Eric Rose: "However, look outside the bounds of the craft to the lay public, the market (and general interest) is waning. Many long-standing, and some new, magic venues have died. Wizardz, Illusions, Magic Moments, Magic & Mischief, etc. I was talking about restaurant magic with a franchise owner of a major chain and he told me that company policy had recently changed to eliminate magicians, balloon artists and clowns. The reason was that market research showed that their patrons didn't like it. Yikes! As the market outside of magic contracts, so does the interest of newcomers to enter the craft.
I think overall magic is contracting, but that's the natural cycle. It weeds out that dreck, both in products and performers, and what makes it through is better and stronger than before. Quite an exciting phase to be in."
I concur with these observations. Overall magic is again finding its mean level. If you were to examine the average age of club members across America you would see, relatively speaking, fewer young people. There are roughly 60 active members of the IBM and SAM in the New Orleans area and there are less than 10 under the age of 30. The local SYM is inactive due to no members. I started a Young Magicians Guild with the regional library system here to recruit enthusiasts to reactivate the SYM. I discovered that youngsters were interested in learning about and watching magic, but did not have sustained interest in becoming a magician. Out of 25 participants, only 2 caught the bug. Perhaps too youngsters are gravitating to other hobbies and pastimes? A magic set cannot compete with Play Stations.
In New Orleans there is no old-style magic shop. There is only Magic Masters and Harry Andersons store. There are no restaurant magicians. There are only a few street magicians who fade in and out of the French Quarter. There are 3-4 magicians performing birthday parties, school shows, and occasional walk-around gigs, and they are complaining that the number of shows they do are declining. There are no bar magicians.
Part of this may be due to changing tastes and the different style of performance (Blaine, Angel)? The public may have seen too many illusionists of the Vegas-type and big magic shows pale next to Cirque Solieu?
Yes, dreck abounds. There are a ton of products. There are more magic conventions. However, Im skeptical about the net effect and net profit of all this
I agree that it is an exciting, curious phase, but I still think we are in the middle of a sea-change. However, I'm optimistic about the direction the SAM is moving...