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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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magicmanila
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This is a GREAT THREAD!

Sorry I have A.D.D.
PERFORM MAGIC AND NOT "PUZZLES" so the audience wont try to "figure out how its done".

KEEP THE MAGIC ALIVE!!!
aquariusmagic
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Quote:
On 2011-08-18 17:23, docsteve wrote:


The great thing about bizarre/ story telling is that the method is not the mystery, but rather the delight of the story,


Hi,
I think docsteve sums it up very well. The most entertaining things are those that fire the imagination. That is why reading a novel is often better than watching the movie. The imagination is not bound by budgets, special effect logistics, etc.
It is also why (I speak from personal experience here) a photo of a house that LOOKS as though it should be haunted is often more appealing than a photo of an actually haunted (but architecturally drab) house. The same applies in my opinion regarding movies. A film that hints at something sinister and contains mysterious ingredients such as secret passages, treasure etc is often more entertaining than the typical blood and guts type horror movie.
I digress a little, but the relevance is that magic which makes people think is so much more entertaining. As already said, so what if you can name a chosen card after some complicated routine. It is tantamount to a mechanic (for example) saying ' I bet you can't rebore an engine or change the cylinder head'.

Keep it thought provoking.
Dr Spektor
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Know your audience
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Quote:
It is tantamount to a mechanic (for example) saying ' I bet you can't rebore an engine or change the cylinder head'.


New card routine. Use your favourite control,then tell spectator you can't find his card till next Tuesday, when you learn the move from central supplies, and that it's still going to cost him two grand...


God, I hate garages :-/
[
Christopher Gould
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Just being able to say; 'I *can* find your card guvnor - but it's gonna cost you!' makes me want to take up card magic again!

I started this thread off deliberately to be provocative and to see a bit of debate here. It certainly achieved this, and there have been some wise words, from some wise people. It seems that there is a central core here that is not just about bashing mentailists (fun as that pastime may be) - but something that extends into why we do what we do. This line of thought has the potential to define the future of magic as a performance art and potentially as a philosophy.

There have been too many good points to go over them all here. DrS has made points that are very close to my heart - Aquariusmagic (did you get my Email?) reminds us that the 'real work' is in the imagination. BTW, the photos you refer really do make your point - you should put one up here.... DrSteve and many others remind us that is is the performance and the context that are the important things, rather than the mechanics and tricks. This I am in total agreement with - my aim for many years now is to produce work that is totally devoid of mechanics or any deception.

So, just what bored me about this otherwise fine book? Well, I just don't care about someone pretending they can see what I am thinking - there is no true magic here - especially if this fire is lit only to be urinated on. 'My powers are not real... I am just a clever ferker!'
That is like someone giving me twenty quid only to say it is Monopoly money. I want real magic, the audience wants real magic. The world needs a magicakal perspective to counteract the reductionism and arid thinking patterns that we are told constitute 'reality'.
If anyone is capable of doing this it will be from this fraternity, not from some guy with ANOTHER goddam booktest.
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Some thread on Penny asked what was an underappreciated book on mentalism. I put forward BLOOD MERIDIAN. Only one person understood. In that book - which some might think is about cowboys and Indians, you really journey through hell, existential existences, the great unknowns, moral uncertitude, various forms of divination, and feel like you read the true book of revelation and the apocalypse. You do meet card readers mystics and the personification of dark mental forces used for the purpose of erasing reality. If it doesn't inspire you to realize you can get mystery out of some dust on the ground, then one should just read verbatim stock routines from card packet tricks and live a life of an ostrich.
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magicusb
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In answer to the creator of the thread...
"Is it me or is mentalism boring?"



It is clearly you!

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Mr Timothy Gray
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Quote:
On 2011-08-23 09:32, Christopher Gould wrote:
So, just what bored me about this otherwise fine book? Well, I just don't care about someone pretending they can see what I am thinking - there is no true magic here - especially if this fire is lit only to be urinated on. 'My powers are not real... I am just a clever ferker!'
That is like someone giving me twenty quid only to say it is Monopoly money. I want real magic, the audience wants real magic. The world needs a magicakal perspective to counteract the reductionism and arid thinking patterns that we are told constitute 'reality'.
If anyone is capable of doing this it will be from this fraternity, not from some guy with ANOTHER goddam booktest.


I feel I should start this with that all too often used phrase..."This is just my opinion"...but you are quickly setting up a double standard. And it would be my advice that you take a moment, step back, breathe a little, and ruminate on what you are saying.

