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mastermindreader
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Actually, Looch, Ken's critiques at the PEA's annual MOTM were a regular feature for many years. They were, for many, one of the highlights of the event.

But the "Meetings of the Minds" were never actually "infamous". Where'd you get that idea? (Well, excerpt for some of Andruzzi's exploits and the time Dennis Marks and I ... never mind)
Looch
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Thanks for adding more detail to my mental picture Bob....I never knew it was a regular feature!

As for "Infamous" its just a little something ive heard from people ;-) nothing negative, souds like theres been some good times at those meetings Smile
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mikesmithmagic
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I love this book. As previous posted by other members, it is the best book of it's kind for me. I have learnt so much from the pages of this valuable guide. My performance ability has improved a great deal since reading it. Ken is absolutely spot on.
"I seriously love the disarming flexibility of Mick Wilson's SDP...one of those rare card-handling procedures that exemplifies the concept of 'why run when no one is chasing you'. SDP is an open-handed utility tool that conjurers will use to great advantage when creating new effects in the years to come."

Mick Ayres, South Carolina, 2016
KWEBER
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A friend suggested I come on over here to see this thread. It made for fun reading … until I got to Mr. Lewis.

Oh well. Thousands of copies of the book have been sold (basically all through word-of-mouth), so if I managed to please 99%, that remaining 1% will mean there are dozens of dissenters like Mr. Lewis!

First, a big THANK YOU for all the amazingly kind words that were said, in this thread and in many other places on the Café going back to 2003.

Next, against my better judgment, I will attempt to respond, briefly, to Mr. Lewis. My job in writing the book was to provide the best information possible to the reader, not to make friends. Perhaps my New York brashness rubbed some the wrong way, but I am passionate about our craft and I do what I can to make it better.

Yes, I could have written in generalities, but I quickly realized that by being intensely specific I could make my points in a far more targeted and effective manner. And in fact, from the very first reviews and comments, it was clear that I made the correct decision.

As for whether I am a good performer or not – that’s irrelevant to the information provided. It’s either useful on its own, or it isn’t. The kind comments posted on this thread, and many hundreds more elsewhere, indicate that the two years I spent writing the book were not in vain. (And if you must know, I was very successful as a performer.)

Now, getting back to the positive comments for a moment…

When I wrote the book I was virtually unknown in the magic community (that’s true of many full-time pros – they don’t have time to go to conventions or do lectures). Now, as a direct result of the book, I have friends around the world! And the wonderful comments posted here in the past few days, from a few of those new friends (and a couple of OLD friends – I’m looking at you, Cassidy), mean more to me than you can imagine.

Thanks again, guys.
Ken
Steve Suss
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I was very happy during the recent Ted Karmilovich lecture at Tannens to tell Ken Weber in person what I thought of his book. It is not only the best book of its kind but has done more for my perfomances than any other magic or mentalism book that I have ever read in my 50 years of performing. Would love for him to write a few more.

Steve
mastermindreader
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Ken-

I'm not THAT old!

:eek:

Bob
*Mark Lewis*
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I am a REAL psychic and got a vibe that Mr Weber would be here to defend himself. I see that I am correct as usual. Yes. New Yorkers are indeed brash or perhaps another more realistic word is rude. I have just been arguing with the rudest of them all on another thread. But then I am brash, rude and blunt myself so I suppose that makes us even. I do, however, think it is important for the credibility of someone who advises on how to present maximum entertainment to be somewhat expert in the matter himself. And Mr Weber agrees with this too and explains that this is why he devoted several pages at the beginning of the book explaining how wonderful he was. Presumably if the contents were "useful on their own" this wouldn't be necessary. And in fact he actually mentions this in the book.

But that is but a minor point. I shall take his word that he used to be quite good since I have seen no evidence that he wasn't. Mind you I have seen no evidence that he was either. Still, I am not one to quibble.

Still, after Bob said I was mistaken I thought I better have another look at it and try to be objective about it. AFter all Bob seems to like my work too so I suppose I have to be fair. I do think that the amount of sales of a book is of no relevance whatsoever. The Bible is the best selling book of all time but I still find it a load of tosh. Don't tell the gospel section I said so though.

Anyway I took the book with me this morning and tried to put my biases aside difficult as it was. After all one doesn't have to like the author in order to like the information. When I give of my great wisdom as I often do I also rile up lots of people and in fact I guarantee far more people than Mr Weber is able to do, yet my information is still valuable.

I read the book for hours this morning and although I keep trying very hard to like it I still can't manage it and I don't really know why. It is interestingly written and not mired in heavy language like that even more horrendous monstrosity that everyone goes head over heels over. I refer to that horrible book by Henning Nelms which I think should be publicly burned.

I have already expressed my reservations about the naming of people without their consent. I bet Kenneth himself would be irritated if someone criticised him in public and he wasn't able to answer back like he can here. In fact I know he would. I can tell a fellow egomaniac when I see one. I am quite sure he is the sort that can give it out but cannot take it himself.

