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Jim-Callahan
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Quote:
On 2009-05-13 19:43, bob tripp wrote:
Tom, I have very strong opinions on this subject which you may very well disagree with. My mental magic days are far behind me. I do not even use the the word mentalism or mentalist in my promotional material any more. Thanks to T.V. and You Tube the term "Mentalist" has become associated with magic and tricks anyone can do. Successful pure mentalism versus mental magic is a matter of promotional techniques. And you must leave out the word "mentalism". Without giving up too much I will tell you that I demonstrate traditional psychic feats. Things like automatic writing,remote viewing, message bearing. When some one attends one of my psy-parties they get readings,readings, readings. My public shows are only psy-parties on a larger scale. Psychic work is essentially a close up discipline. You are working one on one, with the largest portion of attendees participating as witnesses, hoping to get the opportunity become part or the action. If you have difficulty understanding the point I am trying to make, You can PM me about specific areas of confusion....Bob Tripp


I had no intention of getting into this topic.
But for the life of me I have no idea who Tom is Bob.

Jim
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parmenion
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One month ago a friend of mine told me " Mentalism is what does Derren Brown"
It means everything must have a logicial explanation NPL, suggestion, etc...
If you don't present mentalism in this way you do mental magic Smile
Very funny and in the same time very sad.
The dark side of Derren Brown Smile
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bob tripp
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Jim, I stand corrected. The name should have been Ray. The shortest thing in the world is an old mans memory. No matter, a rose by any other name still makes me sneeze. BT
Magical Dimensions
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Quote:
On 2009-05-08 15:39, Christian wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-05-08 15:28, Magical Dimensions wrote:
From what I have seen it seems that the headliners do what amounts to be a Magic Show with a psychic twist. Some even fill the stage with STUFF!

There are estimated around 2000 working professional magicians in the world and HOW MANY PURE MENTALIST are there? ….. You don’t even have to remove your shoes to help count!

Ray


Ray,

As a full time working performer, presenting both magic and mindreading shows (but never combining the two) who takes what most would call a very "purist" approach to mentalism I can't begin to address the issue you have raised as I don't have the faintest idea who you are, what your experience as either a magician or mentalist is, who the "headliner" mentalists (I assume you are referring to mentalist headliners and not magician headliners) you refer to might be, or what you consider a "pure mentalist" to be.

Can you enlighten me?



Quote:
On 2009-05-10 08:15, Christian wrote:
Still waiting for Ray to tell us who the "headliner" mentalists who "fill the stage with stuff" are. That description doesn't fit any of the "headliners" that I know. He must be talking about "healiner" magicians and not mentalists in which case the observation has nothing to do with the issue he raised.





I am not going to name names here, they are aware of who they are, and the ones that I am talking about don’t post here anyway. I am talking about mentalist and not magicians just like I stated in my opening post. Besides, naming names will not benefit anyone.

What does knowing my background have to do with my question? What does my experience have to do with anything? If you don’t know what I mean by pure mentalism then why even post?

It is not rocket science here; I posed a question to the café. If you are having a hard time with it, then maybe you are one of the ones I am talking about. If one is offended by my question then it must have hit home in one way or another. Sorry about that.

Yes, I have seen a few Headliners in the MENTALISM AREA and YES I still stand by my opening post.

Maybe you have been lucky and those that you have seen performed do so without all the props. But to try and undermine me by referring that I may be unfit to ASK A SIMPLE QUESTION is ridiculous I believed that you may be in denial to the question that I posed.

