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 Post subject: straight jacket....still?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:29 pm 
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I was perusing the escapology forums in search of something worth wile and i came across a topic related to busking and escapology.
One of the participants of this conversation commented

"Everyone loves watching a straight jacket escape."

This struck me as odd; I love a good busking show I myself busk. And always keep my eyes peeled for a good magic show but i am always disappointed when the magician whips out his straight jacket.

I have seen this escape many times, and in my opinion has always been boring, regardless of the presentation.

Escape need spectacle and i feel that this effect/escape has lost its spectacle.

I have been to performances where this effect/escape has left the crowd thinner than before. i feel that some escapes are fun and good for a performance but has the straight jacket become obsolete?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:53 pm 
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The people I perform it for seem to like it. I love watching the straight jacket escape, and I've had people ask to see it also.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:46 pm 
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Thats really the toughest part of Escapes, if not the most important part- The presentation.

I have performed the SJ escape numerous times, always with great audience reaction. I get them involved whenever and however possible. I make the escape funny yet strenuous.

I also varry up the entire escape, not always doing the traditional timed SJ escape; by adding chains, rope, plastic bags, a female assistant or another SJ.

I too have seen my fair share of boring performances, lacking in style or flair.

But Dead... I believe it is far from it.

And do I agree with the quote on "Every one loves..."
No, I dont believe that. That is like saying ever one loves chocolate ice-cream. Just doesnt hold water.


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 Post subject: Re: straight jacket....still?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:32 pm 
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enFont wrote:
...i am always disappointed when the magician whips out his straight jacket.


So am I... but not because I don't necessarily believe that everyone loves a straitjacket escape. Rather, it's because I don't believe a "straight" straitjacket escape has any place in a magic show.

IMHO, escapes are not magic in and of themselves, even when they involve gimmicks rather than the actual ability to escape. Escapes are not magical; they can become magical when combined with a transposition or disappearance or some other magical effect.

But when a magician whips out a straitjacket and does a straightforward timed escape, I can't help but think the poor guy has no real sense of his identity as a performer.


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 Post subject: Re: straight jacket....still?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:32 pm 
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TheCaffeinator wrote:
enFont wrote:
...i am always disappointed when the magician whips out his straight jacket.


So am I... but not because I don't necessarily believe that everyone loves a straitjacket escape. Rather, it's because I don't believe a "straight" straitjacket escape has any place in a magic show.

IMHO, escapes are not magic in and of themselves, even when they involve gimmicks rather than the actual ability to escape. Escapes are not magical; they can become magical when combined with a transposition or disappearance or some other magical effect.

But when a magician whips out a straitjacket and does a straightforward timed escape, I can't help but think the poor guy has no real sense of his identity as a performer.



The very reason why I keep my Magic and Escapes apart. Either be a magician or an escape artist for the show.
I once tried mixing them, just didnt flow as well as I wanted. And it leads people to a false sense sometimes.

Even when I do small parties, I tell them I will do one of the other. If they insist on both, I still keep them apart by starting with one, taking a break, then starting a whole another show.
Enless of course as you pointed out, you use an escape device for a magicial effect.

Yes, escapes arent magic, they are on a whole different level. They can still be just as entertaining, in the right hands of course.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:18 am 
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In a long show I would use audiance members on stage with a little comedy followed by my dove routine, I would then take a small break while the assistants gather the people needed to lock me into whatever restraint I was using for the show. I would change while the assistants were instructing the participents what they were going to do and telling the audiance about the escape. I would cotinue with audiance participation and end with a levitation. In a small show I would end after the escape and omit the dove act.


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 Post subject: Re: straight jacket....still?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:55 am 
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DavieG wrote:
Yes, escapes arent magic, they are on a whole different level. They can still be just as entertaining, in the right hands of course.


I wouldn't say that escapes "are on a whole different level" than magic because that implies some sort of hierarchy, suggesting that magic is inherently superior to escapes as a form of entertianment or vice-versa. Personally, I wouldn't be that presumptuous. Rather, I'd put them in separate categories on the same plane -- I like to use Venn diagrams for this sort of thing.

DavieG wrote:
They can still be just as entertaining, in the right hands of course.


Absolutely!


