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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Penn & Teller VS Mentalism (36 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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AttnPls
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He doesn't and we don't.
Dr Spektor
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Weird.. I think he does and I do

... but then I will listen to anyone who seems to be a great performer, successful, and knowledgable. I've been a fan of his since I bought House of Mystery. Is he a "mentalist"...? I don't think that matters based on the context here. However, he likely knows more about mentalism than many around here (including me).
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E.E.
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I will listen to whatever Teller says Smile
I shall see you on the other side.
solarpk
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I believe we should take some time to consider any informed opinion - not because we will or should agree to it, but because we will likely be richer for understanding it and the reasoning behind it - indeed, especially if we disagree. As it happens, Penn is held by many in high regard, and has a very public forum to be heard in. If I disagree with what he or anyone says then I want to hold a stronger position of rebuttal and that doesn't come from flatly dismissing him because 'who cares?'
solarpk
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Quote:
On Sep 13, 2016, E.E. wrote:
I will listen to whatever Teller says Smile


Then you should definitely watch this!
https://youtu.be/sQm3ZjZRpdo

I've not seen any interviews with him, so when I started to watch this video I thought him holding a microphone was conscious irony!
E.E.
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Yeah I was half joking/half being serious with my comment. Teller is really, really a knowledgeable man. And his voice is just supreme.
No need to say he's the creative mind of the team... Penn acknowledges it all the time!
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Twisted Mentat
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Quote:
On Sep 13, 2016, Dr Spektor wrote:
Weird.. I think he does and I do

... but then I will listen to anyone who seems to be a great performer, successful, and knowledgable. I've been a fan of his since I bought House of Mystery. Is he a "mentalist"...? I don't think that matters based on the context here. However, he likely knows more about mentalism than many around here (including me).

Do you think that the point of view about mentalism of some well-known, successful, good fire-eater will be useful?
Dr Spektor
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Could be. Depends on what he/she says and the context. For example, safety considerations if I wanted to demonstrate pyrokinesis. Who knows? Decide after you hear the POV, not before.
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solarpk
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On Sep 13, 2016, Dr Spektor wrote:
Could be. Depends on what he/she says and the context. For example, safety considerations if I wanted to demonstrate pyrokinesis. Who knows? Decide after you hear the POV, not before.


Perhaps Twisted Mentat is asking, based on your previous comment, if you consider Penn's opinion on Mentalism of value simply as a result of him being a 'well-known, successful, good fire-eater'. However I would note Dr Spektor also said 'knowledgeable' and I would add 'informed'. Of course, how much stock we put in someone's opinion is ultimately coloured by how highly we regard them, and for many Penn is a respected peer in the field. For the layman he is perhaps an apparent voice of authority and reason.

As it happens, the logic Penn has in this case is a view held to a greater or lesser extent by others, and so is evidently of inherent interest. A discussion on this is here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=15
AttnPls
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I have great regard for Teller. I don't believe Penn has much interest in or understanding of the art of mentalism. From my understanding he has a very shallow 'magician' point of view. It is simply not interesting. All opinions are not equal. On the topic of mentalism, Penns words hold little weight, especially to those who do know and care about the art.
Twisted Mentat
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On Sep 14, 2016, AttnPls wrote:
I have great regard for Teller. I don't believe Penn has much interest in or understanding of the art of mentalism. From my understanding he has a very shallow 'magician' point of view. It is simply not interesting. All opinions are not equal. On the topic of mentalism, Penns words hold little weight, especially to those who do know and care about the art.

That's what I wanted to say, you read my mind.
Dr Spektor
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BTW, I made one error as I was rushing through and I was referring to Teller (who wrote the book of mystery as per my post) not Penn.

To Err is Human. Hence why SKYNET is coming for us.

However, I still stand by never not listening to a source of feedback - I might reject all they say in the end, but whatever.

Penn is an interesting source of information - he is not like teller who has tons of knowledge in the field of mentalism and other area.... and he is no longer a "lay" person so cannot comment on how regular folks might react to things - but he has enough knowledge to know workings of fundamentals which may ruin the fun for him. At the same time, I would agree with one comment - many mentalists can have really boring presentations as they focus on their effects versus the overall. Now, you might say Jay Sankey is not a mentalist but he is of the same opinion about how some mentalism is long and boring presentations.... I still love Boris Pokus.... would I listen to Jay and consider his words? Yes I would.

