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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Smooth as silk » » Silk Manipulation (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Strangelittleman
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Hi guys and girls,

I've hunted around and found squat - even searched on here to no avail so I thought I'd pose the question to you guys and girls.

Now, I love silks but I'm yet to see an act of silk manipulation. We have card and coins but I'm either just missing it or it's not out there. I would love to put something together, with silks changing, vanishing, appearing and all that jazz (hey...sounds like a card act lol) but want to use ONLY silks. Just curious if anyone does something like this or not...and also - anyone able to point me in the way of some nice vanishes that don't involve a p***/re*l or TT...
Donal Chayce
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Should we assume that you've already checked out all 4 volumes of "The Encyclopedia of Silk Magic"?
Strangelittleman
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Lol - I have them coming in as I type lol.
The problem Im having is I'm yet to actually SEE someone doing a silk only act - its always with canes/candles/doves etc - I'm putting together something yet Im curious why I don't see this kind of act.

I also went through Tarbell's (which has a wealth of silk stuff). Is it just not interesting for audiences or is it just not interesting?? I don't know if I'm getting across right (tired lol) but I hope ya get me.
Spellbinder
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The "classic" example of a silk manipulation act was Ade Duval's 1928 "Rhapsody in Silk." His entire act was published in book form in 1974 and may still be found in some magic dealers dusty old books. The common complaint by magicians who tried following in Duval's footsteps was that the act was a pain to prepare. That only means you will have few (if any) imitators if you decide to go forward with a silk manipulation act. That may also be why you don't see this type of act on the Tube.
Professor Spellbinder

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Bob Sanders
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Quote:
On 2008-07-11 05:51, Spellbinder wrote:
That may also be why you don't see this type of act on the Tube.


LOL!

Professor, I certainly agree. Rarely on the "Tube" is even a poor act performed well. Preparation is seldom evident in acts for the "Tube".

I wonder if they understand the new meaning they have given to (right out the) "Box Magic"?

Perhaps the current emphasis is on "unprepared" magic? What is next? Pure luck magic?

Bob Sanders
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[quote]On 2008-07-11 08:42, Bob Sanders wrote:
Quote:
I wonder if they understand the new meaning they have given to (right out the) "Box Magic"?

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander


There are many prepared and finished acts on the tube. Proper search techniques will yield that and weed the bad from the great. I especially like the older acts that have been uploaded. Fred Kapps, Cardini, and others.

I have used the tube to show off my own acts, but also to show off unpolished new moves. One has to be a total ego-maniac to do this or a total fool. Luckily, the media allows you to recall the bad performance or give feedback to let someone know they are poor.

The one thing I never understood was the poor performer of someone elses effect. What is that about. Don't these people have anyone to tell them they are bad.
Then, there are the exposure clips where someone shows what they just learned.

There are good silks routines out there, and a good search will ferret them out.

general search on youtube:
http://youtube.com/results?search_query=......ch_type=
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Strangelittleman
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Thanks for the responses, I have looked on the tube, and google etc...but in all honesty most are very poor performers.

I figured that there would be a lot of pre-work requried to pull this off correctly - loads etc so that does not scare me, just thought that if none of the big boys were doing it there would have to be a reason lol.
James Adamson
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Spellbinder is right as usual. The Ade Duval's 1928 "Rhapsody in Silk" was a pure silk act that is still available in pamphlet/book form.

I bought one myself as silk magic is one of my most favorite types of magic.

Ade said it took around an hour for the setup.

You would have to change certain things for today vs then because of the types and sizes of silks that he used are not made in those dimensions anymore.

I was considering doing a tribute type performance based roughly on his routine, but the problem I ran into was the sheer cost of the silks, specially gimmicked box/table and all the special custom made Gimmicks for the loads, which they are MANY not just a few, to achieve that goal. The act was around 2-3 minutes roughly, very fast paced, and the sheer amount of silk is enormous, so the question was it worth it. As basically it was a continuous production of silks from a phantom tube of varies sizes and lengths with lots of misdirection for the nurmous loads. The techniques used are multiple and quite inventive.

I talked a lot with Bob Sanders about the silks and their size differences compared to what Ade used and what is available today. You could still achieve a similar type of act.

The other questions that has been discussed is how would today's audience receive the act. This has been discussed with Bob and Richard Hughes several times before and the answer is not a definite yes or no.

So, due the Cost and the others factors involved, I felt that the cost vs reward was not worth an entire complete silk only act of Ade's type.

Personally I wish there was some video record of his act if nothing else for archiving purposes. And I would have loved to see the act just for the pure enjoyment that I have for silk magic.

I just wove a number of silk magic effects in with my doves, etc., for my opening act. But it is no where near the amount of silk that Ade's act had. His was unique.

If you have an strong love of silk magic I would still get the book if nothing else to learn about a truly unique and from all descriptions what was a beautiful act.

James Adamson
Be remembered for performing what looks like MAGIC, not skill.
Spellbinder
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I think if I were following in Ade's footsteps today, I would not rely so much on silk productions, as Ade did. Instead, I would take advantage of the wide variety of other silk effects that have appeared since his time.

