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Vick
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It saddens me deeply that some consider magic as simply entertainment for children. Imagine throwing away, ignoring or belittling an art form that can enable you to think and feel, something that can elevate you from your normal daily existence, an art form that can move you to tears from laughter, creating beauty and touching deep emotions

This is not the fault of the art consumer, the challenge lies with the performers who do nothing to enhance or elevate the art and appear simply as a trickster, "Hey look at me and what I can do, aren't these tricks neat".

The performer who does nothing to educate their audience?

Those who don't or can't give their audience an experience that will elevate them, that will touch them, that will tuck something away in their mind for later consideration or even simply (and sometimes the hardest) share a huge face splitting grin have cheated their audiences as well as cheated themselves and harmed the art.

Does the challenge lie with so called performers who don't share with their audiences what magic can be and instead appear in a foul polyester vest pulling objects from their mouth or their various other insults to the art? Or does the fault lays with performers who know something different and don't enlighten those less fortunate? Those who haven't had the guidance to read and study the amazing books on the art. Who may not have had the time or experience to know how rewarding it is to create and share those special moments with the audience.

I've often said I don't do magic, the magic happens in the audience. Without an audience I am nothing, a guy doing odd things. It is with that consideration I go into every show and know I have to give the best possible show, try to create art, to reach the audience on many levels and craft a unique and memorable experience. Anything less is a cheat, totally unacceptable and unthinkable.

If all you are looking for is someone to ask "How did you do that" then you have missed the boat as a performer.

Children are the easy ones to win over (even though they can be the most severe audiences) it is adults who most need their imaginations sparked, their funny bone tickled, their thoughts stimulated and their heart strings tugged.
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mmreed
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Well said Vick... all valid points.
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Bob Johnston
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What a great post.

Vick's picture gives away the fact that he has a great sense of drama and presentation in his heart. I bet I would like his magic.

Bob
jim ferguson
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Exellent post and well put. If only more of todays magicians thought in this way !
othelo68
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Quote:
This is not the fault of the art consumer, the challenge lies with the performers who do nothing to enhance or elevate the art and appear simply as a trickster, "Hey look at me and what I can do, aren't these tricks neat".


Where does one start if not with simple look at me tricks. must all performances be educational or can some just be illusion for illusion sake?

Quote:

Those who don't or can't give their audience an experience that will elevate them, that will touch them, that will tuck something away in their mind for later consideration or even simply (and sometimes the hardest) share a huge face splitting grin have cheated their audiences as well as cheated themselves and harmed the art.

[/b]

I agree you should give your audience and experience and they should leave feeling that they have gained something. how do you go about doing this in a street magic environment, or while busking, or table hopping? are these things exclusive to large stage shows? how is this accomplished if you only have a few minutes?

while I agree with you completely I don't feel that this is always possible. sometimes magic just has to be well presented magic and little more. While I feel that if your going to do magic, you should do it well I also realize its hard to recognize good magic if you haven't seen a few teenagers doing the hummer card trick.
Vick
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Thanks Bob, Jim and mmreed.
Bob, I don't often perform for magicians but I would consider it an honor to see you in the audience and am sure I would enjoy seeing your work.

othelo68, most of us started as a trickster. We grow, learn and evolve in the art and our show reflects that. The show becomes more than "look at me" which is an experience just for the performer. We learn to create, to present entertainment and an give our audience a positive experience.

Illusions for illusions sake while possible often leads to the big box with no heart and soul type performances. Nothing that reaches the audience where they think or feel, nothing for them to take with them after the show, nothing beyond eye candy for a few fleeting seconds. Is that what we want to do?

Have you seen acts that looked like they had money to waste on effects but not the thought to actually create a cohesive show? We don't usually name names on the Café but I'll put forth the example of Hans Klok and his "fastest magician ever" act. Where is the magic in that presentation? How can you build a story or presentation? There is no art in running through 8 or 10 illusions in 5 minutes. Perhaps presenting it a few times as an oddity but it being a basis for a show and presented as a claim to fame confuses me.


othelo68 you give one of the reason I do not care for "strolling magic". For years I have felt strolling damages the art and is (mostly) for less experienced performers. When clients approach me about strolling I present the solution of mobile station performances, set up with a mobile table and attract the audience to the performance. You can turn what would have been strolling into parlor and give the client a better solution, superior show and experience. There you can create art.

In under 4 minutes I can tell the story of what happened when my date showed up 45 minutes early and how as a magician I was able to save the day (and date). There is not enough room in my pockets to do that but when the client realizes the value of a mobile station performance that allows that presentation, magic happens. The crowd gathered gets hooked and are ready to see more.

