Exposure in Magic Magazine

Talk about what is being written in other magic publications.

Postby Guest » 07/31/07 06:50 PM

First let me say up front that I have a vested interest in the product exposed in the August 2007 issue of Magic.

Brad Henderson reviews "Prohibition" by Charlie Justice, the product which I was the Producer/Author of. I won't get into the actual review of the DVD as Brad does have the right to his own opinion.

What I take offense to is that he exposes the entire method to not only Prohibition, but the gimmick to "Enigma" by Nicholis Night. With the existing demo video of Prohibition and Henderson's review, there's simply no need to purchase the DVD anymore.

I have emailed Stan Allen our displeasure over this exposure, but to date have not heard back from him.

Am I wrong to think that a review should be just that, a review of the effect, quality and production of the product, not blatant expose of method.
Tell me if I'm wrong to think that way. I can't imagine Mike Close exposing a method, even if he did not like the product.

Just venting some steam.
Thanks
Jeff Pierce
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Postby Guest » 07/31/07 08:14 PM

You certainly are not wrong Jeff. You, and others, work hard to get your products out, invest real dollars, and should expect a return if the product warrants it. Prohibition was a very well made DVD and for Brad to expose the method is flat out wrong. Reviews can be written in a manner that doesn't expose method IF the writer is competent. The editor of Magic should have kicked back the reviews or rewritten them to change the review so the exposure isn't made.
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Postby Guest » 07/31/07 08:37 PM

Jeff:

You are correct. Brad has made a serious error by discussing the method.

And I don't agree with his review, either. "Prohibition" has been one of the most well-liked and positively reviewed routines of the last couple of years.

For me, the method was beautifully worked out. I didn't mind at all having to use a gimmick (initially a $1 or $2 item Carl Andrews gave me).

I totally disagree with Brad's gripe about the bent cap. It's never been an issue for me or for anyone I've shown the routine to. Am I to believe Brad can't manage the situation for his performance? I mean, without all the metaphysical scripting ideas, basically it's "Here's one way to save this cap inside this bottle [the bent way] but there's another magical way where it goes 1,2,3 right through the bottom." It's not an issue. And if you use Charlie's Canadian coin routine, the coin's not even bent (another non-issue.)

So I don't understand the review. And I certainly don't understand the exposure of the method. I'm guessing Brad is going to say that the method has been sort of discussed on the Web, but if his review keeps even one person from purchasing your product, I think he owes you folks that income.

Why do people have to act this way? Where was the MAGIC editor when we needed him? It's discouraging and disappointing.
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Postby Guest » 07/31/07 10:09 PM

The bent cap makes perfect sense in context of the performance. Besides, it is a penitration of an item through glass not a large item through hole.
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Postby Guest » 08/01/07 06:27 AM

Steve and Steve,
Thank you both for the reassurance that I'm not crazy!

Has anyone else seen the review? I'd love to hear what others have to say about this.

Jeff Pierce
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Postby Guest » 08/01/07 06:34 AM

As to how magazine articles are vetted ... no idea what's going on.

The Enigma product is well worth buying of its own. As to the principles used... hardly news to the serious student but certainly a sensible approach and the routine ideas get you up and running quickly.

No comment about the old timers who've performed even with cut fingers who would have to break some expensive items just to get the gimmicks way back when... ;)
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Postby Guest » 08/01/07 07:28 AM

Regardless of what anyone may think of the trick (I happen to like it a lot) the review was exposure. I was surprised and disappointed when I read it.
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Postby Guest » 08/01/07 10:04 AM

Jeff, the exposure aside, just remember that a review is only an opinion and that the best contraceptive of some reviewers is nudity....tsk tsk..

opie
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Postby Guest » 08/01/07 10:37 AM

Originally posted by Opie R.:
Jeff, the exposure aside, just remember that a review is only an opinion and that the best contraceptive of some reviewers is nudity....tsk tsk..

opie
LOL!

Jeff
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/01/07 10:58 AM

I have to delete text from some of our trick reviewer's columns in Genii when they get a little too close to giving away the method. Just remember, however, that there's only one person with his finger in the dike at a magazine, and sometimes we all make mistakes.
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Postby Michael Close » 08/01/07 12:17 PM

There are many times when a reviewer walks a thin line between exposing a method and giving the reader enough information to make an informed buying decision. Some years ago in MAGIC I reviewed a trick that presented me with such a dilemma. What I wrote was:

"[The name of the trick] is a very expensive trick, and the instructions claim that the method of forcing the page numbers is new. I am always very reluctant to reveal any aspect of the method of a product Im reviewing, but in this case I think I must discuss how this trick works so potential buyers wont be disappointed.

