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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Can you be a magician and mentalist?? (127 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mastermindreader
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How about introducing yourself and telling us a bit about your background before answering questions and giving us your pennies. Smile
John C
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Quote:
On Jun 17, 2016, Desolate Ruin wrote:
To answer the question and give my two cents: Yes, one can be a magician and a mentalist.
But it needs to be done artfully and carefully, without breaking the premise or flow of performance.


Alright then. Problem solved. Thread over.

Thank you Mr Ruin.
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Ray Pierce
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If only we had read that earlier he could have saved us 5 pages of useless palaver.
Ray Pierce
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SolidSnake
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You can be a magician and a mental magic magician but not magician and mentalist. A magician is someone who tries to fool his audience with tricks , a mentalist is someone who demonstrates unique mental phenomenon and doesn't ever do tricks. Trying to be both just diminishes the mentalism. Stop trying to be both : if you are happy being a magician and want to do tricks then be a magician.
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Mindpro
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Of course this is correct, but it seems some magicians still have trouble understanding this. My question is what's wrong with them just being magicians? Is that not enough for them any more? Why this insistence and infatuation with mentalism (seriously)?
MagicalEducator
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Quote:
On Jun 18, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
Of course this is correct, but it seems some magicians still have trouble understanding this. My question is what's wrong with them just being magicians? Is that not enough for them any more? Why this insistence and infatuation with mentalism (seriously)?


"Of course this is correct". Sounds so final and prescriptive. How does one know that this applies to all performing situations or performers? The answer "of course" is we don't. You seem to further contend that if one doesn't then You must be a "magician" who has an infatuation with mentalism. I suppose one could also argue what's with all these mentalists trying to be hypnotists? Aren't their little tricks enough for them? Why do they need to be infatuated with hypnotism, NLP, etc? The phrase used by the previous post uses the wording "little tricks" which suggests that magic is a lesser art in comparison. As soon as folks start using absolutes my BS meter starts to activate and wonder well why not? The next comments will be that I must be a magician to say such a thing and that I don't know better. Then I suppose cries of who is this heretic and why can't I see his profile? But why attack the character? Is it because he disagrees with you? Hmmm. The final comments will invariably be that this is just further evidence of the end of mentalism and the free world as we know it. It's being trivialized by being in the same act/show. Careful...you got some magic on you! All of which are not very complimentary to magic or magicians. The final denouement will be to ask thoughtfully "What's with all of these flamers?" Remember a flamer can be loosely defined as anyone who doesn't agree with your opinion about mentalism, mental magical or those who do their little tricks. All sounds a lot like Gob from Arrested Development who fights valiantly for his art through the Alliance.

Jeff
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Mindpro
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I must say I disagree with almost everything you said in that post. As much as you may choose to disagree (an opinion) and choose the "artistic" mentality of "everything is subjective and open to personal interpretation," that is very limited thinking from only one sunjective perspective (in this example, your own) which is that of the performer. The primary perspective is and has always been that of the recipient (audience) and the hiring entity, the client (who is paying for it).

They will and likely do not see everything with the artistic liberties that seem to drop into each of your perspectives. I believe this is why other members have questioned you "teaching/educating" and your "performance" history as they have in recent threads. I sat back and just observed but I do see this element in every post in those threads.

You have to be blind not to see the trend and points that I, Bob and many others here have referenced here that are made as they are on nearly every thread here and in IT. They are coming from magicians that have difficulty understanding the differences between magic and mentalism,. I explained this perfectly in detail in the IT thread thanks to E.E. post. I have also said repeatedly there is nothing wrong with being a magician. They should accept it, embrace it and be proud, rather than be so infatuated with mentalism, ESPecially if it is something they truly do not understand and don't get (the actual and foundational differences).

It really is quite simple. It only gets complicated when the one-sided (as referred to above) and artistic mentalities come into play with the rebel attitude of "you can do anything you want" and "there are no rules." This only seems to digress the discussion while driving many away.

