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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Who's your favorate mentalist and why? (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MentalistCreationLab
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Jim Callahan for purity in mentalism

Bob Cassidy who is the reincarnation of Ted Annemann Yes of course, I check this statement with a few friends of mine who are Buddhist Monks and it has been confirmed. Smile

John Riggs makes the list for making the finest clipboards and other items that are things of beauty.

Paolo Cavalli makes my list for pure brilliant mentalism.

Jerome Finley make the list because we think a lot alike at times.
RichardShure
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I’ve had the opportunity to watch a number of mentalists over the years, some at Conventions, some at theaters, some on video, and the rest in various other circumstances. One thing strikes me after seeing so many performers and many more than once, is that you can quickly see who actually performs and who just churns out a ton of material while sitting at the kitchen table thinking about it. It quite simply just comes into the light when they take to the stage.

The list below is the performers I have watched that I felt they were between OK and fantastic. Please understand that although I have given my critique of them, I still respect their abilities and contributions to the art. I also have left out a number of known and unknown performers I have seen because of their deplorable performance. I watched one well known performer attempt 4 effects, two of which failed and then he blamed the spectator on stage for the mishap. It was uncomfortable.

Below is my list of notables. I have left out about 6 because of their terrible performances.


Richard Osterlind: Probably this generation’s “Mentalist Teacher”. The sheer volume of his work is staggering. Even though I have already come across people who think his “13 Step” DVDs are his original work . . . his ability to mine out good effects from the voluminous amounts of mentalism material is noteworthy. I am not, however, a fan of his performances. I find his presentations dull and uninspiring. His script is usually just an explanation of what he is doing. ( I have only seen him on DVD)

Banachek: Another notable teacher of mentalism and his books on Psychological Subtleties will go down as classics or “must haves” in the mentalism world. I know he has fooled the scientists and has a marvelous reputation but I find his “Double-breasted suit” style to be a bit sanitized and tedious. (I have seen him in person more than once) His style is prodding and predictable, not very exciting from my point of view.

Alan Nu: Best spoon bend you will ever see… other than that he spends a lot of time talking about “energy that connects us”. I found his show to be unfocused and meandering.

Robert Cassidy: Another must read mentalist with an entirely different style. Sharp, biting, witty and direct, he gets his point across in his books and on stage. His book ‘The Art of Mentalism” is a classic. I (personally) do not like his style but he is a very good performer. You can quickly see that he has years of performing experience and it shows. He is also a very friendly and sharing person. A very good performer and one worth watching if you want to see a polished performance.

Max Maven: A strong performer with a brazen stage presence, Max can hold you spellbound with is scripting and careful articulation. However, his character is not likable and that can be a bit off-putting. Even Max will admit that his stage persona is not amiable, however it is interesting. And of course… he also has tons and tons of material that is well worth examining. I do enjoy watching him work even though I find his character a bit rude.

Ross Johnson: Very strong and experienced performer. His ability to control the stage and audience is worth studying. He demonstrates an older style of mentalism that might not excite the younger mentalists; however, they would be wise to watch his performance. He also has some very clever one liners that are unique to his character and performance. I enjoy watching him just to examine his stage craft.

John Stetson: Although comfortable and likable on stage, I find much of his material to be ordinary and his scripting a bit corny and used. Nothing stood out for me.

Keith Barry: Fast and furious, his stage control and audience interaction is very strong. I found his generous use of expletives to be gratuitous at best and irritating at the other end. He was fun to watch and there was much to learn watching him work. Something in the back of my mind said that in another 10 years this guy will be amazing. I just got the feeling he was searching for his character from time to time during the show.

Christopher Carter: Top notch working pro all the way. I was surprised how hip and fresh his show was. Not only did he fool me a number of times, his delivery felt organic and relaxed. He was one of the best shows (45min of more) of magic/mentalism I have seen. I would enjoy watching his show again and would easily recommend it to anyone studying how to perform with mentalism. A must see if you get the chance as most people do not know who he is.

Craig Karges: This is another performer who you can easily see works! I was not enamored by his style but it was easy to see that he is comfortable on stage and audiences like him. Personally, I did not like his jumping from one unrelated effect to the next without any continuity. However, it seems like this was not a problem for the audience. Definitely, worth watching again.

