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Topic: Is it me or is mentalism boring?
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 18, 2011 11:26AM)
I just bought a book by a very famous and well respected mentalist.
It is full of really good and workable effects - so I am reading it and thinking' 'Hmmm, that's interesting - I can see that working....'
Then a second feeling started to grow..... one of boredom and ennui. I mean *really* who cares if I can (under very restricted circumstances) tell you the name of the person you are thinking of... I mean, is that interesting, I mean, is it really?

So much magic is lacking in substance it seems to me. The 'old lags' here probably graduated from card magic. We fled due to the protestations of those who once found us interesting people. We found little nourishment beyond showing our supposed skill to the few friends who still cared. After our obligatory time in the wilderness, we arrived at camp mentalism. This felt better, we could engage in psychology (or pseudo-psychology)and weird esoteric stuff like NLP. We could control peoples minds, and make them do what we want them to! Wow, this was good poop! But in the end we found we were still doing rather annoying tricks (if we could step out of the narrow confines of our own pretence and see it from the audiences point of view) - the only real difference was that now we had to deal with the tag line 'Oh, he's just like that guy off the telly who can read your mind... he's clever, he is' So confused were we by this, that some of us (the younger ones) started to try to look like 'the guy off the telly'. A new purgatory beckoned...

In magic, we seem to have forgotten the central thing.... *magic*.
By this I mean a context that can have intellectual and emotional depth.
I sense a direction in bizarre magic that may restore magic to some of it's former power as a performance art. Here there is a sweeping out of the rubber bats and plastic skulls, to make room for something more interesting.....

Hey, anyone want to buy a second hand Mentalism book? It's got this great routine that allows your audience to flatter you by pretending that you can tell them what two numbers they have just written down on that suspicious piece of paper that you have, for some reason, put in your wallet!
Message: Posted by: Stoltz (Aug 18, 2011 11:52AM)
I think you would find much of interest to you in Derren Brown's book "Absolute Magic".
If you've already read it, then you'll understand what I mean.

That said, I agree that *most* mentalism can be very boring.
It ENTIRELY depends on being interesting by virtue of the performers ability to entertain...
But then again, if the performer is so engaging, couldn't the same be said of watching grass grow?
Couldn't said performer make almost ANYTHING entertaining?

I think mentalism is intrinsically neutral in regards to entertainment value.
It is purely subject to the individual who may or may not be interested in such matters as mind reading.
I believe the same can be said about most all forms of art or entertainment.
De gustibus non est disputandum.

However, I do also think that mentalism and the bizarre both offer a performer the depth to reach into that realm of wonder (If they're skilled) and pluck out a moment that will resonate with their audience.
This is something that most forms of entertainment cannot hope to achieve.
Max Maven said: "Magicians of the 20th Century have managed to do something pretty amazing. They have taken something inherently profound, and rendered it meaningless and trivial."

However, I personally find that I (And therefor my character)
am most at home in the realm of the Bizarre.
Which incidentally, to me includes mentalism as the basis for many a good effect...
Albeit mentalism dressed in new (Or perhaps aged) clothes.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 18, 2011 12:05PM)
Of course you are right in what you say. The performance (and the performer) is everything.
The Max Maven quote is worth carving on some rock somewhere too!
Message: Posted by: dmkraig (Aug 18, 2011 12:24PM)
Christopher, I agree with you. The problem with most mentalism, IMO, is that it is so illogical.

If I can read your mind, why don't I just reveal it instead of going through a long revelation process?
If I can make a prediction, why do I lock it in a box instead of just tell someone?
If I can predict a lottery number, what am I doing walking around at a restaurant entertaining?

I recognize that someone like Kreskin is skilled. I just find his act totally boring. No wonder there is an entire film making fun of him!
Pointing to different pictures on a screen and jumping from one to the next several times is totally yawn inducing.

I'm sure some people think those types of performances and effects are wonderful. More power to them.

But for me, I want to do something that has people in rapt attention. I want to leave them gasping or even going home and sleeping with a light turned on.

That's why I like bizarre magic. IMO it does (or should do) just that.
Message: Posted by: Stoltz (Aug 18, 2011 12:36PM)
I reread your initial statement, and would like to add this.

Mentalism sort of has it's begginings in fraudulant psychics and mediums.
I think mentalism grew out of recognizing the marketability of this genre of conjuring and ran with it.
Did the founders believe they where creating a new "branch" of magic? I don't personally think so.
(There are many who don't think it is a branch of magic at all)
I think they saw it as a way to get in on the action if you will.
Opportunistically cashing in on what people wanted to pay to see at the time.
Art wasn't their concern. (I would be happy to be corrected if I'm wrong here)

These founders where showmen, the art was coincidence.
It wasn't until much later that the magic fraternity began to consider it as able to elevate an audience and bring a sense of awe and wonder to their experience. People began to see it as able to do more than simply "Entertain".

I think by nature bizarre magick has its roots in trying to make this "connection" with the spectator. Bizarre magick was born through the self aware process of introspection.
The founders of this branch of magic seem to have started from a different place altogether.
It seems to me, that what we have here is the presupposition that magic can have meaning beyond mere trivial light entertainment as sleight of hand and through this we have perhaps a different animal altogether.

Of course, I could be COMPLETELY wrong.

When it comes to magic as art...
I might not know exactly what constitutes Art, but I sure recognize it when I see it!
And I definitely see it here often (Your contributions come to mind Immediately Chris).
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 18, 2011 12:51PM)
These are all good points.

Personally, I think Bizarre magic has its roots in something very mysterious and very powerful - namely storytelling.
The bards never did go away!
Message: Posted by: Stoltz (Aug 18, 2011 01:01PM)
Ah yes story telling, you may indeed be right.

My absolute favorite childhood pastime was indeed reading scary stories, and telling them at night by firelight to a captive audience! With the proper mood and setting, the stage was set for a good tale.

In my mind, there is still almost nothing more fun than telling a good campfire story!
Message: Posted by: DrTodd (Aug 18, 2011 01:16PM)
Context, premise, plausibility, personal connection, emotion, mystery, and wonder can all make mentalism very powerful indeed...think of a number and I name it? Nope...
Message: Posted by: seadog93 (Aug 18, 2011 01:16PM)
You've got to see Docc Hilford perform.
David Alexander called his L&L set a master class in performing entertaining mentalism.
His DVD "The Vault" is also amazing.
Actually, pretty much anything he produces is wonderful and entertaining.

