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Topic: Has walkaround and propless taken over?
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 12, 2017 04:40PM)
I'm curious...

have things shifted to such a degree now that anything that is shared/released has to fall under at least one of those two categories?

the walkaround mentalist is here to stay - is it a good or a bad thing? Has propless taken over so much that people are just fascinated by wordplay and would rather go through a heavy process just so that they aren't asking for thoughts to be written down?

here's my opinion...

I feel that there's so many PIN, name and star sign releases that its both mystifying and disheartening...when you consider the old school techniques, where you could (technically) gain those thoughts very quickly and shift it out of the way to focus on presentation - it will take something special from the propless side of things to better that... and I say that because it seems people want the memory of the effect to be simply "he talked for a while at the start and asked me to think about certain things, then eventually he told me the name I was thinking of", vs "he asked me to take part in a thought-experiment, I've never done that before, I thought about my sister and he described her then told me her name..."

maybe I've just not read enough propless stuff, but the majority of the things I've bought out of curiosity - HAVE had zero presentation both in video performance and the written descriptions...there's an out there isn't there..."I don't include one because you'll copy me and no one likes that" - but even in the briefest of old school effects it at least gives you an "I PROPOSE AN EXPERIMENT IN COLOUR PSYCHOLOGY!" or some such dressing...

a hook to hang your hat on so to speak...

I think its a shame that (yet again) premise, character and unique presentational angles aren't discussed more, and its always about the BIFF/BANG/POW of the process...

then there's walkaround - I see it over at latest and greatest section, no matter what is being released, people ask "yeah, but is it good for walkaround", yet very few are saying "yeah, but is it good for stage or house parties or..." SOMETHING ELSE AT LEAST!

what percentage these days do you think, focuses entirely on "walkaround mentalism" and is it destroying the most enjoyable part of mentalism - the mystery, the engagement, rather than the hurry to the reaction...is it fast food mentalism or is there a noble art to it in any way? I think if I were to do it, I would theme it so strongly, I'd only be able to do one thing per table...and try to get known as "iain - that guy who does the one thing per table" rather than a sudden flurry of things, and no one gets to feel special or unique, because you see the guy go from table to table doing 80% of the same thing he did at mine...

I used to defend walkaround mentalism because I hoped it would bring forth something unique, and maybe it has, somewhere? I dunno...

seems a shame though that so many are defining what is good and bad by a warped criteria and interesting and different releases are overlooked because it doesn't fit within a 10 minute table side thing...

interested in your own personal viewpoints, both for, against, or just general spiteful or veiled insults as per usual :bunny: :rotf: :banana: :)
Message: Posted by: Last Laugh (Sep 12, 2017 05:07PM)
Well, I think part of this is easily explained by the fact that the majority of consumers of mentalism products are amateurs that mainly (if they perform at all) perform for friends and family. That's why 'walk around' is so popular, not because these are mostly professionals that do walk around gigs. That's my impression anyway.

Re: propless, yeah I don't get it either. We may be able to trace it partly to Derren Brown and the whole generation of people that tried to emulate his presentations as if they were methods. Another part may also be related to the issue of the amateur market. People like the idea that they could have an effect anytime ready, even if they don't have their 'stuff'. A professional of course is going to be different, since they'll always have their stuff when at a gig.

Finally - and this accounts for MUCH of the magic/mentalism market. The vast majority of products are purchased out of curiosity and people are much more interested in clever methods than good effects. There is an appeal for some in clever wordplay....
Message: Posted by: Amirá (Sep 12, 2017 05:41PM)
If we ask, I can assume that most members in here are social (no professional) performers that do mostly close up.
For that reason I think that this genre is the most popular and ergo the target to creators. Some creators are just that and others are also real performers in social or professional aspects. Personally from time to time I offer some parlor or stage routines but mostly close up.

Propless is fun but not the epiphany. Some creators just focus in that nowadays and it is fine, we need all creative forces to push Mentalism to different places. The most important thing for me is no matter in which setting we perform and no matter the method, we can do our best job to offer our publics a proper Mentalism experience.
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Sep 12, 2017 05:51PM)
[quote]On Sep 12, 2017, IAIN wrote:
I think its a shame that (yet again) premise, character and unique presentational angles aren't discussed more, and its always about the BIFF/BANG/POW of the process...[/quote]

I agree with you here. But honestly, in facebook we discuss character, presentation, premisse, justification, methods, business, etc. Even business cards came up as a subject. I do think Last Laugh got a point there about amateurs. Nothing against them but there's a difference in views compared to whoever deal with the business side of it, so other subjects don't appeal to them.

About the 2 subjects in particular:

Propless - I love it, when it's good and well thought out. Not because it's more "real" as some people think, but because it have a clear advantage of being practical to be able to do with nothing at all... again, when it's good and well thought out, not those heavy process "now add the double of the third...".

Walkaround - When meeting people who will book me, walkaround stuff is the way to go imo. I can do a DD in a business card and leave as a memento... what could be better than that? They will have a story to talk about me that is linked to my contact. I could do the same thing using a magic square with their date of birth and they would keep it as a talisman. So far, I haven't done walkaround gigs with mentalism... but I see a lot of value in walkaround stuff.

I would add something else to ponder here. Lately I think self-working and eletronic stuff (the latter not being appealing to me) is also being targeted with propless and walkaround. Seeing some reviews about some really good stuff that requires work on the part of performer, I'm under the impression that a good amount of this new generation of mentalists are not willing to put much effort.

In any case, the market will aim to produce whatever is seeked.
Message: Posted by: Conner (Sep 12, 2017 05:56PM)
I'm fine with people having varying interests, but the new propless interest is odd to me because of how narrow in scope it seems to be. It often appears that the word "propless" is a stand-in for PA's or logic puzzles. But there is so much more material out there that is propless that do not get the same attention. For example, with the amount of time and effort it takes to learn one or two PA's, one could go from zero experience to reliable proficiency in CMR.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 12, 2017 06:01PM)
I don't consider walk-around or table-hopping mentalism to be mentalism at all. It is what it has always been -mental magic, The exponential growth in it, combined with the crash-bang wallop performances on TV talent shows could be the thing that actually destroys traditional mentalism.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 12, 2017 06:16PM)
@Martin - could your viewpoint be changed, if the performer's persona was sufficiently unique? a "remarkable man" at your table doing a single thing, then leaving you wondering...that kinda thing? or will your opinion never change?
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 12, 2017 06:20PM)
Hi Iain, I don't think a "remarkable man" walks from table to table doing mentalism tricks at a wedding. That's what a magician does. I honestly believe mentalism belongs on a stage or in a parlor setting.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 12, 2017 06:28PM)
Fair enough...

personally, if I were at a wedding, potentially bored out of my skull - maybe if a well dressed person approached, asked me to think of a friend from art school or someone that I wished was with me at the wedding, and then described them, their character and then their name and walked off... maybe I'd remember that moment, and if I saw them doing the same with other guests too - maybe I'd be thinking "hey...who is that guy?"

maybe I'd think they were a magician, but maybe not...not quite sure if I'm 100% honest with myself...
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 12, 2017 06:36PM)
Perhaps, if the performer presented it in the way you describe, it could work. But that hasn't been my experience of mentalism performers at functions I've attended. They are almost all magicians performing mental magic.

