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Michael Kamen
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I think you are making good points Greg. If someone in the audience is somewhat expert in NLP, I think it will cause a ripple in the character integrity, and a raised eyebrow for someone. Good thing too. I just think that if the majority do not know what is possible via NLP and body language, the integrity of the claim remains intact for all practical purposes. The coherence of the forest (to them) is not dissipated because the leaves are not out of frame.
Michael Kamen
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Quote:
On 2010-01-10 22:07, Greg Arce wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-01-10 20:58, Andrew Musgrave wrote:
Greg,

Was there anything in the rest of the show that could have undermined the blindfolded Q&A? If not, then we're still consistent with the Superhero concept.


Actually, he did a brilliant series of book tests that would be hard to claim that they were being done by body language or NLP. And he did a confabulation that also would be a bit hard to put under that category.

Once again, all I'm saying is the audience - the non-magicians - did not sense anything out of character about. it. He's a guy that can do weird things that they can't do so it all fell in that one basket.


I'm not sensing any particular conflicts in the routines you've listed. NLP, reading body language, and employing extra-sensory perception... all of these things can be spun as powers made manifest by the mind. The mind is the source of his power, and the associated abilities.

Now, if he did spongebunnies, the cups and balls, and a coin flurry, and then tried to demonstrate ESP in a routine that required him to handle billets, then we'd have a more blatant conflict.

Quote:
I know you guys are going to continue to fight over this so I'll leave you to your fight over the magical leaves in your forest... the audience will love the forest you present no matter how you paint the leaves.

greg


I don't see anybody fighting over anything, Greg. Heck, I personally don't even see this as more or less valid than other models. I do believe, however, that there's merit in choosing this particular model to put forward a magician persona.
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Greg Arce
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Actually, Andrew, I was there at three of the shows. Even though he continued to say he was not psychic, he had people coming up to him and asking when he noticed he had these powers and can he predict the future.

Real people see all of what we do as just plain weird. We're the only ones that classify them in individual boxes. A roomful of magicians and mentalists would analyze Marc's act and see it as not following his rules or character all the time.

How does a blindfold Q & A fit into the category of body language and NLP? He holds up a card that someone has written on it and crushes it. Now he begins to call out things from the card. How does that power fit with his other powers? It would be like someone said Batman suddenly having X-ray vision. Yet the audience never stirred.

I know you guys will keep saying that it fits somehow, but it doesn't. If he were following his rules strictly then there would not have been a blindfolded Q & A mixed with a psychometry bit. It does not work with his "powers". If he did it without a blindfold then I can see someone saying that he used his powers of observation to make an assumption about the objects or even using a handwriting analysis to get who wrote what. But blindfolded just means he's getting his info "psychically" which is not one of his powers.

And, as I said, he had standing room only shows, came out in all the papers and was interviewed on every TV show. Oh, and not once did I see someone who was not a magician or mentalist bring up the fact that he was blindfolded and got all that info. They saw his fantastic forest... we keep seeing the creative leaves.

Okay, enough about that. I'll just agree to disagree with you guys and at least be comforted that Jon has made people think more about their acts. That's the best thing that Jon could do. If more guys thought as much as Jon does about his magic then we would have a larger amount of truly creative and unique individuals. So for making that happen I applaud you Jon: Smile

Greg
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The Burnaby Kid
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Let's try something different.

Greg, could you list a five routine set (it doesn't have to be what you actually do if you prefer to keep that secret) that you would be happy to perform that you feel would portray a consistent character and give your audience a clear experience?
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Johnny Butterfield
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Quote:
On 2010-01-10 22:47, Greg Arce wrote:
you guys will keep saying that it fits somehow, but it doesn't.


I can see how it does, in a kind of abstract way - he's "getting information he couldn't possibly know." That's the basis of his act. He's still not doing sleight of hand, nor grand illusions, just mentalism with a presentational conceit that avoids 'psychic powers.'

I agree that the blindfold is at odds with the NLP angle of his presentation, and if I were to try a similar act, I might go with some other presentational thing - maybe sensing vocal inflection? Something to explain how to get information without falling back on psychic powers.

The thing is, he does mentalism. One leaf is oddly coloured (how can he read body language blindfolded?), but the forest is all pretty much the same.
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Something about matching boots and panties accessorized with a belt and cape, and over tights just seems OTT - but I guess that's a change from the usual in magic.
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Laurent van Trigt
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Quote:
On 2010-01-10 16:30, Andrew Musgrave wrote:

There is no guarantee that the audience will believe the magic moment that we did has any credibility. Even if we supply a cause of the magic, they might decide, based on weak evidence to support that cause, that a different cause is in play.



Andrew, I will PM you on this one, as my answers are digressing from the overall thread.
Laurent van Trigt
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What about Eugene Burger? He would do gipsy thread, sponge balls, the Haunted pack, produce a glass of coffee, and I still get the sense of a consistent character. There is no coherence here in the powers exhibited so there must be other factors in play that unify his performances. I am thinking of his appearance, his voice, his interest in eastern philosophy, and, of course, his AMAZING beard.

