Who should we emulate, exactly?

Jan 26, 2008
423
1
Sweden
But let's leave Criss and look at the bigger picture - why are so many magicians lampooned and our art not taken seriously? Why are there only one or two magicians in the public eye at a time?

I think that there are a few reasons,

Is there really a need for one more? Do we have something to say or give to a world wide audience that has not already been said and done? I think that there are so little originality that it has become so cliché that people have a hard time standing it.

I remember going to a few message boards and reading some comments from non magicians to hear what they thought aboiu Lettermans close up magic week. And most people were asking, why the hell are all magicians the same and why are they doing the same old kind of tricks that we all come to excpect from magicians. And why are they so tired and cheesy? People were even asking if some of them were bad on purpose. These are men i respect so it was hard to read.

How many magicians are there out there who could go on and be totally original and do something that is totally original and unexpected by a magician? I dont know, i have a hard time naming one, i would love to be wrong. Until then i dont think we need any more magicians on tv.
 
Dec 14, 2007
823
2
Do you think that the notion of "magic" encourages multiple known and visible practitioners?

And with material being eaten up on tv, do you think seeing magicians do similar things runs counter to the notion of what a "magician" should or could be?

I think this may be part of the issue.
 
Feb 16, 2009
217
0
South Bend, IN
I remember going to a few message boards and reading some comments from non magicians to hear what they thought aboiu Lettermans close up magic week. And most people were asking, why the hell are all magicians the same and why are they doing the same old kind of tricks that we all come to excpect from magicians. And why are they so tired and cheesy? People were even asking if some of them were bad on purpose. These are men i respect so it was hard to read.

This is interesting. Can you elaborate on what they specifically thought was bad? Did they give any indications that they liked some performers better than others?

Honestly, I loved the close up week (with the exception of Jason Randal). Across the board, magicians on the different forums also seem to have loved it (there are exceptions, but they are relatively few).

If laymen's views are going to be significantly at odds with that of magicians, it would be good if we can get specific feedback from them. Things like the what, why and how things fell short of of their expectations.
 
Sep 3, 2007
1,255
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Oh my goodness.

Brad and Steerpike's conversation was interesting. The rest of it is mundane and repetitive. What is so difficult about engaging someone else's post?

So far, the posts have been...

A: I think this...

B: Well I think this...

A: I think this...

B: No, you don't understand, I think this...

A: But really, come on now, I think this...

In conclusion, Draven's post is thirded.

I'm just glad to see that they're best friends forever now!
 
Jan 26, 2008
423
1
Sweden
This is interesting. Can you elaborate on what they specifically thought was bad? Did they give any indications that they liked some performers better than others?

Honestly, I loved the close up week (with the exception of Jason Randal). Across the board, magicians on the different forums also seem to have loved it (there are exceptions, but they are relatively few).

If laymen's views are going to be significantly at odds with that of magicians, it would be good if we can get specific feedback from them. Things like the what, why and how things fell short of of their expectations.

I will try to find some links to the forums if i find the threads and posts.
 
Feb 16, 2009
217
0
South Bend, IN
Do you think that the notion of "magic" encourages multiple known and visible practitioners?

And with material being eaten up on tv, do you think seeing magicians do similar things runs counter to the notion of what a "magician" should or could be?

I think this may be part of the issue.

I'm not sure that having multiple known and visible practitioners of magic is a problem. It might be a problem if the material is itself repetitive and stale, but magicians have a ton of literature to work with. There are so many knowledgeable magicians who consult and can construct routines that are not trite and stale. The possibilities are myriad and your average layman still thinks of bunnies pulled out of a hat.

TV magic is also a pretty rarefied atmosphere. In the US Blaine and Angel are the two major name brand TV magicians most people have heard of. I haven't seen a Copperfield special in years and the other things like world's greatest magic are more like magic variety shows (and they are reruns from a few years back and not very current). Who else makes regular TV appearances in the US?

So, I don't think there is a glut of TV magic or magicians. Quite the opposite almost.

The recent trend of talk shows having close up magicians on regularly looks encouraging to me. We need to see if that leads to something bigger in future.
 
Sep 1, 2007
3,818
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Okay, I just have to address this really quick:

Please don't assume you know what I or any one else thinks or what my or anyone else's motivations may be unless you have a statement from us. It is baseless, groundless, and in some ways the ultimate personal attack.

Brad, it's text. I have very little to go on here, so I just have to guess what your motivations are and what the appropriate reaction should be. If I get it wrong, then just tell me, "No, that's not what I meant," and all is mended. Don't **** on me for it. Jesus Christ, this is why people call you holier-than-thou. You get very nasty and act like the victim of an attack when people simply misinterpreted you.

