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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Mentalism vs. Mental Magic (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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cupsandballsmagic
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Slightly off topic but I also feel that (in agreement with Entity) that it is the mentalist that the audience tends to believe in.

There are a lot of mentalists seem to structure an act where they can seemingly do *anything*, bend metal, remote viewing, predictions, thought reading, telekinesis etc

What do you all think about the ratio of perceived "powers or abilities" to believability factor?

If you structure an act where you can do too much, does that mean that in the audiences eyes you are more likely to be using trickery as opposed to only having *one* special talent that could be perceived as more believable?

Obviously this will not be the same if you are the type of performer who gives explanations as to how you have influenced behaviours by using NLP, suggestion etc but more to those hinting at having powers.
IAIN
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Strange that you should say that..look at Uri..

if you read a very good book called Mind-Reach, by russell targ and harold puthoff - don't be puthoff by the title geddit? ha and indeed ha..

sorry - if you read that book, not only is it very thought provoking, but it talks about testing Uri, one of the guys was an ex-magician too...anyway, some of the skills Uri displayed during testing are, to me, infinitly more interesting than the jolly old spoon bending...

and yet, he decided that the bending would be his pretty much singular "thing"...it certainly adds to the reality of it all doesn't it...stick to the one gift or power, and only do stuff that relates to it..

I personally wouldnt do a PK effect, then a NLP based effect, finished with a prediction...it would jar in my eyes...which, is a funny place to keep a jar...

though, I have recently fully embraced my background, and the above may all change sometime soon..i need to work a few more things out before I commit..i feel I should start a new thread on it...
I've asked to be banned
gabelson
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Quote:
On 2007-11-17 00:29, entity wrote:
My feeling is that it is the Mentalist that people believe in, not the effect. Once the audience believes the Mentalist is who he says he is, he can present just about any effect in the guise of Mentalism and the audience will accept it.

- entity


I think that is very astute. And honestly, I don't really understand the importance of this debate. As Entity so rightly points out, if the spec believes in the mentalist, they will accept whatever he or she presents. When I did stand-up through the 80's and 90's, pure monologists considered themselves in a higher echelon than "prop acts". There was, no doubt, an elitism. And honestly, I believe that much of it was jealousy. Most likely because it was difficult to FOLLOW a prop act, so they usually headlined and made more money than the straight stand-ups. That's not to say there was no legitimacy to the monologists' attitude- monologists took great pride in crafting a joke. They agonized over an "and" or an "or", as it could mean the difference between "bombing" and "killing". If you watch the greats monologists- Carlin, Seinfeld, the late Richard Jeni, you'll see there's not an ounce of fat in their writing. Similar to fat-free mentalism- working without a safety net. And there's no question it's more difficult to get the crowd going wild with no props, and not rely on a visual-- whereas if you simply put a rubber c**k on your head, you're going to get a laugh. I guess, in a way, the "prop act", was more like the "mental magician", or simply, "the magician". But really, is one art form superior to the other? There are brilliant prop acts, just as there are brilliant monologists. At the beginning of his career, Steve Martin used props- (if you ever saw him do "The Great Flydini" on Carson, you know how brilliantly he used them-- ironically, in this case, as a magician!), Albert Brooks used props.
Bottom line- present what you do well, and the audience won't care what you label yourself.
cupsandballsmagic
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Quote:
On 2007-11-17 17:38, abraxus wrote:
Strange that you should say that..look at Uri..

if you read a very good book called Mind-Reach, by russell targ and harold puthoff - don't be puthoff by the title geddit? ha and indeed ha..

sorry - if you read that book, not only is it very thought provoking, but it talks about testing Uri, one of the guys was an ex-magician too...anyway, some of the skills Uri displayed during testing are, to me, infinitly more interesting than the jolly old spoon bending...

and yet, he decided that the bending would be his pretty much singular "thing"...it certainly adds to the reality of it all doesn't it...stick to the one gift or power, and only do stuff that relates to it..

I personally wouldnt do a PK effect, then a NLP based effect, finished with a prediction...it would jar in my eyes...which, is a funny place to keep a jar...

though, I have recently fully embraced my background, and the above may all change sometime soon..i need to work a few more things out before I commit..i feel I should start a new thread on it...


That was what I was hinting at... I didn't want t omention any names but Iwent to see Uri's live show, he spoke frankly to the audience for 2 hours and during that time he bent a spoon, devined a colour and sprouted a seed. That was it, and I am not saying that was a bad thing, on the contrary...

