The Office - recent episode: Mike The Magic

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Guest » 02/23/07 11:57 AM

Anyone catch last nites episode? Hilarious.

After having an intellectual discussion with my teacher this morning on the show and other topics, what are your perspectives of the art of magic being portrayed in this comedic manner? Steve Carrell's characters have made multiple references to magic on tv and in films. "Magic Camp for kids", carrying around a jumbo coin, etc.

Does it overall hurt or lower the art?

Does it bring public awareness?

thoughts? Dont care?
-rk
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Postby Jeff Eline » 02/23/07 03:10 PM

HERE is the clips from last night episode of The Office.
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Postby Guest » 02/23/07 03:42 PM

While I don't watch the office regularly, I know the type of humor it is.
My take is that, with all of the all to serious magicians mumbling around our streets, showing magic is a less that serious light is a good thing. It shows that magic can be fun and self deprecating some times.
I still say Gob is the best television magician ever.

'Gord
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Postby Guest » 02/23/07 04:52 PM

It shows that magic can be fun and self deprecating some times.
And I can totally agree with that. However, this portrayal seems to be the norm rather than the exception. The Illusionist and Prestige seem to break this. TV illustrations of magic in general rarely show it as a 'high art' it once was (and should be).

Does the general public become persuaded by this? Is that what they feel they should expect from us? That we just walk around all day with giant, fake coins in our pockets waiting to magic them?
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Postby Guest » 02/23/07 06:46 PM

How are musicians portrayed in tv shows?

How are painters, accountants, pirates, dancers, etc portrayed?

I don't even know what "the art" means anymore...
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Postby Guest » 02/24/07 08:56 AM

"However, this portrayal seems to be the norm rather than the exception. The Illusionist and Prestige seem to break this. TV illustrations of magic in general rarely show it as a 'high art' it once was (and should be).

Does the general public become persuaded by this? Is that what they feel they should expect from us? That we just walk around all day with giant, fake coins in our pockets waiting to magic them?"

Possibly best not to take yourself (or magicians as a group... or "the art") quite that seriously? Although at least it makes you easy pickings for writers of sitcoms :)
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Postby Guest » 02/24/07 09:01 PM

Possibly best not to take yourself (or magicians as a group... or "the art") quite that seriously? Although at least it makes you easy pickings for writers of sitcoms [Smile]
Well, I make it a rule not to take anything I do too seriously. Didn't want to make it sound like I was. What I am concerned with is that magic is rarely respected. Its usually shown as being a trivial hobby at best.

The few locals I associate with here in SF are extremely high level thinkers, professional entertainers, historians, storytellers, and authors. Myself, I am almost embarrased to even say the word Magic in conversation due to the stigma it has. What I do does involve magic effects, and refuse to label it. My perception is the general public doesn't appreciate what good magic is supposed to look like. A significant factor of this, I believe, is how it is generally portrayed.

Magic should be more than just a trivial pasttime. I am trying to do my part to command respect out of what we do. After my audience sees me do a few effects, they understand I DONT do balloon doggies, or paint faces, or carry pink silk hankys.

The words dont accurately depict my sentiments. I guess I'm alone in my thinking. dats ok.
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Postby Guest » 02/25/07 12:17 PM

Its usually shown as being a trivial hobby at best.
Well, to be fair, it usually IS a trival hobby. Are stamp collectors portrayed with more reverance? How about computer enthusiasts, or D&D players?

How many of the folks you know personally, who do magic, are artists?
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Postby Guest » 02/25/07 01:53 PM

You know what, I know magicians, playwrights, actors, musicians, jugglers, directors, painters etc. And out of all of these people, I could only count a handful who treat their chosen art form as an "Art."
Oh sure, they all believe they are "Artists," but very few actually are.
For every guy I know who suffers for his art, I know at least five who show up late for rehearsals, don't know their lines, can't remember their staging and yet are the first to tell anyone who listens that they are artists.
For every award winning playwright I know (That would be exactly one, by the way) I know a dozed hacks who swear to god they are creating the next classic.
For every musician who practices and practices alone to perfect everything, I know at least six who always bring their guitars to parties and either prays someone will ask them to play something (And are insulted when no one does) or will start playing something no one asked for and get insulted when everyone in the room doesn't stop doing everything and listen to his heart felt rendition of Stairway to Heaven ... again.
Take any art form and you will find more wanna be's than artists. How can you tell them apart? I find the more arrogant the person the less of an artist they are.