Ra
Dick Christian
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Ray,

Don't get your shorts in a knot just because I asked what seemed to me like a rather logical question, given the nature of your question. Having been a full time performer for nearly 40 years and owner/operator of an independent entertainment agency for most of that time as well and having known, worked with and booked some of the top headliners in the field of mentalism -- none of whom I have ever seen "fill the stage with STUFF" -- it seemed only natural to ask to whom you were referring. Since your name is unfamiliar to me, it also seemed natural to establish some frame of reference in order to better understand, and possibly respond to, your question. I know what I mean by "pure mentalism," but without some frame of reference it is difficult to know exactly what YOU mean by those words. Sorry if you find that offensive.
Dick Christian
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Dick, I also have no clue who you are, and you seem to be the only one who is overly impressed by your qualifications... as evidenced by the fact that you seem to mention them in almost every single one of your posts.
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Christian & Katalina
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Ray,

The only people who care about this question are mentalists and magicians. An audience will only think what you give them to think about. The premise of your show and your character are much more important than any of the tricks.
Milbourne Christopher Award for Mentalism 2011
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Magical Dimensions
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[quote]On 2009-05-15 19:40, Christian wrote: (In part)
Ray,

Don't get your shorts in a knot.
/quote]


I hate when that happens because it makes me walk funny! LOL


R
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On 2009-05-15 23:49, Christian & Katalina wrote:
Ray,

The only people who care about this question are mentalists and magicians. An audience will only think what you give them to think about. The premise of your show and your character are much more important than any of the tricks.




Great advice and I totally agree 100%.

The bottom line is entertaining your audience and collecting the check at the end of the night.

There are a number of ways to do this and each must find their own niche in this crazy world that we call entertainment.

There have been really good advice given in this thread! Which indicates to me that we all desire the same thing when it comes to entertainment, and that is to be the best performer that we all can be? We all must face the bright lights in our OWN WAY. And we face them alone on our own terms, with the knowledge that we are giving 110% of ourselves. We open ourselves up and let the audience take a peek inside as we weave our spell and create our premise.

I meant no disrespect to anyone when I starting this thread. Bottom line is this; there is much entertainment to be enjoyed by our paying audience when we employ every means that we have at our disposal.

Break a leg.


Ray
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Quote:
Christian and Katalina wrote:

The only people who care about this question are mentalists and magicians. An audience will only think what you give them to think about. The premise of your show and your character are much more important than any of the tricks.


Exactly! More so than any of the effects presented or the props (if any) used, the performer must sell him/herself as an entertainer, not as just a practitioner of a generic art that is "supposed" to be performed in a specific way.

I firmly believe in what I wrote earlier in this thread - you can't even pretend to be an artist if your idea of performing mentalism is to do whatever everyone else is doing. You must be different. Yes, you can still make a lot of money in this biz with demographically targeted hackery combined with good business skills, but so what? When you pass from the scene what will you have left behind?

My goal has always been for my audiences to remember that they saw Bob Cassidy, NOT that they saw this guy who "did all kinds of amazing stuff like, you know, those guys ya see on TV."

And, besides, food for thought makes for a better diet than eye candy.

Bob
Magical Dimensions
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Bob,

Great post!

To be remembered as a person instead of just that magician or that guy who reads minds is priceless.

Connecting with the audience is the key to being remembered!


Ray
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The bottom line is entertaining your audience and collecting the check at the end of the night.


So depressing. This isn't the bottom line for a true artist.
Send me the truth: davitsicseek@gmail.com
Magical Dimensions
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Quote:
On 2009-05-16 07:02, Davit Sicseek wrote:
Quote:
The bottom line is entertaining your audience and collecting the check at the end of the night.


So depressing. This isn't the bottom line for a true artist.



But I like getting paid because I have this habit of really liking to eat and have a roof over my head. Smile


True …. ‘Exactly conforming to a rule, standard, or pattern’

Art….. ‘A system of principles and methods employed in the performance of a set of activities: the art of building. A trade or craft that applies such a system of principles and methods: the art of the lexicographer. Skill that is attained by study, practice, or observation: the art of the baker; the blacksmith's art. Skill arising from the exercise of intuitive faculties'



Yes, I like the idea of true art.

Ray
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Just going through my old writings and came across the following. It is from my notes for the original draft of what was later to become the "The Art of Mentalism."

It struck me as being particularly relevant to the present thread.

