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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Why is it that only a small section of society likes magic? (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dennis Michael
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RE: Why is it that only a small section of society likes magic?

If you look into groups, forums, facebook, you will notice groups of people gather around. For instance at a Hot Chili Convention there are thousands of Attendees. At Halloween Conventions there are thousands of attendees. At tattoo sites there are many thousands of people.

Here, at the Café, the #1 forum for magicians there are over 43 thousand registered members and on a small fraction of that are consistent posters.

What is it that there are people who absolutely hate "Magic" and others who absolutely love "Magic". Sadly there are more people willing to watch, "Secrets Revealed" than "World's Greatest Magic."

Magic Conventions and Conferences rarely get more than 500 attendees, (With exceptions i.e. FISM)

What it boils down to: "Why is it that 'Magic' is not universally accepted?"

Poor Presentation is not the answer. Keep in mind why magicians fail on "American Talent", yet a "talking hand" (ventriloquist) wins a million! The judges are typical examples of main stream society.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Dennis Michael
bubbleburst2004
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I'm not sure why those 43,000 registered members don't post more often.
Donald Dunphy
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I think part of it is about the mystery of magic.

I think that magic is often used as a "club" to thump people over the head and tell them how foolish they are for not figuring out the secrets. I'm sure that many people see it as a challenge against their intellect rather than fun entertainment. Or they see it as both (which means that one part is still there.)

Even if performers try not to frame their show as a challenge, that is the nature of magic and mystery.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Dennis Michael
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I asked my wife this question and she pretty much said what the judges on Americas got Talent, "It's the same stuff, nothing new" although she could see the Rolling Stones over and over again.
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bubbleburst2004: Many are readers and not posters, however, it is still small when compared to other groups.
Dennis Michael
Al Angello
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The problem is a sexual one. I find that women are facinated, and men couldn't care less. Basically men like contact sports, and women generally do not like sports. How many times do you do a house party and the men leave the room before you start. I have had married women whisper in my ear "I wish my husband was more like you". Lets face it guys men are duds.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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Sam Sandler
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AGT wants a magician to win this year. they have asked all the magicians to have NEW BIG stuff never seen before. I know a few of my friends h ave went out a purchased a few new illusions jsut for AGT.

granted there view of magic is slanted as they think if you do a silk trick then no one else can do a silk trick cause they think its the same thing. to them a box trick is a box trick.

so it will be interesting to see them react to the magic th is year.
saddly I wont be able to do it as I was not avaialble the date of the auditions
guess I jsut hae to wait for Oprah to call me!
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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Al Angello
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Sam
Good luck with that Oprah thing. I'm waiting for a local DJ to return my call. I've always wanted to do magic on the radio.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Sam Sandler
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I did a radio spot or two ove the last year and it was pretty cool.

one I just did magic in the studio and they talked about it on air.
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
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Al Angello
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OK then Sam
When the DJ calls me back I'll tell him that I will only juggle for his radio audience.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
SteveB
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The problem is has so many facets.

Where does the general public go to see really good magic? Most people have only seen really bad magicians (present company excluded, I am sure). Everyone knows someone who can do a crappy trick.

Because the public doesn't see really good magicians on a regular basis, I mean guys like David Williamson, Michael Ammar, ect., They are uneducated on the art form. To them every card trick is the same, every box is the same.

Where do magicians go to get good? There are not many places for a magician to hone his act week after week. Yeah we all do gigs but the guys that we think are really good have a lot of "flight time" in front of all kinds of audiences.

It is hard for magician's to admit their faults. How many magicians have really studied acting? How many have paid to take lessons from a real pro? How many would hire a director or a writer to make the act better?

And that brings us to America's Got Talent...
This show is a crime against magic. Most of the time they bring magicians on to make fun of them or to ridicule them. Look at how the treated Kevin James or David and Dania. Pears (sp) treated David and Dania like their act was unentertaining and useless. An act they spent 100k on and 4 years of work. A really original act.
They are simply trying to spin off the American Idol script.

And really Sharon Osborne aside,she is actually the brains behind the Ozzy Osborne character.

Who the hell is David Hasslehoff to judge anyone's talent? Have you seen his acting? He is a shlock TV actor. Have you heard his music? My god it is worse than waterboarding. All you would have to do is threaten to put it on and I would tell you anything.
And who the heck is Pears Morgan? What the heck has that guy done beside ridicule people on TV?

