Ricky Jay age

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Postby Guest » 11/02/01 07:49 PM

hello all, I am not sure if this is the correct spot to post about this in but oh well. Mr. Ricky jay is performing his show in my state MA I have been very dissapointed in realizing that you must be 17 or older to see the show. What are your reactions to this, and don't be afraid to say somthing mean because I want to know what people really think of us young guys.

Noah Levine
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Postby Guest » 11/03/01 02:53 PM

Noah,
The reason why Mr. Jay denies access to his show for anyone under 17yrs, is because he does not want to be considered a "kid's magicians" (according to some, anyone under the age of 18 could be considered a "kid"). Being one who shares the view of not being classified as a "kid's magician," I would do the same. My philosophy on this topic is too long to post, but, nonetheless, this is the main point.
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Postby Guest » 11/07/01 07:32 AM

In addition to the point above (and I agree with you and Mr Jay's sentiments exactly), and I mean no offence to any young people reading this (I'm only 23 myself!) but if I was going to see that show, I'd be comforted by the fact that it's 17+ because you know there aren't going to be any unruly, 6 year old maniacs or screaming babies in there. I prefer to see 18 certificate (please excuse me, I'm British) movies because you know there wont be any insane children in there.

So, what I'm saying is, if the place was packed with under 17's but they were all sitting quietly enjoying the show, they wouldn't bother me in the slightest, it's the hyper-active, additive fuelled psycho kids that bother me and spoil my enjoyment.
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Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » 12/17/01 12:35 AM

Penn & Teller are not exactly kids show magicians, and they do not have such an extreme age limit on their shows. I think they suggest about 10 as a limit. The idea that a serious young student of magic of the age of 13 or 14 or 15 is denied access to such a show is, in my humble opinion, ludicrous and hostile to the art itself. (At Monday Night Magic we say the show is not recommended for children under 10.)
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Postby Terry » 12/17/01 07:41 AM

I'd be comforted by the fact that it's 17+ because you know there aren't going to be any unruly, 6 year old maniacs or screaming babies in there.


Kris, the problem isn't the kids, it's the "parents" who have failed. They ignore what the kids are doing and don't consider how it interrupts others enjoyment of the activity. Managers should escort the kids AND parents out if their actions infringe on others.
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Postby Guest » 12/17/01 10:56 AM

Not only should they be escorted out, but they should also be beaten for good measure.
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Postby Brian Marks » 12/17/01 11:47 AM

Kids do take the blame for interuppting the show when its the parents who should not be taking them there. Setting an age limit is the best solution although 17 sounds a bit high. As previously mention 10 or older sounds good. You can probably go as low as 7 or 8 and get rid of the problem. The only downside is if your doing the show for adults and their are objectionable items in the show.

The next problem we need to worry about as performers are cell phones.
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Postby Jim Morton » 12/17/01 01:27 PM

While I don't agree with Mr. Jay's age limit policy, I think I know why he's doing it. I can't count the number of times I've mentioned to people that I was perform magic only to have them exclaim, "Oh, you should do some magic for my son/daughter!" pointing at their six year-old child. I think the age limit is Ricky Jay's way of demonstrating that magic isn't just for kids.
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Postby Guest » 12/17/01 06:21 PM

In the middle of last century, Ricky feels that the performance of magic by Robert Houdin and Hofzinser, among others, was held in the same high esteem as the greatest composers and ballet dancers. Such performances (even though children are not excluded) are and were generally performed for adults. Ricky would like to see magic once again treated with the same level of respect. This is also one of the reasons why he performs "classic" magic.

Carl.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/17/01 08:28 PM

Without commenting directly on the varying degrees of accuracy, I think it's safe to say that much of what has been said regarding why Ricky Jay chooses not to perform for children can be best described as “speculative.” I think it would be best to allow Mr. Jay's words speak for themselves. I transcribed the following from a recording of a 1998 radio interview. He was asked what it was that he found problematical about having children in his audience:

I think it's pretty simple. It has nothing to do with the children. It has to do with having an art, which I take seriously, and which has existed since the beginning of time, written off as an entertainment for 15 minutes at a child's birthday party. It's that simple. That's not what it's about and it's not what it's about to me and I don't want any association with it. Which doesn't mean that a child can't enjoy a magic show. And it doesn't mean that there aren't people who like to perform magic for children and who do it well, you know? It just means that I'm not interested in it.