When I first got back into magic I thought mentalism was petty boring, until I saw some of the audience reactions.
Now I prefer mentalism to magic, unless I'm doing a kids show or a bizarre show.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 18, 2011 01:17PM)
Whilst what you say about story telling is true Stoltz, the origins of storytelling are far deeper and far more profound. In a pre-literate society, the entire culture of a group of people had to be memorised and carried in a oral tradition from one generation to the next. We cannot know too much about this, as they did not write it down! However, the carrying of stories was integrally mixed with magic (and I am not talking sponge bunnies here!). This tradition did not die out, but it did mutate and (Max is right here) become very debased.
I do not think that we have ever lived in a society that needed wonder and magic - not to mention culture, more than now.
What we can give that the latest 3D film or computer game cannot give is immediacy and intimacy. We can allow people to experience magic first hand - but only if we become magical ourselves!
Message: Posted by: Joshua J (Aug 18, 2011 01:21PM)
As with any area of magic there are people who are good and people who are bad. I've seen some incredibly boring mentalists and some very engaging ones. It's often been very dull book tests. I suspect the reason why many of these "mentalists" weren't very good though was that they were magicians who had only just made a change to mentalism following recent trends. I'm not a big fan of card work, but then there have been people I've loved. Roy Davenport I found very friendly and engaging that even though he was doing tricks I haven't enjoyed in the past he was at such a good level and so good with his audience that I loved it. I've seen some very long winded bizarre routines with audience losing the plot, but equally people who could engage with a story alone. At its best bizarre magic can engage and touch on subjects other areas might not.

One thing that disappoints me with a lot of mentalists is the lack of desire for something real. I'm very sceptical of most psychic or supernatural phenomena, but I would love to find something that was real. As a child I read Lord of the Rings and wanted to be a wizard, minus the beard. Reading Rhhoald Dahl-the Twits put me off beards. Later I wanted to be a Jedi. I mastered the art of telling stormtroopers, "these aren't the droids you're looking for". Sadly I can't afford a droid to put that power into use.

On the subject of storytelling I was brought up with Greek Myths and old fairy tales, a lot of the Andrew Lang colour books (shame on you if you don't know them). One of my favourite series was Jim Henson's the storyteller, with John Hurt as the storyteller. These little episodes created more magic in my young mind than any birthday party magician ever did. I would love to create a routine which had that impact.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nV02QKO0uc&feature=related
Message: Posted by: necroloid (Aug 18, 2011 01:22PM)
For me(and probably for more than a few here), My fascination with story telling started at the very geeky age of 12 when I first started play Dungeons and Dragons. I rarely played a character as I preferred to be the DM, the one setting the stage, describing the scene and creating the plot lines that my friends would follow.
And like many of us I started in magic with childrens magic shows and card magic and then dabbled in mental ism before finding my way to this end of the woods. Although I still mainly do childrens shows my true interest lies with bizarre magic.
Message: Posted by: Joshua J (Aug 18, 2011 01:25PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-18 14:17, Christopher Gould wrote:
Whilst what you say about story telling is true Stoltz, the origins of storytelling are far deeper and far more profound. In a pre-literate society, the entire culture of a group of people had to be memorised and carried in a oral tradition from one generation to the next. We cannot know too much about this, as they did not write it down! However, the carrying of stories was integrally mixed with magic (and I am not talking sponge bunnies here!). This tradition did not die out, but it did mutate and (Max is right here) become very debased.
I do not think that we have ever lived in a society that needed wonder and magic - not to mention culture, more than now.
What we can give that the latest 3D film or computer game cannot give is immediacy and intimacy. We can allow people to experience magic first hand - but only if we become magical ourselves!
[/quote]

Sounding more like the intro to Carnivale

http://youtu.be/6cAWT3CsATc
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 18, 2011 02:04PM)
Joshuha

On the subject of wanting something real - I agree entirely.
But, how about this for a premise?
Everything we experience as reality is subjective. As such, to the mind there is no hierarchy of truth.
I am not sure I am making myself clear with this (without rambling on forever)but it is an important idea regarding what you have said.
Message: Posted by: weepinwil (Aug 18, 2011 02:04PM)
I personally think whether mentalism is boring or not depends upon the subject not the performer. If the subject has no imagination or is boring what can you to get when you read their mind. Some of the most imaginative minds to read are dead persons, they really have a different perspective on both life and death. Audience always seems interested in what the dead think.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 18, 2011 02:05PM)
I know some really boring dead people!
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Aug 18, 2011 02:17PM)
I don't think mentalism is boring...nor do I think magic is boring.

But I will completely agree that there are many MANY boring mentalists and magicians. It is all in the presentation -- which is what turned me onto bizarre stuff to start with.

I could not -- still cannot -- for the life of me figure out why people were so enamored with book tests, for example. I give you a book. You pick a word...I know the word.

......so?

Not interesting. While I am sure I am missing something, the whole idea comes off as sterile and uninteresting.

But that changes when presentation is incorporated into the effect. How about LUNA as a book test? I am not only allowing you to choose a room at random...but also telling you about the occupant and their neighbour...when they were admitted and what's afflicting them.

Both book tests...both mentalism based. One is a performance...one is a trick.

To say that mentalism itself is boring is a ridiculous statement.

David
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 18, 2011 02:27PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-18 14:16, DrTodd wrote:
Context, premise, plausibility, personal connection, emotion, mystery, and wonder can all make mentalism very powerful indeed...think of a number and I name it? Nope...
[/quote]

Think of a number and name it... and then say "that is how many minutes you have to live..."
Message: Posted by: weepinwil (Aug 18, 2011 02:45PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-18 15:27, Dr Spektor wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-18 14:16, DrTodd wrote:
Context, premise, plausibility, personal connection, emotion, mystery, and wonder can all make mentalism very powerful indeed...think of a number and I name it? Nope...
[/quote]

Think of a number and name it... and then say "that is how many minutes you have to live..."
[/quote]

And then call me for the final arrangements....
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 18, 2011 02:48PM)
[quote]

Think of a number and name it... and then say "that is how many minutes you have to live..."
[/quote]


Excellent answer! I am going to use this!

Actual funny AND true - it WOULD be both unnecessarily cruel, and totally engaging!
Message: Posted by: docsteve (Aug 18, 2011 04:23PM)
Once you begin to practice mentalism, it's the most boring thing to watch unless a) the performer is funny -e.g. John Archer, or b) fooling you, and then -as a mentalist- you begin to marvel at the techniques etc. So I don't think we can be objective about mentalism. Better to ask Joe Public.

The great thing about bizarre/ story telling is that the method is not the mystery, but rather the delight of the story, the art inhent in the routine. In my own recent sets, I have totally foresaken being the operator; now the spectator apparently gets the results. I am merely a guide, an aid to the ritual. It's a position I feel totally comfortable with, and my magic no longer feels self indulgent.
Message: Posted by: Stoltz (Aug 18, 2011 04:53PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-18 17:23, docsteve wrote:
In my own recent sets, I have totally foresaken being the operator; now the spectator apparently gets the results. I am merely a guide, an aid to the ritual. It's a position I feel totally comfortable with, and my magic no longer feels self indulgent.

[/quote]

YES to this!
This is exactly how I like my handle my magick, invisibly!
Message: Posted by: Mr Timothy Gray (Aug 18, 2011 06:36PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-18 17:23, docsteve wrote:
Once you begin to practice mentalism, it's the most boring thing to watch unless a) the performer is funny -e.g. John Archer, or b) fooling you, and then -as a mentalist- you begin to marvel at the techniques etc. So I don't think we can be objective about mentalism. Better to ask Joe Public.

