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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Isolationism vs. inclusion (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

theAmazinbryan
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I have just got done reading and very much enjoying Ricky Jays website!! (Radio journal/essays other treaties by whom many in the magic world think is the greatest card man alive today. But what has me conflicted is this notion that isolationism is good for magic in that if only two guys can make a dove appear out of a hat its better than 10 guys do it its a tragedy? I see two sides to this with respect for both .On one hand yes not letting people in on your technique an your artistry may inspire them to find the cause of their own mediocrity an surpass it. But on the other if there were not inclusion in the magic community I probably wouldn't be typing this? (That may be the point) Not all who want to be magicians can apprentice under headliners! Also I think the creativity would be stunted if it did not come from a larger pool of potential creators and thinkers. And look at what is lost if the things that go to the grave with such artist as Jay leave them in his head. He seems to have a love the antiquity an history of those that have came before him but why wouldn't he let those ahead of us have that same gift an let us be that much more advanced in the art of magic.
On the other hand I get his point about guys just taking his act or parts of it and calling it their own. But what would we do if we did not know rudimentary skills that someone more skilled has taught us to build on. Or is it not giving credit where credit is due? Or is it that magicians have always stolen each other stuff an acted like it all theirs!
One thing that he has done has inspired me to learn more of the history I have great respect for him and what he has done for keeping that history alive.
Back to the lab
Bryan
Posted: Feb 23, 2005 2:53am
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sorry for spelling errors public school!
Thanks
Bryan (what happen to 'd' on my keyboard lol
Phaedrus
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Bryan:

First, let me say that I have tremendous respect and admiration for Ricky Jay. However, that being said, I disagree with him about magic being ruined by the amount of published material available for purchase. He feels that magic should exist as a kind of exclusive club, with new members being accepted by mentors, who then pass on their expertise over a period of years. This has a nice romantic ring to it, but for most of us it isn't really practical. As you pointed out, not all of us are lucky enough to have mentors like Dai Vernon and Ed Marlo.

I think that if Ricky Jay wants to keep his material under wraps, that is certainly his right. And I agree that it's somewhat dodgy for someone to appropriate an effect from him if he hasn't published it or revealed it in some way (I think in one of the articles he accused another magician of "stealing his television" when he performed an effect without permission). On the other hand, Jay himself is not above using other people's material when it suits him; I've seen descriptions of Jay's "The Exclusive Coterie" in which the reporter clearly thought the patter was all original, when in fact it was lifted almost verbatim from Erdnase.

As I said, I repect the man greatly, but the idea that only a small circle of people should be privy to the inner workings of magic is something I am strongly against. As you mentioned, for an art to grow, it needs to have fresh people and ideas, and saying that the huge amount of learning material available to magicians now is somehow hurting magic is getting things exactly backwards. I think the more people that get involved in the field, the better (of course, I'm not talking about exposure here, which is bad for everyone).
Aubrey_T
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I guess it really is two-fold: good to have things be more under wraps but bad to have it so widely available. The era of things being so underground seems to almost completely be a thing of the past. More and more people can't keep a secret and respect the gift of keeping a secret private. It seems that you can only share with people you trust to do with the secrets as you desire. It all goes along the idea of magic being too readily available to just anyone. In the past, hard earned money was given for precious secrets and if you wanted to give someone this knowledge that you paid for than you were giving them something special. Magic became very commercial and it became a normal everyday thing to compete in prices for secrets. Sad but true. We are where we're at right now is the point and it's any man's virtue to do what he desires with his secrets and magic. No harm...no foul =)
theAmazinbryan
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I agree Aubrey,I hope he has some people that he can trust .I hate to see all that knowledge go to dust.
Phraedrus thanks for the response I was about to start saying ..."buehler.....buehler...buehler..
I guess the jury is still out with me on this one.
Bob Sanders
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Bryan,

You have some good points. Unfortunately this behavior is true in many areas of life from cooking to medicine. It seems that as soon as someone invents the wheel, someone else claims that they invented the axle first. Then the next guy claims his is better because it is blue. Somehow progress gets lost in the "see me" department. I'm really surprised someone doesn't claim to have invented the hole.

The audience doesn't care.

But you are right. The saddest part is what gets lost in the process. Perhaps that's why they put two cards in the deck called "Jokers".

I enjoyed your post.

Bob
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

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atucci
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Gentlemen,

I just came across your comments from earlier this year and thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. I’m afraid, in my opinion; you’re misunderstanding Mr. Jay’s intent.

It’s not apparent to me, where he has ever publicly states he wants to keep magic confined to a select few. Rather, he seems frustrated by those who treat it as less than a hobby, especially those who think they can purchase the DVD of the week, watch it once and represent themselves as ‘performing magicians’.

In my opinion, the only course of action is a personal one, whereas he doesn’t disclose or lecture or write the ‘typical’ instructional magic book.

Phaedrus, I agree it would be tragic if the secrets of magic (and its history) were kept to a select few. I sincerely believe that is not Mr. Jay’s intention. However, I do believe, as I think he does, that if you truly wish to practice the art of magic, especially in performance for the general public, you should ‘work’ at acquiring the tricks you perform. And it goes further than simply buying the ‘DVD of the week”.

