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Clark
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Once again Whit has brought a ring of truth, wisdom, and good old fashioned common sense to a thread that started wonderfully and somehow spun into another realm of conversation entirely. I also have to say that Magicalaurie (IMHO) couldn't be more correct in her post about finding out what she should be impressed by here...LOL, that was just too good.

I also want to personally thank Bill for enlightening all of us that card magic is not a valid branch of magic at all, at least when it comes to being "magical" in appearance. I could possibly have spent the rest of my life aimlessly "practicing my double lift" with no thought applied to it whatsoever. Or even worse, I possibly could have actually bought into the thousands of reactions that I (like most of us here) have gotten from my audiences over the past 15 years.

Bill you made so many unbelievable assumptions in your post that I don't really have the energy to address them all.

Personally, I think if you really believe that anyone looks at the "ball on a stick" and is thinking, "Now that is evidence of mind over matter" you are WAY kidding yourself...BUT I don't think anyone should take my opinion and pack up all of their sticks and silks. Do what appeals to you because the fact of the matter is what appears "magical" to you is just that. It's all a matter of opinion.

Best,
Clark
“The key to creativity is in knowing how to hide your sources.”
Albert Einstein
saxmangeoff
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Quote:
On 2006-04-27 21:41, Whit Haydn wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-04-27 15:46, Bill Palmer wrote:
A playing card has basically no value whatsoever to an audience member. It's a piece of cardboard.


I have done this routine for more than thirty years. The reaction is always huge, and I have had many, many people upon running across me again even years later, to comment on that effect and how great it was, or to ask me to do it again for them and their friends.

I have known spectators to keep their signed card and envelope in their purse or wallet for years and they show it to me when they see me again.


Disclaimer: My own speculative theories (and half-baked theories at that) follow.

While it is true that a playing card has no inherent meaning, I think that having it signed accomplishes two things. First it proves that there can be no duplicates and makes the magic stronger. (Whit's "horns of the dilemma")

Second, it is now THEIR card. It's not just a card. It has their personal touch, and they now have some ownership interest in it. They've invested the card with a piece of themselves, and what happens with the card now matters more than it did before.

Geoff
"You must practice your material until it becomes boring, then practice it until it becomes beautiful." -- Bill Palmer
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-04-28 11:15, saxmangeoff wrote:...it is now THEIR card. It's not just a card. It has their personal touch, and they now have some ownership interest in it. They've invested the card with a piece of themselves, and what happens with the card now matters more than it did before.


And thus by clever application of the Stockholm Syndrome (by proxy of the card), the audience will presumably feel sympathetic to the performer as the hostage-by- proxy is shuffled, dealt unfairly, multiple lifted and involved in various and sundry unnatural acts till when eventually returned, the audience experiences relief at the end of the ordeal and expresses appreciation.
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bishthemagish
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Great post Whit I think your ambitious card video is a lesson in card MAGIC and in fact a lesson in MAGIC. It is magic performed with CLASS and DIGNITY. And I think that when a magician performs this way I think that helps elevate magic performed as an art.

Rather than magic performed as just a puzzle or a trick.

If you have not watched this video please do so -

http://www.scoundrelsphotos.com/albums/F......Card.wmv

This is more than a just a video of a magician doing a trick. It is an artist "Whit Haydn" performing artistic magic. And the principles employed can work with other magic effects. At least that is my opinion.

..............

By the way George Ledo thank you for your post above about keeping things in perspective - very thoughtful and great stuff. That is also just my opinion.
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Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2006-04-28 07:30, kregg wrote:
Whit,
Wonder is the question that leads to the quest (curiosity).


I think you are being a little too flip, kregg.

Wonder is not a question, though questions may arise from it.

Curiosity is not a quest, though it could lead to one.

Curiosity and wonder are not the same, though they may be related in some way.

I think your meaning would be more plain if you wrote a more full and reasoned explanation of what you are trying to say.

Bish:
Thanks. It is very nice of you to say that.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-04-27 19:18, kregg wrote:
...
Have you ever been asked;
"Is magic real?"
"How did you do that?"
"Can you teach me how it's done?"

That's wonder - wonder is marvelous curiosity.



