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CharlieC
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Mat,

Not everyone has the privilege of having items demoed for them before they are bought. Some people live too far from shops so they have to buy based on recommendations(from boards like this one).

Sure, I could make my own pen(twisted fork, etc) but if I paid for the pen, why should I have to replace it? Either charge enough for a decent looking pen, or don't include the pen and charge less. Smile
"Whenever he gets in a fix he reaches into his bag of tricks.
Felix the cat, the wonderful, wonderful cat..."
RandomEffects
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If you have access to the web which every here does than you can get demos for most of the tricks out there. For Reality Twister, I did a Google search and the first site I hit (http://www.emagictricks.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=4305) gave me a full description plus pictures of exactly what the trick is.

Quote:
Sure, I could make my own pen (twisted fork, etc) but if I paid for the pen, why should I have to replace it? Either charge enough for a decent looking pen, or don't include the pen and charge less. Smile


2 things:
1) If you do not like the way the pen looks then feel free to make something else, but Paul has been nice enough to give you something to do it with.
2) I have seen tricks that cost a lot more and came with a lot less. Sure, the pen is not equal to the Cornelius pen through anything, but it does work. for $15 (and cheaper through a lot of places) I think that you are not losing out here. If he had been charging $50, I could see the problem.

Mat
debaser
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Ok, so actually the topic is "worst trick," not worst performance. So enough with the "there are only bad performances;" it's just untrue.

And Reality Twister is so new. There is so much horrible older stuff.

Here's one: Spring flowers or the (double) color changing silks.

You couldn't fool a 5 year old with either of the above tricks.

Reality Twister is a miracle compared to sleeve bouquets.

Matt
Kathryn Novak
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I disagree with these views on several levels, and I'll address them now.

"Ok, so actually the topic is "worst trick", not worst performance. So enough with the
"there are only bad performances;" it's just untrue."

What evidence do you have to support this argument? You don't give any in your post. Show me a bad effect, and I'll show you a bad performer.

"You couldn't fool a 5 year old with either of the above tricks.
Reality Twister is a miracle compared to sleeve bouquets."

Unless you've seen every single magician who ever performed do those effects, there's simply no way you can support that argument. Any magician with a touch of creativity, skill, the right amount of practice, and performance control could easily fool a five year old with those (or any) effects; and probably someone your age as well. And there are quite a few who are capable of doing it right here at the Café. Smile

"And Reality Twister is so new. There is so much horrible older stuff."

The old tricks are what helped magic evolve, at one point. Some are effects on which magic was founded; like the cups and balls. The idea is still going strong; and amazing (and fooling) people of all ages. The only thing that has changed about it is what's actually done during the routine, by each different magi. They applied their creativity to it, and the effect is still being used.

I saw one magician produce a soccer ball from underneath a cup. It was definitely new, but based on an old effect. To quote the incredibly wise Peter Marucci: "The old effects have their merit, and their place." Just because it's old doesn't mean it's useless. Or horrible. Or anything other than an effect. In the end, it is always the magician's performance that decides whether the audience thinks the "effect" is good or bad.
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jhostler
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Kathryn -

Insisting there's no bad magic is just as absurd as saying there's no *good* magic... or no bad music, for that matter. Granted, you may enjoy listening to Tiny Tim's off-key rendition of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," but such is not necessarily great
"art." There is, in fact, bad art - and magical creations constitute art on an equal par with magical performances. It's simply easier to claim that "everything's relative" than to constructively critique. Frankly, all the hedging has really grown tiresome.

John
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Scott Guinn said:

"I used to own a magic shop. I can't tell you how many times people would come in asking for "Something really good--I've got a show later today!"

OUCH!!!

My response to those people: "Sorry, I can't help you there. I do have some stuff that's really good, but it will require some time to practice and rehearse before you'll be able to do it well.""

Perhaps that's why you USED to own a magic shop <G>...that's what ethics 'll get ya!

Point well made.

Discussions seem to center around three concepts: bad or unpracticed performance, stupid concept, bad or transparent gimmick. Obviously if any one of the above is present an effect will be at best mediocre and often perhaps terrible. The question was, "worst trick in general use," not worst presentation or worst prop.

Thus I would submit that it is the worst concept in general use that we're after. I guess "Fartoon" and the "Magic ding dong" would be up there, although I understand they may play well at bachelor parties.

