Why does this bother me?

Addresses new and interesting links to other sites (not listed on the Genii website) that merit attention.
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Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 9th, 2016, 12:58 pm

Of course everything bothers me. Nature of the beast and all that. Still, I think there is half a chance that this might bother someone else. And of course I am perpetuating the sin by posting this here.

To me the Vernon card books were real classic books on magic and I treasure them all. But when I see this kind of thing I want to puke. I suppose I come from the age of the dinosaur and don't understand these things but how come people are allowed to do this? Or maybe they are not. I would have thought there was some copyright issue or something. Anyway here you are:

LINK REMOVED

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 9th, 2016, 1:36 pm

Mark, that's a torrant site filled with illegal copies of copyrighted works (which is why I deleted your link).
Nobody condones those, but there's little that can be done.
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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 9th, 2016, 2:47 pm

I don't even know what a torrant site is! How on earth do they make any money if they are giving the stuff away free?

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erdnasephile
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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby erdnasephile » September 9th, 2016, 3:03 pm

performer wrote:... I suppose I come from the age of the dinosaur and don't understand these things


It bothers me as well...but the sin of taking what is not yours is as old as time--only these days, technology has made it easier than ever (and the thieves less likely to be caught).

Personally, I'm surprised some jerk hasn't started selling a pdf of the Harbin book.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Ted M » September 9th, 2016, 4:32 pm

erdnasephile wrote:
Personally, I'm surprised some jerk hasn't started selling a pdf of the Harbin book.

Evidently you have not consulted google about that.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 9th, 2016, 9:11 pm

Yes. But the book I am talking about was not offered for sale. It was there for anyone to read once they clicked the link. No need to even download it. I just can't figure out how they make any money out of it.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby brianarudolph » September 9th, 2016, 9:23 pm

Mark: perhaps the best response is not to try to figure it out.

To quote Alfred speaking to Batman regarding the Joker's motivations "Some men aren't looking for anything logical like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."

And when someone has secrets, some people simply relish revealing them just because they can.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 9th, 2016, 10:13 pm

Oh well, if there is no money to be made out of it I have just lost interest. I shall have to find something else.

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Q. Kumber » September 9th, 2016, 11:34 pm

[quote="brianarudolph"

To quote Alfred speaking to Batman regarding the Joker's motivations "Some men aren't looking for anything logical like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."

And when someone has secrets, some people simply relish revealing them just because they can.[/quote]

Thank you Brian for posting that.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Ted M » September 10th, 2016, 12:21 am

Serious thought experiment:

If every kid learning magic today -- whether they're learning from YouTube or from other sources -- had all of Ganson's classic Vernon books available as free PDFs, please describe how magic would be harmed?

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby erdnasephile » September 10th, 2016, 7:32 am

Ted M wrote:Serious thought experiment:

If every kid learning magic today -- whether they're learning from YouTube or from other sources -- had all of Ganson's classic Vernon books available as free PDFs, please describe how magic would be harmed?


In this hypothetical, if the copyright holder of those works gave away the books to interested students on their own accord, then I would have no problem with that at all.

However, if those copies were stolen by every kid, then I think that would be harmful because it would help create a generation of magicians who would view intellectual property as valueless and the act of creativity as meaningless. The notion that these treasures are created out of thin air and is theirs for the taking would be propagated, thereby disrespecting the creators of this material. Consequently, there would be even less incentive for the thinkers and creators to share their inventions with this new generation of thieves. I would also strongly suspect that their stealing would not limit itself to mere books, but also to the parts of other's performances they found intriguing. After all, once you think everything is "free", then nothing is off limits to steal.

In short, by normalizing thievery in this hypothetical situation, we would help ensure the new generation was just like us.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Jack Shalom » September 10th, 2016, 8:25 am

Great reply!

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Bill Mullins » September 10th, 2016, 3:10 pm

Ted M wrote:Serious thought experiment:

If every kid learning magic today -- whether they're learning from YouTube or from other sources -- had all of Ganson's classic Vernon books available as free PDFs, please describe how magic would be harmed?


"Magic" cannot be harmed. Only people who perform or create or watch or otherwise interact with magic can be harmed. In this case, magicians who create magic would be harmed.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Ted M » September 10th, 2016, 3:46 pm

Crikey. Let me amend the question:

If every kid learning magic today -- whether they're learning from YouTube or from other sources -- had all of Ganson's classic Vernon books legally available as free PDFs, please describe how magic would be harmed?

