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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The January 2012 entrée: David Kaye » » Do you think kid show magicians are looked down upon in the magic community? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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David Kaye
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Okay, now I have a question for you. I am doing research for an upcoming series of articles in print and I would like your opinion.

Do you think kid show magicians are looked down upon in the magic community? If so, why do you think that is?

I will have another question for you tomorrow.

Thanks for your thoughts.

David Kaye
David Kaye / Silly Billy
www.sillymagic.com
TonyB2009
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I believe they are. Magic societies are dominated by hobbiests, most of whom drift into cards and close-up. They are lousy entertainers, who need the tricks as a crutch. They work very hard on their moves, they spend hours practising sleights, and they never work sufficiently on their presentation. But in a club setting they dominate by sheer volume of numbers.

They look down on children's entertainers because of jealousy. They know most of us can take a simple trick and entertain far better than they can with their finger-flicking, and it riles them.

The big magic societies (IBM, the various forums, etc) are also dominated by the hobbiests. Publications are aimed at them rather than the professionals. The dealers know they are a soft market because they will buy the latest junk, whereas the professionals only add to their repertoire after putting some thought into the purchase. So the whole industry is geared against us.

However if it helps, I look down my nose at the close-up guys and the card men. I feel it redresses the balance.
Ken Northridge
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Its been my experience that the typical magician not only feels entertaining children is a mere stepping stone toward entertaining adults, but in the interest of taking the fast track to fame and fortune, they’ve decided to skip this step all together!

You would think that high school teachers and college professors would look down upon elementary teachers. They don’t. They know that elementary teachers are vitally important in laying down the foundation for higher learner. Furthermore, elementary teachers have much wider range of subjects to teach and must have more versatility.

For this reason I think adult entertainers should show a little more gratitude and respect toward children’s entertainers. We plant the seeds in each generation so that the love of magic can grow.



PS: Here is a thread from The Little Darlings forum that addresses this question:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......um=17&38
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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David Kaye
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Thank you both for your great responses, and for sending me that link. Excellent thoughts.

Anyone else?
David Kaye / Silly Billy
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Steven Steele
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What other magicians think doesn't really matter to me one way or another. However, I think magicians that have performed children's magic 'in the trenches' or studied the art at one point or another has an automatic respect for those who choose to do it full time. Magician's that do not have that experience often will look at children's magicians, much as the general public does.

A more interesting question for me is why, when somebody finds out I'm a magician (wearing a suit), do they assume I'm a children's magician and look down on magic automatically? That's the battle I fight most of the time.
Coram Deo
Ed_Millis
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My County Fair has a children's stage. The marquee sign above the stage has a painted picture of a guy in exaggerated Groucho Marx glasses (with nose and moustache) holding sone linking rings. This is their view of a magician on that stage.

I was working a booth at a swap meet, entertaining passersby. More than once, a mother with a babe-in-arms would come up and coo to her child: "Do you want to see the magician?" I'm not a clown, I'm not in any make-up - I have no clue what she was expecting me to do to amuse a two-year-old (or less). But she didn't obviously expect "real magic" from a kid's magician.

My greatest exposure to other magicians has been on internet forums, mostly this one. And there are those who seem to brush aside anyone who enjoys entertaining 8-and-under. You can feel the undercurrent: "Come back and talk to me when you learn some real tricks!"

I think the reason is simple: skill is valued more than entertainment by the magic community. It takes virtually no skill to work the Crystal Tube or a TT; not like it does for card and coin sleights. I know 14-year-olds who have screaming chops with cards, because they have nothing else to do but practice hours and days on end. In their YouTubes they are doing incredible stuff. But they have zero presentation, because that's not valued.

Also, few know how difficult it really is to keep a room full of small kids in hand and entertained. "Just kids."

Ed
mastermindreader
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As someone who's worked tough audiences all of my life, I have nothing but respect for kid show magicians - and any magician who understands that his primary purpose is to entertain his audience, whoever that audience happens to be.