From experience: yes, yes, yes.
To me that seems more like curiosity expressed in social/verbal context.
How are these loose definitions for folks:
Wonder opens a space in our map of the world for the unknown behind the door, and to ponder the shape of that unknown.
Curiosity is what motivates us to approach that door.
Awe stops us from acting upon impulses as it makes all our impulses seem small by comparison.
Bewilderment leaves us unknowing of where to look next.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2006-04-28 11:15, saxmangeoff wrote:
Disclaimer: My own speculative theories (and half-baked theories at that) follow.

While it is true that a playing card has no inherent meaning, I think that having it signed accomplishes two things. First it proves that there can be no duplicates and makes the magic stronger. (Whit's "horns of the dilemma")

Second, it is now THEIR card. It's not just a card. It has their personal touch, and they now have some ownership interest in it. They've invested the card with a piece of themselves, and what happens with the card now matters more than it did before.

Geoff

I really enjoyed this post about making magic personal and how the personal touch they make by the signed - their investment. Thank you for posting this.

.............

You're welcome, Whit. I say it because I feel it is true.

In many of the books like Stars of Magic there are things written about Leipzig and also in the Dai Vernon Book Of Magic. Leipzig performed magic or so the book says with Class and Dignity. Many people said that Dai Vernon Performed magic with class and dignity.

That class and dignity is sometimes missing in some magic being done in the comedy realm of performance magic.

But there are performers today that have it - here are a few that perform magic with class and dignity and make magic art for me. This is only my opinion.

Michael Ammar, Darwin Ortiz, Rich Crowly, Ricky Jay, Lance Burton, Rannie Raymundo, Johnny Thompson, Bruce Cervon and there are others.

To see the shell game done with class and dignity visit the school of scoundrels and download and view Whit doing that routine. Note how he draws them in, note how he fits in the story, another great lesson in magic that I think the principles fit with other effects.

The shells can be an effect that can become an "I win, you lose, I am smarter than you" trick in the wrong hands, just as the chop cup. “Wrong you fool.”

Note how Whit makes great entertainment out of it and has fun with the audience. The result is great entertainment performed by an artist with both class and dignity. People that perform like that help magic and people get to see magic presented at a high level or in my opinion - makes magic an art.

Thanks again, Whit.
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ELDEMONIO
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When speaking on the topic of "magic" and its defenition we must distinguish what people call "real magic". What does "real magic" mean as opossed to normal "magic"? Any reasonable person would come to the conclusion that magic does not exist in the sense that magicians make it seem. When a person asks "How did you do that?", and the response by the magicain is "magic", what exactly does this mean to the spectator. Does the magician want the layman to think he has supernatural powers to acomplish such feats? In my personal opinion it's an insult to the spectators logic by claiming you do magic. Magic does not exist. Techniques which create what appears to be supernatural do exist. If you really think magic exist in the supernatural sense of the word I suggest taking the James Randi 1 million challange and try to prove it. Since magic is non-existent we ought to tell the spectators just that. Some people really beleive in magic, and I'm the one to burst their bubble, becuse beleiving in "real magic" is dangerous. So lets define both magic, and real magic as techniques, used to fool the mind. What more could be said?
kregg
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I've always loved great quotes. If magic has taught me one thing, it is that whenever anything is meant to be seen, it will be seen.
Having an addiction to magic, I notice quotes that refer to mystery, wonder and the kind.
I shared one of my favorites by Doug Henning.
Posted below are a couple I've learnt over the years.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

"Wisdom begins in wonder."

Though not related to magic is is related to us all from time to time (plus I find it amusing): "Fish will be the last to discover water."
POOF!
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-04-28 16:58, ELDEMONIO wrote: (but jt spell checked)
When speaking on the topic of "magic" and its definition we must distinguish what people call "real magic". What does "real magic" mean as opposed to normal "magic"?...


what which people speak of and under what circumstances.

There are people who speak of a small snack as a symbolic and deeply moving experience. There are people who set a place at their table for someone who would be welcomed yet whose presence would be most concerning to the rest of the dinner company. There are people who carry a fetish (totem?) of a creature which was most unfortunate yet they believe it bestows good fortune. There WERE people who would copy messages of good will onto paper and consume the paper as a means of offering spiritual/medical assistance.