You staetment " Remember a flamer can be loosely defined as anyone who doesn't agree with your opinion about mentalism, mental magical or those who do their little tricks" is not at all the definition of flaming or flamers. There are plenty here with different or opposing opinions that are not flaming.

Btw, I have not seem any inkling of a trend of mentalists coming over to hypnosis. Again, I strongly disagree and have no idea where you got that one from.

Also I asked a legitimate question at the end of the last post of...My question is what's wrong with them just being magicians? Is that not enough for them any more? Why this insistence and infatuation with mentalism (seriously)?

Please don't derail this discussion as I would genuinely like to hear the answer form some of these magicians.
MagicalEducator
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Thanks for answering thoughtfully Mindpro but we do agree to disagree. It becomes very subjective because it's a performance art and not a performing science. Bob himself tells us that the only rule is that there are no rules. He further goes on to state that we must understand these "rules" before we can start breaking them. It all gets more complicated but in the end I would assert that it's the performer that makes these choices and not the audience. I decide what impact/emotion/message I want to share through my art. I'm wise to heed who my audience is but they don't fully dictate the artistic vision that I have of my work. Do I have want laughter, applause, stunned silence, sadness, discomfort or? These are the choices that I wonder about as I develop a piece for my shows.

Jeff
Voted "Canada's Most Inspirational Magician"
Check out my column
"Magic is Education" @
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JackMagic
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Quote:
On Jun 16, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
Is he?


Clearly if you have watched the Scryer Project he is very knowledgable

Or maybe you have never heard of Scryer ?
Artie Fufkin
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Quote:
On Jun 18, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
My question is what's wrong with them just being magicians? Is that not enough for them any more? Why this insistence and infatuation with mentalism (seriously)?

I'll be serious (for a change), and I'm definitely not responding to you personally in my comments ... even though I use the word "you" for clarity and convenience.

A question like this first presumes that "you" have the authority to ask it.

"You" don't.

In the broadest of terms, nobody "owns" mentalism, and no one person can (or should) presume that they can influence the vetting process as to who can, and who can't delve into Mentalism for their own purposes.

I happen to think the definitive answer to the OP's question is "Absolutely not", you can't be a Magician and a Mentalist because the optics of both (the image you wish to put out there) are like chalk and cheese.
They're so different in their demeanor, their thinking, and their intent as to be the same as asking if you can be a Professional Race Card Driver and a Magician ... you can be, but they have nothing to do with each other, and therefore the question becomes one of simply "well ... what do you want your life experience to look like?"

I do believe that Magicians seriously dilute the essential secrets of Mentalists, but Mentalists continue to market their tricks and books at places like Penguin, and they continue to vie for "Trick of the Year" here on the Café, and guys like me (not a magician per see, but a Gambling and Card persona) read the Magic Café and see things like the devastatingly brilliant Tequila Hustler, see the potential to tap into that amazing thinking to apply to Magic (in my case, Tequila Hustler becomes a story about Poker Tells), and YES, there I am diluting super-powerful foundational thinking as it applies to mentalism, and using it in a gambling magic trick.

Am I evil or deluded for doing so? ... I don't think so.
Do I disrespect mentalists (despite my giving them stick for trying so hard for "trick of the year" Smile ) ... Nope, I admire their craft profoundly.
But there it was ... Tequila Hustler ... waiting for me to buy on the Penguin Store (in fact it's been the #1 or #2 purchase for the past few weeks).

Not sure what the answer is, but asking why magicians can't just "stay in their lane" certainly isn't one of them.

I would posit that the main elements that would result in the change that some mentalists seem to want to achieve would be the departure of mentalists from magic forums, and the concentration of mentalists in something like your PEA forums.
If you continually hold your discussions, market your products, and then make those products available in online magic stores ... you will continue to attract Magicians like flies.

