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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » How do Penn and Teller justify exposing illusions? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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bp
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P & T have been doing Blast off for year and I mean years.

As for the exposure of The Million Dollar Mystery, the whole show was a wash with Magic and illusions etc etc, most people I have talked too (that have nothing to do with Magic) did not see the exposure at just brush it to one side, ALL clueless at the end.

that's my take on it...
silverking
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The failure of SOME laymen to understand exposure doesn't make the exposure "OK".

That's sort of like stealing but not getting caught, and feeling that it's OK and all in the past.....so you're now clean.

Wrong is wrong, equivoque doesn't make it right.

P&T practice BIG TIME exposure, selling out secrets that belong to ALL magicians. They've broken every historic oath magicians have taken.

They are at least as bad, and in many ways far worse than Valentino ever was. Valentino seems to have stopped what he was doing whereas P&T carry on every night of the week at the Rio selling out magicians, and magic, without shame.

That this type of behaviour gets you onto the cover of the worlds largest magic magazine is a mystery to me, and speaks volumes about why exposure of magical secrets belonging to ALL magicians in return for money continues to thrive.
Slim King
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Smile silverking!!!!!!!!!!
No truer words spoken!
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Joey Stalin
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Ah the masked magician. I was cruising through youtube the other day. Got sidetracked on clips of the masked magician. I wasn't as impressed with it as I was when I was a child. Why? Cause I now know how it is done? No. Because they were poor versions of illusions. His expose of metamorphosis was of a horrible version of that illusions. Again show that to a laymen then show them metamorphosis by the pendragon's or Criss Angel's super fast version. They will be shocked and confused at how that could be done. Or his walking through a wall compared to David walking through the Great Wall. Again no comparison. I can ask 10 people about the masked magician and 9 of them will say "masked who?" Oddly enough I could do they same about P&T. Although after America's got Talent, perhaps a few more people know about them. Still, P&T aren't well know to the general public.

Ah P&T. Sorry to say they don't really expose much. Clear cups and balls = exposure? Hardly. Show someone that then show them Jason Latimer's clear cups and balls, or Ricky Jay's cups and balls, he has that final load of pennies right? They will have no clue how they do that. There are multiple ways to show loaded cups as empty. There are multiple ways to load cups, vanish or produce balls. What P&T did was one basic, fast version. Even with clear cups they are still 1 ahead on the audience. If your cups and balls routine is haulted by P&Ts clear cups and balls. Then you should stop making excuses and look at your own presentation. Or their "blast off" routine. I think some snob on here was complaining saying they exposed a deceptive base. Please! What they used was at least 2 feet thick. Hardly a deceptive base. Show them that then a good mismade girl, they'll have no clue.

And there is exposure in every stage act on the planet. There is always going to be some odd angle in the audience that shows the specs what is happening. But that is a small percentage of the crowd. if you fool 900 people and 100 saw how it was done, well then that is a job well done.
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SWNerndase
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"Blast Off" was created by Penn and Teller specifically to lampoon the traditional magic act. They put together a stage illusion where the method (original) is part of the effect. The "exposure" has nothing to do with effects used by other magicians, and is a series of funny visuals ridiculing certain aspects of traditional magic acts. To complain that it is exposure is to miss the point entirely. Same with the clear cups and balls. Same with the piece where Penn narrates as Teller "exposes" the 7 principles of magic. Same with the crate escape they called "Honor System." All original pieces with their own methods on display-which is very different than what people like the masked magician or Herbert Becker have done.

The TV thing on NBC? Well, that was unfortunate, but I accept Teller's explanation (excerpted above) that NBC had final cut and they did everything they could to minimize the exposure of methods not their own. And in my view it worked, as not one person I spoke to after the show aired remembered or cared about the exposures.

More to the point though, Penn and Teller have done more in the last 20 years to raise the public perception of magic as an art form than anyone else I can name. The general public responds to them like no other magic act. No, they are not universally loved by all, but again that's hardly the point. They are taken seriously in acedemic and artistic circles as writers, thinkers, performers, and yes, as magicians. They have a large and dedicated fan base of people who never would have cared about magic if P&T hadn't re-written the rules and carved this unique niche for themselves.

Read the three Penn and Teller books written for the public. They are teaching books of mostly original magic that say a great deal about deception, self expression, dedication and art, from a unique point of view. I include "How to Play With Your Food" in my short list of good books for beginning magicians. There is a level of respect for the art that is rarely seen in "how to" magic books.

Read Teller's commentary throughout "Abbot's House of Mystery." It is a tour de force of insight, knowledge and depth of understanding. I believe it reveals Teller as one of the greatest magical minds of our time.

Finally, make an effort to go see their live show. You will be amazed, you will laugh, you might be outraged, but you will come away feeling really good about being a magician. I've seen it many times, and believe it to be one of the most important and outstanding achievements in the field.

