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Topic: Coping with reactions II
Message: Posted by: Banachek (May 8, 2002 01:01AM)
This actually is a response to the other question but the topic was a rather large one and thought I would start at the beginning again, I hope that is okay since it is a response to an overwhelming response someone received performing a routine on my PK Silverware.

It has taken me a while to get back to this as I been busy working on some promotional material, but here is my two cents worth, or 1/2 cent or whatever.

I choose to not play the role of a psychic, it is my own ethical dilemma. I find it exciting to basically be able to tell the audience that what I am about to do is a trick, then still get away with it, not relying on their belief in what I am about to do. This is my own little bit of devilish pleasure.

In my book, I do mention the psychological route. At the time I thought it was a great route and still do to a point. But the problem is I did not clarify it fully. The problem to only say it is all psychology or NLP is the same problem with saying you are a psychic. As such, it is a straight out lie.. and you are setting people up (as Our good friend Ian has pointed out) to going to high priced seminars (a good thing if they do get some enlightenment I guess in some way) but not a good thing if they are planning on being able to do what you do. It is simple deception on what I feel (and who am I to tell you what to feel) is a moral level. To say we do tricks and then lie is totally different than setting up a false belief system, but this is way off topic and a whole other direction we can go in at another time, (if we can find a way not to offend some by doing so :-) )

Yes we use psychology in our shows (I use quite a bit) yes we do use body language (so do good actors to elicit emotion and feeling); yes we use verbal (lots of it), and non-verbal communication to fool our audiences. But most of what we accomplish is by magic. (I know, it depends what you mean by magic, but lets not play semantics, I mean tricks) So what do I tell my audiences?

I tell them "I am not a psychic, I take my five known senses to create the illusion of a sixth" (thanks to Ned Rutledge). "Everything I do is accomplished by one or all or some of the following five things, Verbal communication, non-verbal communication, MAGIC, psychology and Perceptual Manipulation. I am not going to tell you how much is in each presentation, but I will tell you that each is comprised of all or some of these."

When pressed at the end of the show, especially if someone wants to make it seem I have to be psychic, I explain some of the things as such:

Metal Bending: That is perceptual manipulation; I make you see what I want you to see. They are real forks, but I am not a psychic.

Q&A: "You know how David Copperfield does tricks with women and tigers (I think he may have the better end of the deal here) I do tricks with information. I am not going to tell you how I knew your thought, only to say, again, I am not psychic, it was accomplished by a few of the five things I mentioned."

And indeed it is. I use verbal deception, body language, tricks and more in my Q&A

I also tell people the old line of any kid of three can do with 20 years of experience. But that I came by it naturally, I saw a guy on TV and decided if he can do it I can and I did. Kind of like someone who can sit down and play the piano the first time out, others take lessons and they still can't quite get it right. I was lucky; I found my talents at an early age.

This is all true.

Again, I am not saying this is for you, but it works well for me. It does not remove any of the mystery. People are still amazed and many thank me. For instance, both John Stossel and Dean Kaman (inventor of the two wheel gyro bike you have seen amongst the portable dialysis machine and other things) both made statements along the lines of there needs to be more people like me who do not contribute to the dumbing down (exact words of Dean) of America, yet can still mystify and entertain.

Hope this helps some of you who have a dilemma as to what you are claiming. And for those that are firm in their own presentaions and claims, this is no way an attack on them, just my own direction and one I feel very comfortable with.


Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (May 8, 2002 01:17AM)
Hi Banachek,
May I just ask given your standpoint above which is good in my opinion. How do you bill yourself on your publicity?
Message: Posted by: Banachek (May 8, 2002 01:22AM)
Right now, I use "the man who fooled the scientists" Prior it has been Thought-reader. With a very strong disclaimer on associating a thought reader with psychic. But also keeping in mind, getting them in is the main thing, teaching and entertaining once in is the goal for me.

I never use the term mind reader as it conflicts with something I say in my show that I am not willing to share here just yet.

Hope that answers your question in this limited space. :dance:
Message: Posted by: brownbomber (May 8, 2002 03:29AM)
Thanks, Banachek, for your very full and most interesting posting - I really have great respect for your ethos towards your art.

bb :bunny:
Message: Posted by: Mr Amazing (May 8, 2002 05:52AM)
Indeed a good post, especially since you've revised your published older opinion on the matter. Thank you.

Message: Posted by: fordkross (May 8, 2002 08:24AM)
Good post, Banacheck. We agree that a lie is a lie. And that perhaps it's more harmful to audiences to give non paranormal esxplanations to what we do. We part company when you say you are doing tricks to the audience. Why tell the kid there's no Santa. We are appearing as entertainers. Surely, that should be the only disclaimer
But even more fortunately, there should be room for both type of performances and performers.
Message: Posted by: asmayly (May 8, 2002 04:04PM)
Thank you, Banachek,
for your time and for your thoughts.

I take this information coming from someone, who not only authored the book most mentioned as the "best book on mentalism to have" on this site, but from someone who has probably gone through all the "angles" with the disclaimers and personas a mentalist can portray.

I find myself, though, at the beginning of the "professional" road with issues of making my act as sensational and entertaining as possible and to include other "psychic" side businesses to supplement all income I can generate. Therefore, I will, for the time being, keep up the "Psychic Entertainment" approach and hope that the "it's entertainment" dodge will not contribute too mightally on the "dumbing down of the country" (I think it would take a lot to make it any dumber in this regard).

Certainly, both approaches, and all others, can exist in the entertainment arena and have their merits and moral issues (which are of course personal and felt about differently.)

But thank you most sincerely for taking the time to carefully explain and share your approach. It was quite generous.

-Asmayly (Jimmy)
Message: Posted by: Marc Spelmann (May 25, 2002 10:57AM)
I posted a reply on the other topic area, just incase your interested...

M.S. :coffee: