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tommy
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This is bugging me. One definition of ďenchantĒ is to put a magic spell on someone or something. I donít care if was only juggling, Cardini put a magic pell on me. Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Jonathan Townsend
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Good to be bugged. bugged enough to study magic?

enchantment as in led, anchored, fired when ready

how do you know you've been enchanted?
perhaps when you know you now feel differently and the enchanter can make it happen again apparently at will. if so... we can add anchoring if you want.

does that help?
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tommy
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How can that help someone who spells spell pell? Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Whit Haydn
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Tommy: I believe you. I had a similar experience watching Bobby May juggle. He was uncanny--totally unbelievable! I was enchanted, spellbound, transfixed. It was magical!

Just doesn't have anything to do with the performance of magic that we are talking about. When I tell someone that I am a magician, they want to see me make something they know is impossible, not to do something that they just didn't know was possible. It is different.

I didn't know anyone could do juggling so difficult and beautiful, and interesting. Now I do. My opinion about juggling has been enlarged, but my worldview hasn't really been challenged. I know now that juggling is greater than I thought it was, but it doesn't really work any differently than I thought it did.

That is the problem of letting words and usages that are related to the concept of magic but not really specifically about the sort of magic that we do for entertainment into the discussion.

Sunsets are magical. A baby's smile is magical. Watching a manipulator roll a billiard ball around his fingers is "magical." But it isn't the kind of magic we are trying to talk about, and bringing these usages into the discussion just confuses things. Enchantment, magic, necromancy, etc. may all be subjects that magicians refer to, or point to, but none of them has really anything to do with the actual work the magician does--the art form we are discussing.
tommy
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I understand and what Cardini did does not fit my definition of magic. That being magic is an imaginary force that does not exist in fact, but the effects of which are created by the magician. Incidentally, I would say, the magician must tell lies in order to show itís effects to make the imaginary force seem real to the spectators. In other words the lying is part of the means to end and not end itself. Despite that and contrary to all logic Cardini does no more than a juggling act and makes it look like some kind of magic to me, even if it is not kind we are defining. What bugs me is I canít see what Cardini did as just juggling even though my brain says it was but my heart tells me something more. Might be he made the ball move without making it look like he was making it move, maybe that was the lie. Maybe I was dreaming and maybe it hypnotised me and maybe you perceived it differently because you are professional magician and I am not. In other words maybe I imagined the imaginary force when I saw this work and if I did then Cardini created magic for me. If that is a fact, tell me am I lying?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Tommy, I put up a more introspective definition of the processs of enchantment for you to compare to how you percieve the cardini act.

taking an external tact, one could just as well ask if the act has a similar effect when played without the sound, with different soundtrack (turn on the radio) or even if played backwards. you must be telling yourself a whole lot of something for the act to resonate. part of character acting is getting the audience to fill in the blanks about what the character has for context and internal process.
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kregg
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Sounds like Tommy had a magical experience with Cardini, who made a lasting impression.
By magical, I don't mean changing universal chaos into order. All Cardini had to do was roll a ball between his fingers and a bounty was vested in front you and those who wanted to believe in magic.
Like so many I'll never seen Cardini perform live, but will always perform in his legendary shadow.
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Dannydoyle
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Ok so magicians debating this helps magic in what way exactly?

This is where my confussion comes in. I don't think this deep deep introspection really helps anyone in the long run. To debate this stuff is more mental gymnastics than theory.
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Dave V
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On the contrary, I think it helps a lot. Whit is a one of a kind performer and I think he's a bit lonely all the way up there at the top. The more people he can get to understand his way of thinking, the better it is for all of us.

Yes it's mental gymnastics of a sort, and I think I might have pulled a muscle somewhere along the way. I need to get my brain to "work out" like this more often to keep it in shape.
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Quote:
On 2006-04-28 22:49, Whit Haydn wrote:
Sunsets are magic. Love is magic. A baby's smile is magic. Yada Yada Yada...




You can't get any more eloquent than that!