To all of these peoples and many more I give my respects and acknowledge their beliefs in magic and their way of practicing magic. Whether the citizen is permitted to use magic or must turn to a specialist is a social issue. So many peoples and so many different perspectives.
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bishthemagish
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When I read the topic of this thread for the first time (Definition of "Magic") my thoughts were on a movie "Dances with wolfs". And how the native American's living in the village looked at the single person who had come to live with them just next door.

My thoughts are on the camp fires they had to talk about him and the "Magic" that the man had that was later to be called by the name of the tribe "Dances with wolves."

Later he started to visit and then later joined the community and then there was talk of the "magic" between "Dances with wolves" and the woman that could make the words of the white man.

I close these thoughts with a question. Definition of "Magic" in one word - could that be love?
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Jim Wilder
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Quote:
On 2006-04-28 19:53, bishthemagish wrote:
When I read the topic of this thread for the first time (Definition of "Magic") my thoughts were on a movie "Dances with wolfs". And how the native American's living in the village looked at the single person who had come to live with them just next door.

My thoughts are on the camp fires they had to talk about him and the "Magic" that the man had that was later to be called by the name of the tribe "Dances with wolves."

Later he started to visit and then later joined the community and then there was talk of the "magic" between "Dances with wolves" and the woman that could make the words of the white man.

I close these thoughts with a question. Definition of "Magic" in one word - could that be love?


Wow... you just totally out-codified Jon Townsend.
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Sunsets are magic. Love is magic. A baby's smile is magic. Yada Yada Yada... Smile

I don't think these kind of sentimental allusions help really. What we want to understand is not the set of all the things that might be thought of as magic or magical. We need to discuss the art in which you and I are engaged.

Why do we try to tell our audiences that we are accomplishing something by one means (magic, science, alchemy, hypnosis, ether) when we are really accomplishing it by another? That is what we actually do, and if we are not doing that, in my opinion we are not doing "magic."

We may be presenting a "magical" vision, or depicting what real magic would look like just as we do in movies and stage plays.

But this is theater and film, and those art forms can do this much more effectively and grandly using special effects and cgi than any magician.

What is it that separates us from theater and film? Those art forms are much better than we are at some things, but they do not challenge the mind of the spectator as magic does, simply because we are seeming to "insult their intelligence."

Our job is to insult the intelligence of the audience by making firm assertions of some things that the spectators know for a fact are not true, and then proving them in such a way that the spectator is unable find the error, and can not escape the situation in which we have placed him. He knows that we are lying, and still does not believe us, and yet he can not find a way out of the intellectual box we have put him in. He has had the dilemma "There is no such thing as magic/There is no other explanation" inserted into his head, and the mind does not like to hold two contradictory thoughts such as that at the same time. This situation causes a "feeling" in the brain of agitation and anxiety known as "cognitive dissonance."

While most people find this situation novel and somewhat uncomfortable, it can be a richly rewarding and creative experience. The performer's job is to frame the experience in such a way that it seems safe and pleasant for the spectators. We want to force them into a reverie of wonder--letting them go through thousands of "what if's" and "how could's" concerning both sides of the dilemma, and we want them to enjoy the experience and revisit it pleasantly again in their heads for the rest of their lives.

Much of modern science and especially physics requires people to be much more flexible in their understanding of things. In quantum physics magic is absolutely real, and conundrums and dilemmas even more perplexing than ours most be swallowed whole practically on a page by page basis.

I think magic is very helpful in getting people to enlarge their minds, and to learn to comfortably live with paradox--something that will be become more and more essential in coming years. It is also healthy, for it is the source of creative juices and a font of surprising and unthought of things. Magic forces people to think creatively, inductively instead of deductively. It is a great gift, but it requires deceit and lies to make it happen.

You can claim science ESP or psychology is the true cause of the effect you are creating, but if that is not really the full cause, you are still lying and still insulting the intelligence of your audience. It is still magic--the science of proving the untrue.


Posted: Apr 28, 2006 11:28pm
----------------------------------------------
BTW, I didn't mean to sound jaded--I like the poetic descriptions of magic and love and all of that, and they are just as fun and pleasant as they can be. They just don't really help with the point under discussion.

