you know, people with plenty of smarts and ego, not easily fooled.

This is the set I decided to do 1) Cody'sComedy Confabulation, with third hand gag, and ending with sealed pay envelope in LePaul wallet, 2) WikiTest phone/internet book test by Marc Kerstein, 3) Position Impossible card at any number by Brent Braun, 4) Sympathetic 10 by Jorg Alexander, and 5) Pop Haydnís Teleportation Device dollar bill first to lemon and then to raw egg.

I did them in that order because I though Comedy Confabulation would tenderize the crown with a little laughing and audience participation, which it did. But otherwise, I thought of it as a kind of minor effect, even though it DOES HAVE the nice kicker.

The overall theme was "magic always takes place in the mind, but it's even harder to do when it also has to influence physical objects." We'll start with the mind and move in the direction of the physical in this show. 1) I read several people's minds, 2) I read one person's mind, utterly impossibly, 3) two people read each others' minds and influence a card, 4) ten cards physically respond to the influence of ten other cards, and one card from the spectator's mind, 5) we actually teleport physical matter through space, no really, the second time under very "scientific" conditions.

Being an amateur, I was pleasantly surprised when each trick elicited audible gasps from the audience, and statements such as ďno, it canít beĒ or ďif that bill is in that egg, Iím going to cry.Ē It was a raging success (possibly aided a little by some drinking in the crowd ).

Here's the funny thing though. My magicianís brain had told me that Position Impossible would be the most inexplicable effect (or maybe WikiTest) and likely that Teleportation would get the best overall reaction. And they DID get truly GREAT reactions. But I noticed that AFTER the show, the trick that people mentioned the most, over and over was Comedy Confabulation. Even days afterwards, they were STILL talking about THAT one.

I think, among other things, being led down the comedy garden path, which they loved, disarmed them from reconstructing the method at all. I guess that part also left them feeling just a "little cheated" in the middle of it, so that when the kicker came, they were not only amazed, but also had a kind of relieved satisfaction that justice had finally been done and they HAD seen some magic after all. Also, involving four audience members and then interacting with an even larger number must have contributed to their positive experience as a crowd.

BUT, it was more than all that, which I just have to assume is a distillation of years of magical thinking and performance on Cody's part that went into developing Comedy Confabulation. They just LOVED it, and I was taken by surprise by that.

One funny note - not everyone is a genius. One woman came up to me later and said, like Sherlock Holmes, "that thing you drew was NOT a giraffe." I heard the whoosh of the joke sailing by overhead, and I said that my art skills were just underdeveloped. She squinted at me, mulling it over, a likely story ... But she was still amazed that I HAD somehow known her animal, even the night before, when she had not yet even thought of it.

As an amateur magician, I am utterly dependent upon true artists and entertainers like Cody Fisher (and the other greats mentioned here) in order to give my little audiences a truly magical experience. I donít know where this world would be without the arts, but I am grateful to those of you with the talent and courage to live the creative life and to share your hard won masterpieces with the rest of us.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 26, 2019 11:54AM)
It is cool that you had a good time, and even nicer to see that you got the response you were looking for! Congratulations.

My only question is how does magic come up "organically"?
Message: Posted by: oscarf (Jan 26, 2019 12:09PM)
Someone else brings up magic (usually without any hints from me, unless I'm itching to perform). So, "I saw this guy on TV last night."

The last time this (magic popping up no thanks to me) happened was when a waiter in a restaurant showed my wife that she couldn't catch his dollar bill between her thumb and forefinger.

I said, I can show you something _really_ weird with that same bill if you'd like to see it. I said, you should sign it, so you're sure it's legit. And I did Daniel Garcia's FRAUD. He was apoplectic. He dragged me over to a table of 12 girls having a bachelorette party to do it for them (I am always prepared for this). They were also stunned and whooping it up. A bunch of other people gathered around, and I found a way to do it a third time for them.

That kind of stuff.
Message: Posted by: Kaliix (Jan 26, 2019 02:42PM)
That is actually a great list of effects to do for a parlor show. Well done.
Message: Posted by: puggo (Jan 27, 2019 04:27AM)
Thanks for sharing your story and the thoughts behind it - and congratulations on the performance.
Message: Posted by: Rocky (Jan 27, 2019 11:35AM)
We need more posts like this from cafť member! Sometimes it feels like all we do is discuss and theorize about magic...and then get into petty arguments because we don't like that someone disagrees with a thought we share.

So thanks to oscarf for sharing a performance experience in front of real folks instead of a magic club gathering, or jaded spouse/family member!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 27, 2019 12:45PM)
I like the way his love of magic came out in the post personally.
Message: Posted by: warren (Jan 27, 2019 01:30PM)
Well done I'm pleased it went so well for you thanks for sharing your experience with us all :)
Message: Posted by: oscarf (Jan 27, 2019 06:24PM)
Well, I appreciate the kind words from you all. It was indeed fun to perform, and it was a somewhat new format for me, and thus a different pleasure to get such a strong reaction from an entire roomful of people and to give them a taste of magic most of them had never had before.

But, part of what motivated me to post the story was the unexpectedly strong reaction, and especially the delayed part, to Comedy Confabulation. Usually, magic I perform has about the impact I expect it to. Sometimes I like a trick better than the audience does, and sometimes vice versa. In fact, in Sympathetic 10, Jorg pauses and makes a big dramatic show of the reversed card having "turned." My feeling watching him do it was something like "yeah, I kinda figured it would have" but I decided to take the same tack in my own performance, and the crowd went wild - I basically told them to be surprised and amazed, and they were! But I kind of know that about audiences.

EVEN SO, I just had no expectation that Comedy Confabulation would get more than a passing chuckle. I was pretty sure the third hand gag would be the highlight (fairly common, but I saw Cody Fisher do it in his Penguin lecture version of Killer Prediction), and they did gasp at that, and then laugh. But, when I revealed the sealed envelope in the wallet, with the predictions written in red inside, my own attitude was "well, there really is a little magic here after all that kidding around." I thought they'd think "yeah, well he got the predictions in there somehow."

But most of them seemed to cave in and just go with the idea I had somehow really written them down the night before. And they were still stewing on that, even after the end of the show, and for days.

I'm thinking maybe it's Cody. Maybe that his methods are so often so completely simple that it's easy to think the trick will be low impact, and then his routining so entertaining that the audience is completely pulled in. I guess I'll have to test this with his version of the 3 1/2 of clubs. I haven't tried his presentation yet. I just sort of put it on my list and have then gone on with my usual card close-up stuff.

Do you professionals and more seasoned amateurs get surprised like this? I mean WAY unexpected? Do you mistake simplicity with ineffectiveness? Anyway, I've learned something, I think ...
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Jan 29, 2019 11:00PM)
Really nice to hear of your success,as a Professional in the corporate market you find over time exactly what you are doing is finding your best bits & routines & over time you will develop an act with material that is tried & true audience tested and this stays in your show and you develop a great 45 min show for example of top material,then you work on the entertainment side making sure the audience have a great time & before you know it your on the incredible performing journey many of us are to this day...keep up the good work...
Message: Posted by: Xcath1 (Feb 2, 2019 03:05PM)
Great set list. Congratulations
Message: Posted by: jack_shields (May 24, 2020 03:29PM)
Good job