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Topic: Embarrassed to be a magician again!
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Nov 18, 2002 12:40PM)
I cannot believe I'm saying this, but now I understand what's so great about David Blaine!!!

After watching "World's Greatest Magicians," I must say that David Blaine is doing a lot more for magic than those CREEPY, GEEKY, REPULSIVE magicians.

Yes, REPULSIVE is exactly the word because anyone I've ever heard talk about those kind of specials are completely and immediately turned off by them to a severe degree.

Forget the stage illusions, even the close-up work had miserable moments...

2 examples...

1. Paul Gertner's bimbos detracted from his cups and balls. Paul is great but the bimboettes ruined an otherwise great effect.

2. I'm not sure who it was but I thought they were going to do "The Lucky Coin" (card trick from card college I) and I thought WOW! Cool Trick. I do that and it rocks!!!! Let's see what I can learn!!!

Turns out it was not exactly the same but it was almost the same effect.

I learned nothing except to keep doing it the way I already do it.

The whole thing was weak, with horrible lines and gags and overall presentation.

If he tried to perform this in a bar or restaurant, or anywhere, he'd be laughed out of the place.

There must be a thousand magicians (right here in this forum) that could have done better. And not just better than this guy. Better than practically all of them at entertaining and promoting magic.

Or is it the fault of the director who says,
"No, you cannot do it like that. Do this blah, blah, blah. Everyone will love it," and the magician does what the director says just to get on TV?

Who is directing this and allowing such trash to be on TV. I am appalled.

Someone please make them stop.
Message: Posted by: brownitus (Nov 18, 2002 12:57PM)
But Frank, those guys are GOOD and TALENTED! And their patter is great! They are the REAL and TRUE talents of the super hep underground magic fantasy world!

How dare you big up the evil Blaine, you anti-real-true-magical-community fool!


Take care,
Message: Posted by: ArchMiro (Nov 18, 2002 01:29PM)
Regardless of the fact that much of the content on that show was mediocre at best, I'm still leery of David Blaine. But as you point out, probably any one of a number of members here could do better than anyone on TV.
Message: Posted by: Garrett Nelson (Nov 18, 2002 01:51PM)
Yeah, that Guy Hollingworth is sure a slouch....

And I don't think anyone ever enjoys Lennart Green.

Pardon my sarcasm, but you seem to be making a huge overgeneralization. While there are some people that you donít like, or like their style, you make it seem like the whole bunch is a group of out-of-touch fools.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Nov 18, 2002 02:18PM)
Of course there were a few good performers. That is specifically why I mentioned Paul Gertner.

No matter.

Any good moments in that special were completely upstaged by bimbos, bad jokes, horrible MCs, and on and on.

I really believe that Foolish and
Out-of-Touch describe to a Tee what I saw on that special.

I would not be saying this if ANYONE I've ever talked to said they like the way those people act on stage and find it more entertaining than embarrassing.

I'll have my appology ready when that time comes.
Message: Posted by: gilbreath76 (Nov 18, 2002 03:20PM)
I've been wanting to post something like this, but afraid I would offend some magicians who likes those styles. Glad you said it. There's that one WGM episode where the Magician takes out this thingy and he says it will find the chosen card, he's holding it while make electric sounds.. "eh eh ehhh eeeehhh, ah ha.... this is your card." I'm thinking OH GOD! Mac King certainly doesn't help end the stereotype that Magicians are a bunch of dorks using tricks to get chicks.

World's Greatest Magicians never got me into magic. It's too ritzy and too dorky. When you watch it, it's discouraging because they make it look like such an expensive hobby. It doesn't have to be, just look at Blaine. He makes magic cool and doable.
Message: Posted by: Geoff Weber (Nov 18, 2002 04:23PM)
I know everyone thinks Juan Tamirez is this mythical sage, but I really hated his portion on WGM... he creeped me out...
Message: Posted by: Adam V (Nov 18, 2002 04:29PM)
Actually I must admit the first time I saw Tamariz was on the WGM special and I thought he was awful. He's certainly an acquired taste and now I'm quite a fan.
Message: Posted by: Joshua Lozoff (Nov 18, 2002 05:19PM)
"Acquired taste" often means that now that you think like a magician, you appreciate his work. Probably your aversion to him that you had originally was more trustworthy than the way you feel about him now, you know what I mean? At least from a presentational point of view.

