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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » "weighing" and "memorizing" effects...pitfall? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

the dealer
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las vegas
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I believe most performers would agree that effects like these have the potential to play strong. here's my question, would performing an effect like weighing the cards or pretending to memorize a deck in 20 seconds, negate or downplay the "magic" in a card act? once this feat is done, the spectator would be apt to say that, "of course the magician located my card, he can memorize and feel where the card is" also, this kinda "stunt", if you will, only displays how good the magician skills are in what he or she does. similar to what Mr. Barrie Richardson talks about in his Theater of Mind book, and also what Pit Hartling mentions, where now the magician in a way is only showing off. that's why his unforgettable routine involves drinking orange juice to magically make him do what he does. however, when you see an effect like, Malone's no touch memory, Ackerman's opener, or Marlo's miracle routine, it kills. just some food for though in this forum. I was up late last night brainstorming and this subject came to mind. thank you
Steven Keyl
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At heart, this discussion revolves around what is possible (skill-based demonstrations) vs. what is impossible (traditional magic). Mixing routines that fall into both categories can certainly be done but care should be taken in choosing the right effects. The magic effects should not be easily tracked to any skills that were demonstrated.

The real question is one of entertainment--what are the spectators most likely to enjoy? The answer to that question is context-specific. At a poker game with the boys, demonstrations of skill are likely to go over quite well whereas if you were a table-hopping restaurant magician more traditional magic effects would be more likely to evoke enjoyment from the audience.
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mrgoat
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England
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My brother is a world class juggler and he saw Jamy Ian Swiss do weighing the cards and totally believed it was real. He thought, as a juggler, that it was possible if you practised enough to be able to weigh cards.

He has a PHd and isn't stupid. JIS is great at selling it.

See if you can see his routine anywhere.

Also, what is essentially wrong with breaking up magic with a display of skill?
Josh Chaikin
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Kansas City
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Richard Turner also weighs the cards as part of his act. More than that, he can cut any named number of cards from the pack without adjustment. It's also highly entertaining when he does it and not a pseudo display either.
mrehula
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I think it's critical to give your audience a reason for what's happening. I've seen many performers just do tricks with no motivation, and it doesn't feel like magic, just tricks. My reasons are usually absurdly implausible, including memorizing a deck in about seven seconds, but the audience needs SOMETHING to hold onto as the magic happens. Otherwise, in my opinion, you're just confusing them.
martyjacobs
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I agree, causality is very important when performing magic. Pit Harling uses the 'orange juice' presentation because he feels this is a more honest way to present the effect. At The Session Convention this year, he explained that many people actually believed he had developed the memory skills he was demonstrating. The addition of the orange juice makes the routine more playful and allows him to state he has an average memory (without the use of orange juice). I like this approach and think it makes the effect much more enjoyable to watch; the magician is not just showing off, he is demonstrating a strange scientific phenomenon.

We often forget that this is a real skill, and many people present memory demonstrations in an unrealistic manner. A good mnemonist can memorise the correct order of a shuffled pack in less than 30 seconds (see http://www.worldmemorychampionship.com/ for information on world records). So, if you're trying to convince people you can really do this, I think you should spend more than 30 seconds looking at the faces of the cards.

Marty
martyjacobs
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More information on card memory feats can be found here:

http://www.memocamp.com/anleitungen/disziplin_karten

Marty
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