(My interpretation, perhaps inaccurate, of Mark Lewis' reaction was not of horror at breach of copyright, but rather of horror at widespread, easy access to the Vernon material which was so guarded, prized and hard-won when he was green and young. This is where I'm coming from on this. Can we try again?)

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Q. Kumber » September 10th, 2016, 3:55 pm

Ted M wrote:
If every kid learning magic today -- whether they're learning from YouTube or from other sources -- had all of Ganson's classic Vernon books legally available as free PDFs, please describe how magic would be harmed?


It won't make the slightest difference because 99% will not read them. To learn practically any of Vernon's routines properly, you have to do more than read, you have to study.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 10th, 2016, 8:37 pm

I think magic is harmed by all the interest in magic that you see everywhere and anywhere including the bloody internet. I am NOT in favour of loads of people being brought into magic. It is supposed to be a secret art and the less people doing it the better. That is why I do not approve of magic camps and all this promoting the art of magic and teaching kids how to do it.

The more the interest in the subject the more people go into it seriously which means even more crappy magicians infest the world. There are enough of them around as it is. I really wish it was a less popular hobby.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 10th, 2016, 8:51 pm

Ted M wrote:Crikey. Let me amend the question:


(My interpretation, perhaps inaccurate, of Mark Lewis' reaction was not of horror at breach of copyright, but rather of horror at widespread, easy access to the Vernon material which was so guarded, prized and hard-won when he was green and young. This is where I'm coming from on this. Can we try again?)


Oh, I don't give a stuff about the breach of copyright. I shall let L & L worry about that. In fact it is the sort of thing I would have done without hesitation in my younger more evil days if I saw any money in it. That of course is before I became a gentle and benevolent senior citizen full of concern for my fellow man.

Yes, I suppose it bothers me that it is given away free to all and sundry when I had to pay for it. But it is far more than that. I detest the trivialisation of it all. These are classic texts that Lewis Ganson sweated hours over. And Vernon's beautiful routines and sleights that I do to this day. To see them put out there without the photographs and the very nice paper that L & L supply cheapens and disrespects a classic work. It is probably one of those horrible kids that attend magic camps who put it out on the internet.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby brianarudolph » September 10th, 2016, 9:02 pm

Q. Kumber wrote:It won't make the slightest difference because 99% will not read them. To learn practically any of Vernon's routines properly, you have to do more than read, you have to study.


I agree with Mr. Kumber. The overwhelming majority of these kids would not read them (let alone actually study them.) It's always been said that the best way to hide a magic effect is to put it in print. Ironically, perhaps we are actually keeping a lot of the real good stuff safe by putting it printed form, effectively using today's information explosion/overload and the unwillingness of all but the truly, seriously interested from reading and studying the material.

Because a guy (or gal) learning magic these days needs a video shot close-up in front of some other guy's (or gal's) crotch before they'll try to learn anything at all. This inevitably leads to even more groin eye-view videos appearing everywhere.

And since I'm ranting after a few beers: I'm getting seriously tired of all the formulaic trailers being produced to sell a lot of magic effects these days too.

So let's just have a little with-all-due-respect-to-the masters-of-the-form fun and play the short MadLib version:

Cue: name of random royalty-free piece of music over images of name of performance venue(s).

"Hi! I'm person's name you've typically never heard of before or only know from online magic video trailiers and this is title desperately trying to sound impressive. Repeat the same desperately-trying-to-sound-impressive title is a name of a magic effect (consult Fitzkee's The Trick Brain if you're stumped here) using common magic item(s) that allows you work state(s)-of-being (e.g., close-up, surrounded, drunk) without any undesired magic attribute(s) (e.g., false moves, bad angles, thought whatsoever, etc.).

Featuring over random number between 5 and 180 minutes of instruction covering the adjective method, random number between 1 and 3 bonus effects, and random number between 100 and 1000 crotch shots.

So now, let's get into yet another repeat of the same desperately-trying-to-sound-impressive title.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby erdnasephile » September 14th, 2016, 12:18 pm

Q. Kumber wrote:
Ted M wrote:
If every kid learning magic today -- whether they're learning from YouTube or from other sources -- had all of Ganson's classic Vernon books legally available as free PDFs, please describe how magic would be harmed?


It won't make the slightest difference because 99% will not read them. To learn practically any of Vernon's routines properly, you have to do more than read, you have to study.


Ah...but it would be that 1% that would be worth enduring the 99%.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby erdnasephile » September 14th, 2016, 12:28 pm

performer wrote:I think magic is harmed by all the interest in magic that you see everywhere and anywhere including the bloody internet. I am NOT in favour of loads of people being brought into magic. It is supposed to be a secret art and the less people doing it the better. That is why I do not approve of magic camps and all this promoting the art of magic and teaching kids how to do it.

