Card Tricks SUCK!

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Aug 17, 2010
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I think that the real issue is that some do too much card magic in their performance, and lack diversity in the props.

Just as a film festival would be criticized if there was only buddy comedies, or the Shakespeare festival performed only one play every performance, or the guitarist only played 12 bar blues songs in the same key, it's easy to burn out on too many card tricks.
 

Josh Burch

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Aug 11, 2011
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I think that the real issue is that some do too much card magic in their performance, and lack diversity in the props.

Just as a film festival would be criticized if there was only buddy comedies, or the Shakespeare festival performed only one play every performance, or the guitarist only played 12 bar blues songs in the same key, it's easy to burn out on too many card tricks.

This feels to me like magicians over use a specific card plot then. I feel like a buddy comedy could be considered the Ambitious card, the Shakespeare play could be considered an Oil and Water and the blues songs could be compared to Out of This World.

A card show completely made out of card to impossible locations might be difficult to watch but a skillful performer like Ricky Jay, Lennart Green, or Helder Guimeres can use the deck to communicate much more than just one plot.

If she disliked pick a card tricks I might understand her argument but instead she seems to nitpick card tricks as a whole which I don't understand.
 

Bryant_Tsu

Elite Member
I think that what is presented in that news article is pure bias. What the writer shows is that she prefers stage magic. By all means this doesn't imply that stage magic is the way to go, but rather that she falls into the pure spectator group of laymen. While this style of magic is very popular in certain places (take MGM shows by Copperfield) where a large group of people WATCH but usually to never INTERACT with the magician. This style of magic is very showy but usually has to be performed at a distance, cannot use a random audience member, and is purely for entertainment (like a play or a movie).

On the other hand card magic is usually performed for smaller groups of people or individuals. Card magic may not be as showy as Copperfield's Death Saw but it can be more interactive. This type of magic appeals to the other group of laymen who enjoy being a part of the show. Using cards (or coins) street performers and small gig magicians can draw the audience into the action by performing for an individual, a small group, or even passerbys.

If you've ever been to a birthday party with a magician you will notice that he or she will do both types of magic to appeal to both types of laymen. First they may walk around and do card or coin magic and later do stage magic with props.

As to whether or not card magic is boring or lame, I'd strongly disagree. Yes cards are used a LOT in magic performances. Are they dull, boring, and ugly? Perhaps, but there are many custom designs that can spice up a performance. Card magic is common because it is constantly evolving with many different applications. Does this mean that card magic isn't creative because it is only using cards? No! As said before, cards are a tool to perform. Are physicists not innovative enough because their principles and formulas work using math concepts thousands of years old? Are carpenters not innovative enough because they still use the hammer and nail? Of course not, they are using tools that have proven their effectiveness over time to create new innovative ideas and creations. Will laymen be bored with card magic? Probably not! After all card magic is still around and grows stronger with the showcase of new unseen applications thanks to the internet. This writer may be one of the laymen but she doesn't speak for all of them.

This is my own strongly opinionated argument, however I think I have more reasoning than rant in mine.
Feel free to disagree,
-Bryant
 
Aug 17, 2010
411
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This feels to me like magicians over use a specific card plot then. I feel like a buddy comedy could be considered the Ambitious card, the Shakespeare play could be considered an Oil and Water and the blues songs could be compared to Out of This World.

A card show completely made out of card to impossible locations might be difficult to watch but a skillful performer like Ricky Jay, Lennart Green, or Helder Guimeres can use the deck to communicate much more than just one plot.

If she disliked pick a card tricks I might understand her argument but instead she seems to nitpick card tricks as a whole which I don't understand.

After a while, it all seems to be the same thing; that the performer moves the cards around secretly to make the reds and blacks separate, or to sneak it to the impossible location, etc. The same props doing similar things. (Just being devil's advocate here.)

To critique the analogy, cards are all Shakespeare, and some find little difference between the 'oil and water' of Titus Andronicus and the 'ACR' of Merchant of Venice or the OOTW of Othello.

Some people will say that all (whatever musical genre) sounds the same to them, while some can find a world of difference between performers in the same genre. Similar thing with cards being one (monstrously popular) genre of magic.
 

Brett Hurley

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Sep 27, 2014
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I think, maybe, the best way to make a card trick NOT look like a card trick is to use cards that don't use the traditional number and suit values and the 'court'. At least for aesthetic value.

Taking a bit further, if you want to make an even greater performance, I think you'd need to take quite a bit of time in scripting and meshing a routine with ones character. I know for sure MY character wouldn't be able to pull off a Shakespeare-ian theme; even though the idea is great.

But to say that all card tricks are the same. I agree for aesthetic purposes only. We all do seem to use the same number and court values--even though the routines in which we use vary. The faces are relatively all the same.
 
