The Magic Castle

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by medic91w, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. I don't know how many of you have experienced the MAgic Castle, but I did for the second time tonight, and it was quite a let down. All the magicians I saw seemed to be clones of the cliche magician with their patter you know they use every show and their inability to connect with their audience. The Magic Castle close up magician of the year was a big let down because of the above mentioned reasons. I wish more magicians would just not be afraid to be themselves in their performances instead of some generic character. This mentalist I saw seemed scared, and angry the whole ti me he performed basic, boring mental effects with paper and predictions, and blah blah blah. Now don't get me wrong I did enjoy myself last time I went mostly because of Shoot Ogawa; he is hands down the best magician I've seen live so far; he's great not only because of his skill but also because he is able to let his personality shine through his performances and is able to connect with people. It seems to be pretty wide spread this style of tacky, boring, and predictable performance that makes magic seem silly to people. Too many super nerd magicians out there instead of ones like Derren Brown, Wayne Houchin, Shoot Ogawa or Dan and Dave. I really enjoy their performances because they are just themselves it seems even though there is a bit of character too, but I'm going to stop rambling on because it's almost 1 a.m. and my brain just shut down. I guess what I was trying to say is that TOO MANY TACKY MAGICIANS MAKE MAGIC SUCK!
  2. The problem is you have to keep a venue like the castle full of new performers every week. Sometimes the good people are actually working. It also doesn't help that they shun people they believe to be too unique or "Won't Work" for their drunk yuppie crowd of guests. I have been there many times (I recently took my parents there and they enjoyed it), and only once or twice have I seen performers that I felt were up to what should be expected there, but then again I am a bitter jaded performer type. The people who pay the bills are the magical guests and celebs. They don't need the best there is to fool the commoners.

    The best days to go for seeing shows and shmoozing are wednesdays or sundays. A lot less crowded and the clientele is a lot nicer.

    However, it is bigger on the inside then it is on the outside. Worth seeing just for the building itself. I prefer to walk around and take it all in sometimes.
  3. i have the same problem at my local magic club two stand out

    1- he just seemed so scripted and seemed like a robot

    2- The other was worse it seemed he had practiced his routine way to much. Got s fast at it and hadn't slowed it down for performance. He rushed every trick he hardly left anytime for audience to even understand the trick. He also sounded scripted and very nervous

    it kinda shocked me that these people whose job was to perform seemed not as good as starting out magicians who express themselves through their tricks. I dunno if laymen see this but from my position as a beginner magician it kinda puts me off.

    But there is a lesson to be learned don't turn out like this and try and adjust your patter to your audience and surroundings don't perform the same patter to your friends that you would to your grandma

    just my 2cents
  4. Close-up Magician of the Year?
    You mean good ol' Jon Armstrong?
    I actually rather like his act, it was good when I watched him perform.
    You probably went there expecting too much and you were let down because of that. Also, on which day did you go? When some of the regular magicians at the close up parlour do a set at the castle they usually are doing a fairly new routine and as the week goes on it gets more and more polished. So if you saw a show on Tuesday and watched the same show on Saturday, it would look AND feel different.
  5. And that's the problem that magic is facing.

    Wayne Houchin made a thread asking why magic isn't really considered art, and this is one of the MAIN reasons. People just do the same boring stuff over and over, and they wanta act like the person that they like. They are too afraid of being themselves. It's also with the stereotypical opinion that magic is just for nerds that is holding magic back.

    I wish people would get their head in gear and do something more creative.
  6. Went there on Thursday

    Yeah I went there on a Thursday and it wasn't too crowded so I saw a lot of shows. The staff by the way seemed way snobbish which greatly annoyed me. It is Jon Armstrong whom I was referring to. Now, I will say that technically he was very good, but as was mentioned about some other performer going too fast and not letting the audience understand what's going on, that is what my experience was of Jon. I could understand mostly what he was doing, but the rest of the audience didn't seem to understand half the time. He was way too rushed through out his set and seemed like he thinks he has to be as funny and witty as possible which just resulted in him being distanced from the audience.

    I had a great experience earlier in the week concerning magic at the observatory in Los Angeles. I was walking and passed a group of Japanese students and I just had to stop to entertain them because I always get a kick out of entertaining foreigners; I always want them to leave with a moment they will remember. Anyway, so I did two card monte and digital dissolve. When I slowly revealed the half dollar above his hand, the look on everyone's face was a priceless look of astonishment. I didn't say anything but just sat and stared and watched this feeling set in to the entire group's faces. They actually applauded me after each trick, and I really felt like I connected with them and gave them an experience that they will not ever forget. They didn't speak much English, but after digital dissolve one of them said, "Ah! Professional Magician!" I thought that it was more funny than anything; no English but he knows professional magician?!