For me (can not speak for others) it's easiest to reach an audience doing parlor.

othelo68, I think it's obvious when someone sees (experiences, feels) good magic. The same can be said of bad or poorly performed magic which leads us back to my original post about magic being seen as entertainment for children. Most would know when they see a professional musician, football player or plumber. It's about being a professional.

I mentioned educating the audience, that can include our clients as well. We all are better for it.
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Ed_Millis
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Your first sentence, Vick, and its repetition in your second post, might lead one to feel that you do not believe anyone can present serious magic to children, or that those who specialize in children’s magic are not serious magicians.

I hope this is not the case. Throwing the above statements out into the Little Darling’s forum would get you eaten alive! I, for one, used to be “a guy with tricks”. I am now finding myself as a “serious” magician, but my performance is for whole-family audiences and aimed at the kids.

While I have aspirations of holding an audience of teenagers enthralled, I do not aspire to ever perform for adults only. The mobile platform idea does not appeal to me at all, either.

I think “people” in general view magic as “entertainment for children” because hacks who have bought a few things often go into the children’s venue first. It’s someone’s dad in their classroom, or an uncle at a birthday party. And then they “turn pro” with their $35 birthday party! Fortunately, many of those don’t last long; unfortunately, there seems to be a never-ending stream of them!

I lay much of the blame on the poor quality of magical performance on the dealers. As long as tricks are marketed as “Easy to do! No skill required!! Do professional magic in 5 minutes!!”, you will always have hacks who will buy the junk and throw it in someone’s face: “I kin doo magic! Watch me!”

I have of course presented some of my tricks before adult friends and acquaintances. Some have had bad attitudes or unpleasant responses, but they at least let me finish the trick and then tell me what I did wrong. But it was a child who stood up in the middle of my routine, denounced me as boring, and walked out! Children’s entertainment is best tackled only by those who are serious about their magic.

Ed
alibaba
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Hey, let's not discount "magic for children." How many giants of magic got hooked on magic as children? I think the performance of magic may vary with the age of the audience but as the old song says, "children are our future".
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Vick
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Ed,
Thanks for your views, you hit the nail on the head with "because hacks who have bought a few things often go into the children’s venue first" same holds true for strolling. Both hurt the art when not done well and many kids show workers and strollers aren't very good and maybe should spend more time studying, learning and perfecting their craft.

It is very hard to be a good family entertainer (not kids shows, family entertainment).

Ed, mobile station is much to be preferred to typical strolling. How do you get beyond little puzzles if you are in and out of a table in 3 to 5 minutes? That is cheating the audience out of a real magical experience.

It is preferable to attract the crowd with your work. Let them come because they see something that interests them, that engages their imagination, let them come because they want more, they want to be entertained in the fashion we present. I will never interrupt or interfere in their conversation, that is discourteous. I have seen performers practically begging people to watch them when they do strolling.

I think you are missing my point, it is sad that many consider magic as entertainment ONLY for children.

With regards to "dealers" my eyes have been opened years ago and I am who I am in this art in a large part due to Denny Haney, the best dealer in the business . http://www.dennymagic.com

Denny will do the same for just about anyone who shows an real interest and respect for the art. If you are in the early stages (trickster) Denny will point you to the books that will help you learn about yourself, the art and how to present it. Denny won't hand it to you on a silver platter, you still have to work for it but a point in the right direction and a few well chosen words can work wonders

Also I must give a great deal of credit for my learning and perspective today to an enigmatic card man who's name I can not mention .

The fault can not be placed on the dealers with the dealers, it is our own and we must accept it and act accordingly.

Where but in magic can you be an artist who creates miracles, to enable others to laugh, think, feel a spectrum of emotions? Take them by the hand on a journey into the incredible?

To not respect that and to do anything less that give your best efforts and strive for continual improvement is criminal

I care deeply about the art and hold it with the respect in deserves. This is my chosen profession and I have to be the best I can. This means study, learning, practice, love and everything else I need to give every audience I go in front of the best possible experience.

Is it too much to expect other to do the same with one of the most beautiful performing arts!?

How could anyone want to do anything less?

Quote:
On 2009-12-02 11:38, alibaba wrote:
Hey, let's not discount "magic for children." How many giants of magic got hooked on magic as children? I think the performance of magic may vary with the age of the audience but as the old song says, "children are our future".


You missed the point I think

No one discounted magic for families, it is those who perfrom it poorly and the impression they have left on the general public, some of who feel magic is only entertainment for children and that has saddened me deeply

Or perhaps adults who have missed an opportunity to see a truly magical experience from a stage or parlor magician

Everytime we perform we must give the best show possible, your shows effect my work as my work effects your shows.