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 Post subject: Re: straight jacket....still?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:12 am 
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TheCaffeinator wrote:
DavieG wrote:
Yes, escapes arent magic, they are on a whole different level. They can still be just as entertaining, in the right hands of course.


I wouldn't say that escapes "are on a whole different level" than magic because that implies some sort of hierarchy, suggesting that magic is inherently superior to escapes as a form of entertianment or vice-versa. Personally, I wouldn't be that presumptuous. Rather, I'd put them in separate categories on the same plane -- I like to use Venn diagrams for this sort of thing.

DavieG wrote:
They can still be just as entertaining, in the right hands of course.


Absolutely!



Ya, I didnt mean a whole different level in terms of hierarchy, I couldnt think of the word I wanted to use, so I used that statement instead.
As one is not higher than the other in the form of entertainment capability.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:28 am 
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I perform magic and escapes together all of the time. I try to make each and every effect that I perform funny and entertaining. If I can make my rope tie, straight jacket, packing crate escape, or whatever funny, then it comes off as the same thing I've been doing the whole show.

Structure is another big part of this. A lot of magicians would say "never do a magic trick, then go right in to an escape". I beg to differ. Me lead in to my cut and restored rope routine is a quick "in and out" rope escape. Having this rope examined and then being able to escape at will in my mind plants a good seat in the audiences brains that what I am doing is "magic". Plus, an "in and out" rope escape can sometimes look like magic anyway, depending on how you play it up and the type of audience you have.

I've done this sequence in my shows.

Straight Jacket, Tossed out Deck, Packing Crate Escape.

Now that doesn't flow, right? Wrong. I've justified my patter for the situation and like any other magician who thinks can do, I made them connect and not seem "weird" or "out of place" in a magic show. I try to mix escapes and magic up in all of my shows, and it works. People love them just as much as they love the magic because of the comedy factor.

The trick to escapes is the patter and presentation.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:06 pm 
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There are exceptions to every rule, but the simple fact that those exceptions exist doesn't mean that the rule is wrong or useless.

So you stick a Tossed-Out Deck between a Strait-Jacket Escape and a Packing Crate Escape. If it works for you, then I suppose it works for you. Without seeing your script, I can't comment as to why.

But the fact that you stick a TOD between two escapes is simply proof that it can be done, not proof that it is a good idea. Almost anything is possible. The simple fact that you can do something is not in itself an indication that you should. Nor does it conflict with the idea that replacing the TOD with something closer to an escape could provide a stronger sense of focus and continuity to the act.

Generally speaking, sandwiching a mentalism effect between two escapes is not a good idea. In itself, it suggests a lack of focus, structure, and clarity of persona. However, maybe your presentation works... or maybe you're fooling yourself. It's hard to say without having seen the performance.

This might not be easy to grasp, but the fact that the audience applauds is not necessarily an indication that what you did was good or that it couldn't be improved by being changed.

"Performance rules" can be broken. I've done it, and I'll likely do it in the future. But the important thing is to first learn the rules and understand why they are rules and what the concepts underlying those rules are. Only then you can reach beyond them.

But in a forum like this, where most of the members are beginners or beginners who think they aren't beginners, it's best to emphasize the rules rather than pat yourself on the back for breaking them. This is especially true with what we're talking about here because, as you've suggested, making it work is largely about careful scripting and strong presentation, whereas the reality is that scripting and presentation skills are few and far between in "magicians" at the level of most members here.

In your post, you made a very interesting statement, and you need to think carefully about its implications:

Maloney123 wrote:
If I can make my rope tie, straight jacket, packing crate escape, or whatever funny, then it comes off as the same thing I've been doing the whole show.


What you're suggesting is that comedy is what binds your act together. There's nothing wrong with that per se, and in the corporate world, "Funny is money." But you should know the risks. Be careful here, because you can end up being perceived not as a magician or an escape artist, but as a comedian who includes magic and escapes in his act. If you just want to be a funny guy, then, theoretically, you can replace your TOD with slipping on a banana peel and falling on your butt.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:05 pm 
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TheCaffeinator, mabey you should give the rules that you are talking about so that everyone knows what you are talking about. Myself I have been doing magic for 40 years and I don't know what rules you are talking about, I didn't really know that there were rules. I guess there are but I really don't think of them as rules, mabey I have been doing this too long and just don't remember, so... mabey you could share them with everyone reading this topic.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:13 pm 
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You probably know the "rules" I'm thinking of. Magic is full of them. You've probably heard many of them... you just might not think of them as "rules." Some of them get discussed and debated around here quite a bit.