The problem here was the claim that the forcing method was new; I didn't think it was. But the only was to discuss this was to tip the method. And (perhaps justifiably) the creator of the product was not particularly pleased.

I'm in Guatemala right now, and I haven't read Brad's review, so I cannot comment on it, but I did want to mention that the exposure issue is something that all reviewers think about when they write their reviews.

And, since Opie is now a reviewer (having offered his opinion of reviewers) he also belongs in the "naked-as-birth-control" category. However, he didn't get it exactly right. Reviewers, like trombone players, never get to the naked stage. We use our personalities as birth control.

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Postby Guest » 08/01/07 12:43 PM

....close, but no prize....age is the best contraceptive, especially when you have six kids, four grand kids, and one great-grand kid...The only reviews I am interested in are those of how the kids will make out when I live long enough to become a burden on them...

...whoops! Gotta; I have a dental appointment to get my tooth sharpened...hehe

You guys are doing good work down there....Keep up the good work.......

opie
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/01/07 03:07 PM

I have not had the opportunity to read Brads review yet, so I have to withhold specific comment. But as a general rule if someone was, and Im just spit-balling here, trying to peddle nothing more than a crimped card for 15 bucks, I might want to know about it.

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Postby Guest » 08/01/07 03:15 PM

The breather crimp, how to set it up and some clever routined applications is worth more than fifteen bucks in my humble opinion.

Anybody up for doing a DVD on that?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/01/07 03:35 PM

Perhaps a DVD explaining how to properly make a breather (or similar) crimp along with two or more hours of routines contributed by [insert card guy name(s) here] would be worth more than $15. But a crimped card (sans explanation of how to make it) and how to do a couple of tricks is notin my opinion. And that is what Im talking about.

The point is that I believe that there are times when the line can (and perhaps should) be crossed.

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Postby Guest » 08/01/07 04:57 PM

I'd have to agree with Dustin S.
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 02:38 AM

If a reviewer thinks that an effect is poor (or is poor value for money), he should say so.

And of course he should explain why he thinks so.

And if that explanation necessitates some degree of exposure of the method, that would seem (to me) to be an unfortunate but unavoidable side effect of the review process.

(Fortunately, that doesn't work in reverse. If a reviewer thinks that an effect is wonderful, there is no need to expose the method.)

Dave
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 06:29 AM

Why don't we ask Stan or Brad to post the article here, so that we can have a little deconstruction party with source material, rather than have everybody who has not read (me included) the article come in and say "I agree" or "I disagree" or "What are we talking about?"

Let us not stray farther from Jeff's topic, and allow him to get answers to the questions he asks.


opie
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 06:37 AM

I may be off track here though here goes anyway;

About twenty odd years ago the pseudo-impromptu chop cup methodology went around and was explored at least around where I was. About the same time as other folks were putting on band-aids to stop watches and stories were going around about expensive watch repairs.

Now how far are we from making a claim that if someone wishes to sell that IP under a new packaging that we should not openly discuss it?

Puzzled at work,

Jon
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Postby Keith Raygor » 08/02/07 07:18 AM

I disagree. There is never an excuse for exposing the gaff, gimmick or method in a review. If the reviewer cannot inform us of their opinion on the effect, quality and production of an item without exposing the method, they have not done their job well. They stopped short of finding the right words.

I've read Brad's review. Every word of it could have been written without his blatant exposure and the readers would still have known exactly what he thought and whether or not, in HIS opinion, they should purchase the product.

There is supposed to be nothing personal on either side of the fence - Brad Henderson broke that rule.
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 08:58 AM

Rather than complain and do nothing, I canceled my subscription to Magic......all a guy can really do in this case if he wants to make a point regarding exposure. It was a terrible editorial decision to let the review run unedited, but somebody had to have made that choice.

