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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Is it me or is mentalism boring? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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docsteve
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Once you begin to practice mentalism, it's the most boring thing to watch unless a) the performer is funny -e.g. John Archer, or b) fooling you, and then -as a mentalist- you begin to marvel at the techniques etc. So I don't think we can be objective about mentalism. Better to ask Joe Public.

The great thing about bizarre/ story telling is that the method is not the mystery, but rather the delight of the story, the art inhent in the routine. In my own recent sets, I have totally foresaken being the operator; now the spectator apparently gets the results. I am merely a guide, an aid to the ritual. It's a position I feel totally comfortable with, and my magic no longer feels self indulgent.
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Stoltz
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Quote:
On 2011-08-18 17:23, docsteve wrote:
In my own recent sets, I have totally foresaken being the operator; now the spectator apparently gets the results. I am merely a guide, an aid to the ritual. It's a position I feel totally comfortable with, and my magic no longer feels self indulgent.



YES to this!
This is exactly how I like my handle my magick, invisibly!
Mr Timothy Gray
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Quote:
On 2011-08-18 17:23, docsteve wrote:
Once you begin to practice mentalism, it's the most boring thing to watch unless a) the performer is funny -e.g. John Archer, or b) fooling you, and then -as a mentalist- you begin to marvel at the techniques etc. So I don't think we can be objective about mentalism. Better to ask Joe Public.

The great thing about bizarre/ story telling is that the method is not the mystery, but rather the delight of the story, the art inhent in the routine. In my own recent sets, I have totally foresaken being the operator; now the spectator apparently gets the results. I am merely a guide, an aid to the ritual. It's a position I feel totally comfortable with, and my magic no longer feels self indulgent.


Docsteve speaks some powerful words here. Ultimately, mentalism and bizarre magic are BOTH very boring if one thinks like a mentalist or a bizarrist. When the performance ceases to be about you as the performer, and about the experience for the audience, something magical begins to take place.

IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU. IT IS ABOUT THE AUDIENCE.
Yr. Obdt. Svt.,
Mr Timothy Gray

Specializing in the Occult Arts of Fortune Telling, Magic & Mediumship; Est. 1986
Gandalf the Wizard
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The old magic had to do with things inherently human (needs, passions, fears, etc.). Indeed, the rituals of the shaman was the first magical shows in history, but things developed there had a sense, there was no just to entertain, it was not just appearances.

The shaman was the guide who led his community to experience the supernatural, an experience he had lived. His costumes, his gestures, words of power, sought to induce in his audience the notion that there is a spiritual reality. The Magic had a purpose. This is where we also find the first magic tricks, but these tricks sought to express the community through an illusion, the espiritual experience of the shamans , his travels through the cosmos, his dealings with spirits, and so on, and that would otherwise be difficult to explain to people who have not had such experiences. The shaman knows that there is a supernatural world and express it through art. He is first a magic man or woman, and then an artist, he does not believe the supernatural exists, he lives it.

Names, words and stories, were tools to manage this universal power. Storytelling was not a story, at the right time, a sacred history had the power to recreate the universe created by the spirits and human beings connect with the primeval era of magic (see the eternal return), shamans were men and women of power and that is the magic of making something with that power in relation to others and your own connection to the universe.

If you do not see that connection to the power of the universe, it is difficult to give something that you do not have.

Just some random thoughts, greetings.

Mago Gandalf
JAlenS
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Christopher, I suffered from the same ideas about mentalism...until I performed some. What really drove me over to the mental side of spooky stuff is that it does look real to many that witness it if not most who do. Add a bizarre theme and/or story and you have suspended disbelief beyond a reasonable doubt.

When I started studying mentalism I pictured the effect on the audience and was hooked.

Would you not consider Sanctum to be mentalism? It's so strong it borders on where I believe mentalism is going.

Please PM me abou this.

Thanks
Paradise
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I got back into magic and mentalism a few years ago as a result of reading one particular book which was inspiring and well put together.

However earlier this year I got to watch a DVD that contained a lot of the performance from this book, and sorry to say it was the most boring thing I had ever watched.

Now this hasn't put me off reading this performers material which I still think is excellent through.
Lord Freddie
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If you could REALLY read minds you wouldn't need a load of envelopes and a calculator. It's those kinds of routines I hate, ones that aren't entertaining to the audience or that amazing.
docdazzal
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Chris...

Guys like you and Paul are taking the bordom out of mentalism and magic in general, by way of your innovative and different approach and take on mental effects. If there were more innovators like you and Paul...and fewer run-of-the-mill...re-hash artists out there...you or anyone else, wouldn't have a need to post an article like this one since bordom in mentalism wouldn't be an issue.


Continued Success...
Dr. Dan
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Dr Spektor
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What would you see...

Mind reader

Or

Mind vampire

I know what I'd see
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
dmkraig
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I just wanted to say that this is a GREAT discussion. Thank you all.
Pakar Ilusi
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"Is it me or is mentalism boring?"

It is just you.

Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
scathmadre
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Too many magicians have the ability to create wonder, then mimicking politicians, they blow it with a cheap joke.

Mentalist is no different than a guy sawing a person in half. It starts fun, but ends poorly. Pointless.

