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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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Sudo Nimh
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On Mar 29, 2019, Mr Salk wrote:
This hearkens to the ageless debate about sellouts. Bands like U2 and Green Day traded their angry insightful-rebellion for Pop and Cash.
Then the old fans on the couch are miffed that they "Ain't doing it right".


Yes, that's a good point. I can personally vouch for that. There's a musical group I've been listening to since the 80's who have been touring and producing albums all the way up until 2017 after their vocalist/songwriter passed away from a brain tumor. Over the years, they matured - as did their sound and musical skills. I heard a lot of old fans bad-mouthing their newer work starting around the mid 90's and it went on right up until the very end. Sad, really, because I appreciated all of their music and saw the progression for what it was.

The old wisdom about the tree comes to mind here: "It is only the old tree who refuses to bend with the winds of change that breaks." In that regard, Derren Brown is the best thing to happen to Mentalism in a very long time. Not everything he does is pure Mentalism either. For example, remember the old stunt of driving the nail into his nose with a hammer? And that shoe box routine he performs that I mentioned earlier comes straight out of standard magic. He simply used a psychological presentation and changed the apparatus to a shoe box. Truly wonderful thinking. That silly little song that he plays in that routine is etched into my head - it's so ridiculous and funny.

Look at the audience's faces. I'm sure they're all thinking "I don't like this - it's too much like mental magic."

Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

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Sudo Nimh
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On Mar 29, 2019, Mr Salk wrote:
You've crossed the fence. Inconsistency is exactly the issue many mentalists have with magical interludes.
At best it dilutes the strength of the mentalist aspects the show. At worst it poisons the entire pool.


I don't believe I have crossed any fence. Again - I'll use the "nail in the nose" routine as an example of what I'm driving at. (Pun intended) That routine is not "Mentalism" per se, neither is walking across broken glass with bare feet. Derren has done both of these - among others. However, they are completely consistent with his character and interests. I'm not really sure where the confusion is coming from because I thought my position was rather clear. I may be misinterpreting your meaning or vice-versa.

That said, I don't think there's anything wrong with a performer mixing Mentalism and Magic together - if that's what they want to do. Audiences don't really care about these things. You know what they're really looking for? In the words of Jim Morrison: "Something sacred". I don't judge performers based on material choice. I judge them soley based on their abilities to entertain.

These others who moan and complain about those who do mix, do so out of an irrational fear. Their time would be better spent improving their own shows rather than worrying about what everyone else is doing or not doing. A show is a show. Unless one doesn't have a show. In which case, what are they even worried about?
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

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Mr Salk
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Quote:
On Mar 29, 2019, Sudo Nimh wrote:
These others who moan and complain about those who do mix, do so out of an irrational fear. Their time would be better spent improving their own shows rather than worrying about what everyone else is doing or not doing. A show is a show. Unless one doesn't have a show. In which case, what are they even worried about?


The difference is that the magical-arts are mystery-based. A bad performance by a band does nothing to hinder that audience's ability to enjoy other shows.
A badly executed or spoiled magic/mentalist performance will absolutely taint their future world-view.
It's like seeing a comic when you know all the punch-lines. It's re-watching The Sixth Sense.
Redundancy just isn't quite as satisfying.
.


.
Sudo Nimh
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I see what you're getting at, but I completely disagree. Again, I have been in this art for 39 years now. During this time, I have performed countless shows in almost every type of venue imaginable - from big theater, to night clubs and bars, corporate boardrooms, street performing and so on and so forth. You name it - I've probably done it.

I've heard things like this on more than a few occasions: "We hired this guy last year and he was terrible. Not only was he not entertaining, but he was late. I'm so glad we hired you for this year's party" etc, etc. That didn't stop them from taking a chance and hiring me. They could have just as easily hired another Mystery Performer.

