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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Is the entertainment value of magic overrated? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Hostile18
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It seems to me that magic is actually more often underrated than overrated. Magic has certain negative connotations for many people, and I think it's clear from reading this thread that the public frequently expect magic to be barely entertaining at all, and need to be convinced otherwise. Of course magicians are going to like magic more than most people, that's why we got interested in it. The challenge is to share it with other people in a way that makes them enjoy it as well, instead of seeing it as banal, trite and pointless.

Having said that, magic is one of the easiest things to do badly. As a result, many people end up overrating their own entertainment value - thinking they're much better than they are and inflicting their inflated sense of ego on others who will be less than convinced. But then, lot of people think they're more interesting, attractive and likeable than they really are, even without doing magic.

Sorry for not including any kind of food metaphor.
Skip Way
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I think the point has been missed once again. In my opinion, there is no passive entertainment value in magic. To the practitioner, it is a skill...raw or honed. To the observer, it is either a puzzle or an illusion to be pondered. Any entertainment value within magic is there solely through the personality and spirit of the performer. I've seen gawd-awful performers with deep pockets slaughter a multi-thousand dollar illusion to weak, scattered, polite clapping. I've seen others fill a room with roaring laughter and applause with a simple ball vase. For magic, look within the nearest catalog, website or shop. For entertainment, look within.

Barry Mitchell said it best: "Stop thinking like a magician! Begin thinking like an entertainer! A whole new world of creative thought will open before your very eyes!"

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Bill Palmer
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I wish I had seen this thread earlier.

While the magician at the ice cream social may have been a competent magician, he may not have been a competent entertainer. Although table-hopping (I hate that phrase) is not my main venue, I have done more than my share of it.

I use the response of one table to cue the tables around it that I am there and I am fun to watch. I seldom have a "take it or leave it" response.

But I know how to get the people at a table to respond. Maybe that's the difference.
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BlackShadow
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Magic does not have universal appeal so table hopping is an example where you are going to come across groups who don't like magic or who are indifferent to it. If the performer is competant but not a real entertainer, you have two reaons why the act is going to fall flat.

At least in a street show or a paid show, people have made the choice to stop and watch or come to see the show, and the reactions have a much better chance of being positive ones.
Payne
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Quote:
On 2005-11-08 18:19, BlackShadow wrote:

Magic does not have universal appeal



Nothing in this world has universal appeal, doubly so in the entertainment industry.
Replace the magician in this scenario with a mariachi band and you'd get the same result. Substitute a comedian for the mariachi band and the result would be unchanged. In all the scenarios there would be those who would enjoy the entertainment and those who did not.
Just because we are fans of the magical arts on this board doesn't mean that everyone we encounter out there in the big wide world is going to be.
there are going to be those who do and those who don't and mostly those who are pretty much indifferent to it. This doesn't mean that magic is on the decline or that magic is generally regarded as a second class entertainment.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
wsduncan
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Quote:
On 2005-10-30 21:32, Patrick Differ wrote:
Gotta wonder why most people seem to associate magic with less than positive attributes, 'though... Too many jalapenos?

Too many "classic" dishes, cooked without imagination.
George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2005-11-09 02:42, wsduncan wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-10-30 21:32, Patrick Differ wrote:
Gotta wonder why most people seem to associate magic with less than positive attributes, 'though... Too many jalapenos?

Too many "classic" dishes, cooked without imagination.

Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle.

Geez, I never knew magic and food had so much in common... Smile
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saxmangeoff
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Quote:
On 2005-11-09 10:09, George Ledo wrote:
Geez, I never knew magic and food had so much in common... Smile


BAM!!!!
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2005-11-09 02:42, wsduncan wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-10-30 21:32, Patrick Differ wrote:
Gotta wonder why most people seem to associate magic with less than positive attributes, 'though... Too many jalapenos?

Too many "classic" dishes, cooked without imagination.


I would agree with this except for one thing. Unless you are working for a crowd of people who have actually been to a venue where magic is performed live, the chances that they have actually seen close-up magic performed well, including the classics, are pretty slim.