Anyway from experience, I have found that a lot of times a baby smiles for no apparent reason they are bound to be messing their diapers.

I think that when you try to remove common magic: the type of magic that some stranger on the street can understand or even effect, to our type of magic: a mysterious art that can only come from secrets that can only be obtained and honed through sacrifice (or at least that's what the advertisements should read), you can and will confuse both and make either less valuable in so doing.

Now I will return to reading the posts, as they are many and wordy. 8 pages is a lot of reading.
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Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2006-05-02 23:45, Dannydoyle wrote:
Ok so magicians debating this helps magic in what way exactly?

This is where my confussion comes in. I don't think this deep deep introspection really helps anyone in the long run. To debate this stuff is more mental gymnastics than theory.


The reason it is important is because it forms the basis for the decisions we make about what and how we do our magic. If you know more precisely what you are trying to accomplish in the spectator's mind, and understand what is needed to make that happen, then your chances of succeeding are much better.

You can usually hit something by aiming your bow just about anywhere, but this doesn't really accomplish much, does it? You need to know what you want to accomplish or you will never know whether you've accomplished it or not.

I have been very lucky and have had many friends and influences in magic who are top professionals, and great artists: Monk Watson, Duke Stern, Dai Vernon, Charlie Miller, Tommy Wonder, Larry Jennings, Johnny Thompson, Billy McComb, Tom Mullica, Lance Burton, Steve Baker, Jay Marshall, and many others.

All of them thought deeply about magic and cared about magic theory, and would argue about such fine points for many hours. If you do not see the value of it, it is not because there is no value to it, it is because you have not delved deeply enough into the art to understand the application and benefit of studying theory. How do you fix a trick when something isn't working if you don't have a way to evaluate and critique it?

If you are just doing magic tricks to show off, and are not concerned with creating commercial and serious art with your magic, then it won't matter much. But if you want to make any kind of statement with your magic, then you need to know what your magic is all about.

Someone earlier suggested that we can avoid "insulting the intelligence of the audience" by making our claims more modest and believable. This concept has been used by successful performers like Derren Brown and is a legitimate sort of take on magic. It certainly has worked for some.

But it is totally opposite what one would choose if trying to follow my theory of magic.

According to my view, the more we insult the intelligence of the audience the better. We want to make claims that the audience does not accept and thinks are outrageous. Then we prove those claims in such a way that the audience can not even imagine any way for the effect to have happened other than the way we have claimed.

This creates the dilemma that is the very goal of our work. Our little dilemma is a burr under the saddle of the brain, a font of creative thought and fantasy, and this reverie of inductive reasoning and fantasy is the wonder that we are trying to create--the purpose for our existence.

I think that if you watch my performances, you will find that all my routines were based on this consistent theory of choices. Chef Anton, Doc Eason, Bob Sheets and others have very different and original takes on what is basically the same approach to the art. It is not the only way to look at magic, but it is a very worthwhile aproach to consider.
tommy
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In anything it is better to know why as well as how. That's why.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
bishthemagish
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I think it is worth talking about because we perform "Magic" for people and some of us sell magic to clients.

Knowing who we are and what we are doing and how the public looks at us as to what we are doing is to me important information. Magic is popular with magicians. magic is not so popular with the public.

Sports is more popular than magic. And music is more popular than magic. In other words there are things more important to the public than going to see a magician do a magic show.

One of the reason's I think is the lie or the secret. The act is based on to deceive the audience as performers. And then I also I think that their are many that just don't find what we do that important. I think as a group we can make magic more important - but we do not do this.
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Dannydoyle
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So does the production lie to the audience when Peter Pan flies?

When Cats talk?
they are asked to get "lost in the world" and suspend disbelief and yada yada.

I just get confused as to if you guys really think anyone over the age of say 10 actually believe you levitate someone. Or is the more common reaction something like "well I can't even see the wires". Sure they can't figure it out, but BELIEVE? Come on.

I think this fundimental thinking is why TV magic has become "stunts" and not really so much magic. Seems as if EVERYONE on TV is going this route now dosn't it?
Well in the US anyhow.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-05-03 09:32, Dannydoyle wrote:
So does the production lie to the audience when Peter Pan flies?...