My point is, I think some people assume too much. Particularly when it comes down to the public's perception of what it is that we do. In my experience, they simply view us another form of entertainment. Thinking that we actually shape their "world view" is, in my opinion, very pretentious and an idea that's filled with self-deceit and grandiosity. That's not to say that there aren't some people out there who aren't a little lost and maybe hang on our every word and become mesmerized - it does happen. And yes, a bad performance may have that effect on these sorts of folks, but they're rather the exception to the rule. People are far more intelligent than many Mystery Performers give them credit for and one bad performance by another doesn't necessarily ruin it for the rest. Maybe a better way to start changing the public's perceptions of things would be to start treating them as the intelligent and discerning beings that they are.
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

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John C
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I agree with Sudo. I've also experienced this types of reaction from folks that have hired me. They don't necessarily stop altogether having magical entertainment.
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Sudo Nimh
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While we're on this particular subject...I was thinking a little deeper on the matter, and perhaps this may serve to shed a little more light on things.

Look at shows like "America's Got Talent" or "Fool Us." What these shows do - and do well, is to showcase that there are both good performers and bad performers. We've seen good Mystery Performers on these shows and also terrible ones. So have the public. If anything, this only serves to further the point that people do understand that not all performers are equal and that just because one Mystery Performer is terrible, doesn't mean the next guy will be too.

There's been some fabulous Mysteries/Mentalism presented on these shows. But observe the reactions of the judges and audience. They may be moved or bewildered by the performance, but it is more than clear that not one of them has had their "world view" shaken up. What gets them the most, is acts which touch their hearts or those which are not only technically brilliant, but also combined with a strong personality. We see it time and time again on these shows.
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

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Stunninger
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Sudo, you speak wonderful wisdom. Your last two posts, great insights that get to the crux of the matter.

Two of the most amazing and entertaining mentalists I've ever seen are Derren Brown and Banacheck. Watching them perform is a thrilling experience. But I've also seen David Copperfield perform mind reading as part of his show and had the same exact thrilling experience - even saying out loud to myself, "Maybe he really can read minds!" Just for a moment, what he did was so amazing and seemed to real that I wondered if it may be.

All three are obviously monster entertainers at the very top of the game who deliver an incredible entertainment experience. That's what people want. That's why they keep coming back, telling their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers about this amazing experience they had at (Derren's, Banachek's Copperfield's) show. If all three weren't massively effective entertainers, they wouldn't be famous and no one would be talking about them.
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Quote:
On Mar 29, 2019, Mr Salk wrote:
It's re-watching The Sixth Sense.
Redundancy just isn't quite as satisfying.


I disagree with this.

The first time I watched "The Sixth Sense," I enjoyed being fooled and surprised by the puzzle presented.
The second time, I enjoyed seeing how the puzzle was put together and how it was able to fool and surprise me.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Mr Salk
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That strengthens the point. There may be secondary levels of entertainment or showmanship available, and even interesting. But spoiled is spoiled. Unfortunately the overarching secret to mentalism is that it's actually just magic-tricks. You can't put the genie back.
.


.
Sudo Nimh
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The genie has been out of the bottle for ages now. I think it absurd that anyone in today's world would try to actually convince the public that what they're doing is real. One wonders about the motives of someone who feels they must be perceived as genuinely possessing powers of the mind that others don't.

This is yet another reason for Derren Brown's success; he's honest with his audiences and doesn't try to insult their intelligence. Audiences know there's a trick to it all, but this doesn't prevent them from marveling at what he does or detract from their enjoyment of his show. I strongly believe that people do like to be fooled - and especially when done in an artful way. The human mind is naturally hardwired to be inquisitive and likes to puzzle over how things work. Many people feel a sense of accomplishment if they think they've figured out how something works, regardless of whether their conclusion is actually correct. No matter how well your show is presented, it will always be an open invitation to an intellectual challenge for most people (to one degree or another) whether the performer desires it or not.

Realistically, the best that we can do is to be as entertaining and believable as possible, and to place the emphasis where it truly belongs: on the personality of the performer - not the material itself.

Don't forget that the dichotomy of the situation is that while the adult knows it isn't real, the child inside all of us desperately wants to believe that it is. This is the reason why we must strive to make things as believable as possible.
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

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Max Hazy
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There are some great points made here in this topic by so many people. I honestly don't understand how this subject can keep going for so long.

