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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The March 2006 entrée: Tim Ellis & Sue-Anne Webster » » Serious Magic Questions » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Tim Ellis
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Melbourne, Australia
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We're having a ball in here so far, and I hope you guys are having fun too, but I just thought I might start a little thread here for those who have any serious magic questions for us. I know we act crazy and off-the-wall most of the time, but if you would like to peel back the fun facade and probe a little deeper, this is your thread.
Kaylan
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CT
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Obviously you have both traveled around the world performing your magic for many different people. I'm very interested in hearing about both of your experiences in terms of how different cultures have accepted your magic. In other words, how do people generally differ in their reactions? How do magicians and/or "laypeople" from different cultures differ in how they interact with you when you perform?
Or do they differ?

Thank you,

Kaylan Koski
Modesto, California, USA
Michael J. Douglas
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WV, USA
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Someone on here posted once that making a gaff from Japanese coins is a no-no in their country. Have you come upon any taboos that you wish you had known beforehand?
Michael J.
�Believe then, if you please, that I can do strange things.� --from Shakespeare�s �As You Like It�
Michael J. Douglas
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WV, USA
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Serious magic questions:

Red or blue cards?

Favorite close-up, stand-up, stage effects?

Would you rather shop at ellusionist or penguin?


:rotf:

Ok, ok....I'll be good.
What do you do when you mess up? Any specific instances coming to mind?
Michael J.
�Believe then, if you please, that I can do strange things.� --from Shakespeare�s �As You Like It�
Tim Ellis
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Kaylan - good question.


We have now performed in:

FIJI - Very enthusiastic crowds, they LOVE magic (especially slapstick) and are willing to sit in hot, overcrowded theatres to sit, and prefer very, very long shows!

NEW ZEALAND - Very similar to Australian audiences, but there is a certain "family" feel to the audiences over there. Very comfortable.

JAPAN - As long as you understand the etiquette (certain gestures have very different meanings) and at least make an effort to speak a few words, they really LOVE the magic and are very vocal in their response. They do like to get involved too, but they don't normally volunteer themselves.

KOREA - AMAZING audiences! But then, we were on stage as part of the Lee Eun-Gyeol show. It was like working a rock concert and Eun-Gyeol was Robbie Williams! (We were Kylie Minogue). Best audiences we ever had.

SOUTH AFRICA - We did a few public shows in the Casino as part of the Magic Championships, and the audience was really playful and friendly. They let us do anything... so we did! Smile (Billiard ball manipulation while tied with 100' of rope and dancing to randomly chosen songs).

LONDON - One show in the Birmingham area stood out especially. The response was so small that we thought we'd died a million deaths. We were devastated. Then after the show the reports started coming in. Apparently everyone LOVED IT. For some reason they just didn't seem to show it while we were on. (And there was a lighting blackout during our act too which didn't help).

PARIS - A success thanks to Alexander Duvivier. She translated and, though it really slowed the show down, it forced us to operate at a different speed and it seemed to be the perfect tempo for the audience.

MUNICH - Wild! The Underton was just like a comedy club at home, except very few people understood what we were saying (well, drunk Aussies at comedy clubs in Melbourne are pretty similar). They tended to like stuff that was visually amazing (like Runaround Sue) or highly original. And they LOVE MagicSports!

LAUSANNE - This was my first FISM show so it was more a FISM audience than a Swiss one, but they were very vocal if they didn't like something. When I started the Rap I heard people calling out "Speak French!" because they didn't understand me. Thankfully the intro to the rap is very brief and once the music kicked in EVERYONE was partying!

SINGAPORE - We always have weird shows here. The audiences enjoy them but one time it was so hot and humid I had to go off stage between tricks and pour water on myself. Another time we were performing for 2000 people, not only during dinner, but while other activities were going on as well. It's almost like they enjoy the event as a whole, not the actual components of the event.

