Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

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CraigMitchell
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Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby CraigMitchell » January 19th, 2014, 4:00 am

Jeff Hobson's dinner theatre - Illusionarium - onboard NCL is generally getting good initial reviews all round ... which is great for magic!




http://www.usatoday.com/story/cruiselog ... um/4572203

http://shipmonk.co.uk/2014/01/15/magic- ... -get-away/

There are, however, 2 take home points ...

*The use of doves is getting mentioned more and more by laypeople as being an issue with regards to animal rights & safety

*Jeff is being called out by a spectator who took great exception to his piece ... it shows the very fine line we performers tread between banter and perceived 'insult'

"However it was spoiled for me as just as I was just taking a biteful of dessert Jeff Hobson was wandering around the floor for another "volunteer" and I got selected against my will and better judgement I reluctantly agreed to be dragged onto the stage. However what I was not prepared for was then after the usual what's your name etc .. A series of what I thought were personal insults about my choice of dress and worse still, my weight (due to a serious chronic health condition I gave problems keeping it down and led to some depression). Not what I'd expect from a professional magician but from a back-street comedian..

I was tempted to walk off stage then but carried on and only when I got back to my seat did one of my colleagues point out he'd stolen my watch when he'd grabbed my arms to drag me to stage..

This has sentimental value and I immediately already fuming asked for its return but was told oh he'll give it back at the end.. Which of course he did..

Now not willing to be like a killjoy but I didn't pay the $30 to be insulted."

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/sh ... ?t=1972903

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Matthew Field
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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Matthew Field » January 19th, 2014, 6:13 am

Sorry -- I can't be a fan of a man who lampoons gays and Asians, as well as demeaning his on-stage assistants.

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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby mrgoat » January 19th, 2014, 7:46 am

Matthew Field wrote:Sorry -- I can't be a fan of a man who lampoons gays and Asians, as well as demeaning his on-stage assistants.

Matt Field


Couldn't agree more.

Can you imagine if someone "blacked up" in this day and age. Hobson reminds me of the black and white minstrel show.

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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 19th, 2014, 7:59 am

I've never done a solo article on Hobson in Genii because of that. I also find it incredibly offensive.
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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Diego » January 19th, 2014, 10:05 am

The bigotry and demeaning of Americans and others of Asian heritage continues to be the remaining acceptable, politically correct hatred for cowardly racists like Hobson, who know they can't get away with what used to be done to Blacks, Jews and others.

Richard Kaufman, is continuing the tradition/policy in GENII, as when the Larsen family spoke out against bigotry against Chinese in the 1940s and against Japanese and others in the decades that followed. Thank you Richard, for doing what too many others, in and beyond the magic world will not.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby erdnasephile » January 19th, 2014, 2:59 pm

Diego wrote:The bigotry and demeaning of Americans and others of Asian heritage continues to be the remaining acceptable, politically correct hatred ...


Yep.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/peop ... m/4523883/

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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 20th, 2014, 10:25 am

erdnasephile wrote:
Diego wrote:The bigotry and demeaning of Americans and others of Asian heritage continues to be the remaining acceptable, politically correct hatred ...


Yep.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/peop ... m/4523883/


No, not accepted or even condoned around here. The "mysteries of the orient" was odd even back then and at best quaint today. Using Chinese love tokens in your coin tricks can be hep if you're okay with adult themes.

You want to go around doing stereotypes (antique alglo-imperial from over a century ago??) you get the disdain and disapproval you deserve unless you're character is playing to the audience in a way that does not disrespect the items being used to comic effect. Your actions and choices (think theater design of character) inform the audience about the person as presented. Are they a bigot? What about their attitude or behavior is supposed to play as funny?

Getting directly to the matter of parody - "colored" is not the new euphemism for homosexual no matter how you wear your golf pants.

I've met folks who've studied martial arts for many years - who are not Japanese or Chinese or Korean or even have a family history from that part of the world. One is waiting from a go-ahead from his teacher to open a studio and start teaching on his own.

If you want some traditional humor from that part of the world - go ahead but don't expect Amos and Andy.

BTW folks doing Lovecraftian inspired work might want to check out the appearance of old Arab books on mathematics. That stopped me from making a Necromonicon item for magic use. No sense in starting on the Arab world unless you are actively looking for a confrontation.
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erdnasephile
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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby erdnasephile » January 20th, 2014, 12:14 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
erdnasephile wrote:
Diego wrote:The bigotry and demeaning of Americans and others of Asian heritage continues to be the remaining acceptable, politically correct hatred ...


Yep.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/peop ... m/4523883/


No, not accepted or even condoned around here...


I agree--I've not found any of this on Genii Forum. However, the fact that a major network found this sort of thing OK (see story above), was a bit disheartening.

Oddly enough, I don't take myself (or my ethnicity) all that seriously, but I guess the line between good natured humor and mockery is different for everyone.

Back to the original subject--my understanding is that cruise companies are notoriously sensitive to customer feedback, so I assume if the line gets crossed, the company will put an end to it.

