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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Maybe I'm getting old, but... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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rickmagic1
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I was re-reading Punx's book, "Once Upon A Time" today and I began thinking about this thing that we call "bizarre magic". I'm noticing more and more (and I'm guilty of this as well) that bizarre magic, or more accurately, story magic, is almost always dealing with spooky, occult, or bizarre themes. Punx is considered by many to be one of the greatest of the bizarre magicians, but what I see in his work is that he just told stories: some bizarre, some sweet, some that moved people to think, and some that made people laugh.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: are we selling ourselves short by just touching on a specific aspect of storytelling (ie, occult themes, or horror, or ghosts, etc)?

Forgive me for rambling, just doing a bit more ruminating about my life as I near 40...

Rick
Richard Green
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Seance
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Rick,

Fear is the easiest emotion to manipulate, therefore it is the easiest for the storyteller to tell. Other emotions like love, wonderment, longing, curiousity are much harder to bring about. That's not to say that the storyteller should not attempt to spin a tale that could evoke said emotions. That lies the challege of the experienced.

One thing that I have noticed is that the portrayal of the occult can bridge the other emotions by using vehicles such as a love that conquers death, an angel delivering a message, and so on.

My experience, of course, started out as straight ghost and "BOO!" scenarios. I found that by using the bridge stated above, I was able to actually enhance the experience for the audience. Now, my efforts include trying to eliminate that bridge entirely for some of my stories. That is hard, but satisfying when I can accomplish it. I try to broaden it via science-fiction, romance(without the gothic overtones), and sometimes just by a groan-inducing pun as a punch line.

I fall flat on my face sometimes in my attempts, but other times I feel a real sense of reward when I hit it square on the mark.

I think my roadmap is typical of what others are following, and your ruminations reveal that you are walking along the same not-quite beaten path.

Best of luck,
Dave
rickmagic1
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Thanks for noticing.
I guess that when I was reading Punx's book, I could easily imagine him as being someone who was never satisfied until the "trick", or effect and the presentation was perfect. He seemed to be so open to many more ideas than I've allowed myself to be. I've been feeling that I've put myself into a box that hasn't allowed me to even consider other ideas for presentation because if it didn't fit that "box", then I couldn't even see it.

I hope this is helping more than just me. I appreciate having a place to just "vent" how I'm feeling.

Rick
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Seance
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I know the feeling of being "in the box".

One thing that has helped me was forcing myself to read a genre that I normally would not have considered. By reading children's books, (I have no children, BTW), I was able to start working on a tale that uses soap bubbles to illustrate fairies and their travels. It's still in progress, but I never would have even thought of it without the children's book nudging my brain.

Just a suggestion.
enriqueenriquez
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Rick,

Great thread.

I think Punx told stories about wonderful things, tales of wonder, not only spooky stories. Fear is onlyy one possible feeling to touch, there are many others. I guess that the more you touch, the more interesting your stories will be.

In that sense I find Punx fascinating. Reading the book, you never know where he is going to lead you with the next story... just an anecdote? a dream? a funny tale? a horrid one?

I really enjoyed that.

Thanks for sharing...
Caspar
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I feel the same way,the spooky stories are great but they do not necessarily fit every audience. By expanding the genre of stories makes us more accessible to potential audiences. Just my 2.
WR
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RIck ya old poop,
LOL
Brother Gene, NLT, said:
Put ten Bizarre Magicians together, and more than likely you will hear ten opinions of what constitutes Bizarre Magick. Highly subjective. However, all will agree it's storytelling. Yes. And so is the story that is 'pattered' when doing the Multiplying Sponge Rabbits -- but is that bizarre? Hardly. Unless, of course, if the performer has live rabbits carrying on so indecently in his hand in mixed company -- that would be bizarre in the correct definition of
the word: strikingly unconventional. Well, in the case of the rabbits also a bit kinky.

