An Underground feeling, for some old classics

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Nathanael463, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. Hi all,

    I was sitting here listening to some of the Theory11 music for their many tricks (To which I say, Dana Hocking rocks) And I got inspired, and started picturing all the different tricks and moments that these songs went with. Then I started thinking about the classics. I own Bill Malone's :Malone Meets Marlo DVD's volumes 1-6 and I have taken a look at all of them and found some really good tricks, they truly are a tribute to the imagination of the great d Marlo.

    But then I started thinking. I really want to give my respect to the great founders of magic (Ed Marlo, Dai Vernon, etc) But like Daniel Madison once said in his Artist Manifesto "I will learn a trick because I respect any magician's ideas, but when I perform the trick, it has to be able to adapt to the situation."

    What my ultimate question is, is how do we put our underground spin, on some of the oldest classics known to the magic world? Because while some people want to be told that the aces magically jump from here to there. Many others will be left skeptical. They will say things like "The aces were there the entire time." And I know that we should stave off from performing for those people, because really it is a waste of our time. But that aside, how do we put our own underground spin on these classics? Whether that be through personality, or even down to the performance of the trick itself.

    Any advice you could all give me, would be great.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Underground is agreeably a very debatable subject. In my opinion there are very few people that fit this underground classification. The artists here on theory wouldn't fit the category because they are about as above ground as it gets in magic. When I think underground, the best example I have is an artist by the name of Banksy. A middle schooler performing in his bedroom is far from underground. Madison also made an excellent point in the manifesto that underground was what he labled himself to laymen to set himself apart from their image of magicians. How do we put our modern spin on the classics is the question that should be asked. And really it's about adapting it to fit you. Just like a singer will cover a song to sound like them rather than the original while still staying true to the original. Develop an emotional connection with your audience through the effect. Don't ruin the effect by throwing in a bunch of random flourishes and sleights to make it look cool. Just cut out the unnecessary bits and simplify. Just because you stick hockings music to it does not make it modern. It takes fluency in the art to really be original with others' work. Learn how they did it first. Why they did it. Why they chose the sleights and patter they chose and move from there. There's endless knowledge in the classics. Both what to do and what not to do. But it takes a wise man to decipher this accurately.
     
  3. Instead of asking how one can make effects fit a 'Word'

    one should be thinking of how they can make the effects fit their 'Personal Character'
     
  4. By agreeing to any form of the magician's oath, you have removed yourself and your understanding of this art from the mainstream. You are already underground.

    Any buzzwords are just words. Magicians, in my eyes, deal in pure human potential.

    Liderc really nailed it. Present the effects in a way that match your own personal style. Personal characteristics and personal aptitude are extremely important.

    I was lucky enough to be able to ask a man whose work in non-magic entertainment I admired how he became successful. His answer: go with your gifts.

    Directing movies was not his first choice.

    I am relaying his advice in hopes that it will help you as well. If you need to force yourself or your magic to be "underground" then it will show. Find yourself, test yourself, and refine yourself. After you have really done that, you should find that the effects you perform mesh with your style much more easily.

    You are more important than a label. We all are. Knowing that without a single doubt will help you in everything that you do.
     
  5. Ha! Magicians and underground is a sillier notion then Hot Topic Mall Goths. You want to put an underground spin on classic magic? Wear leather and let a butch chick named Bob flog your back till you pass out from blood loss all this while doing Hollingsworths' aces.

    With that said I think you switched out the word "personal" with "Underground". Trying to be underground is posserish, if you are underground you'll know it. With that said, my spins on classics include performing the trick as it was taught to me. I don't change anything to the trick mechanically speaking. However, I use my personality to carry the effect along and keep it entertaining.

    My advice to give to you is as follows:

    Stay off magic forums
    Go to magic convention's rarely
    Join a magic club (SAM IBM etc.)
    Go to the magic club meetings and find someone worth picking their head
    Never go back to the magic meetings :p JK
    Perform in front of people as often and as regularly as possible
    Don't brag about your magic
    Don't put out a magic product
    Keep all advertising to word of mouth
     
  6. If you're underground no one else will know it.

    I agree with everyone else, David Blaine has taken magic away from top hats and stage illusions and he's more mainstream than any artist on here. Don't worry about being 'underground', just be who you set out to be (don't just 'be yourself' actually define a character) and do the classic effects with your own twists.
     