I can't help but think that anyone who seriously examines their body of work will conclude that the "bad boys of magic" have been very good for all of us.

SWN
Laszlo Csizmadi
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This is the second revealing thread what Todsky started in two weeks. He should do a search before he posted. I just don't get it why people still talking about this issue. No one can do anything about revealation but posting links where the people can find revealing videos just as bad. Same goes for those who wrote down the names which illusions were revealed because you forget that not just magicians come to the Café.

Best

Las
Servante
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I saw the underwater stuff. Of course, I knew how it was all done in the first place, but it seemed to me that the detail they went into would be boring to the layperson.
In fact, from time to time it bored me...and I love to watch other magicians work.
I walked away a few times. I'm guessing the laypeople switched channels.

In the past, their "revealing of secrets" has been almost a parody of the Masked Magician stuff...and not at all the way a thing is really done...or stuff that's so old lots of people know...and don't care.
Cups and balls? My kid had a plastic set he bought at Toys R Us.
All that techy stuff is boring to laypeople.
Everybody knows how to do a French Drop.
But they're still flummoxed at Jay or Vernon.
And, the point has been made above...people FORGET this stuff. Even the stuff I watched closely I couldn't call to mind now.

I met these guys once when they came through town. Their passion for the art...and Penn's passion for the history of magic and carnival and ballyhoo...is almost palpable.

I've also worked some television and have produced a number of videos and even one or two TV shows...and I've seen those contracts...and signed a few...and, believe me, I know how a person can be betrayed in the editing bay.

I'm giving these guys the benefit of the doubt.
bp
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What is Valentino doing now ??????
todsky
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Quote:
On 2007-01-16 13:29, Joey Stalin wrote:
Or their "blast off" routine. I think some snob on here was complaining saying they exposed a deceptive base. Please! What they used was at least 2 feet thick. Hardly a deceptive base. Show them that then a good mismade girl, they'll have no clue.


I don't think it matters the quality of method that was exposed, the point is they tell audiences one method for accomplishing an illusion, and from then on a spectator seeing a similar illusion will likely assume they know the method, even if they know the wrong method. Even worse, I think, is that P&T present magic as a puzzle to be worked out, which in my opinion lessens the art and experience of magic. Not to say they aren't very entertaining: I do enjoy their shows, but I wish they didn't have to resort to 'disillusionment' and to lambasting other magicians who do not perform in the same cynical style as they do.

And I am aware that most specs will forget what they have seen after a time has passed, but I don't think this justifies exposure and the tearing down of the experience of illusionment.
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Silvio Solaris
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Thank You Mark for posting this and reminding us magicians of our oath which is an oath of honor!!! Not by obligation connected to a mere fraternity, but its idiological roots embedded inside pure ethical value of ones 'self', the magic entertainer.

"I promise I will always guard against exposing the secrets of magic, whether through lack of practice before performing, or through explanation to any person not entitled to know the secrets. I make this promise seriously, realizing that in violating it, I am not only violating my word of honor, but I am violating the trust and rights of all other magicians who, by the very nature of their form of entertainment, are entitled to the preservation of the secrets of magic."

That is what WE stand for. Our secrets are trade secrets which make our magic astonishing and entertaining, besides our input and presentation. WHAT THE @#&*
HAPPENED TO OUR, THIS VERY OWN OATH !!!!????

I am disgusted about Penn & Teller and they should be cooked in magicians wax and feathered at it's best. I will for sure attend and applaud this ritual and afterwards revealing how it was done.

sincerely,

Silvio Solaris
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Silvio Solaris

'Is all that we see and seem but a dream within a dream?' E.A.Poe
todsky
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Quote:
On 2007-01-16 14:00, laci200 wrote:
This is the second revealing thread what Todsky started in two weeks. He should do a search before he posted. I just don't get it why people still talking about this issue. No one can do anything about revealation but posting links where the people can find revealing videos just as bad. Same goes for those who wrote down the names which illusions were revealed because you forget that not just magicians come to the Café.

Best

Las

Strange as it may sound, it was only recently that I saw a couple of the 'exposure' videos by P&T, and that's why I was worked up. Perhaps you make a good point about the danger of listing those illusions that have been exposed, and posting a video link here, but it's likely that anyone who is interested enough in methods can just google Penn and Teller and find the stuff for themselves.
And I'm not worked up on this thread about exposure in general, because I know it's been happening for eons, I'm really more curious about Penn and Teller's magic philosophy, their dedication to magic, their propensity to expose and belittle, and how this all fits together into the package of what they are. As was previously mentioned, they have written some books, so I think I will follow up by reading some of what they have written.
I guess I'm just not quite sure what to make of them, if I like them or not, if I think they are doing a dis-service to magic or a service. Nevertheless, I do find them entertaining and curious and annoying.


