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VernonOnCoins
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Is seems the field of magic is categorically dismissed as trite within the mentalism community. There's a certain condescension expressed by mentalists toward magicians and Im wondering why that is?
bdekolta
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It is often treated the same way by the general public.
Frank Douglas
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For what I've seen, this seems to flow in both directions.

The Magic community (not all) don't agree with the way the Mentalists preform the Art.

There is a lot of "You make them believe it's real" etc from the Magic side.

The Mentalist community (again not all)take umbrage that they are told how they should perform or not perform, or use disclaimers or not use disclaimers, etc.

You get hit with a stick enough and you take the stick away and strike back (metaphorically speaking). Going into a bear's den and antagonizing the bear... expect to get bit.

If Mentalists started telling card men that they should not us a certain move, or only use this deck, etc; after a time how would the card men react? (or close up performers, or stage illusionists, etc)

We are all performers. Styles vary, costumes vary, characters vary, venues vary.

To quote the well known philosopher.... "Can't we all just get along"?

That's all I'm going to say on this.

JM2CW

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VernonOnCoins
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Quote:
On 2013-09-13 10:45, Frank Douglas wrote:

There is a lot of "You make them believe it's real" etc from the Magic side.

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That's interesting. Could this be the root of it?
Michael Zarek
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I think right now mentalism is almost like a polar oposite of magic (good mentalism that is).I think the biggest problem mentalist have with magicians is that they often try and pretend to be mentalist which often almost ruins the art, and mentalism is much easier to ruin then magic. If everyone would stick to doing what they do best, out community would be much better
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VernonOnCoins
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I would imagine good magic performed well by a sophisticated entertainer can be as moving and interesting and any piece of mentalism (performed well etc).
VernonOnCoins
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By the way, Im not talking about the crossover magicians who add a bit of mentalism to their kids show. Or the goofy teenager or restaurant worker performing a CT routine after a coins across.

This is clearly offensive on many levels.

It seems the art itself is considered trite.
mastermindreader
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I've never felt that way at all, nor have most of my friends in mentalism. We all appreciate magic, when it is well performed. The problem is that most often it isn't. And when poor magicians get into mentalism, as is happening more and more frequently these days, because they think it is all self-working, easy to do, etc., the results aren't pretty.

I started out doing a billiard ball and card manipulation act. I loved it then and I love it now. (The problem I had is that I don't work well with music.)
Frank Douglas
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Bob

Thanks for adding to this. Saw your post in a similar thread downstairs.

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VernonOnCoins
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Quote:
On 2013-09-13 11:26, mastermindreader wrote:
I've never felt that way at all, nor have most of my friends in mentalism. We all appreciate magic, when it is well performed. The problem is that most often it isn't. And when poor magicians get into mentalism, as is happening more and more frequently these days, because they think it is all self-working, easy to do, etc., the results aren't pretty.

I started out doing a billiard ball and card manipulation act. I loved it then and I love it now. (The problem I had is that I don't work well with music.)


Never knew this about you.
Keith Raygor
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Quote:
On 2013-09-13 11:07, VernonOnCoins wrote:
. . . crossover magicians who add a bit of mentalism to their kids show. Or the goofy teenager or restaurant worker performing a CT routine after a coins across.
This is clearly offensive on many levels.


Your response may be one answer to your question. Without seeing context and presentation, you have judged certain acts of three groups of people as offensive: children's performers, restaurant workers and goofy teenagers.

Here's a link to a very popular mental-based effect for children:
http://www.spsmagic.com/collections/tricks/products/deja-zoo
It defines neither the creator, nor those choosing to put it into their show as offensive. It can work wonderfully, or it can fail - depending on the performer.

Having seen excellent examples of exceptions to each of your scenarios, I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Did the restaurant worker's coins move from hand to hand in a different way than the thoughts picked from the patron's brains? Without knowing how the performer set up each presentation that makes sense to a lay audience, your assumptions were mildly offensive and may create a further divide between the two separate, but very related art forms.

I've seen that condescension you spoke of expressed here repeatedly over the years, usually by the same people. But it's just a forum; it's not where the rubber meets the road. And lay audiences will tell you quickly enough what works and what doesn't.

