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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » When did you become a mentalist? (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mac_Stone
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Miami, FL
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Mentalism is not supposed to be anything. There are no right answers, anybody that tells you otherwise doesn't understand the question.

You are a performer above all else regardless of whatever label you give yourself if any. As long as audiences enjoy what you do nothing else really matters.

Don't concern yourself with anyone's opinion other than your audience's but do listen to them carefully.
Lior
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Quote:
On Oct 15, 2020, Mindpro wrote:
That's a nice overview Martin. So true. The Blaine specials began in 1997, Brown's in 2000 so that aligns close to Lior's timeline.

This is when the magic-mentalism boom and bandwagon began within the magic community as well.


Yes. I wrote it in the original post.
I am looking through some magazines to see when
they started doing more articles and more reviews
about mentalism and when did it became more
mainstream in Magic and Genii.
Lior
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Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On Oct 16, 2020, Lior wrote:
Quote:
On Oct 15, 2020, Mindpro wrote:
That's a nice overview Martin. So true. The Blaine specials began in 1997, Brown's in 2000 so that aligns close to Lior's timeline.

This is when the magic-mentalism boom and bandwagon began within the magic community as well.


Yes. I wrote it in the original post.
I am looking through some magazines to see when
they started doing more articles and more reviews
about mentalism and when did it became more
mainstream in Magic and Genii.
Lior

I remember being ridiculously excited when Magic Magazine did a feature on Chan Canasta, which must have been late 90s. So it was certainly a rare occurrence to see mentalism given decent house room in those publications, pre-21st century.
Lior
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I was lucky to see a real show of Chan when he visited Israel.
I was 21 years old. 1983
Talk To The Screen. The best effect for professionals
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Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On Oct 16, 2020, Lior wrote:
I was lucky to see a real show of Chan when he visited Israel.
I was 21 years old. 1983

I remember you saying that on the Café a few years ago. What I'd give to have seen Canasta live!
Lior
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It is a very strong memory.
He did only 3 effects but everything was
beautifully done.
He amazed the country twice on TV 2 weeks before.

Lior
Talk To The Screen. The best effect for professionals
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Luke Jonas
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There does seem to be a lot of 'elitism' from many 'Mentalist' performers who have to make it absolutely clear to their audiences and peers that they are a 'Mentalist' and not a magician.

I do get this in terms of a performance where you are for example performing a psychological piece, you want to explain to your participants that what you are doing is not any form of trickery or magic however, it is a specific and indifferent skill set entirely. But to a lay audience we are just performers and 99% of audiences will associate mentalism with magic and see one as the same. People will call Derren Brown a magician, Max Maven and anyone else will be perceived to be a generic magician by audiences.

as for the question, I do think that Derren Browns early TV specials especially in the UK were a changing point.

Luke.
Socrates
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Mentalism is fairly mainstream now. It was funny to see how many youngsters emulated Derren Brown when he first appeared on our TV screens here in the UK. Suddenly there was an abundance of 'Psychological Illusionists' on display Smile mentalism became hot property and a lot of money was to be made hawking tricks to magicians. The original question here is an interesting one "When did you become a mentalist?" Personally, I have never referred to myself as a mentalist... being one has never appealed to me, mind you I never liked being a magician either. Even when I was performing endless shows, all I wanted to do was get off the train. Charging people for magic never sat right with me, in fact for the most part I find it a curious thing to want to do as an adult anyhow, I guess that is why a lot of magicians began as children.

The underlying skills of magic are of great interest to me, but the tricks, well I'm perfectly happy to never perform another trick in my entire life - so the answer to the original question is I never became a mentalist.
Jerskin
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I started out in magic when I was seven. While I was in high school Kreskin had a weekly show on Canadian television that got me interested in mentalism.
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The Hermit
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Quote:
On Oct 16, 2020, Lior wrote:
Quote:
On Oct 15, 2020, Mindpro wrote:
That's a nice overview Martin. So true. The Blaine specials began in 1997, Brown's in 2000 so that aligns close to Lior's timeline.

This is when the magic-mentalism boom and bandwagon began within the magic community as well.


Yes. I wrote it in the original post.
I am looking through some magazines to see when
they started doing more articles and more reviews
about mentalism and when did it became more
mainstream in Magic and Genii.
Lior


In the late 90's and early 2000s you had a resurgence of new age stuff. Millenials were discovering Astrology, psychic phenomena and so on as it became more mainstream. You had DB doing mentalism in the UK and getting a lot of magic and public press. Always in magic one person pioneers a new approach (Henning, Copperfield, Blaine) and everyone else jumps on the bandwagon. Hence, more articles in magic magazines. New directions in magic(mentalism) are a combo of current gestalt and a smart performer repackaging the old to capitalize on the new public trend. Henning with the hippie vibe, Copperfiied with the MTV approach (all effects were stories) and Blaine merging magic and hip hop. The magic press doesn't lead the change, they only report on it.
John C
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Quote:
On Oct 13, 2020, Mindpro wrote:
Quote:
On Oct 12, 2020, Lior wrote:

What made you cross the border and when was it?

