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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Magic with a lesson (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Burt Yaroch
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In another thread someone commented on performing an anti-smoking trick with a lesson about the health risks for kids. It got me to thinking about performing any effect with a "lesson".

Is it our place as a hired performer to impart our "beliefs" upon our clientle?

My thoughts: I think this might be acceptable under very specific circumstances but as a general rule I would have to say no. You can never know if there might be someone in attendance (or worse yet the person writing your check) who might have a contrary belief system. We are not hired as tutors, we are hired as entertainers. But perhaps I am overlooking something.

Your thoughts?
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Tom Cutts
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Given that there has been confusion over meanings of terms I think it would behoove you to define "performing" and "lesson" as it pertains to your question.

Performing...Pro, free, for friends, where...what circumstances?

Lesson...personal opinion, world wide ideal, moral, helpful hint?
Burt Yaroch
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Very well. That's probably good advice Tom.

Performing- Any time you have been hired or requested to magish other than amoungst personal friends or co-workers.

Lesson-anything that teaches a belief system, personal opinion or wisdom, political stance, life choice etc.

Clear as mud? Smile
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Bird Brain
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Well......*I* think.....That if, for example, a magician is hired for a religious thing, like a bible class, etc, than they ain't gonna want a guy walking in with a bunch of random patter about the current politicial scene and his mother in law, and they WOULD want "magic with a message"(but I could be wrong, it depends on the group)....Now, if the performer is, for example, a street magician, and uses magic to get a messege across (I think Bro David does this), I think it's ok (You can rest easy, Bro D! Lol!), cause if the people don't like it, they can walk away, and they're not REQUIRED to give the magician a tip.....If the magician is at a pumpkin farm for all sorts of people, I think a "moral" messege would not be kosher (pardon the pun!!! Lol!) However, a scientifically proven thang, like smoking is bad for your health, would tend to be more acceptable, although it would still alienate a percent of the spectators....And then it's a personal choice....(I guess!)...And there's ways to be indirect while still saying what you gotta say.
So, I didn't say a lot. But that's a few of my thoughts. Hey, Yak, relating to this topic, I had the idea of, next election year, to volunteer for a political party, and on voting day, stand outside the polls and perform magic as a way of getting people's attention..."Now, you see, the Mr. Smith's group tries to tear this campaign sign of Mr. Jones. However, as Mr. Jones is the man you want to vote for, the papers magicially restore into one piece!"......Or is that too tacky?

So is my answer as clear as mud? Lol!

On the other hand,
Bird Brain
PS. There's a professional magician that performs "magic with a messege"...It's like for the D.A.R.E. stuff...Anti drug stuff for kids.
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Peter Loughran
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Interesting topic!

I Think if you are providing a stop smoking idea in your show or a religious belief as in gospel magic, or an anti drug routine, etc., than I think that the Person or client who has hired you should be aware that this is in your program and that the audience is also aware, making it their choice as to whether or not to see the perfromance potraying such ideas. For example I would not personally go and see an anti-drug magic show, but I may take my kids to see it (if I had children). I am hired for my corporate shows mostly through event organizers and I have had the chance to see such a wide variety of entertainers at one location on several occassions in my professional career. I have seen companies express concern when certain entertainers were in their(the client) eyes potraying certain ideas, lessons, or beliefs without their concent. So in my professional opinion I would defenitely research my audience, client and get the proper authorization before subitting anything into my program that would not be suitable for any audience of any age, race or religion.
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Burt Yaroch
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That was the "specific circumstance" I had in mind. When you are requested to perform for a venue that has a message ie. religous groups, D.A.R.E, M.A.D.D., P.E.T.A., D.O.R.K., political parties and the like. But then you are probably not really "imparting" anything as your audience will most likely share the perspective you have tailored for your show.

I think my question was about passing along these beliefs without the specific request.

As far as politics goes Bird Brain, run away man. But no, I don't think that would be tacky. I would love to be entertained while standing in those lines. Although I've never seen anyone do anything like that. I wonder if that type of thing is permitted. Smile
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Burt Yaroch
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I think Peter and I were typing at the same time so I didn't hear him yell "BINGO"!

I think you hit the nail on the head Peter. I agree.
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Tom Cutts
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I guess it also depends on how the "message" is put forth. If you do a routine and make a sermon, it will only get so far. If your routine quietly demonstrates something, it will likely meet with a better response.

