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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » And then there was a stage - no, a real one! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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RandyStewart
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I recently read notices of upcoming magic specials. My initial excitement was soon replaced with a bitter pill. You see, I eagerly await the next performer or magic performances actually played out on a real stage. I’m starving for the next big name to actually perform in a more traditional setting. That’s right, in this age of apparently popular street magic (you know the names on TV) I often hope for a performance where the audience sits in a real chair within a real theater - with a real performer on stage.

I know I’m asking for a lot here but the show would begin with an MC introducing the fabulous act, or better yet, magical lineup. The audience would be there because they want to and not because some guy in a T-shirt got in their face to do what he considers "in your face magic". The performers would actually be wearing appropriate theatrical costumes. If not performing to music, and had to speak to the audience, they would say more than “Ok…Ok…watch this…..watch this….wanna see something?….wanna see something?….wanna see something?” "OK OK...wait...ok watch...ok here is this the card?" with a blank stare. Ugh! That or listening to some guy talk about "pushing the limits" of his mind and body. Want to really push the limits and impress some of us? Sit on a stick of lit dynamite. We'll go easy on ya - just one stick.

I can always rely on and fall back on my magic video library of greats who peformed on stages around the world I guess. Apparently that doesn't sell on TV these days. Really too bad for those of us who miss it.

Don't get me wrong! I love street performers and talk about origins, much of what made it's way to the stage probably has it's beginning other than on the stage. But it seems to be all that's on TV when it comes to magic! It's the weekend so I'll dig up my old, apparently outdated, on a real stage performances of the likes of Henning, Foster, Shimada, WGM, Wilson, and Blackstone.

If the ongoing or next craze in magic performers and style has any element of “taking it to the streets” I know I’ll be flippin’ the channel just as I’m doing now.

The rest can have at it.
kregg
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I'm with you Randy!
As long as they get rid of the celebrity host, use kick a** production values and stop saying stuff like; "This is a continuos shot, at no time does the camera cut away."
Instead say; "If you don't believe this is real, come to Vegas and see it for yourself."
POOF!
tommy
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The Magic Circle in London has a great little theatre, something like you describe, but sadly little takes place there. If you look at the site now it says forth coming venues - None.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
KerryJK
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The trend of British shows (read: Channel 4) does seem to be heading back onto the stage; Derren Brown's last special was a live theatre performance to an invited audience, and the current C4 series "Dirty Tricks" takes place for the most part onstage in front of a live studio audience.

The trend for street magic has more or less run its course now, of the glut of shows presented in that "safe" format there hasn't been a hit in a while and there have been a number of bombs. So hang in there, you may get your wish.
Frank Simpson
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I agree as well. The "magi-on-the-street" specials have very limited appeal to me. If I were actually on said street at the time of the performance I'm sure I could enjoy it, but it quite simply does not make for compelling television beyond, say, a 5 minute segment.

But look at the current trends in what is being passed as "entertainment". Shows like Survivor et al have extremely low production costs compared to actually paying actual entertainers to actually entertain. They produce dreck but still sell it as if there were talent attached to it. It's sad, really.

And as long as there are dozens upon dozens of Blaine wannabees saying 'check this out...check this out..." you can bet that there will be a producer wanting to milk that cash cow. I just wish the cow would die really soon!
Big Daddy Cool
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Sorry to tell you guys, but you probably won't ever see a show like WGM again. Copperfeild is supposed to have a new special *sometime* but don't hold your breath.

Actually Criss Angel has a killer theater show, which was the focus of "Supernatural". To see a theatrical stage magic show on TV again it will have be groundbreaking, with stylized production values akin to Cirque and a reasonable story line.

This is going to be a tough pill for you to swallow, but it is no longer good enough to show "tricks". You must present theater.

When there is good theater, you'll see another show shot from a theater. But not until then.
We'll catch ya on the Back of the Cereal Box!
John Pyka
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Frank Simpson
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It has NEVER been good enough to show "tricks"!! If magic is not theatre, then there is absolutely no reason for it to exist. This is not to say that it must be presented in a theater building, but it MUST be theatre.
Michael Baker
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...and whoever said the WGM specials were actually good? Some of the acts were and some of the shows were better than others, but they weren't all chart-toppers.

Street magic flourishes because it gave the camera something new to point at, and for a brief inkling, hinted that it might be genuine, in the sense that it was close to being reality... not the magic, but the performance.

So much magic on TV had become contrived by that point, that the formulas stunk up the room. Street magic is falling into that same trap quickly. Don't bet for an instant that it will last any length of time on its present course. The public can sometimes be slow, but eventually they recognize a BS load of crap. I think Helen is accurately reading the handwriting on the wall.

Theater-based magic performances will once again grace the pages of history, but only when magicians get their heads out of their asses and learn to do something worth watching again. Of course there will always be a few magic shows that persist in the theater. Some will be honestly good, but many will be there only because of a lingering tolereance for mediocrity. For it to become a trend, or a movement, such as street magic has done in the past few years, it is really going to have to raise the bar. What direction it will go, I couldn't say. A lot of good things never become mainstream trends. In order to do that, they must not only be good (and even that is sometimes debatable), they must be interesting, something the people can identify with, and if the next new trend is to become popular among magicians, it must be easy to copy.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
RandyStewart
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Quote:
On 2005-11-06 00:16, Michael Baker wrote:
Theater-based magic performances will once again grace the pages of history, but only when magicians get their heads out of their asses and learn to do something worth watching again.


Well let's have that serve as a reminder to us all. Good advice for anyone currently on stage and those aspiring to do so.