Personally, I couldn't agree more. Besides, I haven't enough patience to perform for the little urchins.

Regards,
Dustin
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Postby Matthew Field » 12/18/01 07:19 AM

Originally posted by Jamy Ian Swiss:
The idea that a serious young student of magic of the age of 13 or 14 or 15 is denied access to such a show is, in my humble opinion, ludicrous and hostile to the art itself. (At Monday Night Magic we say the show is not recommended for children under 10.)


Having said that, and knowing as I hope you all do how much I love Monday Night Magic, it's a shame that magicians like Eric Mead have to self-censor their acts to take into account the kiddies, providing the adults in the audience (ME!) with a watered-down experience.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/18/01 08:47 AM

Personally, I find Ricky Jay's remarks to be elitist and revolting, and I can't believe so many of you agree with him.
You do NOT need to have a policy of no person's under 18 allowed into a show that has no obscene content. Frankly I can't imagine that it's legal to bar people under a certain age when there is no content to justify it, simply the whim of the artist.
If Ricky Jay doesn't want "kids" coming to his show, then all he has to do is perform an adult show and the reviewers will remark that "this really isn't aimed at kids and they'll probably be bored" and word of mouth will do likewise. This will keep most of the fidgety kids out of the audience. It's a self-working process.
I had an extremely serious interest in card magic when I was 13! I would have immensely enjoyed being taken to see someone of the skill level of Ricky Jay when I was that age. For Ricky Jay to make the snotty decision that HE will allow no one under the age of 18 into his show is grotesquely selfish. It is yet another example of some pompous twit being allowed to do what he wants because is is a media darling.
I find the age restriction at Monday Night Magic to much more fair: 10 years old is a fine cut-off age. I must disagree with Matt Field about Eric Mead having to censor his act. Who cares! Monday Night Magic is a venue that thankfully allows all people with an interest in magic to view it.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/18/01 11:23 AM

Richard,

I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I do not see taking the art seriously (which I know that you do) and not wanting it “written off” as a child's entertainment (which it so often is) as elitist.

I wish I had a buck for the times that I have had this conversation (after doing some magic for a group of adults; keeping in mind that I am not a paid performer):

Q: “Do you do kid's parties?”

A: “No; what I do is not really geared toward kids.”

Q: “Oh, yes; I suppose that's true.”


Even though what they just witnessed was “adult” oriented (but in no way obscene – I'll get to that in moment), they immediately assume, because I do magic, that I also do kid's shows. That is the issue. That being a magician automatically means bunnies out of hats and balloon doggies. Not that there's anything wrong with doing those things. It's just not my thing. I do not see anything wrong with an artist wanting to elevate his art beyond those assumptions (not the bunnies and balloon doggies – just the assumptions), and that is what Ricky Jay is trying to do. He even says that it's “not about the children.”

Out of curiosity, why does “adult” have to be associated with obscenity and/or violence? Isn't that the same pigeonholing that is happening with the “kids' magic” assumptions? 52 Assistants was certainly an adult oriented show. Yes, there are a few 13 year olds who would not have been bored out of their socks, but they are in the minority (take it from one who has countless seasons as a youth hockey and baseball coach under his belt: very well behaved 10 through 13 year-olds are a rarity). But, even with reviewers saying that the show was geared toward adults, this would in no way would have stopped the onslaught of kids that would have been taken to see the show because of the “it's a magic show, it must be for kids” mentality. How many times have you seen little kids in "R' rated films to which their parents had no business bringing them?