Also you wrote,
Quote:
On 2005-02-23 16:44, Phaedrus wrote:
On the other hand, Jay himself is not above using other people's material when it suits him; I've seen descriptions of Jay's "The Exclusive Coterie" in which the reporter clearly thought the patter was all original, when in fact it was lifted almost verbatim from Erdnase.


Mr. Jay did not ‘steal’ the Erdnase trick and patter and attempt to pass it off as his own. He began performing that routine in the 1970’s as a tribute (I believe) to a master that he and his mentor(s), Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller hold in high regard. In fact Vernon once quoted after seeing Jay’s version of "The Exclusive Coterie", that the performance ‘restored dignity to the art’.

If you disagree with my assessment, please contact me via this thread or PM. I’d love to continue the discussion.

Kindest regards,
Tony Tuccillo
Sebastian, Florida
Tony Tuccillo

Middleburg, Florida
scorch
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I see the validity to both sides of this issue. The thing that trumps it for me, however, is the general need to raise the overall quality of magicians in general. The fact that most magicians are goofy hacks that you see with the sponge rabbits and magic wands at kiddie parties (no offense intended to anybody who does kiddie shows well!) really has denigrated the art form in my opinion. If more magicians were better and worked with higher quality material, the entire field of magic benefits. The huge amount of stuff that is now being published for the most part is not getting exposed to laymen, so we don't have that concern. It's simply a much better time to learn magic than when I was a kid, struggling with bad books and a lack of access to good resources.

If interested young magicians keep learning from the good sources and learning the most powerful, cutting edge material available, maybe one day in the not too distant future people won't wince when you ask them if they want to see a few card tricks.
redheadjuggler
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As jealous as I may be of Ricky Jay's ability, knowledge, and creativity, I cannot really fault him for being upset with people for how they see magic. In one of the articles on his website he is descrided that the I Ching's paradigm of a philosopher. Dedicated to both the study and practice of his field. Coming from the I Ching that is high praise. I have to respect the fact that Jay has given his whole life to the study of magic.
Now the other side to that is will he ever tip his hat to the rest of us. In some ways I really hope he doesn't. Of course I would love to have all that knowledge available, but I don't want that knowledge to be available to the masses to the point where enough bad magicians hack apart his stuff like all the rest of the material we have.
During his life da Vinci violently guarded the mixtures he used to make his paints with. We all know someone who has a 'secret recipe' that makes us drool everytime we eat it.
Magic is an art. Artists have their techniques and secrets. Ricky Jay is an Artist.
Just my two little pennies
Juggler
Frank Simpson
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The way I see it, it boils down to this: knowledge is power, and with power comes responsibility. I believe it has far less to do with what is known than what is done with said knowledge.

By far the saddest aspect of our craft is that there are people who publish "secrets" of magic, and there are hack builders who knock off the "illusion du jour" and sell second, and more often, third-rate imitations.

Once again the almighty dollar rears its ugly head.

Unfortunately there are far too many people who do not want to hear that the prop is not the trick, its merely a tool. And there are precious few who want to read that the "secrets" of magic are found in the study of theatre. Acting. Movement. Poise. And the simple fact that one must possess a personality that is engaging and compelling to an audience.

If a person buys a canvas, palette and set of pastels, he is not immediately a painter. If a person buys a saxophone, he is not immediately a musician. The novice painter must learn to use brushes, color, and talent to become a full-fledged painter. The novice musician must learn to play scales, riffs, and licks and use his talent to eventually becoms a full-fledged musician. The novice magician buys a "Scotch & Soda" and by nightfall he thinks he's a full-fledged magician. There is no one to hold him accountable for presenting clever mechanical puzzles as magic. Talent has not entered the equation.

I believe this is at the crux of why it is suggested that Mr. Jay doesn't want to see magic published. The dollar is not how you earn the right to the secrets of magic. It is by the responsibility demonstrated in learning, rehearsing, refining and perfecting the craft. And that responsibility ultimately demands accountability to someone other thatn one's self.
theAmazinbryan
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Forever Plaid,great post I will say that your post I believe shared a little more light on the subject an let me see more of what Mr. Jay meant by not sharing his magic.I hope he has someone in his "circle" he can share it with an pass it forward (At least) in performance.
Scorch I think I now have a new principle by which a may add to my magic an that is to earn the trick so to speak.Being a newbie I have to remind myself that I can know the technique an be able to perform it but I must make it my own!!
thanks
Bryan
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2005-11-08 14:33, theAmazinbryan wrote:
...I hope he has someone in his "circle" he can share it with an pass it forward (At least) in performance....



Wishing and hoping are for the muggles!

If you want to BE one of those people who learns DIRECTLY from him, go meet the guy.

Enough of this "somebody should" foolishness! Do or do not. Make your own choices and act responsibly.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
theAmazinbryan
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I am not worthy to sit at the same table as that guy!(we all have goals)But it would be a gas !!I'm sure he takes total stanger's in off the internet !!lol
food for thought
Bryan
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2005-11-08 21:40, theAmazinbryan wrote:
I am not worthy to sit at the same table as that guy!(we all have goals)But it would be a gas !!I'm sure he takes total stanger's in off the internet !!lol
food for thought
Bryan


You can become more "worthy" by practicing, reading and perhaps using a spell checker on your posts. Spelling does count. It's up to you.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
atucci
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Bravo Jonathan! Your 'do or do not', sums it all up (very Yoda like). Thanks.
Tony Tuccillo

Middleburg, Florida
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