That said, my contentions weren't questioning the validity of the facts you reported. Rather, it seemed to me that you were looking at the wrong side of the issue. You were talking about what Angel has done after the fact. Baller and myself were looking at the lead up to this point. When we asked you to weigh in on that, you never really gave us anything to work with.

Okay, we've got that out of the way. You asked for more of my views of what the satirical world sees. I already volunteered that information a couple pages ago.

Honestly, I loved the close up week (with the exception of Jason Randal). Across the board, magicians on the different forums also seem to have loved it (there are exceptions, but they are relatively few).

Think of it this way. Ever talked to a film student? How they seem to like movies that impress them and no one else? We're speaking our own language at this point.
 
Sep 3, 2007
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Do you think that the notion of "magic" encourages multiple known and visible practitioners?

And with material being eaten up on tv, do you think seeing magicians do similar things runs counter to the notion of what a "magician" should or could be?

I think this may be part of the issue.

Just because you know magic doesn't mean you are great with words. For example, you sound overly condescending.

I've never seen Steerpike do a magic trick. Send me the LINKs! He sounds like my EX girlfriend AKA psychologist.
 
Dec 14, 2007
823
2
Okay, I just have to address this really quick:



Brad, it's text. I have very little to go on here, so I just have to guess what your motivations are and what the appropriate reaction should be. If I get it wrong, then just tell me, "No, that's not what I meant," and all is mended. Don't **** on me for it. Jesus Christ, this is why people call you holier-than-thou. You get very nasty and act like the victim of an attack when people simply misinterpreted you.

The point, Steer, is not that you misinterpreted my intentions, but that you (or anyone) has no grounds trying to interpret someone's intention. For one, unless you have concrete information it will always be guess work. And guessing is not place from which to build an argument. Second, it's irrelevant. It turns the argument into a discussion of the writer, not a discussion of that which is written. I would encourage people to focus on the IDEAS, the message not the messenger.

Hopefully we are done with that.

That said, my contentions weren't questioning the validity of the facts you reported. Rather, it seemed to me that you were looking at the wrong side of the issue. You were talking about what Angel has done after the fact. Baller and myself were looking at the lead up to this point. When we asked you to weigh in on that, you never really gave us anything to work with.

Okay, we've got that out of the way. You asked for more of my views of what the satirical world sees. I already volunteered that information a couple pages ago.

I must have missed that request while fending off the accusations of being a failure. Would you mind showing me where you asked this direct question? Thanks.

You mentioned that you see Angel accused of camera tricks. Which is true and something many associate with him. But I am talking less about "technique" and more about cultural relevance which seems to be an important issue to you, and one I would concur as being something valuable to consider.

What do you think of Blaine's reception in England?

But more than just info on these two people, what of magicians in general?
Think of it this way. Ever talked to a film student? How they seem to like movies that impress them and no one else? We're speaking our own language at this point.

Which is why I think we should look at the reviews from theatrical critics, lay people, and the satirists. you are also engaging in the fallacy that popular equals good.

I remember when I first discovered wine. Kendall Jackson Chardonnay was the height of sophistication for me. This is, on a good day, the kool-aid of wine. It also sells very well and makes a lot of money.

McDonald's is one of the most successful "food" providers on the planet. People not only love it, but they are devoted to it. It has become part of our culture.

But does that mean it is good? Heck, we can argue, is it even food?

If one's goal is to be popular, then looking to people like Angel may provide a path. But is that the goal we should be pursuing? Should we be playing to the lowest common denominator, or trying to offer something interesting or even challenging to our audiences.

Sure, it may not be an easy sell for TV - but is our goal to be the opiate of the masses or create something artistic?
 
Apr 27, 2010
229
0
baller08.blogspot.com
No one is saying that you should emulate Criss Angel or anyone just because they are famous, that was not the point of the other two threads.

The point was that it is stupid and ignorant to ignore it just because we dont like it. The truth is that Criss Angel has gotten further then most magicians could ever dream of and many magicians would love to be in his place and no matter how much we or the public think he sucks he still has a lot of people who likes him.

Its stupid to just ignore that fact instead of asking, What did he do to get the recognition he got, WHY did it work? and what can i learn from it and do with it. That was the point.

The above quote was from Wallmott, but both he and Steerpike have expressed the same ideas in different ways, but those of you who are hell bent on hating Angel refuse to acknowledge this very simple point.

D. Brown is known in the UK but not here, Angel is known here but not the UK. The point is that they both did something right and we can learn from both.

