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Cain
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Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
1503 Posts

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I hardly think it is "cowardly and dishonest" to acknowledge that the spectator has their own world view and belief system that you as a performer have no control over. This unsupported (yet again) assertion makes me wonder...


Excuse me while I raise my bullsh!t flag. I've had just about of this tired -- ironically unsupported -- accusation that you keep faithfully repeating in the desperate hope that it will become true. I offered a clear, unmistakable reason, as I almost always do: See the final sentence in the paragraph that you quoted, and read it again for the first time. Maybe you don't think it's a good reason but it is of course a reason, and I'm sorry if you cannot make the connection.

Quote:
if you might not be limiting your own success as a performer because of your lack of respect for your own audience, in all of their wonderful irrational quirkiness and individuality that you abhor. Personally, I don't have to share my belief system with my audience to enjoy performing for them and striving to make my magic hit as hard as I possibly can.


Again, here you go making the utterly unsupported accusation that I conduct my performances like lectures in "reductive materialism". This is not the case at all. Any clarifications as to the nature of my performance is in fact contingent upon the composition of the specific audience before me. Weird how that is, huh? Me tailoring my approach for the "individuality" that I "abhor"

Quote:
Oh, I guess I misunderstood you. I was under the impression that if your performances were sufficiently strong to induce a spectator to speculate if you really did have some sort of supernatural ability, you would dispel it. I guess it's not that cut and dry for you, which is good news at least. Still, I can hardly see that insulting your audience (as in the above example), even for admittedly irrational speculations (which after all you yourself induced with considerably skill and effort), is any better. That example, with the "yuppie" jab, betrays your lack of respect for many, many people. I wonder how well you hide it, or if you even try to.


Gosh, I thought I used the word "yuppie" to describe a category of person. Being superstitious is probably worse than being a yuppie in my view, but I bet there's considerable overlap between the two (which is why I used both words to make my example more vivid).

Quote:
I think Houdini seemed to understand something that you are missing about the nature of performance magic, and the difference between that and the charlatanism that you confuse with it. For him it was no contradiction to debunk the charlatans on one hand, and perform magic and present it as "real" on the other. Some irrational beliefs can cause harm in this world, and many other irrational beliefs do not. And many (such as instructive child-rearing mythology) are very useful, powerful, and positive forces for socialization. A belief in Mohammad flying to heaven on a horse [in point of fact he allegedly flew to heaven a board a beast known as a chimera] and in martyr mythology has shown to be a very harmful influence taken to an extreme, yet I can hardly see what harm it is for an audience to briefly wonder if maybe, just maybe a magician can really levitate or turn the ace of spades into a joker by waving his hand over it. You have characterized that child-like open-mindedness and sense of awe a "corrupt and obtuse world view" and those performers who aim for that reaction and allow it to come to fruition as "cowardly and dishonest." What fun you seem to be having!


*sigh* There is absolutely nothing wrong with people temporarily believing that a joker changed into an ace. This is exactly what appears to happen. But no one should genuinely believe that objects can change their properties in a highly specific way -- like the printing on a card -- with an innocent wave of a hand. As I have said on numerous occasions, it is usually unnecessary to explain that I do not possess supernatural powers. This would be like an eight year-old explaining to his neighbor Mrs. Dennis on Halloween that he's not really ghost. "Mrs. Dennis: It's me, Robert. I'm not really a ghost, see?" This inspite of the fact that anywhere between one-third and one-half (depending on the survey) of the American public believes in ghosts.

Context is everything. On Halloween one can walk down the street wearing a mask and brandishing what appears to be a weapon. It's part of the expectation, just as one understands the possibility of being unexpectadly frightened. In magic people expect to be deceived and when a magician claims everything is on the up-and-up, completely honest, the expectation for deception intensifies that much more. However, in some cases, for one reason or another, this expectation, for a segment of the population, does not obtain. They may not know it's the last day of October, or that the performer is an illusionist.

If you want a concrete example of a detestable fraud transgressing the norms outlined above then try Mark Lewis and his "psychic" abilities.

Quote:
Actually, this thread is starting to depress me, so I will disappear from it (don't worry, it's not real magic!). I'm reading Juan Tamariz right now, and in him especially you get a sense of the joy that he takes in the art of making people "believe in miracles." I so much prefer involving myself with this kind of positive attitude towards magic and performing for people (yes, even the yuppies!).


Oh, and I don't Smile One thing is for sure: you're unbelievable.
Ellusionst discussing the Arcane Playing cards: "Michaelangelo took four years to create the Sistine Chapel masterpiece... these took five."

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes: "You know Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!"
daffydoug
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Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
14010 Posts

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I think one thing I always want to get across is to make ripples in the spectators conciousness. To cause them to think "Perhaps...just perhaps there is something unexplainable beyond the fringe of my senses that I have never considered...perhaps...just PERHAPS there is real magic somewhere."
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Jaz
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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6112 Posts

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Quote:
On 2005-08-30 11:20, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Honestly I can't imagine asking an audience to admire false shuffles, packet switches, false counts and how well aligned one can keep one's multiple lifts and turnovers. What sort of skill is that anyway? I believe audiences are interested in being entertained and it seems comfortable for all to show them some magic.

In performance there is an agreement between the performer and the audience that the activity is for entertainment purposes and the scope of the magic is limited to the time and place of the entertainment. No harm, no foul.


Without saying that it's either magic or skill, if those false sleights and color changes are natural and unsuspected there will be a a sense of wonder.
Even if you do proclaim that the card demos are done with skill, such as a gambling act, there can still be a sense of wonder if done properly.
Of course it's for entertaiment!
daffydoug
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Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
14010 Posts

Profile of daffydoug
What else is there..right?
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
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