Is Jay's 17 and over age limit too restrictive? Perhaps. Could he have had a “between 13 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult” tenet? Again, perhaps so: But it's easier just to place the strict age restriction and not have to deal with the inevitable attempts at bending the rules and parents who feel their “little angels” would never cause a problem (again, I cite the modern movie theater experience). Yes, it's a shame that those well behaved, serious students are left out of his show, but this is not a case where a few good apples make the barrel acceptable.

Regards,
Dustin
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Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » 12/18/01 11:36 AM

Oh, for crying out loud. Putting such a ridiculous age restriction doesn't change ANY of that, it merely lets you look in the mirror and puff up your chest about what a serious artist you are. It is antithetical to the very essence of the tradition and continuum that is our art.

I'm a full-time pro, and of course I get those questions about kid shows and such all the time. So what? Grow up. Just do your work and stop inflicting your personality deficiencies on innocent bystanders. It's no different with magicians who waste their time screaming about exposure. It's just bad magic, for goodness sake -- ignore it and worry about doing good magic. The only thing anyone can do to educate the public or change any of that is GOOD WORK. Just do your work! I did a very grown up one-man show for the NY International Fringe Festival two summers ago, and I posted a simple warning that it was not recommended for young children. Done. The rest the audience will learn from your WORK, not from your posted restrictions. The world is full of lousy magicians and kid show magicians and in some cases both, and that won't change because of an age restriction. But the world might get filled with better magicians doing better work if young developing magicians were exposed to sophisticated work, especially by generous masters who care about contributing to the future of their art. Obviously, not all fit that bill. Read the Blackstone Sr. biography and see how he dealt with kids who approached him backstage. I guess we can't all be Blackstones, but we needn't all be Thurstons either.
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Postby Guest » 12/18/01 11:51 AM

This topic has clearly raised some emotions. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. In my teens in the late 50's and early 60's I spent all my life working on my magic, yet I could not go to the Magic Castle. I hated that. Back then there was no juniors division, so I formed my own magic club.

Can you imagine the difference in atmosphere at the Magic Castle if they had not imposed the age minimum (even though the alcohol is the excuse for no children - if they wanted to allow children, they could have arranged it so).

Emotionally, I agree with Richard and Jamy, but intellectually, I understand what Ricky is trying to accomplish.

Carl.
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Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » 12/18/01 11:56 AM

There is no basis of comparison between the Magic Castle and buying a ticket to a show.
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Postby Guest » 12/18/01 12:08 PM

I love this. I am in my first argument with Jamy Ian Swiss (for whom I have a great deal of respect).

The Magic Castle is principally a show venue. How can there be a difference between the Magic Castle and anywhere else. For, example, In the Los Angeles area we also have Wizardz. Wizardz has a significantly different feel from the Magic Castle, which among other things is due to the fact that it allows children. As a result Wizardz has become the place to have children's birthday parties, even though it is a nice dinner club.

I don't know if Wizardz could have succeeded financially if they did not allow children, but the ambience would certainly be different.

Carl.
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Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » 12/18/01 12:15 PM

The Magic Castle (where I recently performed for two weeks) is a night club. It has three bars and a restaurant. And it *also* does shows. A nightclub is not a theater.
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Postby Guest » 12/18/01 12:29 PM

My oldest son, who is also a magician member of the Castle saw you peform when you were there. He had the highest of compliments. Unforunately, I was busy those weeks and missed your act.

The "shows" are the main attraction, the bars and restrauant are incidental. I can't remember the last time I ate at the Castle.

More important Wizardz is also a night club with a bar and a restrauant that also has "shows." If we label the venue a night club, we can exclude kids, primarily because we don't want kids present - not because it is prohibited.

Why can't a theater exercise the same discretion?
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Postby Guest » 12/18/01 12:31 PM

As a huge fan of music, I had an opportunity to see Bob Marley and also to see Muddy Waters (2 different shows of course). I couldn't get in because I was under age. I was pissed (and still am since both are dead).

If I were a budding teen age magician and had the opportunity to see Ricky Jay perform in his prime (or close to it) but could not go because of some age restriction, I would be pissed as well.