Anytime I am performing in a walkaround situation, I make certain that the people I will be performing for know that I am going to be visiting them. Using some common sense and basic manners, I approach a group (either standing or at table) that appears to be at a receptive point in their conversation. I walk up and give them my mildly humorous introduction. If they absolutely do not wish to see any magic at all, I move on. This doesn't happen very often, but I have the good sense not to offend them. I do my brief set of miracles and get the responses I want. I've been doing this for more than 30 years, so I know how to get the responses I need. That first table is the one that cues the people around them. I don't go to the nearest table next, though, unless they are ready. Instead, I go to a table or group that is far enough away that they have not witnessed the entertainment, but are near enough that they are looking my way. I do something for them. Now, much of the room will be cued as to what is going on.

After that, the normal response when I approach a table is not "go away, I'm busy," but "We were wondering when you were going to get to our table."
"The Swatter"

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BlackShadow
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Quote:
On 2005-11-08 18:41, Payne wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-11-08 18:19, BlackShadow wrote:

Magic does not have universal appeal



Nothing in this world has universal appeal, doubly so in the entertainment industry...



Agreed, but something like singing has a much much broader appeal than magic. In the UK we have these shows with poor/mediocre new singing acts where the people watching vote by phone etc. They are wildly popular. Imagine the same thing with poor/mediocre magicians, or even good magicians if you like.

Would that be wildly popular? I think not, and there I rest my case.
Bill Palmer
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The people vote in these phone-in shows because they know and/or like the performers, not because they are good or bad.

I haven't seen the UK equivalent of these, but the ones in the States have a ration of about 2 to 1 good singers to bad ones. Even then, the bad ones are better than most karaoke performers.

Even then, the audience appeal of the singing shows is limited to the people who like the kind of music that is being done. In order to do an equivalent magic show in the States, you would have to screen the contestants very carefully and make sure the acts were not repeating the same material all the time.

But none of this has anything to do with the situation at the ice cream social.
"The Swatter"

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Patrick Differ
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Know why there aren't any good restaurants on the moon?
No atmosphere!

It's the sizzle. It's the foam. It's the special sauce. Magic already has entertainment value. Just like a bowl of cereal has flavor. It really doesn't matter if they are classics, novelties, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. What matters is how they're prepared and served.

Read Giobbi's column in Genii this month. (The Hofzinser issue.) And then serve a bowl of cereal.
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
MagicalArtist
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Quote:
Agreed, but something like singing has a much much broader appeal than magic. In the UK we have these shows with poor/mediocre new singing acts where the people watching vote by phone etc.


Several years ago in the US we used to have the syndicated show "Star Search" hosted by Ed McMahon. This program NEVER had any magicians on it. Guess they didn't think magicians were "star" material... Smile
Bill Palmer
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Nope. They didn't. They had comics, they had dancers, they had singers and they had actors. In other words, basically people that could get a job in the theatre.
"The Swatter"

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Frank Simpson
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Quote:
Several years ago in the US we used to have the syndicated show "Star Search" hosted by Ed McMahon. This program NEVER had any magicians on it. Guess they didn't think magicians were "star" material... Smile


Wait a minute! What about Michael Finney? He was a Finalist on Star Search around '86!
tommy
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I was watching on TV "When Magic Tricks Go Wrong" last night and in it they showed a sort of star search from the past when a young guy got into a sack and could not escape. It was so sad but funny.
It was not as sad as what they showed of Harry Blackstone which was the worst performance I have ever seen. I have seen Harry Blackstone do fantastic magic and this made me very sad indeed for magic to see him like this.
So live TV can be a bad thing at times if things go wrong as not only millions around the world see it but it there forever to be replayed later.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2005-11-11 05:22, Forever Plaid wrote:
Quote:
Several years ago in the US we used to have the syndicated show "Star Search" hosted by Ed McMahon. This program NEVER had any magicians on it. Guess they didn't think magicians were "star" material... Smile


Wait a minute! What about Michael Finney? He was a Finalist on Star Search around '86!


I believe he competed as a comic.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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