As long as the roughly 30 mentalists who post here in Penny continue to hold their discussions in front of 63,310 magicians here on the Café, those magicians will continue to become entranced with some of the core ideas in the mentalism process, and will continue to eagerly purchase your mentalism effects from Penguin Magic as you continue to release them in great numbers to the public at large.
As magicians would 100% be expected to do ... they will then perform those mentalism effects as mental-magic, or worse ... as a straight up magic trick.

Personally, I enjoy reading the Penny and Inner forums, and would hate to see them dry up ... but to be blunt, reading those Mentalism forums has taught me a great deal about the secrets behind the mentalism process ... secrets I'd not (as a magician) have ever even known existed if Mentalists hadn't been openly discussing them here on what is essentially a Magic and Magicians message board.
And it has taught me about mentalism effects I can purchase, and then re-pupose for my own uses ... or worse (in terms of this discussion) that I can buy strictly to satisfy my curiosity as to method.

As long as Mentalists feel compelled to hold their most detailed discussions in front of Magicians, Magicians will respond with their wallets and their opinions, and they will continue to buy and use Mentalism effects in their Magic shows.
Tony Iacoviello
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Artie:

I don't take the discussion as to who can perform what, but more as generally, if you perform magic material with mentlism material, audiences will see the act as magic.

In my experience, I can name a few show type exceptions, spirit theater (for lack of a better term), and some bizarre magic mixes well with aspects of psychic entertainment.

On the subject of notable performers mixing both. Kreskin and Dunninger are/were known for who they are/were, they transcend(ed) what they did/do. My opinion, of course.


Tony Iacoviello
mastermindreader
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Artie-

You make some good points, but you should note that over 80% of my written works, lectures, etc. is theory.

If so many magicians are flocking to buy my stuff, I have to wonder why they're not reading it. Because if they were, they wouldn't be diluting mentalism the way they do.
Artie Fufkin
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***Extended post warning***

Bob, I think the answer to your question is that Magicians generally scour forums, books, and DVD's looking for things to add to their magic shows! ... and when they're not looking for things to add to their magic shows, they're simply looking for methods, gaffs and gimmicks to fulfill their desire to know how things are done ... to simply "know the secret" as it were.

There's a good chance that Magicians reading your books simply gloss over the basic foundational concepts you talk about, and keep looking for secrets that result in effects like (for example) Tequila Hustler.

Which is also likely why most magicians have at one time owned a copy of 13 Steps, and then (I'd bet) turned around and sold it right after they'd read it.
They were after secrets and instead got the core principals of mentalism, after they got them, they realized they'd never use them, and then chose to unload the book.

The same likely applies to your books, although your books have much more substance in them, so they are just as likely to remain on the Magicians bookshelf after reading the same way a magic book would.
From personal experience, I sold my copy of 13 Steps, but I've had two of your books on my shelf for many years.

And some of that Mentalism theory Magicians seek out is foundational to the art of Mentalism, and that theory can comprise some pretty tasty secrets for Magicians to acquire (see Tequila Hustler again for an example), but unfortunately because that information IS foundational, for a Magician to take it and use it in a magical way becomes part of the dilution of the Mentalism art form.

And Magicians WILL use Mentalism secrets in their magic shows, whether its because the effect is easy to acquire as a complete purchase from an online magic store, or simply because it's a powerful principal that can be repurposed for a Magician.

Personally, I believe that although I definitely dilute a Mentalism secret when I exercise my own take on it as a demonstration of Poker Tells, and have created a detailed story of Daniel Negreanu (as I demonstrate my card work to hardened Poker players, they know he's a multiple World Champion) and his uncanny ability to read other players at the Poker table ...I also believe that even though I dilute a Mentalism secret, I also mask any and all traces of that secret back to Mentalism (because I never imply I'm reading minds or influencing behavior) ... but it's still a core principal of Mentalism that I'm using, and I definitely DO NOT have the skills or demeanor of a Mentalist.

