The Castle and mentalism

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.

Postby Guest » 04/08/03 11:20 PM

Anyone know why the Magic Castle is so biased against mentalism?

They've actually influenced me to pursue non-mentalism tricks over the past 10 years, even though I have a natural inclination in that direction and have developed a full mentalism show, anyway. But I don't tell many people....
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Postby Guest » 04/09/03 10:40 AM

There is that feeling, but Frances & Glenn Falkenstein performed there for decades. Ditto Cheri Soleil, Andy Nyman,Satori, and Kuda Bux in the early years. The Evasons were the CLOSING act in the Palace when they performed there. No mental act has ever had that spot before, but it was obvious, they deserved it. Could name other acts as well, but it does seem to be a harder sell. There are board members, who are against "fostering supernatural beliefs", and VERY
against performing readings. After receiving strong resistance about performing readings, I asked one senior board member why The Castle, founded in the memory of the greatest performer, teacher, and advocate of (cold) readings, William Larsen, Sr., would not allow readings performed. This board member stated that William, Sr., wouldn't/didn't do such readings. I then showed him "The Mental Mysteries...of William Larsen, Sr., showing of his exellent work/career in that field. Despite him NOT knowing of the work of the man whose club WAS BUILT IN HIS MEMORY, he just shrugged his shoulders, saying that was then, and NO.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 04/09/03 11:24 AM

Brian Gillis and Sisuephan perform their mentalism act in the parlor regularly, to great response.

David Regal recently played the parlor, with an all-mentalism act.

The Houdini Seance, as excellently reported in a recent Genii, includes mostly mentalism.

So, although perhaps some higher-ups in the Castle personally prefer non-mentalism, that does not stop them from presenting mentalist acts.
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Postby Guest » 04/09/03 04:46 PM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
Brian Gillis and Sisuephan....David Regal....
So, although perhaps some higher-ups in the Castle personally prefer non-mentalism, that does not stop them from presenting mentalist acts.
I've played the Castle for six years now, but when I first auditioned, I was told that mentalism would definitely be out of the question, that straight magic was my only chance to get in.

The mentalism that you see at the Castle come from acts that the Castle simply can't turn down for one reason or another. Brian Gillis started in the Closeup Gallery and became the top guy in that room before he ever tried mentalism.

David Regal has three books, a great closeup act in the Closeup Gallery, and keeps the most influential company.

Falkenstein & Willard? I assume that they're such magic royalty (Willard the Wizard, etc.) that the Castle couldn't say no to them.
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Postby Guest » 04/09/03 06:34 PM

It does help to know the right people and be known...But it does show that if you are good at what you do and the audience knows it, mental acts
have and will be booked. I do know that very nice people like Frances & Glenn are those that need to be said "yes" to, more often, by more people, and appreciated for their work and legacy.
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Postby Guest » 04/19/03 01:27 PM

Originally posted by Diego Domingo:
It does help to know the right people and be known...But it does show that if you are good at what you do and the audience knows it, mental acts
have and will be booked. I do know that very nice people like Frances & Glenn are those that need to be said "yes" to, more often, by more people, and appreciated for their work and legacy.
Glenn & Francis are undoubtedly two of the nicest people in the business and, in my opinion (be it what it may) I believe they deserve a substantial amount of serious recognition by the whole of the magic fraternity.

Just my two cents worth on that side of the issue...

Bias in the Castle towards Mentalism?

It depends on the style and type of mentalism you do and your position on certain issues. I doubt that you would ever see me or those of my ilk working the Castle. I don't say this to be cute or as a slam. Only to point out that a very thick (yet invisible) line exists when it comes to certain "things" and how or what is done there. This applies to traditional magic as well.

The rift that exist in our craft between magicians and mentalist however, is being addressed by numerous people of note (and not just on the web and not by PEA members alone.) The irony is, many of those speaking out are card carrying members of the Randi Foundation who believe in the power of believability when it comes to magical performance and presentation.

My April column @ Visions seems to hold the gist of people's position (ironically, that wasn't to be published, it was a private rant that Shane put in behind my back... but, what the hay???!)