We owe it first to our audiences, then ourselves and finally to other performers to turn as many as possible on to what an amazing experience well performed and professionally presented magic can be.

Posted: Dec 2, 2009 12:37pm
P.S. please forgive my typos and or grammatical errors ;-)

Ed if you really believe "I lay much of the blame on the poor quality of magical performance on the dealers"
then are overweight people overweight because of McDonald's ...

... or because of poor dietary choices
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Bean
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As a beginner, I don't have any words of wisdom, but I did want to thank you for a very thought-provoking post. You've given me much to think about.
Ed_Millis
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Quote:
On 2009-12-02 12:37, Vick wrote:
Ed if you really believe "I lay much of the blame on the poor quality of magical performance on the dealers"
then are overweight people overweight because of McDonald's ....

.... or because of poor dietary choices


I see your point, I think ... products exist because of demand. And so it lies within the person to resolve the issue.

On the other hand, I think that's a poor example, because McD is not the only avenue for fattening food (how well I know!!). And alas magic dealers are no longer the only avenue to obtain tricks. When any bonehead with internet access and too much money can get just about anything, all you get is boneheads with tricks, not blossoming magicians growing in an exciting art form! Add in YouTube, and the boneheads have their 15-minutes of fame repeated as nauseum!

Quote:
Where but in magic can you be an artist who creates miracles, to enable others to laugh, think, feel a spectrum of emotions? Take them by the hand on a journey into the incredible?

To not respect that and to do anything less that give your best efforts and strive for continual improvement is criminal


I think this may need some clarification. I don't believe every performer needs to strive for a "full-spectrum" performance, not does every performance situation require or even accomodate it.

My arena of family shows, for example. I'm sticking with zany slapstick laughter for the kids and slipped-in asides to the adults. It may be a bit of a roller coaster, but it will never go down into the darker emotions. Some day, if I get good enough and brave enough, I may develop a character who will explore those themes with a different show - but not today.

As for the mobile station, I'm just saying it doesn't sound like anything _I_ want to do, along with busking, strolling, close-up, 5,000-seat auditorium, and swimming with the sharks.

My arena of expertise is derfined differently than yours. But I do agree that excellence must be pursued, because it will never wait for us. And those who are content to not pursue are the greatest danger to public acceptance of magic as a very fine art.

Ed
Vick
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Ed, your posts are confusing me a little

No clarification was needed for "to do anything less that give your best efforts and strive for continual improvement is criminal"

Those words make a clear statement, an obvious one at that!


Also McD's is the perfect example of our American mentality, "oh I'm not what I should be or want to be so blame it on something else other than my poor choices", where is our personal responsibility for our actions and choices?

Yes we have all been taken in by dealer ads but there comes a time you go back to books and instead of buying every new gizmo released we think about WHAT WE WANT IN OUR SHOW, not what someone wants to sell us. What takes us to the next level? What keeps us and our act growing?

We think of the effect and then create it, we don't wait for some huckster to try to sell us something we may or may not need. If we buy it who's is at fault? WE ARE, and after 1 or 2 lessons/expereinces like that we should know better and make better choices

Example, I want to tell a story in my show, what effects can I design to take the audience there along with my presentation? Not what can I do with this stuff I bought because of slick ad. We are smarter than getting taken in by slick ads to buy things that do not fit us and do not further our shows (and growth).

I searched for months to find the right silk through mirror. I finally found it to go on a concept piece I was working on. Knew what I needed, researched it and finally found the right piece to fill in the effect/story line I was creating at the time
That is how shows are created


Go to Tarbell, Corinda or Nelms (all required reading) and find the effects that fit the show you are building


Some of your words and thoughts expressed here seem a little contradictory to your signature Ed ;-)

No one mentioned or eluded to "dark emotions" and I quote "laugh, think, feel a spectrum of emotions?" where is the darkness there? It is light, enlightenment and entertainment.


I truly believe you care about your art Ed, just poking you a little to share a different perspective
I wish you all the best


All the newer performers reading this
I hope it gives you something to think about and it in some way can help you
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Ed_Millis
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I thihnk I got a bit more perspective reading the converation between Mike Ching and Jade Here:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......um=174&8

Ed
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Wow, Ed, great post. Thanks for highlighting that.

I was about to comment that engaging the audience is actually more important than the Magic, but Mike Ching said it far better than I could have. I think I’d equate bad strolling to a bad pick-up line in a bar. If it’s “all about you”, who’s going to be interested?