Christian & Katalina: I saw them at Bob Little’s and they got a standing ovation for a lecture! I have also seen them perform their very funny and uncomplicated style in a show. They find a way to be very comedic and yet keep the strength of the mentalism. They fooled me and had me laughing about it. The strongest comedy mental act I have seen.

Marc Salem: Watched him in NYC. He was comfortable on stage and the audience liked him. His show was unstructured and erratic. You never get to know him or his persona as he rushes from one effect to the next. Leaving the theater I never felt I knew who “Marc Salem” was other than some guy who could do some neat mind games.

Jamie Ian Swiss: Jamie spent more time trying to convince the audience that “paranormal events” are rubbish than trying to entertain them. Here is another performer who is comfortable on stage and seems to have mastered stagecraft; however, his interaction with the audience was much like a mother scolding her children. At one point he pulled a woman on stage, asked her if she believed in psychics and then chided her when she answered in the affirmative. He was interesting to watch but the audience did not like him at the end of the show.

John Riggs: An underground performer to be sure . . . strong scripting and very creative. Strong, solid stage persona makes watching him very interesting.

Now my number one favorite:
Derren Brown: Strong character, strong scripting and show premise. Enjoy watching his shows because I feel like I am on a roller coaster ride instead of let’s watch the next “effect”. Great use of emotional content and premise hooking in all his pieces. Strong stagecraft and always seems to flow right into the next thing as opposed to “stopping and starting” between pieces of the show.

Let the flaming begin.
Dick Christian
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One cannot help but be impressed with Richard Shure's candid reviews and detailed analysis of the performances of 15 of the top contemporary working pros. I am proud to count many of those named among my friends and favorites and while I have not seen all 15 at work I have been privileged to have seen 8 of them in live performance and another 4 in videos. Although Richard and I may have minor differences when it comes to our personal stylistic preferences I find his descriptions to be largely "spot on" as our British friends would say. I would be particularly interested in seeing his comments regarding some of my other friends and favorites including: Tim Conover, The Evasons and, of course, Kreskin.
Dick Christian
jdmagic357
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So out of all the responses to this thread only 15 people were able to PICK ONE AND GIVE REASONS AS TO WHY.

There are many good and in fact great mentalists out there some you know about, some you don't but picking one is the hard part of the task at hand. It's like if you could only meet one person, and the make a wish foundation was going to be sure to make that dream come true.

So for those who didn't understand it the first time? Who is your favorite mentalist and why? Think in terms of who you would want mentoring you if it could be only one person. Who knows, your wish might come true right here on this board?
Just cause they say it, doesn't make it true.
Dick Christian
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Quote:
On 2010-12-30 14:42, jdmagic357 wrote:
So out of all the responses to this thread only 15 people were able to PICK ONE AND GIVE REASONS AS TO WHY.
So for those who didn't understand it the first time? Who is your favorite mentalist and why? Think in terms of who you would want mentoring you if it could be only one person.


The failure to identify just one is not necessarily a reflection of readers' lack of understanding of the question, but IMO rather like trying to eat "just one" potato chip. I suspect that like many others who actually perform (rather than merely watching others and fantasizing about performing) I have learned from many others and, as a result, my own style evolved as an amalgam of what I found to be the best traits of others that were also consistent/compatible with my own tastes and persona. It would be impossible for me to single out ONE person as my "favorite." I expect that others would say the same.
Dick Christian
Jim-Callahan
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On 2010-12-30 01:49, MentalistCreationLab wrote:
Jim Callahan for purity in mentalism


Been along time since anyone considered me pure.

Jim
“I can make Satan’s devils dance like fine gentlemen across the stage of reality”.
bobser
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I think that on answering this question a part of me wants to to imagine in my mind what my expectancy is of a mentalist; what a mentalist actually does, and another part of me seems to comfortably step in and say that Derren Brown does this (whatever this is) with ease. And I guess that's true.
I was watching Edward Norton in The Illusionist (again) the other night and I had that feeling again (of believability). I think I'm saying that he's as good as anything I've seen. And although he's only acting, that's what the best mentalists do. They act rather well.
I think my point is that we ever so slightly stick people on pedestals. I, like many of you in here, have had subjects gasping, scratching their heads, crying, and asking me to have babies with them. If male, then simply a casual relationship. Good actors, with honed skills become great mentalists.
Bob Burns is the creator of The Swan.
panlives
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Max Maven; for making his words matter and for melding entertainment with intellectual provocation.

