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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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Roth
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No doubt there has been a shift the past couple of years from mentalism to the exploration of bizarre magick. By that I mean the "mentalism guys" are becoming more fascinated with bizarre magick.

For good reason.

The mystery, the emotion, the inexplicable and the unexplainable.
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JAlenS
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Then Rick, what do we call it? Bizarre mentalism? We're going from pretense and outright trickery in mentalism currently to the point of messing with people's minds to the point of a very realness. I'm not knocking you at all Rick. I'm just saying that maybe the more traditional mentalist is coming over to bizarre because the current state of performance mentalism lacks a real substance and connection with the audience members. It is very dry. How many ACAAN threads have to exist? Great effect but it's still just a trick. The participant(s) don't go anywhere in their minds with it and that's why I think mentalism is boring to some (many) people.

Sanctum Sanctuary and The Wonder Tour are perfect examples. Does the participant go on a journey? Oh yeah. Is it real to them? To a great extent during the experiment. The more these kinds of effects let the participant become submerged in them, the more real the experience becomes. Very very powerful and it goes so much deeper to the point that an individual's belief system can be changed to an extent, without NLP Smile Maybe a change in awareness and possibilities that they didn't know existed before and can have some hope that there is something more to human existence than a 9 to 5 grind and the evening news. Ya know?
Roth
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I think Sanctum is a bizarre effect. Chris did a wonderful booklet.

I think Luna is a bizarre effect because of the elements of emotion, empathy and the "journey". Is it mentalism? I don't think it is.

I was really referring to the "atmosphere" experience, and props used in bizarre magick, that are attracting the mentalism crowd.

I'm not knocking mentalism. I kill with an impromptu PW routine.

You have a mindreader like Bob Cassidy who can give his audience an "experience" but he's been doing it a long time and he's a professional performer.

What a hobbiest might do can appear "dry", but Derren or Cassidy can make an experience of it. But once again, they are professional performers.

We (the spooky crowd) may think mentalism is "dry" but that doesn't mean the spec isn't getting entertained.

We like to entertain in a different way. We like mystery, strange props, atmosphere, the unexplainable.

I think Chris wants to go deeper. Beyond mentalism and maybe beyond bizarre magick...

I'm not sure where Chris is going with this, but I'd love to see him write a book Smile

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Rick you bring up some good points. I am working only as a mystic these days and have preformed this way for a number of years. One of the reasons for this is that I found much of mentalism within the last 20 years dull and boring. However, there have been exceptions to this such as Bob's and Jim's work and a few others who's primary focus is on the audience experience. This concept or aspect of mentalism and the audience in my opinion is what make mentalism great. Now if only they could weave the whole thing in to a tale or story in every performance then the construct as a whole could have a lot more mass appeal. Of course this is only what I think but working as a mystic has shown me a thing or two about the importance of the experience of the person or audience over the methodology used to achieve a result or more appropriately an experience.


JAlenS, I just call it mysticism.

Here is something some of you may not know? When you are introduced as a mystic the audiences preconceived idea of what a mystic is and does is already in place. Think about it and you will come to the same conclusion that some of us have came too. That conclusion only focuses on the experience of those who we are in the presents of and they too want a mystical experience to take home with them. Nothing else will do. Nothing.

Cheers, back to playing with my new planchette's. I love this thing so much I bought extras and place an order for a dozen more of these custom made gems.... this seance season will be off the chain and oh so dark.......

Here is a link to a photo.

http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa120......0988.jpg

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Heh years ago I refused to play the "are ye a mentalist or magician" and dubbed myself a mizzarist

Over time I found mystery performer fits more

Then I realized no term ever fits completely once you get really into it as to define yourself limits yourself

I now just ended up emulating the ethos of the twilight zone - which really was one of the seminal roots to why I do these things

There was a reason my avatar's picture and the name fit-- because we are narrators of interactive tales delving into the mysteries of existence

But we can have fun too Smile

My next major stage show is very night gallery trinity Ed

I love this stuff

Rick, remember yearsssss ago I said you were a bizzarist at heart - as outlaw began to move out if stereotypical mentalist offerings and I think it was the wisest move and your items became mega oil - because they went beyond psychological etc

Bill's materials just thrive in the realm between science and superstition

Heck so many here on this forum do mentalism wayyyyy better then those dry husks on penny

In fact I barely visit penny anymore

Anyhow hats off to Chris for starting this thread
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Hmmm my iPhone changed some words oops

Night gallery tribute

And I meant megacool (I have no idea why iPhone has mega oil as a spelling auto correct on that)

Outlaw has grown over time along with others to produce items I actually use - because over time many if us just making our own (which ties into what I'm talking about above) and outlaw really has some unique and engaging pieces due to Rick and his team

Chris's items look so amazing (and still ready to barter carcosa items for some)

I am also happy that over time we've worked through various things together and we are again colleagues in the arts of mystery
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Quote:

This is exactly where a core group is taking mentalism, not where it's going.


Now I don't exactly see this as a race. I think one of the points that I made was magicians have been on this path since the dawn of time, it is nothing new. However, all of us have been born in an age where magic is despised and marginalised, so it appears that those exploring the fringes of possibilities are novel. Rather than factionating (just made that word up!), I see a really promising spirit of camaraderie growing here.