The fire eater - as mentioned, if he has performance chops etc, I might learn some audience management skills, working with hazardous material, dealing with legalities, busking, whatever... do not turn thy nose away from a potential new source of cool info.
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Twisted Mentat
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I do not think Penn source of information about how to perform mentalism. To get this information, you need to perform mentalism. Penn never performed mentalism, he performed mental magic tricks.
Dr Spektor
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Well, when I do certain stage shows, I have engaged a director who knows nothing about the methods of mentalism, and has not performed them himself or herself. However, I am asking them to tighten my scripts, make my words more clear and powerful, keep the proper pacing and hills and valleys, etc. I hate going through the process but need to get that feedback.

This is not a mutually exclusive type of argument BTW, I'm just saying, as I do seek feedback from mentalists for other aspects of my endeavours.

It all depends on what you are trying to seek out.
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Twisted Mentat
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Penn's view is very similar to the views of ordinary magician who has never read serious books on mentalism and never performed in this genre. I do not see the connection between his viewpoint and director.
Dr Spektor
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You were talking about performance - this to me gets to the old blends of presentation / method / effect and all that jazz. If Penn states mentalism presentations are often boring, I would want to get to more specifics and clarity about it because its too ambiguous a statement. Penn is still a performer - and lets say he gives you a bunch of showmanship tips.

I am not stating at all I agree with anything Penn states - just saying it never hurts to reflect on what he is saying. for example, if it did turn out it was more about magic-style presentations with flash and over-the-top issues... yeah, I would likely not give it heed. However, if he was stating he has noticed there is often a drag or dead action zones for certain intros, presentations of an effect, etc. I would want to get more info on that.

BTW, what is an ordinary magician? Is there an ordinary mentalist then too? Oh well.

This is for you, TM: "It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion."
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
AttnPls
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But Penn also has a very strong personal philosophy which I feel has not allowed him to understand mentalism. For instance, I believe there is potential real therapeutic value in a Tarot card readings. I imagine that Penn would potentially dismiss all readers and readings as fraud. Our art lives in that blurry line between reality and fantasy. I do not believe that Penn is familiar with the territory. I have never heard him say anything useful about the art. I have heard him state a number of opinions about mentalism that are, to my mind, juvenile.
Dr Spektor
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Ah, see here is the issue that I think crops up..... are Readers mentalists, psychics, psychic entertainers, etc. One definition is that readings for therapeutic value is not mentalism. Mentalism is a branch of entertainment. It gets murky. I have never seen a clean definition of what a mentalist is. Hence, part of our back and forth here was that I thought we were talking about non-reader mentalists (if that is a term). So, its Penn vs. a certain approach to mentalism but not all mentalism then... as in your definition, reading is part of mentalism? Its an interesting area because reading to me can be pure entertainment, therapeutic, both or neither.... to me, reading is its own field in some ways, as is hypnosis. Yet I know we weave in suggestions and add in reading tech to enhance mentalism routines....

Anyway, thanks for the clarification. I was mostly referring to Penn as a showman and stage and TV etc. performer likely has great knowledge and value for working certain venues, scripting etc. not in regards to readings.

(Exit stage 4th dimension)
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AttnPls
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Feelings about the nature of readings was only an example. My work is very much entertainment, yet I feel strongly that my approach to material and audiences comes from the world of readers and psychics and mediums.

Its where we come from. Its a mindset. Readings can be pure entertainment and a good mentalist could probably put together a set with no 'tricks'.

I think good mentalists work WITH people where magicians perform AT them. Mentalists use real techniques combined with theater and showmanship. Otherwise you have mind magic.

In terms of entertainment, most magicians bore me to tears because they have no connection to the audience or to their material at all. I feel like I'm watching an actor reading a script as opposed to a human being creating something for people to appreciate. Sure Penn has a certain sense of theatricality much like a good juggler knows how to please an audience, but I would prefer to work with a theater stage director any day because they know how to touch an audience emotionally.

For me, Penn is an entertaining guy to watch, but I doubt he could ever offer much insight into my art. I don't think he understands it at all.
Stevious
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Penn seems to accept mentalism presented in a funny, light-hearted, ridiculing way. If you are funny, not serious, then you prove that you can do the same kind of magic which is e.g. presented by Brown, Banachek, Suchard, therefore proving that you don't need any psychological skills or effort to achieve the same miracles (it is even slightly debunking other performers).

I'm curious what Penn thinks of Richard Osterlind's style, he probably dislikes D.Brown's theatre performances which I loved, as they created a feeling of real magic for me and many others. Brown and Banachek openly admit using magic techniques, which is what I like, a mixture of magic and psychology.

I would support Penn's view in a way that mentalists should be a little bit more honest in interviews, but not necessarily when performing.
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