Magic is no different.

Gord
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Postby Guest » 02/25/07 10:10 PM

How many of the folks you know personally, who do magic, are artists?
I don't consider myself an artist. The magic I do I try to polish as greatly as possible. My films I create, I try my best to produce something good and improve successively. I try to associate myself with others who try to excel at what they do as well. The local magicians I hang with are working pros who make a living at this. Its from those, and my teacher, whom I respect the most and learn tremendously from. I know I aint good. But I know what good looks like.

If you were able to see some of the performances of a few that I know, you'd be inspired as I am. Stunningly beautiful performance pieces. I wish I could employ an ounce of their creativity and skill. High level thought and consideration of every moment, every beat, and every motion.


Take any art form and you will find more wanna be's than artists.
I agree. But my point is that we should do our part to elevate magic. Always elevate. Improve. Don't accept anything less. Why does wanting a HIGH standard in magic get received so poorly? People get defensive. I just dont get it. Yeah there're hacks. But why accept that and perpetuate it?

My feeling is that mediocre magic is accepted and condoned. There seems more defense of poor magic than great magic (however you interpret what great magic should be). If thats the case, than I'm proud to be in the minority. I respect the fact that my teachers tear me a new one for performing something poorly.

Why is it so desirable to wade in the cesspool of mediocrity of magic?
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Postby Guest » 02/26/07 10:02 AM

The main reason that magic is perceived as being a trivial hobby is because that is how most "magicians" treat it.

Magic on its own is nothing more than a craft, just like theatre, playwriting or directing.

The required ingredient for any magic performance to reach the status of "art" is for the performer to first be an artist - not the other way round.

Ironically all the magicians I personally know, who I consider to be artists, consider themselves to be students.
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Postby Guest » 02/27/07 04:50 AM

Think about the naff magicians. The playing card ties, the flashing pins, the dlites, the hippity hop rabbits, the 'empty your mind, that didn't take long' or 'hold out your hand, no the clean one'.

I can think of very few other 'arts' where people behave like this.

Actors - at least in the UK - don't wear ties with Shakespeare's head on.

Painters rarely walk about with flashing pins of paintbrushes.

Guys, we do it to ourselves.
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Postby Guest » 02/27/07 07:05 AM

Oh God.
The apparel (vests, ties, etc.) with playing cards all over them...

I just threw up in my mouth a little.
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Postby Guest » 02/27/07 12:31 PM

I can think of very few other 'arts' where people behave like this.....Guys, we do it to ourselves.
Bingo!! Thank you for putting my thoughts so succinctly. That is the bottom line of my rant.

The thread has evolved a bit, and thats great. The semantics of 'art' and 'artists' are of less concern for me however.

My teacher had fwd'd me the clip of MagicDevlin, which I thought was brilliant. A direct parody of my sentiments of the perception of magic/magicians. The music, costume, gestures, attitude...he had it all down spot on.

Devlin, Zanthor, Stallion... all these guys are hilarious and creative. Sure they're all inside jokes. But what if we insiders were able to explore that LEVEL of creativity? Not saying to mimic their acts, but to think untraditionally....
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Postby Guest » 02/27/07 12:56 PM

The works of Christopher Guest speak volumes:
"Spinal Tap".
"Waiting for Guffman".
"A Mighty Wind".
Etc.

I guess now we just wait for him to tackle magic in a film.

Every "art" has its wacky silly side. Magic is not unique that way.
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Postby Guest » 02/27/07 01:02 PM

you can buy a Svengali deck and call yourself a magician. If you buy a law book, can you now claim to be a lawyer?

I love it and think its funny!

Ever go to a music concert with multiple acts and yet hear each act repeat some of the same songs???

Half the reason I quit going to Magic conventions.

Scenario: You are at a party with one of the greatest magicians, you introduce him to someone saying that he is one of the best ever! The person replies "OH that's nice, come here and do a trick for the kids"

No respect, I tell ya. No respect at all...
Guest
 


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