Antinomy will now arrive in my mailbox in place of Magic Magazine, not as often, but sans Brad Henderson's rather personal and destructive method of reviewing a marketed effect.......a marketed effect that certainly didn't deserve to be exposed for the cover price of Magic Magazine.
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 12:38 PM

I think this is a very gray area. If a hypothetical review said that a trick was based on The Princess Card trick, would you consider that an exposure? I would not, but that seems to be what some of you are saying.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/02/07 12:39 PM

If it is so egregious that it leads to someone chucking their subscription to a magazine that offers other things worth getting, I cant wait to read this review (and its something I dont do as much as I used to before I became a reviewer). Dont get me wrong: I do respect Silverking for standing beside his principles. Im just saying that this must be one doozy of a review.

I stand by my assertion that there are legitimate times when the line can be crossed, though I should also say that it would be a rare instance. Still having not read Brads review, I cannot know that this is one that falls in what I think is a very narrow range.

For example, heres a trick I might market for only $50:

The magician has a card selected from a legitimately SHUFFLED deck. The card is clearly cut back into the middle of the deck, but it appears on top. No sleight of hand! The card then appears on top of the deck after the spectator cuts the deck! The card is shuffled back into the deck and the magician (or spectatorit doesn't matter!) cuts the deck into several piles. The selected card is found on top of the pile the spectator selects! No Force!

The deck is shuffled by the spectator and placed into the magicians empty jacket pocket by the spectator (he can look inside the pocket and see that it is EMPTY). The magician reaches into his pocket and immediately removes the selected card! Next, the spectator names any other card: The magician reaches into his pocket and produces the named card! ANY CARD! NO FORCE! This can be repeated any number of times, and each time with a different card! Again, any card named by the spectator! And the spectator can cut the deck as many times as he desires! The deck may be completely inspected! There's NOTHING to find! No Svengali deck; in fact, no "trick" deck at all! This will blow away your magic friends or others who know about Svengali decks! Comes with everything you need! Many more applications possible!


Sounds good, doesnt it? (And the ad copy is 100% accurate.) The reviewers could have a field day with it, but since the method should not be exposed for the consumer rip off that it is, I should do just fine. After all, enough people who read the negative reviewsif I send it out to be reviewedwill simply believe that the reviewers only have personal issues with me.

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Postby Keith Raygor » 08/02/07 01:45 PM

" . . . but since the method should not be exposed for the consumer rip off that it is, I should do just fine. After all, enough people who read the negative reviewsif I send it out to be reviewedwill simply believe that the reviewers only have personal issues with me."

As I said, the reviewer would have stopped short of doing their job if you think it could only be accomplished by the exposure of the gaff. It is not only easy, it is common for a reviewer to caution others without resorting to exposure. Your comment about personal issues infers that a reasoned reader can't tell the difference.

Reading the review will allow you a more considered assessment.
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 02:35 PM

IMHO it's usually possible to say what you want without stepping on anyone's hot buttons.

I've emailed Brad and want to hear his side of this. Anyone contact the editor and request permission to cut and paste the review up here so we can discuss in detail?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/02/07 02:47 PM

Originally posted by Keith Raygor:
Your comment about personal issues infers that a reasoned reader can't tell the difference.
Wrong. Read the sentence again. I said "enough people..." [emphasis added]. Hence, I would be counting on those unreasoned readers.

I feel like I need to make it clear that I am NOT talking about the effect in question here. Im talking about a very narrow range of items that fall into my example above (if you knew what you were buying ahead of time, youd kill me first to get over any compulsion you may have had to buy the trick).

I just watched the demo of Prohibition and Im not sure that it falls within that range. It looked pretty good to me. (Although I think a Film Noir style opening would have been even better.)

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/02/07 02:55 PM

Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
IMHO it's usually possible to say what you want without stepping on anyone's hot buttons.
Absolutely! My point is that, in some rare instances, theres not any smooth way around it and usually these types of things are scams that deserve to be shown for what they are. (From the demo, I dont think Prohibition falls anywhere near that category.)

I've emailed Brad and want to hear his side of this.
Good idea.

Anyone contact the editor and request permission to cut and paste the review up here so we can discuss in detail?
Bad idea (the reviewand thus the effectneed not be exposed any more than it appears to have been).

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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 03:00 PM

Okay, that's fair.

How would you review your example product?

Could it be reviewed without exposing its mechanics?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/02/07 03:28 PM

Could it be? Sure, I think so. But its such a scam that I would say it, plain and simple: Heres what you are buying for your $50 and the fat bastard selling it should be ashamed of himself.

Of course, Im just being extra hard on myself. I would never call anyone else a bastard as far as they know.