I truly believe as soon as mentalism loses its mystery it is finished. And performers moving from table to table doing mental magic at weddings, and little girls performing shop-bought mentalism effects on Tv talent shows (that are exposed on youtube before the show is finished) are killing the mystery at an alarming rate.
Message: Posted by: Mark Timon (Sep 12, 2017 07:04PM)
Walkaround magic / mentalism is sad. There are no other art form that could do that. Just a mere court jester walking around. How can you expect people to respect the magician/mentalist?
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Sep 12, 2017 07:31PM)
The career, writings (and our recent loss) of Eugene Burger reminds us that a splendid magician preferred and pioneered close-u magic, with a group.

Likewise in Mentalism, some of our good effects, from Haunted Key to Stegosaurus and many others, will only play, or will best play, for a group and cannot as effectively engage a crowd. There is no compelling reason to assume that close-up performances cannot rank among the best expressions of our art.

George
Message: Posted by: SilasJude (Sep 12, 2017 07:39PM)
Martin and Mark, it seems like something very specific is coloring your distaste for walk-around or close-up. From my experience in restaurants, close-up mind reading is an incredibly intimate experience for the participants leaving them with a memory of the experience that would be for more detached if they were simply a spectator at a larger performance. I love stand-up and close-up, but the latter affords a guarantee of intimacy that is otherwise reserved for only a select few at stage shows.
Message: Posted by: Sudo Nimh (Sep 12, 2017 07:47PM)
I don't believe it has taken over. I think there is definitely a large group of people who gravitate towards propless and close-up effects, but there are equally those who prefer the more traditional approaches.

And then there is the middle of the road too. I'm sure that there are a good number of folks who like BOTH, because let's face it - even if you are a performer who performs on stage, you're not always on stage. It's nice to have some effects that you can do "off the cuff" in casual situations as well. Additionally, there are far more venues for a performer who performs close-quarters than there are for stage performers. If we look at Annemann's writings alone, there is a fair amount of work on "close-quarter" effects, so I am not entirely convinced that this is really a new phenomenon. What *is* new however, is that there has been a substantial amount of advancements made in prop-less methods that never existed before, and this is exciting for those who are interested in trying to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with virtually nothing.

The other issue, is that I believe that there aren't a large number of people who can perform stage Mentalism for a MODERN audience and keep them fixated. I've seen a lot of examples that were terribly boring and long-winded. It may be that close-quarters or short, punchy effects are easier to sell to today's audiences who are easily distracted and have shorter attention spans. I'm not suggesting that close-up or prop-less is better, but that it may just be a reflection of the times we live in.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Sep 12, 2017 08:06PM)
One of the issues that makes answering this a little difficult is what one defines as mentalism. Are palm readings mentalism? How about propless cold readings? If yes to either or especially both, then there are propless things one can do while avoiding the issues of convoluted mental gymnastics in the spectator or being a mental magician.

Disclosure: I'm a social, amateur performer. I don't currently expect to ever try to make a living from mentalism. However, I do get paid for readings. Anything else I do for enjoyment, not money.

I don't like most of the propless stuff. I also don't see a reason to walk about and do the same mental card trick for dozens of people at several tables. But something like palmistry is readily accepted as esoteric, even if not super-human. I really do like the idea of Iain's remarkable person stopping by to share a bit of wonder. (Since the first palmist I knew was a woman, I changed it to gender neutral.) If what that person does is personalized (as Max mentioned with the magic square), there is no reason for me to think less of someone for doing it again for other folks. But if it is clearly a "routine" or a "presentation," things get different. Then it does look like a magician performing tricks instead of an interesting person sharing interesting things.

I suspect most of us who buy the DVDs and the books are actually more interested in stuff we already have a venue to perform. We don't have stage shows and I at least don't intend to have one. What I buy is largely determined by what I think I'd like to use. And if it only works on stage, I'm not going to use it anytime soon.

-Patrick
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 13, 2017 01:03AM)
[quote]On Sep 12, 2017, George Hunter wrote:
The career, writings (and our recent loss) of Eugene Burger reminds us that a splendid magician preferred and pioneered close-u magic, with a group.

Likewise in Mentalism, some of our good effects, from Haunted Key to Stegosaurus and many others, will only play, or will best play, for a group and cannot as effectively engage a crowd. There is no compelling reason to assume that close-up performances cannot rank among the best expressions of our art.

George [/quote]
There will always be a place for intimate performances in mentalism. I believe that is different from walk-around or table-hopping. With the deepest respect to the incredible Mr Burger, who was always very personally kind to me, he never claimed to be performing mentalism. And I think magic plays very well in a table-hopping scenario. But Bob Cassidy often spoke on the Café about the dangers of table-hopping trivialising mentalism. I agree with him. But I also understand the reality of people having to pay their bills, and I seem to recall Banachek speaking about combining magic and mentalism in a table-hopping scenario. I think the customers would have thought they were watching mental magic in that scenario. Just my personal opinion.
Message: Posted by: Marc O (Sep 13, 2017 01:20AM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:
Hi Iain, I don't think a "remarkable man" walks from table to table doing mentalism tricks at a wedding. That's what a magician does. I honestly believe mentalism belongs on a stage or in a parlor setting. [/quote]

Knowing that man like Looch and Atlas Brookings walk from table to table already has answered the question to me that it is possible.
What the heck, I would even be more impressed by those men alongside my dinnertable then another performer on stage!
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Sep 13, 2017 02:39AM)
As far as propless is concerned I think we have recently turned a corner with effects like Train Tracking, V2 by Manos (Verbalist 2 is indistinguishable from Prevaricator) Pete Turner's IS3 and Michael Murray's forthcoming Isolation. Personally I am a traditionalist, I will use these propless effects in a casual situation but not on stage although Manos demonstrated at Minds that his Velvet can play extremely well for a large audience,

I don't think it is fair to say that it's the amateurs leading the charge towards walk around and close up Mentalism. In the UK at least it is extremely difficult to make a full time living as a mentalist without taking close up or walk around gigs. The market has moved that way unfortunately. Weddings used to be exclusively cabaret either after the speeches or when the band took a break, These days weddings are pretty much exclusively close up. A lot of corporate work these days is mix and mingle or close up.

Personally the majority of my work is banquets. I will do some weddings and close up gigs but I am predominantly a cabaret performer. If I didn't have other sources of income I suspect the current market would force me to be predominantly a close up performer.

Mark
Message: Posted by: Michael Zarek (Sep 13, 2017 03:02AM)
The problem you're discussing is not a problem at all, it merely has to do with the fact that both mentalism and Magic are becoming more accessible and there are more pole getting into it. When more people get into it, you can't resembly expect everyone to be a professional stage performer.

Most of them will be people who perform casually for friends or strangers in a bar (because they just like performing) and maybe occasionally do walk around couse it's easier to do then setting up a stage show.

I love propless effects, and yet most of the time when I perform then, it's in an environment where it literarly doesn't matter even one bit if I fail.
Propless mentalism to me is more exciting and fun to perform, if I were to do the same few mechanical effects for everyone I meet, I would have quit mentalism long ago.

