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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Mainstream magician vs Bizarrist (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

cirrus
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Hello everybody,
I have been to a performance off some people in the magic club I'm in, and... well. Is it me or are bizarrists more looking for a real experience in magic? I see bizarre magic as theater-magic. Making every piece of magic seem real. I take a kind of mentalist look into magic and don't proof anything. If I could do real magic, would I proof that something was real and I made it vanish and appear under a cup (as an example).
I don't love trickster-magicians. Magicians that do magic only to inflate their ego, not to make magic the center stage, but to make them center stage.
Jon_Thompson
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I like bizarre magic because it has a feeling of crossing the line into what might be real, and reality is always more of a thrill.
PROF BC
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Cirrus, you hit the nail squarely on the head. One reason I have stayed out of magic clubs and as far away from magicians in general as I can is this tendency they have to perform 'tricks.' Most magic is performed like a stunt or visual puzzle wherein the magician dares the audience to figure out how he did it.

Bizarrists, those who are doing true bizarre magic, look to take the audience on a trip into the world of the unknown. Through storytelling, atmosphere, and persona (not to mention a generous helping of theatre) we invite our spectators to believe, however briefly, that there is a world far larger than the one in which we live.

Producing a bunny from a beanie doesn't quite take one to the same place.
Phasmologist
dmkraig
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Like many here, I started doing tricks. Little gimmicky devices, then cards and coins, then small boxes, then bigger boxes.
I came to the conclusion, for myself, that what I was doing wasn't very...magical. It was just tricks. The ultimate form of this seemed to be the sucker trick. Get your audience screaming until you prove they are clueless. Do it with a good sense of humor and they love being fooled. But is that all I wanted to do? Fool people? I wanted to do more...and with the costs of travel, do more with less.

So I started to do mentalism. But for me, mentalism, as presented today in catalogs and in performance, is just stupid. Why do I have a little black bag with five weird-looking plastic cylinders? Why put a billet in one and put all of the things back into the bag? If I can read your mind, why don't I just do it? There was too much rigamarole. Why would I have (or why did I make) this strange-looking wooden frame to which I clip 5 colored ribbons? Where did I get the clip and ribbons and why did I come up with this.

So I started moving toward the concept of having a reason for doing each effect. There is a purpose for the presentation, a behind-the-scenes story that united everything. The story and purpose determines choice of effects rather than having a bunch of short, unconnected stories. I could tell the story of a haunted house, or try to contact the spirit of Aleister Crowley, or see if we could find ghosts right where we are.

I liked doing this. And then I found out it's called "bizarre." A name for what I do and a community.

Kewl.

Some people like doing hippy-hop rabbits and making kids scream and laugh. Good on them! I want to have people shudder before they go to sleep, saying to themselves, "It was just a show. It was just a show. But what if...?"
cirrus
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I hated it that people always tried to figure out my magic, and now that I have the bizarre frame of mind, I can make everything more magical. I do perform a cups and balls, but it looks more magical, because I stopped overproving everything.

I now am planning a wicca-show, and almost completed it. One of the last pieces is underway to belgium. I just hate to see how magic has trivialized and now I know how the founders of bizarre magic must have felt. I won't make my magic trivial and will show them how magic can be presented, maybe educate them a little.
billappleton
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Mainstream magic has a philosophical problem. What is magic? For me the answer is that magic is an anachronism. Something Thurston used to do and Lance Burton still does: a top hat with canes and doves. So magic has lost its roots in the modern context and is now some kind of historical recreation. Just watch the Ellusionist crowd try to make it hip and trendy. Mentalism has a related problem. Why is it magic? Why is it magic to know what someone else is thinking? My kids just assume this is true, and I haven't tried to dissuade them.

What I really like about Bizarre is that it harkens back to the root of magical experience prior to parlor tricks, and people instinctively get that. Trying to contact the dead, or cast a spell, or see the future. So in a way Bizarre Magic sidesteps the philosophical problem of modern magic because we are purposely presenting an anachronism, no question about that, and the performance taps into an older system of psychological beliefs and archetypes. Even though the methods of mentalism are sometimes employed the results are often more mysterious in a supernatural context. A great example of this is the Luna book test, where you aren't reading the spectators mind so much as working together to see events in the dark past.
Wizard of Oz
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I can't do any better than PROF BC on explaining the attraction of bizarre magic. His explanation sums it up wonderfully.