If the question were "worst performed trick in general use," I would nominate the zombie, the dancing cane and anything that starts with "pick a card..." These are to magic what the guitar is to music: very easy to perform poorly, but beautiful in the right hands.

If the question were worst prop made in general use, that would be a lot harder. Most of us do try to get decent props, I think. So to find a "worst prop in general use" would be tough...we just wouldn't buy and use them.

Finally, I don't know how the thumb tip came to be maligned as a "trick" in general use. A thumb tip can work miracles and isn't a "trick in general use."

Cordially,
tr

Smile
p.b.jones
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Granted, you may enjoy listening to Tiny Tim's off-key rendition of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," but such is not necessarily great "art."

Hi,
But just because it's bad art or not art in your opinion, does not mean that it is bad music, does it?
I think at the end of the day I think that it is all down to ... my personal opinion.

I do not know musically what you personally consider art or good, but I bet my bottom dollar it would vary from mine and that mine would vary from Kathryn's and so on. It is just the same with magic.

Also consider that being bad art does not make something bad. I do not typically listen to much popular music here in the UK but that does not make it bad. My preferences are toward US bands like Dave Matthews, Ben Harper, Gov't Mule, Ween, Phish and Les Claypool/Primus. However, if I was at a nightclub out to dance, party and get steaming then my preferences would change to the very popular UK music that I would not buy to listen to at home.

Remember that most audiences are like the people that listen to chart music: they could not care if something is artistic. Like clubbing, they are just looking for a good time.

I think this is the same with magic.
Phillip
jhostler
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Hi Phillip -

I think you may have missed my point. Irrespective of whether you call it art or music or magic, I believe it's not all merely subjective (i.e., personal opinion) - and I can prove it(!) Here goes:

If you insist that good or bad magic/music/etc. is in "the eye of the beholder," then to remain consistent you must also insist that the worthiness of the *performance* thereof is "in the eye of the beholder." (The assumption here is that a magical creation - a "trick" - can be characterized as an artistic effort, just like a magical performance.) If this is the case, then why are we having this discussion at all? You'd have to hold that everything is just great, and what the performer
"makes" of the material is irrelevant!

My point is that the quality of material, just like the quality of performance, is NOT 100% subjective. There IS bad material. [Imagine a close-up floating cigarette employing yarn instead of IT (bad equipment)! Or a 17-hour marathon Ambitious Card routine (bad routining)! Or Matrix 2000 (impractical/non-deceptive/bad methodology)!]

Magicians are often all too quick to blurt out cliches like "there's no bad trick, only a bad performance" without actually *thinking* about them first.
Kathryn Novak
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Quote:
Kathryn -

Insisting there's no bad magic is just as absurd as saying there's no *good* magic... or no bad music, for that matter.


I never said there was no bad magic. I said there are no bad *effects*. My whole point is that an *effect*, on its own, can't be bad. The only way I could see it being bad was if it broke during a performance. Which is a mechanical issue, and should be taken up with the people you bought the effect from.
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Steve Friedberg
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And if that happens, you can only do one thing:

Look sternly at it, point your index finger at it, and say, "Bad effect! Bad effect!"

Drastic measure? Yes, but occasionally a needed step.
Cheers,
Steve

"A trick does not fool the eyes, but fools the brain." -- John Mulholland
Mark Rough
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A few years back, okay decades now, I had the pleasure of hearing Joseph Campbell give a lecture on the nature of art. I'll have to paraphase this so forgive me. He said that their are two arts. True art, in which the viewer, listener, whatever, is connected with something larger than themselves and their immediate world, and psuedo art, which splits into two groups, pornographic (in the larger sense, not just sexual), and didactic. There's nothing wrong with psuedo art, if your purpose is fulfilled. Bottom line, according to Campbell, it's all art, some is purer in content and purpose. And yes we'd probably call a lot of it bad art. There's a lot of stuff in museums I have no desire to see, music I have no desire to hear, and magic I'd never perform or watch perfomed. It's still art though. Perhaps in Da Vinci's hands a jar of urine and a crucifix would be wonderful art. Who am I to say having only seen one take on it.

Mark

P.S. Thanks for letting me have my .02. I'll probably come back and edit this once the allergy medicine wears off.
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truthteller
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I find this line of thinking intriguing, but I think we have a problem which stems from a misunderstanding/misuse of terms.

The word EFFECT in magic is a dodgy one and often means more to some than others. For example, when three cards fly from one packet to another, we call it the cards across effect BUT there are many ways to cause such an effect methodologically.