Therefore it's dilution by definition, but dilution nonetheless.

Tony, I couldn't agree more. That was also my point.
It doesn't matter if I (as a Magician even though I never use that word myself, and portray a card hustler instead) answer "yes" to the question, implying that I can do both ... the answer is always "no"! nobody can do both.

Not because they're unable or too unskilled to do both, and not because free people living in the U.S.A. can pretty much do whatever their heart desires ... but simply because it's fundamentally impossible for an audience to see you as a Mentalist once you show them a single magic trick.

To them you're now on P+T's "Fool Us" and you're definitely a Magician.
But because they saw a video, or a live performance of an ACTUAL Mentalist performing essentially the same thing, therein lies the diluting of Mentalism.

IMO the core of the issue is simple:
For Mentalists this is a classic win/lose situation. There is no upside to their interaction with Magicians, and the damage done to the art and craft of Pure Mentalism is potentially profound.

For Magicians, they are the "win" component of the win/lose situation. They get new, sometimes powerful material, and the art and craft of Magic is strengthened through repurposing Mentalism principals and repurposing them as magic.

Both communities are relatively small, with Mentalism being much smaller than magic.
Because those communities are small, I can see the temptation to exercise detailed discussions and highlight the joys of Mentalism with folks who come from a different place than Mentalists do ... in this case, Magicians.
Heck, I could posit that it's a bit of an ego boost to actually BE a Pure Mentalist and be able to espouse that fact directly to those who may be most guilty of diluting Mentalism ... again, Magicians.

And so here you are. Communicating on the Magic Café, doing most of it in the very public Penny forum rather than the more remote (and unsearchable) I.S., and what happens is indeed exactly what I note above ... Magicians visit Penny, interact, troll for ideas, hunt for secrets, and otherwise treat Penny like any other forum on the Café (sometimes to the dismay of the Mentalists who essentially invite them in by holding those detailed discussions in front of 63,000 Magicians).

BUT! ... occasionally, occasionally ... you'll get a Magician who will visit Penny, then stop, proceed slowly, purchase books like Bob's and 13 Steps ... and join you as one of your own.

And therein lies the reason (perhaps) that those Pure Mentalists posting here don't want to disappear in into the almost impossible to access PEA forums, and why they prefer to exercise their communications in a more high profile location (the Magic Café).
Most new Mentalists, those who chose not to be Magicians and who seek the art and craft of Pure Mentalism indeed come from the world of magic.

... But with that high profile comes the downside we speak of in this thread, and there's no fix for it under the present conditions of open and accessible communication, and mass marketing of profoundly foundational Mentalism principals on popular online magic stores.

All the above my own opinion of course, and from a Magicians perspective.
And so the sometimes uncomfortable marriage of magic and mentalism continues moving forward, some might even say it thrives!
IAIN
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Sometimes its kinda funny when if you try to discuss anything a little different or left of centre on here, a certain percentage and mindset almost sneer at you for trying...yet! do anything even vaguely similar to what people are exposed to on tv (from the talent shows, to dynamo, to criss angel, whoever else) and they say "oh, so can you do what so-and-so does then? show me that?") - so there's a strange kind of push-me-pull-you reaction going on...

i found what mindpro said interesting, though I may have read it wrongly - but it read to me that its hinting at meeting (and then exceeding) the audience/client's expectations, rather than presenting yourself as "you" (the way you want to) and then finding your market/audience... could be wrong, I'm ill at the moment, so steroids and medicines might be messing with me (for asthma and a virus I should add)...

and there's the "artist's vision" too, and what that person wants to communicate...

and I think that if you did absolutely ANYTHING like what was successful on the recent AGT/BGT shows, but want to present it as mentalism, then I do think that to a degree, people will join up the dots, even just a little, and draw parallels to what thy remember from the shows...whether that's a good or bad thing is obviously down to the individual...