The great thing about bizarre/ story telling is that the method is not the mystery, but rather the delight of the story, the art inhent in the routine. In my own recent sets, I have totally foresaken being the operator; now the spectator apparently gets the results. I am merely a guide, an aid to the ritual. It's a position I feel totally comfortable with, and my magic no longer feels self indulgent.
[/quote]

Docsteve speaks some powerful words here. Ultimately, mentalism and bizarre magic are BOTH very boring if one thinks like a mentalist or a bizarrist. When the performance ceases to be about you as the performer, and about the experience for the audience, something magical begins to take place.

IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU. IT IS ABOUT THE AUDIENCE.
Message: Posted by: Gandalf the Wizard (Aug 18, 2011 09:30PM)
The old magic had to do with things inherently human (needs, passions, fears, etc.). Indeed, the rituals of the shaman was the first magical shows in history, but things developed there had a sense, there was no just to entertain, it was not just appearances.

The shaman was the guide who led his community to experience the supernatural, an experience he had lived. His costumes, his gestures, words of power, sought to induce in his audience the notion that there is a spiritual reality. The Magic had a purpose. This is where we also find the first magic tricks, but these tricks sought to express the community through an illusion, the espiritual experience of the shamans , his travels through the cosmos, his dealings with spirits, and so on, and that would otherwise be difficult to explain to people who have not had such experiences. The shaman knows that there is a supernatural world and express it through art. He is first a magic man or woman, and then an artist, he does not believe the supernatural exists, he lives it.

Names, words and stories, were tools to manage this universal power. Storytelling was not a story, at the right time, a sacred history had the power to recreate the universe created by the spirits and human beings connect with the primeval era of magic (see the eternal return), shamans were men and women of power and that is the magic of making something with that power in relation to others and your own connection to the universe.

If you do not see that connection to the power of the universe, it is difficult to give something that you do not have.

Just some random thoughts, greetings.

Mago Gandalf
Message: Posted by: JAlenS (Aug 18, 2011 09:49PM)
Christopher, I suffered from the same ideas about mentalism...until I performed some. What really drove me over to the mental side of spooky stuff is that it does look real to many that witness it if not most who do. Add a bizarre theme and/or story and you have suspended disbelief beyond a reasonable doubt.

When I started studying mentalism I pictured the effect on the audience and was hooked.

Would you not consider Sanctum to be mentalism? It's so strong it borders on where I believe mentalism is going.

Please PM me abou this.

Thanks
Message: Posted by: Paradise (Aug 20, 2011 09:44AM)
I got back into magic and mentalism a few years ago as a result of reading one particular book which was inspiring and well put together.

However earlier this year I got to watch a DVD that contained a lot of the performance from this book, and sorry to say it was the most boring thing I had ever watched.

Now this hasn't put me off reading this performers material which I still think is excellent through.
Message: Posted by: Lord Freddie (Aug 20, 2011 10:51AM)
If you could REALLY read minds you wouldn't need a load of envelopes and a calculator. It's those kinds of routines I hate, ones that aren't entertaining to the audience or that amazing.
Message: Posted by: docdazzal (Aug 20, 2011 11:08AM)
Chris...

Guys like you and Paul are taking the bordom out of mentalism and magic in general, by way of your innovative and different approach and take on mental effects. If there were more innovators like you and Paul...and fewer run-of-the-mill...re-hash artists out there...you or anyone else, wouldn't have a need to post an article like this one since bordom in mentalism wouldn't be an issue.


Continued Success...
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 20, 2011 11:08AM)
What would you see...

Mind reader

Or

Mind vampire

I know what I'd see
Message: Posted by: dmkraig (Aug 20, 2011 11:20AM)
I just wanted to say that this is a GREAT discussion. Thank you all.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Aug 20, 2011 11:41AM)
"Is it me or is mentalism boring?"

It is just you.

:goof:
Message: Posted by: scathmadre (Aug 20, 2011 12:30PM)
Too many magicians have the ability to create wonder, then mimicking politicians, they blow it with a cheap joke.

Mentalist is no different than a guy sawing a person in half. It starts fun, but ends poorly. Pointless.

Cut in half, restored, Ta-Da! And we feel no hint of danger with all the pyro's and lighting effects, and prancing pretties…

No threat...

Boredom ensues when the cord that suspends disbelief is cut and not restored.

Modern magic has as its components a Magician, and a Spectator.

The Shaman, like the Bizzarist by necessity require the Spectator to be a Participant.
This move, is something most non-theatre trained magician/mentalists cannot pull off, since their show occurs as a performance, and they do not spend the time to sit in the seat of the audience.

The magician/mentalists wants his audience to go, "How'd he do that?"

The Bizzarist and the Shaman know that if they ask that question - our performance sucked.
Message: Posted by: scathmadre (Aug 20, 2011 03:24PM)
...and what about Syliva Browne?
Okay she does not read minds, does not try to be a 'mentalist'.
However while mentalists are trying to pay their rent, folks would stand in line and pay beaucoup bucks to hear Sylvia Browne cold-read.

How could this be?

Because she entertains.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Aug 20, 2011 04:02PM)
And because they believe.
Message: Posted by: KingNothing (Aug 20, 2011 04:49PM)
The problem I think is that too many mentalists, in order to justify the feeling that mentalism is an art, gear their act around "convincing the audience that these powers exist, and that they have them." That's not their job. Their job is to be an entertainer.

At first, I was very much turned off to mentalism, because the presentation in some of the first books I looked at, well, they were awful. Then, I saw Derren Brown, Banachek, and Luke Jermay in action, presenting mentalism not as "look what I can do," but rather as "hey, let's have some fun."
Message: Posted by: KingNothing (Aug 20, 2011 04:52PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-20 16:24, scathmadre wrote:
...and what about Syliva Browne?
Okay she does not read minds, does not try to be a 'mentalist'.
However while mentalists are trying to pay their rent, folks would stand in line and pay beaucoup bucks to hear Sylvia Browne cold-read.

How could this be?

Because she entertains.
[/quote]
Yeah, to be honest, that's a bad example. People like Sylvia Browne or John Edwards, people genuinely believe, thanks to heavily edited TV specials, that they can really contact the dead. Are they entertaining in person? Well, I've heard some things from some very disillusioned people. However, with the bad parts left on the editing room floor, the remaining half hour of the three hour session is very entertaining indeed.
Message: Posted by: JAlenS (Aug 20, 2011 04:57PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-20 17:49, KingNothing wrote:
... Then, I saw Derren Brown, Banachek, and Luke Jermay in action, presenting mentalism not as "look what I can do," but rather as "hey, let's have some fun."
[/quote]

That's exactly the way I think about presenting mentalism and bizarre. The show is for the audience, not us. And if it isn't fun the audience will not enjoy what they have created :)
Message: Posted by: scathmadre (Aug 20, 2011 06:13PM)
[quote]
People like Sylvia Browne or John Edwards, people genuinely believe, thanks to heavily edited TV specials, that they can really contact the dead. Are they entertaining in person? Well, I've heard some things from some very disillusioned people. However, with the bad parts left on the editing room floor, the remaining half hour of the three hour session is very entertaining indeed.
[/quote]
Right, I understand. No disagreement. But I'm not talking about TV. I'm talking about folks buying tickets and lining up. Not all are believers, some walk away that way, some walk away disillusioned (kinda like the feeling you get when you see a 'good' magic show), and some walk away with a sense of wonder.

boil it down. folks line up and pay money to watch a woman sit in a chair and talk.