I believe mixing magic and mentalism can easily confuse an audience, and can do a disservice to them and the art. But it is not a foregone conclusion, as your comments indicate. It is an area that begs further discussion and education. For that reason, your initial question is very valuable in exploring the pitfalls.
Mindpro
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I think the perspective Frank has offered is not at all the perspectives of the mentalism community. Since you posted this in the mentalism area, I'm assuming you want the mentalist's perspective. Frank's opinion may be an example of typical magician's thinking and magician's opinions and perspectives. I think that is one big reason for the differences as mentalism, when executed properly has an entirely different set of perspectives, approaches and means of execution. Magician's see it as an extension of magic. Many mentalists I know feel it's the opposite of magic.

Typically when trying to explain this to magician's they not only do not understand it, but somehow take offense to it, quickly claiming the mentalism community somehow believes they are better than magicians and are then immediately deemed "elitists".

Rarely do you see the same perspectives from the mentalism community towards magic, with the possible exception of as I just explained them not "getting" the mentalism approach and perspectives, and also the trivialization and the ease of magician's giving away trade secrets, methods and content that is sooo common in the magic community today.

The other interesting thing I feel 100% is not only the need for the magic community to deem us "elitists" when they don't understand us (or even really try), but the crazy need to expose mentaism to the lay public. It so widespead and they do it in a way that is very mean-spirited and intentional.

To take this even further, even with these mentalities, it amazes me still how many magicians still seem to attempt to come over to mentalism. They soon realize there is far more to it and many deeper levels of thought, personality and performance execution, and then end up still doing their magic but with mental magic or mental themes to it. It kind of like a "mentalism-lite", of wanting the benefits of mentaism and it perceived "realness" (and probably higher paychecks) yet without having to commit to the levels of the mentalism community.

As Bob said, I do not get any of the feelings of which Frank referred to from anyone I know in the mentalism community. I also in all honesty don't know any mentalists that worry or think much about magicians at all (with the possible exception of the exposure and trivialization issues I mentioned).
AttnPls
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An angel dies every time a great mentalism effects is presented by a magician as "another trick".

Magicians, please don't do mentalism.

Think of the angels.
Mark_Chandaue
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Quote:
On 2013-09-13 10:45, Frank Douglas wrote:
There is a lot of "You make them believe it's real" etc from the Magic side.

Perhaps I am a throwback to a bygone era but I always thought this should be the goal of magicians too. Sure a big difference with mentalism is that people are far more likely to believe mentalism is "the real thing" than they will magic, but in that moment of performance you want to make them believe it really is their coin in that bottle.

Quote:
On 2013-09-13 11:02, VernonOnCoins wrote:
I would imagine good magic performed well by a sophisticated entertainer can be as moving and interesting and any piece of mentalism (performed well etc).

Good magic can be as entertaining and interesting as any piece of mentalism, but even with my quite limited experience of mentalism vs my many many years experience as a magician I can say with total confidence that magic does not have the same power to touch people on an emotional and personal level that mentalism has. By the same token it would be difficult to create the same beauty of say Richard Ross's linking ring performance in a mentalism act.

Personally I consider magic and mentalism to be related arts, they both rely on the art of deception but they both approach it from very different angles and ultimately have a very different affect on their respective audiences.

Mark
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VernonOnCoins
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Thanks, Keith. I will think about that. I was speaking in broad generalizations but I understand how that came across as offensive Smile

Mindpro... The exposure element. I never thought of that, but you are correct.

Personally, I have more than a passing interest in both fields. I treat each with the same respect and attention to detail they deserve. Both fields have had a profound effect on me over the years and I take offence when either side casts aspersions toward the other.
DynaMix
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Quote:
On 2013-09-13 13:42, AttnPls wrote:
An angel dies every time a great mentalism effects is presented by a magician as "another trick".

Magicians, please don't do mentalism.

Think of the angels.



Does this mean don't use mentalism techniques in a magic context? Or simply don't pretend to have mental "powers"?

I'm trying to understand if the mentalism community doesn't want traditional magicians doing it poorly, doing it at all, or mixing it with magic.

I'm not sure how anyone can see mentalism as anything BUT a branch of magic. This constant trying to distance itself from magic just comes off as insecure and so silly to me. (Not saying that you are doing that). I just don't get it. Nor do I really care to.

