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[quote] On 2006-01-25 20:13, Michael M wrote: I walked into my local bookstore and noticed this book sitting on a shelf admist other magic books, yet this particular book, "Street Magic" was the only one available at the store. Equally, I was shocked to find such a book sitting where the everyday public had access to it! What did I do? I bought it! Of course I knew, was familiar with, and even perform some of the items within the book. Why did I purchase it then? The book delivers the basics, the answer to "here is how a magician bites a quarter", but it also offers some interesting insights and variations to effects which I found to be valuable in incorporating into my professional repetoire. I purchased the book for several reasons. First, the book was discounted by $5. It had some pretty good ideas that I felt were adaptable to my magic. It is a well-designed, great book on basic methodology and gimmicks. It further adds to my home magic library. Lastly, it kept the book out of the hands of the curious public. I have not seen another 'Street Magic' book appear in that store yet. I agree with much of what has been said regarding this topic. I recall learning at some point that the average person can only remember about 7 new pieces of information per day. Of course, I could be wrong but with all the things we have to remember each day and with infinate amounts of new information bombarding us every minute of every day, I doubt very much that a person who passively reads the secret of a magic trick in a book during their day's outing would remember such information later. Penn & Teller reveal the secret to the infamous cups and balls in their show by performing it with clear plastic cups, yet nobody can explain with any certain clarity how it is done after the show! As stated previously, most people simply don't care. They pick up the book, look through it, say to themselves, "oh that's how that's done" and go on about their lives. How often does the average non-magician go out to perform a magic trick or see a performance of magic to take advantage of the information they just read? Their brain may acknowledge the information presented, but will not serve to hold it in memory because it is extraneous information that the brain subconsciously realizes it will not need in the future - it is not vital information needed to survive. However, of course, we magicians retain much more of such information because we do have a great, genuine interest in it and for some, it is vital to our survival. Even with the Masked Magician specials, there was so much information revealed that viewing audiences remember the details and workings of only about 3 illusions from all of the five hour-long specials combined. Think about it, upon watching the masked magician tv shows the non-magician has to first comprehend something they've never been deeply associated with before. They have to quickly become accustomed to the basics of magic - a visual crash course from Fox TV, which as we know is a very poor substitute for serious study of the art. In addition, the viewer has to understand what the effect is, how it appears to the audience, how it appears to the magician, what illusionary principle it operates on, the methodology employed to effect the illusion, etc. to fully comprehend how an illusion is accomplished. Even if a person were just curious as to how it is done, the 'how' is often quite complex. It's not always as simple as, "it's in the other hand". In my opinion, the masked magician specials were akin to throwing an engineering book at a sushi chef. The chef might understand a few basic principles or look at a description of a lever and say "oh that's how that works", but will they remember the information or be able to use such knowledge to their advantage? The difference between an amateur/laymen and a performer/professional is what we do with such knowledge! Granted, the book reveals many of magic's gimmicks and their uses. However, in order to apply that information, you either have to already own the prop, wait until you happen to see a magician utilize that prop, or you have to visit a magic shop / purchase online to obtain those gimmicks if you really want to perform them which, in a way, supports the art. Besides, the public's knowledge of magic secrets does not necessarily interefere with a good performance. Afterall, it's not the secrets that make the magic; it's the performer and performance. Secrets are only tools. Almost anybody can use a hammer to build a spice rack, but you can be sure a skilled craftsman would use the tool more effectively. You might say that the skilled craftsman's performance or end product is better due to his experience. Even if an audience knows how it's all done, if they like the performer - they will hire or pay to see him perform! As an example of how the public's knowledge of secrets does not matter in a good performance, I regularly perform the simple silk vanish utilizing the gimmick that we all know and love while strolling in restaurants and sometimes an audience responds, "I've seen that done before, but they used a fake thumb!" They have no idea that I'm using the same gimmick and technique, because the illusion is well executed and my presentation overshadows the secret. If the illusion is done write, nobody should suspect, or care about the gimmick. In Jamy Ian Swiss's book, 'Shattering Illusions' he mentions that when someone mentions 'the thumb thing' he makes a habit of immediately performing the hundred dollar bill switch, just for his own amusement. If you are interested in magic ethics, and the issue of keeping secrets I recommend "Shattered Illusions". I just read it, and I feel it was very inspiration and influential in my magical thinking. The only problem about books like "Street Magic" is that if the general public has such great magical secrets complied into one full-color, well photographed & written source, they are naturally drawn to it. When they read the secrets contained within, they tend to think that it is all so very simple which takes away from the mystery, makes them feel foolish for being amused by such simple deceptions, and makes them think that the job of the magician is an easy one. Therefore, I agree with Joe Russell in that putting plastic around the book, and magic books in general is a pretty good idea. Yes, you can find a great amount of magic secrets online, however online you also can find... free porn. Thus, my contribution to this topic is simply this idea: Put the magic section in bookstores next to the porn, x-rated material, and raunchy love novels and then we will see how interested people are in magic secrets! Here's to the new "wrapped in plastic" section coming to bookstores near you! Magically, Michael Matson [/quote]
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