    That's the kind of experience I wanted at the Magic Castle but didn't get. I'll of course go again, and hopefully next time see at least one performer who leaves a good impact on everyone. I have to say that Derren Brown's writings on performance and on connecting with people plays a big part in my own performances, and I would highly encourage you all to read what he has to say and apply what makes sense in your own performances to make them that much better. You of course wouldn't want to be a clone of anyone, but taking al the good things and ideas from great performers and thinkers and adapting it to yourself, to your personality, will make you great as well I believe if you apply your mind to this goal.
  7. I'm curious as to Derren's ideas on audience connection. He just seems to have a natural charisma. Where can you find his opinions on this?
  8. Medic,

    I have seen Jon bring a room to tears with laughter. I have seen him hold an audience for 30-45 minutes. How many of those names held up for emulation (Derren excluded) can say that? Jon has been the official magician at Epcot center, and has performed all over the world - for real people, not magicians. Aside from Derren, who on your list can say that?

    And I find the staff incredibly warm and accommodating. The receptionist girls are amazing! The hosts are fun and try to be as engaging and entertaining as they can. And the new manager - Mark - is the nicest guy you could hope to meet.

    Now, if someone comes in and tries to be a jerk - things can change. The dress code is always enforced, and it is a private club - not a rave. So, they maintain a level of decorum that is the reason so many people are attracted to the experience. It is not everyone's cup of tea.

    I find it charming, and refreshing.

    As to Bizarro's comments. I happen to know a little about this and where his feelings come from. The Castle loves avant guarde acts. They just need acts that are of quality. Just because something is different, it doesn't make it good. They shun no one. But if the video sent in is awful - then no, they won't get hired. All the sour grapes in the world won't change that. Sure they consider their audiences - which includes magicians and lay people. But I am never known them to turn down an act because it was too intellectual, too creative, or too artistic. I have heard them turn down acts that were undeceptive, confusing, and irrelevant.

    And James, I think we all want magic to be "more creative." But is that something "more creative" store bought tricks from a magic website? Is it walking up to people on the street? Seems to me, that we often confuse the latest fad with "something creative." The fad passes, and the guys who know solid tricks and can talk to audiences like adults keep getting hired.

    What would be truly new and creative? Would it put money on the table?

    Brad Henderson
    Mind_Over_Magic likes this.
  9. I have always had extremely positive experiences at the Castle, from the staff to the food (which I have heard complaints about from folks, but never understood.) Some of the shows are better than others, but I do think that having an understanding of magic takes away a little bit from seeing it performed. Of course the performance and presentation are very important, but part of the draw of magic is also making the seemingly impossible happen. Once you know the secret, that element goes away. This may be what happened with the original posted - if you were a layperson, would you have been more impressed?

  10. I believe his writings are in Pure Effect and Absolute magic both by derren brown of course. The only bad thing is the very very very high price.
  11. This question is for all who view this forum and have been to the Castle or wish to attend:

    What do you expect out of the Castle? If you have been there, did it meet your expectations? Why or why not? What would you change if you were "running the show" to make the experience a better one?
  12. The Castle is a private club. As a member, I go there to hang out with my friends. If there is a great performer or two that I haven't seen - all the better. (And with Max in charge of the booking now, I think you will see more and more of that.)

    A lot of people think of the Castle as an amusement park or night club. It is neither. It's an old school private club - a place for people of like minds to get away, have a drink, and enjoy their space.

    The one thing I would change though is the food. For the price, it's not up to snuff. I don't mind paying, but I want quality for my money.

    Brad Henderson
  13. What I find ironic is the fact that these performers are getting critique and judged by kids on a forum that probably have no where near the experience or skill of these guys, including myself. Magicians that have been performing since before some of you have been alive, and you mention stuff about "not connecting with their audience" and "going too fast" and "seemed like a robot."

    These guys are there performing at the castle for a reason...they're not just random names picked from a hat. It doesn't work like that. Hell, I probably couldn't hold a candle to half those guys! What it seems like you're doing is going there to find something wrong with their act, instead of paying close attention to how they entertain an audience. Learn a thing or two, because I promise you these guys know their stuff.

    Maybe I'm way off base, maybe they do have some bad acts. But the way y'all are talking, it seems like it's bad act after bad act. That's something I have a hard time believing for the Magic Castle to keep up their high standards....

    Just my thoughts... :)
    Mind_Over_Magic likes this.
  14. Performance!

