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 Post subject: Stuck in the Past - An Essay by DWmagic
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 4:32 pm 
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Location: Bris'ol - England
I have been thinking recently about different peoples Performance styles. In doing this, I have discovered that many People are what I call, Stuck in the Past. Why and How are they doing this?

As many of you know, Robert Houdin was the first Magician, as we know Magicians today. He was first recognized by the World starting in 1845, when he opened 'Soirees Fantastiques' in Paris. His style of Performance was original in those days. He didn't wear the Wizards robes like other Magicians of Robert's time, he wore an evening dress. Why did he wear an evening dress? Because that was the clothing most commonly worn in 1845 . This gave the impression that subjects such as David Blaine and Criss Angel give to Audiences today; a man that can do supernatural things, but he looks just like a regular person would. However, Many Magicians are still wearing the type of clothes that Robert Houdin was wearing when he was performing for Audiences in 1845! I'm afraid that many people are not seeing the difference between then and now. I personally think that now, in the 21st centaury, we should be beyond top hats and white gloves.

However, it is not just the fact that people are wearing the clothes that are in my opinion outdated. It's the performance style of some of these people. For example, for those who live in England, you will know that Shakespeare is studied in Secondary Schools around the country. The Language in Shakespeare is very old, so is therefore difficult to understand. In the Elizabethan times, the Language used in Shakespeare was the norm, so for an audience in those times it was very easy to understand. I believe that it is exactly the same in Magic. Many Performers use an old fashioned Performance style, this is unnatural for an Audience to watch, as they are not used to it. I think that as long as this goes on, people will have the view of Magicians that they have had for a long time. - "For my next trick, I will pull a Rabbit out of a Hat."

For a gig, I don't wear street clothes, but in the same way, I don't wear an evening dress. Generally, I will wear a shirt, smart trousers and a Jacket. This is, what I find, not foreign clothing for a Audience, it is only smart clothing anyone might wear to a formal gathering. It does however, depend on the Gig. I may not wear a Jacket to some less formal occasions, and I may wear a tie to more formal occasions. For some gigs I might drop the shirt and wear a Black T-Shirt. As for my performance style, I am a Comedy Magician. Therefore my Performance style is... Comedy. I think it is important to find your style of Magic in order to avoid what I call, Stuck in the Past Magic.

However, I do think that you can go too far. I personally don't Blaine it. I do think that is perfectly normal to wear Street Clothes when you're Blaining it (I refuse to call it street magic). I am not a big fan of David's Personality on Camera. However, it works for him, and he got on TV for it, so it must be enjoyable for some people to watch. Many people are blindly following Blaine in his street magic, and this is what people think is Stuck in the Past Magic. I think that the Blaine faze is over, however we do have Mr. Angel, who everyone is now blindly following in just the same way as they did Blaine. These magicians are going to constantly what they see as Stuck in the Past, so they are getting brought up by the latest magic trends. I think you have to find your performance style and stick with it, and don't get obsessive about getting stuck in the past.

To Conclude. I think that many People are Stuck in the Past. Doing Magic the way it was done from 1845 onwards. However, I think that many people get to paranoid about being stuck in the past, so follow blindly in Magic's latest trends. I think that you should find a performance style for you, that isn't copying the latest trends, suits your personality, and isn't stuck in the past.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 4:58 pm 
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I agree completely. I dislike the Magic Circle for being "stuck in the past". They expect every magician to wear very smart clothing regardless to whether it fits their style or not. I take it as my duty to welcome them to the 21st century and I will have no part in their organization or ideas.

Good Essay.

Alex


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 10:34 pm 
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Ya our new jobs as magicians is still amaze but try to make a new style I think Im goin to make a post in general magic discussion and we all should try to get out of the past and make a new style nice job DW I complete agree in every thing you siad so any one what should the new style be Im thinking thins might be a good idea but I dont know mabey some day we slowly but shurley change it


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 12:24 am 
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Haha man these esays arent popular


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:32 am 
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EvanZ wrote:
Haha man these esays arent popular

What does that have to do with anything?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:40 pm 
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:lol: I had a good point at the time but now I forgot why I posted that :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:46 pm 
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Right now, I think it is more "tradition" than being "stuck in the past" I totally agree with you that the tophat idea is outdated, however, I do think that magicians still do it because it is traditionally done that way. Similar to Houdin's time. It was tradition and common practice to wear robes. However, he broke that tradition, and I think with Blaine and Criss Angel, these traditions are getting broken again.

I actually don't like Blaine and Criss Angel's performance styles very much, so I wouldn't say they will become the new standards. Just my opinions though.

- Peter


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:29 am 
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My normal dress for my shows is what you might call "Stuck in the Past". (However, like knifoon120, I prefer to call it "traditional".) I wear a coat and necktie in my shows, but I only have a top hat and wand as props for one of my routines. I don't wear gloves either.

I've discovered that the "traditional" image of a magician is still ingrained in many people's mind for some reason. Ask your average Joe what he thinks of when he hears the word "magician", and he'll probably describe someone in a black tuxedo or suit, and often with a hat and wand. And the children do it, too. Without fail, at every show I do at least one child will ask me if I'm going to pull a rabbit out of a hat! (They get really excited when I do in fact pull my top hat out from my bag!) I don't know why that is.

David Copperfield dresses more "business casual", if you want to call it that, Blaine dresses even more casual, and Chris Angel has some weird Goth thing going on. And many people recognize them as magicians and don't say things like, "Well, he sure doesn't look like a magician!" but that image is still there.

As far as style, I use a good bit of comedy, as well as pop-culture references (especially for children.) It works. I think you can look somewhat "traditional" but act a bit more "modern". (Think there was a discussion on this very point at one time.)

But that's just my personality, my style. Doesn't work for everyone, nor should it.


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 Post subject: Re: Stuck in the Past - An Essay by DWmagic
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 3:25 am 
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DWmagic wrote:
To Conclude. I think that many People are Stuck in the Past. Doing Magic the way it was done from 1845 onwards. However, I think that many people get to paranoid about being stuck in the past, so follow blindly in Magic's latest trends. I think that you should find a performance style for you, that isn't copying the latest trends, suits your personality, and isn't stuck in the past.


Great post. Getting me thinking as I am trying to sort through all of my random effects to refine/recreate my show.

What do you think the 'post-modern' magician will look like?

Justin


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