Tricks that you REFUSE to use

Tower of Lunatic Meat

Elite Member
Sep 27, 2014
2,442
2,034
Texa$, with a dollar sign
I know it's best to keep an open mind about things--especially in magic where all possibilities are considered and everything is a gray area.

But I am curious: is there a particular trick (or tricks), a plot, a routine, or even a subset of magic that you just flat out WILL NOT consider?


I'll start, I absolutely will not consider 'Magic Coloring Book' in anything I ever do. I say this because I have had it suggested to me a couple times and I absolutely despise the thing.

Yes it's big, it's bold, colorful, works best up close and in a crowd. Gets great reactions; So what's not to like?

I think it's 'too safe' a fall back in performing for children. I know it's popular in the children magician community; but I don't like performing 'safe'. I'm more into unusual and I think 'Book' is a prop you have to build a routine AROUND, not WITH. I love making routines, and 'Book' isn't really that flexible.


So, what say you? What do you refuse to do?
 
Mar 14, 2015
37
24
Washington
Any kind of Levitation, the angles are so tricky somebody will always figure it out. It's too impossible for people to consider it real. All suspension of disbelief is gone.
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,744
4,076
New Jersey
I think it's 'too safe' a fall back in performing for children. I know it's popular in the children magician community; but I don't like performing 'safe'. I'm more into unusual and I think 'Book' is a prop you have to build a routine AROUND, not WITH. I love making routines, and 'Book' isn't really that flexible.?

I agree with you on the standard coloring book effect. If you are performing for kids older than 5, I think it isn't that magical. I recognize that a lot of children's entertainers like it because you can get a lot of interaction (see, for example, the routine in Seriously Silly by David Kaye's aka Silly Billy). i also think the prop is not that well made. The best reaction I've ever gotten to the coloring book is when I did a show for a Harry Potter themed birthday party and used it as an example of how wizzard children color.

However, never to discard a good idea, I'd love to have a coloring book that tells the Christmas story. The presesntation being that it starts as being blank, the kids provide an outline of what happened and then the show fills in the details.

There also is great use of the coloring book methodology in Jim Steinmeyer's Making Time (used to make writing in a magic journal disappear) and Building a Better Slot Machine.

I'll have to think if there is anything I'd NEVER use...
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,744
4,076
New Jersey
Bra trick, sponge ding-dong. Anything that embarrasses the spectator is an embarrassment to magic if you ask me.

True stories.... I once performed the Baffling Bra for my parent's in law... and they loved it. It's all in the presentation. I've done Silk to Panties for friends. I've only performed the sponge ding dong once... for my wife. For some reason she didn't think I should perform that one for her parents. :eek:
 
Dec 1, 2015
72
26
True stories.... I once performed the Baffling Bra for my parent's in law... and they loved it. It's all in the presentation. I've done Silk to Panties for friends. I've only performed the sponge ding dong once... for my wife. For some reason she didn't think I should perform that one for her parents. :eek:
Yeah it's all good. A lot has to do with intent and the audience I guess. Centuries ago I used to do the bra trick but stopped because even though everyone (including the victim) laugh, it still felt kinda insensitive and outdated. I dunno, for me anything involving a victim other than myself is kinda out.

I avoid anything that can cause permanent damage from my body. Biokinesis and Thread (non-palmed version) both look amazing but I don't want to risk permanently damaging my body.
Oh that's a good point. I'll never do the old East India Needle trick after seeing a friend accidentally actually swallow one of the needles and go to the hospital. Yeah I'd rather do the bra trick than stick needles, razors, or lighter fluid in my face.
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,744
4,076
New Jersey
You sir, just earned a lot of bravery points in my book...

Yeah it's all good. A lot has to do with intent and the audience I guess. Centuries ago I used to do the bra trick but stopped because even though everyone (including the victim) laugh, it still felt kinda insensitive and outdated. I dunno, for me anything involving a victim other than myself is kinda out.