Jul 13, 2010
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I don't think it's a fault of the prop, but it is true, that most card tricks lack a personal attachment and a meaning.
It's not very satisfying or interesting for a specator to find a card which she choosed. That's about the most boring thing you can do. Why do we do it ? What's the purpose ? Just for the sake of it ? I don't like pick a card tricks because almost all entertaining qualities are coming from the way you reveal the card. The effect of finding the card itself is not something very magical in my opinion. Would I find choosen cards when I had real magical powers ? I doubt.
Producing coins out of thin air is something useful an audience can instantly connect with. If magicians would rather concentrate on this connection and meaning for an audience, the cards themselves wouldn't be that boring. That's one of the reason why gambling effects are often more appealing to lay audiences in my experience. The wish to win, a deep desire of almost any human beeing. In these effects, cards have a meaning and value.
If cards are used in another context, just as in Torn and Restored effects for example, the meaning is inherent in the plot. To fix something that has obviously been completely destroyed is a magical quality that most people wish they could do. It's symbolic and as stated in the article, Eugene Burger for example does some very appealing (card) effects with meaning and symbolism. First and foremost: Do everything that the audience cares. Then the magic will not be boring for them, regardless of the prop.
 

Jay Adra

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Jul 11, 2011
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This article doesn't "make my blood boil" - it's actually good to read. Maybe it should serve as a bit of a warning - laymen are getting sick of the same few card tricks, presented without much originality. Who can blame them?

As a magician, I enjoy watching magic - even if it is a card effect I've seen a hundred times. That's because I really enjoy card tricks (for the most part). Laymen aren't as invested.

Perhaps we need to focus more on our presentation and the way we present our effects, even if they are still the same at their core. Our audience is trying to tell us something - maybe it's time to listen.
 

Josh Burch

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Aug 11, 2011
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1,096
Utah
This article doesn't "make my blood boil" - it's actually good to read. Maybe it should serve as a bit of a warning - laymen are getting sick of the same few card tricks, presented without much originality. Who can blame them?

As a magician, I enjoy watching magic - even if it is a card effect I've seen a hundred times. That's because I really enjoy card tricks (for the most part). Laymen aren't as invested.

Perhaps we need to focus more on our presentation and the way we present our effects, even if they are still the same at their core. Our audience is trying to tell us something - maybe it's time to listen.

I agree, the article did get me thinking. It also annoyed. I'm not sure if I'm more annoyed with the magicians that clearly lack or that the lady threw all card magic into the same basket. She says that she likes Guy Hollingworth and Pop Haydn, two guys that are renowned for their card work, in one breath but hates card magic in the next.
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,578
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I've seen some of the great card guys perform. After a while it becomes a guy playing with a deck of cards while you watch. All of the tricks seem to be the same demonstration of skill with a singular prop "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." I've also seen folks like Dani DaOrtiz and others perform card tricks that grab and keep the audience's attention. It is all in the presentation - audiences don't find card tricks inherently interesting or meaningful b;ut instead, magicians have to present them in a way that makes them interesting or meaningful.

The new show that I'm developing has three "card tricks" that don't really look or feel like card tricks. The first is a card vanishing from a deck held by a spectator and reappearing in a previously empty bottle held by another spectator. The second is Eric Ross's Election - which is entirely performed in the hands of two spectators as a compatability test. The third is Wayne Houchin's Houdini's Infuence which uses pictures of playing cards where the magic is a result of the spectator's choices. There are four other effects, each using props other than cards. More importantly, all of the effects are scripted in a way to make them entertaining to the audience because the presentation is so much more than narrating what I'm doing with the props.

Just because a magician finds a card trick interesting that doesn't mean the audience will find it interesting -- especially after seeing a bunch of other uninteresting card tricks.
 
Nov 27, 2015
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0
Mike Vincent, a notable card guy from the UK, recently posted this article on Facebook: http://www.artsjournal.com/lies/2011/08/enough-with-the-card-tricks/

It's about a woman who frequents the magic castle and has decided that she is sick of card tricks. Oh man! This made my blood boil a little as I'm sure it will for you guys as well. Here's my question, do laymen hate card tricks?
I don't think that every individual doesn't like card tricks. I know people who like card tricks.

Last year, On New Year's Eve my company hired a corporate event entertainment firm which arranged a memorable moment for all of us. They called performers which played some card tricks. But, the good thing was that card tricks were amazing and not just over the top kind of. Yeah, I do agree that too much of card tricks becomes boring.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,249
3
Back in Time
she's entitled to her opinion. Doesn't mean it's a good one, and it doesn't mean it's a bad one. Just that what she prefers.

I do find it odd that she hates card tricks, yet goes to The Magic Castle.. That should say something about her common sense. It's like hating MSG and going to Chinese restaurants.
 
Nov 25, 2015
17
6
32
N Ft myers FL
It been said before, but i agree with alot of it is how you present, instead of whats actually done. Personality is so important for these things, i could watch the same trick done by 10 differant guys, and to me its 10 differant tricks, if each one gives it their own face.
 
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