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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Worst Effects on True Astonishments set? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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lumberjohn
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A few points on the subject of reviews. First, reviews are intended to guide potential purchasers by assessing the value of the items reviewed. The issue is always whether to spend one’s money on X when so many other options, Y, Z, etc. are available. To do that, one must take into account the opportunity cost of the purchase – what would one be missing out on by buying this item? One must assess both the quality and quantity of effects offered.

The fact is that the TA set offers just over forty new effects, several gimmicks, and various “Easter Eggs” consisting of interviews and some previously released effects – all for over $300. What else could you get for $300? Magic books average around thirty dollars and often contain dozens of effects each. You could buy ten of them for $300. Or, if you want to compare DVDs, Aldo Colombini offers all his DVDs, containing around ten effects each, for ten dollars. You could buy thirty for $300, obtaining three hundred effects. And in my experience, almost all would compare favorably with anything on the TA set. Even if you got only one usable effect from each of the Colombini DVDs, you would come out ahead assuming you found 80% of TA useful.

So the TA set, to be a good value, must hit a fairly high percentage of effects that are significantly stronger than what is offered elsewhere for less. It is in that light that all reviews must be measured. Do they assist in answering this question?

To that end, saying something “kills with lay audiences” or doesn’t is worthless. The vast majority of effects on the magic market will fool the vast majority of lay spectators and a substantial though lesser majority will do so in an entertaining way. In looking over the “negative” reviews that have been posted, few if any claim that the effects on TA won’t fool anyone, despite the strawman arguments that have been constructed. Of course they will, as any decent magic will. The relevant question is whether they do it better than the competition.

The argument regarding the relative value of reviews in which effects have been performed versus those in which they have not has also been overblown. Performing an effect to a single person, or two, is of little more value than simply having witnessed it performed. Different people can have wildly different reactions to effects, and extrapolating from a few performances to conclude that an effect is either good or bad is completely unjustified. At some point, the sampling size would become significant – perhaps ten to twenty performances – but I can’t take seriously someone who says they are in a vastly better position to review an effect because they performed it to their wife.

After watching all the TA disks, my position is that they contain some very good magic and many interesting interviews. I will use several of these effects. It is a solid set of material. But the price does give me pause when considering the opportunity cost. The original AoA set alone cost half the price and contains over three times as much material. I see this as a luxury purchase for those who already own a substantial magic library and have money to burn. For beginners or intermediate magicians in the process of building their library, I would spend my money elsewhere first. You can get much more bang for your buck.
Engali
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On 2009-02-26 14:51, Christopher Kavanagh wrote:
Life isn't always fair. In law, the burden of proof is with one side. For reviews, folks that pan things have to go a bit further. Is it fair? Maybe not, but that's the way it is.

When I say something "kills" it means I've used it and the reactions justify my comment.

When someone says "this is dull and won;t fool anyone", they get asked have the performed it. Most often, they have not. So.....they get judged on that.


In law, the burden of proof is on one party. However, it is always on the people who are making an argument FOR something to come up with proof--it's not up to the people who postulate the negative to come up with proof. For an extreme example to illustrate, it's not on someone to prove that little green men DON'T exist in the middle of the earth just because someone asserts it. The person asserting it is the one who has the burden of proof. So it's actually on the people who says this'n'that flies to prove it, not the people who says it doesn't to prove that it doesn't. Why? Because it's easy to fall back on, "Well, you weren't doing it right and you're a bad magician" if someone goes out and gets bad reactions with a given effect. The same can't be said if someone DOES make an effect 'work' because they got the desired effect. Read Derren Brown's Tricks of the Mind for more on this and other logcal traps.