But I tell you what: How about I send you the exact methodology and you write a review of it? You have space limitations, as most of us do (which is something that is not being taken into consideration here; after all, if you have only so many words, you have to cut to the chase). So, your review must be under 700 words (which is actually a bit more than I would use for a single trick DVD)but with my trick you get a special something and a DVD.

Let me know!
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 05:07 PM

I just read the review, and while I think perhaps too much was revealed, I can certainly understand why Mr. Henderson thought it okay to go into such detail in his review.

To me, as a magic consumer, the point that really jumped out at me in the review was the misrepresentation in the advertising copy that the trick is "totally impromptu," and that immediately at the end "you are totally and unequivocally clean." I can't think of a reason why it would be okay to say that. Perhaps someone else can...
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 05:39 PM

Hi Dustin,

Guess I'm somewhere between a sucker for a creative writing project and a secrets collector who wants to know stuff... count me in.

:)

About 5-700 words huh, this ought to be interesting.

Jon (j0ntown@yahoo.com)
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 06:06 PM

Originally posted by once a magician:
I just read the review, and while I think perhaps too much was revealed, I can certainly understand why Mr. Henderson thought it okay to go into such detail in his review.

To me, as a magic consumer, the point that really jumped out at me in the review was the misrepresentation in the advertising copy that the trick is "totally impromptu," and that immediately at the end "you are totally and unequivocally clean." I can't think of a reason why it would be okay to say that. Perhaps someone else can...
once a magician,
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my original post. I was not planning on responding
to any of the posts in this thread, rather I wanted to see what everyone else had to say, but I felt I needed to make a quick comment on your post.

I thought it interesting that you said "I think perhaps too much was revealed" but then go on to say "I understand why Mr. Henderson thought it ok to go into so much detail."
This sounds very wishy washy to me. I can think of no excuse to reveal gimmick and methodology, be it for crediting or in regards to the advertising copy, which for the record, had Mr. Henderson visited my website first or even read the back of the DVD, He would have read this ad copy:

Prohibition

Imagine being able to...
openly, instantly and visually penetrate a sealed bottle with a cap and immediately show your hand empty!
Well imagine no more! With Prohibition youll be able to do this with:

No preparation to the bottle.

The bottle can be any color or transparency.

The bottle and cap may be borrowed.

Everything is completely examinable before and after the effect.

As close to special FX as you can get... LIVE

You're going to LOVE Prohibition!

I dare anyone to tell me what part is not true in this advertisement.

Feel free to read this and all the positive reviews of Prohibition on my website at:

www.jeffpiercemagic.com

Jeff Pierce
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/02/07 06:26 PM

One can talk about perceived discrepancies in advertising (and I'm not saying there are any) without discussing the method.
I'll repeat my earlier comment: Sometimes reviewers cross the line and its the editors job to make sure those things never hit print.
Sometimes the editor makes a mistake.
End of story.
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 06:48 PM

Mr. Pierce,

Before making the above post, I checked the ad copy for Prohibition on four sites: MJM Magic, Hocus Pocus, Tannen's and Hank Lee's. They all had the identical copy, which contained the quotes that I pulled from Brad's review. They thus seem fair game. (Perhaps a distributor wrote it rather than the producer. Do you agree that the quotes are disingenuous (at best), and should be changed?)

I would hope that Brad will post his own reasoning. My reading of his review was that he was showing exactly why he thought the effect was neither truly new nor a step forward.

My point in posting was that I'm at least as troubled by misrepresentation in advertising as I am by exposure in reviewing. (And by "at least," I mean "more.")
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Postby Guest » 08/02/07 09:56 PM

Anyone who has been in magic for any length of time has seen some misleading ads. There are some dealers/manufacturers who hide behind the "part of the cost of the trick is the secret" mantra that all of us know and love so well. It's the abuse of this that bothers me.

Suppose you saw an ad that said "Impromptu floating light bulb. Imagine this -- you are at a party or other gathering. You remove an ordinary incandescent light bulb from a fixture and pass it for examination. Then you make it float, right in front of you. May be performed surrounded. No body hookups, no threads, no wires, no cloth coverings. You may even pass a hoop around the light bulb while it is floating. Manuscript only -- $15.00"

It sounds intriguing. It leaves out the part about the large bowl of water or aquarium that the light bulb floats in.