An entertaining mentalist, should allow their audience to walk away with a sense of recaptured wonder.

Perhaps - in order to allow wonder, for just a moment they have to believe!

There's a story that Ken Kesey (the author) used to do a really bad bit of sleight of hand for people.
It took about two heartbeats for folks to realize the coin was in Ken's other hand. He even admitted he was horrible at slight-of-hand, but that wasn't his point.

“The reason I do that is because, just for a split moment, a window opens up in your mind and a little Light sneaks in. Then your intellect pops up and slams the window closed and draws the shade. But it’s too *** late. The Light already got in there...”
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 20, 2011 07:12PM)
The problem is when a so call mentalist forgets that he or she is an entertainer - then all the points made above make sense... I have a feeling mentalism being more rooted in spiritualism roots has people forgetting this and thinking they have semi real powers... I.e. Not magic psychic powers but arrogance of thinking themselves superior by doing mental tricks versus what all mystery entertainers are supposed to do - entertain and engage using mystery. A comedian uses humor, etc. And we all know a good entertainer blends art and media forms as needed to engage and get the point across

Although the fundamentalist mentalists would say there is a big differene between them and magicians, it defines on the definition... Which is often more stereotyped then anything... I can get a puppet show to cause more mental effects and thought provocation than some dead beat add a number without context.... They make it all into non sequator effects that become boring

IMHO

I'm gearing up to do a stage show this year that basically is founded on perception is everything and includes many forms of magic and mentalism etc which over time to me all become part of being a pereptionist artisan of sorts....

I agree most mentalists are boring as they are not thinking as an entertainer and are the equivalent of the magician from Arrested Development
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Aug 20, 2011 07:42PM)
People don't believe because they watch a TV special. They watch the special because it reconfirms what they already believe or want to believe.

As practicing theatricians, we present a reality. Proving what the audience already accepts seems a waste, but it IS an archaic magical performance convention. The people who prove it all, are cutting their feet out from underneath themselves. They'd become far better performers if they'd just learn to tell a good story.
Message: Posted by: magicmanila (Aug 22, 2011 09:32PM)
This is a GREAT THREAD!

Sorry I have A.D.D.
Message: Posted by: aquariusmagic (Aug 23, 2011 01:18AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-18 17:23, docsteve wrote:


The great thing about bizarre/ story telling is that the method is not the mystery, but rather the delight of the story,
[/quote]

Hi,
I think docsteve sums it up very well. The most entertaining things are those that fire the imagination. That is why reading a novel is often better than watching the movie. The imagination is not bound by budgets, special effect logistics, etc.
It is also why (I speak from personal experience here) a photo of a house that LOOKS as though it should be haunted is often more appealing than a photo of an actually haunted (but architecturally drab) house. The same applies in my opinion regarding movies. A film that hints at something sinister and contains mysterious ingredients such as secret passages, treasure etc is often more entertaining than the typical blood and guts type horror movie.
I digress a little, but the relevance is that magic which makes people think is so much more entertaining. As already said, so what if you can name a chosen card after some complicated routine. It is tantamount to a mechanic (for example) saying ' I bet you can't rebore an engine or change the cylinder head'.

Keep it thought provoking.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 23, 2011 07:36AM)
Know your audience
Message: Posted by: docsteve (Aug 23, 2011 07:49AM)
[quote]
It is tantamount to a mechanic (for example) saying ' I bet you can't rebore an engine or change the cylinder head'.
[/quote]

New card routine. Use your favourite control,then tell spectator you can't find his card till next Tuesday, when you learn the move from central supplies, and that it's still going to cost him two grand...


God, I hate garages :-/
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 23, 2011 08:32AM)
Just being able to say; 'I *can* find your card guvnor - but it's gonna cost you!' makes me want to take up card magic again!

I started this thread off deliberately to be provocative and to see a bit of debate here. It certainly achieved this, and there have been some wise words, from some wise people. It seems that there is a central core here that is not just about bashing mentailists (fun as that pastime may be) - but something that extends into why we do what we do. This line of thought has the potential to define the future of magic as a performance art and potentially as a philosophy.

There have been too many good points to go over them all here. DrS has made points that are very close to my heart - Aquariusmagic (did you get my Email?) reminds us that the 'real work' is in the imagination. BTW, the photos you refer really do make your point - you should put one up here.... DrSteve and many others remind us that is is the performance and the context that are the important things, rather than the mechanics and tricks. This I am in total agreement with - my aim for many years now is to produce work that is totally devoid of mechanics or any deception.

So, just what bored me about this otherwise fine book? Well, I just don't care about someone pretending they can see what I am thinking - there is no true magic here - especially if this fire is lit only to be urinated on. 'My powers are not real... I am just a clever ferker!'
That is like someone giving me twenty quid only to say it is Monopoly money. I want real magic, the audience wants real magic. The world needs a magicakal perspective to counteract the reductionism and arid thinking patterns that we are told constitute 'reality'.
If anyone is capable of doing this it will be from this fraternity, not from some guy with ANOTHER goddam booktest.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 23, 2011 09:39AM)
Some thread on Penny asked what was an underappreciated book on mentalism. I put forward BLOOD MERIDIAN. Only one person understood. In that book - which some might think is about cowboys and Indians, you really journey through hell, existential existences, the great unknowns, moral uncertitude, various forms of divination, and feel like you read the true book of revelation and the apocalypse. You do meet card readers mystics and the personification of dark mental forces used for the purpose of erasing reality. If it doesn't inspire you to realize you can get mystery out of some dust on the ground, then one should just read verbatim stock routines from card packet tricks and live a life of an ostrich.
Message: Posted by: magicusb (Aug 23, 2011 10:38AM)
In answer to the creator of the thread...
"Is it me or is mentalism boring?"



It is clearly you!

Dick Brookz & Dorothy Dietrich
Message: Posted by: Mr Timothy Gray (Aug 23, 2011 12:07PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-23 09:32, Christopher Gould wrote:
So, just what bored me about this otherwise fine book? Well, I just don't care about someone pretending they can see what I am thinking - there is no true magic here - especially if this fire is lit only to be urinated on. 'My powers are not real... I am just a clever ferker!'
That is like someone giving me twenty quid only to say it is Monopoly money. I want real magic, the audience wants real magic. The world needs a magicakal perspective to counteract the reductionism and arid thinking patterns that we are told constitute 'reality'.
If anyone is capable of doing this it will be from this fraternity, not from some guy with ANOTHER goddam booktest.
[/quote]

I feel I should start this with that all too often used phrase..."This is just my opinion"...but you are quickly setting up a double standard. And it would be my advice that you take a moment, step back, breathe a little, and ruminate on what you are saying.

