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Jaz
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There's a short discussion on "True Wizardry" here:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=27

I think this topic was originally about comedy enhancing magic.
It's seems that it's now about making entertainment magic more believable and real.
Pete W.
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Brad,
I think your teaching videos are great.....I purchased 3 of them.
That being said, a note about your topic should include the aspect of whom we are performing for. People expect magicians to be "tricksters"...we've created that image ourselves. When David Blaine first arrived in the public eye, people did wonder if some of his miracles were really "real". When I first saw David, I had to admit that even though he was doing standard effects, he had put the "magic" back into it. I actually felt a little ashamed that I could do the same effects with the same technical ability but without the "wonder" that he created. Maybe more of us will get back on that track....(without appearing psycho!)

And also....

How in the world could I forget the magic of Ricky Jay?!

What a sense of wonder that gentleman can create.
"Amatuers perform different tricks for the same people. Professionals perform the same tricks for different people."...Al Goshman
Brad Burt
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Dear Pete:

Exactly my point! We have made ourselves into tricksters, but is that really what want? If it is then fine. I have no problem with that, but let's not call ourselves magicians anymore.

Note: This did originally start with a question about Comedy and Magic, but if you read it carefully its all about the same thing. It may not appear so at first, but look closer.

Get in touch with the history of magic especially from about the late 1920's backward. Those guys knew how to play up the part of BEING a magician. I contend the following: We could change this slide into puzzledom if we wanted to. The magic community still so realitively small that a change in direction could come about. How? Not a clue. I know that Eugene Burger and Jeff McBride think along similar lines and that they are attempting to recapture the 'magic' in magic. That's all. I'm just suggesting that if we want to be magicians that we begin to think 'magically'. Best,

Brad Burt
Brad Burt
Jaz
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Ok, so basically the topic is about making magic better. Yes?

I hope this can be related to.
Several years ago there was a TV show where several people, I believe they were Russian, were supposedly moving small objects with their minds.
What made them convincing was that they acted as if it was draining their energy.They stuggled, hesitated, said they were not sure it could be done under the studied conditions but.. they finally did move the items.
Scientists believed!
Why?
Acting and drama.
Today things are floated on a whim! People levitate and fly! Things are done as if it was all so easy.

Drama, comedy, storytelling can all enhance a magic performance.

I haven't seen a lot of performers but I've always liked Tina Lennert's 'scrub woman' act, Cardini's act, Burger. Rene Lavand also. The magic either happens to them or it is used to enhance their story. Why the magic is happening seems justified.
saxmangeoff
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"Why" is a big question, and one I'm still working on answering for myself and my magic.

Why do the coins go from one hand to the other?

Why does the jack of clubs in the spectator's hand turn into her selected card?

Why does the lady float?

A lot of magic doesn't seem to have any better answer than "because it's cool." I thought Copperfield's flying was the best levitation ever. In part because it was so beautiful, but more because he had a good reason for it -- he wanted to fly. Don't we all? And he didn't have to put anyone into a fake trance....

Geoff
"You must practice your material until it becomes boring, then practice it until it becomes beautiful." -- Bill Palmer
Brad Burt
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Dear Saxmangeoff and all:

I had hoped that this thread would evolve almost exactly as it has. A question that has haunted me magically for some time now is this: Why exactly do we think that some of the routines we do are magic? Or, why should they be perceived by the audience as magic? Or, well, you get the idea. Again, I have almost 33 years of doing magic continuosly. In some cases literally all day long. Unless you are too dull for words, you begin to see patterns and form questions that will either destroy your ability to do magic or radically change and improve what you do. I hoping for the latter.

In answer to my question, I have decided that again if you push magic BACK more to its roots, what Burger, et al have been attempting on one level, but which I think more in terms of the mid 19th century to the early 20th century performers and the ATTITUDE towards the performance of magic then you get close to what I am talking about. Consider that Billy Robinson aka Chung Ling Soo kept up the 'illusion' that he was not just a Chinese performer, but a CHINESE MAGICIAN a 100% of the time he was in public. I'm not suggeting the we walk around constantly in costume, I'm suggesting that our ATTITUDE towards magic each and EVERY time we do an effect is that THAT particular effect is something fabulous, mysterious, not to be taken lightly EVEN if we somehow inject humor into the performance....although I continue to contend that to the extent that humor is used the MAGIC of the routine is lessened in the MINDS of the audience. The entertainment value might be higher, I'm not argueing that or even against that, I just don't think that the 'magic' itself is made more magical.

I'm talking in terms of the 'IDEAL'. I admit it. I also admit that right now if I had the choice I would rather hear an audience member say of 'my' magic, "That guy scared me! Did you see the.....", instead of, "That guy really made me laugh." "Really, what did he do?" "I don't remember, but he's really funny."

I'm not kidding. I would love do magic of which is was said latter that it kept audience members up at night. Best of the New Year to you all,
Brad Burt
saxmangeoff
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Brad,

I've been trying to figure out how to word the next question that occurs to me in this, and now I have it, thanks to something you posted in the "letter answered" thread. You said:

Quote:
Don't do your magic in a challenging manner. Do it as if you have just found a frog that dances and sings and you REALLY....CAN .... show them your dancing and singing frog.


