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 Post subject: Okham's Razor
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:57 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 23 Feb 2012
Posts: 82
Greetings, Penguins.

I'd like to pose here a question that I am sure has been posed before, though I want to add something new as well.

The question: Whom, among all magicians, has most deeply inspired your work? You may choose ONLY one! No exceptions!

The addition: What specific aspect of this magician's work do you particularly admire and wish to incorporate in your own practice and performance?



Though it is undeniably difficult to narrow down the artists to one, I would say that the one magician from whom I have gained the most insight and inspiration is Tommy Wonder, for three reasons:

1. He was a student of acting, and that comes through in his appreciation for theatrical magic (not in the formulaic-stage-show sense that so many refer to it today). Nothing I have seen him perform is contrived or meaningless, and every single piece is emotionally charged, but above all it is art.

2. Tommy Wonder's misdirection is second to none, in my opinion. Perhaps this won't be received pleasantly, but I would even say that his skills in attentional direction surpassed those of Slydini. Here is my reasoning: Slydini was a master of misdirection, but he had one weakness (in my view). He used extraneous action to effect much of his attentional manipulation. Though it worked, it was unnatural. I will concede that this was most appropriate for him as opposed to any other performer, because his pieces were most often set to music, and were reminiscent of dance. Careful, peculiar choreography make sense in such a context. That said, I believe that Tommy Wonder's skill in this area was superior because there was no movement that could be misconstrued as sleight of hand. An audience watching magic is expecting sleight of hand. Slydini made his audiences question not the presence of sleight of hand, but rather its temporal placement. In other words, the audience was put in the mindset of looking for sleight of hand, but couldn't see through the carefully constructed camouflage of choreographed movements. In the case of Tommy Wonder, there seems always to be the question of whether he used trickery or was simply the last of actual magicians. No matter how closely one would observe Wonder, one would never find anything that looked unnatural - nothing that looked like it could be a "move" - and never would one have felt that they had been misdirected. Tommy Wonder made misdirection feel like the audience's choice.

3. Albeit biased, my final reason is that Tommy Wonder created the technology that made possible the very effect that sparked my interest in magic when I was 7 years old: Losander's Floating Table. Without Tommy Wonder's inspiration, this illusion would be only a fraction as beautiful as it is, and if not for Wonder, I may never have made the decision to enter this world.

I hope to develop the creativity that Tommy Wonder had so that I may find new ways to conjure old illusions, such that they allow even magicians to experience magic for the first time. More than this, one of my life goals is to gain an understanding of misdirection that is as informed and as strong as was his. Finally, I wish to create magic that is truly theatrical, and that has the power to garner genuine emotional investment on the part of those witnessing it.

Now then ... who inspires you?

~Breaux


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 Post subject: Re: Okham's Razor
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:23 am 
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Location: Milford OH
I cannot bring it down to ONE person. With me it is 3 magi that helped me, Gazzo, Kozmo, & Bobby Maverick" These guys are all full time buskers with wives & families and are VERY successful financially. But they will take time and teach anybody that wants to learn how to do what they do, plus they even will help a person out and work with them to make sure the person can a success.


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 Post subject: Re: Okham's Razor
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:12 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 20 Nov 2004
Posts: 721
I think for me...it would have to be Paul Harris

I consider myself a Close-Up Illusionist and for me Paul's outside-the-box approach to Magic is truly inspirational. His way of thinking can transcend into other areas of Magic, as well. Paul takes simple ideas and molds them into masterful pieces of art. I try to take the same approach to my own Magic...by thinking beyond the boundaries. Paul's work in Magic is why I bought into the fascinating and wonderful World of Magic. Thank you, Mr. Harris.


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 Post subject: Re: Okham's Razor
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:31 pm 
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Joined: 23 Feb 2012
Posts: 82
paddy wrote:
I cannot bring it down to ONE person. With me it is 3 magi that helped me, Gazzo, Kozmo, & Bobby Maverick" These guys are all full time buskers with wives & families and are VERY successful financially. But they will take time and teach anybody that wants to learn how to do what they do, plus they even will help a person out and work with them to make sure the person can a success.



Ahhhhh! I said no exceptions! This is supposed to be difficult, and nearly impossible. I know that everyone influences us in different ways, but surely there is one performer whom you believe has the best balance of everything a performer should ... ?

bLiNdSiDe, I am a fan of Paul Harris' work as well. His ideas are phenomenal, and one of his effects is the very reason for my reputation as a worker of impossible wonders. He is a phenomenal engineer of astonishment, although I can't say that I love his performing style. I believe it to be lacking in many respects. That said, I have a great deal of respect for him as a creative genius. He is certainly one of the most valuable contributors in the world of close-up magic, and without him I would not have part of my reputation. I owe him a great deal.