Another problem is the assumption off the bat that your beliefs are the correct ones. You apply that logic of "Did you perform it?" to negative reveiwers because it challenges your beliefs. You DON'T apply that logic to people who says an effect is amazing because it validates it, even though many haven't performed material at the time of their review. In fact, it probably doesn't cross a person's mind to apply this type of testing methodology to BOTH people who agree and disagree with you. Where are you calling out people who say the material is great even though they didn't perform it *IF* the actual issue is valid, personal experience with the material with a real audience? You don't because it isn't. It's a way to challenge someone with contradictory beliefs. IOW, you don't challenge the belief held by people who think the material is great, even though they haven't performed it, because to YOU it's a forgone conclusion--you already think the material is good as an almost objective fact. From an impartial party who hasn't formed an opinion yet, I can't help but think it makes much more sense to apply this type of testing to BOTH people who like and dislike this material.

Finally, the fact of the matter is the effect doesn't exist in isolation. The perfomer has a lot to do with the effect. So given that, I'm interested in why some people don't think an effect will work for them because we may have similar design senses. This affects their perception of the effect in question and how they would perform it. So it's not about "proving" unequivicoally the value of an effect because that's impoossible. It's a freaking opinion and shouldn't be endlessly argued with just because people hold a different opinion. It's about hearing logical arguments that support an opinion. Often, when I agree with the why, I perceive the effect the same and that would lead me to not wnat to use the effect. It's already happened with some of the more honest communication about the set I'm getting.
kissdadookie
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Well, on a personal note, I do apply the same logic of which you speak to positive reviews. If someone was to try to convince me that the Muscle Bend was a brilliant effect I would tell them that they are batpoop insane because as a person who's done coin bends, I would say that it is a very weak presentation for a coin bend. The actual method for the coin bend taught for the Muscle Bend however is actually very good, but I digress. I've watched the whole set and I've made comments about some of the backward ideas presented on the set and luckily, there's only been 3. One is the Muscle Bend (weak presentation for a coin bend), Halfmoon Voodoo (this one takes the original Voodoo effect WAY backwards, complicates things a bit, and dilutes the final impact by changing the final phase to something which is a bit weaker than the original), and Angel Cake (I like the idea of what you're doing for the spectator but the method is a bit contrived I would think, it works, but there's just more streamlined ways to accomplish the end result). That's a pretty good ratio of good to bad I would say, wouldn't you?
bugjack
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On 2009-02-26 16:11, lumberjohn wrote:
A few points on the subject of reviews. First, reviews are intended to guide potential purchasers by assessing the value of the items reviewed. The issue is always whether to spend one’s money on X when so many other options, Y, Z, etc. are available. To do that, one must take into account the opportunity cost of the purchase – what would one be missing out on by buying this item? One must assess both the quality and quantity of effects offered.

The fact is that the TA set offers just over forty new effects, several gimmicks, and various “Easter Eggs” consisting of interviews and some previously released effects – all for over $300. What else could you get for $300? Magic books average around thirty dollars and often contain dozens of effects each. You could buy ten of them for $300. Or, if you want to compare DVDs, Aldo Colombini offers all his DVDs, containing around ten effects each, for ten dollars. You could buy thirty for $300, obtaining three hundred effects. And in my experience, almost all would compare favorably with anything on the TA set. Even if you got only one usable effect from each of the Colombini DVDs, you would come out ahead assuming you found 80% of TA useful.

So the TA set, to be a good value, must hit a fairly high percentage of effects that are significantly stronger than what is offered elsewhere for less. It is in that light that all reviews must be measured. Do they assist in answering this question?

To that end, saying something “kills with lay audiences” or doesn’t is worthless. The vast majority of effects on the magic market will fool the vast majority of lay spectators and a substantial though lesser majority will do so in an entertaining way. In looking over the “negative” reviews that have been posted, few if any claim that the effects on TA won’t fool anyone, despite the strawman arguments that have been constructed. Of course they will, as any decent magic will. The relevant question is whether they do it better than the competition.