This thread, unfortunately, reeks of being "provocative" for the sake of being "provocative". Not that that is a bad thing -- I'm usually the first fellow to start pushing people's buttons to get some sort of reaction out of them. But it needs to be for a purpose. I think you have some amazing and wonderful ideas -- but rather than (for the lack of a better word ) attacking a cousin art form to your own, eliminate your feelings for that art form all together, and concentrate on your own. What you feel is wrong or right about what someone else does, has NOTHING to do at all with you. Yes, of course, you can learn from other people's faults, but menatalism is NOT boring if it is performed by an experienced performer. And it could be easily said that bizarre magic is JUST AS (if not more) boring than mentalism, if is performed by a lousy performer.

Seriously, I understand what you are trying to say. But you're going about it in all the wrong ways. You will succeed if you keep your nose to grindstone, but stop looking up to critique another art forms that you aren't currently pursuing.

I wish you the best.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 23, 2011 12:28PM)
There are some here who will not quite get where this thread is going. However, there are an interesting band of people here - and people who have contacted me privately that clearly do. You know, there are times when you can sense when certain aspects are in recession. This is always a good thing, as it allows for new growth. This begs the questions; where does this new growth come from and what will it be?
My own opinion, and it is nothing more than this, is that the history of magic is the history of it's gradual debasement. To be optimistic, we all know that we have been through the very lowest point - even if the pain of the leaping sequinned leotards may still be keenly felt, and *still* inform the public perception of what our art is about.

I sense here a more *genuine* understanding of something deeper, something of more value.

I have been unnecessarily cruel to mentalism here (albeit for a reason). It certainly has done a lot to take magic away from the grisly place it found itself in just a few decades ago - Incidentally, so did Uri Geller and Blaine - if you think about it.
It took some of the embarrassment out of magic and instilled some genuine sense of wonder.
I just cannot get excited any more about it's premise - and like many here, really, I mean REALLY tired of the denial of any 'real' magic in the universe. 'Everything you see here tonight was the product of psychology, trickery and intellectual superiority'... you know the script.... You call yourself a magician - then you deny the existence of magic? Sheeeet, I want my money back!
Frankly it is totally beyond me how anyone could spend so much time engaged in something, the premise of which they deny.
I don't expect to go to church and be delivered a sermon by a winking Richard Dawkins (even if this spectacle would tempt me back into church).
I think that it is this denial of magic by magicians that is at the root of my ennui. Perhaps this is why I find mentalism so arid now....
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 23, 2011 12:40PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-18 17:23, docsteve wrote:
Once you begin to practice mentalism, it's the most boring thing to watch unless a) the performer is funny -e.g. John Archer, or b) fooling you, and then -as a mentalist- you begin to marvel at the techniques etc. So I don't think we can be objective about mentalism. Better to ask Joe Public.

The great thing about bizarre/ story telling is that the method is not the mystery, but rather the delight of the story, the art inhent in the routine. In my own recent sets, I have totally foresaken being the operator; now the spectator apparently gets the results. I am merely a guide, an aid to the ritual. It's a position I feel totally comfortable with, and my magic no longer feels self indulgent.
[/quote]

This is absolutely true! While your magic may no longer feel self-indulgent, you still get a great sense of satisfaction from the whole thing, the act(s), as a complete package. Sometimes as a magician I feel like the Monsters Inc. employees (Disney Pixar movie...) that scared little kids in their sleep to collect their screams for power (read: wattage), where we do it for the reactions or rather, to see said reactions happen in people. It can be quite addictive...
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 23, 2011 01:15PM)
MrWoodrow - I understand and value the points you make.
However, if I am being provocative, it is for a reason, I am not being provocative for the sake of it.
Sometimes provoking a reaction can galvanise and get fresh blood flowing. Also, I am looking for some debate here for some depth of discussion. This, to some extent, has been achieved. There are, regardless of the anyone's delivery, some important points being made here by a range of people taking differing stances, that I feel have real value. So although my disillusionment with mentalism is genuine, it is also my personal stance - however, I guess I am hoping that my position can be used to get others to think about and discuss their own thoughts. Which is happening...
Message: Posted by: docsteve (Aug 24, 2011 04:52AM)
One of my problems with the whole psychology premise in mentalism is that it's been done to death by Derren, and furthermore done so well that we look like pale imitators (which in essence we are). I seen a card reveal using 'psychology' ( and confess, done it when asked to perform impromptu) using lines like "make the colour bright - yes, you blinked at 'colour' meaning it's a red card.... " etc.

How you do logically extend this premise?
It's exactly the same with mind reading - I can read your thoughts, but only if it's a small number, letter, single word...
Yet a moment later I have nailed the car, the price and the location you'd drive it.

In bizarre we have the equivalent with " the spirit is here; she says it's all lovely, and there's no more pain"
What about the Nature of the afterlife though? What of God herself? Is she really black? No messages on that. "John says don't worry, the money will turn up eventually"

I have some work I'm almost afraid to mention, for various reasons. But imagine leaving a gig, and a week later people are emailing you about Xs eczema, which apparently you've made better...
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 24, 2011 08:05AM)
The key is - why bother giving an explanation
Message: Posted by: docsteve (Aug 24, 2011 08:08AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-24 09:05, Dr Spektor wrote:
The key is - why bother giving an explanation
[/quote]

I agree Bruce, although the problem with keeping that air of mystery around you is that the character must be with you in public at all times; hard for us part-timers!

Has anyone ever heard of a Tony Andruzzi? ...
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Aug 24, 2011 09:09AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-24 09:08, docsteve wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-24 09:05, Dr Spektor wrote:
The key is - why bother giving an explanation
[/quote]

I agree Bruce, although the problem with keeping that air of mystery around you is that the character must be with you in public at all times;
[/quote]

Ditto!

[quote]
Has anyone ever heard of a Tony Andruzzi? ...
[/quote]

Indeed. Look at Phil Goldstein (known to most as Max Maven). Even Eugene Burger has an implied character of sorts. Either way, when you see any of these three in public or at shows/conventions/etc. they always look the same, no matter where they are. True, they are full-time professionals, but still...
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 24, 2011 10:58AM)
Hmmm I don't find it a problem as I tell people in those situations I am there to help them experience the mysterious - to tell them more would ruin that experience nut said
Message: Posted by: Jon_Thompson (Aug 25, 2011 06:55AM)
Mentalism is boring for me when there's no room for *my* imagination. If someone wraps a story around an effect and I can see that it's an arbitrary tale that has been created because the performer needed /something/ to wrap around the effect, I immediately lose interest. It's either telling me what to think (a bad idea) or is so implausible that I can't suspend my imagination enough (even worse idea). If the story is something deeper and looser so that I have room to fill in the gaps in my mind, it becomes something more. It becomes *my* effect. Frankly, I feel the most connection to the performance when I don't even know when the story has become the effect.

