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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Latest and Greatest? » » Rob Drummond Bullet Catch Show exposes levitating table (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ShirtlessKirk
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He's performing here in Charleston at Spoleto, an arts festival. I was going to see him but now I think I may pass. Show and tell no matter how entertaining you try and make it is not good theater. The rest of the show could be fantastic but exposing something based on a vote is just plain stupid. He has the right to do his show however he wants but this sounds just awful. It would be like in the middle of a movie the director explaining the workings of a special effect.
Al Desmond
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Quote:
On 2013-04-12 23:26, Chad Sanborn wrote:
Are we all not just actors playing the part of a magician? Was this same illusion not exposed to the many who bought it?
If anyone could or would do anything, it would have to be Losander. After all its his trick. But once you agree to sell it, you give up certain rights that you have to it. Its why a lot of good magic will never be sold. Nor should it be.


Do you know what's frightening... that you actually believe what you just wrote. I'm a published playright. When a theatre purchases a license to perform one of my plays, they are purchasing the rights to perform the material... as written... not to change something at their leisure. And they are licensing it as a live theatrical piece, not to be turned into a movie or to be used in some other medium.

It's why people that believe when something moves into the public domain, it becomes public domain, free to copy, distribute and do what one wants to do with the product. So we have pirating, torrents, blatant rip-offs... and exposure. That's not the case. When I license something, it moves into the public domain... but I still have rights... it's not part of the public domain.

You purchase something like a magical effect, or a play or even a paperback book... but you still do so with a responsibility to the creator. You're not free to exposed the effect, you're not suddenly given the right to modify my script... anymore than you suddenly acquire the right to scan that paperback book into a PDF document as put it on a torrent site for free distribution.

All your way of thinking does is to relieve people of their responsibilities... and you've become part of the problem.
Matt Pulsar
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I saw bullet catch Friday night in Hong Kong. Over all the show was good, but just good. He has been able to tour the world with it. And I wonder how much of the acclaim it has received is due to the magic and how much is due to the "theater". He's a nice guy, I talked to him briefly after the show. While I would never do what he did in the show, and I don't support what he did, I do understand why it works, and why he does it. He calls himself a playwrite and a creator or theater, and not a magician, but this is a lie. You can't have studied and set up to perform all that he has in a show titled "bullet catch" and not become through that process, a magician. I believe the reason he thinks he doesn't need to worry is that he will go on to other projects that are not related to magic, but are theatrical. I wonder though if he will be able to. As this show has taken him around the world.

After his show he does a Q and A, and there was a local magician who had a fit and ended his questioning by yelling at him that he was wrong to do it, asking how he would feel if all his secrets were revealed and storming off saying "SHAME ON YOU SIR!" And to the rest of the crowd it was the magician who was complaining who was in the wrong.  Drummond did answer that he would be fine with it if someone revealed the workings of his effects and secrets.  

So, I think he could have chosen something else to reveal to accomplish the goal he was after but here is what happened in the crowd and it did create a fascinating moment...

The whole show builds up to his doing a bullet catch, which, in my opinion, is kind of lacking. By the time he does it everyone is sure he will be fine, and mostly they are nervous about the loud sound of the gun.

At one point he talks about how as a child he wished he could make a table move with is mind. He talks about how he wanted to test his father's (a priest) notion that if you just BELIEVE, anything is possible. Then, he floats the table, totally a Losander table with the box and everything. His skill with the table was soso, good enough to create mystery and make everyone wonder how it was floating, but not good enough that they make the leap to feel as though it was really happening. The lighting went very dramatic during, which was helpful. It is mysterious and it fools the crowd, but it doesn't captivate as I have seen it do with other performances.  He then asked the spectator (who is on stage with him for the whole show) if they enjoyed what they just witnessed, she said yes, then he asked if she wanted to know the secret. She said yes. His questioning focuses on the why.  (I'm paraphrasing here in what I quote from what I remember) "But that completely destroys what you enjoyed, do you still want to know the secret if it completely destroys what you enjoyed?"  She thought for a second, and said "yes, I think everyone wants to know the secret"  He then says, "I'm sure many people in the audience would be fine not knowing what the secret was. Please raise your hand if you don't want to know the secret."  A bunch of people raise their hands but not the majority.  "Less than I would have thought but many."  And then he asked, if anyone could say why they don't want to know.  First a lady said "because that destroys the mystery."  To which he said "bravo, that's exactly right.  If I show you the secret, the mystery is gone". A man also gave a second reason that he didn't want to know but I don't remember what he said.  It was a good reason though.  Then he asked the audience," raise your hand if you STILL want to know the secret." And a bunch of people raised there hands.  "Wow, I think that might be more than before, alright". The lighting changed to very moody, and he takes out the case that the table goes in, opens it up and pulls out the bubble wrap.  He then slowly pulls the cloth off the table and reveals how it works, he performs the effect once without cover, the audience laughs, he dismantles the table and puts it alway.  He makes a statement at some point that magicians hate that he does this.