Those of you who have been around a while will be familiar with most of what follows. But those who are just starting out in mentalism might want to give it some serious consideration before you decide to walk out in front of a paying audience.

While a bit of it is dated, I think the basic concepts are as important today as they were when I wrote about them thirty-one years ago.


On the Presentation of Mentalism
[Note: Since this was written, the generally time accepted
definition of "mentalism" has expanded a bit. A majority of
today's performers present mentalism as a demonstration of
known scientific and/or psychological principles. Personally I
have stayed with the "mind reader/paranormalist" style of presentation.]

Mentalism is the art of presenting seemingly paranormal effects
in an entertaining manner. Its essence lies in the performer's ability
to successfully suspend the disbelief of his audience. Fortunately,
there is already substantial belief among the public in psychic and
other paranormal phenomena. But it is a large mistake to assume
that the simple public acceptance of the possibility of ESP [or "Psi"
as it is generally referred to today] is a sufficient foundation for a
successful performance of mentalism. That view, along with the myths
that mentalism is easier to do than magic and that it's inherently more
entertaining to "intelligent adult audiences," has given birth to many a bad act.

So what are the real elements of an effective mental act? There are
many, of course, but the main thing is that the performance must be
entertaining. Anyone who thinks otherwise and has the nerve to
perform a stand-up act in a theatrical selling is a fool-and probably
an egotistical fool to boot. If a performer really thinks that the mechanical
performance of technically flawless "mental effects" will cause an audience
to sit in awe of his "powers" and bring him success, he is sadly mistaken.

Now, obviously, entertainment value alone does not make a mental
act. But it is very difficult to be entertaining if the audience
doesn't like you and whatever it is that you're doing. So we arrive at
a very simple rule-to succeed you have got to do everything in your
power to be likable. So many mentalists nowadays try to affect a
threatening, superman-type image. That sort of thing may intrigue
people for a while, but in the long run it puts them off-they may like
to go to freak shows on occasion, but they go there to gawk, not to
interact. And if a mentalist cannot get people to interact- i.e., to
volunteer, to participate- he doesn't have an act.

How many times have you heard the complaint "I just can't seem to
get people to volunteer?" Those who have that problem would do well to
look at their image. Are they presenting likable personalities, or do
they pose a threat to their audience? Or, worse yet, are they coming on
so strong that people just don't want to be seen on the same stage with
them?

And that's one of the reasons that mentalism is so difficult to do
well. Reading people's minds is inherently threatening. Consider- do
people really want to have their minds read? Would you like to have
your mind read? For real? Suppose you really could read minds and
reveal people's innermost thoughts. Do you think they would like you?
Do you think they'd volunteer once they were convinced that you could
really do it? Of course not! They'd get away from you as fast as
possible, or they'd kill you.But as a mentalist you can't come right
out and say you'rejust doing tricks. Then the act is just a puzzle. The
inherent fascination is gone.

The resolution is really pretty simple-you've got to create the
impression that you can only do this stuff sometimes. That it doesn't
always work. That it's not minds that you can read, just very clearly
defined thoughts- thoughts which a volunteer must focus on to the
exclusion of everything else. That's why they must write things down,
or make selections within clearly defined parameters. In one stroke
you've eliminated the threat and made the secret work of mentalism both
possible and plausible.

Some basic rules flow naturally from the above premises- rules
that I feel form the core of effective mentalism and are the foundation
of the effects which I perform.

1. Never use any materials that were obviously purchased at a
magic shop. If you use them people will assume you are a magician and
you will have destroyed the basic premise of the art- the suspension of
disbelief in a paranormal format.

In no way do I mean to put down the fine art of magic. Most
mentalists, myself included, have a deep love for good conjuring. But
it's a different art form- it creates a different impression. If you
want to do magic tricks, do fancy and impressive magic. "Mental magic
tricks" may be fancy, but they're not very impressive. More often than
not, they are simply boring.