That's the problem, among the majority of magicians and lay people, a misconception of the word bizarre. They equate it with soul selling, demons, witches, ghosties and ghasties and things that go bump in the night other than ones lover. Compounding the problem, contributing to the onus on the word are some of the bizarre performers who are never offstage. They ever play the 'mysterious' role, dress the part: all in black, wearing silver
pentagrams, skull rings, all the 'weird' stage trappings that should have been left backstage after the performance. To my perspective this is as sophomorically silly as if a clown wore full costume and makeup, including bulbous red rubber nose, to the market, to the doctor, to church. Granted, these are in the minority but they contribute considerably to the perception that Bizarre Magick is excessively weird and bizarre magicians even weirder. Bizarre Magick is storytelling, illustrated with a few magical effects, that stirs the emotions, prods something within the human psyche to respond to the performance, to the story being told. It is storytelling with substance as opposed to a superficial patter tale. But wait -- a touchingly beautiful love story can have substance, but...is it bizarre? Think back to the accurate definition of the word: strikingly unconventional. Make me number eleven in that group of ten bizarrists, some would say yes if the love story awakens an emotion, any emotion, it can be in the category of Bizarre, I disagree. No matter how lovely the love story -- without that unconventional twist it is not bizarre.

So, I put myself on an unwavering line with my definition: Bizarre Magick is substantive storytelling magic, illustrated with one or more effects, the intent of which is to make a specific meaningful point by awakening a disquieting, at times perhaps even fearful, emotion in the participant to punctuate the message being imparted. In other words -- you're far more apt to remember what makes you uncomfortable, uneasy or frightened than you are something that simply makes you pleasantly entertained. However, that said, the Prime Directive of Magic is that it must entertain; even in Bizarre Magick that strives to be thought provoking -- it must also entertain.

As I don't have much patience with pontifications (except my own, of course, but being a kindly sort I'll spare you)".
WR

Oh This is from http://www.dragonskull.co.uk/lecture5_ep.htm
"Tell Em WR sent Ya."
rickmagic1
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Man, it sure feels good to know I'm not alone in this one.

I had a conversation with Max Howard regarding something that Eugene Burger mentioned. He said that he thinks a magic show should be no different than a Dolly Parton concert (his reference, not mine). She sings songs with topics that are sad, happy, mundane, simple, terrible, tragic, etc. He then mentioned that this is why she is such a strong entertainer because she is 1)relatable (still claims just to be a simple girl from Tennessee), and 2)she speaks on things that touch different parts of a person's emotions (anger, sadness, happiness, etc).

Could this be what I'm really driving at? I don't know, just thought about that again after 7 months or so. I just know that I want people leaving my shows feeling they've seen something wonderful, not just something that terrified the pants off them.

WR,
Great post! I'd read that before from Gene and he's right...I think there are so many definitions of "bizarre" because there are so many who are into it. Everyone has their opinion, but that's what makes this so great...different people performing from what is in their own heart (well, I HOPE that's what it is).

Rick
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Bill Palmer
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There can be some confusion amongst the troops about what is and isn't bizarre. Bizarre magic is really a presentational style. It's not always storytelling. Sometimes it is a re-creation of a ritual. But to most of us, it is really a subset of story magic.

And as a subset of story magic, there is also a wide range of material that qualifies as bizarre.

The question for me is this -- does it matter? Does everything have to be bizarre? Does it have to be spooky? Does it have to be disquieting? I don't think so. In fact, most of my favorite bizarre pieces have very peaceful resolutions.

I think a good bizarre bit will have a positive outcome. The good guys will win. The ghost will be laid to rest. The demon will be exorcised. The imp will be put back into the bottle.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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kaytracy
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I too struggle with that definition. I rather liken the style I choose to work as magic with a purpose, or, if you will, a reason for the thing that occurs.
There are many many iterations of this thought, and it does encompass so many different presentation styles and opportunities, and tends to get classed as Bizarre magick.
Now understand, I love magic of all kinds, seeing it in any iteration is wonderful for me, from card manipulations to the darker aspects of the ritual presentations.
an unresolved seance? or the imp not quite back into the bottle? maybe! What about a telling of the story of Demeter and Persephone (currently working on this one) Where the plants die off and the land becomes barren...only at the risk of their offerings do the gods on Olympus intervene. But for that single pommegranite seed, we would never have winter again!
despite it all, Demeter returns the earth to life, and the wand, once barren perhaps will leaf again!
it will, of course, be in the telling!
Perhaps like they say in the Mystery School book, we must go through the phases or stages of a magician, and as we gain teh wisdom of time, we learn the more sublte ways to strike that chord in the hearts of those who listen to the tales!
Kay and Tory
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Jonathan Townsend
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In response to the original question... in most simple terms YES.

