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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » If Not "Tricks"... Then What? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

will lane
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Conjuring? Magicks? Effect? "This next one"? Spells? Illusions? Experiment? "Something cool with a deck of cards"? Mini Miracles? Magical Arts? Twisting Reality?

I've been thinking a lot about magic theory lately. In my mind, this is not necessarily the "how" of magic, but everything else; who, what, when, where, why... One of the things I'm thinking about is something Alex Pandrea said; calling magic tricks "Tricks", and executing them as a "trick", and how that might dilute the effect.

To laypeople, what do you call this illusion of magic that we all practice? And why? Maybe you do call them "tricks" to set up an expectation then smash through those expectations? Maybe you call it conjuring or spellcasting to blur the line between what you are doing and actual physics-breaking wizardry? Maybe you don't call it anything at all? Maybe you have a lengthy anecdote about how you can't produce real miracles but you want to produce the illusion of real miracles in the audience's mind?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rO5WC6z27eE
funsway
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I'll watch your presentation before commenting in depth as I have written dozens on articles on this theme,
but as for a short thought ...

“a magician does things that many in the audience cannot or will not do – place their ego at risk and actually DO something rather than live vicariously. Appreciate that even those forever trapped in their personal cloud of secrets can take away something of value from your performance. It may not be ‘must be magic,’ but can challenge some notion of ‘impossible’ in their mundane life.”
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"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Julie
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Smile, genuinely keep your sense of humor and don't perform "tricks"...perform MIRACLES. Smile

It's all in YOUR attitude. "Here's something most people have never seen..."

Julie
gregg webb
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Avoid things that look like they came from a magic shop. Maybe even avoid the word magician and use one of the myriad of other terms. Seer. ESP Researcher (aren't we all), etc.
George Ledo
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Back when I was a kid and we used to watch TV variety shows, I noticed that most comedians did a string of jokes -- one-liners -- for their entire set. Sure there was usually a theme (was it Alan King who did the "my wife" stuff?), but it was still one joke after another. For a while there I thought all you needed to be a comedian was a book of jokes and (maybe) a sense of timing.

A lot of magic acts over the years have struck me the same way: "For my next trick" is no different than "For my next joke." Which leads into the OP's question of "what do we call these things we do?"

Back then, the comedian was supposedly talking about "real" situations, "real" people, and what happened when the two met. And there was usually that theme to tie it all together. But a lot of magic acts don't even have a theme (except maybe the same deck of cards for half an hour, and, even then, it's one discrete trick after another).

Even when I started out and was doing the usual "beginner talking act," parroting or paraphrasing the patter in the instructions, I never referred to the tricks as anything. I just did them. Calling them tricks, or anything else, would have made me feel (even as a 10-year-old) like the gadget demonstrators at Macy's or the local county fair. I didn't want to come across that way; I wanted to come across as someone who could do the impossible. It took me a few years to figure out how to use themes to tie the act together, and that made it so much easier to "show the impossible" instead of "demonstrating gadgets."

So, IMHO, what should we call these things we do? Nothing.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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funsway
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Quote:
On Dec 14, 2021, George Ledo wrote:

So, IMHO, what should we call these things we do? Nothing.


"I don't do magic. But it happens all around me and sometimes I get blamed." faucon of Sakin'el


I have had success by not even acknowledging that something unusual has occurred, or using the words "magic" or "impossible." Just do it!

I also like what I call "thematic interlude" in which magical things happen other that the scripted presentation - even a secondary effect.

Fro example, at the local magic club I was doing a teach-in on some coin production methods. A little red ball appeared instead of a coin.
I looked vexed and just dropped the ball into a coffee cup. Later on a second ball unexpectedly appeared instead of a coin.
I added that to the cup and a spectator called out, "and now we can expect a chop cup routine." I just continued without comment.
I later said that I had a method that only worked with copper coins and asked if anyone had some English Pennies with them.

No one did, so I poured two of them out of the coffee cup onto the table and continued. No balls, not comment, no acting as if anything unusual had happened.

Point that you do not have to call yourself a magician in order to be considered to be one, or announce a "trick" for the audience to have a memory of magic.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
wwhokie1
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"Tricks" has too much of a negative connotation. "Trick or Treat" for example. I will play a trick on you. A trick typically is something negative you do to someone, deceiving them in some way. When I am doing a show I don't want anyone to think I am playing a trick on them, or tricking them. They are not my intended victim of my "tricks". Instead I want to take them on a magical journey, or experience. We are traveling together on an entertaining path filled with magic and wonder. I am not trying to do anything to them, I am simply inviting them to come along with me. I don't like the term, magical tricks, just too negative.
DragonLore
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Since this seems to be a recurring discussion, I have a strong feeling that the correct answer is the intellectually unsatisfying “It depends”.

That being said, I am a big fan of the Spanish school of magic and have seen many performances by Juan Tamariz that start with something like “I have a little trick for you”. He then proceeds to entertain me with his unique presentation style and amaze me with what seem to be impossible miracles.
funsway
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Yes, Dragon, for today's unknown audience it can be a good plan to start with a simple "trick" - even an optical illusions or puzzle to get a measure
of the audience experience, interest and expectations. Tamariz works had an influence on my OPS Magic eBook discussing the alternative Presentation Modes
of Overture, Prelude and Scaffolding. In this last Mode a trick can even be taught to the observers or gifted away before launching your main Routine.

"When I was a kid I fascinated folks with magic tricks. Later I learned there is special magic within us all that can be released.
If some of you will lend me some of your personal magic energy, then together ..."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
DragonLore
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Ken,

I fully agree—the common wisdom (as I know it) is to start a show/routine with a strong “opener”, which are often quick, visual tricks. And your work on unknown audiences is fascinating —though I am only partly done reading through it.

Both Tamariz and Aragon also call their next bit a trick further in their performance though, so they don’t limit the word trick to their opener.
tommy
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“According to Michael Weber, Ricky Jay has a particular aversion to the “magic lumpen”—hoi polloi who congregate in magic clubs and at conventions, where they unabashedly seek to expropriate each other’s secrets, meanwhile failing to grasp the critical distinction between doing tricks and creating a sense of wonder. One guy in a tuxedo producing doves can be magic, ten guys producing doves is a travesty.”

Secrets of the Magus

Ricky Jay does closeup magic that flouts reality

By Mark Singer

April 5, 1993

The New Yorker
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
tommy
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Image


And I would not argue with him.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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