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debaser
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first - Nobody has commented on Jhostlers idea of if there is no bad tricks there can be no bad performers, it's all subjective.

Truthteller made things more specific with the word (non-engaging). Now if you combine non-engaging with un-deceptive, I don't see how you could say that's not a BAD trick.

If there are no bad tricks then why research effects, just buy one book and work on your performance for the rest of your life. (granted this is close to a good idea).

When an effect is created it exists in the world, therefore can be judged just like a person.

There is a huge difference between making a trick good and making a routine entertaining.

Carl Ballantine for instance does horrible tricks, but that's the point of his act and it's entertaining, but the tricks are certainly not good.

If a trick is overcomplicated, with a anticlimactic ending it is a bad trick. Even if somehow someone entertains with it, the trick itself is still a bad idea.

Personally I believe the idea of "there are no bad tricks only bad performances" is inherently a good theory, that has now been taken over and turned into magic dealer and amateur lecturer rhetoric. It's important to grasp the concept of how paramount perfomance is, but it is paramount, not the only factor of good magic.

Matt
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"there are no bad tricks only bad performances" is inherently a good theory, that has now been taken over and turned into magic dealer and amateur lecturer rhetoric. It's important to grasp the concept of how paramount perfomance is, but it is paramount not the only factor of good magic." - debaser


I agree wholeheartedly.

I will also go on record as saying that there ARE bad tricks, or at the least some are worse than others.

Now I will not say their are bad effects, because an effect as a general concept is an ethereal concept which can be impacted by factors such as presentation.

A trick (meaning a combination of effect/method ALONE) can be bad and while presentation can prop it up, I think we would be better served just finding a better "trick."

For example, Twisting the Aces (Vernon) is a rather dull EFFECT on its own, but I can't say it's a bad one - it just doesn't, on its own, have sex appeal. However there are dynamic performers who can take the classic handling and make it dance.

But there are people who have come up with new methods which add NOTHING to the effect, and may even detract from what little appeal was there in the first place it. I can say that these "tricks" are worse than the original because of very specific reasons.
(For the record, the innate appeal to the Vernon Twisting is the conservation/repetition of motion while producing a phenomonological change in the cards.)

Now can someone save one of the cluttered methods with presentation? Of course.

However, apart from presentation, method AFFECTS the effect, and sometimes it's better to change the method/handling than try to save it with a dynamic presentation. Both take work, so why not build a new wall, instead of trying to hide the holes with spackle. (Or use the better wall that was built long ago.)

Of course, if you have a product to sell, it helps if everyone has a bit of hope that they may be the chosen one who can make it more than the piece of doggie doo it is. Amateur lecturers have an interest in encouraging this line of thought since the vast majority of "new material" today is really minor techical variations on existing good tricks. and as Vernon said, "Many a great trick has been killed by improvement."

Excellent points, debaser.
debaser
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It's funny, as I was writing my last post, halfway through I started using the word "trick." Precisely because of what you just mentioned truthteller.

As far as the amateur lecturers go. Not only (like dealers) do they mention the "it's the performance" bit to make up for their poor effects, but they also seem to fill up their lectures with such rhetoric as if it's their original ideas. I just don't need to here a half hour on being "natural" by someone who still needs plenty of work as far as "being natural" goes.

Matt
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Amen Brother!
Ross W
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To return to my original post for a second, I suppose what I was after was examples of tricks that we magicians use all the time, but that the audience sees through all the time.

The effect of the dove pan is ostensibly good - the appearance of a dove, cake, whatever, in a previously empty receptacle. It's the method that fools no one - it's just too obvious.

To my mind (and I'm donning a flame-proof helmet as I write) the Hindu Thread is just a dumb trick. Who on earth could be fooled by it? It is obvious to any reasonably alert spectator that a tiny bundle of thread can be concealed just about anywhere. Add to that the fact that, viewed from more than about four feet away, your main prop, i.e. the thread, is next to invisible, and you get a pointless trick. I don't care how clever, amusing, moving, meaningful a story you wrap round it, both the effect AND the method suck. IMO.