That's why all the best pictures are on the radio ;)
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 25, 2011 08:59AM)
Wise words there Tomo, DrS a few here have picked up on the important point of the true magic happening in the mind of the spectator.
Inspired by Robert Anton Wilson's idea of 'Reality Tunnels', you could take this thinking very far. What I mean is, the entire universe exists in the dark space of the individual's mind. So, whatever they perceive *is* reality - it is their assumed reality - but their reality, non the less. This is a very powerful concept when thought through to it's logical conclusion. It is also a concept that was understood by every mystic and magician throughout time. I think that it is the most powerful tool we have, and few here will disagree.
You also highlight one of the main tools for disrupting someone's sense of reality (to allow for new realities to form). The powerful technique of not giving the audience the whole story - allowing (impelling) them to use there own imagination and thereby to play with shifting their received paradigm. Those last four words are really the nub of it all.
We all of us want to disrupt, challenge and change people's realities. Surely, this is beyond dispute?
This begs the question - why do we *want* to do this?
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 25, 2011 08:11PM)
I'll admit why I do it- it's lonely on the quest for meaning and I find I was want company on the road that never ends
Message: Posted by: JAlenS (Aug 25, 2011 11:00PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-25 09:59, Christopher Gould wrote:
Wise words there Tomo, DrS a few here have picked up on the important point of the true magic happening in the mind of the spectator.
Inspired by Robert Anton Wilson's idea of 'Reality Tunnels', you could take this thinking very far. What I mean is, the entire universe exists in the dark space of the individual's mind. So, whatever they perceive *is* reality - it is their assumed reality - but their reality, non the less. This is a very powerful concept when thought through to it's logical conclusion. It is also a concept that was understood by every mystic and magician throughout time. I think that it is the most powerful tool we have, and few here will disagree.
You also highlight one of the main tools for disrupting someone's sense of reality (to allow for new realities to form). The powerful technique of not giving the audience the whole story - allowing (impelling) them to use there own imagination and thereby to play with shifting their received paradigm. Those last four words are really the nub of it all.
We all of us want to disrupt, challenge and change people's realities. Surely, this is beyond dispute?
This begs the question - why do we *want* to do this?
[/quote]

This is exactly where a core group is taking mentalism, not where it's going. Jerome Finley said that mentalism is going backward into a solely for entertainment form. I love mentalism however I agree with Jerome to a point. To expand the "horizons" of mentalism the current trend has to end somewhat. If a certain confabulation presentation takes the participant on a journey where he or she can visualize it, at that point in time that is the reality they are experiencing. When the revelation is made the rest of the audience is brought into that reality therefore making it real in their minds if you understand where I'm going, or coming from, with that.

Let me use the D*kran&m from Outlaw as an example. From the perspective of the audience something arcane is used to find a random number. Using that random number an unknown passage is understood and applied to the individual by themselves. Even without the performer revealing what that passage means to the participant he or she (the spec) has applied it to themselves and understands the connection to the written words. When the performer reveals the applied thoughts of the participant where the rest of the audience can participate with their own experience of the effect, a kind of real wonder comes into play and that is why I love magic and mentalism so much. Not that I can do a spongeball routine and they can't exactly explain what I did even though they know, but just for a second they were in wonderment and that look on their faces, just for that one second, is worth more than I've spent on crap material that I'll never use and all the hours I've spent practicing one effect until mastery.
Message: Posted by: Roth (Aug 25, 2011 11:56PM)
No doubt there has been a shift the past couple of years from mentalism to the exploration of bizarre magick. By that I mean the "mentalism guys" are becoming more fascinated with bizarre magick.

For good reason.

The mystery, the emotion, the inexplicable and the unexplainable.
Message: Posted by: JAlenS (Aug 26, 2011 12:30AM)
Then Rick, what do we call it? Bizarre mentalism? We're going from pretense and outright trickery in mentalism currently to the point of messing with people's minds to the point of a very realness. I'm not knocking you at all Rick. I'm just saying that maybe the more traditional mentalist is coming over to bizarre because the current state of performance mentalism lacks a real substance and connection with the audience members. It is very dry. How many ACAAN threads have to exist? Great effect but it's still just a trick. The participant(s) don't go anywhere in their minds with it and that's why I think mentalism is boring to some (many) people.

Sanctum Sanctuary and The Wonder Tour are perfect examples. Does the participant go on a journey? Oh yeah. Is it real to them? To a great extent during the experiment. The more these kinds of effects let the participant become submerged in them, the more real the experience becomes. Very very powerful and it goes so much deeper to the point that an individual's belief system can be changed to an extent, without NLP :) Maybe a change in awareness and possibilities that they didn't know existed before and can have some hope that there is something more to human existence than a 9 to 5 grind and the evening news. Ya know?
Message: Posted by: Roth (Aug 26, 2011 01:37AM)
I think Sanctum is a bizarre effect. Chris did a wonderful booklet.

I think Luna is a bizarre effect because of the elements of emotion, empathy and the "journey". Is it mentalism? I don't think it is.

I was really referring to the "atmosphere" experience, and props used in bizarre magick, that are attracting the mentalism crowd.

I'm not knocking mentalism. I kill with an impromptu PW routine.

You have a mindreader like Bob Cassidy who can give his audience an "experience" but he's been doing it a long time and he's a professional performer.

What a hobbiest might do can appear "dry", but Derren or Cassidy can make an experience of it. But once again, they are professional performers.

We (the spooky crowd) may think mentalism is "dry" but that doesn't mean the spec isn't getting entertained.

We like to entertain in a different way. We like mystery, strange props, atmosphere, the unexplainable.

I think Chris wants to go deeper. Beyond mentalism and maybe beyond bizarre magick...

I'm not sure where Chris is going with this, but I'd love to see him write a book :)

Absolute Gould
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Aug 26, 2011 02:09AM)
Rick you bring up some good points. I am working only as a mystic these days and have preformed this way for a number of years. One of the reasons for this is that I found much of mentalism within the last 20 years dull and boring. However, there have been exceptions to this such as Bob's and Jim's work and a few others who's primary focus is on the audience experience. This concept or aspect of mentalism and the audience in my opinion is what make mentalism great. Now if only they could weave the whole thing in to a tale or story in every performance then the construct as a whole could have a lot more mass appeal. Of course this is only what I think but working as a mystic has shown me a thing or two about the importance of the experience of the person or audience over the methodology used to achieve a result or more appropriately an experience.


JAlenS, I just call it mysticism.

Here is something some of you may not know? When you are introduced as a mystic the audiences preconceived idea of what a mystic is and does is already in place. Think about it and you will come to the same conclusion that some of us have came too. That conclusion only focuses on the experience of those who we are in the presents of and they too want a mystical experience to take home with them. Nothing else will do. Nothing.

Cheers, back to playing with my new planchette's. I love this thing so much I bought extras and place an order for a dozen more of these custom made gems.... this seance season will be off the chain and oh so dark.......