The argument regarding the relative value of reviews in which effects have been performed versus those in which they have not has also been overblown. Performing an effect to a single person, or two, is of little more value than simply having witnessed it performed. Different people can have wildly different reactions to effects, and extrapolating from a few performances to conclude that an effect is either good or bad is completely unjustified. At some point, the sampling size would become significant – perhaps ten to twenty performances – but I can’t take seriously someone who says they are in a vastly better position to review an effect because they performed it to their wife.

After watching all the TA disks, my position is that they contain some very good magic and many interesting interviews. I will use several of these effects. It is a solid set of material. But the price does give me pause when considering the opportunity cost. The original AoA set alone cost half the price and contains over three times as much material. I see this as a luxury purchase for those who already own a substantial magic library and have money to burn. For beginners or intermediate magicians in the process of building their library, I would spend my money elsewhere first. You can get much more bang for your buck.


I don't disagree with a lot of what you wrote, but I would like to say something about the first paragraph. Honestly, guiding fellow consumers is not the sole purpose of a review. In the real, non-magic world, there are "consumer report" type reviews that are intended to simply guide the purchaser. But there's also criticism which is less about value for the dollar and more about engaging on a deeper level with the thoughts and ideas contained within a book, a movie, an art exhibition, a meal and, yes, a set of magic DVDs. Now, maybe The Magic Café is not the best place for that more exalted idea of criticism, but I do think TA deserves this type of thought and reflection. The main thing TA offers is the embodiment of a particular philosophy about close-up presentation. It argues for something that is a bit counter to the prevailing trends at the moment, and it makes a statement about the balance between methodology and presentation.

Another thing: not everyone is out there performing for lay people every day, but we know enough about magic to be able to discuss the presentation of an effect. I think qualities like imagination, solid construction, methodological ingenuity, etc., can be perceived and commented upon by smart observers who know something about the art.
Engali
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Lumberjohn,

Great post. I agree wholeheartedly. And if you're curious, the magic number of samples you need(ASSUMING a perfectly random sample) is 65 if you want a 5% chance or less of error with the results. Of course, realistically, getting a read on any partcular effect is near impossible given the sheer number of factors that contribute to the effect(performers's state of mind, spectator's state of mind, context, etc.). This would be a reserach methods experiment nightmare.

I'm getting the distinct impression that I ill be using about 4-7 of the new effects in TA with any regularity. I'm okay with that--especially since I'm now not going in thinking every one is going to be a gem.
kissdadookie
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Here's a bigger question that I have with all these discussions about reviews and what not. Why is it that pretty much nobody has viewed these discs as anything apart from a collection of effects? There's so much more that is there on this massive collection. From watching the performances alone, there's a mountain of knowledge to be gained in regards to pacing effects, routining, allowing the magic to breath, subtleties for the handling, subtleties for the performances, etc. These are just what you can take away from watching the performances alone, not to ever mention the other mountain of knowledge to be gained from watching many of the explanations. There's also the wealth of knowledge from the Phootnotes (many of the Phootnotes I would admit were forgettable but there was a good chunk of gold with some of them). Should I dare even mention the interviews?

So the big big big question is, why has the reviews, both positive and negative, have such tunnelvision which is causing a large majority of the meat and potatoes of what can be found on the TA set to be practically ignored? The material besides the effects being taught is GLARINGLY GOOD yet nobody has noticed? Then there's all these comparisons with "Well, I can spend the same X amount of money and learn quadruple the effects." Yes, you can learn quadruple the effects but are you going to be a better performer? Probably not. It's like the old battle-cry of "Just get the Darryl tapes, you will be good for the rest of your life!" which I find is just pure stupidity because I've watched those videos and though you will learn the technical aspect of things, you're basically skipping out on what TRULY makes the magic in the eyes of a spectator. There's a reason that the masters of the craft are so highly regarded (Tommy Wonder, John Carney, Darwin Ortiz, Bob Cassidy, Banachek, Richard Osterlind, etc.) because they both acknowledge and then share the bigger secrets in magic that goes beyond effects and techniques. There is A LOT of that material in True Astonishment just as there was in the original Art of Astonishment books.
bugjack
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On 2009-02-26 16:44, kissdadookie wrote:
Here's a bigger question that I have with all these discussions about reviews and what not. Why is it that pretty much nobody has viewed these discs as anything apart from a collection of effects?