Not everyone needs to be a professional performer to enjoy mentalism.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 13, 2017 04:23AM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, Michael Zarek wrote:
The problem you're discussing is not a problem at all, it merely has to do with the fact that both mentalism and Magic are becoming more accessible and there are more pole getting into it. When more people get into it, you can't resembly expect everyone to be a professional stage performer.

Most of them will be people who perform casually for friends or strangers in a bar (because they just like performing) and maybe occasionally do walk around couse it's easier to do then setting up a stage show.

I love propless effects, and yet most of the time when I perform then, it's in an environment where it literarly doesn't matter even one bit if I fail.
Propless mentalism to me is more exciting and fun to perform, if I were to do the same few mechanical effects for everyone I meet, I would have quit mentalism long ago.

Not everyone needs to be a professional performer to enjoy mentalism. [/quote]
You can certainly enjoy mentalism if you are not a professional. But if you do not perform mentalism professionally it would be rather odd to consider yourself a mentalist, don't you think? Would someone who enjoys reciting Shakespeare for their friends and family consider themselves an actor?

I have performed professionally as both an actor and a mentalist (far, far more of the former). But as I am currently choosing to perform neither I don't consider myself to be either an actor or a mentalist.
Message: Posted by: Michael Zarek (Sep 13, 2017 04:37AM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:

You can certainly enjoy mentalism if you are not a professional. But if you do not perform mentalism professionally it would be rather odd to consider yourself a mentalist, don't you think? Would someone who enjoys reciting Shakespeare for their friends and family consider themselves an actor?

I have performed professionally as both an actor and a mentalist (far, far more of the former). But as I am currently choosing to perform neither I don't consider myself to be either an actor or a mentalist. [/quote]

I rarely perform professionally (mostly due to choice and not having time) and yet I do consider myself a mentalist.
Your comparison is slightly flawed. I would agree that someone who occasionally recites plays would not be considered and actor and yet if that person often volunteered to perform in small plays for no money but just because they enjoy the art, that person in my eyes can be called an actor.

Same situation here, if someone just likes to perform for strangers and friends alike and it's one of their main hobbies, I would consider them a mentalist.
Maybe an amature mentalist but a mentalist nevertheless.
Message: Posted by: Matt Pulsar (Sep 13, 2017 04:42AM)
This is the first few paragraphs of "Pillars of Destiny" by Matt Pulsar

"There is a movement amongst the younger generation of mentalists, stretching the horizon of what can be done without writing anything down, or using any props.
(There is a lot of amazing thinking on this subject and I have dabbled with much of the thinking.) Most of the work is not exactly new, but expanding on previous ideas, from branching anagrams to psychological forces and actual body language reading.

I believe this shift towards, and the popularity of this perspective has a lot to do with the prevalence of television shows such as The Mentalist and Lie To Me, as well as Derren Brown and the existence of NLP in the modern zeitgeist. Whereas most mentalists of the past come to the art from a background in magic, many modern mentalists are finding the art in their search for the real thing.

When they are told to read Annemann and Corinda’s 13 Steps they are often confused and disappointed, it is when they finally find work that uses prop-less methods that they feel they are getting something close to what they were looking for to begin with. The interesting thing is that they often then realize that while many of these methods can be powerful, most of them are not 100% sure fire. This then leads them back to the classics."

There are also people who come to this art from reading books like "The Game." The idea that one can read minds or influence others is a fascinating thing. Many people will come to the art form today, which is now more accessible than it ever was before due to the internet and YouTube (Scam School), from the perspective of wanting to be able to do these things, achieve these feats, with absolutely no interest in being a stage performer. I imagine that is even more prevalent in the magical illusion side of things. When I used to run a magic show it was a rare thing to have people were workers and especially stage performers compared to the many many hobbyists or those new to the art of magic.

I like the effects we are now calling prop-less and the explorations they give, but they are only a small tool in my tool box. However as far as the audience is concerned I think many of the oldest methods still play much stronger than an anagram. The art of pulling off an anagram or something similar to not seem to be what it is is a lot more difficult and rare than people let or or seem to realise.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 13, 2017 04:55AM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, Michael Zarek wrote:
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:

You can certainly enjoy mentalism if you are not a professional. But if you do not perform mentalism professionally it would be rather odd to consider yourself a mentalist, don't you think? Would someone who enjoys reciting Shakespeare for their friends and family consider themselves an actor?

I have performed professionally as both an actor and a mentalist (far, far more of the former). But as I am currently choosing to perform neither I don't consider myself to be either an actor or a mentalist. [/quote]

I rarely perform professionally (mostly due to choice and not having time) and yet I do consider myself a mentalist.
Your comparison is slightly flawed. I would agree that someone who occasionally recites plays would not be considered and actor and yet if that person often volunteered to perform in small plays for no money but just because they enjoy the art, that person in my eyes can be called an actor.

Same situation here, if someone just likes to perform for strangers and friends alike and it's one of their main hobbies, I would consider them a mentalist.
Maybe an amature mentalist but a mentalist nevertheless. [/quote]
When someone calls Daniel day Lewis an actor, I think they are aware that they are talking about something different than what Uncle Bill does with his local am-dram group. Both acting and mentalism are bloody hard professions to do well, and only the talented will ever truly prosper. I think we should respect all professional performing artists and not think we have the right to claim their status for ourselves because we enjoy performing for our friends.
Message: Posted by: paul180 (Sep 13, 2017 05:10AM)
Before addressing the propless mentalism question, I'd like to talk about walk around mentalism.

1. Those thinking walkaround mentalism isn't "professional" might want to read Mark Striving's work on the subject?
2. While it may not be exactly "table hopping" to do individual readings for everyone at a party or social gathering, it certainly is professional.
3. Some of the most long lasting impressions we as mentaist might make on our Participants will be the ones we do one on one.

While I have worked the stage perse, I flourish up close and personal. The connections I can make through intimate contact is to me the only way for me to perform. The light touch of the hand , or to caress a cheek even to palm a forehead all lend themselves to an intimacy unable to be appreciated when working the stage.

As to the propless question I'm not sure who itwas or the exact quote but it goes something like "whenever you pick up a prop, you bring down your show". Now I don't know if that's altogether true as Larry Becker seems to have made a good living using props but I do think that even if one is using props they should be natural and organic. Normal items that can be found anywhere. In that way the illusion is still than of proplessness. As to propless techniques ie psych f, anagrams, cold reading and the like, the more of those things we have in our arsenal, the better prepared we are to perform on a moments notice. Just like a magician who must be on at all times how can we really sell the whole "planets are not in alignment" thing to explain our inability to read minds? No going propless prepares the mentalist for any situation that require him to demonstrate his abilities on the spot.

Having said all that, I believe a show comprised of just propless work would be comparable to a magic act of just card tricks. It could be great but only if you like card tricks. Brown would mix things up and his stage show has many so called props. So to get all cought up in some kind of purest thinking that one is not a true mentalist unless he goes propless is poppycock.
Message: Posted by: Michael Zarek (Sep 13, 2017 05:12AM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:

When someone calls Daniel day Lewis an actor, I think they are aware that they are talking about something different than what Uncle Bill does with his local am-dram group. Both acting and mentalism are bloody hard professions to do well, and only the talented will ever truly prosper. I think we should respect all professional performing artists and not think we have the right to claim their status for ourselves because we enjoy performing for our friends. [/quote]

Vast majority of magicians don't perform paid gigs and still call themselves magicians (and get called that by people that know them).