I've read a lot of excuses as to why Angel or people like him make it big and I'm going to offer you a scenario as best I can to illustrate what my entire point is.

Brad....I apologize in advance, I promise this is the last time I'll pick on you but you gave me a lot of material to work with the last few days.


Good marketing team and/or know the right people

At one point in time, both Criss Angel and Brad were equally well known...they were as well known as me.

Someone at one point saw Criss or he showed the right person his off broadway show, a magic tape, whatever...and someone gave him a shot or introduced him to the right person. Criss was around 30-32 at the time, I imagine, given his age now and how long Mindfreak has been around.

According to Brad, he's been doing this for 20 years and he has met the likes of Jay Z, Bill Clinton, etc. He says he performs for 15,000 per summer. That's a lot of people.

Question: After all the people Brad has performed for, why hasn't someone said, "Wow Brad...you've really got something there....let me hook you up with this person that can take you somewhere"?

Why Criss and not Brad? That is my point. Why Criss....and not Brad?

Why didn't Wayne Houchin get brought in to show Brad "Sinful" so Brad can perform it on national television and blow people's mind? Why didn't Brad "get lucky"? Afterall he's performed for just as many people as Criss back when Criss was an unknown.

Don't give me the "he's media hyped"....whatever Criss is now, there was a point where him, Blaine, and Copperfield were just as famous as Brad was and they had just as much money as Brad does today.

So the only thing I'm asking is....why Criss and not Brad?
 
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Dec 14, 2007
823
2
I'm not sure that having multiple known and visible practitioners of magic is a problem. It might be a problem if the material is itself repetitive and stale, but magicians have a ton of literature to work with. There are so many knowledgeable magicians who consult and can construct routines that are not trite and stale. The possibilities are myriad and your average layman still thinks of bunnies pulled out of a hat.

TV magic is also a pretty rarefied atmosphere. In the US Blaine and Angel are the two major name brand TV magicians most people have heard of. I haven't seen a Copperfield special in years and the other things like world's greatest magic are more like magic variety shows (and they are reruns from a few years back and not very current). Who else makes regular TV appearances in the US?

So, I don't think there is a glut of TV magic or magicians. Quite the opposite almost.

The recent trend of talk shows having close up magicians on regularly looks encouraging to me. We need to see if that leads to something bigger in future.

What I am suggesting is that the very concept of magic is something that does not encourage multiple performers. I mean, how many masters of supernatural powers can there be at one time?

We can of course rationalize that real people don't believe in magic, but I would contend that is why we get push back from many audiences. The very notion of a "magician" simply rubs them the wrong way. I think this is why it becomes so easy for them to mock people who take magic seriously - like Blaine, Angel or Copperfield.

Had a great chat with Geoffrey Durham while in England. If you don't have his book professional secrets, buy it now. Not only did/does he have a successful television career that spanned many decades, he is a well respected magician and entertainer.

He shared that Brits have serious issues with the over the top approach to magic. Simon Drake, ironically, confirmed this as well when he was over here doing a series of articles for Bizarre magazine.

he is not the first person to tell me this. First Brit magician I ever worked with this explained the differences between american and british audiences approach to magic.

Drake, I believe, was successful because his character was such a put on. Plus he placed said character amid segments devoted to the strange, the bizarre, and the unusual. It was not about "magic" as much as it was about "strange." It was never meant to be taken as even remotely possibly real.

But Blaine's starvation was too much of a reach for them. It rubbed up against their net of reality in a way they could not reconcile.

One of the most well love British magicians was David Nixon. From what I have seen he was a very nice man who did some charming tricks. No pretense. No "MAGIC" written in Muenster Style Spooky Font.

Derren was not a magician. He provided real, plausible explanations for what he did. And regardless of whether or not they were accurate, the fact they were tangible and non-supernatural, divorced from mysterious magic allowed him to be accepted as his claims did not have the auspices of "that's just silly."

Ricky made it about the history. It was what it was. He was the curator. He was the expert. Demonstrating what people did implies theatrical technique apart from "magic."

Maybe "magic" has runs it's course for now? Maybe the word and the expectations associated with it create a no win situation?

I don't know. But it's interesting to think about.

Perhaps, no matter how relevant or normal or interesting someone may be, the moment they claim to be "magic" they cross some current cultural line that invites ridicule - not from everyone, and not all the time, but for enough people on that large scale madness of crowds level that makes mockery the easier direction to take than acceptance.

(Note: the above are musings. This is based on observations and history. Is this the answer? Probably not. But there may be value in considering it as a possible contributer.)
 