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Mark Rough
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I couldn't disagree more. It's just a matter of the tools. The proper color thread can been seen across an auditorium. Think about Eugene Burger's presentation of this. He plays this from stage in the show that he and Jeff McBride do. Or think about Paul Daniels doing his chop cup for huge theatres. On one level you'd think no one could see the ball but everyone does. Even the little old ladies in the back row.

AND it's not just a matter of how visible the object is. When Eugene comes on stage and says, "Yellow... cotton...thread." Everyone in the audience can suddenly see it. When Paul asks a spectator in the front row what the little round red thing is and he/she says, "a ball" everyone can see it.

Both of these tricks are considered throw aways by a lot of us. I see this over and over again. Tricks that most of us write off are turned into sublime moments of magic. Believe it or not, I've even seen spine tingling presentations of the 21 card trick. It's not the trick (a tool), it's how you use it.

Mark
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Peter Marucci
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Once again we seem to be confusing the trick with the presentation (assuming that they can ever be separated!).

Some magicians can make the 21-card trick fascinating; others can make a levitation and vanish just downright boring.

Is there such a thing as a "bad" trick? I don't know.

John Hostler says Tiny Tim's "off-key rendition of Tip-toe Through the Tulips" is not great art.

Well, it isn't.

But is that the point? The late Tiny Tim could have done the same thing to Beethoven's Fifth; would you say that his off-key rendition was not great art?

Well, it isn't (or wouldn't be!).

But that's just confusing the presentation (Tiny Tim's) with the song (Tulips, or Fifth).
And the same applies to presentation vs. trick in magic.

Is there an answer? Probably not. And, if I had one, I wouldn't be spending my time here; I'd be with the UN settling all the problems of the world!

Smile
Mark Rough
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You're probably right Peter. I just can't get out of the frame of mind that the tricks can't exist without presentation. They are only the tools to convey the magic and barring something mechanically wrong with the trick (it's physically broken), their only purpose is to help the performer visually convey their message/presentation.

However, I will strive to keep an open mind. Perhaps it's time I oiled the old hinges.

As for high art. I'll leave that to Beethoven and Eugene, and the other high artists in their own fields. I strive to get their in my own way, but if it were possible for anyone to do that wouldn't we all. I'll settle for being Tiny Tim (well maybe just a little higher than that).

So, if the UN doesn't work out, we could sure use some intelligent leadership down here in the US. I'm hoping the job will be open next year if you're interested.

Mark
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Reg Rozee
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Gosh, I like Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through the Tulips"—it makes me laugh hysterically everytime I hear it, and I value that! Smile
That's just proof to me that you can never tell what an audience will like until you try something, no matter how bad you (or almost anyone else) think it is.

-Reg {*}
Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. -Phillip K. Dick



Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? -Chico Marx
Peter Marucci
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Mark writes: "So, if the UN doesn't work out, we could sure use some intelligent leadership down here in the US. I'm hoping the job will be open next year if you're interested."

LOL!

Smile
I'd take it but the trouble is we have our own lack of intelligent leadership up here!

Smile
(^ "how did I
end up here?")
Mark Rough
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Peter,

It must be a pretty international problem. Oh well! You know I was confessing my biggest fear to some friends the other night. I live in fear that my understanding of the world is wrong and that the leaders in place around the world are actually tied into some kind of cosmic truth. Well, if that's true I guess I won't be going to paradise when I die. At least I won't need a sweater. And I'll have a lot of nice peole to talk to.

Mark
What would Wavy do?
ChrisMagic52
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The Raven for sure.
Magictrickster
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I must admit, I've never been keen on the Zombie as an effect - to me it has never offered much magic as it's method has generally been obvious (to be honest it's always reminded me of something found inside a lavatory cistern), and there has never been any real purpose to it as part of most acts I've seen it performed in.

Maybe one day I'll change my mind about it, and I have mellowed over the years - I used to positively HATE the effect years ago, but for now it's not an effect I can get excited at the thought of having to watch.