Thanks Michael.
RandyStewart
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This reminds me of the latest book by Peter Lamont and Richard Wiseman 'Magic In Theory'. Sometimes I'm up to my ears in other's theoretical approach to what magic should be. Sometimes I'm just too busy refining what I know works for my manipulation act. But this time Jim Sisti offered a review that caught my eye. He said in part:

"It's good news because the authors have taken an expanded look at their subject and due to their unique positions as not only college professors but as magicians, have positioned magic as a performance art of a very high order. They are thorough and convincing in their arguments that magic demands of its practitioners a high degree of skill and training commensurate with any other performing art. And, happily, one of their conclusions is that magic is not a trivial pursuit but an art form worthy of the approbation of even the most discerning and exacting audiences."

Hmmm...sounds like Baker's suggestion that magicians should do something worth watching is in line with their school of thought.

I can live with this and want to.
Joe Russell
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I don't think the public is ready for that yet, the reason blaine and angel are so popular is because they went against the stereo type magician. People were sick of the glitzy stage presence and fruity costumes and wanted some thing that they can identify with, some thing more real and down to earth. Im sure in the distant future people will be sick of the street magic and return to the stage in which you refer to. But it wont be the same old stage magic were used to, I think it will be a more edgier type of performances kind of like what criss angel used to do (and what he should of continued to do).
I don't think we will ever go back to the bright colored, flashy, gimmicked looking props again which is a good thing, but stage magic will lean more towards performance art and more realistic themes instead of a huge feather boquets appearing or giant silks with bunnies drawn on them. I THINK MAGIC HAS A BRIGHT FUTURE, ONE THAT IS EVER CHANGING AND THAT WILL GRAB A NEW MORE INTELIGANT AUDIENCE'S ATTENTION, WE MAGICIANS HAVE ALOT TO LOOK FORWARD TO.
Who is Tattoo Joe?
RandyStewart
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Quote:
On 2005-11-07 18:10, Joe Russell wrote:
I THINK MAGIC HAS A BRIGHT FUTURE, ONE THAT IS EVER CHANGING AND THAT WILL GRAB A NEW MORE INTELIGANT AUDIENCE'S ATTENTION.


Boy, from the looks of that, it'll be a relief. Sounds good to me.
Big Daddy Cool
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News flash Joe Russell. The Blaine and Criss Angel specials weren't in response to a trend, they were (and are) creating the trend.

I worked for a number of years in the marketing dept of a major record label here in Nashville. We never once tried to produce something that we thought would appeal to an existing audience. We created the product and told the public what they will like and buy and think is cool. We created the trend, never the other way around.

Every successful entertainment brand has done this. So what are you waiting for? Go out and create the next big thing!
We'll catch ya on the Back of the Cereal Box!
John Pyka
www.johnpyka.com
Joe Russell
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Mr. Daddy Cool, any TV show can try to set a trend sometimes it works some times it doesn't, what I said is that they Identified with their audience and that's why there doing so well you can have the best idea in the world but if you cant relate it to your audience its crap, I am well aware that David started the trend but you can’t force people to like something however you can suggest to them why they would, hello that's why most tv shows get canceled after the first season, you cant force people to watch no matter how good the previews are!!! Even though your right about Blaine starting the trend, the only reason David got that idea to make street magic popular was because he seen from his audiences point of view and realized that the old school magic was boring and corny.

P.S. I would appreciate it if you guys didn't put words in my mouth so I don't have to spend the time I don't have to defend something I didn't even say. The time I spent writing this post could of been spent helping a beginner with his card tricks, so please re read my post and you will see I never event mentioned the word trend.
Who is Tattoo Joe?
RandyStewart
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Quote:
On 2005-11-07 21:41, Joe Russell wrote:
P.S I would appreciate it if you guys didn't put words in my mouth so I don't have to spend the time I don't have to defend something I didn't even say.


Well unless someone provides a direct quote, like I did above, no one can factually suggest you said anything. And no, you don't have to defend yourself over something you didn't say - how could you? There would be nothing to defend if you didn't say it. No problem.

Don't take any of the previous posts as a personal attack. We are all above that yes? Si! Hehehehehe.

Quote:
The time I spent writing this post could of been spent helping a beginer with his card tricks, so please re read my post and you will see I never event mentioned the word trend.


So you chose to write the post over helping someone with their cards. It wouldn't of been my first choice but you're entitled to your own. I'm sure if you tell the student you had to go defend something you didn't say they'll understand. As for never having used the word "trend", you don't have to use a specific word to imply it's meaning.

Interesting and different viewpoint alright. Well that's what makes the world a bit more interesting huh?

I really like Big Daddy Cool's comment: "So what are you waiting for? Go out and create the next big thing!" The man is so right it can make ya dizzy....
Foucault
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Not just magic - I'd love to see a new on-stage variety show on TV.
RandyStewart
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Texas (USA)
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Quote:
On 2005-11-08 17:39, Foucault wrote:
Not just magic - I'd love to see a new on-stage variety show on TV.


Hey at this point, with all the reality TV, take it to the streets magic specials, and the sort, I'm ready for stuff like THE GONG SHOW again.
Foucault
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Y'know, I think that something like that might work. How more "reality-tv" can you get than the general public performing variety acts on stage?

Did you see "Last Comic Standing"? I thought this was a good balance between the reality-tv concept and the theater show on tv concept. At least I got to see various comedians on stage doing their acts.
RandyStewart
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I can picture Chuck Barris introducing the next act as a group of magicians that call themselves the "The Magic Café Wizards - a trio of fantabulous magical entertainment!"

Don't blink and here they are folks! <insert imagination here>
Joe Russell
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Their eventually going to run out of reality. "we have a problem bob, weve filmed all the realiy left in the world".
Who is Tattoo Joe?
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