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brad12d3
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I am not a professional magician but have been a hobbyist since I was a kid. My main profession is video production. I am curious what people think about the dynamic of old ideologies vs new ideologies in the magic industry.

As an example, my industry has some fairly distinct mindsets that you could classify as an "old" vs "new" way of doing things. Your old school folks believe that you can't call a film a film unless it's shot on... well... film. They see digital filmmaking as a bit of a detriment and do have some valid reasons for thinking so. It's not only that they just like the look of film but how the process of using film makes you approach the craft on a whole. It's a different workflow that does require a bit of a different way of thinking. There is a need to be more mindful of what and how you shoot since film isn't cheap and can't just be deleted and written over like a card in a digital camera. There is a belief that to some degree this makes you a better filmmaker and more mindful of things like good composition.

The other side of the debate sees digital filmmaking as liberating, allowing the filmmaker to be more experimental and do more faster. It's also a far more approachable workflow logistically. As long as you have the time, you can shoot as much as you want since recording media is cheap and holds hours of footage. Shooting more and experimenting gives more opportunities for spontaneous "happy accidents" that would never have been captured using a more traditional approach.

So in a nutshell, it's sort of slow and methodical vs faster and more experimental... more or less.

So now to my question. How do performers that might do a more classic stage or parlor show see the upcoming street magicians and vice versa? When did street magic really become a thing? The first "street magician" that I remember being aware of was David Blaine. Just curious to hear thoughts about these approaches to performing and what people see as pros and cons, etc..
Dannydoyle
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David Blaine is a TV magician, not a street magician.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Jonathan Townsend
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Performing for people is different than performing for a camera for likes on Facebook. Pranking is different from social engagement.
Street (magic) performers have been busy since ancient Greece and been discussed in our books on doing tricks as far back as you care to look.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Mindpro
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Quote:
How do performers that might do a more classic stage or parlor show see the upcoming street magicians and vice versa? When did street magic really become a thing? The first "street magician" that I remember being aware of was David Blaine. Just curious to hear thoughts about these approaches to performing and what people see as pros and cons, etc..


There are varying thoughts on this as there are those that feel the street things comes from busking, while others believe it simply evolves from doing "a little something" for family and friends to moving towards doing the same thing for others you don't know, while still others see it as a step between being an amateur or hobbyist to performing for others without the need for a structured show. To me, much of today's street thing strongly resonates with the European crowd for a variety of reasons different from the US market as far as possible or limited performing venues.

Also, you do not need anything but a few tricks trug together to do closeup work, simply repeated over and over again, as opposed to a fully structured full-length stage performance which requires a great deal more and many different aspects.

Personally, I think closeup strips many of the experience of magic that comes with the longtime stage magicians. Today's street performing is ambush performing, is much more about "look at me and the cool stuff I can do" and is less about the experience of the recipient. Reactions that the performer is going for is also different today and is more performer-based than the experience of those they are performing for.

Many will also say that attention spans are much shorter which also comes into play as well.
danaruns
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Quote:
On Jan 8, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
David Blaine is a TV magician, not a street magician.


Yeah, Danny is right. Blaine's genius was in turning the camera on the spectators rather than the magician, and this gives us a more immediate POV. But he's a TV magician.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Jan 8, 2019, danaruns wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 8, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
David Blaine is a TV magician, not a street magician.


Yeah, Danny is right. Blaine's genius was in turning the camera on the spectators rather than the magician, and this gives us a more immediate POV. But he's a TV magician.


This was brilliant I thought.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
George Ledo
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On Jan 8, 2019, Mindpro wrote:
Personally, I think closeup strips many of the experience of magic that comes with the longtime stage magicians.

I agree, but, from I've seen, I think the style of performance is the major part of it.

A few years ago I saw a friend, a full-time pro, do the Ambitious Card at a party. He started off by saying he was there as a guest and was taking the day off, and so the people around the table would do the magic. He killed. I don't care for close-up myself, so I was watching the people at the table, and they were as close to experiencing and feeling something impossible as I've ever seen.

How different from someone sitting there and saying, "Look how clever I am. First this is going to happen and then that's going to happen."
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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brad12d3
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On Jan 8, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
David Blaine is a TV magician, not a street magician.


Good point. I guess I was thinking of his approach walking around streets and neighborhoods performing for random people.

Of course there are many magicians that produce content for television working in different approaches and venues. David tends to wander around whereas a good chunk of someone like Copperfield was a stage show with the occasional destination illusion.

I guess I was curious what people thought about the spontaneous nature of wandering streets performing for random people vs a focused stage or parlor show.
brad12d3
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Quote:
On Jan 8, 2019, Mindpro wrote:
Quote:
How do performers that might do a more classic stage or parlor show see the upcoming street magicians and vice versa? When did street magic really become a thing? The first "street magician" that I remember being aware of was David Blaine. Just curious to hear thoughts about these approaches to performing and what people see as pros and cons, etc..




There are varying thoughts on this as there are those that feel the street things comes from busking, while others believe it simply evolves from doing "a little something" for family and friends to moving towards doing the same thing for others you don't know, while still others see it as a step between being an amateur or hobbyist to performing for others without the need for a structured show. To me, much of today's street thing strongly resonates with the European crowd for a variety of reasons different from the US market as far as possible or limited performing venues.

Also, you do not need anything but a few tricks trug together to do closeup work, simply repeated over and over again, as opposed to a fully structured full-length stage performance which requires a great deal more and many different aspects.

Personally, I think closeup strips many of the experience of magic that comes with the longtime stage magicians. Today's street performing is ambush performing, is much more about "look at me and the cool stuff I can do" and is less about the experience of the recipient. Reactions that the performer is going for is also different today and is more performer-based than the experience of those they are performing for.