I feel bad that mentalists feel so threatened by technology, trivialization etc as gets pointed out all the time. I really do. It's tough to create material in any fashion and then see it devalued. But I just will never understand the need mentalism feels to elevate itself, "regular magic" be ***ed! A lot of us who mix the 2 don't even think about things like this.

When I do a magic trick proper people flip. When I do a mentalism routine proper people get a little scared. Yes the reactions are different but they are both so wonderful. I personally never make a claim either way on what I am or what I do. I just let it speak for itself. If anything I'm upfront about it ALL being deception.

I could also NEVER choose between the two. They both give me different highs, different adrenaline rushes. I genuinely feel like it would be a loss to give one up because it makes the other stronger. But to each their own I guess.
Keith Raygor
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Mindpro,
Whether it's kid's shows, hypnosis shows or magic shows, have you ever done mental magic? Even in your formative years?
If so, could you please expand on your claims that typically, magicians do not understand the difference. What is the difference from your point of view? Is it the "real" factor?
Or is it the "thinking deeper" factor?
Exactly where does the difference lie, in how magicians approach mentalism as opposed to mentalists? At what point does a magician become a mentalist in your view? It would help in understanding your many conclusions about magicians.

Also, you say that many mentalists feel the perspectives, approaches and means are the opposite of magic. Could you explain this? How can they be the opposite?

Many of us want to understand your point, but you've only made broad judgements about how some don't get it, and as a result must think of you as elitists.
What is the threshold where one becomes a real mentalist? How do you define it?

Essentially, all you've said (many times) is that magicians trying to do mentalism just don't get it. What is it we don't get?

Speaking of elitists, I'm intrigued that you're amazed by the number of magicians that still keep trying to "come over to mentalism'. Should they stop? How do they commit to the levels of the mentalism community? What ARE the levels of the mentalism community you speak of? Is it surprising to you that magicians would expand their knowledge as they grow in the field? Especially considering that the mentalism books were on the shelf next to the magic books in the same shops. What is amazing to you about our 'attempts to come over'?

Finally, I found it interesting that you don't know any mentalists that think much about magicians at all. Every mentalist I've seen perform was doing tricks. Those things that magicians do.
So, to come full circle, what's the difference? What is it I and others just don't get about your world?
Keith


Quote:
On 2013-09-13 12:35, Mindpro wrote:
I think the perspective Frank has offered is not at all the perspectives of the mentalism community. Since you posted this in the mentalism area, I'm assuming you want the mentalist's perspective. Frank's opinion may be an example of typical magician's thinking and magician's opinions and perspectives. I think that is one big reason for the differences as mentalism, when executed properly has an entirely different set of perspectives, approaches and means of execution. Magician's see it as an extension of magic. Many mentalists I know feel it's the opposite of magic.

Typically when trying to explain this to magician's they not only do not understand it, but somehow take offense to it, quickly claiming the mentalism community somehow believes they are better than magicians and are then immediately deemed "elitists".

Rarely do you see the same perspectives from the mentalism community towards magic, with the possible exception of as I just explained them not "getting" the mentalism approach and perspectives, and also the trivialization and the ease of magician's giving away trade secrets, methods and content that is sooo common in the magic community today.

The other interesting thing I feel 100% is not only the need for the magic community to deem us "elitists" when they don't understand us (or even really try), but the crazy need to expose mentaism to the lay public. It so widespead and they do it in a way that is very mean-spirited and intentional.

To take this even further, even with these mentalities, it amazes me still how many magicians still seem to attempt to come over to mentalism. They soon realize there is far more to it and many deeper levels of thought, personality and performance execution, and then end up still doing their magic but with mental magic or mental themes to it. It kind of like a "mentalism-lite", of wanting the benefits of mentaism and it perceived "realness" (and probably higher paychecks) yet without having to commit to the levels of the mentalism community.

As Bob said, I do not get any of the feelings of which Frank referred to from anyone I know in the mentalism community. I also in all honesty don't know any mentalists that worry or think much about magicians at all (with the possible exception of the exposure and trivialization issues I mentioned).
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On 2013-09-13 14:17, DynaMix wrote:

I'm not sure how anyone can see mentalism as anything BUT a branch of magic. This constant trying to distance itself from magic just comes off as insecure and so silly to me.