Good thoughts,

Bob
henri loik
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I'm just a hobbyist for now (I have done a tiny bit of busking and may do some kid shows one day) and I have equal respect for kid show performers as well as magicians who perform for adults. As has been said here some kids magic may not take technical skill, but the entertainment takes skill. In my opinion David Kaye is very skilled at entertainment.
I hate card magic. Sometimes the skill for a card effect is completely unnecessary. Some card magi could get a marked deck and try to be good performers with it but instead they get the new thing from ellusionist, spend hours practicing and are completely boring with it.
Bob1Dog
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I'm a hobbyist turned infrequent performer. I've done mixed audiences, seniors and children. The only group that scares me off is teens. Of the shows I have performed, I've found the children the most fun for me to perform for. If it's fun for me I believe it transfers to the audience, at least in my limited experience. I don't look down on childrens' magicians at all.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

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Sorry, after I posted this I realized I didn't answer David's question regarding the rest of the magic community. Once agtain in my experience speaking with "working" magicians I've never heard anyone take jabs at kids' magicians. I frequent numerous forums on the Café and I don't recall any instances where kids magic is looked down on. I'm sure the put downs are out there because David has asked the question for a reason. I just haven't encountered any.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
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Professional magicians generally have respect for their peers regardless of their style, venue or target audience. We know that every act faces the same challenges and requires the same dedication. Regardless of who they are performing for, you can see the work. The moral: Put the work into your act. Don't worry what "such-and-such" subset of magicians thinks about the "other" group. Quality is its own reward.
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gr81disp
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I used to look down on kids magicians when I was a hobbyist. When I decided to go professional and work some kids shows, I realized that I was completely out of my depth because my magic was geared towards more adult audiences. The magic and presentation all has to be geared towards children and while in some respects it is easier to work kids (i.e. the coin really disappears for them as opposed to still being in the other hand) it is much much much harder to work for other reasons (audience management, and you have to be a GREAT entertainer). I still work kids shows even though I prefer to work for adults but for those who choose to work kids shows exclusively, I respect the heck out of them.
TonyB2009
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My local club is hosting a convention in a few months. The club is almost a third made up of guys who work extensively in the kids market. That is a minority (most are hobbiests) but still a big block of guys. It was a major battle to get anything included in the convention for us guys. The card guys do look down on us. Which is a pity, because they might learn how to entertain if they paid attention.
Mowee
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I agree that many look down on kid's magicians...but I think they do so because they-- I hate to use the word-- are ignorant. As TonyB noted, and I agree, the people who do this are more concerned about the latest sleight of card juggling and not, as others have said better, on entertaining. We have several kid's entertainers here in Dallas and they are all very professional and have my utmost respect. Wish I could do kids magic, but I am an adult close up guy.
JordanB
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Thanks for taking the time to answer questions on this board. I have really enjoyed your books and articles over the years.

I am a full time accountant, but have been a part time pro in the past. Most of my friends associate me with close up magic. My mentor is Bob White and most people associate him with close up magic, but many either don’t know or forget that Bob has performed school assembly programs full time for almost forty years. I could honestly say that I’ve learned as much about performing for kids from him as I have about the art of close up sleight of hand.

Many of my close-up friends are not interested in kid’s shows. I don’t know that they look down on it, although some of them certainly do, but I feel they probably look on it as something trivial or not artistic. People who deride kid’s magic as “not technical” have obviously never seen Bob do Cards Up the Sleeve, the Linking Rings, or the Malini Egg Bag. Those tricks require some serious technical skill and play really well for the kids.

I have always thought that kids were the best audience and most receptive for magic. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE doing close up magic for adults and have had some great crowds over the years, but it’s nothing like doing a kids show. I still think that kid’s shows are where the majority of the money is in magic. I know there are guys out there like Bill Malone making big bucks doing corporate work, but for every Bill Malone there are a hundred guys making a living doing birthday parties. I would wager that by and large kids shows (libraries, schools, birthday parties, etc) generate more money hand over fist than guys doing corporate work (Vegas shows excluded).