Derren Brown; for showing a new generation of performers that a very big hall can feel very intimate.

Ulf Bolling-Borodin; for some of the most amazing stories in all of Magic and Mentalism (and a special thank you to Bill Palmer for translating Borodin’s work into English).
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
bobser
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Quote:
On 2010-12-31 08:12, panlives wrote:
Max Maven; for making his words matter and for melding entertainment with intellectual provocation.


Really? I'm not too sure if you've truly read Max's intention behind the presentation. I always thought he was a bit of a joker; 'just having a larf'.
Bob Burns is the creator of The Swan.
Bill Palmer
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Thanks for the kind words, panlives.

It would be very difficult for me to pick any single one of the mentalists that have been mentioned here, possibly because I know too many of them personally.

My favorite of all time was the late Ted Lesley. I watched him perform over a period of about 15 years, both in German and in English, and I saw how the strength of the human will could overcome immense handicaps, including Parkinsonism. His creativity was incredible. He had one goal in mind and that was to fool audiences in a manner that entertained them and enticed them into coming back to see him again. He was one of a handful of magical entertainers who could follow a line of topless dancers and not be hooted back off the stage!

Of the living mentalists that I have seen in live performance, I can't pick just one.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
jdmagic357
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Quote:
On 2010-12-30 15:57, Jim-Callahan wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-12-30 01:49, MentalistCreationLab wrote:
Jim Callahan for purity in mentalism


Been along time since anyone considered me pure.

Jim


Awwww come on Jim, you know nobodies got to you yet. Your still fresh as a daisy. LOL

Happy New Year.
Just cause they say it, doesn't make it true.
mental4u
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Chuck Hickok is polished, professional,and easy to listen to. He is very believable with out being over the top.

Barrie Richardson for the same reasons mentioned above.

Gregg Lancaster
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Jim-Callahan
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Quote:
On 2011-01-01 05:55, jdmagic357 wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-12-30 15:57, Jim-Callahan wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-12-30 01:49, MentalistCreationLab wrote:
Jim Callahan for purity in mentalism


Been along time since anyone considered me pure.

Jim


Awwww come on Jim, you know nobodies got to you yet. Your still fresh as a daisy. LOL

Happy New Year.


No but I have gotten to allot of them!

Jim
“I can make Satan’s devils dance like fine gentlemen across the stage of reality”.
Eddiep1960
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1. Kreskin : Incredible energy in stage and in person
2.Derren Brown: Great charisma use of humor.
3.Bob Cassidy: Very intelling performer .
4.Max Maven: Unique artist.
wanda&viktor
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This is difficult to choose just one.
French Mind reading and mentalism act.
Tarot readers.
http://www.mentalistes.fr
The great Gumbini
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Hands down my all time favorite mentalist is none other than the man himself, Mr. Larry Becker! Why? Well for starters his Stunners Plus book and all I learned from it. And most importantly to me all the hours he and I spent on the phone talking about the "performance" aspect of mentalism. I'm telling you this man is an absolute gem and I am so honored to know him. In fact I really must call him soon again. BTW his "Sum Total" effect is a beauty!


Good magic to all,


Eric
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I'm surprised no one mentioned David Berglass, his Tv programme from channel 4 in the UK is the first thing I can remember watching.
Suffolk
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Marc Salem - Learned more from watching one of his shows than everything else in my library.
Single biggest influence on my act.
bobser
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It's interesting when an old thtread comes up again.
Since last posting in it I watched and absolutely hated Brown's American thingy where he trained the guy to be a healer etc.
But across the board in general, not only is he the best thing that's ever happened to mentalism, but he is for me in a totally different league all on his own, with no one even remotely close to him.
I'm not happy writing the above by the way. It's simply true.
What is also true is that many performing mentalists don't understand how to perform mentalism. This is proven by the majority of the posters in this thread not even giving Brown a mention! Yet my milkman (Ernie)thinks Brown is the greatest and he doesn't even know what a TT is. Thus my milkman knows more about what makes a great mentalist than any of you lot. How bizarre!
Bob Burns is the creator of The Swan.
mindpunisher
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Your milkman has probably only ever seen Derren.... Lets face it he is the only one constantly on TV.
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