So...at one point after this effect he performs smash and stab with a broken beer bottle and he ends the show with a bullet catch, there are also a few very strong moments of mentalism in the show.  I think what happens here is that he is telling everyone that it's just tricks, it's just special effects.  This is his disclaimer.  By showing how one thing works he is letting everyone in on the fact that the magic in the show is not for real.  Which...I don't think is necessary.  

The thru line for the show is a story about a past magician who committed suicide elaborately through performing the bullet catch.  I actually didn't understand during the show that the magician who's story he kept referring to committed suicide, I understood it was a possibility due to the quotes he had read during his performance, but it wasn't very explicit.  I only understood that as the inspiration for the show when he talked about it after the show.  

I think a better presentation of this idea would be if he didn't get up at the end of the show after the bullet catch.  If he left that part a moment of mystery.  And personally, I think the magic effects were much stronger than the story being told, the way it was told.  The story was an inturruption of the magic at most points.  My wife's reaction was that it was a bit dry and a bit boring.  The show has the tone of a dramatic one act, with moments of magic peppered through it.  Or I could say it has magic with moments of a dry drama peppered through it.  During the q and a after, a man asked a question about the girl who was on stage from the audience.  The man thought she was a stooge.  And the problem with this is, that if she was a stooge, EVERYthing in the show would be spoiled.  She is not a stooge, but that it's not made clear makes it a loose board in the floor.  

The most intense part of the show, the part with the biggest reaction from the audience is the smash and stab.  I brought this up in the q and a after, and he agreed, and said rather wittily, "your right, but I don't think I could sell many tickets to a show called "bottle smoosh"

In the end I find what he did by revealing the workings of the table fascinating.

From the perspective of magicians I think it was unethical that he did it.  His defence on the ethics is that he is not a magician, so he has never made an oath.  If magicians want to avoid this kind of action in the future, then magicians need to learn to keep their secrets better, we need to be more underground.  Or, when someone wants to purchase such an effect or learn of our trade...I assume he studied with someone to learn everything, we need to make certain that that person takes an oath of not revealing the workings.

Personally, I'm not really negatively effected by what he did.  But I don't perform floating tables.  I think it would have made more sense if he had designed something of his own, and then revealed the workings of that.  Even another effect where something floats.  (Although, it is kind of weird that this is the only effect of this sort in the show.  Everything else is in the realm of the possible...and if you wanted to demonstrate a table moving by willing it to move, it wouldn't float around while you hold the table cloth) It is a stage show, he has a lot of control, he could use another method, not one that thousands of magicians currently use in their acts. Thousands?  Probably hundreds.

After the show while waiting for a friend I met Drummond one on one.  He was a nice guy, I told him I enjoyed his show, which I did, and we chatted about New York.  He seemed to have had a nice time there.  I wanted to create a connection.  I think it's important that we let him know that he is now part of the magic community.  If he is simply scorned by us on a whole, the outcome will be that he decide magicians are difficult and a bunch of jerks, and that he is not one of us.  He already is saying many times in his show, "I'm not a magician I'm a creator of theater". I had the biggest problem with this.  If he sees that he is part of a group now, he will better see that he has some ethical responsibilities to others.  In the show is says "magicians hate that I do that." We need him to see that, like it or not, he is a magician too.
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1KJ
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I think the biggest problem with this is that this IS NOT HIS effect to reveal. The routine that P&T exposed on their show was something very unique they created. They had every right to expose their own creation.

For exposing something that isn't his, Rob is a TOTAL LOSER!

Rob who? Never heard of him. must be some loser.

kj
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Sounds like he was going for the Penn & Teller moment where at the beginning of the show Teller escapes from a box. They tell the audience they will show them how it is done, but the choice of exposure is theirs. They can close their eyes or watch, but the exposure of the secret then will all be up to them. They then perform it so you can see how it is done. Many keep their eyes closed, they do not want to know, still more watch and expose it to themselves. The idea, agree with it or not is that the audience is exposing the secret, not them. Seems in the above case mentioned, the performer forced exposure even on those who did not want it and exposed a secret many other magicians used, different in both moments from the P&T piece. I have not seen the above show in context so just commenting upon comments made.

here is the trailer for his bullet catch.

http://youtu.be/gmxxiOSjYas

article about his show and a video that shows the smash and stab, bullet catch and table lev.
http://www.timeout.com/london/theatre/ar......et-catch
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Paul S Wingham
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I actually think there are worse things to expose than a floating table. Here's my thinking. For me; the beauty of a well performed floating table routine is the bit the performer does. By that I mean that even when you know how its done; its still nice to watch. In some ways; understanding the method gives you a deeper respect for the performer, who makes it look elegent and magical.

Lets by honest; as with all levitating effects, the general public know its one of two things. Something holding it up or something pushing it up.

I'm not saying I neccessrily support exposure but it could be worse.
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"could be worse"

Well it could be better too, I honestly do not like the "it could be worse" argument to excuse bad behaviour. So I steal a candy, could be worse I could have robbed a bank, I rob a bank, could be worse I could have murdered someone, I murder someone, could be worse could have murdered the whole family. Where do we begin and where is the line it ends before it gets silly as in this example?