Here is a link to a photo.

http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa120/bllmontana/100_0988.jpg

Bill
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 26, 2011 06:41AM)
Heh years ago I refused to play the "are ye a mentalist or magician" and dubbed myself a mizzarist

Over time I found mystery performer fits more

Then I realized no term ever fits completely once you get really into it as to define yourself limits yourself

I now just ended up emulating the ethos of the twilight zone - which really was one of the seminal roots to why I do these things

There was a reason my avatar's picture and the name fit-- because we are narrators of interactive tales delving into the mysteries of existence

But we can have fun too :)

My next major stage show is very night gallery trinity Ed

I love this stuff

Rick, remember yearsssss ago I said you were a bizzarist at heart - as outlaw began to move out if stereotypical mentalist offerings and I think it was the wisest move and your items became mega oil - because they went beyond psychological etc

Bill's materials just thrive in the realm between science and superstition

Heck so many here on this forum do mentalism wayyyyy better then those dry husks on penny

In fact I barely visit penny anymore

Anyhow hats off to Chris for starting this thread
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 26, 2011 06:51AM)
Hmmm my iPhone changed some words oops

Night gallery tribute

And I meant megacool (I have no idea why iPhone has mega oil as a spelling auto correct on that)

Outlaw has grown over time along with others to produce items I actually use - because over time many if us just making our own (which ties into what I'm talking about above) and outlaw really has some unique and engaging pieces due to Rick and his team

Chris's items look so amazing (and still ready to barter carcosa items for some)

I am also happy that over time we've worked through various things together and we are again colleagues in the arts of mystery
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 26, 2011 07:52AM)
[quote]

This is exactly where a core group is taking mentalism, not where it's going.
[/quote]

Now I don't exactly see this as a race. I think one of the points that I made was magicians have been on this path since the dawn of time, it is nothing new. However, all of us have been born in an age where magic is despised and marginalised, so it appears that those exploring the fringes of possibilities are novel. Rather than factionating (just made that word up!), I see a really promising spirit of camaraderie growing here.

Rick - thanks for the kind words, we go a way back and I think we both perceived the seeds of what is being discussed here, long ago.We just did not know what to call it. Oddly a book is in the offing at some point in the future. Thinking about it, everything I have done - even if it's roots are in magic and mentalism have been exploring the territory we are beginning to define here. I did announce my departure from magic a few weeks ago - the reason being that I thought the ideas I am currently playing with would be too unpalatable for the magic community. There are some very closed minds in mentalism - is that a paradox? However, I have been surprised and pleased by the response. There is a very real hunger for something that 'goes beyond' - my personal feeling is that the precedent for this has already been set on a metaphysical level and we are all conduits allowing this to happen. This developing paradigm is also the glue that binds us. To think one has the sole ownership of this process would be a fallacy. With this in mind, I am working with two groups - the first is exploring the philosophy of what we have touched on here. (I cannot say too much, as it is not my group), the second is a sort of Alchemist's lab for more practical outcomes. I am also interested in forging connections within the community, and feel that dealers should be less guarded and talk more to each other. We are in a very small pond, fishing for the same fish, and often using bait that looks very similar. Some co-ordination can only be for the good.

I am going to come out of the shadows here. Magic *is* real, the universe is a magical one. With the development of consciousness and the individual ego and a reductionist model of thinking - we have lost this fact. It took me a major illness to realise this and to experience magic in my life for the first time. My belief is that as a species we are starved of magic, starved of wonder. Seeing the world in terms of quantifiable data is ripping our souls out. The species is unhappy, just look, all we seem to want to do is kill each other. The world needs magic, and we call ourselves magicians. Do we truly realise the potential import of our calling?
Message: Posted by: magic.mind (Aug 26, 2011 09:14AM)
Mentalism can be boring as any other performing art if the performer is boring, mentalism itself is a serious type of performance, but you should see cassidy, maven or becker to realize that can be very entertaining.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Aug 26, 2011 09:28AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-26 10:14, magic.mind wrote:
Mentalism can be boring as any other performing art if the performer is boring, mentalism itself is a serious type of performance, but you should see cassidy, maven or becker to realize that can be very entertaining.
[/quote]

And Derren. ;)
Message: Posted by: Jon_Thompson (Aug 26, 2011 11:14AM)
Madelon Hoedt has a very interesting take on this in Online Visions: http://www.online-visions.com/other/0907fantastic.html
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 26, 2011 01:05PM)
Madelon is a wonderful thinker and hits the nail squarely on the head...
Message: Posted by: ssucahyo (Aug 28, 2011 06:00AM)
Very boring....agree.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Aug 28, 2011 06:07AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-28 07:00, ssucahyo wrote:
Very boring....agree.
[/quote]

Pak Cahyo... :goof:
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 28, 2011 01:03PM)
I am just going to stir the pot widdershins now, and reveal that my two big heroes are Max Maven and David Berglas.
Next to these, we are all children chattering in the playground.

Still, I am glad this little thread has stimulated some discussion, as this can be more entertaining than 'product placement' (not that I am exempt from this, but we can do something else here sometimes surely?).

There have been many wise words spoken here, plus a couple of dumb ones, along with my favourite joke!
I think we can conclude that there is a common ground (whether we wish for it or not) and that common ground states that is it the presentation that is important in defining the validity of what we do, rather than the content.

although.... I am not entirely sure that we have defined exactly what it is that we are attempting to do, or why.... maybe that is another discussion.
Message: Posted by: DrTodd (Aug 29, 2011 12:37AM)
Yes, Madelon's notion of ambiguity is great and an underlying principle for how I structure my shows...a variety of plausible accounts, a narrative that addresses perennial concerns in life, and inexplicable transformational events that illustrate the larger set of questions I seek to address...It is worth having a look at Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions as we ponder new paradigms for our art ...
Message: Posted by: Jon_Thompson (Aug 29, 2011 06:04AM)
In the context of Kuhn, I wonder if bizarre magic can be seen as a revolution against mentalism?
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 29, 2011 07:20AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-29 07:04, Jon_Thompson wrote:
In the context of Kuhn, I wonder if bizarre magic can be seen as a revolution against mentalism?
[/quote]

Everything is a reaction to something that produces a revolution (or is it 'evolution'?). Personally, I think we will have arrived when we drop all the subcategories and just call it 'magic' - although to do that, the meaning of *that* word would need to change.
Message: Posted by: Godzilla (Aug 29, 2011 12:16PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-29 08:20, Christopher Gould wrote:


Everything is a reaction to something that produces a revolution (or is it 'evolution'?). Personally, I think we will have arrived when we drop all the subcategories and just call it 'magic' - although to do that, the meaning of *that* word would need to change.
[/quote]



Nicely put Mr. Gould ! Could we please change that word to 'Magick'. :)
Message: Posted by: Lord Freddie (Aug 29, 2011 01:03PM)
I think I understand where Chris is coming from, the idea of mentalism is great but the execution itself and the performance of many mentalists reduces it to the status of a puzzle. Also, many mentalists seem to have this "better than thou" air about them and claim to be experts in psychology. My main gripe with mentalism is that if you really were able to do these things then you wouldn't require all the clutter and it would be far more direct. Mentalism, by it's nature, is designed to be more believable than standard magic and that doubt should be placed in the audiences minds as to whether what they are witnessing is real.
If you really could read minds would you bother using it to see the serial number of a banknote? Or to reveal a number 'randomly' arrived at by the use of a few audience members and a suspect calculator? Would you need ten envelopes? Would you not just get someone to write anything down and then reveal it?
Derren Brown presents mentalism as more believable. If people had these powers would they not use them to cheat at a racetrack?