Lior


I'm always surprised when this topic comes up as it showcases magician's limited perspectives and understanding of mentalism. It always assumes all mentalists came from magic. It also helps others understand the divide.

There are some us us who came to mentalism NOT through magic at all, but rather through the mental arts without ever knowing anything about "magician's mentalism" or trickery. We came from actual mental interests and abilities such as the memory arts, hypnosis, etc.

It was only later we discovered what magician's consider mentalism.

So it is short-sighted to think all mentlaists come through magic (although I get this is a magic forum) yet explains the frustartion to mentalists that have come here to discuss the mental arts and more than just effects and trickery.

Funny this comes from a recognized PEA Member. Seems it may be just a magician's mentalist club these days too, Lol.

I think what magicians consider mentalism with the boom started in the late 1900s and early 2000s. It was a bandwagon that arrived in the magic community and it has only recently left town in the past few years. After such a bandwagon boom, the smoke clears and only a small fraction remains. The same happened after the standup comedy boom. Look at all the magic mentalists that have gone back to magic yet still "perform a mentalism effect or two" in their magic shows. They feel no responsibility to mentalism or the mental arts.

I came to mentalism in 1980 and you are correct there was VERY little available on it as an art. It was only though efforts in trying to learn and discover more about real mentalism that it led me to stumble upon magician's mentalism and all that comes with it. Initially, it was kind of exciting thinking these others had common interests, only to quickly become disappointed that their interests were not the same as ours.

At least during this time even the magic community through the '80s and early '90s treated their version of mentalism with more professionalism, respect, and standards. There was only a handful and they seemed to understand it being executed separately and independent of magic. I have old VHS performances from the PEA where the lecturers and performers actually clearly say "please do not share this with any magicians" for obvious reasons and they foresaw what this information would do in the hands of magicians that didn't undertsand these foundational differences and separation.


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TomB
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Quote:
There does seem to be a lot of 'elitism' from many 'Mentalist' performers who have to make it absolutely clear to their audiences and peers that they are a 'Mentalist' and not a magician.


I find this started in the 1970s with PEA members or PEA wannabes having the elitist attitude. These mentalist has passed on their attitude in their literature to reprogram future mentalist that they are not magicians. However, most mentalists realize they are magicians that perform a mental effect. Successful mentalists study magicians. Many mentalists that want to sell tickets understand they need to call themselves a magician. Once on stage, they make claims about being a mentalist but audience dismisses it and calls them magicians too.

I have seen talented magicians perform mental effects with great reactions as there is no odd looking props. I believe the rise in mentalism is because it is considered adult magic, and props and silliness are children magic.

Things go in waves. Card magic is really popular right now among new magicians.

As far as the original post, I would never become a mentalist as that would limit what tricks you perform.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Nov 21, 2020, TomB wrote:
Quote:
There does seem to be a lot of 'elitism' from many 'Mentalist' performers who have to make it absolutely clear to their audiences and peers that they are a 'Mentalist' and not a magician.


I find this started in the 1970s with PEA members or PEA wannabes having the elitist attitude. These mentalist has passed on their attitude in their literature to reprogram future mentalist that they are not magicians. However, most mentalists realize they are magicians that perform a mental effect.


I think for the PEA to succeed they needed to separate themselves from magicians. I don't think they had an elitist attitude, but rather that came from magicians that felt excluded or didn't understand the differences.

The mentalism boom (magic-mentalists) of the last decade - decade and a half muddied the waters even more.

What is really ironic is that so many magicians are now part of the PEA. Times have changed. Today the PEA seems to have lost it's exclusivity and luster and needs an update. Even longtime big names in the PEA seem to just be sideline-sitters as this change has taken place. It seems it's events, inner-participation and such have all also diminished. As a consultant I know exactly what I would do or advise them to do to regain their former positioning, which I think is even more important today than ever.

As far as you saying "Many mentalists that want to sell tickets understand they need to call themselves a magician", I can't agree with this at all. As a booker and promoter I haven't seem this at all.

I've heard of a couple of "mentalists" that claim they have to list themselves as magicians (because they claim people don't know what a mentalist is) in advertising or gig-listing services to get interested prospects. I blatantly disagree with this on all levels. If you are doing this you are doing something wrong. If you are doing this you are being seen as a magician. Thinking they can talk or steer prospects to mentalism once they make contact with them tells me a lot about how they do business and about their (lack of) positioning. It is a business model I wouldn't want anything to do with. It doesn't make sense on many levels.
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