I do however think there is merit to presenting the right magic/mentalism piece with the right props. There's probably a good reason why the words "apparatus" and "effect" have become so well-used in the magic lexicon. My guess - without doing further research - is that perhaps magic/mentalism was initially presented as a kind of experiment to achieve an effect, much like a chemist needs certain apparatus to achieve a desired reaction. That said, I'm not saying that this same logic can apply toward pulling silks out of a change bag, but it can apply to a lot of mentalism presentations where you are not claiming to have overt powers, but more subtle incarnations that are demonstrated under controlled circumstances using specific apparatus assembled for the experiment. A book test for example, allows you to prove your special abilities through the help of visual aids, i.e. books, that allow you and your participant to concentrate in a controlled situation.

I think ultimately, it comes down to presentation. Only in the right hands and with the right words, does a trick become magic.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
afinemesh
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I too, started out as a "magician" (mostly cards). And, I still perform and am a big fan of the cups and balls (an effect that is very, very old). I have also had the pleasure of seeing, learning, studying and being friends with a few very excellent magicians; some I'm still in contact with, and some that are no longer with us. The wealth of knowledge I learned from these folks make me the kind of mentalist/bizarrist I am today. And, NONE of these "magicians" performed (or perform) in a pretentious manner, appear "gimmicky" or insult their participants.

I defend (some) magician's because, if we (as bizarrists) simply sit in the comfort of our little cyberspace conversations and share opinions about what's wrong with the "other guys", IMO we miss a lot. I'm not challenging anyone's experience, because I wasn't there. I'm just saying we should be careful when we want to characterize all (magicians) into a group that they don't belong to.
"I've always been mental, I'm sure of it" Boris Pocus Smile


"Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny". . .Bruce Springsteen
cirrus
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The magicians I saw yesterday weren't magicians in my eyes. As I have said, I have roots in ritual magic and I saw a man portray merlin in a cape and pointy hat with stars. A guy with a wig with a blue box with bugs bunny. There was a guy who did manipulation and to my annoyance (and my fiancéé's) kept showing his hands empty after every move.

I never challenge my audience, I never insult their intelligence. I am not insulting all magicians, but those that are not worthy of the title, those who haven't studied the roots of magic. Those who don't know to make it more then a mere puzzle. magic should be magic, not mere tricks or puzzles.
afinemesh
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Your response tells me you REALLY didn't read my post. Stretch your mind out, young man!
"I've always been mental, I'm sure of it" Boris Pocus Smile


"Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny". . .Bruce Springsteen
cirrus
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You are right, Afinamesh, I'm sorry. But it still gives us the learning experience off who we don't want to be.
afinemesh
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Now that makes sense! Smile
All I'm saying is, ALL magicians aren't bad BECAUSE they're magicians and ALL bizarrists aren't great because they're bizzarists.
So, what we desire to perform here (whether it's kids magic, mentalism or bizarre) isn't the issue; it's the performer, right?
"I've always been mental, I'm sure of it" Boris Pocus Smile


"Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny". . .Bruce Springsteen
cirrus
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And these performers were bad. I can tell you that. I have a lot to learn also, but these were supposed to be full members of the club. I could have jumped on stage and have done a better job.
Godzilla
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Cirrus,when you say club,is this a Ring?
You will find 90% of a Ring,does magic.
You are probably one in a few that is into bizarre there. Just use it all for learning!
What you do,will not have all that great of appeal to the magicians.
The performer,as been stated before,is what makes the magic happen!
And,if you saw everyone doing bizarre,you would be in search of another outlet! Maybe a magician or clown!
I prefer the bizarre,but what is greater in entertainment to the masses?

Besides Lady Gaga! Smile

We all need to just respect each other on choices!

~G
"If you watch Godzilla backwards, it's about a big ass lizard who helps rebuild a half burnt-down city, then moonwalks back into the ocean"
afinemesh
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Spoken like a fellow "old guy", Gary.
"I've always been mental, I'm sure of it" Boris Pocus Smile


"Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny". . .Bruce Springsteen
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