Each of these methods IMPACTS the effect. So what we have is a "method-effect," the net result. Now there are certain advantages to each method-effect and certain disadvantages, so in some ways we can say that one method-effect is superior to another. (Or in terms of this thread, one is WORSE).

Of course some of this can be purely subjective BUT it least it can be argued constructively. Example, the Paul Harris cards across is better than the Ryan cards across because the number of cards are counted directly by the spectatoras opposed to being deduced from the number "left over" in the pile.

This is an opinion, BUT at least it is presented in objective terms which can be argued.

Now many of us have seen Ryan or Mullica KILL with the Ryan cards across. So clearly presentation can IMPACT effect. So now we have a "method-presentation-effect." (Mullica's method-presentation-effect is superior to Bob Nobody's card across, because Tom makes us forget that we never knew exactly how many cards were int he pile.)

Now, from a practical perspective MOST performers looking to BUY a trick need not concern themselves with these types of presentation-method-effects because 1)they won't work for them and 2)that would be stealing. BUT if one is buying a merketed trick and planning on doing a supplied presentation, then this DOES become a factor not only then but as we are trying to decide in this thread what it is we are really arguing over.

(I think we can abbreviate this category to "presentation-effects" in those situations where we can compare apples to apples - i.e. two performers performing the SAME method-effect". If we were comparing Mullic'as presentation-effect to Tamariz'a presentation-effect I think the word METHOD should be added becasue they are using different methods and that impacts the totally of that which we are arguing over.)

I would say that when many people blast the dancing cane and the zombie they are blasting the "presentation-effect" that they have seen time and time again by those who have not thought the matter through.

If we consider the "effect" alone, something floating in the air, that is a wonderful effect as evidenced by everyone's enthusiasm for self levitations which is "something floating in the air."

The presentation-effect changes slightly when we add another object, but whether its a ball or a cane, I think we'd all love to be able to do it effectively.

When we look at the method-effect, again we know that it "works" because we've all seen it be magical in the right hands, and both principles work in other situations admirably.

So, I think what it boils down to is our distaste for the majority of "performance-effects" we see with these two maligned tools.

Now I will say that some "effects" while maybe not bad, are perhaps non-engaging. (Of course performance can make up for this.) Admittedly this often stems from an ineffective method coupled with an unclearly defined effect. But I think, if we wish to argue the worst "effect" in use we need to address whether it is the EFFECT, the method-effect, or the performance-method-effect we are speaking of.
Jaxon
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I'm one who believes there is no such thing as a bad trick. A trick is not magic. As magicians it's our job to turn tricks, knowledge and thoughts into magic.

Take the reality twister that's been mentioned so much in this post. I don't see this as the piece of plastic and a pen. I see this as a method of altering an object. Who says you need the pen? Why not melt and twist a straw to get the same effect. Why not present the lens as a magnifying lens (Have a magnifying lens of the same size and it can be switched for the gimmick lens).
How about showing a black line on a sheet of paper. you use the lens to make part of the line disappear. Then it's whole again. Then it deforms in the middle of the line to form a word (Rather then twisting). Maybe it forms into the prediction or the name of their card.
Suddenly, this optical illusion is a magic effect. It's present as such in an entertaining way. I can't think of one visual magic trick that isn't an optical illusion.

Are there tasteless tricks? Sure there are, but that's a point of view. One persons tasteless is another's preference.

As I read many of these posts, the ones that are named as the worse are often (Not always but often) laymen's favorites. There's a difference between a good and bad trick from a magician's point of view then from a non-magicians point of view.
For me, I can't stand the linking rings. It's so boring to perform I could almost fall asleep. I tell you though, I still do it in my shows sometimes and it gets a great reaction.

The key words here on getting is great reaction is depending on the performance.. Give me, or any somewhat skilled performer out there, the worse trick you can think of and they'll be able to get a laugh or two out of it.
I've seen a guy get a lot of laughs with the jumping finger trick. It's not even a trick and it still got great reactions. I'm referring to the stupid joke where you hold up one finger in one hand and the other hand is closed. Tap the hands together and the other hand now has the finger (Close one and open the other). Is this a bad trick? Is it even a trick? I know it isn't but that doesn't mean it can't be entertaining with a mock magic presentation (I'd never do it but it was neat to see an audience laughing so hard).

A vanishing thimble can be made to be a feature trick believe it or not. A perfect technically presented levitation of a person can be a complete failure as well.