That's pretty much what I have been asking as well. The whole is more than the sum of the parts when it comes to TA, and reducing it to a collection of effects does it a big disservice.
Engali
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On 2009-02-26 16:27, kissdadookie wrote:
Well, on a personal note, I do apply the same logic of which you speak to positive reviews. If someone was to try to convince me that the Muscle Bend was a brilliant effect I would tell them that they are batpoop insane because as a person who's done coin bends, I would say that it is a very weak presentation for a coin bend. The actual method for the coin bend taught for the Muscle Bend however is actually very good, but I digress. I've watched the whole set and I've made comments about some of the backward ideas presented on the set and luckily, there's only been 3. One is the Muscle Bend (weak presentation for a coin bend), Halfmoon Voodoo (this one takes the original Voodoo effect WAY backwards, complicates things a bit, and dilutes the final impact by changing the final phase to something which is a bit weaker than the original), and Angel Cake (I like the idea of what you're doing for the spectator but the method is a bit contrived I would think, it works, but there's just more streamlined ways to accomplish the end result). That's a pretty good ratio of good to bad I would say, wouldn't you?


Right...but you're proving my point. It's only because you DISAGREE that Muscle Bend is a good bend that you apply that logic to someone who thinks it's good. Your personal experience with coin bends leads you, personally, to disagree with the handling in Muscle Bend. So when someone holds a contradictory belief, that it IS good, is when you challenge it by asking if they've done it. It works either way. The point is a bias toward confirming one's own beliefs. It's called confirmation bias in cognitive psychology. It just so happens that in the post you're replying to I was using an example where someone thought something was good and disagreed with someone who said it was bad. It has nothing to do with the subjective assessment and all to do with the conflict in belief systems.
kissdadookie
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Well, my point in making that statement Engali was to really open up the idea that one really needs to just start becoming a big consumer of magic before they can decide on anything substantially. THUS my point that you should really decide for yourself and make the jumps needed on your purchases REGARDLESS of good or bad reviews. I buy a lot of this stuff and only when it's really a rip off do I voice my views here on the Café (I did a really really vocal one about a year or two back on Pyro Penetrator, it was being heavily advertised and I wanted folks to avoid the same mistake I made on it). Why are you even bothering with the reviews if you are going to have more bias towards the "positive" ones then the "negative" ones? You've already started out with a bias, not much is going to change that.
Magicsquared
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Engali,

Oh, brother. As I said, your quoting Nimrod in context makes his post MORE nonsensical. You will understand why if you end up getting the set. Suffice it to say the preparation is bone dead simple and this is NOT a coin or card transposition (items that are inherently different (i.e., dates, values, etc.)) but a transposition using your business cards so signing them has a big impact. I suppose you could just do a business card transposition with 2 identical business cards, but I'm not sure that would have a huge impact. And I hate to break it to you and Nimrod, but Be Honest, What is It is a card CHANGE, not a card transposition (the PRESENTATION is that of a card transposition, "this card is going to switch with this one," but the effect is the cards changing to completely different cards). The great advance of Casanova Inc. is that it allows you to show a unique object to be OUTSIDE of the spectator's possession when really it's already between their hands. If there's an impromptu effect that can do the same thing I haven't found it.

But hey, great job presenting the posts that suggested every effect was great for everyone or the ones that attacked people for having a negative opinion of the set or an effect. You did a real bang-up job defending your position.