For course, if you can’t do justice to the effects, you shouldn’t be performing in public anyway, in any venue, and Children’s Magic shouldn’t be the dumping ground for those who simply haven’t put in the time to learn to perform great Magic. It gives the genre a bad reputation, even though there are performers who excel at doing GREAT Magic targeted to children.

(I can think of a similar attitude from a different arena, Ministry. I know of a particular Children’s Minister with a world wide “audience” who was once asked when he was going “grow up” and do “real” ministry. His response, of course, was that this WAS real ministry, and he has the professional reputation to prove it.)

We have to learn to focus on the audience, draw them into the fantasy, invite them to come and play in our yard, and to make sure that our guests enjoy themselves. To do this, the Magic should be flawless, seemingly effortless, and invisible. No matter the age!
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Vick, I have been following your attempts to make more of performance magic that "just entertainment" (here and on other posts) Keep trying, though ye may feel like a solitary reed waving in the wind. Sadly, the choir already knows and the rest have a cellphone in their ear.

You rightfully point to the need for accountability, selfessness, integrity and reflection on the 'total' impact of your performance on the lives of others. I, for one, believe that performance magic has a tremendous ability to shape the minds and attitudes of people everywhere -- I have been doing it all my life. Simply teaching people that there is "another right answer" and that "impossible" means "not yet" or "self-limitation" you can open their eyes to more rewarding futures.

but ...

the problem is not that magicians cry "hey, look at me," but that they are raised to be that way. Our 'gimmy' culture and demand for 'life cheats' must be cured first. Audiences should not be the training ground for ethics and values, but a place to apply those skills learned at home. Look to your children! Are you training them to be accountable and also selfless in how they treat others? The problem in not magicians doing tricks -- it is people thinking they can get by in life by 'doing tricks', lying and cheating on exams, producing false credentials for a job, stealing time from their employer and never learning that a TV has an Off Button.

Keep trying, Vick -- even if you save only one child.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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I applaud the civility of this posting and responses and outstanding discussion. Thank you all for some very important perspectives.
Vick
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Thank you gentlemen

This is a good place to have this discussion as some who are new(er) to the art get to see and hear some different perspectives
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Ed_Millis
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Quote:
Some of your words and thoughts expressed here seem a little contradictory to your signature Ed ;-)


Understood and received. We all have our battles, and our internal fortifiers!

One of my biggest battles has been the fear of getting out of the safety zone, of letting down the walls and letting people exchange thoughts and emotions with me. With regards to the current topic, that I think is exactly where you are heading with this.

It's very self-gratifying and safe to learn an amazing trick, slay the audience, and go home untouched except in the ego. There were people - whether one or a thousand who watched you, and you received nothing from them? Is that because you inspired nothing in them? Or because you were too closed off to feel anything but the ego strokes of your amazing performance?

As for the "darker emotions" comment, I got that from your "full spectrum of emotions". I'm thinking I don't have a full spectrum, and I don't want that end of the spectrum to enter my shows. (Although I do have one segment where my mechanical chicken faints!) Most likely, we were using the same words but speaking different thoughts. As the one with the least experience in performance, I defer; I need _your_ viewpoint, because you've already been through mine!

It is definitely about more than just tricks and moves!

Ed
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"From without, no wonderful effect is wrought within ourselves, unless some interior, responding wonder meets it." Herman Melville

In my experience it is important and invaluable after each performance to ask, "What did I learn that will make me a better person tommorrow -- to handle life's problems more effectively?" In the doing you also affirm that each spectator took something away "more than tricks and moves."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Vick
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Ed,
Thanks, doesn't matter where we are in the journey, we can both learn from each other as long as we have open minds and honestly share thoughts/opinions.

Sincerely hope you have a great show with the one you have coming up. With the chicken, flea and kung fu I would have never thought getting out of the safety zone a challenge ;-)

If you can pick up something from our banter here then it's worth the time, not that it matters at all what I think but it looks that you are on a good path and care about the art

I don't want to slay the audience. For me personally I want to give them something, a special moment in time. Create an expereince, a positive memory. Touch that child like sense of awe or appeal to their sophisticated sense of logic and knock it out of kilter before I give them a soft landing (or not)

funsway - Great point. Part of my drive between shows or home, what did I do well, where can I improve (sometimes that is the most painful to honestly face) both as a performer and a person

"Call me Ishmael"

"Look to your children! Are you training them to be accountable and also selfless in how they treat others? The problem in not magicians doing tricks -- it is people thinking they can get by in life by 'doing tricks', lying and cheating on exams, producing false credentials for a job, stealing time from their employer and never learning that a TV has an Off Button. "

- Good Stuff!
Unique, Thought Provoking & Amazing Magical Entertainment Experiences
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