Great points, Frank. When my wife watches that sort of stuff with me (we don't have cable, but I saw a special with some top names in magic just a few months ago) she says "that's clever," or "he's pretty good."

When she watches Blaine she dreams about magic that night. Not just tricks. She dreams about MAGIC. That's what many magicians will never ever understand about Blaine.

But you know what, let 'em. I'm technically nowhere near most of the magicians on this forum. But I regularly hear from clients and spectators, very savvy and experienced clients and spectators, that mine is the best magic they've ever seen.

So I say the more magicians that don't understand what it means to make magic deep and real for people, the better those of us who "get" Blaine's style will appear.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Nov 18, 2002 05:54PM)
To date, the Juan Tamariz video with him doing Cannibal Cards (I don't remember which) is the ONLY video I've ever stopped, rewound and returned to the store for a refund.

I could not watch it. I could not even finish the tape to get the methods behind the effects.

Now, I wish I had all 3 videos just to watch from a theoretical standpoint because I know so much more about magic and know what to look for.

Performance-wise, I saw something that I found very inappropriate...

At the end of The Cannibal Cards, he had everyone stand up and skip and dance with him chanting, "No Meat, No Bones.. No Meat, No Bones."

To me this was embarrassing and completely inappropriate for a simple magic trick.
From the point of the spectator, some of them don't want to be selected, or even so much as talked to, let alone made to stand and dance and sing. I cringed with fear as if I had to dance on national TV... at primetime! And if you've ever seen me dance...

I know Jerry Andrus feels so strongly about not embarrassing your audience. This to me is the same thing. I know the intentions were well-meant. Nonetheless, I think we need to put ourselves in our spectators' shoes with regards to our own emotional outbursts. Especially in close-up magic.

I've had spectators hug me, kiss me, scream and cry but far be it for me to initiate a hug or to scream in excitement or to say, "Come on everybody", and insist that, "Everyone join me in a little square dance around the close-up table. Here we go now!!!"
Message: Posted by: Alpen (Nov 18, 2002 06:23PM)
I think that on all of the WGM's, I've only seen one performer that I hadn't really heard of before, and that wasn't overly impressive (I believe he was on WGM 4.) Other than that, the people that are on the bill are pretty much very well respected professionals.
Message: Posted by: Trois (Nov 18, 2002 06:23PM)
It is tough to be as cool as you think you are when you are being filmed. I do agree with you on most of your thinking, but maybe these guys didn't get as many takes as Blaine gets. Hey, I can do Crazyman's Handcuffs as well as Luis Demato. I give it a rating of 65% just because I know these guys are better than they look. And the MC is always a turkey of some sort. Hope they never call me, as I know I'm not as good as I think I am. I'd rather see a whole Gertner special, wouldn't you?
Message: Posted by: ruiefe (Nov 18, 2002 07:14PM)
Sorry to disagree with some of you, but Juan Tamariz is NOT only good from a magician's point of view.
Of course he has developed a personal style of presentation and, as such, won't be loved by all.
I surely don't like all the things he does, but he surely is a GREAT MAGICIAN.
I don't know if this can help you see things in a different way, but he had several series aired on Spanish TV.
I also don't like when spectators are embarrassed (and of course don't like it when Tamariz SOMETIMES does this).
Message: Posted by: Kathryn Novak (Nov 18, 2002 07:28PM)
It's true, the camera loves some people and hates others. It can define between a really superb magic act and a magic act that well..was never meant to be. You won't ever like every single thing a magician of any caliber does. You may never like anything one particular magician EVER does! Just go out there, work on your own act and stop worrying about what the other guys are doing. And don't ever be embarrassed by someone else's work, it only takes valuable time away from working on your own act. :)
Message: Posted by: Rodney Massey (Nov 18, 2002 07:54PM)
David Blaine is awful. Does he fool people? Yes. Do laymen think he is great? Yes. Is this all that matters? No.
Most of us at the Cafť who specialize in close-up magic could have gotten the same reactions. We simply weren't the ones with the camera on the street with a network contract. Is he smart? Yes. Is he incredibly rich? Yes. Does he get hot chicks? Yes. Does his level of talent warrant this? Not when you consider all the brilliant magical artists out there who aren't world famous.