The more the interest in the subject the more people go into it seriously which means even more crappy magicians infest the world. There are enough of them around as it is. I really wish it was a less popular hobby.


With respect, I feel I must offer a contrary opinion.

Most of us reading this thread are very likely products of the magic boom of the 70's and 80's. I know without the popularity of "Magic Circus" and Doug Henning, there is no way I would have found myself at the B & H School of Magic. Therefore, if that magic boom had never happened, I feel certain that I (and perhaps you) would have likely been cheated out of a lifetime of joy.

I can't help but think there is some kid out there today that is being bitten hard by the magic bug via "Fool Us" and the like. Hopefully, they'll find mentors who will help guide and nurture them and teach them respect and love for magic. That is magic's lifeblood that will persist long after we are all dust, and I am glad of it.

So, I say: let's celebrate this current magic boom and do all we can to help raise the next generation to the standards we all aspire to!

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 14th, 2016, 1:55 pm

Learning takes so much work anyway that the basic "how to" - from basic plotting to direction/blocking/production (and basic acting) - seems less an abstraction than its own investment. For example, it's been over five years since I got a set of Bob Farmer's Mutanz... and only today got a clue how I'd like to present and carry the trick. White vinyl wallet with words "Directions Inside", using blank cards with arrows... not gonna describe the additional part till I try with a few people. (of course Bob is welcome to discuss offline or PM). My point here being that basic technique descriptions of what happens to work in some context are less than the "secrets" needed to do magic for audiences.

performer wrote:...it bothers me that it is given away free to all and sundry when I had to pay for it...

How nice to feel one is not part of all or sundry. A torrent of trivia is not so useful as a few drops of insight where needed.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 14th, 2016, 10:18 pm

Sorry. I don't approve of "magic booms." If I were a magic dealer then I most certainly would. But I am not so I won't.
The trouble with magic booms is that they get too many people interested in magic. Since fully 90% of people who take up magic are bloody awful that means that more and more and more mediocre magicians are foisted on the public. There are enough bad ones as it is without adding any more.

As for mentors who "guide and nurture" I keep getting a vibe of the phrase "the blind leading the blind" for some odd reason. I thank God every day that I never met a single magician for the first two years of my study of magic. If I had I would have been influenced unduly to be as crap as they were. I am completely self taught in magic and am very pleased that is the route I have taken. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had followed the crowd.

Not that I have a jaded and cynical mindset of course.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 14th, 2016, 11:10 pm

performer wrote:Sorry. I don't approve of "magic booms."...
Not that I have a jaded and cynical mindset of course.


Understood - and Not a problem - thought of it as club dues and the amateurs as a huge resource for safe dialog.

Nothing wrong with asking "who benefits" or "why should that version be preferred to any other" questions - the basics of cynicism and skepticism. Can't hurt to know who's the intended audience for the item being sold and what makes that item in particular useful rather than clever.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 15th, 2016, 4:05 am

I have no problem with amateurs. But they should be GOOD amateurs! Oddly enough I was reading what Tarbell said about it yesterday. He wanted his students, even if they did not want to be professionals, to be as good as professionals. Not that all professionals are particularly good either. But anyone who does magic should strive for perfection. Alas they don't. Perhaps they don't have time, perhaps they get too distracted with the fun and fascination of it, perhaps they just don't have the personality or the showmanship and they have no idea how to develop it.

All very understandable but not very good for the art. The increase in the hobby enthusiasm has led to exposure of secrets, 10 year old kids knowing important secrets of magic that they should not know since they are bound to give up their hobby sooner or later but now they know how all the damn tricks are done. Classic tricks too.

No. I want less so called "magicians" out there. The less the better and the more exclusive the more the art will be appreciated.
Less is more.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 15th, 2016, 9:47 am

The arts are fine. Painting does not suffer for the brushwork of others - with the possible exception of poor restoration work done over the original... we almost lost the art on the Sistine Chapel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorati ... l_frescoes
and that ece-homo incident
http://nypost.com/2016/03/12/infamous-b ... ttraction/
... exceptions rather than the rule. You can still see Leonardo's refractory mural and his portrait/triumph of shading (sfumato) to create an animated picture that rewards the viewer's attention.

The performing arts are not disgraced by dabblers so much as by those who would sell what is not theirs and what essentially cannot be sold, the basic inspiration to refine base will into a reliable source of audience delight. Then again that also borders on an awareness of where the muses lead and the graces beckon.