.
Dr Spektor
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This thread actually is the final part of a product showing it is great... unless you have detractors with arguments that are mostly on nuances versus anything terribly wrong, the product can't make super-star status i.e. you need some attackers or else it isn't a success Smile

Also, the box is *** cool. Factor in one more thing - for people like me who also collect magic for collecting, this also adds value as an item worth having - I just wish that the production of this set was limited and done with after, lets say, 1000 units and then just the DVDs are sold.
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
kissdadookie
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The box is cool, not exactly a puzzle box (nothing really puzzly about it), but I like the box.
Magicsquared
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Here's the thing. Let's say one of the best chefs in the world was going to spend 5 years creating a 40 course tasting menu. Everyone leaves there saying, "That was great!"

That doesn't mean they are "fanbois" or uncritical or even that they thought every dish was spectacular. It means that when you have an artist giving time to make something special, then it's probably going to be pretty good overall. Even the dishes that aren't "great" will still be decent or interesting.

What would be really weird is if you went for that tasting menu and 5 of the items tasted like S. Why would a great chef suddenly produce dishes that were inedible?

But some people here seem to think that if you can't point out some effects as being disasters then you aren't giving this set an adequate review. I disagree.

Here's how to use reviews. Take the consensus, add in your past experience with the creator (or chef, or director, or author, or whatever it is that's being reviewed), and then add in your own judgment. You don't need to dissect and tally every opinion, you're wasting your life if you do.
lumberjohn
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On 2009-02-26 16:44, kissdadookie wrote:
Here's a bigger question that I have with all these discussions about reviews and what not. Why is it that pretty much nobody has viewed these discs as anything apart from a collection of effects? There's so much more that is there on this massive collection. From watching the performances alone, there's a mountain of knowledge to be gained in regards to pacing effects, routining, allowing the magic to breath, subtleties for the handling, subtleties for the performances, etc.

It's like the old battle-cry of "Just get the Darryl tapes, you will be good for the rest of your life!" which I find is just pure stupidity because I've watched those videos and though you will learn the technical aspect of things, you're basically skipping out on what TRULY makes the magic in the eyes of a spectator. There's a reason that the masters of the craft are so highly regarded (Tommy Wonder, John Carney, Darwin Ortiz, Bob Cassidy, Banachek, Richard Osterlind, etc.) because they both acknowledge and then share the bigger secrets in magic that goes beyond effects and techniques. There is A LOT of that material in True Astonishment just as there was in the original Art of Astonishment books.


I wasn't saying that the number of effects ALONE is the only proper criteria. I simply used that as an example of one way to compare the value of several alternatives. My point was simply that you cannot review a product in isolation, but must take into account its relative value in light of its cost and the available alternatives.

Of course there is more to be learned from the TA set than methodology. I haven't seen anyone disputing this. But that is true of many magic DVDs, such as those by the gentlemen you mentioned. Any DVD containing performances by highly trained professional magicians will offer more valuable information than just the methodology of the effects contained therein.

Even if we limit the comparison to the "masters of their craft," there are still much better values out there than the TA set. As I mentioned above, even the original AoA set, which is itself far more than a "collection of effects," is a far better value for those that don't have it yet.
lumberjohn
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On 2009-02-26 17:19, Magicsquared wrote:
Here's the thing. Let's say one of the best chefs in the world was going to spend 5 years creating a 40 course tasting menu. Everyone leaves there saying, "That was great!"

That doesn't mean they are "fanbois" or uncritical or even that they thought every dish was spectacular. It means that when you have an artist giving time to make something special, then it's probably going to be pretty good overall. Even the dishes that aren't "great" will still be decent or interesting.

What would be really weird is if you went for that tasting menu and 5 of the items tasted like S. Why would a great chef suddenly produce dishes that were inedible?

But some people here seem to think that if you can't point out some effects as being disasters then you aren't giving this set an adequate review. I disagree.