For the same reason it is generally wise to avoid any mental
effects which have become popular with magicians who are in the public
eye.

2. You should strive to use an absolute minimum in the way of
visible props. It is the performer who should dominate the stage.
Don't misunderstand me on this point. I am not talking about
visual aids which focus attention on what the performer is doing (and
very often provide the modus operandi for a given effect.) I am
referring to table loads of props which too often dominate the
performing area. You just can't give the impression that you really
need all of that stuff to do mentalism.

3. All effects must be clean, direct, and as brief as
possible. Your purpose is to entertain, not to bore. Even intelligent
audiences don't want to strain to understand what a performer is doing.
While they may like to think that what they are seeing is educational,
they didn't come to see you with the idea of really getting educated.

4. Avoid effects which require the audience to do mathematics,
counting lines in books, etc. The reason should be obvious. More than
likely they will make a mistake. People tend to get nervous when doing
even the simplest tasks before a large group. Always make things as
easy as possible for your volunteers. Carefully phrase all instructions
to avoid any ambiguity.

5. Always understand the effect you are doing or you shouldn't
be doing it. I'm not referring to methods or effect from the
performer's point of view. Rather I am concerned with the effect as it
is perceived by the audience. Failure to understand that can result in
audience realization that what they are seeing is merely a trick.
For example, ask yourself this question-What is the effect of
Annemann's "Pseudo Psychometry?" Too often the performer will simply
create the impression that he is able to discover the owners of various
personal objects which have been sealed in envelopes. Presented in that
manner, it is all too easy for an audience to accidentally stumble onto
the actual method employed-marked envelopes.

The effect is far more impressive if the performer appears to
reveal things about the owners of the objects. Not what they look like,
but what they are like. Preshow work and some good cold reading is what
creates this effect. Real psychometry is the apparent ability to reveal
things about people by receiving vibrations from articles which have
been in their possession. But even those people who believe that
psychometry exists will find it hard to believe that an object's
vibrations will reveal the color of its owner's dress.

That's why you can't be convincing in this business unless you
have some plausible theory to explain what you are doing. Which
leads us to the next rule:

6. Don't claim too much. How many times have you seen mental acts
presented in a format where the performer explains all of the various
forms of paranormal phenomena and then proceeds to demonstrate each one
of them? It just doesn't work. You may get them to believe that you are
clairvoyant, or that you are telepathic, or that you are precognitive,
or that you can move objects with your mind-but not that you can really
do all of these things. Your claims must have consistency. There must
be an inner logic behind what you are doing.

It is very important, therefore, that you carefully examine the
claims you make during an act. What is it that you are doing and how do
you do it? Given the abilities you claim to possess, are your effects
consistent with the claim?

Now, realize, I am not advocating that you come right out and
make any claims at all to paranormal abilities-at least not verbally.
But the performance of successful mentalism creates implied claims and
those claims must be consistent.

In my own act I create the impression that I can do three things-
I can receive thoughts if they are properly projected to me on sort of
a mental movie screen, I can send thoughts if you let me project them
onto your mental screen, and I can sometimes make you do things by
projecting a thought into your mind.

I don't want to claim the ability to predict the future, it's
just too hard to sustain. So when I do an effect where I am apparently
able to predict a spectator's actions-what name he will select from a
phone book or what time he will set on a watch-I give the impression
that I have mentally caused him to make the selection I wanted him to
make-that I have given him a subconscious mental command. It's entirely
consistent with the abilities I have impliedly claimed-that I can send
and receive thoughts. No more and no less.

Sure, at other shows I may demonstrate a few other abilities,
such as super memory or apparent PK, but I would never exhibit more
than a few mental faculties in any given show. It's just too hard for
an audience to swallow-they are likely to condude that there is
trickery at work.