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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Jeff Hobson » November 5th, 2014, 4:39 pm

I just read this post after a friend of a friend mentioned that they read it.

Yawn. Yes, this is an old and tired argument. I've heard it all before. The rants and pontifications of a few magicians? who's only accomplishments may be reading, writing about or otherwise critiquing others in the field. Performers? Maybe, for a short time or only occasionally. Mostly, armchair referees.

It's interesting to find so many of these nay-sayers who hide behind a computer and spew contempt, critiques and barbs knowing that it's so safe while you're all in secret. You, the same people who will smile to my face, agree to a video interview, come to my lectures (yes, I'm talking about some of you in this thread) but yet, when you walk away you'll speak easy with the few others who will agree with you. I would rather you simply tell me to F*#@ off. At least then, you would be true to yourself and I would get a laugh out of it. We'd all feel better for it.

Using your reasoning, and being a straight, married, Caucasian, I SHOULD be offended at Neil Patrick Harris' straight portrayal of a habitual womanizer for comedy purposes in "How I Met Your Mother". And you all SHOULD be offended at the myriad of other, stock, gay portrayals on television and in the movies by STRAIGHT actors and comedians. (Will and Grace and The Producers to mention a few) However, you're probably not. Why? Because I call myself a magician and I'm an easy target since I'm frequently in the magic news.

By the news and reviews you found regarding the ship show, I do remember that man who complained about me. Guess what? NCL and it's administration insists and urges me to keep on doing what I'm doing even after I mention that perhaps I should go "light" on the gay humor. Why? Because that one man's review is a rarity. The vast majority of people realize that they like what they're seeing and experiencing when I'm on stage. There's only one audience I take my cues on whether or not to do something. It's my "nightly" audiences. If they stop laughing, I don't say or do it anymore. That's pretty simple. If you are to criticize something, perhaps it should be human nature. All jokes and humor belittle someone or something. That's what a joke is. That's what you few complainers need to come to grips with.

I don't like to toot my horn. My friends know me as a pretty down to earth guy who is not racist. To take a small tangent - I'm really over with people who throw around the word "racist" - like my friend Diego in this thread - No, I don't feel myself superior to any other race or culture. THAT is what racism is. Please save the word for the correct use in the future. I simply know that human nature laughs at things that are exaggerations of differences. If you don't think that foreign cultures laugh at us, your mistaken. Maybe we should take an international Poll? . . .or a Hungarian? (that's comedy for those of you reading with sticks too far up your behinds)

From now on, perhaps you should just regard me more of a comedian rather than a magician. It seems comedians can get away with saying anything about anybody and everyone just laughs because they KNOW it's a joke, hence their title. Ooooooh, but I keep the moniker of "magician" in my title. Ah, that may be your problem. OK . . so I'm a comedian. Now, all of you magicians can F*#@ off.

Here's where it stops. Big corporations and producers keep giving me big money to do exactly what you all are crying about. I've been turning down more work than I could possibly handle for the past few decades. 15 years on the Las Vegas strip and now on Broadway with The Illusionists. You say you still don't approve of what I do? Hmmm? Wait! . . . . Smell that? . . . . It the scent of apathy emitting from my derierre.

No need to reply to this on my account. I haven't read Genii since I was a kid (there was no MAGIC Magazine then) nor do I care to frequent this forum although it's seems very cozy for you holier-than-thou sycophants. "Magic's Oldest Magazine"? Maybe it's time for a formal burial. The only time I would ever come to a forum like this is when I think I need to defend myself which happens once a decade. I'm not even sure why I bother. Oh yeah. I just re-read the above. I feel better.

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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby erdnasephile » November 5th, 2014, 6:27 pm

I'm glad Mr. Hobson came in to comment.

I'm not sure why I would bother replying, except that from a perspective of a minority in this country, I find having members of the majority race telling me what should or should not offend me somewhat disconcerting.

I actually think some racial humor is funny, even when it is directed at me and my race; however, context is everything. I was going to explain further, but realized I had already written on this topic a few years ago:

"The problem with minority stereotypes in particular is that there are still parts of this country where the majority rarely interacts in a meaningful way with those of another ethnicity.

Therefore, when they see negative minority stereotypes (even those as over-the-top as Hobson's), believe it or not, some folks internalize them, and sometimes use them to justify their ignorant words and deeds.

For example: remember when a UCLA Coed released this video?:




Most of you would hopefully dismiss this person as a racist nincompoop. However, when the original video was posted, there were copious vile comments posting how this woman was just "telling like it is" and "they're just like that". In effect, the negative depiction of Asians gave others the tacit permission to spew their venom.

One could argue that it just doesn't matter what anyone says, racist people are going to be racist anyway. Fair enough.

However, by legitimizing the public mocking of ethnic groups, our culture can unwittingly create an environment where it becomes acceptable to see minorities not as individuals, but as a group.

Once you see them as a group with negative characteristics, they become "them" as opposed to "us". At that point, it's a whole lot easier to discriminate against them, both in blatant and in subtle ways. If you doubt this, please see the less savory aspects of the current debate on immigration.