Brian.
Brian
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Brian,

I agree, the Zombie has always to me just been a ball on a s****. I first saw a magician perform it when I was about 9 or 10 and I wasn't fooled at all. The rest of his act was great and I was one of the sparks that got me interested in magic. Maybe he just did not do it well and maybe I have never seen it performed the way it should be perform. I just don't think it's a very good effect.
lhughes
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I really think a great performer can entertain with anything. But I personally don't like the chinese stix (until I saw ripstix).
Sleightly yours,
Lorne
Ashkenazi the Pretty Good
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Oh you Americans - you have too much time on your hands.

One of the first magic books I had included a trick in which you had an Ace of Hearts in the middle of two cards. You arranged the cards to cut off the edges of the heart, thus forming a crude diamond. The entire effect/trick/illusion/fill-in-your-term was to show how the Ace of Diamonds

Smile

turned into an Ace of Hearts!!!!

To argue that this is anything but moronic is a waste of time and energy. Surely by extension we can agree that there are tricks performed that though in the hands of a good performer can be improved, are inherently not so hot.

Otherwise words like "bad" and "good" cease to have meaning: things live in spectra, from red to violet in colors, psychopathologically sadistic to angelically kind, and sublimely ingenious to idiotically transparent.

Anybody who argues with this will incur the ancient Gypsy Hemorrhoid Curse.

:bigsmile:

ATPG
------------

We could have been practicing!
Marcelo
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The worst trick to me is any that the performer needs to explain what happened to to audience AFTER the effect. That is just bad...
DanielCoyne
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First let me just say I love this thread. This is the kind of dialogue that keeps me up until 3:00 A.M. following along.

As much as I appreciate the more esoteric discussion about performance, props, effects, tricks, taste, and saturation…I also love simply hearing what tricks generally make magicians roll their eyes and shake their heads.

So c’mon folks…name names!

For me…

1. Change bag. Proppiest looking prop in magic. That being said…I’m about to order one. Its usefulness in kids’ shows seems beyond reproach.

2. I also hate self-working bread-box sized contraptions that are garishly (but poorly) painted with an airbrush. They are obviously self-working (usually black-magic) effects that I associate with a Summer Camp magician who mumbles through some tired old patter explaining what’s happening. (Picture a cheap version of Wolf’s products in the hands of a mediocre, bored magician.)

3. The third card trick in a row, where the magician is riffling and cutting away with wild abandon. Nothing could convince me more that the card is NOT lost in the deck. And frankly, I no longer care whether or not you find it and how you produce it. I’m trapped into politely nodding and feigning surprise when it eventually comes to light.

4. Feather bouquet. While there is a certain holy-relic-of-magic appeal to this prop, I don’t recall ever thinking it looked like flowers or being amazed that it could spring out of someone’s sleeve, bag, box, hat or whatever. Surely modern science can design a better bouquet.

5. Any card trick that involves counting or running through lots of cards.

Now for tricks that others hate and I love!

1. Zombie: saw it. Loved it. Knew more or less how it worked, but still got caught up in the wonder of it. Has mystery and drama that is lacking in so many effects.

2. Invisible deck. I have never seen this performed. (Read that again if you think it is overexposed.) Just because a Café search pulls 8 billion posts on it, that doesn’t mean civilians have seen it.

3. Svengali deck. Unless you show a deck full of 2 of clubs, even spectators who have the deck won’t know how you’re doing it. And if you want to floor the other 90% who have never seen it, that final reveal is mind-blowing.

This thread is too much fun to dissolve into magical-political-correctness! Don’t think too hard…just make a list. What tricks do you hate?

-Daniel
Al Angello
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I will only put a trick in my show that I can make my own, so most of the, just like everybody else magic is the worst for me.
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2003-05-04 21:04, ChrisMagic52 wrote:
The Raven for sure.


The Raven is not a trick. It is a gimmick or a method. If all you do is vanish a coin via the Raven you are not doing a "whole" trick. You are doing the beginning of something.

It's like the RV -- you need to have something that comes after it.
"The Swatter"

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