Nothing wrong with letting people know that if the kid (or adult) misbehaves, they will be ejected from the theatre with no refund, but I do think that banning the kids from going because they are under 17 is wrong.
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Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » 12/18/01 12:44 PM

You now appear to be arguing whether the theater has the right. I never said a theater can't bar kids. I indicated that I consider the choice a poor reflection of the artist.
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Postby Brian Marks » 12/18/01 02:43 PM

Jamy is right.

1. Do good magic.
2. Do the material you want. Take your show seriously and adults will take you seriously.

Some kids might show up so put sign out warning of adult material.There is no need to ban anybody. Thats all you need to do.
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Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » 12/18/01 02:46 PM

Brian Marks has exactly expressed my thoughts more succinctly than I. Thank-you, Brian.
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Postby Dan » 12/18/01 02:51 PM

Let me just add my two cents. I went to his show in MA, it is in a small theater 100-125 seats. I was told at the time of purchase that ALL seats were general admission and to be there 1/2 hr. before showtime. I showed up a half hour before, the first 3 rows were reserved and all but the last row of the theater was spoken for (I felt like I was at a convention will all the 'saved' Seats). I asked and the theater employee told me Mr. Jay reserved 25% of the theater that night, GOD BLESS HIM, I'll just sit in the back and fall asleep while he amuses HIS friends.

I just thought this also illustrates what he thinks of his paying fans. :mad: :mad:
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Postby Guest » 12/18/01 06:57 PM

I started this very topic somewhere on this board; kids and magic is a very sensitive issue with me.
Jamy, you're a worker, and a serious student as well. Aren't you the least bit frustrated over hearing (God knows how many times) "my son would love this", only to find out the son was six, five, sometimes four years old?

I know I am.

In Ricky's quote, what was so offensive!!? He admits there's a place for children in magic; a very specific, clearly defined place. Just not in his show!

I actually cringe when I hear a parent call their four year over when I'm in the middle of a set. It changes the entire tone and mood of the performance. It becomes all about the child. Any notion of art, or artfullness, dissapears.

17 is a bit extreme, I'll admit, but there is nothing wrong with wanting all associations with children and magic eliminated.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/18/01 08:11 PM

Dear Mr. Swiss;

Boy – I get home only to find out that I've been raked over the coals by a man for whom I have nothing but the utmost of respect (despite the fact that he is a Yankee fan).

“CarlR” might be happy, but the last thing I want to do is enter into a battle with you – I am seriously out-gunned (and I hope you see this discussion as part of my education/growth in the art – even at my age and with my [what was it? Oh yes] “personality deficiencies” ;)). That said, I feel I must counter a few of your comments:

The issue is not good or bad magic (God knows that is a subject of its own). Nowhere in my posts was that subject even broached. One could surmise from your comments that I'm saying that adult magic is “good” and kid magic is “bad” and by restricting young people from some magic shows, magic will be better off as an art. I am not saying that in the least – and neither is Ricky Jay.

You spoke of magic's “tradition and continuum.” If magic's tradition is being automatically associated only with kid shows, as opposed to also being respected as a form of legitimate theater, then you are correct; Jay's view is contrary to that point of view. However, I know that is not what you think about magic (one need only read your essays and see you perform to know otherwise). There can be no arguing among us that magic is about theater, kid shows, corporate work, nightclubs, history, collecting, and all its other aspects. But there is no denying that there is a contingent (and I believe it to be a majority) of the general public that associates “magic” with kid shows only (and again, I will reiterate, “kid magic” does not equate with “bad” magic in this instance). What is so terrible, so chest puffing, about a desire to elevate magic beyond such a narrow viewpoint? You do it every time you step in front of the audience.

Clearly the point of contention, then, is the method – and on that I will acquiesce to your point of view.

After some reflection, I have to agree with the point that the age restriction will not cure the “problem” as a whole. I have a sore toe; cutting it off will not help and will ultimately make me walk funny. Brian Marks' second point does cut to the issue quite well (his first is well taken also, but again, it's not to the issue at hand: doing good magic should be a given. The fact that it's not is a whole other discussion). Effective or not, Ricky Jay feels that the age restriction is the right ting to do for his show, and that is his prerogative. I understand his point of view and what he is trying to do. I'm quite certain that his comments are not meant to malign the art of kid magic, its practitioners or its audience.