Insecure and silly? No. Just a matter of historical fact. As I describe in my book, "Fundamentals of Professional Mentalism," the basic techniques, methods and approach of mentalism come directly from the Spiritualist billet readers and mediums of the mid-19th Century.
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My point of view is this...in a stream of consciousness kind of ramble - sorry!

there is a certain percentage of both magicians and mentalists who have fairly bad interpersonal skills...whether that's chronic shyness or a complete lack of self-awareness...maybe a mixture of both...

so they discover a way to get that interaction, and that's magic and mentalism...and because what they've performed is an inherently strong effect - they get attention and applause...they soon get addicted to it, and focus entirely on what can make them get more of this...and their social insecurities warp over time, until they arent the same shy person anymore...and rather than remember it was strangers being kind to them in the first instance, they equate it to power and influence...so the ego grows, they perform and buy more stuff - they take the feedback to mean that they aer "awesome" and "epic" and their social skill set changes to one of constantly wanting attention and to indulge in anything that will get the social spotlight glaring right into their face...

so mix that in with some of the rules of magic...

always have to be correct/for it to work (who wants to see a trick completely fail?)
means they will force and search for hits however desperate it looks, this can be very dangerous with cold-reading (however you define it) for example...

magic inherently has a "thing"...the magician guides you to watch, to remember, to hold, and then something happens to that "thing"... there is the magician, the object and the spectator...with mentalism, more often than not, there is less of that barrier, though objects can still be used, they incidental, rather than the focus...

a spectator is not a participant, that sometimes happens with the above mentioned warped social skills

some people also forget what it means to be a true magician...there's a magician in the tarot, he's not a mentalist...there used to be power and prestige in those words...and that gloss has been taken off in some ways unfortunately...

there is also guilt and a sense of having to apologise or prove every single thing - handing everything out, signing everything, constant narration of simple, straight forward highly visible actions that you don't need to say...mentalism is kinda more low-key and normal/simple...no complications in plot or behaviour...

I understant why magicians exposed the fake-mediums, they did it originally I feel, as a way of saving people from themselves in grief, and getting ripped off...we could argue all day and night about the validity of mediumship to help pass through grief...i think it is unhealthy, and not a good option personally...however, psychology and therapy wasn't what it is today...but originally, yes - I get why they tried to expose things the way they did...

the interesting thing for me is, at one point during those exposure shows - someone thought "hang on... there's some money in this as entertainment!"... so its still (in a way) making money out of grief indirectly!

just like magicians doing card-sharp/shark demos for soldiers, to save them their money whilst overseas - yet, charging to do so...

we humans are an odd bunch...

so, to try and be at least a little coherent, I would say that there is a divide, its a slightly wooly one, because there's always exceptions to rules, and we all have our own little biases...

I do not consider myself a mentalism nor a magician these days, the past year or so I've gone a slightly different route, and am no where near finished...but I'm having far more fun than ever before...i think the most important thing to think about is to be coherent in your backstory, stick to it, and build everything else around that core idea...

...years ago, a sort of opening gambit of mine was this:

"when I researched my family tree, I discovered two interesting things...on my mum's side, there was old east-end of london tea-leaf and palm readers, and on my dad's side were rum smugglers... and the more I dug into my own family history, the more stories and talents were unearthed... some of which I have now discovered for myself, verbal and finger based dexterity from the smugglers, imagination and what some call psychic gifts from the eastenders...which leads me to this question...

which side would you like to see first?"

so that was true about my family, and I could talk about either well...and it gave me opportunity to shift from one "side" to the other, and despite me saying digital dexterity, it never seemed to bleed over to the psychic gifts side, because I had clearly labelled everything for them...had a mild, cheeky kinda challenge to it all, yet (well, seemed to at least) go down well... and I could indulge both sides to my heart's content...

basil howitz's poker challenge was always a lovely hybrid for me...

so to go full circle, yes there are differences, but more and less of them, depending on how honest you want to be about yourself, and how much work you want to put into being entertaining and so on...

disclaimer! no animals were hurt during this message, and none of its contents were aimed at any individual
I've asked to be banned
Keith Raygor
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Bob,
Still, those techniques are marketed and taught for profit in magic shops and forums. Currently, magic & mentalism share deceit as entertainment. So, aside from different origins, DynaMix's point is - why the constant distancing? To what end?

Expertise is the goal in any field. So what makes mentalism different?
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