You're saying I have no right to call myself a mentalist (Which to be fair, I rarely do and yet people refer to me in that way) despite practicing for over 5 years (magic before that), having performed countless times and owning many publications on the subject.

I think as magicians and mentalists we tend to take ourselves way to seriously. Saying "Ow no, you can't associate yourself with us because you're not doing this professionally" is silly... especially in the context of doing tricks.

I spent way more money on mentalism then I ever got back from performing it, and that's because it being something I like, I have no problem spending money to learn an effect if I'll get the enjoyment of being able to perform it in return.
Doing walk around and stage is fun but to me it's way more fun to just sit with a couple of people and perform in a very casual way without having any restrictions as to how long I can take and what effects I can perform.

And that's why I (and I'm sure many others) choose to do it that way.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 13, 2017 05:51AM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, Michael Zarek wrote:
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:

When someone calls Daniel day Lewis an actor, I think they are aware that they are talking about something different than what Uncle Bill does with his local am-dram group. Both acting and mentalism are bloody hard professions to do well, and only the talented will ever truly prosper. I think we should respect all professional performing artists and not think we have the right to claim their status for ourselves because we enjoy performing for our friends. [/quote]

I think as magicians and mentalists we tend to take ourselves way to seriously. Saying "Ow no, you can't associate yourself with us because you're not doing this professionally" is silly... especially in the context of doing tricks.
[/quote]
No one said that. Why make things up? As a short hand way of referring to everyone here who enjoys and studies mentalism there is no harm in calling yourself a 'mentalist" or a "magician". That's no different than someone saying "our Jeannie is a singer" when they mean she likes to sing at parties. They don't mean she shares the same profession as Barbara Streisand.

You have the "right" to claim equal status with people who perform professionally if you wish. No one is stopping you.
Message: Posted by: Michael Zarek (Sep 13, 2017 06:11AM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:

No one said that. Why make things up? As a short hand way of referring to everyone here who enjoys and studies mentalism there is no harm in calling yourself a 'mentalist" or a "magician". That's no different than someone saying "our Jeannie is a singer" when they mean she likes to sing at parties. They don't mean she shares the same profession as Barbara Streisand.

You have the "right" to claim equal status with people who perform professionally if you wish. No one is stopping you. [/quote]

That's all I meant, I thought you were implying the opposite.

The mentalism/magic scene is different then that of singers and actors.
Most of us are hobbyest and yet it doesn't stop us from freery interacting with those that do it professionally, we go to the same conventions, read the same books.
Obviously those who choose to do it professionally deserve respect and yet there should also be no discrimination against those that don't (not implying that this is what you meant).
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Sep 13, 2017 10:29AM)
Personally I'm kind of happy that there's so much propless material being put out. It's much easier for me to control my impulsive purchase habits when there's nothing I'm interested in being pushed in front of me every day.

I don't think it's a problem. Anyone who wants to do "pure" mentalism can simply ignore those releases they don't like. What's it matter what the magic/mentalism market is flooded with? Personally, I focus on trying to create a unique and mysterious experience for my audience. If a performer is doing that, it won't matter what other performers are doing.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 13, 2017 10:49AM)
I've gathered some comments, potentially re-written or added to some...thanks everyone...

so maybe times have changed, a lot of people in the current time feel that its a change for the worse - yet that "thing" abides, it continues, and more often than not - survives just as it ever was... if you read any amount of older pamphlets and booklets you'll read the same thing. the writers and performers of the time saying "magicians ruining it", "mentalists are arrogant and boring", "people release things just for the sake of it", "X has ripped off Y and knows it"...and all the usual stuff...

anyway - here's some handpicked comments/thoughts:

most users/consumers of the Café only perform for friends and family

always wanting to be prepared vs selling your show

the worry that propless feels like a logic puzzle above all else

walk-around or table-hopping isn't really mentalism and is destroying traditional mentalism

there's potential for a fully rounded character to do walk-around, if the focus and delivery is specific and singular (to a degree)

close-up mentalism can feel far more intimate and real, as apposed to buying a ticket and seeing a stage show with its lighting and music

it hasn't taken over - and maybe its stage is dying out and close up/walkaround is flourishing (this may be area/country dependent)

how much do the labels matter?

i think there's a difference between propless and things like prevaricator - not all propless is created equally

corporate (uk) tends to be mix and mingle

propless kind of doesn't matter, as its performed mainly in social situations (but not all)

you don't have to be a professional full-timer to contribute to mentalism

you can't contribute to mentalism if you're not a full-time performer

does professional equate to full-time these days?

we take ourselves too seriously, and sometimes not seriously enough...

why does it matter if someone thinks the market is being flooded with propless effects?
Message: Posted by: Robb (Sep 13, 2017 11:36AM)
The thing with propless... You CANNOT judge it's value by the fact that it impresses or "fools" other mentalists! The mindset of someone who performs mentalism is very different from the lay person. It's the same with musicians. They tend to be impressed by musical technical virtuosity more than the average person. Why is obvious: they know how hard it is to play the instrument in a certain way. Non-musicians have some appreciation for technical ability but are much, much more focused on how the music makes them feel. That is the same with mentalism. So what impresses US is not necessarily what will impress real world audiences. I would say that much of the propless stuff captures the attention of mentalists because of impressive mental gymnastics that much of it requires, NOT because the effect is any better.

Given two mindreading scenarios... one having something written down and another without anything written down but employing a bunch of confusing language and extended procedure, I will take the billet route EVERY SINGLE TIME. Because through presentation you can erase the significance (if not the memory) of the writing, but try to erase the long, convoluted and often arbitrary procedure. Good luck with that.

Regarding walk around, I posted this on FB a few weeks ago...

"Newly discovered interest in "walk around mentalism"... Worked a gig today for a corporate VIP room. First closeup or walk around gig I've done in some time. I THOUGHT I hated these types of gigs, but on the way home several things occurred to me...

For one, I got to work with 30-40 people... I mean, do a routine directly with each of these folks. On stage, I work with maybe a dozen people in an hour show. I repeated certain routines a lot... which means I got to practice perfecting those routines in a very concentrated way.

Another bonus? No PA to setup! No mics, no lights, no technical worries. That is really a nice benefit.

Yes, pay-wise I took less... about 20% less. But all I had to do was walk into the room with my case and off to the races!

Last time I did one of these types of gigs was probably 2014. I've grown as a performer, both from the technical side and entertainment side, so I think that made me more comfortable "up close". I came to love stage because of the distance it gave me and the "cover" for sneaky bits.

In any case, I think I will be looking for more of this type of work. I'm glad I didn't turn the gig down or else I wouldn't have discovered that it suits me well, now at least."
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Sep 13, 2017 11:51AM)
I think walk around offers an experience that can't be given on stage. At least, not the scale of it.

As Rob said, when walking around you can work with many people and give each and every one of them an incredible experience. You also get to hone a routine very quickly if needs be. It can be intimate, unique, and tailor made for each person. That's what mentalists do - we employ systems. We don't have to have the same presentation for every person, we can take a basic routine and tweak it for each person and make it unique and interesting to them as individuals. I also think it's easier to bang out more gigs if you're a strolling performer. I'm not a fan of table hopping, personally, but that's just me.