Rick - thanks for the kind words, we go a way back and I think we both perceived the seeds of what is being discussed here, long ago.We just did not know what to call it. Oddly a book is in the offing at some point in the future. Thinking about it, everything I have done - even if it's roots are in magic and mentalism have been exploring the territory we are beginning to define here. I did announce my departure from magic a few weeks ago - the reason being that I thought the ideas I am currently playing with would be too unpalatable for the magic community. There are some very closed minds in mentalism - is that a paradox? However, I have been surprised and pleased by the response. There is a very real hunger for something that 'goes beyond' - my personal feeling is that the precedent for this has already been set on a metaphysical level and we are all conduits allowing this to happen. This developing paradigm is also the glue that binds us. To think one has the sole ownership of this process would be a fallacy. With this in mind, I am working with two groups - the first is exploring the philosophy of what we have touched on here. (I cannot say too much, as it is not my group), the second is a sort of Alchemist's lab for more practical outcomes. I am also interested in forging connections within the community, and feel that dealers should be less guarded and talk more to each other. We are in a very small pond, fishing for the same fish, and often using bait that looks very similar. Some co-ordination can only be for the good.

I am going to come out of the shadows here. Magic *is* real, the universe is a magical one. With the development of consciousness and the individual ego and a reductionist model of thinking - we have lost this fact. It took me a major illness to realise this and to experience magic in my life for the first time. My belief is that as a species we are starved of magic, starved of wonder. Seeing the world in terms of quantifiable data is ripping our souls out. The species is unhappy, just look, all we seem to want to do is kill each other. The world needs magic, and we call ourselves magicians. Do we truly realise the potential import of our calling?
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magic.mind
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Mentalism can be boring as any other performing art if the performer is boring, mentalism itself is a serious type of performance, but you should see cassidy, maven or becker to realize that can be very entertaining.
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Quote:
On 2011-08-26 10:14, magic.mind wrote:
Mentalism can be boring as any other performing art if the performer is boring, mentalism itself is a serious type of performance, but you should see cassidy, maven or becker to realize that can be very entertaining.


And Derren. Smile
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Madelon Hoedt has a very interesting take on this in Online Visions: http://www.online-visions.com/other/0907fantastic.html
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Madelon is a wonderful thinker and hits the nail squarely on the head...
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Very boring....agree.
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Pakar Ilusi
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Quote:
On 2011-08-28 07:00, ssucahyo wrote:
Very boring....agree.


Pak Cahyo... Smile
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Christopher Gould
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I am just going to stir the pot widdershins now, and reveal that my two big heroes are Max Maven and David Berglas.
Next to these, we are all children chattering in the playground.

Still, I am glad this little thread has stimulated some discussion, as this can be more entertaining than 'product placement' (not that I am exempt from this, but we can do something else here sometimes surely?).

There have been many wise words spoken here, plus a couple of dumb ones, along with my favourite joke!
I think we can conclude that there is a common ground (whether we wish for it or not) and that common ground states that is it the presentation that is important in defining the validity of what we do, rather than the content.

although.... I am not entirely sure that we have defined exactly what it is that we are attempting to do, or why.... maybe that is another discussion.
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Yes, Madelon's notion of ambiguity is great and an underlying principle for how I structure my shows...a variety of plausible accounts, a narrative that addresses perennial concerns in life, and inexplicable transformational events that illustrate the larger set of questions I seek to address...It is worth having a look at Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions as we ponder new paradigms for our art ...
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In the context of Kuhn, I wonder if bizarre magic can be seen as a revolution against mentalism?
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Quote:
On 2011-08-29 07:04, Jon_Thompson wrote:
In the context of Kuhn, I wonder if bizarre magic can be seen as a revolution against mentalism?


Everything is a reaction to something that produces a revolution (or is it 'evolution'?). Personally, I think we will have arrived when we drop all the subcategories and just call it 'magic' - although to do that, the meaning of *that* word would need to change.
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Quote:
On 2011-08-29 08:20, Christopher Gould wrote:


Everything is a reaction to something that produces a revolution (or is it 'evolution'?). Personally, I think we will have arrived when we drop all the subcategories and just call it 'magic' - although to do that, the meaning of *that* word would need to change.




Nicely put Mr. Gould ! Could we please change that word to 'Magick'. Smile
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I think I understand where Chris is coming from, the idea of mentalism is great but the execution itself and the performance of many mentalists reduces it to the status of a puzzle. Also, many mentalists seem to have this "better than thou" air about them and claim to be experts in psychology. My main gripe with mentalism is that if you really were able to do these things then you wouldn't require all the clutter and it would be far more direct. Mentalism, by it's nature, is designed to be more believable than standard magic and that doubt should be placed in the audiences minds as to whether what they are witnessing is real.
If you really could read minds would you bother using it to see the serial number of a banknote? Or to reveal a number 'randomly' arrived at by the use of a few audience members and a suspect calculator? Would you need ten envelopes? Would you not just get someone to write anything down and then reveal it?
Derren Brown presents mentalism as more believable. If people had these powers would they not use them to cheat at a racetrack?

I find bizarre magic far more interesting than mentalism and with the occult/seance shows there is no room for convulted faffing about. You have to be direct. I looked at different book tests and the one I use in the show is Luna because it is so direct and if I was really able to do what I profess to do, this is how it would be done. I am not handling the book and riffling, no playing cards or dice are involved, I don't touch the book. This is as real as it can be.
Anything I perform in the first half of the show is mentalism based but without all the tiresome baggage that usually surrounds these kinds of effects.
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This has worked to orient all my work:

‘Metaphysical magic uses the methods, tools and skills of the modern magician and mentalist to create a series of physical and psychic manifestations that relate to deeper questions concerning the human condition and the realms of human existence.’

Todd Landman (2010) Metaphysical Magic: Essays for the Discerning Mystery Entertainer, p. 17.

The idea of 'realms' is suitably flexible to include most of what we are discussing here. That and Madelon's idea of 'ambiguity' and we are getting somewhere.

Best wishes

Dr Todd
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