Posted: Jan 16, 2007 7:11pm
-------------------------------------------
Silvio, perhaps the only way to acceptably expose magic these days is to make it seem over-the-top, cool, and with a middle finger raised. If you blatantly thumb your nose while doing it, then people will think, "Wow, he's so rude and loud about it, and seems to believe so strongly in his contempt for the experience of being amazed, I guess he must know what he's doing."
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Payne
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Quote:
On 2007-01-16 18:52, Silvio Solaris wrote:

Thank You Mark for posting this and reminding us magicians of our oath which is an oath of honor!!! Not by obligation connected to a mere fraternity, but its idiological roots embedded inside pure ethical value of ones 'self', the magic entertainer.

Oath? What Oath? I've never taken an Oath and what makes you think Penn and Teller have as well.
Sure I've got a slew of magic books that give lip service to "The Magicians Code" but simply owning a book that says "A Magician Never Reveals How A Trick is Done" is a great deal different than taking an oath.
What do you swear this oath on anyway? The Amateur Magicians Handbook? Erdnase? Royal Road To Card Magic?
I get a kick out of magicians who think that they'll get back at P&T by kicking them out of magic organizations they probably don't belong to or by ostracizing them from social gathering the don't attend. Magicians whining that they're giving away the farm only gives them more publicity and plays right into their popular with the public Bad Boy" image.
Love them or hate them P&T have developed a schtick that works very well for them. Together they have done more than their fair share to elevate the perception of magic in the public's eyes.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
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On 2007-01-16 19:12, Payne wrote:
Love them or hate them P&T have developed a schtick that works very well for them. Together they have done more than their fair share to elevate the perception of magic in the public's eyes.


How do they elevate the perception of magic in the public's eyes?
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ChristopherM
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On a related note, why does Derren Brown expose several secrets on TV?
Payne
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Quote:
On 2007-01-16 19:14, todsky wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-01-16 19:12, Payne wrote:
Love them or hate them P&T have developed a schtick that works very well for them. Together they have done more than their fair share to elevate the perception of magic in the public's eyes.


How do they elevate the perception of magic in the public's eyes?


By showing that magic can be hip trendy and relevant and that it is no longer the domain of the geeky sequined lapeled dove puller.
They are also fresh innovative and highly original. Something your typically musty hackneyed magician can't comprehend.
Positive or negative their performances evoke a strong emotional response which is a clear sign that they are doing something right and elevating the public's perception of magic into the realm of art.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
todsky
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Payne, I would say that Penn comes across as the jumbo geeky type, and sequined dove conjurors are more of the 'disco' type. Just because someone evokes a strong emotional response does not make them good. Jack the Ripper evoked strong emotional reactions, but I wouldn't consider him good.
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Dougini
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After viewing that clip...somehow...I don't feel so bad...that was NOT Mis-Made Girl...thank goodness...

I'm STILL not a big fan of P & T...just a personal taste thing...

It LOOKS like exposure...and some principles of a few working illusions ARE exposed there...but, as stated before, the public will probably NEVER remember the details.

And, I'll add...I took an oath in 1976, along with three other magicians...NO EXPOSURE...no behavior that will bring disgrace to our art...and to continue to elevate and add to Magic, so that future artists will have a foundation to build on.

This is a new era...us old fogies are NOT going to be comfortable watching the likes of P & T "make(ing) it seem over-the-top, cool, and with a middle finger raised..." as Todsky eloquently put it...yes, I agree...Penn seems "rude & loud"...definitely not my style.

My $.02

Doug
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I have to apologize, even though it wasn't the Mismade Girl they exposed, it seemed to me the same type of illusion (at least in the minds of the layman). Also, I didn't know the name of it, so I just assumed it was a variation on Mismade. Just wanted to clear that up.
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Bill Palmer
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Oh, boy! Another whiny thread about Penn and Teller.

Even though I am very outspoken about exposure (in case you missed the web site, I'm against it), there is nothing that we can do about Penn and Teller and their "so-called exposures of illusions."

There is nothing illegal about exposing an illusion.

There is nothing immoral about exposing an illusion, unless you have taken an oath not to do so.

Go over that last part again and fix it firmly in your mind.

Here is the absolute flat out truth. The ONLY punishment that you can levy on someone for exposing magic is throwing them out of the magic club. That's it. Period. End of story.

They don't belong to the IBM. They don't belong to the SAM. They don't belong to the Magic Circle of London. So what are you going to do?

There is a simple answer.

Nothing.

Or you can whine.

Almost everything they have actually exposed has been something that they worked out themselves. So who are they hurting -- they aren't even exposing the hackneyed old cr*p Valentino exposed.
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todsky
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Bill, I have formed the Fine Whine Magic Club, and I just kicked out Penn and Teller.
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