I remember reading an article years ago that interviewed Johnny Ace Palmer and talked about while he was working on his FISM close up act he supported himself doing birthday shows. He said he didn’t understand why so many close up guys pooh-poohed kids shows. It’s like the old story about Jay Marshall and the guy coming into Magic Inc saying he wanted to be a professional magician. Jay asked him what kind of kid show he had and the guy replied he didn’t do kids shows. Jay told him that he’d never make it.
TheAmbitiousCard
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One of silly billy's 10 bullet points that I most agree with is to : talk to the kids like you would adults.

I've seen a lot of clips of magic shows and I would say that in the end, this point is probably missed/ignored the most and because of that, has the magic community looking down on kids magicians.

I believe the perception is:
Kids magicians use awful puns, horrible jokes, and silly presentations that are all intellectually beneath not only adults but often the very childen they are performing for.
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David Kaye
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Frank and others,

Franks last post is what I think magicians do consider kids magicians to be. But then others previous to that post say, doing kids magic WELL is at least as difficult as any other genre. I think the summary is this -

- there definitely are kid show workers who are terrible. This makes others think kids magic is easy.
- many aspects of kids magic are difficult to master
- But these most difficult aspects are not the same aspects that make close up difficult to master, and so others don't know how to gauge kids magic.

Here is a weird analogy. Jugglers who juggle 7 balls know that spinning a plate is technically very easy. But how does a plate spinner make that easy skill be entertaining? By spinning 10 plates, by spinning a plate 15 feet in the air...? If a juggler sees a a one-plate spinner he poo-poos it. But every so often he might see a plate spinner who really rocks the place.

Am I getting close?
David Kaye / Silly Billy
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Josh Chaikin
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As a hobbyist, who uses mostly cards, I can honestly say that I have no jealousy towards a children entertainer's ability to entertain. For myself, I don't look down, solely, on a kid show magician. There are children's magicians I have seen, who are part-time workers and who are full-time professionals, that were not entertaining in the least, to me or the audience, and the handling of props was abysmal. By the same token, I can say the same thing for magicians who use cards, coins and even ropes, boxes and rings.

I think anyone in the magic community, amateur or professional, who is any bit objective at all, will be able to appreciate the work that is put into a performance by a children's entertainer. As I stated, I am a hobbyist, and I do not do children's parties, however, I have gone to lectures given by kid show magicians, including David Kaye (and even bought his book), because I feel that there is something to be learned from them.

As for magic conventions overlooking kid show magicians, and overbooking with close-up acts...that I cannot disagree with. I, for one, would like to see more variety there. I suspect the reason that this is the case is, I can really only think of a handful of children's performers whose names are known, and would draw people to a convention; on the other side of the token, TonyB2009 has shown that he has nothing but contempt for close-up performers; I'm sure others feel the same. They're not likely to go to a convention that has one children's act/lecture, while the rest are primarily close-up. They're more apt to go to something like Kidabara.

If kid show entertainers are looked down upon, there might be some who do so because they feel they're trivializing the art, more often though, it's just because there are a lot of bad ones out there (a problem with far too many genres of the art, unfortunately).

Josh
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I started out as a kid doing kids shows when I was 12 or 13.

That experience have me confidence and also a lifelong love of magic.

Kids performers hold a very sacred place in magic - many of us "hobbyists" first became interested in magic as a result of seeing magic as a kid ourselves.

When my two daughters were little I used to do magic for their classes and those are some of the best experiences a dad can have.

So I have the greatest respect for kids performers - keep up the great work!
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Mr. Pitts
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Maybe I'm just lucky, or not paying attention, or maybe we just have a nice group of magicians here, but I, for the most part, feel respected by other local magicians and often benefit from their referrals. I'm good with the little bitties, 3 and 4 year olds, that most of them don't take, so they send them my way. In these referrals I find a certain acknowledgement, sometimes spoken aloud by them, that I can do something well that they find difficult or impossible. There's the occasional magician who doesn't 'get' my humor and thinks the goofiness is somehow an insult to serious magic - perhaps there's resentment because they can't do kid shows and there's a lot of work they're missing out on. Maybe they're busting their knuckles on a perfect double-lift but nobody but other card guys appreciate it and they get annoyed with me and my stupid coloring book and roomful of laughing children. I think this kind of resentmet is fairly rare though, generally I feel appreciated and accepted for my particular skills.
David Pitts
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