  7. #7 KeoSilver, Feb 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2011
    True, but your idea of underground is probably much different then what it actually is.

    That isn't what underground is. If you are a faceless, nameless performer you aren't underground, you're just a nameless faceless no body. An underground performer is known by a small group of people, which grows the more the rumors or word of mouth networks. Underground is things that aren't advertised to the Mainstream. Let me give another example of what underground is.

    There is a bar here near our area that has absolutely no signage, does not advertise and completely relied on word of mouth to become known. It is underground because the people that know about it's existence either learned from someone else through word of mouth or were in "The know." It is very speakeasy esqu, as an aside speakeasies where once underground during the prohibition and still with the word of mouth and networking method they manage to pack the bar almost nightly, standing room only.

    The people who go to the bar, love it, new or old. That is one of the advantages of not advertising to the greater massess, the people who know about it and love it can either tell there friends or not tell them about it. It brings like minded people together. If you apply this to a performer who does very edgy acts nightly at X club in the back room the people who show up to watch the show are there because they know they will like it.


    I don't know how David Blaine was brought into the mix, but if you want to be underground, go against the grain instead of going with the general views on magic. All of the greats in magic once started as underground, not well known magicians, that made them stronger in some cases. They became unique enough to stick out to people like NBC...
     
  8. I didn't mean they were hermits and nobody at all knew them, but I can think of a few magicians that never get mentioned on forums or at conventions that do great work and are amazing at their craft. They've purposely stayed under the radar to keep their material to themselves and to stay out of everything magic.

    It's what Daniel Madison claims he did between being a card sharp and becoming a magician, he distanced himself before releasing a ton of material. He actually did a good job of coming in and out of the scene with releases and such, and then disappeared again. If he had never decided to release material there would still be magicians who knew of him (most of them would be UK based) but his name wouldn't be as known as it is now.

    David Blaine was an example of having a personal character instead of trying to be 'underground' or like anyone else. He spent time developing his persona before he was ever on TV.
     

  9. Ahh, okay I know what you mean and I agree but you could probably deduce that from my post heh.
     

  10. Sounds like me before I got to Vegas. And to be frankly, I'm probably the closest example of what it is to be an "underground" magician.

    ==============================================================================

    To answer your original question, how do you put an underground spin to a classic?

    Here's my opinion.

    I wouldn't go about with the intention of making a classic feel underground. Because the term is very subjective. I feel and know I'm underground because no matter what accomplishments I achieve in my career not one of the magic magazine, e-zines, newsletters or podcasts will put that out there to the magic community. Especially since I don't create magic, compete in pissing contests at conventions or do the lecture circut. Do you underground might mean something completly different.

    What I think your asking is how do I make a classic feel new... .and now that is a great question. I say, just do it. The simple action of you taking a classic routine and you doing, your updating it. Of course assuming your patter feels natural and not rehearsed. If it's against music, choosing the right beat to go with it.

    It isn't just about clothes, music and words. It's the fact that you took the time to learn it and are now doing it. Remember that Romeo & Juliet movie with Leonardo DeCaprio? They took the words straight from Shakespere, but put a different setting to it. That is one way you can do it.

    Here's simple advice that I take. Everytime I do a trick I think, "I need to perform this in such a manner that every guy in this audience wants to drink with me, and every girl wants to go to bed with me." And that is how you could take a classic and put your own personal spin to it.
     
  11. So I guess putting on a business card that I am an Underground magician is not a good idea, well looks like I'll be throwing those out when they get here.
     
  12. If you really want to stray away from the "magician" title... Think of a new word to classify yourself as. to set you apart from the top hat and bunnies... Such as Visual Artist or Sleight Of Hand Artist, or somethign along those lines. We could debate all day about using "magician" as a title, but that's not the point. a title like Visual Artist is still "edgy" and "hip" and describes what you do.
     
  13. "In order be an Artist requires one to reveal themselves openly and honestly." - Micheal Vincent.

    Sometimes, we care to much (as in are too obsessed) as to what we do really is. You know, instead of thinking what you can/want to gain, think about what you should give. In other words: Do, and be happy while you're doing; soon you'll find what you do is soulful. And ONLY until it's soulful will you bring a sense of (refreshing) Magic.
     

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