Dec 14, 2007
823
2
The above quote was from Wallmott, but both he and Steerpike have expressed the same ideas in different ways, but those of you who are hell bent on hating Angel refuse to acknowledge this very simple point.

D. Brown is known in the UK but not here, Angel is known here but not the UK. The point is that they both did something right and we can learn from both.

I've read a lot of excuses as to why Angel or people like him make it big and I'm going to offer you a scenario as best I can to illustrate what my entire point is.

Brad....I apologize in advance, I promise this is the last time I'll pick on you but you gave me a lot of material to work with the last few days.


Good marketing team and/or know the right people

At one point in time, both Criss Angel and Brad were equally well known...they were as well known as me.

Someone at one point saw Criss or he showed the right person his off broadway show, a magic tape, whatever...and someone gave him a shot or introduced him to the right person. Criss was around 30-32 at the time, I imagine, given his age now and how long Mindfreak has been around.

According to Brad, he's been doing this for 20 years and he has met the likes of Jay Z, Bill Clinton, etc. He says he performs for 15,000 per summer. That's a lot of people.

Question: After all the people Brad has performed for, why hasn't someone said, "Wow Brad...you've really got something there....let me hook you up with this person that can take you somewhere"?

Why Criss and not Brad? That is my point. Why Criss....and not Brad?

Why didn't Wayne Houchin get brought in to show Brad "Sinful" so Brad can perform it on national television and blow people's mind? Why didn't Brad "get lucky"? Afterall he's performed for just as many people as Criss back when Criss was an unknown.

Don't give me the "he's media hyped"....whatever Criss is now, there was a point where him, Blaine, and Copperfield were just as famous as Brad was and they had just as much money as Brad does today.

So the only thing I'm asking is....why Criss and not Brad?

And why do you insist on making this personal?

How about we talk about Criss?

Is the only explanation for Criss's success talent?

Is talent the only explanation for anyone's success in show business?

But one answer is embedded in your post: you suggest someone saw Criss Angel and saw something in him. Possible. Don't know that that's true. He could have convinced family to fund a show which he sold to a television network. But it's possible.

That would require being seen by the right person.

Not every one is in the right place at the right time, and many great successes in show business will be the first to tell you that luck plays a major role in success. Not the only role, but I am sure in your neighborhood there is someone with some artistic talent that would eclipse others more successful than they are in their field.

But simply because they are not know, for whatever reason, does not mean they have an ounce less talent.

Why did Criss get the show?

Why did O-Town get a contract? Why did Paris Hilton get a movie deal? Why did Jon and or Kate land a series?

Talent? Luck? being in the right place at the right time? Wanting it so bad they would degrade themselves in order to be famous? All valid possibilities.

Not everyone is trying to get on tv. Many people have different goals in life. Perhaps the greatest trumpet player alive today eschewed fame and concerts in order to live on a horse farm in KY and teach interested students. There are more measures of success than being a reality tv star. I know one magician whose house is a playground of whackiness. He does as many shows as he wants, has traveled around the world, and has more money than he can spend in this lifetime.

I don't know that he has ever been on tv.

Criss is famous.

he is good at being famous.

If you want to be famous, then studying Criss may provide a path to get you there.

Is that what you want?





\ but those of you who are hell bent on hating Angel refuse to acknowledge this very simple point.

Please refrain from accusing people of things you cannot know or prove. The types of personal attacks are the reason other threads got closed down. If you would like to discuss the issue, please discuss the issue. Not other people who post in the thread, and please do not make statements which you simply cannot back up.

Thanks
 
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Sep 1, 2007
3,818
15
The point, Steer, is not that you misinterpreted my intentions, but that you (or anyone) has no grounds trying to interpret someone's intention.

Considering that's a major part of conversation, I don't think we should ever speak in person. Robots give me the creeps.

I must have missed that request while fending off the accusations of being a failure. Would you mind showing me where you asked this direct question? Thanks.

My words:

Criss Angel had a mainstream breakthrough. Yes, his mistakes are costing him dearly. He's burning himself out. But the fact is that he was able to make it. And why? Well, what competition did he have?

Those weren't rhetorical questions. I expected real answers. I wanted you to stop talking about what Criss is doing wrong morally now and what he did right as a businessman then.

You mentioned that you see Angel accused of camera tricks. Which is true and something many associate with him. But I am talking less about "technique" and more about cultural relevance which seems to be an important issue to you, and one I would concur as being something valuable to consider.

I mentioned a bit more than that. If all you read into those several paragraphs was that everyone knows Angel uses camera tricks, there's stuff you're missing.