My two cents..Smile

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
jhostler
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Well, then, are there any *good* tricks?
lithis
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Performance. Not only performance, but the attitude that accompanies it. I'm right in line with Jaxon on this one. Think about Johnny Ace Palmer. He does stuff like the jumping finger ring. When you know the method, you laugh at it, as I did at first. But think about the reaction. He doesn't have an attitude of "oh, here's something neat", but he adds comedy and a little mystery into the bag. I've seen him routinely drop jaws with it. I do a card-to-pocket routine in my act and it gets some of the best reactions in the show. The method is simple but tried and true. My point? Focus on performance, and creating an atmosphere of magic. Without that, any trick turns to mush. If you aren't comfortable and confident about your material, your audience will sense it and won't enjoy the show.
jhostler
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Quote:
On 2003-04-28 07:37, Kathryn Novak wrote:
Quote:
Kathryn -

Insisting there's no bad magic is just as absurd as saying there's no *good* magic... or no bad music, for that matter.


I never said there was no bad magic. I said there are no bad *effects*. My whole point is that an *effect*, on its own, can't be bad. The only way I could see it being bad was if it broke during a performance. Which is a mechanical issue, and should be taken up with the people you bought the effect from.


What about a close-up levitation of a full-weight crystal ball utilizing thick white string as the support rather than IT? This is an extreme example, but proves my point: there ARE bad effects - those that are simply not deceptive. This isn't bloody rocket science.
truthteller
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What you are arguing here jhostler is not the effect but the method. The effect of levitation a crystal ball is a good one, the method used to achieve it, in your example, is lacking. However, if one could levitate the same crystal ball deceptively, you would say the effect was a good one.

By definition the EFFECT, in both cases is the same, the ball levitates. The method is different.
Tom Cutts
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You seem to be going through such gymnastics to prove a point which I have to agree with Kathryn, just doesn't exist, John.

Here is my proving test. Imagine the worst trick you can. Give it to 5 of the best most entertaining magicians in the world. Offer 1 Million Dollars to any of them who come up with an entertaining magical performance with your trick.

Do you think an answer will be found?

Here is one example. I put a crystal ball in my hat. I turn the hat upside down and the ball does not fall out. It floats to the bottom lip of the hat and into view but never fully exposed. A goof and the performer exposes that there is a thick white yarn attached to the crystal ball.

"I guess you caught me.", he says. "The string is holding the ball up."

"But here is what I don't get..." The hat is removed and the yarn is seen to protrude staight up but is attached to nothing, alla Indian Rope Trick. "What is holding the blasted string?", the performer says in disbelief.

Or how about a white art solution where either a white back drop or lights shining from behind the ball camoflage the existence of the yarn without detracting from the floating sense of the crystal ball.

Yes, give me a million dollar carrot and I will prove that any ridiculous method can be used to mystify an audience. I'm gonna need a 10% non-refundable retainer for experimentation, of course. Smile

Cheers,

Tom
jhostler
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Tom -

I think you've unintentionally created a
"straw man" here, and others on this thread have further confused the issue by engaging in a semantically convoluted discussion. Original [errant] proposition: "There are no bad tricks, only bad performances." Now let's define "trick:" a *given* combination of method, effect, and routine. OK, if we accept these very basic terms, what you've done in your argument is substituted your own methodology, effect, and routine for the one posed in my example - making it a
"passable" trick. If the thing is performed simply as I suggested, the flawed methodology (levitation with fully visible support mechanism) wouldn't fool my dog. If ANY of the components of a "trick" - effect, method, or routine - are seriously flawed, you've got a "bad" trick. Period.

Even Tamariz wouldn't be capable of consistently fooling an audience with Matrix 2000, for example, due to the restrictive methodology. Even Daryl couldn't get away with a 17-hour ambitious card routine (unless as some sort of publicity stunt) due to flawed routining. Why is this so difficult to grasp?
truthteller
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Now we're getting somewhere. By your definition of a TRICK being a combination of effect/method/presentation then of course one can argue that one is superior to another.

But Kathryn wrote she believed there was no such thing as a bad EFFECT. Which is a different statement altogether.

My post was designed to encourage use to define our terms, as you have no done, to clarify what specifically we are talking about. Now that you've done that, I think we can see we are only arguing terms. No "effect" on its own is bad, but there are specific "tricks" (effects achieved by specific methods accompanied by certain presentations) which are.
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