Still, this is a personal quirk and has no real bearing on the information itself. It may influence the reception of the information since people tend not to learn from teachers they don't like but a good student can steel himself to live with that.

So what about the information? I agree with much of it and am deeply suspicious of much of it. I don't know why I am suspicious and that is what bothers me. It must be a gut feeling, intuition kind of thing. I am psychic after all. Perhaps it is because some of the people he claims are wonderful I find are quite awful and are as interesting as watching paint dry. Perhaps that is what is making me so cynical-I just don't know. Since I am far more tactful than Mr Weber I won't name these people as he does.

In my renewed study of the book this morning I also found a few things I violently disagreed with. Overall, the book makes me uncomfortable perhaps because of my own cynicism borne of decades of being a miserable ***. But Ken's digs at other performers don't help. And I don't even like some of the performers he mentions. But that is not the point. Being discourteous to other performers is. For example, I see absolutely no reason why the same descriptions could not be given and you simply say, "A noted performer" or something like that. No need to name them. I would be quite interested to hear what the reactions were of these people. Were they defensive or were they appreciative? Mentalists are known for their gigantic egos as well as their ability to chatter interminably so I bet the mentalists mentioned showed more irritation than the magicians.

Still, I shall give the book 6 out of 10. Perhaps Mr Weber can somehow induce me to raise my score. I can assure him that an endorsement from me would be far more significant than many, many, many endorsements from other people. That, of course is because I am MARK LEWIS and they aren't.

To be nice I will still try to like the book even though I cannot yet manage it. When that momentous moment comes you will no doubt hear all about it.
Sock Puppet Monkey
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So you can't criticize someone in a magic book (that only a select few will read) but you can flame them without any regard whatsoever on the internet and that's completely fine?! I'm sorry but this kind of logic that just doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Mark Lewis has once again graced us all with his flawless logic!

This is truly a great book with many many wonderful insights for improving your performing skills.

SPM
Biovf
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Not wanting to hijack this thread, I would only like to ask Mr. Lewis what books he recommends (if any at all) about this subjects? (Entertainment, showmanship, etc)
I'm not a native english speaker and funny enough yesterday I finished reading Nelms book and found it quite good, easy to read and in my humble opinion, if even half the magicians/mentalists performing out there would read and study only that book about presentations during their entire careers, I think we would see much better performances all over the world.

By the way I don't own Maximum Entertainment yet, it should be arriving monday/tuesday Smile
Looch
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They see me trollin...they hatin.
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*Mark Lewis*
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Yes. I do agree with Biovf. It is indeed a very good idea to discuss other books. I do want to be constructive in these matters. Let me deal with the Nelms book first. I have a personal hatred for this book since at one time I used to believe every word it said. I was young and impressionable at the time. I found the book drove me nuts for about 6 months talking about "silent scripts" and other nonsense. I almost had a nervous breakdown trying to implement the stupidity in the book. Then one day I discovered that the author had never done a magic show in his life.

I lent the book to Harry Stanley the famed magic dealer who had a lot of experience in showbusiness. He was very attracted by the title saying, "It is about time somebody wrote about this subject" However, when he returned the book he was far less enthusiastic saying "It is all padding". I will admit there is no padding in the Weber book and no words are wasted. Except where he is being rude about other performers without their consent of course.

I really have a detestation of acting and theatrical types chattering about magic. As soon as I find out that a magician has had theatrical training I know they are bloody useless. They are usually overloud and artificial. They think they are reciting Hamlet instead of doing the cut and restored rope. They insist on using the awful word "scripting" when it should be PATTER as it has been from time immemorial. As soon as they use that awful word "blocking" I want to puke. The trouble with them is that they try to be perfect and that is imperfection in itself. I far prefer a performer to be human rather than perfect.

I cannot get excited about the Fitzkee book on showmanship either. I do like the foreword where it mentions that just because you are busy working it doesn't mean that you are actually any good. I had that in mind when reading Ken's little biography at the beginning of his book. But there are a couple of pages in the Fitzkee book which are indeed absolutely marvellous and should be embedded in the heart of any entertainer. Pages 47 and 48. The rest of the book -I can take it or leave it.

As for books I like I do find Our Magic quite brilliant at times. Heavy reading but worth it. There is also a small and little known book from the past called Showmanship and Presentation by Edward Maurice which is quite useful.

With regard to close up magic I do find Darwin Ortiz's Strong Magic to be quite excellent although he falls into the same trap as Mr Weber by disrespecfully naming other performers. I consider this bad manners but I will forgive Mr Ortiz anything after seeing him complain that Kaufman hadn't paid him for his authorship. He posted it on the Genii forum and it was deleted within 60 seconds. In fact I think I was the only one that saw it. Richard always blasts this book which is one of his own publications and I could never understand why until I saw Darwin's post on the Genii Forum.

