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Vick
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From The Actor Magician Essays
By Louis C. Haley
Extracted from his book "The Dramatic Art of Magic":
Quote:
... ... People now-a-days are beginning to look upon the Magician as one who can especially amuse the children. In times past whole cities used to get wrought up to a high pitch of excitement over things that do not approach in real mystery the things that are done today. I think one reason for this attitude on the part of the public is the fact that the Magician has lost the dignity of his calling and is in imminent danger of seeing his self-respect going with it.

Written over 100 years ago and true today.


It saddens me greatly to see magic considered by some as amusement for children, it grieves me worse to see heinous performers foisted upon children.
Perverse and or pretentious performers who denigrate themselves in their base attempts to pander to the lowest common denominator at what they misguidedly consider entertainment. Completed by their strange and improper looking props. Why must everything have some strange pseudo Asian writing on a painful color scheme?

Are such want to be performers too unintelligent to know any different?

I could post hundreds of thousands of pictures and websites to support my statements.

We could have enlightenment in entertainment, but instead it's a weekend clown in a $5 cape and discount wand calling it a Harry Potter show.

Can Darwinism please happen quicker in the world of magic?

Obviously you don't have to play down to anyone, especially children. Acts such as tearing apart toilet paper and offering it up to be placed in the mouth to produce a mouth coil (oh wait, I saw that in a show for adults, not kidding). All performances, children included can be presented in an intelligent, elegant and incredibly entertaining fashion.


Why are we accepting the bar being lowered in performances for children when we should be raising it to stimulate their fertile imaginations?
Why do we accept performers insulting their intelligence?

Of course there are outstanding performers who specialize in working for children. However I'd wager all of you reading this know of more heinous performers thinking they are geared to children than quality acts.


There is and always will be a place, need and market for comedy magic, but all too few quality comedic performers.



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Father Photius
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So true, we live in a world where there are so many "miraculous" things that are common place, magic doesn't seem to hold people like it used to. They can chat with people around the world from their keyboard. They can post videos and make their own TV shows and movies. They can cook meals in minutes, man walking on the moon is old hat, and to a very large portion of our population, at present, they were not born until after man walked on the moon.

What is there about some guy picking a card, making a coin vanish, or a red ball appear and disappear to hold them. They see more fantastic things than that daily.

I think that is why we have to learn to be innovative in our presentation, to put some pizzaz back into it all.

Good post, by the way, Vick.
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Vick
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Much thanks Father.

Your post illustrates my thoughts on it's primarily the performer
not the performance.

In Denny Haney's lecture notes he makes some outstanding points about that.
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Should the (paying) attendees of the Star Trek Convention be asked to leave?

...Or should they be asked not to enact their own episodes for lack of...

...Or should they be loved and left alone...
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Vick
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Well ....

The attendees of the Star Trek Convention know what they are doing is not art, it's fun and to them fulfilling.

They do not present it is the same as Star Trek on the big or little screen.


Being an amateur is wonderful if that's what you aspire to or want to do.
Please have respect for the art and the medium and don't do shoddy shows and try to pass them off as magic.
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tommy
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Charming as your theory is, it doesn't wash. All art forms are presented to children in a style that is fitted to children. It is a an artistic fault to present children with a mature style of magic that is meant for adults and therefore not fitted for them or something that is overpoweringly dull to them - with no sense of childish fun in the performance. A magician who primarily performs magic for children is no less an artist for his performance that appears childish to adults. If his performance is fitting to his audience the children there is nothing wrong with that. A performances for children can be presented in an intelligent, elegant and incredibly entertaining fashion and they can be bored to tears at the opera can‘t they? Some films, some books and so on are suitable for children and some are not.