OUTBACK AUSTRALIA - Performing for Aboriginal kids on the outback stations was a great experience. At the time I was doing a white-face mime character - which I had to change because, as we were told, the white-face means death. Once we got over that hurdle they were as vocal, and excited as any group I've ever seen. They loved the slapstick and were amazed at the magic as they had never seen anything like it before. Not even the silk and TT Smile

ALL OVER THE USA - Performing across the USA was like doing shows in lots of different countries. The reactions are as different as the accents. In LA at The Magic Castle the audiences are in the mood for magic and if you deliver, they reward you. In Salt Lake City you've got to be reeeeal nice. I did a comedy club spot and was reviewed as "Loud, Abrasive and Borderline Offensive" (the loud was the rock music I ate razorblades too, and offensive was the Freddy Krueger trick). I redeemed myself later with the Rap. Las Vegas is great, people are in the mood to party but there are LOTS of distractions so you better have something pretty engaging. New York City was not what I expected, the people inside the theatre were really nice and got all the references and seemed to hook into my weird humour. Country areas of the USA like Tennessee, St Louis, Ithaca were very much like New Zealand. People out for a good night of family entertainment.

Hope this helps answer your question. I'm really glad you asked.
Tim Ellis
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MAGIS6 - You cannot do ANYTHING naughty to our Aussie currency. It's considered treason in this country. A friend of mine got some jumbo 20c pieces made and he was visited by the treasury department and threatened with a fine.

Even when I do BILL TO BANANA I had one lady stand up in the middle of the act and walk out. Later she apologised and explained that she worked for the treasury and, if she saw me damage the bill in any way, she'd have to report it.

So.... we came up with a way to fully restore the bill before it's returned. But weirdly enough, it's not nearly as magically powerful as handing it back in two pieces.
Ron Reid
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Hi Tim:

I have both your DVDs. I believe on one of them you mention Jesus Christ in the credits. Would you mind commenting on your faith?

Thanks. I'm really enjoying your time here.

Ron
Tim Ellis
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Magis6, your answers:

Red Cards.

Stage.

Hmmm... usually the $2 Shop actually.


What do I do when I mess up??? Haven't you seen my act? Smile

Most recent example - I'm doing strolling magic and a little crowd is following me from table to table. I did 'Coins Across' at the previous table and they really liked it so I go into the routine. I take out the three coins... and they appear to be very normal... something shell-like is missing... a lady across from me has seen the trick before and she says "I want to see the coins".

I hand her the coins, this is buying me time.

I start going through every single pocket on me (I have about 20) and I can't find what I need to complete the trick. I think... hmmm... "Maybe I could do the whole routine with pure sleight of hand? No you idiot! You're Tim Ellis not David Roth!"

I am now moving towards the lady to get the coins back. I spy a ring on her finger. "Aha!" I say, "Before that let me borrow your ring." I take her ring and discover it is way to thick to fit on Ring Flite.

Too late, I am (and should be) committed.

I do a weird version of Ring Flite while mentally searching my pockets for the missing magic thing and praying that the ring will end up on my keychain and not on the floor. My prayers are answered.

Now for the coin trick. I take the coins and check my main pocket one more time... there it is! It was in there all along just tucked in the fabric in a weird way! Finally I am ready and I go into coins across with a smile of satisfaction that really should be reserved for the successful completion of a trick.



Yep, stuff like that happens to me EVERY show. I just deal with it. I think MagicSports really has helped me to relax and realise it's only magic, not the end of the world.


That attitude has come in very handy. At FISM 1991 when I won Special Prize of The Jury for the 6 Card Rap, I was asked to do it again on the Winners Gala Show.

There had been a lot of AV problems throughout the event and the tech actually pinned (with a safety pin) the lapel mic to my shirt. When I got out there and went into the Rap I could hear my mic cutting in and out. People were only hearing every second or third word. I stopped dancing and yelled out "Cut the music, cut the music... If we're going to do this thing, we're gonna do it PROPERLY!"

The audience must have felt the same way I did because they went wild. I messed around with the MC Ali Bongo and eventually we got a fresh mic and did the rap.

Pete Biro came up after and booked me to do the SAM convention and especially mentioned that he was really impressed with the way I handled the technical difficulties. He said most acts he knew would have walked off stage in a huff. I said "Hey, I'm from Australia, that sort of thing happens all the time."