Until you spend significant time outside the magic shop and find stories that affect you in books outside ye olde book store you will be looking for new windows in a small room.

Have a look at a Psychology Today magazine or the self-help section of your local bookstore and see what people are relating to and what icons they hold and what symbols they use to express their conflicts. Here are working materials and perhaps inspiration itself.

Would you care to discuss the latest trendy diagnoses of 'borderline disorder' or 'ADHD' or 'ADD' or 'Narcissism' in terms of cognitive possession or imp-like thoughts?

There is much room for archetypal interaction in modern context.

Try to remember that just because you name a thing and chose to fear it... does not mean it will answer to your name or accept your fear as tribute. It may want more and take what it wants. It might not even chose to wear black when it comes for what it wants.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
WR
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I feel that Bizarre is one thing, some feel it is another. In my opinion do what you like and feel comfortable with.
WR
"Tell Em WR sent Ya."
Black Hart
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Oxford English Dictionary...

Bizarre: Strange, Unusual. Origin - French from the Itallian 'Bizzarro' meaning angry.

Black Artefacts - Weird, Bizarre and Psychic magic. Trying not to get TOO pigeonholed Smile

Black Hart
Black Artefacts, manufacturer and dealer of weird, bizarre and psychic magic: www.blackhart.co.uk
J.Warrens
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I personally have no problem with those who "ever play the part". I did not become a magician so as to be thought normal.
Cheers,
J.Warrens
WR
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Normalicy is a disease.
WR
"Tell Em WR sent Ya."
Magickman
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I believe all branches of magic are stepping stones.
Seems we choose a place to start and then wander into new adventures. As you do you take the skills you have developed with you. Eugene Burger is quoted as saying "All types of magic ARE strange and bizarre!"
This is true. I do belive that Bizarre magick takes a little more time and effort. Not that it is harder or demands alot more attention, that would be a personal matter. For me, it is the first type of magic where I get on the net and research things, getting facts together. I want people to learn something from what I do. Remember the old coin trick, "Watch, I place the coin in my hand, now its gone." that's a trick! Where did the coin go? Why did he just tell me what I saw? (cuz there isn't a whole lot to say!) But if you give the effect a little thought you make it worth remembering. Time travel Perhaps?
But what brought me to this wonderful branch of magic was the expressions I got from people. Do you want to hear, "Yeah he's pretty good." Or do you want to see mouths drop open? For me the it was easy!

Magickman
What man knows he calls Science
What he has yet to learn he calls Magick
Both are real!

_Tony Andruzzi_
chmara
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Bizarre is a good place for political commentary on today's times. Just ask Brother Shadow. My newest piece in progress is "Lynching in Bisbee" about mob justice.

Anyone know where I can get a couple of real nooses and some death hoods, several rigged several not (hoods rigged not nooses????


BTW - you should have seen my antique dealer's face when I walked in looking for five or six ways to murder someone.

GC - Just back with 3/4 inrellect and 1/4 Will after severe pneumonia.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

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C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
enriqueenriquez
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Political stuff sounds great.

I’m working in a story based on plastic surgery. I find there is nothing closer to a pact with the Devil than that.
Jonathan Townsend
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According to notes from his students, Hofzinser was also a bit political in his presentations. Shall we say social commentary more than the current coke-pepsi stuff we have here.

We have something worse than plastic surgery going on here in our culture... makeovers. Total makeovers. There is a show on TV now about people who are called 'ducklings' who get total makeovers and get to compete in a beauty contest as 'swans'. Really.

Sometimes I wonder if there is a club in the minimum security prisons some white collar criminals visit... where prestige is measured in the THOUSANDS of people whose lives and life savings has been destroyed by their shortsighted schemes.

If you want horrific and provocative presentations... ask someone in one country about the situation in another.


Which devil trades in vanity? What does it want in return?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Bill Palmer
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I saw a wonderful bit on "Cold Case Files" about a week ago. The police were interviewing a fellow on a golf course in order to find out about a fellow who had worked for his brokerage. They discuss the way that the brokerage had done its best to apply funds to cover up the fellow's bad reputation.

As the police leave, the camera dollies back, and the prison guard tower comes into view. Nicely done.

Sometimes the story can work like that.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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