The stage, I think, offers a better environment for artistic shows, though. There can be over arching themes and stories. You can take a little more artistic license with scripting and build up and such.

I think both are valid and valuable. I'm hired to do strolling performance for a festival in Ithica in October that I'm really excited about. Also a few of my best stage/parlor gigs have come from strolling or casual performances I've done.

I think one of the defining characteristics of mentalism is the degree to which a character is developed and embraced. To that end, I feel one should have things they can do off stage - which would be a close up situation usually. That way they are always keeping up the illusion of their character's abilities on stage. It all ties together to create the best experience for the audiences.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Sep 13, 2017 12:28PM)
The term "walkabout" or "strolling" -- especially when applied to mentalism is misunderstood. It implies something lightweight..."drive by mentalism" if you will. To me the term simply means that I am performing for a very small group of people...that the "stage" is smaller. With this format a savvy performer can create amazing moment after amazing moment for audiences because he can tailor what he does to THEM. There is also an intimate feeling with walkabout or close-up that isn't achievable on stage.

I've found that, when I am hired to do 'walkabout' at an event, that after a few moments people come to where I am to see what's going on. Most of the time 'walkabout' turns into 'parlor.'

"Propless" is a term that's really starting to bug me. IF a performer bases his decisions as to what to perform on whether or not his effects are 'propless' he's missing the point. The issue isn't 'propless' or not...the issue is ENTERTAINING or not...INVOLVING or not...AMAZING or not.

I am a huge proponent of Col* Rea*ing and CMR etc -- but they have their places and I do them when the time and place are right to perform them. I am no more concerned about getting busted doing a bil*et routine than I am about doing something 'propless' -- because I have worked very hard to be able to perform these routines properly.

Finally: if a performer is doing 'propless' because he doesn't want the audience to be able to deconstruct how he did it (despite the clumsy fumbling about, 23 questions or over complicated premises) he is missing the point. IF the audience is working on figuring out how you did that 'trick' you've already lost.

The intent, on stage or close up...propless or...well 'propped' I guess...is to ENTERTAIN and AMAZE. The audience doesn't care HOW you do it. They just hope you will.

David
Message: Posted by: John C (Sep 13, 2017 01:11PM)
Just because someone can read minds doesn't mean they have a good memory. So even with propless you may still need paper and a pencil.
Message: Posted by: Robb (Sep 13, 2017 01:22PM)
Agree with what you're saying Chris. They are different beasts. I still prefer stage and always will, but I did find benefits to the walk around context.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Sep 13, 2017 01:27PM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, David Thiel wrote:
I've found that, when I am hired to do 'walkabout' at an event, that after a few moments people come to where I am to see what's going on. Most of the time 'walkabout' turns into 'parlor.'

IF the audience is working on figuring out how you did that 'trick' you've already lost.[/quote]

I agree with David's post completely. Just wanted to emphasize those two points more - The first one because that happens to me, too. It is not uncommon for me to end up accidentally gathering a crowd when I start performing for even a single person.

But mostly it's that last sentence. If the performer hasn't engaged the audience enough that they don't even want to know how it's being done, the performer needs to work more on the presentation.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 13, 2017 02:36PM)
I think prop-less is just the latest attempt to create mentalism that feels as if it is real mind-reading -a desire which surely goes back to the very roots of the art? The problem is that most of it is very badly conceived and presented.
Message: Posted by: Conner (Sep 13, 2017 03:55PM)
Personally, I have no disdain for walkaround.

If a person is keeping audiences happy and providing value to his/her client, that's what matters to me. It doesn't matter if they are doing balloon animals, reading minds, reading palms, telling jokes, or leading party games. It doesn't matter if they are funny, fascinating, mysterious, or deadpan. If they do right by their audience, there is room enough in this world for them.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 13, 2017 03:57PM)
Glad this is still going... and I don't apologise for any devil's advocate playing...

to be brutally honest - I don't care what any of you do... its not like I can stop anyone from doing any of it, no one can, not really...

what I find interesting though is, is how protective people are over something that they have a love for, but aren't a pro/full timer... so maybe we if focused more on the passion and love for something that is intimate and creative, then that's a better, more positive thing, rather than saying "if you do this thing that I don't approve of, then you're destroying the art..." - that is, ultimately, nothing more than an opinion...

I think for those that kinda lump everything into a set, a bit of magic, some mind reading, a comedy book test - no matter what, its going to be seen as anything other than a group of tricks put together that doesn't make much sense...

I think that those that rush in and insist that everything has to be short and snappy and to the point, end up not allowing mentalism to b r e a t h e and have a little bit of gravitas for want of a better word... it will lack rythmn and variety...

I think that those who say "its not mentalism if you do xyz" have a point, and IF you want to perform CLASSIC mentalism, then you will have to abide to the rules to a greater degree...the bottom line will always be "is this real? is this what it feel likes? how does this happen?"

however, what I also believe is, is that with the right structure and thought - that there's more than enough room to create something else, that still feels authentic - but also different...which is also hardest to do, creatively (not talking about the business side of things)...

I know some think that you offer the market what it wants, you tailor your act to suit the business to make money - and I understand why if you its purely about the business side...

I also know (because I've seen it) that there's also room to create something more left of centre, and still make a living, it might be less commercial, less business focused in a way - but more than enough to satisfy your artistic needs as well as financial...however, it also needs to be more guarded and rigorous - in the sense that you can fool yourself into thinking that what you're doing is great, when its failing on several levels...

ultimately - all these labels and opinions (which sometimes get presented as facts), how much do they matter? is it just on forums and behind each other's back? do we seek that much approval from others? what's really important?
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 13, 2017 07:15PM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, IAIN wrote:
Glad this is still going... and I don't apologise for any devil's advocate playing...

I think for those that kinda lump everything into a set, a bit of magic, some mind reading, a comedy book test - no matter what, its going to be seen as anything other than a group of tricks put together that doesn't make much sense...

I think that those that rush in and insist that everything has to be short and snappy and to the point, end up not allowing mentalism to b r e a t h e and have a little bit of gravitas for want of a better word... it will lack rythmn and variety...