What do you think of Blaine's reception in England?

To be honest, it's not something I devoted a lot of thought to. I chose to instead pay more attention to American pop culture as it was more immediately useful to me.

But more than just info on these two people, what of magicians in general?

There's not a whole lot on magicians, actually. We're just not particularly relevant. When I look to satire, it's typically about Angel, Blaine, Mystery, P&T, and Copperfield in that order. There's little to no variation beyond that.

you are also engaging in the fallacy that popular equals good.

Now who's guessing? I never once said popular things are good. I said they're popular for a reason, and I want to know what that reason is.
 
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Sep 3, 2007
1,255
0
Both of you guys are wrong. Cool It... One is good at English and the other is good at "not having a job." One of them couldn't stick up for a buddy. The other, I cannot understand because I only went through basic English. That's a joke by the way "FIGHT MONSTERS"
 
Apr 27, 2010
229
0
baller08.blogspot.com
Criss is famous.

he is good at being famous.

If you want to be famous, then studying Criss may provide a path to get you there.

Is that what you want?



Thanks

Almost. I want to know why that when he was completely unknown, like you and I are today....why did corporate America decided that he was worth a bet on 1 season of Mindfreak?

You have given a lot of....information (I won't say bragging) of who you know, where you've been, and how many people you performed for.

I'm asking the board and those who have said Angel just got dragged along by the media and given a marketing team, etc, etc.....why Criss and not you?

That's a very reasonable question since both of you have performed for a lot of people. Surely you have performed for someone who knew someone that could have gotten you a shot. Jay Z is one of the most influential men in entertainment....why didn't he think you would appeal to the public consciousness?

Also, as you have pointed out, Angel has a lisp and I assume you don't. So he even has a slight disadvantage in that sense. So why a guy with a lisp and not you?


This is not a personal attack, I'm simply using information you provided to ask a question to the members of this board to illustrate my point.
 
Dec 14, 2007
823
2
Think of it this way. Ever talked to a film student? How they seem to like movies that impress them and no one else? We're speaking our own language at this point.

This is what you wrote.

Please explain what you meant by it.

(And while no one should fault you for trying to understand someone's motivations for writing, you can't claim to know what they are and use one's baseless conclusions in order to support a claim. They can and should inform your writing, but the moment you claim to know, you have shot yourself in the foot.)
 
Sep 3, 2007
1,255
0
I've never seen either of your guy's material, except running your mouths off. The quintessential asset for a magician is not how he/she talks... It is if they can do a magic trick...
 
Dec 14, 2007
823
2
Almost. I want to know why that when he was completely unknown, like you and I are today....why did corporate America decided that he was worth a bet on 1 season of Mindfreak>

Perhaps I was unclear. I was not asking if this is what you wanted as an answer. I was asking if this is what you want for yourself as an artist.

Do you equate fame and only fame with success?

You have given a lot of....information (I won't say bragging) of who you know, where you've been, and how many people you performed for.

Again, B, please stop making this personal. If you recall, you impugned my credentials and outright accused me of being a failure for not having made it. You DEMANDED I offer reviews and credentials. How can you accuse me of bragging when I merely supplied information you requested.

If you cannot keep this thread on topic, which is qualities of magicians worthy of emulation, I will ask you to no longer post. I do want your contributions, but I ask you to remain on topic.

Can you do that?



I'm asking the board and those who have said Angel just got dragged along by the media and given a marketing team, etc, etc.....why Criss and not you?

That's a very reasonable questions since both of you have performed for a lot of people. Surely you have performed for someone who knew someone that could have gotten you a shot. Jay Z is one of the most influential men in entertainment....why didn't he think you would appeal to the public consciousness?

This is not a personal attack, I'm simply using information you provided to ask a question of a board to illustrate my point.

Again, I ask you to stay on topic.

No one said Criss was dragged along by a marketing team. But are you suggesting he does not have PR and marketing people?

Ultimately my choices are my own. And are not germane to the conversation. I may have done more or less than you know. And I'm ok with that. My goals are not the same as Criss's (I don't think). Yours may or may not be.

So, let's stay on topic.

Why do you think Criss became successful and no one on the forum (let's keep it general) has? What did he specifically do that no one else has?

Do you know?

Are you guessing?

It's ok to guess, just be clear that it is a guess.


Would Criss be where he is without the "family" money? What about buying the TV guide cover?

Is Criss's success due to talent or a willingness to play the show business game?

And, and this is the question that personally interests me, is his type of success a contribution to the history and perception of magic, or ultimately does it serve only him?
 
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