Nowadays, a wonderful close-up magician like David Williamson can say to a layman,"I'm a magician", and he will respond,"Oh yeah, like Blaine? He's the best. So let's see you float. Didn't think so, but that's okay you're funny. That's a neat raccoon. I'll have the chicken ceasar with a side of fries, please."
He has made thousands of people seek out magic shops and purchase every secret so that they too can be the life of the party.
Thank God for Eugene Burger.
Message: Posted by: jhostler (Nov 18, 2002 08:30PM)
On 2002-11-18 20:54, Rodney Massey wrote:
David Blaine is awful. Does he fool people? Yes. Do laymen think he is great? Yes. Is this all that matters? No.

Wrong - Fooling the audience and being loved by them IS all that matters. The fact that Blaine has promoted himself so well, has crafted his performance style so well, etc. etc. is something we should aspire to. And all the while he manages to avoid the cheesy, cliche'd schlock that the original poster on this thread alluded to.


Message: Posted by: ruiefe (Nov 18, 2002 08:31PM)
Ice, I think you should take your final saying off. Your sanity is in your post. Take it before it leaves again :)
In fact, I sometimes feel a little embarrassed, too, but I recognize that's a waste of time.
David Blaine is awful. But so are 99% of the programs that you are offered today. And people still like them. Are we living in the bad taste era?
Thank God for Eugene Burger.
Message: Posted by: Rodney Massey (Nov 18, 2002 08:58PM)
Crafted his performance style??
"Look, look, okay okay watch no watch,... yeah look look, now hold it... squeeze, no squeeze tight, yeah now look watch it go, yeah"
Albert Goshman, Slydini, and Don Alan didn't hold a candle to this genius.
Message: Posted by: jhostler (Nov 18, 2002 09:04PM)
I think a natural, casual approach is much preferrable to puff like the Cannibal Cards story, etc. He comes across like a normal guy who can work miracles - and that's exactly what he's shooting for.

I've never seen so much shameless, misguided professional jealousy!
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Nov 19, 2002 12:50AM)
I think theoretically, Blaine isn't really that good and I'm not sure how much he's worked on a style, but it does WORK with laymen and that should be considered regardless of anything else simply because IT WORKS. He is violating many of the performance criteria, but it is working. Something to think about, that's all.

Jhostler wrote...
He comes across like a normal guy...

Who is "He"??? David Blaine?

Maybe that is what laymen want in a magician...a NORMAL GUY!

Why? Perhaps it is because they can see themselves in a normal guy kind of magician. That magic is closer to being real if a normal guy can do it as opposed to some wierd she-male with a pink tux, making faces like an Eddie Van Halen as they pull a dove out of their ***. Nobody poses like a Vegas magician. Nobody wears clothes like a Vegas magician. Nobody like that can relate to a spectator in a real way and therefore their magic does not hit home. It is not memorable.

Someone like David Blaine (and probably many of us) are just normal guys doing some pretty incredible things. Wow. Cool. I want to have a beer with this guy. That is actually what a spectator is thinking and it happens to all of us.

Nobody wants to have a beer with the Saturday Night Fever Magicians from Vegas.
They are out of touch and they do not relate.

I would rather watch a normal guy doing some great stuff in a normal/casual way than watch someone with obviously rehearsed patter, winking, smiling, with just the right gags and all the fake laughing and chuckles any day of the week.

Is it true that for the same reason everyone laughs at used car salesmen, they laugh at magicians? Perhaps! So figure out that reason and stop doing it.

I personally do not have exact patter for most the effects I do. Many of them all start the same way but who knows where the audience will take you. This is REALITY MAGIC!!! As opposed to Mr. Chuckles who is too busy reciting his lines to notice his audience.

I'm not advocating that we be like David Blaine. I think we just need to be ourselves, react to and have fun with an audience. Now that's cool!
Message: Posted by: gilbreath76 (Nov 19, 2002 02:22AM)
On 2002-11-18 21:58, Rodney Massey wrote:
Crafted his performance style??
"Look, look, okay okay watch no watch,... yeah look look, now hold it... squeeze, no squeeze tight, yeah now look watch it go, yeah"
Albert Goshman, Slydini, and Don Alan didn't hold a candle to this genius.

It's all about taste. This is a very subjective issue. Blaine is in street clothes. "Look look, watch, squeeze," fits his demeanor, his whole persona. He does not have a cheesy story or patter. He's not in a suit and tie saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen." He's not going to tell you a funny story.