Later!
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Postby Kendrix » 04/19/03 01:59 PM

Craig: I read the "rant" and I thought you made several good points. I am not a mentalist, but the power it has over audiences is remarkable. Af
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Postby Guest » 04/21/03 09:54 AM

I've seen quite a few mentalism acts performing at the Castle recently, but perhaps there is a bias when it comes to membership. A good friend who is a young mentalist failed his audition which consisted exclusively of mentalism. He was told that the committee had seen it all before, or something to that effect. The premise, though, is thatthe committee watches the audition as laymen. Certainly they had seen the familiar methods used by those auditioning with close-up, also -- i.e. maybe they weren't fooled by the billet/one ahead/etc. or whatever he used, but they also usually aren't fooled by the double lifts or palms of the close-up acts who pass, either. This friend could have done a close-up audition and not had a problem getting in, but his love is mentalism, and per the website, a mentalism audition is supposedly o.k. I did not watch the audition, and the natural response of many reading this will be that it was quality, not genre, but his material really is very good. He works at a TGI Friday's that rotated several magicians, but by popular demand, he is the only one working Friday nights there, and his 3-hour walk around set consists ENTIRELY of mentalism.
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Postby Guest » 04/21/03 03:14 PM

That's very cool for him TGIFriday's can be very picky at times when it comes to strolling talent.

As far as Castle membership committee saying "they'd seen it all before"... that don't add up. I auditioned with sponge, cups & balls and a couple of really bad card effects and got the o.k.

I think the first prejudice towards Mentalism in general but especially with a place like the castle, is that it is so rare to find good mentalism. Let's face it, most mentalist STINK and the Castle, based on the image it holds with both, the general public and within magic, it is obliged to bring in those acts that are "better" as well as "more unique". At the same time, I can understand why some of the "darker" forms of mentalism and even bizarre magick "don't work" for the institution or are seen as "inappropriate." (and this really is coming out of the mouth of one of the "extremist" that push for "realism" around such work.)

A Mentalist trying to get into the Castle must be prepared. That is to say, they must have a tight, light-hearted, energetic act (that's my opinion). You have 15-25 minutes max to "sell yourself" and make the kind of impression on folks that is lasting. Not an easy task for a magician, let alone a person specializing in a mode of magic that oft times requires a great deal of psychological set-up (let's face it, Kreskin does 6 effects in two hours of show... at least that was the case, last I saw him work.)

On this issue I have to straddle the fence a bit (something I realized after making the above post). Mainly because I can see either side of this particular issue and I'm heavily inclined to "defend" the Castle a bit here and put the burden on the shoulders of my fellow psychotics. In short, if we start delivering more "entertaining" modes of mentalism, I dont' think anyone will say "NO" to us.
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Postby Guest » 04/21/03 07:13 PM

I dont really understand why the castle is biase toward mentalism, I mean if you really break it down to its core magic and mentalism are basically the same thing. If a magician classic forces a card on someone and then reveals it the person think he has read their mind,(its funny that most laymen dont you that they can be forced to do things like picking a card :) ). My twin is in the castle right now he is a jr member, I will join next year when I turn 21 and we are working on a twin mental act, but it wont be all mental, it will be like gillis shows kinda, some magic and mentalism, and a lot of people believe that twins have special connections and stuff.

this is my two cents
Amir
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Postby Max Maven » 04/23/03 05:43 AM

Originally posted by Diego Domingo:
The Evasons were the CLOSING act in the Palace when they performed there. No mental act has ever had that spot before
Sorry for the delay in responding to this thread; I've been out of the country.

At any rate, the above statement is simply false. Other mentalists have been in the closing slot of the Palace line-up.

What is true is that the current Castle booker is wary of anything that is not straightforward magic. Hence, he tends to hedge before booking jugglers, ventriloquists, mentalists, etc. That doesn't mean that such acts are never booked, but rather that it's done less frequently than was the case years ago.
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Postby Guest » 04/23/03 08:48 AM

Perhaps a more precise statement would have been, "No mental act had closed the palace show, AS I RECALL." I couldn't, unless you count Glenn and Frances performing their Spirit Cabinet and it wouldn't surprise me if Max Maven had been in the closing spot either. It is just that it is rare to see a mental act, placed as the closing act, and The Evasons, were clearly the strongest act that night, that sent audiences,(and magicians) out the theater buzzing.
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