I find bizarre magic far more interesting than mentalism and with the occult/seance shows there is no room for convulted faffing about. You have to be direct. I looked at different book tests and the one I use in the show is Luna because it is so direct and if I was really able to do what I profess to do, this is how it would be done. I am not handling the book and riffling, no playing cards or dice are involved, I don't touch the book. This is as real as it can be.
Anything I perform in the first half of the show is mentalism based but without all the tiresome baggage that usually surrounds these kinds of effects.
Message: Posted by: DrTodd (Aug 30, 2011 01:41AM)
This has worked to orient all my work:

‘Metaphysical magic uses the methods, tools and skills of the modern magician and mentalist to create a series of physical and psychic manifestations that relate to deeper questions concerning the human condition and the realms of human existence.’

Todd Landman (2010) Metaphysical Magic: Essays for the Discerning Mystery Entertainer, p. 17.

The idea of 'realms' is suitably flexible to include most of what we are discussing here. That and Madelon's idea of 'ambiguity' and we are getting somewhere.

Best wishes

Dr Todd
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 30, 2011 07:21AM)
Ambiguity has been the core of my presentations for a decade - I always say I promise to raise questions but also I promise not to provide answers :) - works well - key is as a performer not to appear you have any for sure else you divide yourself from the audience and lose the real magic - also burger and Neale wrote about this yeArs ago and max maven has had shows dedicTed to it eg "an evening of knowing and not knowing".... And heck my true inspirAtion for going this path trails back to rod Serling - a master mystic storyteller along with his buds Richard matheson and Hugh Beaumont

Ie don't think we've hit anything new per se but getting back to what others knew was the secret of unleashing imagination

Likely this goes back 1000s of years

Boring mentalism - someone appearing to have answers and thus being an ***
Message: Posted by: OnTiltSoon (Aug 30, 2011 07:48AM)
Probably not mentalism, but some mentalists...
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Aug 30, 2011 08:31AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-30 08:48, OnTiltSoon wrote:
Probably not mentalism, but some mentalists...
[/quote]

:ohyes: :applause:
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 30, 2011 09:48AM)
Of course it is perfectly possible to be 'magical' whilst doing mentalism. It is possible to be magical by making balloon animals. Although I would recommend a preschool audience to achieve this. It is just as possible to be magical telling a story, or just looking into someone's eyes.
I want to keep this one tread free of plugs - but I will say that the idea of getting something VERY simple and VERY, VERY basic and transforming it into genuine magic is fascinating me at the moment.(Godzilla, I understand why you would want to call it 'magick'- but this is my one man campaign to 'reclaim' the word for magicians!).
This is why Burger's material is so enduring and can be genuinely magical. But then again, *he* is magical. Being magical yourself seems to be a prerequisite. Being cocky, arrogant and egocentric just wont do it. I have talked before that the biggest occupational hazard for a magician is ego contamination; an arrogance brought on by subconsciously associating oneself with the magician being portrayed. This 'I am clearly on the road to divinity' attitude is seen more in mentalism that anywhere else. I think that this is because some of is less intelligent proponents set up a distance between the 'clever, gifted' performer and the 'stupid, fairly useless' audience. I find, and these are all personal observations, that Bizzare magic is more inclusive. It invites the audience into the strange place that the magician has delineated for them.

Of course to produce 'real magic', we need to define the term.

....that won't be easy.
Message: Posted by: Lord Freddie (Aug 30, 2011 10:40AM)
Real magic is what happens to them rather a crowd observing you, which is why I think bizarre is the strongest area, in that regard, of the magical arts.
Ambiguity is incredibly powerful as the audience are left to make their own minds as regarding what had happened and people will choose to believe what they feel sits most comfortably with them. They are creating the magic in their own minds and the emotions this induces will stay with them long after the performance has finished.
I am working on adding some new concepts to my show that will ensure the effect it has upon people is long lasting.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 30, 2011 11:36AM)
If we are producing ambiguity, we are doing a real service that goes way beyond magic.

Here is an experiment in ambiguity you can all try out yourself (from Big Bob again! - 'maybe logic').
Spend an entire day without being sure of anything. Do not make a definitive statement. Always be aware that reality does not actually exist, all we perceive as 'reality' is just what our senses interpret. We all interpret this 'data' in totally different ways.
So - why not bring ambiguity into your own life and your own thinking. Instead of saying 'this is', say 'to me, this appears to be'. See how long you can keep this up without falling into the old patterns of thought. To me this could be the the short cut to being magical.
The practical application of this could *maybe* be transformational.
Message: Posted by: VernonOnCoins (Aug 30, 2011 12:30PM)
Agreed. Subconscious doors open more quickly when we allow for ambiguity. When we stop imposing definitions and our very limited experience onto the things in front of us, we free ourselves from being dull and ordinary
Message: Posted by: Jon_Thompson (Aug 31, 2011 04:15AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-30 12:36, Christopher Gould wrote:
If we are producing ambiguity, we are doing a real service that goes way beyond magic.

Here is an experiment in ambiguity you can all try out yourself (from Big Bob again! - 'maybe logic').
Spend an entire day without being sure of anything. Do not make a definitive statement. Always be aware that reality does not actually exist, all we perceive as 'reality' is just what our senses interpret. We all interpret this 'data' in totally different ways.
So - why not bring ambiguity into your own life and your own thinking. Instead of saying 'this is', say 'to me, this appears to be'. See how long you can keep this up without falling into the old patterns of thought. To me this could be the the short cut to being magical.
The practical application of this could *maybe* be transformational.
[/quote]
This sounds frighteningly close that dirty science I've been warned about! :)

There appears to be good evidence to suggest that I need another cup of coffee...
Message: Posted by: Joshua J (Aug 31, 2011 12:55PM)
It seems right now that we are better equipped than ever before to create a true sense of magic. Some of the electronic wizardry is good enough to found a religion (or at least a decent sized cult). In bizarre particularly we are spoiled for choice for sources to buy props on a level never before seen. The ability to create a genuine magic experience for the spectator should be closer to our grasp than in a long time. I also think at the rate technology is moving with some of the more popular mind reading electronic items the technology will be so commonplace as to prevent their use. While magicians always have to shift around technology. I can see mentalists needing to make major changes to their acts to stay relevant and remain impressive.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Gould (Aug 31, 2011 01:19PM)
I can never get the batteries in right.....
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Aug 31, 2011 01:23PM)
Oooooweeee! Such intellectualization in this thread! It's not that complicated.

We're storytelling creatures. We invent and experience our world around our stories. Without stories, there is nothing.

Like most magicians.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Aug 31, 2011 04:55PM)
But what makes a good story and a good storyteller? :)
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 31, 2011 05:21PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 17:55, Dr Spektor wrote:
But what makes a good story and a good storyteller? :)
[/quote]

timing! no wait...wrong joke...