Here's a potential act envisioned: From a small cage marked "Silk Worms," I would allow a large green silk worm (actually a Sqirmle) to climb out, wind around my finger and "spin" me a red silk handkerchief. I would then deposit the worm on a pedestal where he would continue to provide me a new silk every time the act requires one. I would use the silk in a penetration and a color change, then a vanish. The worm would spin me two new silks, which tied together, could then be used to reproduce the perviously vanished silk, 20th century style. The chain of three might then blend into one multi colored silk, from which to begin a fountain of silks (but in my fevered imagination, my silks would actually form a fountain- blowing high into the air above the stage). This would leave the stage covered with silks, which would begin gathering together and ultimately blend into a patchwork quilt kind of six foot silk, behind which I would vanish, having nothing further to say on the subject.
Professor Spellbinder

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Quote:

Here's a potential act envisioned: From a small cage marked "Silk Worms," I would allow a large green silk worm (actually a Sqirmle) to climb out, wind around my finger and "spin" me a red silk handkerchief. I would then deposit the worm on a pedestal where he would continue to provide me a new silk every time the act requires one. I would use the silk in a penetration and a color change, then a vanish. The worm would spin me two new silks, which tied together, could then be used to reproduce the perviously vanished silk, 20th century style. The chain of three might then blend into one multi colored silk, from which to begin a fountain of silks (but in my fevered imagination, my silks would actually form a fountain- blowing high into the air above the stage). This would leave the stage covered with silks, which would begin gathering together and ultimately blend into a patchwork quilt kind of six foot silk, behind which I would vanish, having nothing further to say on the subject.


That reminds me of Dave Creseys' silk act. (messy Cresey).
Most of the silk acts I have seen are almost a showcase of silk artwork more than magic. Recently at Tampa by the Bay convention, there was an older Geezer who actually displayed each silk effect and gave its formal name. Then as he produced a large dragon, or butterfly, he announced it as "the large butterfly", or "kimono Dragon".
The classier silk acts have knots that appear and reappear, or silks that bloom, or ring on silk, silk pentrations, then a production or two. It is always important not to overdue a silk act. Parasol silk, blendos, transpositions. etc.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Donal Chayce
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Very early in his career (indeed, he was a youth), Marvyn Roy did an all-silk act as "Marvin the Silk Merchant." I believe he won a convention contest with the act, and if I recall correctly, you can find a description of the act in his autobiography "Mr. Electric Unplugged."
Bob Sanders
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Terry,

One of easiest silk vanishes without a pu-- or TT is automatic in the performance of Silk to Egg.

Bob Sanders
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hugmagic
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Jack Chanin published a very good silk act .

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Bob Sanders
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The really polished silk acts have an elegance that very few stage acts have today. They capitalize on the entertainment value and can be very emotional for the audience. It comes through the eyes instead of the ears. They use the stage and the music supports rather than interrupts the act.

It is a different animal from the free television of today. Notice that silk manipulation is generally done for paying audiences. There is a reason they are there instead of watching TV. Play to it.

Bob Sanders
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chmara
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The Chanin act is pretty darned good -- but sometimes dated material is not what is needed. Original thinking is what will be a break through for silk....not purchased or previously done "acts/"

Think about the changes in society and audience -- do rag silks., rally flags,who carries and handerchief, let alone a pocket fold display? Parasols and umbrellas of old look like props -- not modern umbrellas -- and how many pizza companies have flags attached by window holders on deliveries?

The principles of silk will remain the same -- and maybe a few holders, scrunchers and folders may be developed -- and realize that a custom unique act (good) will require custom dyed and painted silks.

Think what a garment salesman from the sewing districts of New York or LA might do to display wares. Instant change and instant fit model shows come to mind.

Using silks to hide and shield other "stuff" and even people can be worked through with dedication -- but a pro has to consider the return on investment in all props.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

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hugmagic
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Chanin's "Silk at your Fingertips" is still applicable in many ways. What I liked most about it was the ability to frame the act in portions in many different ways. Chanin made point to tell you to learn the act in phases. To me that meant taking out what did not fit.

Greg has some good thoughts on using the flags of today. (i.e. advertising, promtional flags, boat flags). A custom act could be framed around a nautical theme using boat flags and pennets. Custom dying or hand painting the silks would be essential to maintain the original theme of the act. Many guys do not realize that Ade Duval made and dyed his own silks so they were different and unique.

The Stillwell Hankerchief act is one that is extremely dated. I find very little in it that I would use today. However, that is not to say a person with a strong character development could not pull if off.

I think the most important thing to realize in a silk act is that it is an act..not an entire show. Most places now are not booking acts. They want a complete 45 to 90 minute presentation.

But the silk act is a great act that still pleases the lay audiences. Frame it up and work it out to be part of a larger production unless vaudeville makes a comeback.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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chmara
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Bravo Richard -- right on the mark!
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

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C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
Bob Sanders
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Two hours of most any kind of magic would get trying for the audience. (Doves, silks, cards, feather flowers, rope, grand illusion, mental magic or whatever.)

To me twelve minutes of the same thing deserves a commercial break for the audience. Vaudeville was not an endurance contest and there was "The Hook"! If nothing else, maybe the "Hook" has been replaced by the remote control and personal iPods.

Bob Sanders
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hugmagic
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A normal Vaudeville turn was seldom 12 minutes. It is my understanding it was more like 8 minutes. Pete Biro might be able to give more information as I think his dad worked in Vaudeville.

Even in my convention act (like a Vaudeville turn), I do not do 12 minutes of silks or flowers. It is mixed up.

Bob is right in that an audience is a terrible thing to waste or put to sleep.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
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