ultimately - all these labels and opinions (which sometimes get presented as facts), how much do they matter? [/quote]
Are those opinions,Iain, or are you presenting them as facts? Everything anyone posts here is simply an opinion. It's a forum. people are free to express their opinion as long as they keep it polite (I presume).
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 13, 2017 09:00PM)
What do you think?
Message: Posted by: oliverho (Sep 13, 2017 09:20PM)
I just want to express my appreciation for this discussion. As a long-time amateur-hobbyist, this is all fascinating and great food for thought. For what it's worth, this discussion resonates with ones I've had in other areas--I've been a professional writer and editor for 20+ years, and I've heard similar discussions in the contexts of writing, editing, visual art, and several others. (I'm not saying this is a unique insight--I'm sure people here have had similar experiences.) The discussions often include the question of whether people can call themselves artists (in this case, mentalists) if they do something at least a little like art (mentalism) and call it art (mentalism). There seem to be good arguments both ways. I tend to support the idea that if you want to be an artist, and you make/do something sincerely, and call it art, then you're an artist. That doesn't mean automatically that you're a good one. It doesn't mean automatically that you're not. I understand the notion that bad art denigrates (or otherwise brings down) good art. I disagree, but I could be wrong. I think the important part is whether you're sincere in your work (as opposed to cynical), and whether you're willing to continue learning (and be open to changing how you've usually done things). The worst art (which can be a subjective call, too) often seems to come from people who approach their work as if they've already learned everything. Anyway, that's just my two cents.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 14, 2017 02:42AM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2017, oliverho wrote:
I just want to express my appreciation for this discussion. As a long-time amateur-hobbyist, this is all fascinating and great food for thought. For what it's worth, this discussion resonates with ones I've had in other areas--I've been a professional writer and editor for 20+ years, and I've heard similar discussions in the contexts of writing, editing, visual art, and several others. (I'm not saying this is a unique insight--I'm sure people here have had similar experiences.) The discussions often include the question of whether people can call themselves artists (in this case, mentalists) if they do something at least a little like art (mentalism) and call it art (mentalism). There seem to be good arguments both ways. I tend to support the idea that if you want to be an artist, and you make/do something sincerely, and call it art, then you're an artist. That doesn't mean automatically that you're a good one. It doesn't mean automatically that you're not. I understand the notion that bad art denigrates (or otherwise brings down) good art. I disagree, but I could be wrong. I think the important part is whether you're sincere in your work (as opposed to cynical), and whether you're willing to continue learning (and be open to changing how you've usually done things). The worst art (which can be a subjective call, too) often seems to come from people who approach their work as if they've already learned everything. Anyway, that's just my two cents. [/quote] The analogy only works as far as it goes, I think. I may wish to claim the unmade bed I've just dragged myself out of is a work of art, and I am free to do so, but it doesn't make it so. Whereas other unmade beds have the status of art -no matter that they may be 'bad art'. I only earned the right to be thought of as a bad actor once someone was foolish enough to give me a job.

And my comments about table-hopping and kids and amateurs performing mentalism routines on TV having the potential, in the long run, to destroy mentalism is different than saying "bad art denigrates good art". Mentalism is dependent on mystery. It is dependent on the audience believing they are watching someone with supranatural powers (not necessarily paranormal powers), and if they don't believe that then the illusion is destroyed. If we have kids and amateurs performing mentalism on TV, year-in, year-out, and if every magician who is table hopping performs mentalism effects then there is a danger that the audience will be inculcated into seeing ALL mentalism as just "tricks", and the very mystery that is the beating heart of mentalism will be destroyed completely.

All just in my opinion.
Message: Posted by: paul180 (Sep 14, 2017 03:04AM)
[quote]On Sep 14, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:
if every magician who is table hopping performs mentalism effects then there is a danger that the audience will be inculcated into seeing ALL mentalism as just "tricks", and the very mystery that is the beating heart of mentalism will be destroyed completely.
All just in my opinion. [/quote]

The key to your premise being MAGICIAN but as I pointed out in my post, a MENTALIST who performs walk around is still a mentlist. Again just ask Mark Strivings. And again in terms of table hopping, context is everything. While doing readings I "table hopped". All I did was readings. How did that destroy mentalism?

I appreciate your conviction to your premise but it's wrong, in a broader context.
Message: Posted by: bevbevvybev (Sep 14, 2017 05:41AM)
To answer original question, don't think it's taken over, although it has to some extent replaced the new 'amaze and entertain your friends' strapline to sell things.

The only thing I think its taken over is the copy used to sell products to people.
Message: Posted by: Looch (Sep 14, 2017 06:42AM)
If I perform a 60 min after dinner 'mentalism' show for a large company and am requested to mingle with clients afterwards and perform close up. Have I suddenly transformed from a mentalist to a mental magician?
Message: Posted by: Marc O (Sep 14, 2017 07:13AM)
[quote]On Sep 14, 2017, Looch wrote:
If I perform a 60 min after dinner 'mentalism' show for a large company and am requested to mingle with clients afterwards and perform close up. Have I suddenly transformed from a mentalist to a mental magician? [/quote]

Not for me!
See my post on page 1, I would gladly trade my ticket for any mentalism stage show in return of a visite from you or Atlas at my dinner table.

Poor thing is that you never visit the Netherlands :(
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 14, 2017 07:56AM)
[quote]On Sep 14, 2017, Looch wrote:
If I perform a 60 min after dinner 'mentalism' show for a large company and am requested to mingle with clients afterwards and perform close up. Have I suddenly transformed from a mentalist to a mental magician? [/quote]

When a magician performs a mentalism effect have they transformed from being a magician to being a mentalist?

I would say no, because I don't think simply performing mentalism effects makes you a mentalist. I think it also involves creating a credible persona and a credible atmosphere. In the scenario you suggest I would say you have already established your persona before you mingled with the audience. That wouldn't necessarily be the case in a straight, stand-alone table-hopping scenario.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 14, 2017 12:31PM)
When did van Gogh become an artist?

He never made money for it when alive. He was barely recognised as a human being. He had lots of personal struggles, yet he was dedicated and had something to express...
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 14, 2017 02:19PM)
Van Gogh gained entrance to the Academy in Antwerp where he studied with major artistic figures, had repeated exhibitions of his work in professional art dealerships, had his work praised by his artistic peers including Toulouse-Lautrec and Monet, had his work reviewed by the artistic and literary press of the day and attempted to sell his work -although only succeeding once. He failed in his attempt to be a financially successful artist, but he was far from an undiscovered talent working away on his own, heedless of recognition. I don't think the notion of Van Gogh being the equivalent of someone who shows mentalism effects only to their friends and family holds up particularly well.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 14, 2017 02:34PM)
Martin - pretty much anyone who wanted to be a painter/artist - would study at an academy of some kind, and its perfectly natural that some of those at the same academy would become well known...and gain plaudits too...it was the done thing for many centuries...and it was only really at the very end of his life that people (like monet if memory serves) started to appreciate his work...

look at someone like Austin Osman Spare too...

you're also missing the point really, I'm talking about the notion of a consensus agreeing that a person is not worthy or good and not worthy of a particular title or "thing" - sometimes they're correct, sometimes they are massively wrong...

lets remember we're dealing in opinions, regardless if its expressed by a single person or a group, the validity of that opinion varies massively for a variety of reasons I reckon...(that's an opinion btw as you weren't sure of my intent previously)...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 14, 2017 02:37PM)
I take it back about Spare, he was a little bit more successful and probably more influential whilst he was alive than van gogh...

Spare is also interesting to study for some mentalists btw...I saw an exhibition of his recently at the last Tuesday society...well worth a visit...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 14, 2017 02:40PM)
So my point remains, that for (lets refine it to be clearer) *MOST* of van gogh's life, his work was considered crude and ugly...he wouldn't have been seen as an artist at all, or at very most quite a poor one...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 14, 2017 02:45PM)
Btw - where did you get the van gogh stuff from, martin?
http://www.vangoghroute.com/belgium/antwerp/
shows that he only studied there for a very short period of time...

he stayed there for two month...
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Sep 14, 2017 02:48PM)
I would contend that he was always an artist, but it took more than his lifetime for others to recognize value in his work.
But even if they never recognized his work, it would not diminish him as an artist in any way, just our recognition of him.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 14, 2017 03:01PM)
I agree tony, and if we can't draw parallels between van Gogh and certain others in mentalism, then I guess some work on metaphors needs to be taken...