When my grandson arrived today, I wanted to watch a documentary on TV, but he wanted to watch kids TV which I think is silly stuff, but I am not a kid. The kid is of a different point view so I tied him up and put him down the cellar and then watched my documentary in peace and quite. Smile
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Vick is not saying a kids performer can not be artistic, or quality.
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tommy
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However, that's not the ultimate point I was making. What Vic is doing is comparing children’s magicians to adults magicians and my point is you can do that as it is unfair. It is like looking at a kids TV show and an adult TV show and saying look that kids TV show is crap compared to this adult one. Yes maybe it is from an the adults point view, its not the adults point view that matters it is the kids. I do not like watching kids entertainers not because they are bad entertains for kids but because I don’t like kids entertainment because I am an adult. Ricky Jay don’t like kids and kids don’t like him, kids prefer a clown doing magic.
Sure there are bad magicians we know that. Ricky Jays mature style of magic is unsuitable for kids and if he did it for kids he would be doing bad magic and that is the point.
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Tommy, quality is quality regardless of the medium. You can compare them. Artistry is abundantly apparent in Bill Abbott's kid show work, but painfully missing in "The Amazing Joe."

By the way, a recent study showed that 80% of children are actually terrified by clowns...
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Vick
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Tommy, you are totally missing at least one of my points

All performers regardless of audience can be a quality act. Poor magic and poor performances are still poor regardless of age of the audience.

Has nothing to do with the style either, nothing was implied about not doing appropriate materiel or that only one type of performance is acceptable


I don't think you are trying to say that a children's performer can not aspire to high or even normal art as opposed to the false art nonsense that is prevalent in the market?

Far too many heinous acts in the market place.

If you like one day for fun for every quality act you can show me on line I'll post 2 that are poor quality and false art as defined in Our Magic or in Neomagic


Now I beg your pardon as I must get to rehersal

Please let the above sentence be an example

Be well

Best Wishes,
Vick
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tommy
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This fella might as well say:

Magicians are now entertaining children with magic!…..

Quote:
... ... People now-a-days are beginning to look upon the Magician as one who can especially amuse the children. In times past whole cities used to get wrought up to a high pitch of excitement over things that do not approach in real mystery the things that are done today. I think one reason for this attitude on the part of the public is the fact that the Magician has lost the dignity of his calling and is in imminent danger of seeing his self-respect going with it.

The fella does not mention quality. What he does mention is a calling and he yeans for times past when whole cities used to get wrought up to a high pitch of excitement over things that do not approach in real mystery the things that are done today. Maybe this fellla wants to return to ancient Egypt and become Pharaohs magician and forget about entertainment all together and regain his dignity and self respect.

My advice to this fella is this: Get a grip, get a clowns outfit and entertain some children with some cool magic and don’t worry about what adults think but worry instead about your audience the kids think. And when you want to do magic for adults, take off your clowns mask and put on your adult face and do what is fitting for them. What ever you do, do it as well as you can, and get over yourself.
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Tommy,

Please read Magic and Meaning by Eugene Burger and Robert Neale. If you do not know these gentlemen, they are masters of the art of performing magic and are among the greatest magical thinkers and teachers of our time.

Read it from cover to cover and then I dare you to approach this topic the same way.
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Very good discussion.

I think we should take three steps back and realize we are talking about two different audiences and two entirely different approaches to entertainment.

As John says, everyone should read Magic and Meaning if your main audiences are adults (personally I think every magician should read and then reread it). If you are a children’s entertainer, a must read is David Kaye's Seriously Silly. It is the definitive work when it comes to entertaining children.

The fundamental difference is this; when it comes to adults, you must connect and end with the audience on a meaningful and emotional basis. Your magic must not be a series of puzzles but a means to an end. With children; it’s not the destination, it's the journey.

Magic, whether it is for children or adults demands the very best in the performer and must be a life work. We have all seen very good and very bad magicians in both children’s and adult entertainers. If the entertainer is at their best, it is a pleasure to watch, on the other hand if magician is a hack; it is a very painful experience. The difference is adult will be cordial to a point and children will tell you if you suck.

Understand the fundamentals of your craft and work, work, work.
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A Children’s entertainer, in any field, is looked down upon by adults, simply because he is one who can especially amuse the children. Regardless of how excellently he is at doing his job. The reason is simple, adults do not like Children’s entertainment.

There is a difference between Children’s magic and Adult magic, the difference results in magicians who do both, rightly, offering two different acts. Often you will see that such magicians have two different web sites one for Adult magic and one for Children’s magic.

