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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Pointless Tricks (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dr. Jakks
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What are some pointless tricks you guys have seen? I know some will disagree here, but I think Star Gazer is pointless.
Tom Cutts
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The way I see it:

Any "trick" can be performed pointlessly. It is the magician's job to bring meaning to his work.

Some very pointless bits have become meaningful in the right performer's hands.
Greg Arce
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True words. I can remember several times when I looked at a magic effect and said,
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever seen." Months or years later I see a performer doing the same effect and putting in a spin that is devastating and almost makes me want to buy it... I don't because I try not to copy whatever is the latest and the greatest.
Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
Dr. Jakks
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I mean a presentation of a trick that you thought was pointless.
Smile
Greg Arce
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Well, okay, now we're talking. Personally, I hate card tricks that involve a lot of counting and recounting and then adding numbers divide by your shoe size multiply the number of times you saw Star Wars and then, Is This YOUR CARD!

I also have a distaste for multi-phase routines like a 10 phase oil & water... some times they can be entertaining such as performed by Rene Levant... but we are not Rene.

Because I do mostly things in the mentalism field I also can't accept doing a book test and having the pages chosen by rolling dice, cards, picking numbers out of a hat, etc.
I think a lot of magicians fool themselves into thinking the public at large is entertained by the same things that entertain magicians.

Think of it this way: I'm sure at a plumbing convention the fellow plumbers will stand transfixed as one guy goes into details of the latest flush meter installation tool and it's inner workings... but most people just want him to unstop the toilet and get out.
Greg
One of my favorite quotes: "A critic is a legless man who teaches running."
Paul
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re;
but most people just want him to unstop the toilet and get out.

I felt flushed after just reading your post Greg Smile
Jay
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Sure to be an unpopular response:

I am not a big fan of huge stage illusions, eg... vanishing helicopters and appearing tigers. These type of illusions never made me say 'wow' even before I knew how they worked. Some, like the Pendragon's Sub Trunk, is just wonderful and a joy to see.

Unfortunately, many stage illusionists are cookie cutter images of each other, complete with cheesy music, overly dramatic bolero-cape flinging, and a female sidekick with a plastic smile and cocktail waitress costume. This just doesn't do it for me.

I saw a local magician do a stage version of the die box, pattering about how this used to be his grandfather's wooden chest... it was memorable and made me a little wistful about my own grandfather. That's good magic.

The point is: Magic should be performed with passion and reverence. You should seem amazed at what you just did. If I was a stage illusionist, I would try to remember to act as though I am thinking, "Whoa--- did I just do that" instead of "TA-DA!!--- Look what I have done for you audience members that you can never do."

That's how I do my close-up magic and it works for me. It has a point.

Thanks for the interesting thread topic.

Take care.
Jay Smile
Jim Morton
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If I think a trick has potential, but its presentation seems pointless, I sit down and try to find another way to approach the effect. I think that people often miss the best effects in books because there is no presentation, or a weak presentation. Never let the presentation decide whether an effect is worth learning. Learn to look past that at the core effect.

Jim
Margarette
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I think any illusion, trick, whatever, is pointless if you do it just to show the audience what one can do. I hate it when I see someone do something and they say... Now watch what happens here.... and here.... and here... and voila! The trick is now over... wasn't that great!

Let's be creative!!

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
RiffClown
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Any effect is only as good as the presentation. Some of the worst misuse of an item has occurred with the Svengali Deck. Don't get me wrong. I like Svengali decks. I even own and use a few; but so many people have them and know about them, they are often misused.

Example

After watching a restaurant magician a few years back sucessfully force the 4 of Clubs to about 7 different tables from the same deck and then had the nerve to ask the customers to campare their cards by holding them up. This disaster was one of his big finales. He even riffled the deck to show them all the same. Smile

Now That's Magic, ..........NOT! Smile
The magic is that this guy was getting paid for this.
Rob "Riff, the Magical Clown" Eubank aka RiffClown
<BR>http://www.riffclown.com
<BR>Magic is not the method, but the presentation.
Peter Marucci
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A pointless trick might be defined as a trick that a magician does just because he can, and not for any other reason.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
CENDRE
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Aaaaa! If only we could turn this utopy into reality:
The quest for sense in magic!

I can't understand magicans who do a trick because "It kills people".
We have wonderful tools to make people dream but we must give sense to what we do.
In my opinion (and in my magic work) that's the hardest part of our job.

Because I had always been confronted with the ridiculous of a magician who only try to fool people with "trick"... In my childhood memories Merlin (that's an example) never took a deck of cards and he never said
"where is the sponge ball?!!!"

We know that magic isn't really useful in everyday life, but I think we have to give this illusion to the spectator.
That is what makes a distinction (in opinion of course) between good magic and pointless tricks.
Il était une fois...

CENDRE
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Stuart Hooper
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Very good sir Cendre. Magic is only useful as entertainment to the spectator. But look at it like the Asians (and perhaps the French) look at sex. They give us their money, which has little value, and we add magic to their lives which has enormous value. Sure it is just a passing moment to be enjoyed like good food or wine, but then what is life for, non? Smile
Ben Blau
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I don't think a trick has to have a literal "point" to it to be entertaining. Not every trick merits a story. Forcing an arbitrary story on a trick can ruin it (and vice-versa).

Not that I'm against stories, though.

Ben Blau
GothicBen
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When someone does the C & R rope trick, over and over again. More often than not, the repetion does not enhance the trick. Let's face it, once you've shown you can cut and restore it, why go for an encore??

Malini said "Cut it once and restore it once, that's enough!!". I think I'll stick with Malini's advice!!
mattneufeld
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What we're really dealing with here is subjectivity. What seems "pointless" to one magician or one audience member could simply be the greatest, coolest trick to the next magician or audience member. So it may be "pointless" to discuss "pointless" tricks because, well, a "pointless" trick may not even exist!! Knowing the great minds in the magic community, someone somewhere somehow usually comes up with an inventive method of presenting any type of trick. Sometimes it's just not worth it to worry about it too much, and just enjoy it! Chances are, if you enjoy it on stage, and show that enjoyment, then the audience will enjoy it, too!
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