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 Post subject: Re: Okham's Razor
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:30 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 28 Jan 2009
Posts: 947
Location: Kettle Falls, WA
For me it's easy, my grandfather.

He pulled a quarter out of my ear and showed me a billiard ball manipulation when I was five years old. That was it, I was hooked. 33 years later I'm still loving it!

I also took lessons from Brad Montgomery in Denver Colorado growing up. He's an amazing magician and an even better guy. He books himself now as a motivational speaker. I was lucky growing up to be able to watch Dave Neighbors do his coin work at local magic shops. You haven't seen anything until you have watched Dave let it rip with a coin matrix. Closest thing to real magic with coins you will ever see!

Ok, I guess that was three......................... for just one I'll stick with my grandfather.

Ted


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 Post subject: Re: Okham's Razor
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:54 am 
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born to perform.

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Satanica wrote:


Ahhhhh! I said no exceptions! This is supposed to be difficult, and nearly impossible. I know that everyone influences us in different ways, but surely there is one performer whom you believe has the best balance of everything a performer should ... ?


The biggest problem with that, and the reason these threads are usually "Top 5", is that having only one person to draw inspirations has a bad tendency of making you a copy cat. That is why having a few serious influences is generally a better way to look at it. That way, even if you lack the self confidence to create your own persona, at least you will be somewhat unique if only for the combination of influences you choose from.

For analogy, think of whiskey. Cheap whiskey in a mixed drink can still make a tasty cocktail but by itself cheap whiskey is just cheap whiskey.


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 Post subject: Re: Okham's Razor
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:21 am 
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Joined: 27 Jun 2011
Posts: 131
Location: Philippines
Harry Anderson.

I love the cynical, funny, and non-magician, Harry The Hat character he has. He is such an impeccable liar... I mean story teller. And just such a smooth performer. Although Doug Henning was my first memorable magical exposure it was Harry Anderson that made me want to try it myself.

No matter who else I learn from I think the one that inspired me to start has to be the most important influence.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:17 am 
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Joined: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 5
Tim Ellis

Tim's ability to change characters and fit his illusions and tricks to each character he portrays is incredibly inspiring. Everything he's put out has given me a lot of food for thought. Run Around Sue is a perfect example but all of his dvds get watched more than any other magic video in my collection and I keep a copy of his book next to my notebook at all times.


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 Post subject: Re: Okham's Razor
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:08 pm 
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Joined: 23 Feb 2012
Posts: 82
eostresh wrote:
Satanica wrote:


Ahhhhh! I said no exceptions! This is supposed to be difficult, and nearly impossible. I know that everyone influences us in different ways, but surely there is one performer whom you believe has the best balance of everything a performer should ... ?


The biggest problem with that, and the reason these threads are usually "Top 5", is that having only one person to draw inspirations has a bad tendency of making you a copy cat. That is why having a few serious influences is generally a better way to look at it. That way, even if you lack the self confidence to create your own persona, at least you will be somewhat unique if only for the combination of influences you choose from.

For analogy, think of whiskey. Cheap whiskey in a mixed drink can still make a tasty cocktail but by itself cheap whiskey is just cheap whiskey.



I completely understand what you are saying. I'd like to clarify this for everyone reading: I am not advocating drawing influence from only one performer and using that performer's style and mannerisms in imitation. What I am challenging everyone to do is to consider the many facets of a great magician, and attempt to name the one whom you believe to possess all of those qualities in the best ratios.

Inspiration should indeed be drawn from as many places and people as possible! Nonetheless, I do believe that one performer likely inspires one person more than does any other. My intention with this thread is to force magicians to deliberate over what qualities ideally suit their causes and styles in magic. Once those things have been decided, I hope everyone will entertain the question of which magician from history best fit(s) that profile. The final question: How did that magician fit those criteria from your perspective, and what about this performer in particular would you wish to do just as well (not identically, mind you; rather, with as much efficacy).

Every cocktail must have the right ratios of spirits and other ingredients. Some have too much alcohol and not enough flavor. Others have too much flavor and not enough kick. The perfect cocktail is an entirely subjective concept, and may never exist. Just like a cocktail, a magician must have certain qualities in just the right proportions. The questions are, A) Which performer comes closest to the perfect mix of alcohol and flavors? B) How so? and C) Which of your own ingredients do you wish to adjust in light of observing said performer?

Also, please keep in mind that I am struggling with this topic myself, and naturally there is no correct answer due to the subjectivity of the prompt. Discussion is the ultimate goal.


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