7. Use humor effectively. Believe it or not, even a mentalist
is allowed to smile and make humorous remarks. As I've already
indicated, the humorless superman approach is not very entertaining.
It's important, I think, that you don't create the impression of taking
yourself too seriously. When an audience can laugh with you (not at
you, as is likely if you refuse to accept the fact that you are
primarily an entertainer) they start to like you and feel comfortable
with you. When that happens you start to become commercial-and when
you've done that you're on the verge of being a successful entertainer.
Dick Christian
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While I still don't understand who the "headliners" Ray refers to may be, or why he is so reluctant to identify them, it would appear that one of the true "headliners" of mentalism, Master Mindreader Bob Cassidy has directly and adequately answered Ray's initial question that started this thread. See items 1 and 2 in his May 16 post above.
Dick Christian
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Quote:
On 2009-05-15 20:01, pearljamjeff wrote:
Dick, I also have no clue who you are, and you seem to be the only one who is overly impressed by your qualifications... as evidenced by the fact that you seem to mention them in almost every single one of your posts.


Just for the record, in the overall scheme of things my qualifications are hardly "impressive" by any standard -- and certainly not so when compared to the prominent "household names" in either magic or mentalism who post to the Café. In fact, it is because I choose to limit my performing almost exclusively to the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area and so am not nearly as well known as others that I find it appropriate to refer to my personal experience so that readers who do not know me will have some basis on which to evaluate the opinions epressed in my comments. The only area in which I would dare claim any particular expertise is on the subject of forcing books and book tests which is an area of special interest to me and on which I have often posted comments to the Café and a few other forums.

Because I have no qualms about letting others know either my background or who I am that, like many of the other working pros who post to the Café, I always post under my own name and have never found it either necessary or appropriate to hide behind the anonymity of a fictitious "screen name."
Dick Christian
Nash
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While I agree too much props can render a mental act "inorganic" or "fake", but if they are carefully organized, it won't be a problem.

Look at Gary Kurtz' show "Just an Illusion".
His entire stage is filled with props, but they look at how he organized them on stage.
Don't give up, don't EVER give up.

Corporate magician - Nash Fung
Alan Wheeler
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Appearing on a bare stage and littering the floor with office supplies and garbage is only one style.

Visuals and production values might be used to good effect in a mentalism show.
For example,

Rich throw rugs
Beautiful curtains
A rolltop desk
A psychiatrist's couch
"Masterpiece Theater" easy chairs
Bookshelves lined with books
Ornate tables
Musical instuments
Paintings
Statues or busts
A globe on a wooden stand
Eisel and art supplies

...and don't forget...

An elegant wicker wastebasket for the trash!
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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The great Gumbini
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I will add one comment here as to the difference between mental magic and pure mentalism. I've noticed that mental magic is FAST paced while mentalism is performed in a more realistic slower pace. Such as you would think the performer is trying to READ the impressions he or she is receiving.


Good magic to all,


Eric
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Pure mentalism? Not commercial? pffft.

I have 2 words for you.

JOHN EDWARDS

Sure, you rightfully hate him with all your guts because he is a charlatan that prays on the false hopes of people. However, he makes more money than god and Oprah loves him. You can't argue with that.

He does arguably the oldest trick in existence, uses no visible apparatus, isn't particularly skilled at what he does, isn't very funny, and yet he's on tv all the time. Why?

HIS PRESENTATION AND PERSONALITY.

People WANT to believe what he says is true, so they do.

Pure mentalism without belief is as boring as watching a 2 hour pantomime ambitious card routine. You just keep doing the same thing over and over.

However, once you get that little glimmer of true belief in what you're doing, and someone believes you can manipulate your chi to bend metal for real or whatever, you turn from some dude doing tricks with a spoon, to Banachek, who convincingly bent metal for real scientists during project alpha.

Magic is illusion as art. Mentalism is belief system as art.

Both are wonderful, but they are not even CLOSE to the same thing.

And for the record, pure mentalism is now, and has always been, WAY more commercial than magic. It's just rarely called "pure mentalism", except by magicians. Look up "palm reader" in your phone book some time.
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