Most respectfully yours,
Dustin Stinett

PS: My profound thanks to the Yankees for taking Jason Giambi out of the American League West. I look forward to someday soon watching the Angels have the opportunity to lose to the Yankees in the ALCS (my fully admitted personality deficiencies aside, I am nothing if not a realist when discussing baseball).
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 12/18/01 08:21 PM

Has anyone noticed how difficult it is to distinguish the "dancer from the dance"? This "thread" began as a query-complaint with some airy, open ends. Mr. Jay's injunctions, unfortunately, also reflect his attitudes about his work, his audiences, his views about children, and his apparent dismissive regard for lumpen-magicians. I remember reading about another one of his theatrical injunctions, namely that "no seating is allowed once the show begins." This is strict and dicey. (I also remember that Shelly Berman demanded that no beverages be served during his performances. He had this clause written into his contract.)

During Mr, Jay's initial NY run (of his one-man show), two critics were barred from the theater because they were a few minutes late. The critics were Stanley Crouch and Daphne Merkin (then writing for the New Yorker). They were, needless to say, displeased with Mr. Jay and his cavalier injunction.

However, it's Mr. Jay's show and he can make the rules. It's also likely that Mr. Jay didn't give a hoot-in-hell what these two critics thought or felt. Critics are another breed of bottom-feeder, ranking as high as Copperfield's qualifications to be a serious "collector of historical magic books"...

When Mr. Jay's name popped up in this discussion, I remembered Oscar Wilde's remark when he went through customs:

"I have nothing to declare...

...but my genius!"

Wilde, of course, was a celebrated wit in his day and his works are still read, performed, and studied.

Mr. Jay, on the other hand, is....


Onward...
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Postby Guest » 12/18/01 08:55 PM

Unless you work for the public, there is no way to describe how aweful it feels to have a child's approval of your "work" be the deciding factor of how well you do your job. Frankly, I'm sick of it, and thank God for giving Ricky Jay the balls to finally put the message out there.
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Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » 12/18/01 11:16 PM

I have nothing further to add, other than to note that if anyone felt "raked over the coals," that was not my intention.

And I'm not sure Giambi was worth seven years, but I will gladly see us blow Oakland away again. I was at the stadium for every playoff game this year (Mr. Giambi was not terribly effective there, btw).
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Postby Pete McCabe » 12/18/01 11:54 PM

Gee I hate to join a big fight without the opportunity to piss off one side or the other, but...

Has anyone actually seen Ricky Jay's new show? Is it possible that the age restriction is based on language? I mean, it was directed by David Mamet, wasn't it?


Just checking,

Pete
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/19/01 01:28 AM

His new show has not yet opened. This discussion centered around Jay's 52 Assistants show, in which language (of a "blue" nature) was not an issue (as I suspect will be the case with the new show as well, though that is pure speculation on my part).

Regards,
Dustin
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Postby Matthew Field » 12/19/01 07:54 AM

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:
Critics are another breed of bottom-feeder, ranking as high as Copperfield's qualifications to be a serious "collector of historical magic books"...

Onward...


And Downward.

Matt "Bottom-Feeder" Field
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Postby Steve Bryant » 12/19/01 07:54 AM

I am a big fan of Ricky Jay, and particularly of the fact that he views a magic show as a magic show, something people should buy tickets for and then come out for an evening and watch. The stage guys have always done that, but Ricky brought new respect to the closeup world. Along with most of you, I'm not a fan of his no-kids rule (ironically, kids love Ricky) and am even less a fan of his no-going-to-the-bathroom rule (some of us have needs, and sometimes even during an evening of card tricks). Those of you who have it in for Ricky over this may enjoy Cintra Wilson's putdown of Ricky in her Salon tribute to David Blaine, at
http://www.salon.com/people/col/cintra/ ... index.html.
But fair warning: her putdown of YOU is even more devastating.
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Postby Guest » 12/19/01 09:15 AM