This thread, unfortunately, reeks of being "provocative" for the sake of being "provocative". Not that that is a bad thing -- I'm usually the first fellow to start pushing people's buttons to get some sort of reaction out of them. But it needs to be for a purpose. I think you have some amazing and wonderful ideas -- but rather than (for the lack of a better word ) attacking a cousin art form to your own, eliminate your feelings for that art form all together, and concentrate on your own. What you feel is wrong or right about what someone else does, has NOTHING to do at all with you. Yes, of course, you can learn from other people's faults, but menatalism is NOT boring if it is performed by an experienced performer. And it could be easily said that bizarre magic is JUST AS (if not more) boring than mentalism, if is performed by a lousy performer.

Seriously, I understand what you are trying to say. But you're going about it in all the wrong ways. You will succeed if you keep your nose to grindstone, but stop looking up to critique another art forms that you aren't currently pursuing.

I wish you the best.
Yr. Obdt. Svt.,
Mr Timothy Gray

Specializing in the Occult Arts of Fortune Telling, Magic & Mediumship; Est. 1986
Christopher Gould
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There are some here who will not quite get where this thread is going. However, there are an interesting band of people here - and people who have contacted me privately that clearly do. You know, there are times when you can sense when certain aspects are in recession. This is always a good thing, as it allows for new growth. This begs the questions; where does this new growth come from and what will it be?
My own opinion, and it is nothing more than this, is that the history of magic is the history of it's gradual debasement. To be optimistic, we all know that we have been through the very lowest point - even if the pain of the leaping sequinned leotards may still be keenly felt, and *still* inform the public perception of what our art is about.

I sense here a more *genuine* understanding of something deeper, something of more value.

I have been unnecessarily cruel to mentalism here (albeit for a reason). It certainly has done a lot to take magic away from the grisly place it found itself in just a few decades ago - Incidentally, so did Uri Geller and Blaine - if you think about it.
It took some of the embarrassment out of magic and instilled some genuine sense of wonder.
I just cannot get excited any more about it's premise - and like many here, really, I mean REALLY tired of the denial of any 'real' magic in the universe. 'Everything you see here tonight was the product of psychology, trickery and intellectual superiority'... you know the script.... You call yourself a magician - then you deny the existence of magic? Sheeeet, I want my money back!
Frankly it is totally beyond me how anyone could spend so much time engaged in something, the premise of which they deny.
I don't expect to go to church and be delivered a sermon by a winking Richard Dawkins (even if this spectacle would tempt me back into church).
I think that it is this denial of magic by magicians that is at the root of my ennui. Perhaps this is why I find mentalism so arid now....
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Dr_J_Ayala
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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.


This is absolutely true! While your magic may no longer feel self-indulgent, you still get a great sense of satisfaction from the whole thing, the act(s), as a complete package. Sometimes as a magician I feel like the Monsters Inc. employees (Disney Pixar movie...) that scared little kids in their sleep to collect their screams for power (read: wattage), where we do it for the reactions or rather, to see said reactions happen in people. It can be quite addictive...
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MrWoodrow - I understand and value the points you make.
However, if I am being provocative, it is for a reason, I am not being provocative for the sake of it.
Sometimes provoking a reaction can galvanise and get fresh blood flowing. Also, I am looking for some debate here for some depth of discussion. This, to some extent, has been achieved. There are, regardless of the anyone's delivery, some important points being made here by a range of people taking differing stances, that I feel have real value. So although my disillusionment with mentalism is genuine, it is also my personal stance - however, I guess I am hoping that my position can be used to get others to think about and discuss their own thoughts. Which is happening...
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One of my problems with the whole psychology premise in mentalism is that it's been done to death by Derren, and furthermore done so well that we look like pale imitators (which in essence we are). I seen a card reveal using 'psychology' ( and confess, done it when asked to perform impromptu) using lines like "make the colour bright - yes, you blinked at 'colour' meaning it's a red card.... " etc.

How you do logically extend this premise?
It's exactly the same with mind reading - I can read your thoughts, but only if it's a small number, letter, single word...
Yet a moment later I have nailed the car, the price and the location you'd drive it.

In bizarre we have the equivalent with " the spirit is here; she says it's all lovely, and there's no more pain"
What about the Nature of the afterlife though? What of God herself? Is she really black? No messages on that. "John says don't worry, the money will turn up eventually"

I have some work I'm almost afraid to mention, for various reasons. But imagine leaving a gig, and a week later people are emailing you about Xs eczema, which apparently you've made better...
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Dr Spektor
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The key is - why bother giving an explanation
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docsteve
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Quote:
On 2011-08-24 09:05, Dr Spektor wrote:
The key is - why bother giving an explanation


I agree Bruce, although the problem with keeping that air of mystery around you is that the character must be with you in public at all times; hard for us part-timers!