It's okay performer - the hook or crook - appeal to vanity in the marketplace... trade your cow for some magic beans... tale as old as time.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 15th, 2016, 10:34 am

I will respond to Jonathon once I receive the translation.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby erdnasephile » September 15th, 2016, 11:19 am

Mr. Lewis, I can certainly understand your disdain of the duffers mucking around with the art you love.

However, magic booms do give rise to magic hobbyists, most of whom will not be competent performers. I strongly suspect that many gigs that professionals get are as a direct result of the presence of those same magic hobbyists in the decision making chains of the clients. Without those hobbyists, those jobs would likely dry up and/or go to other variety acts/speakers.

Couple that with the fact that most of the stuff sold in our cottage industry is probably bought by hobbyists. Without them, who would sustain the great publications we have, purchase the tricks, buy the videos, and read the books? It's their purchasing power that helps give creators the ability and monetary incentive to share their creations. Without them, I don't get to read Genii, watch "Fool Us", or read the great Lovick book. Therefore, the ecosystem for magic as a whole would surely be less favorable without them.

I don't look at this as an either/or proposition. I think it's possible to recognize that Sturgeon was an optimist (apologies to Mr. Maven) while still believing that outstanding work can (and will) come from magic's current popularity.

I will acknowledge, however, that these decidedly rose-colored spectacles I'm wearing will probably be hastily discarded the next time I see some tyro shock an innocent spectator with a chair.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 15th, 2016, 1:41 pm

I rather like the Electric Chair trick. As for the "innocent" spectator I can assure you he doesn't mind a bit providing you use the correct method which I won't reveal here. I will concede that the late Paul Daniels was no "tyro" but he certainly got fantastic reaction out of it.

I would have thought that incompetent hobbyists , far from encourage professional bookings, would tend to frighten away potential bookers.

You do have a point when you point out that the infrastructure of magic is sustained by these awful people and out of that infrastructure some wonderful innovations appear. But that has always been there. It doesn't need this extra influx of incompetence. You can have too much of a good thing you know.

Look at the Magic Cafe if you don't believe me. And talking about the Magic Cafe we even have Steve Brooks exposing the Bill in Lemon trick for all to see. This increase in hobbyism leads to exposure to an alarming degree. I have come across laymen who not only know how the tricks are done they also know the names of those tricks. There will be no laymen left at this rate.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 15th, 2016, 3:06 pm

performer wrote:... the infrastructure of magic is sustained by these awful people and out of that infrastructure some wonderful innovations appear. But that has always been there. It doesn't need this extra influx of incompetence...


It's a filter. Most hit the wall of audiences/time/money for positive feedback per dollar/hour invested. The guy who buys a trick to bring to parties is just as much an integral part of our community as the guy who learns front-and-back palm or x-cardistry manipulations... the same fertiile ground from which juggling sprouted "contact juggling" thanks to Michael Moschen. The product lifecycle has gotten a bit quicker though. Not so many folks develop signature acts like Jack Kodell or Marvin Roy or Norm Neilson or ... long list - add Finn Jon, and keep going. That's where the art develops - over the hurdle of design into practice and context.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 15th, 2016, 5:47 pm

Then how is it we don't see zillions of crappy ballet dancers and opera singers?

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby erdnasephile » September 15th, 2016, 6:02 pm

performer wrote:Then how is it we don't see zillions of crappy ballet dancers and opera singers?


I think it's because to be even a bad ballet dancer or opera singer is really hard. For instance, it took my child years of training even to begin en pointe.

On the other hand, if you want to "be the life of the party", you need only to surf to nearest website to buy the latest "easy to do" "self-working" miracle and Voila!, you're a magician....which is pretty much what happens when magicians make being a magician all about the methods.

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Re: Why does this bother me?

Postby performer » September 15th, 2016, 11:13 pm

erdnasephile wrote:
performer wrote:Then how is it we don't see zillions of crappy ballet dancers and opera singers?


I think it's because to be even a bad ballet dancer or opera singer is really hard. For instance, it took my child years of training even to begin en pointe.

On the other hand, if you want to "be the life of the party", you need only to surf to nearest website to buy the latest "easy to do" "self-working" miracle and Voila!, you're a magician....which is pretty much what happens when magicians make being a magician all about the methods.


Oh God! I feel ill reading that mainly because it is true! Maybe I should have take up ballet dancing instead. On second thoughts..........................

No. Perhaps not.


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