Possibly in Antwerp...
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Sep 14, 2017 04:02PM)
I don't think the visual arts and performance arts are really equivalent, so I'm not convinced this line of debate is getting us anywhere. Performance art requires an audience. And if you recite Shakespeare only for your family you're never going to convince me you have the right to call yourself an actor.

People demanding the right to be called mentalists because they've bought some books and effects and have performed for their friends just seems odd to me. I don't really think you can even really learn mentalism if you only perform for your friends or other magicians, so I can't subscribe to the idea that solely performing only for those people makes you a mentalist. Just my opinion. And I write it because I so fully respect people who have taken the next step. It's not an easy one to take.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 14, 2017 04:08PM)
I agree with you if pushed (performing for friends and family)...

But it also kinda doesn't matter (for me), it doesn't change anything does it? Talented is talent and that's it...you might call yourself an actor, but only until you're seen by the public will you hear whether you are a good or bad one...

I would say though, that art is the same, it's only until the public see it and potentially say they are moved by the experience or not..

It's also quite lofty and pretentious I guess...I always hear Withnail saying "I'm a trained actor reduced to the state of a bum!" when these discussions kick off..
Message: Posted by: backinblack (Sep 16, 2017 07:32AM)
I do not really understand the point that propless has taken over. if you go to latest and greatest and count the effects that are propless and compare this with the amount of effects that are not propless the mayority is not propless. so what sort of take over are we talking about?
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 16, 2017 07:50AM)
Well, obviously within the mentalism side of things...if you don't agree it's not like it's against the law or anything...
Message: Posted by: backinblack (Sep 16, 2017 08:02AM)
Easy going - I just wanted to ask what sort of indicator the theory of propless takes over is based on. related to published effects it shows that the mayority is not propless. so if the published effects are not the things what sort of "obviously within the mentalism side of things"? no offense - just want to understand. is it more a feeling or is it based on hart facts?
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Sep 16, 2017 08:06AM)
It's just an opinion/viewpoint...it's not based on research, mainly how popular the threads are when propless mentalism is released...
Message: Posted by: backinblack (Sep 16, 2017 08:10AM)
Another indicator could be the number of sold effects in the field of not propless effects. unfortunately I have no data related to this issue. if he number of sold effects did not decline I have proplems to understand the theory for taking over. if the number declined this would be an hart fact of course.
Message: Posted by: backinblack (Sep 16, 2017 08:14AM)
Seems like we wrote parallel. I get your point. maybe it is that porpless has its fans - but is it really at all threads from propless effects or is it only at some like proteus while other like some effects of fraser parker are not overrun with posts?

could be that if there are a certain number of fans they are more motivated to write if a propless effect is published (because there are not so many published propless effects) and so (as there are less published effects in the field of propless) at some effects the posts sum up..
Message: Posted by: IMAGINACIAN (Sep 16, 2017 11:31AM)
Very interesting and enlightening thread.

Ok here's my 2c.

Has walkaround taken over mentalism? Not yet, but it eventually will.

Reason - Hobbyists have always driven the magic market by their sheer numbers. So eventually most mentalism releases have to qualify as 'walkaroundable' to achieve sales numbers for the creators.


Has propless taken over mentalism? No and it never will.

Reason 1 - Propless is mostly process heavy - so takes some doing.
Reason 2 - Propless is generally more serious and less entertaining.
Reason 3 - Propless is not visual - most of the time.
Reason 4 - Propless needs much higher focus levels of both performer and participant.
Reason 5 - Propless may sometimes not be 100% surefire.

I guess, due to these reasons, hobbyists will tend to keep away from propless, more or less.

Personally, I do like and enjoy performing propless but only in one on one scenarios.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Sep 18, 2017 11:05PM)
I've been doing a good bit of walk-around mentalism for many years now.

To say that only hobbyists are doing this is far from accurate.

My friend the late great Master Mentalist was not a fan of such things, as it's not the ideal vehicle/venue for mind reading. But it does allow me a heck of a lot of flight time in the sandbox to test ideas and also scripting and gauge reactions. It also lets me differentiate my services within my market segment.

So I like it generally, although frankly I get tired sometimes - And truly nothing beats the rush of a great stage or parlor performance.
Message: Posted by: Last Laugh (Sep 18, 2017 11:55PM)
I like to walkaroud propless when I'm at home, but not in public.
Message: Posted by: paul180 (Sep 19, 2017 08:38AM)
[quote]On Sep 18, 2017, Last Laugh wrote:
I like to walkaroud propless when I'm at home, but not in public. [/quote]

You have props but I don't want to see them.
Message: Posted by: Mark Strivings (Nov 30, 2017 02:35AM)
Speaking as the guy who is more or less to blame for the beginnings of walk around (strolling) mentalism, here are my own two cents on the two main portions of this thread.

First, when someone is asking whether an effect is good for strolling, they are really asking a whole set of questions. They are asking about reset, size, portability, working in the hands, etc. It's also frequently the meager beginnings of fishing to find the method. As many have pointed out, the vast majority of magic/mentalism purchasers are hobbyists and amateurs who rarely if ever actually perform, so the secret (and perhaps the gadget) is the thing. There's nothing wrong with that. I like the toys as much as anybody, and I get it. As far as professional considerations go, all that a true pro needs to know is 'yes, it's good for strolling', or 'no it isn't', because they already fully understand all of the ramifications of the question and answer.

As far as walk around and 'propless' mentalism goes, here's where I sit. I ALWAYS use props of some sort when I do mentalism in a strolling environment. There are several reasons for this. I get the guys who want to be able to simply walk up to a stranger and tell them what they are thinking with nothing written down and no props of any kind. In other words they want the picture that they have in their own heads about what mind reading would look like if it were real. I get that. But here's the problem from where I sit. What if you were that total stranger, and someone walked up to you out of the clear blue sky and truly seemed to read your mind? Would you find that entertaining? Perhaps. Might it make you want to run screaming to get away from the freak of nature who just invaded your head? Entirely possible. Again, this is 100% my opinion and you do not have to agree with me in any way. But I simply must say that I don't want my audience to be terrified of me. We are supposed to be entertainers. And while some people surely find being terrified to be entertaining, I think it's a dangerous assumption to make on a first-time basis. This is one of the reasons why I always use props. Having a prop of some sort, and it can be anything, literally gives the audience something to hang on to o=apart from 'the guy with the freaky mind powers'. Props tend to take this edge off. Most people today have been at least made aware of strolling magicians and can generally handle what that might entail. There are exceptions of course. But I would MUCH rather be perceived of as a magician who does extremely cool mind reading stuff, and not send anyone screaming from the room, than to merely satisfy my own ego at the notion of being able to read a total strangers mind with absolutely nothing. I get this idea, too. It's a power trip. My hesitation stems from the fact that much of the time it's a power trip for the performer only. That's not the most entertaining position in the world to be in.