Or the ad that ran back in the 1930's, for a new kind of rising card -- "No wires, no threads, no motors, no rubber bands, etc, etc." The instructions informed you that instead of using a wire or a thread, you used a specially made metal ROD. (translation -- piece of a coathanger)

This kind of advertising should be exposed for what it is.
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Postby Keith Raygor » 08/03/07 05:05 AM

When the dialogue focuses on the topic of misrepresentation in advertising, as the last two posts have done, it serves to either ignore or underplay the original topic of the thread - that of the unneccessary exposure of a gaff, gimmick or method of magic in a review.

I agree with both of you that this kind of advertising needs to be exposed for what it is (though I am not drawing the conclusion this occurred in Jeff Pierce's case having not seen the ad nor the product, only the review).

Most of us recall the feeling of disappointment suffered at the hands of an overzealous copywriter - over and over. This kind of advertising has been going on in our particular field for many decades.

And reviews help us by functioning as an equalizer on our behalf. This type of review has been going on for many decades.

As a simplified example, let me review Bill Palmer's Floating Lightbulb:
"Don't buy this! I would call this a ripoff that uses clever wordplay in the ad copy. You'll be sorely disappointed because there is no practical way to perform this."

Of course in an actual review, there would be more detail based upon my actually having used the Bulb, but my review has served it purpose to the potential buyer. Was it necessary to mention "water" in order for my review to serve its purpose? Of course not. So please draw the distinction between an annoyance we've all run into (ads), and the blatant (yes, it was repeatedly blatant) exposure of secrets belonging to someone else.

It simply was not necessary for Brad to give those secrets away. As an intelligent author, he made a conscious effort to give the secrets away, something heretofore not done by magic's excellent reviewers. So far, I have seen no defense of that.
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Postby Guest » 08/03/07 05:46 AM

Originally posted by once a magician:
Mr. Pierce,

Before making the above post, I checked the ad copy for Prohibition on four sites: MJM Magic, Hocus Pocus, Tannen's and Hank Lee's. They all had the identical copy, which contained the quotes that I pulled from Brad's review. They thus seem fair game. (Perhaps a distributor wrote it rather than the producer. Do you agree that the quotes are disingenuous (at best), and should be changed?)

I would hope that Brad will post his own reasoning. My reading of his review was that he was showing exactly why he thought the effect was neither truly new nor a step forward.

My point in posting was that I'm at least as troubled by misrepresentation in advertising as I am by exposure in reviewing. (And by "at least," I mean "more.")
Once a magician,

You keep dragging me back into this thread after I said I would not be. LOL! This will be my last response because I was only interested in reading what others who read the review thought. Obviously many still feel the need to respond, having read the review or not. The whole point I was trying to get across is such complete exposure by the reviewer, in any form is wrong!

Since the topic has convieniently shifted from the review and exposure of the trick to the ad copy, I will say this, "as the creator and producer of Prohibition, Charlie and I stand behind the ad copy that we wrote for the DVD case and for my website."

I'll make my exit with this one last question. If you walked up to someone in a bar drinking a beer, and were able to take their beer cap, bend it and penetrate the bottom of the bottle, then walk away, how impromptu or off the cuff is that going to seem to that spectator? Can you name one other cap in bottle that will allow you to do this?

It's all in how it's perceived.

Jeff Pierce
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Postby Ian Kendall » 08/03/07 09:19 AM

Um, I'm not sure about that definition of impromptu; in an ad for selling a trick to magicians, one would assume that impromptu referred to the actual modus operandi and not the percieved one.

If you want to go down that route, a Raven could be described as impromptu, as could a Fitch/Kohler holdout system. Neither, I would suggest, would fit the definition in either Lifesavers or Gardner's Encyclopaedia.

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/03/07 02:29 PM

For that matter, much of the magic in Life Savers isnt impromptu either, given the level of preparation required. Thats why, in my BoM essay on the book, I felt a better word for this type of magic is opportunistic magic (note, in particular, the third chapter). Perhaps Prohibition falls under that category?

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Postby Ian Kendall » 08/03/07 03:30 PM

In the book Weber talks about the difference between 'impromptu' and 'improvised', and many of those routines fall into the latter category. I was, however, using his definition of impromptu in this example.

Even then, to claim that something is impromptu simply because that's how it looks seems a wee bit underhand. Shouldn't be be striving to make everything seem impromptu (within reason, I accept).

Unless I'm missing the point, to cause a coin to vanish using sleight of hand would be impromptu, to use a wrigly pull from Lifesavers would be improvised, and to use a Raven would be neither. But all would/should/could look the same to a spectator.

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