Nobody likes to be told what to do. Well there are a few people on the Springer Show, but besides that. But if people think they discovered on their own that it is often better to be kind than right; well then you will have a better rate of agreement shall we say.
Burt Yaroch
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True true.

Put that diaper on boy, then get in that kiddie pool fulla mud with that midget. (Sorry, diaper wearin' little person.)

I gotta hit the rack. Smile
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Peter Marucci
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My views are not your views; and your views are not my views.
If the client and audience thinks they are hiring a magician and, instead, get a sermon on drug use, smoking, religion, or whatever, then they are going to be embarrassed -- at best -- and enraged -- at worst.
A while back I was at an event which featured a magician -- billed as a magician.
Halfway through his show, he started in on a series of gospel routines.
It was, to say the least, embarrassing for a lot of the people there.
To promote one faith, for example, when those of different faiths may be in the audience (and not told of what was going to happen) is, simply, unforgivable.
To promote any lifestyle without telling the audience in advance is equally unforgivable.
Nothing wrong with educational or gospel magic.
In its place.
But please don't "spring" it on the unsuspecting audience.
You may be in the audience someday and have to watch a show that is at odds with your views.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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I agree with Peter M.
If you´re not asked for a "lesson" type show then leave it out.
I let people know that if needed I can do "lesson" shows for ex. Schools, Scouts etc.
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Jeb Sherrill
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All of the above.

I think putting personal opinions into your act is a great idea, but it's just like any other entertainment venue in the world; you have to know your audience and calculate just how far you want to go. I've known comedians whom insist on material that directs their jokes at certain belief systems or life styles etc. They limit their audience just like any writer would that didn't stick with the PC attitude of the day, and he/she must accept the result. Not everyone wants to hear you feelings on certain subjects and if you're on a crusade for some cause, just know that you may have trouble getting booked, and for heaven's sake, at least warn them before they book you. They're paying good money for whatever performance they think they are getting.

If I was to work for some group that I didn't agree with (yes, I know it's a slight deviation from the subject), then I would either turn it down on moral grounds, take the job and eliminate anything from my show that I feel they wouldn't like, or tell them what my show was all about and let “them” make the decision. This also goes for entertainers that use "Blue" material too. You better tell that group before they hire you and bring their kids.


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Burt Yaroch
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Representing the theatrically uninitiated and otherwise slow folk here...what the heck is "Blue" material?

Is that like..the Blue Man Group? Smile Smile Smile
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Jeb Sherrill
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Blue material:
That's material that's lude or crass, bad language, sexual jokes, etc.

Sable
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You know, Burt, your kind of humor! Smile
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Burt Yaroch
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Why didn't I know that? I invented that Blue s*!% Smile
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Jim Morton
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the first thing that came to my mind when reading this thread was, where would Penn & Teller be if they didn't put forth their opinions and viewpoints in their magic? Not Las Vegas, I'll wager. Of course, no one is likely to hire them to do a kid's party, but there is certainly a place for performances that ruffle people up a bit and (hopefully) make them think.

Being a didactic sort of guy, most of what I do has a lesson. When I do the shell game, monte, or Fast & Loose, I give some history and explain why they shouldn't play these games if they see them on the street (admitedly, I've never seen fast & loose played on the street, but I have seen the shell game played and it's a thing to behold). People seem to like all the historical stuff I throw in, and really get a kick out it when I get topical. So I'd have to say there's nothing wrong with magic with a lesson.

Jim
Jeb Sherrill
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Ah, but people know what to expect out of Penn & Teller. If someone didn't know and hired them to perform for a conservative Christian conference, it would be in very bad form for them not to explain their act in advance.

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Peter Marucci
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Exactly the point, Sable (or Jeb, or whoever you REALLY are)
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Peter Marucci
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Jim Morton
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Quote:
Ah, but people know what to expect out of Penn & Teller. If someone didn't know and hired them to perform for a conservative Christian conference, it would be in very bad form for them not to explain their act in advance.


They may know what to expect now, but they didn't always. But that's not the point. The point is that Penn & Teller didn't get to where they are by playing it safe and avoiding controversy.

Personally, I'd pay blood to see Penn & Teller perform for a conservative Christian conference. Smile

Jim
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