Again just my own opinion on this. It works for me. One size does not fit all. But the one thing that should always be true without exception is that what we do needs to be entertaining, which means it needs to be about our audience and not about our own ego. I want them to have fun. I don't want them to have nightmares. That's just me.
Message: Posted by: Samuel Catoe (Nov 30, 2017 10:27AM)
Not only that point Mark, but from a distance, with no props at all, other people not directly involved in the trick have no idea anything is going on other than conversation. Having those props makes the performer stand out as a performer.

And expanding on what you said, magician who reads minds vs. creepy guy who reads minds, which one is more likely to be rehired by that firm, business, or person?
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Nov 30, 2017 10:30AM)
[quote]On Nov 30, 2017, Mark Strivings wrote:
As many have pointed out, the vast majority of magic/mentalism purchasers are hobbyists and amateurs who rarely if ever actually perform, so the secret (and perhaps the gadget) is the thing.

There's nothing wrong with that. I like the toys as much as anybody, and I get it. As far as professional considerations go, all that a true pro needs to know is 'yes, it's good for strolling', or 'no it isn't', because they already fully understand all of the ramifications of the question and answer.

...than to merely satisfy my own ego at the notion of being able to read a total strangers mind with absolutely nothing. It's a power trip. My hesitation stems from the fact that much of the time it's a power trip for the performer only.

//it needs to be about our audience and not about our own ego. [/quote]

So great to see you post here again Mark. I think you hit the nail on the head and the overall issue with this Penny forum and mentalism, in general, these days. Some still come here as performers, working professionals seeking just the exact insight you just offered. Then there's those that are just in it for the secrets, gadgets and gimmicks come from an altogether different perspective. One is for the audience/client/venue, the other is for the performer and their ego. Two entirely different things that account for 98% of the differences here these days in Penny.

There has been an overall shift it mentalism because of this. Mentalism has never been about and shouldn't be about the power trip, but rather the experience of those witnessing or participating in it. Great insight. Your books on this topic are still among the best.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Nov 30, 2017 11:26AM)
I loved reading your post as well, Mark.

For me the bottom line is that any mentalism performed -- by anyone (pro or not) -- needs to be entertaining. It needs to be engaging...it needs to be an experience that makes the audience smile and wonder as they recall it. Ultimately? That's it. Everything else is nuance and noise.

David
Message: Posted by: CR_Shelton (Nov 30, 2017 05:10PM)
I would quibble that there is room in most other art forms for work that doesn't make us smile when we remember it. Schindler's List, Titus Andronicus, a Munch painting, a Schoenberg concerto... These works feed some other part of us. Obviously it's not what we are usually there to provide, but I wouldn't want to throw out the possibility that our work could serve that purpose too.

[img]https://i.pinimg.com/236x/a3/ec/23/a3ec230ae9e638dbeebf1bf180d80f68--action-painting-figure-painting.jpg[/img]
[youtube]s8gxoQNEiPY[/youtube]

As to the original topic, all I can say is that when the tides of fad turn away from what I do, I only consider it a good thing. If some YouTube 'content creator' convinces all his fans to start performing with a n**l w****r, that's gonna be a bad thing for me. I guess in terms of honoring the history and preservation of our craft I lament the decline in that kind of work, but in terms of my own performance I'd rather be using methods and offering presentations that nobody else is. It does mean there's less "on the market" for me to explore, but what is released benefits from less exposure because it's more niche.
Message: Posted by: Atlas (Dec 1, 2017 02:39AM)
I think Mark is great. I've never met him, but I've always got time to consider his opinion.

Reading his post here though, there was a line that stood out to me:

[quote]On Nov 30, 2017, Mark Strivings wrote:
But I would MUCH rather be perceived of as a magician who does extremely cool mind reading stuff[/quote]

I remembered Mindpro's recent opinion on this:

[quote]On Oct 25, 2017, Mindpro wrote:
That would be a magician doing "mentalism". Nobody paying to see a mentalist wants to see "the illusion of a mentalist."

If I received promo at my agencies stating that, it would go in the round file right away. [/quote]

So I was a little surprised but thoroughly pleased by Mindpro's very kind and thoughtful response to Mark's post. It is nice to see that despite differences in style and opinion, we can all get along.

Best,

Atlas
Message: Posted by: John C (Dec 1, 2017 06:39AM)
Nothing ever "takes over" ... things evolve then the pendulum swings.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Dec 1, 2017 07:03PM)
[quote]On Nov 30, 2017, Mark Strivings wrote:
As far as walk around and 'propless' mentalism goes, here's where I sit. I ALWAYS use props of some sort when I do mentalism in a strolling environment. There are several reasons for this. I get the guys who want to be able to simply walk up to a stranger and tell them what they are thinking with nothing written down and no props of any kind. In other words they want the picture that they have in their own heads about what mind reading would look like if it were real. I get that. But here's the problem from where I sit. What if you were that total stranger, and someone walked up to you out of the clear blue sky and truly seemed to read your mind? Would you find that entertaining? Perhaps. Might it make you want to run screaming to get away from the freak of nature who just invaded your head? Entirely possible. Again, this is 100% my opinion and you do not have to agree with me in any way. But I simply must say that I don't want my audience to be terrified of me. We are supposed to be entertainers. And while some people surely find being terrified to be entertaining, I think it's a dangerous assumption to make on a first-time basis. This is one of the reasons why I always use props. Having a prop of some sort, and it can be anything, literally gives the audience something to hang on to o=apart from 'the guy with the freaky mind powers'. Props tend to take this edge off. Most people today have been at least made aware of strolling magicians and can generally handle what that might entail. There are exceptions of course. But I would MUCH rather be perceived of as a magician who does extremely cool mind reading stuff, and not send anyone screaming from the room, than to merely satisfy my own ego at the notion of being able to read a total strangers mind with absolutely nothing. I get this idea, too. It's a power trip. My hesitation stems from the fact that much of the time it's a power trip for the performer only. That's not the most entertaining position in the world to be in.

[/quote]
I'm afraid this paragraph makes absolutely no sense to me.Why should the presence or absence of a prop have any bearing on whether the performer is on a "power trip"? What "edge" is being taken off by using props? The edge of believability? Is that an edge we want removed? I've seen some of the UK's finest mentalists perform propless effects -none of them struck me as being on a "power-trip", nor did I see anyone running from the room. I saw people enthralled and entertained (they weren't necessarily smiling, right enough-but I don't personally include a smiling audience among my list of performance demands -sometimes you don't want them smiling!) Why would anyone who performs mentalism wish to be thought of as a "magician doing mindreading" rather than a mind-reader doing mind-reading? It's magicians performing mentalism in this fashion which is slowly but surely killing mentalism as a serious and significant entertainment and reducing it to the level of restaurant magic.

All in my opinion.
Message: Posted by: DynaMix (Dec 1, 2017 09:03PM)
I do think valuing “entertaining” over “how one is perceived” is very important.

It’s also a slippery slope.

While I’m personally inclined to agree that props can highten entertainment value and “mix it up” a little for your audience, I also think theres a fine line. Once you start doing anything in the name of entertainment, it’s easy to veer away from mindreading material.

Take metal bending. Nothing could seem more absurd to me if you are claiming you do it “with your mind”. But mentalists far greater than me do it and pull it off successfully. So what do I know? Whatever fork or coin you are bending is technically a prop too, isn’t it?

How entertaining is it to do purely propless for a long stretch of time? And I don’t mean readings etc.