Blaine tries to come off as the real thing. The real thing wouldn't need to say one word. If you had real magic, you wouldn't need a story or patter. You wouldn't need to talk about cannibals or Sam the Bellhop. You'd just tell your spectator, "Look," and then you proceed to move the cup telekinetically. You just tell the spectator, "Watch," and you proceed to cause fire with your eyes, etc. Real magic does not need a story or patter to back up or justify its phenomenon. If it's real, you don't need to do any pitching. And that's what Blaine tries to make it seem like. No sales pitch!

That's the difference between Blaine and the majority of Magicians. When Blaine does something, people think, "Who the hell is this guy? The devil???" When the corporate or suit and tie magicians do something, people think, "Trickery, entertainment."

It all depends on what you're going for. It's apples and oranges.
Message: Posted by: markjens (Nov 19, 2002 03:50AM)
Wow, I hesitate to wade into this David Blaine fray, but if I must... Blaine is better at marketing than anything. He has the right production, number of takes, careful choosing of spectators, etc. I disagree about what magic is. I believe that people will go away having been fooled by "tricks," but they will go away changed if they have been in contact with magic. If they are shown tricks, they are pretty sure that if they bought the "trick" they could do it too. If they are a part of magic though, it is a profound experience that is not completely taken with how it was done, but that magic actually happened! I hope this doesn't sound too out there, but cheap thrills magic bugs me: Psst, hey kid, c'mere. Wanna see a trick? No, thanks, mister.
Message: Posted by: Eric Grossman (Nov 19, 2002 09:48AM)
To me, MAGIC is all about Hans Klok, and Rick Thomas. Man those guys are snazzy...

Seriously. Bad comic magicians, and the cheesy Vegas types kill me, too. Since when does being a magician make you a comedian or dancer, etc.
I will never be embarrassed to be a magician, though. No more so would I be embarrassed to be a musician. There are some pretty silly music acts out there, too.
As far as the Blaine thing goes, I get it, and it works. People think he's the real deal, and that's great for magic. Keep it up, DB.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Nov 19, 2002 01:11PM)
It's a decision. Old school, or not. I personally enjoy antique magic, performed by...antique magicians. I don't much care for trans-whatever types, or the hype shocker types. Blaine has his own wishy washy style, and it suits him fine. He is, however, one of the great recyclers of old, lame and crusty magic, making it new and enjoyable in his own way. (Watch Thru the Window, etc.)

I do have a group of mini-closeup effects and a routine that uses them all, that to the best of my ability, and bank account, replicates the classic magic show most of us saw in our youth,(still need a mini tricky bottle set) and I perform these for spectators that have never seen a magic show of any kind before (mostly for kids). This is as close as I get to the cheesy magic guy.

If funding permitted, I would have all of the newest and best effects, but it doesn't, so I try to work proven and effective instead.
As for performing style, we could get a beer and discuss most anything.

I will never be a shiny suit and tie guy.
Vegas magicians nauseate me.
Message: Posted by: Rodney Massey (Nov 20, 2002 08:01PM)
On 2002-11-18 22:04, jhostler wrote:
I think a natural, casual approach is much preferrable to puff like the Cannibal Cards story, etc. He comes across like a normal guy who can work miracles - and that's exactly what he's shooting for.

I've never seen so much shameless, misguided professional jealousy!

Isn't it funny; anyone who doesn't love this purveyor of bad magic is jealous.
It has been written by some of the greats that camera tricks hurt magic- they do.
Believe it or not, newcomers, ethics count.
Message: Posted by: jhostler (Nov 21, 2002 04:46AM)
For the record - my comment refers to those who write off Blaine's performance style/script as de facto "incorrect" - it has nothing to do with the controversial [faux] Balducci levitation!
Message: Posted by: gilbreath76 (Nov 21, 2002 05:14PM)
On 2002-11-20 21:01, Rodney Massey wrote:
It has been written by some of the greats that camera tricks hurt magic- they do.

I thought we were talking about performance style. You can start a whole new thread on editing/technology.
Message: Posted by: HiveMind (Nov 28, 2002 06:45AM)
I'm still waiting for Blaine to try to start
a religion by marching on Washington to get tax exempt status. Maybe his followers will even start drowning themselves until George Dubb-Yuh agrees to give it to them, which would never happen, of course.