Who is saying this? I haven't seen anyone make the argument that only a review that labels several effects as being "disasters" is being honest. Nor have I seen any reviews in which several effects have been presented as "disasters." Given the cost, the amount of material (effects, interviews, insightful "magicky" wisdom, etc.), and the pedigree, the expectations were high for this set and the content has been judged accordingly. Some reviewers, including myself, found some material did not meet their expectations for one reason or another. That is a far cry from labelling the effects as disasters. Those same reviewers, furthermore, found other material to meet or exceed those expectations. So the battle lines are not so clearly drawn.

No valid purpose is served in creating false dichotomies and labelling all opinions in terms of absolutes.
kissdadookie
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You will need a bit from here and a bit from there from many different sources to come close to the kind of knowledge that can be gained from TA. TA also has a drastically different approach to thinking about magic. It's partially a excercise for magicians to break down the foundations that they have already created and then recompile the disparate pieces into a perspective that is more from the POV of a layperson. This was something that was discussed in Designing Miracles but even then it wasn't as clear and concise as how it is shown on TA. This alone is extremely valuable but apparently not many realizes this or maybe I'm watching and understanding TA from a entirely different perspective? Could be just me but I actually see the lessons being taught throughout TA.

Another point about the material on TA, over half the material on these discs are items that really does not make sense to perform along with other effects in your repertoire. Many of the effects are really meant for a moment in which it is right to perform it and at that moment, you perform the effect but not as an effect but as something that occurs quite organically/naturally yet very magical. In other words, they really aren't magic tricks in the traditional sense, but instead this very weird but magical thing that you create for a spectator. This is very much in line with Paul Harris' thinking about magic. It shouldn't be a trick, it should be a once in a lifetime magical experience. I don't mean that as making it into a spectacle, but instead some quite gentle, moving even, that really hits it home with a spectator. This might also be why there are those that do not find that much value in TA, because they are expecting to find lots of tricks to add to their repertoire so that they can show it to their usual suspects (friends, family, etc.). There are pieces that are excellent for commercial work but there's a lot more that are based on putting a spectator in that state of (risk of sounding cliche) astonishment and that is wholely what Paul Harris is about. For goodness sakes, he's practically a hippy, it's very suiting. This also makes me come to the next point, Paul Harris is truly all over this set as pretty much everything is very much PH in construction and feel. There's not a doubt in ones mind that this whole set was a labour of love and it really shows.
lumberjohn
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Quote:
On 2009-02-26 17:19, Magicsquared wrote:
Here's the thing. Let's say one of the best chefs in the world was going to spend 5 years creating a 40 course tasting menu.

Here's how to use reviews. Take the consensus, add in your past experience with the creator (or chef, or director, or author, or whatever it is that's being reviewed), and then add in your own judgment.


One other point. Your post is not only an admission of bias but an argument for bias(!) You have analogized Paul Harris to "one of the best chefs in the world" and then argued that every effect he produces must be looked at through that filter. That is, in my opinion, exactly the wrong approach.

One should look at each product individually and on its own merits, making the best effort possible to put aside any preconceived views of the author. In fact, the failure to do this is exactly the problem that has derailed objectivity in so many reviews. An effect either works or it does not work for my audience. Paul Harris' reputation does not add one thing to that analysis.
Michael Dustman
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On 2009-02-26 14:56, kissdadookie wrote:
Here's another example, the Weirdling, I have a gut feeling that MANY magician's are going to skip this effect because this does not get the very satisfying "OMG! THAT'S CRAZY! LET'S JUMP UP AND DOWN!" reaction that so many of us hopes to get with every effect. I on the other hand, absolutely LOVE Weirdling. There's NOTHING better than a spectator keeping the crazy impossible card, going off to the side, and a few minutes later, when I take a look from the corner of my eye, they are still standing off on the side with card in hand, pondering on the oddity. That is much more satisfying then the wizz bang jump up and down as if you drank a gallon of coffee reaction.