Part of it is presentation. Part of it is knowing your audience.

My presentation was about trying to make my white dove "Barbie" appear between the silks. I asked my father-in-law to think of the happiest day in his life. He thought of his wedding day. I asked him to think of that night and remember what he and his wife was wearing. He responded, "night?" I corrected myself, "day." I asked, 'Was she wearing something white?" "Yes." "OK, I want you to think of what she was wearing and how happy you were feeling" He asked, "During the day or at night?" "Either. On the count of three pull on your side of the silk.... 1, 2, 3..." Reveal bra between silks. "Uh, OK, that didn't work, obviously you were distracted and thinking about what she was wearing that night.":)

I avoid anything that can cause permanent damage from my body. Biokinesis and Thread (non-palmed version) both look amazing but I don't want to risk permanently damaging my body.

I tend to agree. I'm not big into shock / geek magic. However, I'm considering adding Jim Steinmeyer's Needles routine from Device and Illusion to my act. I fell in love with needle swallowing when I saw Wayne Houchin perform his full needle swallowing routine (not the released single needle routine, but his unreleased signature routine). Steinmeyer's routine has the added element of a glass of wine which gives me the presentational hook for the performance. Even my wife who though needle swallowing was disgusting, liked this routine.
 
I refuse to do anything crude or anything thats going to mock the audience: Baffling Bra and Sponge Ding Dong have already been mentioned. I would also like to add the 'Pea Can' to that list. "Oh look, ha ha ha, it looks like I've just poured urine into your hand".....:rolleyes:

If we want to improve the image of magic then sponge genitalia and bodily fluids probably isn't the way to do it...

To be honest 'refuse' suggests an outright aversion to, or strong dislike of, certain routines. Apart from the above mentioned items, 'refuse' is maybe too strong a word to describe most of my feelings towards things I choose not to perform. Most of it is just personal and artistic preference.

For example, I don't really do dealer items anymore. The idea of doing something that I simply went out and bought doesn't really do it for me any more. The same with classic bits such as Ambitious Card, Invisible Deck etc. All guaranteed, 'commercial' (ugh..) crowd pleasers, but simply not for me. I don't want to be performing the same stuff as everyone else. Yes, the audience won't know the difference, but I will. And why shouldn't I be allowed to enjoy what I perform?

By the way, not knocking the guys that do this kind of stuff. I'm sure most of you make much more money doing magic than I do, and theres nothing wrong with making money so more power to you!

I realise I now probably sound like a totally pretentious, hipster, douche-bag. But hey, at least I'm honest!

Rev
 

Tower of Lunatic Meat

Elite Member
Sep 27, 2014
2,442
2,034
Texa$, with a dollar sign
I'm okay with something like THEIR phone, THEIR stuff, etc. being used ('Ghost Camera').

But a magic app? I can't get beyond the whole, 'it's a program, it's SUPPOSED to do that'. At least, I can't think of a presentation (yet) that I can convince myself that it COULD feasibly work in a real world setting.
 
Jun 13, 2013
72
19
I think as you develop a 'character' for magic you start to learn what can work for you and what simply won't. For me I have a very classical approach to magic. I want to step back in time and allow the magic to be thought provoking and completely impossible. This means, for me that I make my own effects or that I adapt and alter those that I learn to my uses so that something like an ambitious routine can seem to mainstream to perform but given a reinvention of the performance its not really the same effect at all.

Anyway things I tend to avoid and things that seem like, 'so what?' to me. Meaning effects that maybe seem cool but have no justified reason to do other than its 'magic' I pass. I don't like effects that involve pick pocketing I think its a skill that regardless of how its used is just not ok, even in the magic context. I know others will have differing opinions on that but stealing someones wallet at their expense is not magic in any way shape or form
 

DavidL11229

Elite Member
Jul 25, 2015
589
314
Seattle
While not a trick, plot or routine I will never ask a spectator to select a card by telling me 'when to stop'. I just seems unnatural to me.
 
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