(Ahhhhh, the wonders of modern South Park.)
Message: Posted by: Patrick Redford (Nov 28, 2002 11:11PM)
Can't we all just get along?
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Nov 30, 2002 12:31AM)
I seriously believe that this is the first time I've ever seen Hans Klock's name in a magic forum.

Blow dryer please. . .
Message: Posted by: Bascomb Grecian (Nov 30, 2002 03:23AM)
Hans Klock's? What is with that hair effect anyway? Is that supposed to be a magic trick?

fstarsinic: Please do not say you like Blaine over Green, Gertner, and King! These guys are real entertainers.
Message: Posted by: Steve Friedberg (Dec 1, 2002 08:32PM)
I think Frank is trying to say...and I could be wrong...is that Blaine performs for a type of audience that is completely different than Green, Gertner, King, et al. He would not succeed in their venue any more than the reverse would be true.

George's post, despite the reference to the Rodney King School of Human Relations, is very well founded: the style you like may not agree with everyone. That doesn't mean you should not like it. Enjoy it and make the most of it. At the same time, though, take a little time to understand why others may like the Blaines of this world. For whatever reason, it speaks to them and makes magic more real to them.

At the end of the day, though, what you do in magic or in life must reflect your approach. Nobody else's. Graham Nash sang, in a song from 30 years ago, "And in the end remember, it's with you you have to live."

OK...enough of the philosophy. Let's get back to the regular posts.
Message: Posted by: Sybilmagic (Dec 2, 2002 05:31AM)
For a guy that we hate we are all putting a lot of effort into kindly saying that he is rubbish (trash).

You don't hear many complaints about David Copperfield on the forum and he is a sort of Vegas magician. Why? Is it because he has things (secrets) that we can't get or achieve so we respond with "oh he's great" to keep our own little ego's intact?

We do the same thing with Blaine but in keeping our own little ego's intact we have to say, "oh thatís stuffs easy" or "he's not that skillful".

I've said it and thought that is the kind of stuff my audience wants to hear. They may really like the guy; Blaine may be the reason that they came to watch you that night. Give him the credit that he deserves for having the balls to go out and perform to normal people.

I think sometimes people think having a camera there makes life a lot easier. From my experience working with TV crews this is not true. The cameras distract people, people become nervous and forget things, and the list may go on. My small point is why do we have to nurture our own ego's so much?

I believe Blaine should edit his stuff down else we could have another masked magician on our hands (in disguise). I know many lay people who record the Blaine specials.

As far as the editing on the levitation well that was possibly a little extreme but I am sure if you go back a few years we could all find a well-known magician using extreme editing.
Message: Posted by: francis farrell (Dec 7, 2002 10:04AM)
I saw Juan Tamiriz at the Blackpool convention this year. I thought he was brilliant. He got a very good reaction from the audience.
Message: Posted by: BenSchwartz (Dec 14, 2002 05:17PM)
Name one performer on WGM that did not have a GREAT performance... (except Tom Ogden... ughhh.)
Message: Posted by: Eric Grossman (Dec 16, 2002 10:43AM)

Just to clarify, I don't think there is anything "Vegas" about Copperfield. I don't equate stage magic and grand illusion, with Vegas. To me, it's the over the top performance style that gives off the Vegas Schmaltz. DC is very laid back, and he doesn't try to do a song and dance. Also, he makes himself the subject of most of his illusions, and I think that's cool.

Your right about Tom Ogden. He pretty much sucked on WGM, but there were quite a few bad performances. Most of it was great though.

My problem with the "Big" stuff on WGM, is this. How many different ways can you perform the same illusions on the same show?
Message: Posted by: Justin Flom (Dec 16, 2002 11:50AM)
On 2002-12-16 11:43, sbasscase wrote:

My problem with the "Big" stuff on WGM, is this. How many different ways can you perform the same illusions on the same show?

Can you give an example of two illusions on the same special that were very much alike? I personally don't have this opinion, but would like to know what illusions brought you to your opinion.

Message: Posted by: Eric Grossman (Dec 16, 2002 06:27PM)
I'll go back and watch my videos, and then I'll get back to you.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Dec 17, 2002 04:27AM)
I loved Rick Thomas's illusion where the girl goes into his body!

Was that the same WGM?