i also think that magicians should take pride in being one, and explore what they can do and where they can take it, and seek new directions to go with that skillset...because mixing of the two has been done to death already (deliberately and unintentionally) - so move it onwards...find a new way...

i'm surprised that the tv series The Magicians hasn't been mentioned more often, as its like an urban 18R version of Harry Potter...been enjoying the series in a weird way, especially as I hate harry potter...its probably the women in the show to be honest...oh and the two books that mated...

i also think that people are too quick to mention those who are very successful and say "well, look at HIM! He does xyz, and he is loved! So why can't I do it?!" - the simple answer is because you're not him...probably no where near as talented, inspired, hard working, nor with a team behind them and mentors and contacts either...so, start with the foundations and build up a solid spine, understand all those things that go into it first...
NEW - ECCE LOQUOR - how to read anything
http://www.lulu.com/shop/iain-dunford/ecce-loquor/paperback/product-24204371.html

BIG SALE ON...no code needed...
Decomposed
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Just did a gig, otw to another. Crap, did Sugar Rush for some kids outside. I explained the difference though, and told them I normally do not do magic anymore. Knocked adults out inside with some good wonder worker routines but still.....feeling somewhat guilty now.


Where did Slim go to? Smile
Ed_Millis
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I got a chance to finish the Cassidy/Osterlind lecture (on Penguin, no less!). I loved the way this topic was discussed and dissected. And in front of a bunch of magicians, most of whom probably knew what was going on, the presentations were solid mentalism. Listening to the discussions made it so abundantly clear that there is so much history and background to mentalism that the average "mentalist" never bothers with - which is probably why they stay average, and Bob and Richard are not!

Ed
Slim King
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Quote:
On Jun 17, 2016, Desolate Ruin wrote:
To answer the question and give my two cents: Yes, one can be a magician and a mentalist.
But it needs to be done artfully and carefully, without breaking the premise or flow of performance.

Thank you!!!!!!
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Bill Cushman
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Slim, Decomposed only invoked your name once. Play by the rules, you know that your not allowed here until it is uttered there times in succession. Smile
Slim King
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Quote:
On Jun 18, 2016, Bill Cushman wrote:
Slim, Decomposed only invoked your name once. Play by the rules, you know that your not allowed here until it is uttered there times in succession. Smile

My bad.... Been too busy to count lately....
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
jonnyboy
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Mindpro asks why magicians just can't be magicians anymore? I believe there are a number of reasons why magicians want to perform mentalism, or at least be perceived as doing so.
First, mentalism may seem to be much easier to do than coin magic or card magic. Especially with some of the wonderful toys that allow very clean presentations with little or no technical expertise needed. Instant mentalist!
Second, mentalism can play to a much larger crowd than some traditional magic disciplines.
Third, many mentalism effects have the classic "pack small, play big" advantages.
Fourth, it is very hard to make up your own card effects, coin effects, big box illusions, etc. I think it is relatively easier to come up with an original premise for a mentalism effect that uses a standard technique.
Fifth, and this is serious, mentalism is considered sexy right now. That is quite apparent from the large number of magicians trying to incorporate mentalism effects into their acts.
Sixth, magicians don't really care about keeping mentalism pure, unlike many mentalists. They don't care about the labels being attached to what they do. To them, a mental effect is a magical effect, whether the mentalism community considers it to be mental magic or mentalism.
Seventh, mental effects allow a magician to perform something that just seemingly has no explanation whatsoever. As with most good mentalism effects (and maybe all true mentalism effects), there are no props used that even remotely look like a gimmick. With most magician effects, there is suspicion on everything he uses, including cards ("are those trick cards?"), obvious props like boxes, tubes, etc. And for the most part, the spectators are right to suspect, even if they can't figure out exactly how something works. Mentalism effects, by contrast, provide a magician with a potential purity that is very difficult to achieve otherwise.

This is my earnest effort to answer your query, Mindpro. I'm sure others will disagree with many of these, or may have additional reasons they can enumerate.

John
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