Has anyone ever heard of a Tony Andruzzi? ...
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Dr_J_Ayala
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Quote:
On 2011-08-24 09:08, docsteve wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-08-24 09:05, Dr Spektor wrote:
The key is - why bother giving an explanation


I agree Bruce, although the problem with keeping that air of mystery around you is that the character must be with you in public at all times;


Ditto!

Quote:
Has anyone ever heard of a Tony Andruzzi? ...


Indeed. Look at Phil Goldstein (known to most as Max Maven). Even Eugene Burger has an implied character of sorts. Either way, when you see any of these three in public or at shows/conventions/etc. they always look the same, no matter where they are. True, they are full-time professionals, but still...
Dr Spektor
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Hmmm I don't find it a problem as I tell people in those situations I am there to help them experience the mysterious - to tell them more would ruin that experience nut said
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
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Mentalism is boring for me when there's no room for *my* imagination. If someone wraps a story around an effect and I can see that it's an arbitrary tale that has been created because the performer needed /something/ to wrap around the effect, I immediately lose interest. It's either telling me what to think (a bad idea) or is so implausible that I can't suspend my imagination enough (even worse idea). If the story is something deeper and looser so that I have room to fill in the gaps in my mind, it becomes something more. It becomes *my* effect. Frankly, I feel the most connection to the performance when I don't even know when the story has become the effect.

That's why all the best pictures are on the radio Smile
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Wise words there Tomo, DrS a few here have picked up on the important point of the true magic happening in the mind of the spectator.
Inspired by Robert Anton Wilson's idea of 'Reality Tunnels', you could take this thinking very far. What I mean is, the entire universe exists in the dark space of the individual's mind. So, whatever they perceive *is* reality - it is their assumed reality - but their reality, non the less. This is a very powerful concept when thought through to it's logical conclusion. It is also a concept that was understood by every mystic and magician throughout time. I think that it is the most powerful tool we have, and few here will disagree.
You also highlight one of the main tools for disrupting someone's sense of reality (to allow for new realities to form). The powerful technique of not giving the audience the whole story - allowing (impelling) them to use there own imagination and thereby to play with shifting their received paradigm. Those last four words are really the nub of it all.
We all of us want to disrupt, challenge and change people's realities. Surely, this is beyond dispute?
This begs the question - why do we *want* to do this?
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I'll admit why I do it- it's lonely on the quest for meaning and I find I was want company on the road that never ends
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
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Quote:
On 2011-08-25 09:59, Christopher Gould wrote:
Wise words there Tomo, DrS a few here have picked up on the important point of the true magic happening in the mind of the spectator.
Inspired by Robert Anton Wilson's idea of 'Reality Tunnels', you could take this thinking very far. What I mean is, the entire universe exists in the dark space of the individual's mind. So, whatever they perceive *is* reality - it is their assumed reality - but their reality, non the less. This is a very powerful concept when thought through to it's logical conclusion. It is also a concept that was understood by every mystic and magician throughout time. I think that it is the most powerful tool we have, and few here will disagree.
You also highlight one of the main tools for disrupting someone's sense of reality (to allow for new realities to form). The powerful technique of not giving the audience the whole story - allowing (impelling) them to use there own imagination and thereby to play with shifting their received paradigm. Those last four words are really the nub of it all.
We all of us want to disrupt, challenge and change people's realities. Surely, this is beyond dispute?
This begs the question - why do we *want* to do this?


This is exactly where a core group is taking mentalism, not where it's going. Jerome Finley said that mentalism is going backward into a solely for entertainment form. I love mentalism however I agree with Jerome to a point. To expand the "horizons" of mentalism the current trend has to end somewhat. If a certain confabulation presentation takes the participant on a journey where he or she can visualize it, at that point in time that is the reality they are experiencing. When the revelation is made the rest of the audience is brought into that reality therefore making it real in their minds if you understand where I'm going, or coming from, with that.

Let me use the D*kran&m from Outlaw as an example. From the perspective of the audience something arcane is used to find a random number. Using that random number an unknown passage is understood and applied to the individual by themselves. Even without the performer revealing what that passage means to the participant he or she (the spec) has applied it to themselves and understands the connection to the written words. When the performer reveals the applied thoughts of the participant where the rest of the audience can participate with their own experience of the effect, a kind of real wonder comes into play and that is why I love magic and mentalism so much. Not that I can do a spongeball routine and they can't exactly explain what I did even though they know, but just for a second they were in wonderment and that look on their faces, just for that one second, is worth more than I've spent on crap material that I'll never use and all the hours I've spent practicing one effect until mastery.
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