Nope, the fairy tale is illustrated onstage while it is being filtered into the internal story that the audience perceives. Look closely at the in that play where the audience is asked if they believe in fairies. Theatrical convention has the proscenium arch as gateway to imaginary worlds.
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George Ledo
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Wow! Iím really enjoying this thread. Some good arguments and lots of ideas to think about!

Having said that, Iím still having a problem with the concept that magic itself is a lie. I can certainly buy some of Whitís arguments, but now and then I still see a contradiction Ė which puts me right smack in the middle of a different set of ďhorns of the dilemma.Ē Smile

Letís say Iím doing an illusion show. I bring out a full-grown Indian elephant and tell the audience Iím going to make the beastie vanish by magic. Okay, thatís a lie. Itís a lie within the context of a magic show (which makes it okay for the purpose), but itís still a lie.

Okay, so the animal goes in the box, the smoke pot goes off, and the box is empty. I proceed to tear the box apart and show the audience every place where the elephant isnít. I donít show them where it is; I just show them where it isnít. I use my skills as a magician to misdirect them into looking where I want them to look and not looking where I donít want them to look.

What Iím doing is withholding information while making them think Iím telling them everything. Okay, thatís a lie too.

Hereís where my quandary is. If I tell them the elephant has vanished, Iím lying. And that may be okay within the context of a magic show, because the audience supposedly came to be mystified. But if I donít tell them the elephant is gone Ė if I just show the box empty, pull back the curtains, and assure the audience that thereís no basement under the stage Ė then the audience will convince themselves that the elephant has vanished. Theyíll fall right onto Whitís double-edged sword that says thereís no such thing as magic but thereís no other explanation.

To me, thatís magic: the audience convincing themselves.

But itís not a lie because I havenít told them or shown them anything thatís not true; even when I showed them where the elephant wasnít, I was showing them the truth. Iím not falling back on semantics here: Iím trying to understand a concept thatís based on intent.

Want to see a really good example of this? Forget the magic shows and the movies. Go sit in a courtroom during a criminal trial.

The defense attorney: ďLadies and gentlemen of the jury, Iím going to give you information that will make you convince yourselves, after the trial is over and youíre sitting in the jury room, that my client is innocent.Ē And Iím not going to show you anything that will make you even remotely think otherwise.

The prosecutor: ďLadies and gentlemen of the jury, Iím going to give you information that will make you convince yourselves, after the trial is over and youíre sitting in the jury room, that the defendant is guilty.Ē And Iím not going to show you anything that will make you even remotely think otherwise.

Itís a really funny thing that criminal lawyers tend to use the phrase ďMy client is innocentĒ instead of the phrase ďMy client didnít do it.Ē We can sit here and argue that these two phrases mean exactly the same thing, but, in the context of a courtroom, they donít. The defendant may have done it, but he can still be proven innocent -- and the lawyer didnít lie to the jury because one phrase constitutes a point of fact and the other one constitutes a point of law. And the context of a courtroom is law, not fact. Go figure.

Can we learn something from this? Oh, yeah!!!!!

We spent a couple of days at Disneyland a few weeks ago. Walt Disney is responsible for more magic, more wonder, more dreams, more fantasy, and more pleasure, than probably all magicians who ever lived put together. But he never lied about this stuff and he never set out to insult our intelligence. He gave us Mickey Mouse, and Donald Duck, and Pirates of the Caribbean, and let us draw our own conclusions. Our imaginations created the reality and the magic and the stories we told and still tell and will continue to tell.

I can say the same thing about George Lucas, another guy who gave us the facts (in the context of the story) and let us take home our own conclusions and our own stories.

Granted, neither one gave us ďmagicĒ in the context of magic tricks. No argument there.

We can argue forever that magic is different from other forms of entertainment because its very point is to have the audience go home with that dilemma (ďNo such thing as magic/Thereís no other explanationĒ) firmly fixed in their heads. And I totally agree that we should be doing it with a smile and a wink. But, in the overall scheme of things, is that all there is to it?

