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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Fitzkee was right!! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Chris H
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Inner circle
Melbourne, Australia
1364 Posts

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I kinda knew this anyway, but just wanted to relate this story...I work at a theatre restaurant in Melbourne called "Draculas" (www.draculas.com.au <-- shameless plug). If you don't know what a theatre restaurant is, think "Jack Rabbit Slims" from Pulp Fiction and you're kinda on the right track. The difference is that we all dress up as vampires and ghouls instead of 50's rock stars. Those who live on the Gold Coast or in Melbourne, Australia will know it. It's been running in both cities for over 20 years.

Anyway, I dress up as "Dead-Elvis" every weekend, and in between spilling...I mean, serving drinks and clearing plates, I get to do a little bit of close-up magic. But I've long had a theory...

Fitzkee mentions in "Showmanship for Magicians" that anyone who does not conform to current fashion trends and attitudes is sure to be percieved as a "character". In the book, I believe he uses the example of the young guy with the beard dressed in a turban. Those of you who have read the book will know what I'm referring to.

So I have had this theory for a while that I wasn't getting strong reactions due to my appearance as a character or caricature. I only perform at work, and for loving family and friends, and always end up with the old..."yeah...cool".

So, I started a new job working in audio/visual stuff last week, and performed for some workmates today as myself, and got amazing reactions. It was great!! I performed the Colour Monte, Spectator Cuts To The Aces, and The Balducci. The reactions I got made me wanna come home and practice. Unfortunately, I couldn't because I had too much to read over for work...but I still thought about doing it!! Hehehehe!!

I'm not really expecting any replies to this post, but I just thought it was an interesting learning experience for me personally. Got a similair story? Post it. If you want. Whatever. I'm easy. Hehehehe!!

-- Topher
Matt Graves
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Special user
Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
504 Posts

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Hmmmm...maybe in a place where people dress like vampires, nothing much is surprising. Smile
Paddy
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Inner circle
Milford OH
1571 Posts

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Quote:
Fitzkee mentions in "Showmanship for Magicians" that anyone who does not conform to current fashion trends and attitudes is sure to be percieved as a "character". In the book, I believe he uses the example of the young guy with the beard dressed in a turban. Those of you who have read the book will know what I'm referring to.

And what is wrong with that? I am a full-time magician and I perform in clown makeup and costume. Look at some of the new young magi that have been influenced by a certain TV character that spends time in a glass block. They dress in ways that certainly do not conform to fashion but are still considered magicians. Good magicians too.

This is where I disagree with the book. Showmanship is presenting yourself in a manner that is entertaining and enjoyable to your audience.

Peter
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

http://www.Scho-Lan.com
Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
5389 Posts

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Magic Topher, there are probably two things at work here:

First, in your restaurant job, the reason that you aren't getting the "wow" reaction is that, dressed as you are, you (and the others) are supposed to be able to perform wonders.

Second, among your family and friends, you are not perceived as a "miracle worker" so that, when you, in fact, do miracles, you DO get the "wow" reaction.

Fitzkee was neither right nor wrong; he was simply making a true observation. Because, today, audiences are more fragmented—you can find an audience for a magus in a tux as well as a dirty T-shirt—the so-called "norm" is much broader and, therefore, magicians are much more varied in their styles.

Cheers,
Peter Marucci
Chris H
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Inner circle
Melbourne, Australia
1364 Posts

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Quote:
On 2004-02-10 22:18, Paddy wrote:

And what is wrong with that? I am a full-time magician and I perform in clown makeup and costume. Look at some of the new young magi that have been influenced by a certain TV character that spends time in a glass block. They dress in ways that certainly do not conform to fashion but are still considered magicians. Good magicians too.

This is where I disagree with the book. Showmanship is presenting yourself in a manner that is entertaining and enjoyable to your audience.

Peter



I think Fitzkee's point was that audiences aren't stupid. They don't like to be treated like fools, and they're not interested in seeing the same old tricks performed the same old way. They've seen it a hundred times before. The only generation that are interested in seeing the same tricks again and again are children. When he (Fitzkee) talks about the young man with the beard wearing the turban and "dated" tuxedo, he's talking about how this doesn't conform to modern standards. And this book was written in the 1940's!! I'm sure that full costume and clown make-up is suitable for a children's audience, but if you rocked up to a corporate event dressed like that, you'd be lucky if you weren't booed offstage.

The "magician in the box" that you mentioned is a perfect example of bringing magic into the new millenium. As much as I don't like his publicity stunts, David Blaine has done what very few magicians have been able to do. He has stripped magic of its pretentiousness and falseness. He went out on the street and performed simple magic. He didn't need elaborate patter or fake looking props to perform magic. He just did it. This is why David Blaine has been so successful in such a short space of time. If young magicians can be influenced by not his magic, but his performance style, then magic will eventually be all the better for it.

These are only my opinions, granted, but I think they're justified and well thought out. I do just as much reading into the theory of magic as I do into "learning tricks". Infact, the majority of the books on my shelf are theory books.

Not only does your magic have to be enjoyable to your audience, but it also has to be believeable and modern.

I'm sure this will get an enormous backlash from Magic Café members, but such is life. If what you're doing is working for you, stick at it. Go nutty...

-- Topher
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