    First of all, from seeing Jon perform I know he has a lot of skill, and the audience did enjoy his act, however, I still think it was a bunch of very polished crap; I don't care how many people like it or how many awards have been won, and by the way millions of people like Mcdonalds, and Brittany Spears but that doesn't mean the food or the music is good. Again, he's much more skilled than I, but I still think his performance style is generic and cliche in my opinion. As far as the receptionist girls go, perhaps it's possible that they act differently to differen people. Maybe you are a regular, so they know to treat you differently I don't know. All I know it that after talking with them upon entrance, my guest and I both looked at each other and wondered why they acted so rudely towards us; oh and for the record I had the proper attire and so did my female guest, and I was very polite to them the whole time. Again, I'm talking about performance, not street magic, stage magic, using new tricks or going with new fads. Performance is paramount and if you are unique like a Shoot Ogawa or a Derren Brown and not a generic character, then that is how people will remember you. I think performers like these set the bar for the rest of us, not to be like them but to achieve the sam amount of excellence in our own performances so that we are unique and engaging as well.
  15. Magic is Decaying

    Ok dude, just because someone hasn't had as much experience as someone else, doesn't mean they don't know what they are talking about. You become close minded when you think you can't learn something new from a "kid." Who cares about skill!!! I care about performance! Of course one must have great skill to perform, but that skill is wasted if you do not utilize it in a positive way. There are too many magicians with skill that are too similar to each other; how is one to stand out and be seen from the rest when you sound, look, feel, like every one else. The same patter, same bad jokes, and so on. Yeah I did say things like "not connecting with their audience" and "going too fast" and "seemed like a robot." Why did I say those things??? Probably because they are true!! All the audience will remember of you is that you had skill, but if you don't get that emotional connection with them and give them a real moment of astonishment to remember, then you are just a skillful "magician" and nothing more. There is so much more that can be done with magic than having skillful sleight of hand. Magicians should make it not about their skills, but the audience' experience that you help create for them, and that will endear you to them, and that will make magicians individuals and more than their fundamental skills as a magician. For the record, I don't go there to be disappointed. I go there to experience a moment I won't forget, but when I don't get it as I expect I won't, I get disappointed, and the art of magic continues to decay. Well it's true they do have bad act after bad act. I have been impressed once since I've been there and that was with Shoot Ogawa; he is very magical, and superior to every other magician I've seen there, though I've only been twice. Seeing his skill live you can tell he really cares about the art and has really good sensibilities concerning it. I was floored when I saw him perform in front of me close up, and I'm sorry to say that every other magician I've seen there gave me just the exact opposite of that experience.
  16. I too have always had a positive experience at the castle. As a member I try and go up once a week, or once every couple weeks for drinks, and to meet with friends. I agree that some acts are better than others...some magicians are better than other magicians, but that goes without saying with any art/occupation/hobby/etc. There will always be a better band, or a better racecar driver, or a better basketball player, or a better hot dog eater.
    Jon Armstrong is a friend, and an absolute amazing close up magician. I agree with Brad, I too have seen Jon make an audience laugh so hard, they cried with his act. I have brought many friends and family up to the castle to see him, and they have all been absolutely delighted.
    And it is true that sometimes you see a "close up" magician in the parlour, and you get an act they aren't used to, or haven't perfected. But when you see a great magician do what they do best, its an amazing experience. I tend to see this more times than none at the magic castle.

    Mind_Over_Magic likes this.
  17. okay
    why do i have to be an experienced magician to give some advice of someones performance. Laymen are the target audiences and they have no magic experience are they not allowed to give any advice. They give the best advice in my experience.

    You quoted me but i was talking about people in my magic club not at the castle
  18. You don't, however some of the comments in this thread have been broad, vague, and decidedly negative. Some acts ARE better than others, but as a whole, the acts at the Magic Castle are pretty darned good. Many of the acts are "classical" magic - classical magic does NOT mean bad or cookie-cutter. One could argue that the Theory11 artists (all of them) are cliche street magicians that are only separated by differing levels of skill (of course that's a silly argument that I'd never make, but it is about on par with the complaints that I've seen thus far about the performers at the Castle).

  19. Exactly. My thoughts are simple...

    These guys performing at the castle have honed their craft to a considerably high level. I'll be honest and say I take what you're saying with a grain of salt. It seems that in most sports and hobbies, amatures come in (including myself) and think they know everything...then the more they learn, the more they realize they don't know ****. That was to no one in particular, because I've been there myself before.

    Once again, just MY opinion. :)

  20. I wish that I recognized more people... I just saw a photograph of Shoot Ogawa and realized that he was one of the three AMA members that was on the audition committee when I was auditioning at the Magic Castle... He was amazingly friendly and clapped after each effect that I performed (the members of the committee usually don't - he is just exceedingly friendly). I feel kinda silly for not recognizing him and I really wish I had stuck around to have a conversation with him now, but c'est la vie.


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