This exposure will not hurt us in time but it does not help us. Why? Is the real question, what it the real point? Would it be okay for me to stand outside Macy's with a sign saying Santa is not real? Magicians state they are doing tricks, not like a John Edward who prostitute our art therefore I see Edward as morally despicable and I find it okay to expose him but wrong to expose a magician.

I am not saying this exposure angers me, I am saying why, what is the theatrical aspect of it? And is it his to expose? These are the questions to ask ourselves. A good debate on this is healthy, names and anger are not. Paul, I fully agree the beauty is a major part of the art... but when people see the Losander Table, they often gasp and say, "how the hell?" Even if they know something is holding it up, they do not know how. That is the beauty sometimes of great magic, that even though they know it can not be real, it looks real. Great magic looks real and that sets it above crappy magic. This also by my way the definition of the difference between mentalism and mental magic, and usually, almost always it is the performer. Mentalism look psychic even with disclaimers, mental magic looks like a trick.
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Jamie Ferguson
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I don't like the "it could be worse" argument Paul S Wingham puts forward either. It's a naive position to take.

Give an inch and they'll end up taking a mile.

A zero tolerance approach is needed. Secrets are the lifeblood of our art. Let's not give even the simplest away.
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Paul S Wingham
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How's it naive? It happened its done; it cant be undone. I'm not saying I encourage this sort of thing or like to see magic exposed but my point remains. Some tricks are all about the secret. For instance; take a coin unique. Its a cool trick but as soon as you know the method you are left with little else. With the floating table you at least can gain a level of enjoyment even after you know its method. Sure; you'll appreciate it in a different way but at least it can be enjoyed on some level.

On that basis it could be worse if a trick that was as well used as a floating table but whoes method was everything was revealed. I'd prefer tricks werent exposed and I'm not saying its good in anyway. In fact its bad. In the same way that murdering one person is better than a whole family. That doesn't make it good; especially when the alternatives are so despicable.

As for him being morally despicable. We'll have to Agree to disagree on that definition. I find that bloke who held the Café hostage morally despicable. I find adults that harm children morally despicable. I find a lot of terrible things that happen morally despicable but none of them relate to magic tricks being revealled. Again; I'm not saying its a good thing to do or the right thing to do; but to return to my original point; there are many worse things a person can do than reveal the workings of a magic trick.
Paul S Wingham
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All that said; I'm curious as to how we can take a zero tolorence approach? What would that involve?
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For the record...it's spelled playwright.
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Ray Haining
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I'm always amazed how people are willing to give Penn and Teller a pass, that their exposure of tricks is somehow different, somehow "artistic," on and on, ad nauseam. They started this whole exposure thing.
Paul S Wingham
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Quote:
On Dec 15, 2014, Ray Haining wrote:
I'm always amazed how people are willing to give Penn and Teller a pass, that their exposure of tricks is somehow different, somehow "artistic," on and on, ad nauseam. They started this whole exposure thing.


Many magicians are very fickle and will rarely speak out against big names in the industry. I don't suppose penn and teller really care given their huge success.
professorwho
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Quote:
On Dec 15, 2014, Ray Haining wrote:
I'm always amazed how people are willing to give Penn and Teller a pass, that their exposure of tricks is somehow different, somehow "artistic," on and on, ad nauseam. They started this whole exposure thing.

I could be mis remembering but I'm sure Penn and Teller got a lot of stick for revealing methods to start with.
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Ray Haining
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Yeah, now they are superstars of magic, but they "made it" by setting themselves apart from other magicians by being exposers.

The first time I heard of them, someone said to me, "Have you seen Penn and Teller's show [on Broadway]? They're different than other magicians. They tell you how the tricks are done!"

But what is really irritating is how people go through all kinds of contortions to justify their exposure, but will rail against, say, the masked magician. They're one and the same, as far as I am concerned, using exposure to get attention, and PT started it all.
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Here is your fundamental problem guys: http://bit.ly/1AhLjZL
In the rush to sell more tricks, creators & dealers with easy to find, not really password protected websites, people keen to show how knowledgeable they are and even the fact ANYONE can see this thread on The Magic Café have made this PERFORMER'S decision to explain something in his show utterly irrelevant to the issue of exposure.

Everything is just a quick Google away.

Want to stop exposure? Hide the websites hawking the stuff.
Paul S Wingham
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Very good point suffolk. Apparently selling magic is fine; magicians just get uppety when its given away.
Banachek
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Paul, sorry, no if's and but's... John Edward is "Morally Despicable",, when someone takes advantage of people in the most vulnerable moment of their life for their own selfish means, I find it that way and see him and his Ilk as scum. I think you misunderstood who I was talking about in that thread. Mediums like Edward do so much damage. Anyway, I have discussed this elsewhere and do not want to hijack this thread.
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Suffolk
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I agree. John Edwards, Colin Fry, Psychic Sally - all morally despicable.
Paul S Wingham
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Fair point. I don't know john edwards but incorrectly thought this drummond chap was morally despicable. Apologies.
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