Sadly, many folks on here can not get their mind to understand anything beyond the boundaries of "I must make them jump up and down and wet their britches" reactions. Is that really impactful magic? I personally want something with impact moreso than something that will get a loud response but easily forgotten later. This is one of the reasons I can see that creates these so called "negative reviews." Anything less than flourishy, acrobatic, OMG let's jump up and down that's so freakin visual-reaction garnering material is sadly considered as being "mediocre."


Totally agree. I am ashamed to say I overlooked this one at first (again it was 2 am when I watched it) and was encouraged by a fellow Café member to look at it again. Worked on it, took it for a run this past weekend and gotten some good reactions to it. That same Café member and I are now splitting a box of 1000 cards we are having printed as we feel this is one we will use quite often.

The irony of dookies response......you should do this at a coffee house AFTER they have had a gallon of coffee............lol.
lumberjohn
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On 2009-02-26 17:52, kissdadookie wrote:
You will need a bit from here and a bit from there from many different sources to come close to the kind of knowledge that can be gained from TA. TA also has a drastically different approach to thinking about magic. It's partially a excercise for magicians to break down the foundations that they have already created and then recompile the disparate pieces into a perspective that is more from the POV of a layperson. This was something that was discussed in Designing Miracles but even then it wasn't as clear and concise as how it is shown on TA. This alone is extremely valuable but apparently not many realizes this or maybe I'm watching and understanding TA from a entirely different perspective? Could be just me but I actually see the lessons being taught throughout TA.

Another point about the material on TA, over half the material on these discs are items that really does not make sense to perform along with other effects in your repertoire. Many of the effects are really meant for a moment in which it is right to perform it and at that moment, you perform the effect but not as an effect but as something that occurs quite organically/naturally yet very magical. In other words, they really aren't magic tricks in the traditional sense, but instead this very weird but magical thing that you create for a spectator. This is very much in line with Paul Harris' thinking about magic. It shouldn't be a trick, it should be a once in a lifetime magical experience. I don't mean that as making it into a spectacle, but instead some quite gentle, moving even, that really hits it home with a spectator. This might also be why there are those that do not find that much value in TA, because they are expecting to find lots of tricks to add to their repertoire so that they can show it to their usual suspects (friends, family, etc.). There are pieces that are excellent for commercial work but there's a lot more that are based on putting a spectator in that state of (risk of sounding cliche) astonishment and that is wholely what Paul Harris is about. For goodness sakes, he's practically a hippy, it's very suiting. This also makes me come to the next point, Paul Harris is truly all over this set as pretty much everything is very much PH in construction and feel. There's not a doubt in ones mind that this whole set was a labour of love and it really shows.


I didn't find the anything on the TA DVDs quite so revolutionary as you did. Paul Harris certainly comes at magic from a distinctive perspective, but approaches such as looking at things from the spectator's point of view and creating moments of "astonishment" are not unique in the magic literature. By comparison, I would say that Ortiz's "Strong Magic" or Weber's "Maximum Entertainment" provided me with exponentially more useful magic theory than the entire TA set and at a fraction of the cost.

I do agree with your take on many of the effects not being "commercial" or fitting into the repertoires of many performers. I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing, but I do think it is something that people should be aware of before purchasing this set. We all have our own individual needs and before spending this amount of money, it is best to know how many of those needs TA will fill.
Magicsquared
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Lumberjohn,

I was being facetious. I was referring to Enagli's saying he had heard the "glowing praise ad nauseum" and the implication that people aren't really giving these honest reviews or were just succumbing to the hype. I think most people here have looked at the product with a legitimately critical lens, and just happen to think that it's good.

And you misunderstood my argument. My suggestion was that IF we say he's one of the best in the world, then why should we be surprised that general reaction to his opus is positive? Why should we suggest that it's only positive because people succumbed to the hype. If you don't agree that Paul Harris is one of the best and most creative magicians and influential forces in magic over the past 30 years, I would have to disagree with you, but that's fine if that's your opinion. What does surprise me is that you don't see a connection between the work in Art of Astonishment and the work on TA. There is clearly an ideological thread that connects the two.
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