It seems to me certain characters allow for more variety than others. Take someone who portrays himself as a mindreader vs. a scholar of the unknown… the mind reader would have a hard time to integrate sponge balls into his act (unless maybe if they had a brain shape!), while the latter can pretty much encompass everything.
Michael Kamen
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I seem to recall reading that Eugene stopped doing sponge balls because they did not fit his character. Still, the "powers" thing is only one aspect of the character. Violation of the powers-consistency notion is possible if adequately compensated. If you play a character who does wierd things (as Greg suggests we all do), and they like you, that may provide the entertainment value you are striving for (although the magic will be weaker overall - an artistic choice perhaps)?
Michael Kamen
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Going only with what I know from his writings and DVDs, I'd argue that Burger doesn't really fit this model. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, if it's true... It just means he's found different ways to unify the magic in his repertoire.
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The Burnaby Kid
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Perhaps this can be elaborated upon.

In drama (literature, film, etc.) characters are made legitimate through consistency. They've got motivations that make sense, they've got a history that shapes those motivations, etc.

In magic, historically, magicians have found different ways to figure out what it is that needs to be consistent for their character to have legitimacy.

Some magicians play it big, go for huge spectacles in just about everything they do. Harry Houdini, David Copperfield, Criss Angel, etc.

Some magicians want to make sure each and every individual effect is as clear and as fair as possible. Max Maven, Juan Tamariz, etc.

Some magicians sometimes downplay the nature of the effect in order to point instead towards its metaphorical (or other) implications. Robert Neale, Eugene Burger, etc.

Some magicians have designed sets in order to be aesthetically beautiful, or at least, very striking. Lance Burton, Sylvester the Jester, etc.

Some magicians only do magic that stems from the mind. Insert prototypical mentalist here...

Some magicians aim for the funny. If they don't get laughs, they feel they've failed. Insert prototypical comedy magician here...

One could go on, but how this relates here... the Superhero aims for consistency of power. They choose effects that illustrate that power, give it dimension, and make it as convincing as possible.

Obviously, there's potential to mix and match amongst the above consistencies. We're not limited in that regard. However, distilling magician personas to such Archetypes can sometimes help to give clarity, especially when it comes time to develop their repertoire.
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Alan Wheeler
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I really like the direction of your post, Andrew. Perhaps only one or two elements (powers, properties, setting, character, plot, theme, style, etc.) can act as a unifying force in a magic act.
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Whit Haydn
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There is more than one interesting character to consider as well. There is the magician character that is being presented, as well as the Trickster character behind him.

The more aware people are of the Trickster, the less concerned they are with the Super/Magical character he is portraying.
Lawrence O
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Andrew;
This seems to me to be a semantic question. What do we classify as "magic". There are at least two categories
1- Effects where the spectators consider that only "magic" can explain them for lack of any rational explanation
2- Effects where the spectators consider that secret skill (whether physical or mental) constitutes the causal link.

Now admittedly we "magicians" seek to be part of a large community for economical reasons and do not recognize this classification and as a result damage what the art of magic actually is by using the same word for very deeply different concepts.

A solution to end the debate would be to use four different names: one name for the artists and the art for the entire community, one name for the physical skill and its performers, one name for the mental skill and its performers, one name for the magic dilemma and its performers.

Using this solution would save us a lot of discussion resulting from the fact that "magic" is too broad a term when it encompasses too restricted and different perception concepts. Then each of us could gain recognition by his peers in any or several arts.

Such categories could have sub-categories like escapology which could be classified under skill (or not, I don't know).

I have a huge respect for jugglers and acrobats but I don't view them as magicians and they don't view me as a juggler. I'm not offended by this rejection from jugglers because they developed a talent that I did not and I would not like being an usurpator, even though I know that there are tricked jugglery feats.

Could we propose names and see if it is desirable to get in that direction and make each of us properly appreciated in his specialty and not having other artists misusing whatever name they are entitled to.

I don't care if the proponents of the dilemma would have to renounce the word "magic" if whatever art we develop is duly recognized by its name.

After all in the 19th century appeared the word "prestidigitator" (admittedly a little complicated) but there are plenty of other words available like "conjuror", "sorcerer"... and we could create new ones.
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The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On 2010-01-13 01:01, Lawrence O wrote:
A solution to end the debate...


I see no reason for there to be an end to the debate, nor do I think that semantic-based classification is capable of ending it anyways.
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Michael Kamen
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I think all the approaches can be placed along a continuum from theatrical depiction of magic to charlatanry. In the middle of that continuum (middle third perhaps) lies the dilemma, and one of the most prominent and well-recognized images of the magical performer, i.e., the trickster (Renee Lavand, Whit Haydn, Tommy Wonder, etc). The upper (or lower depending on your preference) third is story, for escape, education, meaning, perspective, etc., integrated with special effects. The opposite third includes any depiction of false skill or luck, as though it was real. This will include escapologists, some juggling acts, con men, etc.

Is it not more helpful to see what all these have in common rather than to define them in separate rigid molds?
Michael Kamen
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Quote:
On 2010-01-13 11:20, Michael Kamen wrote:
The opposite third includes any depiction of false skill or luck, as though it was real. This will include escapologists...


I beg your pardon?
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
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Kondini
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False skill and luck !!!

Are you completly bonkers, let a stranger restrain you and put your escape down to false skill and luck.

Seems a lot of talk without knowledge here.

Ken.
Michael Kamen
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Maybe I am bonkers but that is not the point. Everything we do involves skill, and that goes for Escapologists. By "false skill" I am referring to the little tricks that help us along. I will leave it to you to decide if those exist in Escapology. If not, I apologize and did not intend to slander your profession.

By "false luck" I am referring to the cheat who uses trickery to improve the odds. I doubt any cheats out there would be offended.

I was NOT suggesting the Escapology or anything else is accomplished by luck. Kapish?
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