You can lower the bar for the lie, people find it easier to believe in ESP than magic, in NLP than in ESP. But if people believe the phenomena you have created for them is exactly what you say it is, then you are not doing magic. You are a charlatan. If you erase one side of the dilemma, there is no paradox. There is no point to the exercise any longer--you prove that you have the skills you claim, the audience believes you and goes home and goes to sleep. They now have had a piece of their worldview firmly changed by fake evidence. You have added a little bit to the world's ignorance. Nice going.
bishthemagish
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Question?

Is it how the lie is presented to the public?

Magic is real? "Or" The suggestion that magic is real?

Or could it be also how the public and the audience accept the suggestion?
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Whit Haydn
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I'm not sure I follow the question, Bish. Is what how "the lie is presented to the public?" I'm not clear what you are asking.
bishthemagish
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I am not sure how to put this. Perhaps the way you said the way of the two schools of magic. Could presenting magic as real that is working strong and the audience buys into the performer and what they do?

In the book the magic of believing the book talked about ESP and used Dunninger as an example as to ESP - could be real. That is that he wants to believe that it is real he buys into the lie so to speak.

Could? perhaps doing magic as entertainment people - the public might buy into the lie or accept the suggestion - even though the performer is not suggesting that it is real. They could be suggesting to some that it is - just by doing a show?

I do not have the answer but I am just trying to open my mind to the questions and find more questions. And I have much enjoyed your thoughts and information that you have given on this thread. Thanks Whit.
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kregg
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I don't think we lie as much as water refracts light; We just bend the image to excite a reaction.
This goes back to the assertion that magic happens in the mind. How an individual processes the information is based on countless factors including: Ignorance, superstition, misconception, perception, willingness, expectation and so forth.
We exploit our nature and natural understanding of the world we know to achieve an effect which can entertain, amuse, confuse, or send them running out of the room. Like the lady who did such a thing when Bob Fitch displayed an image of a pentagram.
Magicians watch magic even though (much of the time) we know the outcome. Yet, we accept it and if it's really good we are the best audience a magician can have.
I can't recall how often I've seen an audience applaud a bad or mediocre show. Is this the audiences way of sending the "lie" back to the performer or are they bending the truth?
POOF!
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Quote:
On 2006-04-29 09:36, bishthemagish wrote:
Question?

Is it how the lie is presented to the public?

Magic is real? "Or" The suggestion that magic is real?

Or could it be also how the public and the audience accept the suggestion?


Their is no lie. Magic is not lieing. Using the word "lie" in reference to magic is incorrect. Magic is no more a lie than "hamlet".
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Definition of "Magic", by Patrick Differ.

I'm in line for the new King Kong roller coaster at Six Flags. I've been told that it is the be-all-to-end-all ride in the nation. I expect to be thrilled. I expect adrenaline. I expect to have my mind changed about all the other cool roller coasters I've ever been on. I expect this one to be the best. I get in line and wait. I get on. Although I'd rather not, I buckle myself into the seat, partly because, while I'm crazy, I'm not stupid. That, and the fact the attendent says that I MUST. We climb up and up and up and up and up. Then we fall, hands in the air, asses off our seats, screaming at high velocity. We flip. We twist. We turn. We loop-the-loop. Pictures are taken with our mouths agape. We screech to a squealing, grinding halt. Is there time to catch our breath before we leave? I hope not...Wow! I'm going to do that again! That one was the best!!!

I'm not so sure I understand or even agree with all this talk about lies vs. the truth. I'm not so sure that it even matters to the art. It's just talk.

One of my favorite subjects when teaching Literature involves discussions regarding the author's purpose. What was the author's purpose? Why did this person write this story? For the money? I doubt it! Why did they do it? What did they want? Different reasons and ideas always pop up and out of the most unlikely students, and when they do, I always share the smile of discovery with them.

Substitute "author's" purpose with "magician's" purpose (or "artist's" purpose) and definitions become clearer and easier. I believe that when you define magic, you describe your purpose...what you want magic to be.

It's the tip of the iceberg. It's the start.
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
Jonathan Townsend
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Agreed that magic lies between the horns of belief and knowlege.

Though were I to say that magic is alone there would be a lie too.

Somewhere in that picture there must also be a willful magician and a willing audience.

Lest we have no frame to hang our picture and wind up trying to stare down a bull we wish were a wall.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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