Weíve also discussed several times that magic needs to touch the audience at an emotional level, just like art, literature, and music. I can agree that creating that dilemma in the minds of the audience touches them at an emotional level, and maybe thatís exactly where magic needs to touch them. But, again, in the overall scheme of things, is that all there is to it?

Maybe my real quandary is that I can accept that magic uses lies, but not that magic is a lie.

I see magic as more of what Walt Disney and George Lucas do: they say, basically, Iím going to show you something thatís not within your realm of experience -- but that you can relate to on a human level -- and let you draw your own conclusions.

Just like that criminal lawyer: Iím going to show you a bunch of carefully selected and edited facts and make you think youíre drawing your own conclusion.

Sorry if this post sounds a bit disconnected. I wrote it over a couple of days and want to upload it before I add anything more to it and it gets even more disconnected.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Magic is as much a lie as it is to believe you were here before you blinked.

Same lie. A lie of continuity and causality. To reflect upon that lie with which we live and cope is a uniquely human characteristic. We invent stories and enjoy how we and others relate to those stories. All lies of course as we can't truly prove we were here even a few moments or a blink or a sneeze ago. Sure we can believe we remember from back when... but that too is a lie, just one we like to live with. Same lies as our belief in our knowledge of what is behind us at this very moment. We don't and can't know yet we have our lie and don't need to check it but every so often. And so we, and our pack of lies live on in relative comfort. And we have an art specifically designed to reflect that truth to our sensibilities. To remind us that we live among lies and that the truth of most matters eludes our direct perceptions and will often surprise us.

Most people can enjoy that reminder when it's offered as a treat.
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George, you admit you have to tell a lie in the elephant illusion. Whit said in an earlier post that a lie does not require anything to be said. If the audience does believes that the elephant was in the box (which is possibly true) and that there was no way for the magician to sneak it out of the box (implied or stated lie) then when the elephant is shown to be gone, the only explantion is magic--except that Whit doesn't want them to really believe in magic--that is their quandry.

I amazed my three year old when I disapeared one time. She proved the lie when she caught me hiding behind the couch. The magician does not want the lie proven even as we expect then to know there was a lie.

I study many of Whit's effects and perfom them when I can. Any of us who have seen his videos knows he uses many elements to entertain, particularly comedy. I don't see that he sees magic as only a lie or even that magic is the most important endever in life. What I get from his musings is that what ever else I do in magic, if I want it to be magic, I have to remember the truth that I lie and that if I do not convince them that the lie is true, then it isn't magic. I think the audience is very happy with this. I always loved magic when I was a kid, not because I believed, even at the age of 10, that the magician really floated, but because I knew he could not float.
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kregg
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If you cannot define magic for yourself, you will be a blur to your audience. The ones with definition are armed with the potential to become the legends they'd most like to be.
Certainly Cardini asked these very questions and admired somebody. What made him original was not the basic moves, but, how he thought "magic" should be presented. Maybe a little prodding from Malini and Vernon telling him to put his act to music and stop talking helped. The dialogue that could have ticked off Cardini (perhaps it did) inspired him to change his act from ordinary to extraordinary.
I'm only using Cardini's example because it was brought earlier. Choose the one you most admire, if they're alive ask them how they define magic - you may not agree, but you will learn.
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Dave V
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"Selling the Lie"

Those are the three most influential words on the way I look at my magic now.


It affects a simple game like "Fast and Loose" where the effect depends on them knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that one side holds fast and the other comes loose, the Shell Game where they must "know" where the pea is, or a card trick where they must know the card really goes into the center.

Once they're convinced that the "lie" is absolutely true, then the fun begins as you yank away their "security blanket" and leave their brains spinning.

One thing I like about Whit's booklets and videos is that he teaches much more than the one trick you thought you were buying. Each one goes even deeper into the "why" and the psychology that makes that particular trick so effective. In a way he's "tricked" us into learning much more than we first expected.
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