Well, Gentlemen... we should be thankful to have Mr. Jay, a current 'media darling', representing magic to the public. We already have thousands of ambassadors who do nothing but family ready magic. Now we finally have ONE magician the media takes seriously. Mr. Jay commands that respect by being a top-flight entertainer - and by demanding he be taken seriously, demonstrated by his 'over 18-no late seating-no peeing' policy. Not only does this eliminate problems and distrations he doesn't want to deal with it adds to the perceived value of his show. It's a technique as old as show business! We should learn from his example. If we put a high value on what we do - and demand that others do too - then we become the Mercedes Benz in the market. That is what Ricky Jay has done. No, his show is not for everyone, just as a Mercedes is not for everyone. I, for one, am happy that he is causing magic to be perceived as an art, worthy of serious study and appreciation, and held in serious regard in the media.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/19/01 09:28 AM

Originally posted by Steve Bryant:
But fair warning: her putdown of YOU is even more devastating.


Her accuracy is questionable: I don't know any flame-retardant midgets or frog-swallowers.

In regard to critics: Should I aspire to become one, does that mean I need to start at the bottom and work down?

Dustin ---> just trying to get it all straight here in my vacuum.

PS: Anyone having trouble with Steve's link, simply delete the final period in the URL (after html) and hit enter.
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Postby Guest » 12/19/01 10:21 AM

I think Steve and Asrah have stated the position very well. I might add that I have often gone to concerts where there was no late seating, or only seating between movements. There is ample precedent in theater to be strict about performing conditions, and certainly that can include the age of the spectators.

Carl.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 12/19/01 10:45 AM

An Aside to my friend, Matt: I was putting words (perhaps unfairly and unjustifiably) into Mr. Jay's mouth regarding critics. T'weren't me speaking... I'm far more charitable and congenial to "critics" since I'm often put into that dark category myself. When the subject of criticism arises, I often redirect attention to my old, old piece in HIEROPHANT titled "13 Ways of Looking at Criticism."

Cintra Wilson is pretty harsh on magicians, period. Check out A MASSIVE SWELLING(2000) sometime and read what she REALLY thinks of Copperfield and S & R. Ouch!

If you deeply believe that MAGIC-AS-AN-ART should at least be in part a meritocracy, then avoiding accusations that use the word, "elitist" is difficult. The sad fact is that very few magicians are considered artists by the Show-business Elite. Even fewer have been written about in sophisticated, urbane magazines such as The New Yorker. Ricky Jay has. So has Penn & Teller. What other magician has been photographed by Richard Avedon? Ricky Jay has.

Magicians may regularly voice their opinions, pro and con, but not many are regularly featured in films nor do they have one-man shows. Regardless of what we may think of Ricky Jay, he has undeniably raised the bar and has maintained high standards and his own integrity. This is a good thing and deserves our highest praise.

I admire his work.

Onward, Upward, Downward, Sideways...
Take your pick...
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Postby Terry » 12/19/01 11:08 AM

Question: Could Ricky Jay be identifying the possibility that card tricks/presentations may not hold a younger childs interest and might cause them to fidget or create a verbal interruption? No offense to people with children, but when I go to see a show, I am there to see the performer and not your little "darling" throwing a fit. Most parents don't have the sense or manners to exit the room with the offending child.

Maybe this is the reason for the age limit?
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Postby CHRIS » 12/19/01 12:02 PM

I have the highest respect for Ricky Jay. However the 'no-pee' policy could quite easily blow up 'in his face', if someone literally pisses in his pants, because (s)he can't hold it back.

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Postby Guest » 12/19/01 01:51 PM

Hello all, I am very glad to see so many responses to my post. I wanted to say one thing. 2 years from now or more ( I will be over 17 then) if this argument comes up and I take a stance against the young people " those awful 15 year olds" I want you to slap me across the face three times and break all my fingers.

Noah Levine
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