Some magicians will not do magic for Children and it’s more to do with ego than anything else.

If we ask who is your favourite magician here you will not find anyone naming a Children’s magician. Yet there are some Children’s magicians who do a marvellous job of entertaining their audience, albeit in a less than mature style that is less appealing to the adult..

One only needs to look at the comments about Children’s magic to see that what amounts to bigotry exists.

Therefore I want all you Children’s magicians to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!

:)
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2008-10-17 12:10, tommy wrote:
A Children’s entertainer, in any field, is looked down upon by adults, simply because he is one who can especially amuse the children. Regardless of how excellently he is at doing his job. The reason is simple, adults do not like Children’s entertainment.

Not to go off on a tangent here, but I seem to remember that Walt Disney managed to please both. Maybe there's something to be learned from him.
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tommy
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He left The CalArts School of Theater etc for us to do that very thing I guess.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Bill Thompson
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I think the main reason people think that magic is "only for children" is because the only real live magicians most people have ever seen were children's' magicians, either at a birthday party or a school program. That's all they have been exposed to. So when they see a magician the first thought that pops in their heads is, "gee we should have brought the kids" or "too bad the kids aren't here to see this." Laymen just don't realize that adult magic even exists much less that what plays for adults won't go over with the kids. The adults are entertained by the magic it makes the little kid in them come out, they just don't realize or understand that the tricks they were just entertained by wouldn't necessarily entertain their children also.

Children's' magicians /aren't/ degrading themselves by performing the magic they do. They are out to entertain children, not adults. Children would be bored to tears at a show that adults would find highly entertaining. Magic that entertains children and the entertainers that perform the magic aren't "foisted" upon the poor hapless children. Children can be a tough audience and these entertainers either learn what it takes to make them happy or they don't last long in the business.
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Quote:
On 2008-10-17 12:10, tommy wrote:
A Children’s entertainer, in any field, is looked down upon by adults, simply because he is one who can especially amuse the children. Regardless of how excellently he is at doing his job. The reason is simple, adults do not like Children’s entertainment.

There is a difference between Children’s magic and Adult magic, the difference results in magicians who do both, rightly, offering two different acts. Often you will see that such magicians have two different web sites one for Adult magic and one for Children’s magic.

Some magicians will not do magic for Children and it’s more to do with ego than anything else.

If we ask who is your favourite magician here you will not find anyone naming a Children’s magician. Yet there are some Children’s magicians who do a marvellous job of entertaining their audience, albeit in a less than mature style that is less appealing to the adult..

One only needs to look at the comments about Children’s magic to see that what amounts to bigotry exists.

Therefore I want all you Children’s magicians to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!

:)

George already mentioned Walt Disney. What about Jim Henson? George Lucas?

Tommy, surely you are not this sheltered and naive'?


Quote:
On 2008-10-17 16:31, misterbill wrote:
I think the main reason people think that magic is "only for children" is because the only real live magicians most people have ever seen were children's' magicians, either at a birthday party or a school program. That's all they have been exposed to. So when they see a magician the first thought that pops in their heads is, "gee we should have brought the kids" or "too bad the kids aren't here to see this." Laymen just don't realize that adult magic even exists much less that what plays for adults won't go over with the kids. The adults are entertained by the magic it makes the little kid in them come out, they just don't realize or understand that the tricks they were just entertained by wouldn't necessarily entertain their children also.

Children's' magicians /aren't/ degrading themselves by performing the magic they do. They are out to entertain children, not adults. Children would be bored to tears at a show that adults would find highly entertaining. Magic that entertains children and the entertainers that perform the magic aren't "foisted" upon the poor hapless children. Children can be a tough audience and these entertainers either learn what it takes to make them happy or they don't last long in the business.

Again, Vick's comments were about quality regardless of medium. How is that message getting lost?
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longhaired1
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Quote:
On 2008-10-17 12:10, tommy wrote:
Therefore I want all you Children’s magicians to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!

:)

If they are children's magicians they may want to say "Mad as heck" instead.
tommy
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Smile

There ya go!

Fine for the kids but just not the same is it?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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