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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Art of Astonishment- What's really practical? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Platt
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While I admire Harris' mind and far out effects, a lot of his stuff just doesn't seem practical to me. I'm no expert on his books. In fact I only own volume III. But due to the fact that many of the effects(while wild and fun to read) don't seem particularly practical, I'm hesitant to buy volume I and II.

How many of you have truly pulled off the plant leaf cut and restored trick, the tick tac trick, chocolate coin, or the appearing chocolate bar trick? While there's obviously gems, particularly the card stuff, a lot of it just seems far out and very tough to pull off. Obviously Harris has been able to use it, I just don't know how applicable much of the material is for the average magician. Please don't bark back that Paul Harris is one of the most creative minds, and many magicians have earned a living using only the effects in AOA, etc, etc.......
I'm just looking for you to express your own experience with the books and if many of his effects(excluding cards) have worked for you.

Thanks, Platt
Sugar Rush is here! Freakishly visual magic. http://www.plattmagic.com
Matt Graves
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I've always wanted to buy those books because they seemed to have so many "down to earth" effects like levitating a McDonald's shake - but if they're not really practical, I may be glad I've saved my money . . .
And without telling me how to do it, could you tell me what the tic tac trick is? That just sounds too . . . interesting . . .
Smile
Platt
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Serling, don't let me turn you off. From what I understand, I'm pretty alone in my thinking.

And you're right, many of the effects do use every day objects. They just seem to use methods that would be very tough, or daring to pull off.

The tick tac trick. Here's the effect:
Break out a box of tic tacs. Offer them out. Show the box lengthwise with a dime on it. With just a push, the dime goes through the box and is found inside.
Sugar Rush is here! Freakishly visual magic. http://www.plattmagic.com
CharlieC
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I agree that some stuff is unpractical to use. I think he even says that in his foreword? I can't remember.

Anyhow, there's a yahoo group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ArtOfAstonishment/
which might help you deciphering which routines are working out for others.
"Whenever he gets in a fix he reaches into his bag of tricks.
Felix the cat, the wonderful, wonderful cat..."
MattSedlak
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I agree that there is a lot of impractical stuff in it, but there is also a lot of impractical stuff in many other books. That being said there are a lot of ideas in there that can be improved upon or may spark inspiration. Lets take Book 1 for example. Some of the great ideas or effects in there are: Backlash, Deep Thought, Bizarre Twist, Solid Deception, Ultimate Rip Off, Re-Set, Las Vegas Leaper, Interlaced Vanish, ReCap, and those are just a few. Some need some work and others are just fine the way they are. However, there is such a variety that everybody should find something. If you find just one thing that goes into your act, then the book should be worth at least ten times its price.
Joshua Quinn
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Platt,

While I'm a great fan of the series, Volume 3 is my least favorite. IMHO, there's a good deal more useful material in the first two.
Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. Unfortunately every problem also contains the seeds of an infinite number of non-solutions, so that first part really isn't super helpful.
Reian
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"If you find just one thing that goes into your act, then the book should be worth at least ten times its price."

It's like saying if I like one song from a CD, the CD should be worth at least 10 times its price. I like to call the CD a paper weight or a collectable item.
tboehnlein
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I can understand where you are coming from as far as talking about the material being impracticle, however I believe that much of the material placed in those books are not meant to be used in a routined or performance situation. Many of the effects strike as being used in an impromptu or pseudo impromptu situation when you want to give someone a moment of astonishment when they aren't really expecting it.
p.b.jones
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"It's like saying if I like one song from a CD, the CD should be worth at least 10 times its price."

It is if you went out and sang the song from the cd for £5.00 per minute (£225.00) per 45 min performance 5 times a week.
phillip
Paul
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Is that what you get busking Phillip? Smile:)

See you next week!

Paul Hallas
Greg Arce
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Here's my two cents worth: I love all of Paul's work. I think he changed the face of close up magic when he came into the scene. If you get the AOA books you will have a lifetime of magic. Within those books there are full routines, knucklebusting effects, heartstopping quickies, throwaway mini-mysteries, pipedreams waiting for a magic plumber to fix them, coins, cards, mentalism, etc. Do you think I like these books? As a matter of fact, I wish everybody would stay away from them so I can use all this good stuff for myself.
Greg
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Stephen Long
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Define "impractical".
Some of the effects in AoA are not suitable for certain situations.
But the effects you mentioned Platt are some of the more far out effects, the truly bizarre.
(As a quick "FYI", so to speak, I have pulled off the chocolate bar effect and it went down a storm.)

Like Quinn, I believe that although all his books are fantastic, volumes one and two have more effects in them that have meandered their way into my reportiore.

The book uses its more bizarre effects as its marketing point.
However, I think it may be well worth your while, Platt, to spend a little more time with some of Harris' card stuff.

More on this later.
Must dash.

Stephen
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Jim Morton
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At its root, this discussion seems to be about how practical the effects in the books are if you perform the tricks exactly as they are described, and not about how useful the thinking behind the tricks can be in creating your own ideas. If you are the kind of performer who does things by the numbers, then Platt is exactly right, the AoA books are probably not the best purchase. If you are looking for some created springboards, then the AoA books are invaluable.

Jim
Jason Fleming
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The routines in AoA are the pinnacle of creativity, no doubt. If you love the learning part of magic, developing new routines, and experimenting, then nothing beats reading Harris for inspiration. Oh, the joy of pondering, "I wonder if that could really work?!?" It may not be the most high-yield series for ready-out-of-the-box commercial stuff, but if you try doing some, you just might rip people's faces off. Smile

-JF
Garrett Nelson
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I agree. Conceptually, there are diamonds.

There are some effects which are amazing "right out of the box". But many more will need to be polished and beveled.
magicfish
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I prefer the originals
Dannydoyle
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The words "practical" and "Paul Harris" don't often collide in the same sentence.

When they do you have a thing of unimaginable beauty, and in fact in some cases they do.

I have always thought the nonsense of a book having ONE trick out of about a dozen that works making the book worth 10 times its price just an excuse to sell "filler".
then they go and release another book with 2 good tricks, and the rest filler. It is a way to make money. Great method, but a bit disingenuous if you ask me.

We have been fed this line for years and we buy it as if it is gospel!

I am not a Paul Harris fan at all. I don't think his style or his tricks really work too well if you want to work every night either table hopping or strolling which is what most guys want or need to do. Again I have stated he does have some gems no doubt, but generally this is the way I feel .
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
kairan
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I don't want to go off the topic really,, but what books of close up magic, do you find practical?
Dannydoyle
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Again practical is a word each of us defines for ourselvs. Practical for me is tricks that require no reset, can be done surrounded with no angle problems at all.

The Magic of Matt Schulien, Magician Nightly the Magic of Eddie Fecter are both great examples of things that fall squarley into this catagory.

Having been trained by Charlie Schulien, (Matts son) I am biased anyhow. I don't like long drawn out story tricks. I like them fast paced and quick.

This fits my style and my circumstance of performance requirment. Others may well indeed say that their criteria are 100% different. And indeed they are correct. As I said it is a personal thing you have to find out for yourself and your performance style and venue.

As for my "real world" (again each of us has his own and each is correct) Paul Harris offers little if anything. His creativity can be an inspiring thing to watch no matter what though. So even if his tricks offer me little in the way of material, his creative influence can definatly cross that boundry.

Just my 2 cents.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
braddevant
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Platt you wrote,"I just don't know how applicable much of the material is for the average magician." Maybe that's his point, why should magicians accept being average?
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