I think if we want magic to become more main stream we all have a lot of work to do.

My 2 cents...
Regards,
Steve

www.stevebarcellona.com
Skip Way
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Steve and your wife both touched on the main issue here, Dennis: Entertainment. Far too many magicians focus more on the mechanics and "ta da!" aspects of magic than the entertainment value. There is a level of entertainment and lively audience interaction at a Rolling Stones concert. One of the best true entertainers I've ever seen in concert is Garth Brooks...he mentally pulls every audience member right on stage with him. The tops in our various fields: Ken Scott, Terry Evanswood, Lance Burton, Mac King, David Kaye, Chris Capehart are all great magicians, but they are ever better entertainers. They make magic FUN!

Conferences for magic, clown, juggling, vent and similar talents attract the mid-level to beginner performers. Many of these like Jimbo and Dave Anderson "get it." Others come to learn from those who are higher up on the "success peak" than they are - and want to be.

And let's face it - Magic has a general appeal but it also has a major "geek" stigma. I'm also personally very tired of "box magic" where the magician waves, dances and poses while the poor girls in the boxes do all the dirty work and go unsung. Same old crap in different boxes. No wonder we get such a bad rap on AGT. Where's the entertainment in that?
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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Dennis Michael
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Interesting Skip!!!
Dennis Michael
sethb
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Dennis -- In my experience most people, including both men and women, enjoy watching magic being performed. There is always that small minority who hate being fooled or who look at it as a challenge, but I think most people enjoy being mystified if it is presented properly and performed competently.

You also ask why there are so many readers and so few regular posters on the Café, and such small attendance at magic conventions (as opposed to chili cookoffs, NASCAR, boat shows, etc.). I believe it is because once someone gets past a few of the "secrets," they discover that being a magician is actually hard work! It requires many hours of thought, study and intensive practice, followed by more hours of performing and "paying your dues." Not many people are willing to make that sort of investment in time and effort -- which is not necessarily a bad thing for those who do. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Dannydoyle
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I could break it down so easily and in about one word for the answer. Magicians.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
rossmacrae
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Remember Penn's line?: "Here's a card - now it's gone - you're an idiot."

People who can't stand magic see it as "I hate being fooled." The obsession with "never ever let 'em find out the secret" just makes the problem worse. Most of the 'haters' care very little, if at all, about the secret, but they need to be able to shift the whole paradign from 'I fooled you' to 'let's have fun."
Jerskin
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Too many bad magicians.
GrEg oTtO

MUNDUS VULT DECIPI
Chad C.
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Man, I think a Halloween Convention would be super duper cool!

Now then, if you make a good living from doing magic then there must be more folks that like it than you may realize. Especially when those people have you back for repeat performances...

Most people don't really realize that you can make a living doing magic either however, they just want to know a few of the secrets and move on to their "regular" hobbies/jobs. I get asked all the time about my "real" job and if I do birthday parties. People are amazed that we can do this as a job and are even more amazed when they find out WE GET PAID!!! It blows peoples minds...

I probably didn't answer anything, but...I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me!
Dennis Michael
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Chad see: http://www.nationalhauntersconvention.com/

Ross, You have a good point of view. The "I know something you don't know and I'm not telling." syndrome does take it's toll on magicians as a group.
Dennis Michael
seadog93
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I think a few parts of it are:

-bad magicians
-people don't like to be fooled or feel stupid
-there is usually no connection to the rest of their lives
-There is no longer a sense magic being real (like there is with mentalism)

But a lot of people don't like: poetry, painting, dance or various of the other arts.
I think the transparency of other performing arts makes them much more accesible to people in general
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

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TomBoleware
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A very good question Dennis.
I too think it has been used as a challenge so much that it is a turn off to many people out in the public. Even when it is very entertaining, coming from the experts, it still ends up being "I fooled you." And some people just don't like being fooled. Really doesn't matter that you fooled them in an amusing way, they were still fooled and want no part of it.

Also and let's face it, magic attracts some very odd/weird people, this too hasn't helped the image over the years. Sure other hobbies have the oddballs too, but magic does seen to have more than its fair share. Smile

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
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