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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Difference between "magic" and "a magic trick." (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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George Ledo
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Not well known, but a number of those old books were written for the general public. I've never seen a clear explanation of the rationale behind it, but that's how it was.
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funsway
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Some of the rational may be echoed in Whit's "wink" and concerns of performers such as Arnold Furst as to "removing the fear."
Others have suggested always including a simple trick the audience can figure out, or even teaching one as Jeff McBride does.

We want the audience to understand that what we do is pretend at magic, as apposed to those who claim to do magic for power or profit --
then loose themselves in a dilemma in which no other conclusion except magic can fit. In 1900 there were many con artists working to "help"
folks confused over advancing technology and religious/spiritual conflicts - and with more free time for outside entertainment.

Today's audience is different. Their concept of magic has been mangled by Hollywood and marketing of new products. It is a compliment, of sorts,
to claim that anything exiting is "magic," but makes it more difficult for a magician to practice his art. The maxim "know your audience" is almost impossible.
Sadly, what worked for magicians decades ago may not be relevant or practical today. We now learn that many in an audience may addicted to entertainment itself
and care little about skill or astonishment of any "wink."

From my perspective, most magicians today to not care about magic -- only tricks. Card tricks seem to be growing in popularity -- maybe because spectators know they are tricks
rather than more astonishing or artistic effects. On a video the wink cannot be seen anyway.

Just opinions, of course. While I do not think that magic is completely dead, it is hiding for a time when both performers and audience appreciate the distinction between
"magic trick" and "magic." For now I will consider it to be magical when an employee shows up for work on time or a politician follows their oath of office.

I wink at most everything these days. Better than crying.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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tommy
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"IN OFFERING this book to the public the writer uses no sophistry as an excuse for its existence. The hypocritical cant of reformed (?) gamblers, or whining, mealymouthed pretensions of piety, are not foisted as a justification for imparting the knowledge it contains. To all lovers of card games it should prove interesting, and as a basis of card entertainment, it is practically inexhaustible. It may caution the unwary who are innocent of guile, and it may inspire the crafty by enlightenment on artifice. It may demonstrate to the tyro that he cannot beat a man at his own game, and it may enable the skilled in deception to take a post-graduate course in the highest and most artistic branches of his vocation. But it will not make the innocent vicious, or transform the pastime player into a professional; or make the fool wise, or curtail the annual crop of suckers; but whatever the result may be, if it sells it will accomplish the primary motive of the author, as he needs the money."

SWE

I've never seen a clearer explanation of the rationale behind it.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
George Ledo
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Quote:
On Jan 8, 2019, funsway wrote:
From my perspective, most magicians today to not care about magic -- only tricks. Card tricks seem to be growing in popularity -- maybe because spectators know they are tricks
rather than more astonishing or artistic effects.

Even back when I was a high-strung teenager wanting to become the next WGM, I thought that a lot of "the guys" who did only off-the-shelf tricks, including off-the-shelf card tricks, were just being lazy: a cheap and quick way to "become a magician." Given a lot of what I've seen over the past 20 years or so, I still think the same way.
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tommy
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"Just as resolutely as he avoids children, Jay declines opportunities to perform for other magicians. This habit has earned him a reputation for aloofness, to which he pleads guilty-with-an-explanation. According to Michael Weber, he has a particular aversion to the “magic lumpen”—hoi polloi who congregate in magic clubs and at conventions, where they unabashedly seek to expropriate each other’s secrets, meanwhile failing to grasp the critical distinction between doing tricks and creating a sense of wonder. One guy in a tuxedo producing doves can be magic, ten guys producing doves is a travesty. “Ricky won’t perform for magicians at magic shows, because they’re interested in things,” Weber says. “They don’t get it. They won’t watch him and be inspired to make magic of their own. They’ll be inspired to do that trick that belongs to Ricky. Magic is not about someone else sharing the newest secret. Magic is about working hard to discover a secret and making something out of it. You start with some small principle and you build a theatrical presentation out of it. You do something that’s technically artistic that creates a small drama. There are two ways you can expand your knowledge—through books and by gaining the confidence of fellow-magicians who will explain these things. Ricky to a large degree gets his information from books—old books—and then when he performs for magicians they want to know, ‘Where did that come from?’ And he’s appalled that they haven’t read this stuff. So there’s this large body of magic lumpen who really don’t understand Ricky’s legacy—his contribution to the art, his place in the art, his technical proficiency and creativity. They think he’s an élitist and a snob.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1993/......he-magus

What was the difference between your dove act and the others George?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
George Ledo
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Not sure what you're asking, tommy, but here goes.

My act was based on the Chavez/Pollock model, which was fairly common back when I was doing it. I started with the idea, then read a ton of books and magazine articles (this was before DVDs) on card manipulation, silks, doves, and so on, and created several variations or original bits of my own. Then I practiced and rehearsed for months before going on for the first time. So my act wasn't "different" in the cosmic scheme of things, but it was something I created on my own to suit the type of act I wanted to do and my own personality.

BTW, what I said about the act suiting my personality -- and I wrote a column on that here in the Café -- was mostly due to 1) realizing that I wasn't Channing Pollock and would look ludicrous trying to be him, and 2) thinking that a few other guys about my age who did copy his persona looked equally ludicrous. I was a nineteen-year-old kid in white tie and tails performing silently to live music, and what you saw was what you got.

For the most part, I performed for the general public for the reasons stated in the clip above and because they paid me. The few times I did perform for a club, yeah, people wanted to know where I got this or that, and were sometimes puzzled or unhappy when I said I came up with it myself. And yeah, I also had a bit of a reputation for aloofness for the same reasons.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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tommy
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Thank you. I think Pollock was special. It seems to, that his act was well balanced, with his magic and looks being as beautiful as his personality was mysterious, which his many imitators could never match.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
tommy
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As I recall Pollock said that his mysterious personality came about by chance, from him having stage freight and being too scared to smile until it was over.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
George Ledo
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I haven't heard that one. Smile But hey, it worked for him.

Actually, that was one of the things I decided right up front to change with my act, and it wasn't so much the smiling as the interaction with the audience. Back then there were some good books on showmanship written by pros who did this type of act, and I studied them closely. Nelms didn't do a thing for me (he was a theatre director, not a pro magician), but a few others had some good pointers.

Channing was a regular on Ed Sullivan and Hollywood Palace back then, and I was always glued to the screen waiting for someone to invent an affordable recording device. Smile
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
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