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 Post subject: My Thoughts on Magic... In General
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:27 pm 
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Emperor Penguin

Joined: 03 Dec 2006
Posts: 7922
Location: Parkville, MO
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about our art. Not just what new tricks, books, or DVDs I should buy, but at the actual art. Things like, where is it taking us, how is it advancing, is it too open, is it too secretive? I'm going to explore these questions here, and hopefully it'll start some good conversations.

First off, there are a lot of people in our art... more than a lot of us could, or would want to, count. However, in relative comparison to other arts, like dancing, singing, and painting, there are very few who share our love of magic. Let's discuss these numbers a bit.

Some people think our art is too open... that anyone these days can go on the internet and "become a magician". I can see this, but will they truly be a magician if they just look up tricks on YouTube and other exposure-filled sites? No. Will those videos, or those who perform the effects from those videos truly hurt our art? In a way, yes. But for the most part, no, they will not.

Think about it. How many times have you actually had a spectator, in the middle of your performance, call you out saying, "I saw that on YouTube!" Odds are I have many of you struggling to find a memory that just isn't there.

Now think about how many new magicians we have. A relatively small amount these days. And when someone does ask us more experienced magicians where to start, and for some advice, we hole up and tell them to go buy books. I myself have done this before, but it's not right. We should welcome them into our art with open arms.

The only people really watching those videos are magicians. Bad ones at that, but ones that are too cheap to buy the material, yet still consider themselves "Gods with cards". We are a very small "brotherhood", and we are literally destroying our art from the inside.

Now, I think I've discussed that enough. Any further and it would be beating a dead horse. The next thing I want to talk about is presentation. Throughout the small number of new magicians we have in our art, there are even less who value the presentation of the effect as much as the more experienced magi do.

They fail to to realize that, yes, the effect may be great, fool-proof, "gets great reactions", but what is a trick without a magician? Recently I've been thinking about something. That without magicians... magic does not exist. Yes, there would still be gimmicks, tricks, DVDs, books, but without us to perform them... there would be no such thing as magic.

It's a sad thought, really, that as much as we focus on the tricks, we put so much effort into having the best Pass, or the smoothest Bottom Deal, that we put less and less thought into our presentations. Until we become boring drones with cool tricks. What fun is that?

I think we, as a whole, often forget that magic is not a competition to be better than your fellow magi, it is to entertain the lay! If you're better than somebody, and you realize it, don't rub it in their faces... help them out! They're never going to get any better if we don't help them. And there goes yet another magician who could be the next great in magic...

And now to my final question... how is our art advancing? Are we really getting anywhere? Sure, there are lots of new things on the market, new magic stuff... more things than I could possibly count. But is it a good thing? It gives us more to choose from, but the majority of the products haven't been thought through, field tested, and really planned out before being released.

With the internet and all the new technology developing around us, we tend to forget about the real shops... the people that we can always count on. Our local Brick 'n Mortar shops. We're quite literally putting them out of business by buying from stores like t11, Penguin, and Ellusionist. I am not saying this is a bad thing, as all those stores are fairly good. But what are we going to do if we lose our internet, and our local stores go out of business? We will be stuck... no new magic.

Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't seem like our art is really going anywhere. All the little guys, like your local restaurant or children's party magicians are helping our art immensely, but as much as they put us forward, people like Criss Angel and the YouTube are setting us back that much more.

Please, feel free to discuss anything I wrote here, as these are only the things that I have been feeling recently. Thanks for reading.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:37 pm 
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Very nice essay Drew. I read through it and agree with most of what you say. However, I don't feel out art is going backwards. It may be at a standstill with the media, but that will change again. Youtube hurts only the "school" magician, and that is only because he doesn't know what he is doing. He shouldn't be performing anyway, if he doesn't know who to perform for and when to perform it.

I heard a great quote once from a man named Hayashi. He said " Knowing when to NOT perform magic, is as important as know WHEN to perform magic."

Good essay Drew, good essay.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:55 pm 
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Thanks, it means a lot. I didn't really mean that our art was really going backwards, perse' (is that how you spell that?), but that it was in fact, at a standstill, and not going anywhere at the moment. Something written on this essay over at t11, and something that I totally agree with, is that, what is more important than answering the questions, is that we are at least asking them.

And yes, that's a great quote from Hayashi, and I myself have turned down performances from time to time for various reasons. But thanks for the compliments!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:53 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 21 Feb 2007
Posts: 1581
Location: Your mind
I have been a while off penguin, and now I'm happy to be back and read this. The main problem is that everything is so much accesible nowadays.
Much magician here have no relatives, or freinds that has been in magic before. They start off nothing, with book and dvd's. I don't cry of the acesibility of the internet, I praise it, because I use it the right way...

I quickly learn when I first started performing that magic is not about tricks, it's about showmanship, creativity, stage presence. People live predictable lifes, they want to see something that is out of bounds, something that they never saw. Not the french drop that your old uncle doe's whenever he is asked to do a trick. And there is the whole buisiness part of magic, how to market yourself? Good, now how to keep people expectations during the show so you don't ruin your reputation?

The bottom line is this : Find a IBM ring, an association, a freind, a relative or at least someone who perform magic, and does it well. Meeting someone in person is much more instructional that relying on pointers of people who you don't even know. Another things that happens on forum boards is this : people ask for advices but they juice their experience to don't appear unexperienced so he can still mislead with his advices. So people give advice for abselutely nothing.

If you expect this to happen and you are in a association, good chances are that they will want a proof, much critera for joining is showing them something. They are not seeking for new effects, nor old one. They are seeking for someone with potential, great Ideals.

Good essay, but it could have been longer since I felt there was some missing content, But good stuff! PM me Drew it's been a while, how its going? :lol:

~Blizt

[EDIT] : I know that a lot of people here don't have any relative or associations. It happened to me until I moved to Montreal to study. Learning the hard way... Is ALWAY the easiest way long term. But you will miss the ''transferation of thoughts'' from generation to generation. Speak with elders, so you can have the pleasure one day to transmit it to your kid, and your kid kids, and if you are lucky enough to your kid kids kids.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:58 pm 
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Thanks, and I agree, I should have added the I.B.M. thing in there. The main thing was just to get my personal feelings across, though. It wasn't meant to be informational, instructional, or anything of that nature.


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