Many will also say that attention spans are much shorter which also comes into play as well.


This is what I was kind of thinking. I can see the challenge of trying to create a deep cohesive experience on the street working with random passerbys vs a parlor show where you have a captive audience who has come looking for experience and intends to stay for a while.

Street magic seems more like a collection of entertaining short stories whereas a stage show could produce a longer more in depth narrative.
brad12d3
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Quote:
On Jan 8, 2019, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Performing for people is different than performing for a camera for likes on Facebook. Pranking is different from social engagement.
Street (magic) performers have been busy since ancient Greece and been discussed in our books on doing tricks as far back as you care to look.


I agree.

Sure, busking and street performing have been around forever. However, I can't recall being aware of "celebrity" street performers who were well known but used the streets as their stage as opposed to a produced stage show before Blaine.
Mindpro
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A few things...you have to remember Blaine doesn't just wander around the streets and neighborhoods UNLESS there are cameras following him. It isn't for street magic it's for t.v. or video magic.

Secondly, the experience is different for the recipients because in the streets they are not paying for it or expecting it, whereas in a stage or theater setting they are paying for it, going specifically for that and have a completely different set of expectations, which of course leads to an entirely different impact on them.
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Jan 9, 2019, brad12d3 wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 8, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
David Blaine is a TV magician, not a street magician.


Good point. I guess I was thinking of his approach walking around streets and neighborhoods performing for random people.

Of course there are many magicians that produce content for television working in different approaches and venues. David tends to wander around whereas a good chunk of someone like Copperfield was a stage show with the occasional destination illusion.

I guess I was curious what people thought about the spontaneous nature of wandering streets performing for random people vs a focused stage or parlor show.


Well the first trick he always does is called "The Appearing Second Unit".

What happens is he sits in a limo and the production crew gets out and tells people David is about to do magic for them.

Then they do this THOUSANDS of times.

So I think that the idea of him doing tricks randomly as you think is a bit different in reality.

Nothing necessarily wrong with it mind you. But let's at least talk about the reality of it and not the public image.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
tommy
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Max Malini and Houdini both used the streets and David Blaine loved them and he was taught by what's his name, that well-known street magician from New York. Smile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y4Ayt7vG0Y
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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funsway
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Several years ago, Etienne Lorenceau worked on a C&B routine based on usage during the Spanish Inquisition.
I got involved in research and scripting in an attempt to pull many disjointed and fragmentary ideas together.
Much of the "evidence" and "facts" are pulled from letters and Church documents of questionable authenticity written years later,
but do provide a background of the life of a street performer in 16th century Spain.

Part of one letter translates:

"The claim of heresy is often improperly used here to include those not bound by the Nicene Creed. This case is of a jongleur type street performer of dubious history. He claims to be an injured hero from the service of the revered Philip II in Moravia and exempt from petty crimes. There is an increasing number of such entertainers since the devastation of the plague two years ago and less employment in the military services. With less money to spend the common folk crave entertainment and spend less with local merchants. It seems that the plight of this Handel Busse is obviously prompted by disgruntled merchants more than fear of witchcraft or Protestant subversion. None the less, he stands accuse and must attempt to prove his innocence."

Magicians had to demonstrate their sleight of hand methods to a Court with the use of Cups felt to prevent the possibility of sleights and be proof of "other powers."

So, it would seem that street performers, including magicians, were common back then. I found no evidence of any such being severely prosecuted, but many evicted from the city or country as undesirable foreigners. I believe Etienne is still working with performers around the world to bring a long and involved routine to life based on this period of history.

HIs notes: "C&Bs potential effects" is incredibly detailed and extensive with many references to street type performers in various lands.
"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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Old magic was essentially charlatanry. Our magic is communally known as modern magic.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
funsway
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So tommy, when today's mentalist claims to have special mental abilities even though he uses trickery, is that new or old? Modern or ancient?

I feel that your claim has an element of truth, but is hardly a universal distinction - or communal.

I suggest that the fine line between demonstrating impossible things for entertainment or power is not new at all. It depends on culture and audience expectations or knowledge.
Yes, some magicians claimed special powers in older periods - and some do today, Ebay claims to know what is the ideal gift for me. Charlatanry!

In Turkey during the Ottoman Empire magical practices were restricted by law and severe punishment. Those demonstrating "special powers"
for religious purposes (ceremonial) could not perform for entertainment, while street type performers could never claim any special power for what they demonstrated.
This was a tradition and law dating back about 8,000 years. Only the degree of penalty was new. In neither case was charlatanry involved.

Many magic tricks popular today would have been illegal at that time such as claiming a coin travels up your sleeve and over your back - a false special ability.
A priest might claim to communicate with spirits but could never pull a coin from a kid's ear - even at a party.

Charlatanry requires a false claim of special ability for the purpose of cheating folks out of money or influence. (in most State laws)

To demonstrate an actual ability is never charlatanry even if money is involved. To falsely claim a special ability when the observer knows it is a trick is not charlatanry.

A doctor giving a placebo to a cancer patient might be charlatanry but is never called that. For a politician to use trickery to win an election is just "business as usual."
Both are modern activities that would have been considered "wrong" in older times.

Maybe it is the concept of charlatanry that has no place in our magic today. It requires a sense of morality that is dead, dead, dead ... Smile (that is a wink)
"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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The only charlatans around now come from the past.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
WitchDocChris
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On Jan 10, 2019, tommy wrote:
The only charlatans around now come from the past.


Without a qualifier I'd have to say this is clearly bunk. There are plenty of frauds around today and that's not going away any time soon.
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tommy
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Only those possessing the key could escape the persecutions of the theologians of the Middle Ages, who chased them with fire and sword; stake, gibbet, and cross.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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