The only thing I disagree with in the Ortiz book is his advice on hecklers. I think there are cleverer ways to go about it in a close up situation and I think I talked about them on my guest of honour week. And regrettably I saw Ortiz perform and realised, quite sadly if I may say so, that he wasn't much good himself.

I do swear by the advice given on presentation in the back section of Expert Card Technique particularly the first few pages which are sheer gold.

Where kid shows are concerned the first chapter of Open Sesame is priceless.

If you enjoyed the Nelms book you will certainly enjoy the Weber book since it is far more practical. You will not be bothered by the tone of the book as I am. Alas I pick up psychic vibes from books and that has biased me against Ken's book. I wish it hadn't.

Those of you who are not as psychic as I am will no doubt enjoy it.
Steve Suss
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After reading Mark Lewis posts I think Ken Weber should change the title of his book to Maximum Entertainment for the rest of us.LOL
*Mark Lewis*
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Steve. You have sussed it. I am glad that my posts are giving you maximum entertainment anyway. Mind you I would like to know what Kreskin, Copperfield, Blaine, Ammar, Maven, Malone, Allen, and others had to say about being criticised in the book without permission. Perhaps they were all for it, perhaps they weren't. Perhaps they agreed with the criticism, perhaps they didn't. I am overcome with curiousity over the matter. I think I did hear somewhere that Max Maven was a trifle peeved over it.

Let me tell you one by one where I agreed and where I did not agree.

Kreskin. No. I did not agree with the Weber criticism.
Copperfield. Yes. I did.
Blaine. No. I didn't
Maven. No
Malone Yes
Ammar. Part yes. Part no.
Allen. Probably yes but it isn't as big a deal as Ken makes out

Last but not least I see he also takes a dig at long dead Milbourne Christopher or rather he quotes Joe Turner who did. And the answer would be from me-No. I don't agree.

So there. I only agree with half of what Ken says. That bothers me. I should be agreeing with the other half too. But I am not. So that means something is not quite right.

Alas his word is not gospel. I know mine always is so that means I have just made up my mind. I shall put Ken's book away and rely on my own counsel. Since I am right 100% of the time and Ken is only right 50% of the time I shall stay with my own thoughts.
Lost in Thought
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If I agree 100% with a book on theory, on any subject, then I know I haven't understood it properly. In my mind, any work on theory is principally an invitation to debate. You need to be able to disagree, and understand why you disagree.

Take the ideas on microphone use. I've worked with and used a large number of different setups for microphones on stage. Ken Weber prefers a handheld, wireless mic, and explains his logic. In some situations I entirely agree, in others I differ.

I respect Mark's opinion (especially about the Henning Nelms book - even though I do believe there are some useful ideas in there), although I'm not always comfortable about the way he expresses it. I agree that the passages criticising performers made me double-take. People absolutely need honest and open criticism of their work, but I'm not sure I felt happy with reading someone else's dirty laundry, so to speak.
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Hi Ken
Good to see you here.
Have fun

Lior
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*Mark Lewis*
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Another thing I am uncomfortable with is this nonsense of asking a spectator's name on stage. I usually do but hate doing it. I don't want to know their name and I am quite sure they don't want me to know theirs. And despite what Ken writes I am quite sure the audience doesn't give a tinker's cuss.

Quite frankly if someone asks me my name on stage I consider it an impertinent breach of privacy and am quite tempted to tell them to mind their own business. In the old days magicians would address the people on stage as "Sir" or "Madam" and that was quite sufficient. The trouble is that nowadays the women look like men and the men look like women so it is hard to tell the difference.

And I do remember reading an old book that said "Asking a woman's name on stage is quite unpardonable"

I am sure the author would be quite horrified by the Weber book. Quite right too.
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On 2011-06-17 13:38, Mark Lewis wrote:
The trouble is that nowadays the women look like men and the men look like women so it is hard to tell the difference.

And I do remember reading an old book that said "Asking a woman's name on stage is quite unpardonable"



Mark-

I know that I am getting old, but your comment about not being able to tell the difference nowadays between men and women was a popular line back in the sixties. That's about the same time that women's liberation made your other point moot.

:eek:

Good thoughts,

Bob
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No Bob. I am not referring to a time thing. I don't know anything about women's liberation. I am referring to a geography thing. I have found since moving to this ungodly part of the world that in Canada the women are more like men and the men are more like women and it has little to do with appearance. I suspect that in America it is more or less the same. Quite frankly women should be in the kitchen and at home looking after the children not wandering on to public stages to help magicians pretend that they can read minds.
mastermindreader
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I should have seen that coming!

:)

Best-

Bob
David Thiel
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Quote:
On 2011-06-17 14:11, Mark Lewis wrote:
I have found since moving to this ungodly part of the world that in Canada the women are more like men and the men are more like women and it has little to do with appearance. I suspect that in America it is more or less the same.


Seriously?

SERIOUSLY?

I think you're just pulling on chains now.

Maybe you should try a little more fiber in your diet.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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