Things like...

"Don't do card tricks for kids."
"Never expose magic secrets to laymen."
"Never perform the same trick for the same audience in the same show."
"Don't mix magic and mentalism."
"Confusion isn't magic."
"Don't put anything in your mouth or pull anything out of your mouth during a kids' show."
"The real secret is presentation."
"Fifteen-year-olds shouldn't try to get restaurant walkaround jobs."
"There are no bad tricks, only bad magicians."
"Books are better than DVDs."
"Magicians shouldn't do flourishes."
"Magicians should do flourishes."

...and so on.

I've been doing magic for almost 40 years, as well, and I've heard them all. Some are silly... some make sense. Almost all of them have some sort of grounding in truth.

Perhaps "soundbytes," sayings," "proverbs," "guidelines,"or "chestnuts" would be more accurate terms than "rules," but some guys treat all this "nuggets of wisdom" as if they really are rules. :wink:


Last edited by TheCaffeinator on Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:19 pm 
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Tank you for sharing as I forgot about some of those, after doing this for so long you just forget a lot of this as it is common sense. Don't do a messy trick and then do something with cards! (candy, eggs ect...).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:20 am 
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TheCaffeinator wrote:
There are exceptions to every rule, but the simple fact that those exceptions exist doesn't mean that the rule is wrong or useless.

So you stick a Tossed-Out Deck between a Strait-Jacket Escape and a Packing Crate Escape. If it works for you, then I suppose it works for you. Without seeing your script, I can't comment as to why.

But the fact that you stick a TOD between two escapes is simply proof that it can be done, not proof that it is a good idea. Almost anything is possible. The simple fact that you can do something is not in itself an indication that you should. Nor does it conflict with the idea that replacing the TOD with something closer to an escape could provide a stronger sense of focus and continuity to the act.

Generally speaking, sandwiching a mentalism effect between two escapes is not a good idea. In itself, it suggests a lack of focus, structure, and clarity of persona. However, maybe your presentation works... or maybe you're fooling yourself. It's hard to say without having seen the performance.

This might not be easy to grasp, but the fact that the audience applauds is not necessarily an indication that what you did was good or that it couldn't be improved by being changed.

"Performance rules" can be broken. I've done it, and I'll likely do it in the future. But the important thing is to first learn the rules and understand why they are rules and what the concepts underlying those rules are. Only then you can reach beyond them.

But in a forum like this, where most of the members are beginners or beginners who think they aren't beginners, it's best to emphasize the rules rather than pat yourself on the back for breaking them. This is especially true with what we're talking about here because, as you've suggested, making it work is largely about careful scripting and strong presentation, whereas the reality is that scripting and presentation skills are few and far between in "magicians" at the level of most members here.

In your post, you made a very interesting statement, and you need to think carefully about its implications:

Maloney123 wrote:
If I can make my rope tie, straight jacket, packing crate escape, or whatever funny, then it comes off as the same thing I've been doing the whole show.


What you're suggesting is that comedy is what binds your act together. There's nothing wrong with that per se, and in the corporate world, "Funny is money." But you should know the risks. Be careful here, because you can end up being perceived not as a magician or an escape artist, but as a comedian who includes magic and escapes in his act. If you just want to be a funny guy, then, theoretically, you can replace your TOD with slipping on a banana peel and falling on your butt.


During mentalism, even though I do use humor, I play it off as a huge feat. I'm serious while performing, but can add some humor to my mind reading or prediction acts. Something like you'd see from Max Maven.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:02 pm 
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Maloney123 wrote:
...Something like you'd see from Max Maven.


But what you won't see in a Max Maven show is a rope tie or a packing crate escape. :wink:

Max Maven's persona is very well-defined, and his show very focussed. Mentalism from beginning to end... one reason, perhaps, why Phil Goldstein ceased to exist.

Not a criticism... just a thought.


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