Will Hobson's performances lead to racism? Surely not. Is he mean-spirited? Not in my opinion--he seems like a nice guy, and is talented and thoughtful about his magic--I respect that a lot. I do not believe that he (or the majority of his fans) are racists.

However, as a US citizen and the proud descendant of WWII and Vietnam vets, every time I get asked by a person at work: "Aren't there any Americans around here?", it reminds me of why it's important for me to speak out."


In the 3 years since I made those comments, I am heartened by the success of some media that both teases and celebrates Asian culture in a funny but respectful way. Then again, I recently treated someone at work whose physically violent anti-Asian vitriol took even me aback. We've certainly made progress, but IMHO, as a society, we still have a ways to go.

Finally, in my lifetime, I've been the victim of physical and verbal assaults by unquestionable racists more times than I care to remember (growing up Asian in the South in the 1960's can sometimes lead to that, since ANY Asian tends to substitute for whatever Asian group a racist cares to hate at the moment ). I realize those bad folks don't represent the majority any more than I represent all Asians--and I'm not looking for sympathy (others have certainly had it far worse).

However, I just wanted to point out that before one is so quick to tell a minority to "lighten up", I'd respectfully suggest that one might consider that maybe, just maybe, the blank expression on their face isn't there as a result of a defective sense of humor or political correctness run amuck.

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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Matthew Field » November 6th, 2014, 4:26 am

Hobson's reply is as it always is: Audiences like it, it's how I earn my living, so F.O.

He's taking the low road and all it means is that, when people get tired of his act, he's got nowhere to go but lower down.

He's not a bad guy, just a very nearsighted one. He embarrasses me.

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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Tom Moore » February 25th, 2017, 5:59 pm

Illusionarium is to close early May, the venue modified and be re-opened with an update of one of circus shows that has worked on their other ships presented in a revised dinner-theater format.
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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 25th, 2017, 6:30 pm

I just heard the same from Losander in Blackpool.
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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Jack Shalom » February 25th, 2017, 6:47 pm

Ugh...what an a-hole Hobson is. It's one thing to defend one's livelihood, another to be a nasty pr*ck. Contrary to his post, he must be a magician, not a comedian, because he sure isn't funny in the least.

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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 25th, 2017, 7:12 pm

I have met a lot of people in the course of performing over the decades. There are a surprising number of people who have a bias toward magicians. I have been able to drill down on this quite a bit because a lot of my work has been in bars where people have been forthcoming about their feelings due to the inhibition-removing and truth-serum effects of alcohol. In many cases, these individuals wee exposed to the "wisenheimer" type of performer who attempted to get laughs at their expense by deriding or insulting comments or otherwise put them in a position where they (justifiably) perceived they were being made the object of ridicule. This is very low class, and it has long been, and remains, bad for the image of magic and magicians. It is a blight upon our art and handicaps performers who are trying to make an honest living, or even amateurs who sincerely want to entertain people with their magic. Although I love to use humor and comedy when I perform, it is often of the self-deprecating type, but in any event, it is never at the expense of a spectator. If we want the utmost respect from them, then we must give it in kind. Every performer should reflect very carefully on the the words he/she uses or might be thinking about using in his/her performances...

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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby CraigMitchell » February 26th, 2017, 3:52 am

I'm sorry to hear that the venue is closing ;-( Very few 'magic themed' performance areas remaining ...

Below was posted on one of the cruise ship boards:

"Yep! Can't get enough Cirque. Let's put it on every ship. Then we won't have to worry about booking shows anymore. If we've been on one ship, we'll have seen all the shows. This will be just like going to Las Vegas and staying at a MGM Mirage property. They only have Cirque shows at Mirage, MGM Grand, New York New York, Luxor, Aria, and Bellagio. I can't think of one single reason why you'd want to have choice of a variety of entertainment. I'm sure they would have happily changed the Supper Club to Cirque if they could have refit it without major expense. I'm guessing that with Ringling Brothers closing down, acrobats are looking for any gig they can get. "

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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 26th, 2017, 11:03 am

Whoever made that post seems to have forgotten that David Copperfield performs 600 shows a year at the MGM Grand.
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Re: Hobson's Illusionarium getting good reviews ...

Postby Tom Moore » February 26th, 2017, 5:26 pm

Sad to see it going but the writing has been on the wall for a long time. There have been some operational issues, it was incredibly expensive to run (circus performers of equivalent reputation to the magic performers they had would be 1/3 the wage bill) and there were ongoing issues trying to sell the concept to PAX as the venue was a pay-extra attraction which was modeled on convincing 30% of all guests on any sailing to pay extra for dinner & a show when they could go eat in another on-board restaurant & see a bigger show in the main theatre for free. NCL have also had fleet-wide issues with all their dinner-theatre venues and are implementing a program of adjustments and testing which is incompatible with the illusionarium concept.

Quite simply they need to present something cheaper, easier to sell (cirque dreams is a brand on land, Illusionarium isn't), attractive to a broader demographic and which can be adjusted & scaled on a week-by-week basis until they find a format that is actually viable. The magic show didn't fail, it just wasn't right for this situation.
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