It still does!
Tim Ellis
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My pleasure Ron, and I'm really glad you're enjoying our little visit. I hope we're doing it right.. Smile


I was brought up in a Christian home. My Dad actually met my Mum when he used to go to a thing called 'Mission Breakfasts'. The poorer people in his suburb would go to a little mission Church for free food and Hymn singing (I think you had to do one to get the other Smile ) Anyway, that's where he met Mum, she was giving out the food. (Her Father, my Grandfather, was an amazing man with an incredibly strong faith.) My Dad became a Christian, he eventually married my Mum, then I turned up some time later. (I also have a younger brother and sister).

I went to Sunday School on a regular basis and was never pressed to follow Christ, it was left to me to make that decision on my own. To some extent, when I made that choice and got baptised as a teenager, it was a very natural progression. Having said that, my faith has been tested every single day of my life ever since. Often many times a day. I love the line in the Bob Carlisle song that describes Christians saying "We fall down, we get up, we fall down, we get up..." because that's the life of a Christian. Constantly trying to live life by the Bible, constantly failing, and constantly asking for God's forgiveness. Each time realising just a little more clearly that we simply cannot do anything without God's help, He wants us to rely completely on Him, the total opposite of the popular belief that we are our own god.

Relying on Him can be even harder in the field of entertainment, where success means you get told how good you are, it can be so easy to start believing your own publicity and forgetting who is really responsible.

Anyway, Sue-Anne's story is much more interesting than mine. She posted it in this thread: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......4&18
Jonathan Kelly
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Waterford, Ireland
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Just to chime in on what you said above Tim regarding your faith.......

I'm interested to hear if you happened to see or here about a TV show by two Scottish magicans called the Magic of Jesus which was aired on Channel 4 in Britain last year?

For those of you who have not seen it, the two magicians recreate well known "miracles" from the bible such as making a virgin pregnant, ressurecting the dead and feeding a crowd with one basket of loaves and fish. (Nearly wrote fishes there!)

It got a very mixed reaction from both religious types and the not-so religious. Some were of the view that it belittled the beliefs of Christians that the miracles they belived to be the work of a higher power could be done with "smoke and mirrors" and parlour tricks. I can certainly see their point. Being Irish, where the population is primarly Catholic and having a grandmother who has gone to mass almost every day of her 92 years on this earth, I can see why people could be offended.

Personally I didn't like the show because I just thought the magicians were trying to be too light-hearted and the effects just didn't hit me as very strong. In fact some of the methods were painfully obvious even to laymen I feel. I don't believe it was their intention to disprove Jesus as merely a magician in his time, but more to exploit something which has never really been done before. And they're certainly not stopping. They're already shooting a follow up, The Magic of the New Testament which will try and recreate even more of the miracles from the bible.

I'd love to get your view Tim, as firstly an excellent magician who may appreciate a novel idea for a show and secondly as a man of strong faith who might have strong views on the subject matter.
"But where did the lighter fluid come from?"
Michael J. Douglas
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Glad to hear your views, Tim! As I'm sure you know, many magicians tend to lose their faith when they learn "it's all just tricks." I call it "The Magician's Curse."

I pray I never succumb to The Curse!
Michael J.
�Believe then, if you please, that I can do strange things.� --from Shakespeare�s �As You Like It�
Tim Ellis
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Johnny, I didn't see the show but I heard about it and, to use the language of wrestling, I felt it was an easy way to generate "cheap heat". Penn & Teller are also blasphemous, but as they are evangelical atheists, I can understand where they are coming from more than the show you mentioned.

I'm not surprised that they chose to recreate the miracles of Jesus though, because true Christians will be offended, but not fight back in the way the Muslims might.

Now, if those same guys really want to get some serious publicity, maybe they could try doing the "Abraca-Allah" magic show.
Jonathan Kelly
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My thoughts exactly Tim.

Abraca-Allah!! I love it! That would show how brave they are!
"But where did the lighter fluid come from?"
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