Cut in half, restored, Ta-Da! And we feel no hint of danger with all the pyro's and lighting effects, and prancing pretties…

No threat...

Boredom ensues when the cord that suspends disbelief is cut and not restored.

Modern magic has as its components a Magician, and a Spectator.

The Shaman, like the Bizzarist by necessity require the Spectator to be a Participant.
This move, is something most non-theatre trained magician/mentalists cannot pull off, since their show occurs as a performance, and they do not spend the time to sit in the seat of the audience.

The magician/mentalists wants his audience to go, "How'd he do that?"

The Bizzarist and the Shaman know that if they ask that question - our performance sucked.
scathmadre
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...and what about Syliva Browne?
Okay she does not read minds, does not try to be a 'mentalist'.
However while mentalists are trying to pay their rent, folks would stand in line and pay beaucoup bucks to hear Sylvia Browne cold-read.

How could this be?

Because she entertains.
Harley Newman
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And because they believe.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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KingNothing
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The problem I think is that too many mentalists, in order to justify the feeling that mentalism is an art, gear their act around "convincing the audience that these powers exist, and that they have them." That's not their job. Their job is to be an entertainer.

At first, I was very much turned off to mentalism, because the presentation in some of the first books I looked at, well, they were awful. Then, I saw Derren Brown, Banachek, and Luke Jermay in action, presenting mentalism not as "look what I can do," but rather as "hey, let's have some fun."
KingNothing
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Quote:
On 2011-08-20 16:24, scathmadre wrote:
...and what about Syliva Browne?
Okay she does not read minds, does not try to be a 'mentalist'.
However while mentalists are trying to pay their rent, folks would stand in line and pay beaucoup bucks to hear Sylvia Browne cold-read.

How could this be?

Because she entertains.

Yeah, to be honest, that's a bad example. People like Sylvia Browne or John Edwards, people genuinely believe, thanks to heavily edited TV specials, that they can really contact the dead. Are they entertaining in person? Well, I've heard some things from some very disillusioned people. However, with the bad parts left on the editing room floor, the remaining half hour of the three hour session is very entertaining indeed.
JAlenS
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Quote:
On 2011-08-20 17:49, KingNothing wrote:
... Then, I saw Derren Brown, Banachek, and Luke Jermay in action, presenting mentalism not as "look what I can do," but rather as "hey, let's have some fun."


That's exactly the way I think about presenting mentalism and bizarre. The show is for the audience, not us. And if it isn't fun the audience will not enjoy what they have created Smile
scathmadre
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Quote:
People like Sylvia Browne or John Edwards, people genuinely believe, thanks to heavily edited TV specials, that they can really contact the dead. Are they entertaining in person? Well, I've heard some things from some very disillusioned people. However, with the bad parts left on the editing room floor, the remaining half hour of the three hour session is very entertaining indeed.

Right, I understand. No disagreement. But I'm not talking about TV. I'm talking about folks buying tickets and lining up. Not all are believers, some walk away that way, some walk away disillusioned (kinda like the feeling you get when you see a 'good' magic show), and some walk away with a sense of wonder.

boil it down. folks line up and pay money to watch a woman sit in a chair and talk.

An entertaining mentalist, should allow their audience to walk away with a sense of recaptured wonder.

Perhaps - in order to allow wonder, for just a moment they have to believe!

There's a story that Ken Kesey (the author) used to do a really bad bit of sleight of hand for people.
It took about two heartbeats for folks to realize the coin was in Ken's other hand. He even admitted he was horrible at slight-of-hand, but that wasn't his point.

“The reason I do that is because, just for a split moment, a window opens up in your mind and a little Light sneaks in. Then your intellect pops up and slams the window closed and draws the shade. But it’s too *** late. The Light already got in there...”
Dr Spektor
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The problem is when a so call mentalist forgets that he or she is an entertainer - then all the points made above make sense... I have a feeling mentalism being more rooted in spiritualism roots has people forgetting this and thinking they have semi real powers... I.e. Not magic psychic powers but arrogance of thinking themselves superior by doing mental tricks versus what all mystery entertainers are supposed to do - entertain and engage using mystery. A comedian uses humor, etc. And we all know a good entertainer blends art and media forms as needed to engage and get the point across

Although the fundamentalist mentalists would say there is a big differene between them and magicians, it defines on the definition... Which is often more stereotyped then anything... I can get a puppet show to cause more mental effects and thought provocation than some dead beat add a number without context.... They make it all into non sequator effects that become boring

IMHO

I'm gearing up to do a stage show this year that basically is founded on perception is everything and includes many forms of magic and mentalism etc which over time to me all become part of being a pereptionist artisan of sorts....

I agree most mentalists are boring as they are not thinking as an entertainer and are the equivalent of the magician from Arrested Development
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
Harley Newman
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People don't believe because they watch a TV special. They watch the special because it reconfirms what they already believe or want to believe.

As practicing theatricians, we present a reality. Proving what the audience already accepts seems a waste, but it IS an archaic magical performance convention. The people who prove it all, are cutting their feet out from underneath themselves. They'd become far better performers if they'd just learn to tell a good story.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

www.bladewalker.com
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