The late Bob Cassidy was probably the most fierce to advocate about not mixing magic with mentalism. If you mix them, mentalism will turn into mental magic thanks to how it will be perceived in the context of the show. Yet Bob himself published in his "Art of Mentalism Vol 2" the card through window. In his own words:

Quote:
It is almost heresy to include a blatantly magical effect in a book of mentalism. But I have an excuse for this one. It falls into the miracle class and has created quite a reputation for me in some of the seedier taverns and dives in which I’ve occasionally had to busk for a living.
Also, an occasional offstage magic trick serves to relieve any twinges of guilt I may get from overplaying the mindreader role.
Besides, its fun.


Let's ponder... how can the most fierce mentalist to advocate about not mixing magic and mentalism publish that? It's simple... as you can see, even with a blatant "magic trick" Bob was careful about how it was perceived, making it fall into the "miracle class". He was cautious to not offer "puzzles" hard to be solved but to create experiences that could be perceived as something beyond that, even if doing "magic trick". He was detailed to logical disconnects to not leaving space for trickery in their minds.

It's clear, to me at least... that the concern of the matter is HOW IT IS PERCEIVED. That's the context he was worried about that a lot of people don't get about this subject. Just because you can, that doesn't mean you should... unless you actually WANT it to be perceived as a trick. Can a lesbian prostitute be a gynecologist? Sure! But how would she be perceived professionally? I don't think it's hard to see how context can play a major role in perception.

Doing both things is one thing... Mixing both things is another thing entirely. If you can't separate it in context... or not... it will have an impact in perception. That's it.

Max
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Sudo Nimh
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I typically don't like rap or country music. Perhaps it's the context of the lyrics.

But I know it's still music - and so does everyone else. Occasionally, some nutter tries to convince us all that it's actually divinely-inspired by God himself - or even Astronomy, but reasonable folks know better.

What is strange, however, is when rap and metal are fused together. Some of that, I like - despite the fact that I generally despise rap music.

One thing is certain though: no matter the genre, good music is good music.
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

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Max Hazy
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Completely agree Sudo! In our case, good entertainment is good entertainment, despite the nuances surrounding it.

PS: I totally get you... I'm a rock-metal guy, though I can't help but appreciate those well done melodic songs for instance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9I01iNFcL4

Maybe we can be called eclectic after all.

Cheers,

Max
"Your method is in my opinion the very best way to do Q&A"
Millard Longman

"Max has pushed some less known and seldom used principles a huge step forward"
Jan Forster


Arcane Grimoires Vol 1- http://www.maxhazy.com/arcane-grimoires/apocryphal-reach/

Arcane Grimoires Vol 2- http://www.maxhazy.com/Codex-Mentis/
Sudo Nimh
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Right on, Max. Smile

Cheers back at ya!
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

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IAIN
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Remember Metallica and public enemy doing Bring the Noise?
Sudo Nimh
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On Mar 31, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Remember Metallica and public enemy doing Bring the Noise?


I think you mean Anthrax and Public Enemy...yeah? That's a good'er. Same with Run DMC and Aerosmith's "Walk this Way"...though Aerosmith's not quite exactly "heavy" metal. Still awesome nonetheless though.

I do like old-school rap. But then, I would...being 44 and all. Smile
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

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IAIN
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Aaaaahh yeah...

I remember buying the first de la soul album on cassette...
Sudo Nimh
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You too? Hahaha. Oh man...the memories. Good times.

Um....Sir Mix-a-Lot? Eric B and Rakim? What about straight-up DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince? Smile

There's no need to argue; parents just don't understand.
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

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IAIN
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Digital underground...early public enemy, and ice-T for me... then tribe called quest, q-tip's solo stuff every now and again...but more modern day, I really rate a guy called Edan...very smart lyrics...

erik b sampled one of my favourite funk tracks "you know you got soul"...
Sudo Nimh
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Ok...last music post. We can put the debate of this thread aside for a moment and let's all:

Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

Contact: talkwithsudo@gmail.com
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