Uri is a very, very likeable person and that, I believe is his true key to success.

Yes, I have read the book Smile

Bri
teejay
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If you like a bit of fun, have a look here and add your positive thoughts

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......tart=0#4

Cheers
TJ
the fritz
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Interestingly, I seem to keep hearing over and over again that people don't believe in magic, but that they might believe in mentalism. Really? I can think of two people right now, who've seen both David Copperfield and David Blaine specials on TV and have asked me if I think what they are doing is real, either whole or in part. There are lots of people out there who acknowledge that there is a world out there that extends way beyond any of us... call it religion, spirituality, whatever. Truth is, it's not just mentalism that people can be duped into believing.

By the way, is it just me (maybe so) or would any of you classify Mike Super as the purest performer of mental magic in the contestant field. I thought what he did fit the Larry Becker-type description of mental magic. The rest of the field I thought, attempted to perform mentalism. It's interesting that the voters liked the mental magician (in my opinion, of course) the best. From what I saw, Super didn't try to pass himself off as a mysterious enigma with unearthly, supernatural powers. I'm not saying everybody else did (although some were more pretentious than others, I think), but Super just seemed to come across as more personable, more real... the kind of guy you want to hang out with and feel safe to let demonstrate his strange stuff.

Interesting that Americans picked him, don't you think?
Mind Guerrilla
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Quote:
On 2007-11-27 19:12, the fritz wrote:
Interestingly, I seem to keep hearing over and over again that people don't believe in magic, but that they might believe in mentalism. Really? I can think of two people right now, who've seen both David Copperfield and David Blaine specials on TV and have asked me if I think what they are doing is real, either whole or in part. There are lots of people out there who acknowledge that there is a world out there that extends way beyond any of us... call it religion, spirituality, whatever. Truth is, it's not just mentalism that people can be duped into believing.

This is very true. I was watching a YouTube video of the Icarus Levitation yesterday and one of the people commenting on it said, in passing, something like "of course there are ways to really levitate"(?!). My best friend's wife thinks Criss Angel is the real deal, a modern wizard. She's heavy into new age stuff.
Quote:
Interesting that Americans picked (Mike Super, don't you think?

Every once in awhile, a deserving person wins an election here. Smile
archini
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Does it matter? It's like making a difference between a steam train driver and a deisel train driver.... So long as they get me where I'm going I don't really care. Only other train drivers can argue about it. I may have typed that all in haste and will have to back track soon. ?

John
Mind Guerrilla
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Quote:
On 2007-11-28 11:54, archini wrote:
Does it matter? It's like making a difference between a steam train driver and a deisel train driver.... So long as they get me where I'm going I don't really care. Only other train drivers can argue about it. I may have typed that all in haste and will have to back track soon. ?

John

I think some of us are asleep at the switch.

Thank Gosh for ch*ng* b*gs.
Allan-F
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I agree with Neil that the distinction has to do with attempting to "seem real" to the audience. But this makes it a distinction that is designed to support a public persona--how you are perceived by your audience--this does not necessarily justify making the same distinction amongst your peers.

It is also exactly the same distinction made between magician and bizarre magician, so perhaps mentalism is a subcatgeory of bizarre magic and both are subcatgeories of magic under this way of thinking.

There are many ways to categorize things, and there does not have to be one right way. But what some people fail to notice in these mentalism/mental magic debates is that this distinction is itself a performance tool used by the mentalist, not merely an objective categorization. Kreskin, for instance, is constantly contrasting himself with "magicians" to his audience (yes, he does magic, but justifies it as "how I got started" and so on). But does this mean Kreskin doesn't consider himself to be primarily a magician? Not necessarily (you'd have to ask him, of course, when he is out of character).

Since the mental magic/mentalist distinction, when portrayed as a sharp divide, is a performance tool of the mentalist, it is a bit silly for the mentalist to insist it is the "right" way to catgorize things from the mental magician's point of view. The mental magician could argue that the mentalist is confusing the exoteric and esoteric aspects of his art. It might be perfectly legitimate for the mentalist to deny being anything like a magician to his audience, but still consider himself clearly a type of magician. On the other hand, making the distinction more firm and across the board could actually help his performance, and help him maintain a consistent character. But again, this is something useful for *him*, not an absolute category.

How you categorize cannot be separated completely from what your own goals are. This is a general lesson to be learned in life... don't beat up on others because they have different goals.

Allan
Allan-F

"What can be thought of or spoken of necessarily IS, since it is possible for it to be, while it is not possible for NOTHING to be." -- Parmenides
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