So, my question is: What if your singing dancing frog is genuinely funny? What if you do a duet of "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" with your frog?

Do you think the frog has to scare people, or is it ok if he leaves people wondering if they were imagining things, or if they really did just see a singing dancing frog?

Geoff
"You must practice your material until it becomes boring, then practice it until it becomes beautiful." -- Bill Palmer
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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I think, more to the point, what do you want to be to the public?:

A trickster? Perhaps call yourself an illusionist and fight the term magician tooth and nail?

A shaman or wizard, in which case you really ARE a con man?

The reason most performers of illusion call themselves magicians is that it is the accepted term most laymen are familiar with (just as the term in vogue was once 'juggler').

One phenomenon that you will have to battle with, if you DO admit to using deception, is people constantly asking, "So are you, like, a magician?"

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
zur
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Jay Sankey has a section on his thoughts about magic and comedy in his book "beyond secrets".
Hansen
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Hi Brad,

I've just stumbled upon this topic (only two years too late!). I've also struggled with the same ideas, and I agree wholeheartedly with your argument.

I love comedy. There are few pleasures in life more intense than a good belly laugh. I also love magic. What a great joy it is to be truly enchanted. Can these two great pleasures be combined to create one super pleasure for both the performing magician and his audience? I'm not sure. I think it is possible, but extremely rare. It certainly is difficult. Maybe a truly great artist could achieve it. Shakespeare's works, for example "A Midsummer Night's Dream", provide proof that it is achievable. There are also moments in Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful" that scale these heights.

Like yourself, my true love in magic is card effects. For laughter and sheer entertainment, a performance by the likes of Bill Malone is hard to beat. The way Bill brings such fun, laughter and amazement to his audience to truly a magnificent gift. Is it real magic? Of course not. Does it look like real magic? Not really, I think it appears even to laymen as great skill at sleight of hand, misdirection etc. But everyone is having such great fun that nobody cares! His audience will remember that night for the rest of their life BECAUSE they had so much fun. Great happiness is in itself an enchantment, and it will take pride of place in the memory for a lifetime.

Having said that, I do not want to perform magic that is not perceived as magic. I don't want my audience to say "That's great! I didn't see anything. Your sleight of hand is first-rate!" So in recent months I've been moving away from pure skill-based sleight of hand. My treasures now are the works of Simon Aronson and Barrie Richardson. Subtleties, psychology, principles. I love it when even though I know how its done, it still looks impossible - like real magic! These works are bordering on genius! What a rare joy it is to meet genius! Much rarer than the joy of laughter. Both are true joys, ONE IS MUCH RARER. Both bring such pleasure to life!

Another thought is the recent problem of exposure on the internet. Magic (sleight of hand magic) is engaged in a fight for its very life. The beauty of a double lift is now known by people with just a mild, passing curiosity as to "how is it done". Think of how many wonderful card effects are put to the sword if your audience is not "tricked" by a double lift.

The Art of Magic must move in a new direction. Perhaps the best direction is, as you have so wisely stated, back to the performance of REAL MAGIC...

Cheers,
Jason
damkat69
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I think that comedy compliments magic, I do not think that anyone on this forum is a warlock or a witch, so in that case magic is about trickery. Why do we call our-selfs magicians? I believe that in the eyes of the people who watch us we are preforming magic. That one brief moment where nothing else matters, where we can forget about our hectic lives and live and enjoy the moment. That is what magic is to me and that is what I try to bring to the people watching me preform. In this sense I am a magician. Can I make a card appear out of thin air without some trickery??? no. Can you???? Smile
ViciousCycle
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Quote:
On 2004-12-28 23:25, saxmangeoff wrote:
So, the question, for which I have no answer, is: Why are Shakespeare's tragedies more well-known than his comedies?


According to the Reduced Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare's tragedies are funnier than his comedies. And I would have to agree. Humor turns up in odd moments in the tragedies: Lear becoming fruity on his way to madness, Hamlet reminiscing on Yorrick while holding Yorrick's skull. In Shakespeare's comedies, the comedy is formula: mistaken identity, use of disguises, etc. But in Shakespeare's tragedies, the comedy makes one stop and take a second look at reality, life, death, etc.

How does this tie back to magic? Magic makes one stop and question reality, perhaps not as severe as Hamlet or Lear questioning reality, but a questioning nonetheless. And this makes one aware of how absurd life can seem.

One trick I commonly do for friends is Cardtoon. It's a simple little comedy trick, but I usually find it amusing listening to people try to work through their bafflement. One person might be convinced that I've done some little mind game to influence the card that they freely named. Another person might be convinced that I've somehow managed to figure out what their favorite card is. And yet still another will first dismiss the effect as a 'trick deck' -- but then get annoyed when they can't figure out how it's done. Hamlet struggles to figure out what is going on in Denmark, Lear struggles to figure out what is going on in his kingdom, and still other people might struggle when they find their sense of reality teased by a silly little card trick.
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