Tricks that make us sick

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Guest » 12/12/01 06:34 PM

Why is it that the moment a piece of magic becomes "broken in" before an audience, the very next moment, I become sick of it? Is it just me?
I'd like to know the longest any of you have gone performing the same trick.
There are several effects I can't seem to retire and sometimes I think it's laziness, which can be a little scary.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 12/12/01 07:23 PM

I have been performing one particular trick for 35+ years. Over the years I have tweaked, altered and totally changed the style of the presentation. While never losing the end result, this has kept it interesting for me.
If you are tiring of a trick, maybe the skills were easy, but the presentation, the mind part was not challanging enough. You must first hold your own interest before you can hold someone else's.
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Postby Guest » 12/12/01 07:41 PM

Larry,
I've noticed how certain tricks have evolved in my hands. "keeping it interesting" for yourself, without losing sight of the effect, is a good point.
If something works so well, how do we replace it? for example, if you get wild reactions from a certain copper/silver routine, is there any point in learning several copper/silver routines? why bother, right?
If you're a "worker", working several nights a week, you have tremendous opportunities to hone and craft a routine, the only down side is the little time or desire to learn new things.

It's too easy, I've found, to fall back on reliable, audience tested material. It sometimes takes me weeks to even attempt breaking in something new. The allure of the familiar is too strong.

This disheartens the student in me.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 12/12/01 08:39 PM

You understand the why, now how to solve your problem. I'm somewhat stumped as to the right answer.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/12/01 10:24 PM

I have done the linking rings and the short/long rope for 50+ years and never tire of them...

One routine I do took about three years to develope to where I really liked it.

Frankly, NO TWO PERFORMANCES are ever alike.
An example, doing about 21 shows in a week at the Magic Castle, none really are the same, each audience is different and how I react to them is what makes it fun.

Never ending...
Stay tooned.
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Postby Guest » 12/12/01 11:40 PM

Great word on the subject Pete. You're a hard act to follow. 'Cause you're so personable- people LIKE you. No wonder you can do a trick or two for 50+ years. You know the magic is about you and the audience, not about the "trick".

I caught you at PCAM a year or two ago here in Portland and you were a breath of fresh air. Your advice was both brilliant and practical. And your knowledge of magic is formidable. I, for one, I'm very glad your part of the Genii Forum. Thanks Pete!
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Postby Terry » 12/13/01 06:01 AM

I caught you at PCAM a year or two ago here in Portland and you were a breath of fresh air. Your advice was both brilliant and practical. And your knowledge of magic is formidable.


Oh how I wish Mike Rogers was still with us and on Genii. The back-and-forth between he and Pete was a true joy to read on Gemini.

Re ChrisDavid's problem - I think Steve nailed the problem when he identified the reason Pete and others have lasted so long - the performer is the magic and the props are the tools to connect them to the audience.
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Postby Guest » 12/13/01 05:46 PM

Originally posted by ChrisDavid:
If something works so well, how do we replace it? for example, if you get wild reactions from a certain copper/silver routine, is there any point in learning several copper/silver routines? why bother, right?


Chris, I guess it depends on what you are trying to do. There are different attributes that make up a magician. One of the attributes is a love for learning the craft. Why learn more than one copper silver routine? For me it allows me to analyze the copper silver routines I already do. To add or subtract, to improvise and improve. I love the chance to find a handling "better" than the routines I use. The more you learn, the better your chances of being able to decide what fits your performance style, and what routines are best for different conditions.

My most favorite copper silver routine I can only do for a few people close to me because of angles. For a bigger crowd I have to use another copper silver routine (if I even do it at all).

I learn other routines for:
1. The challenge
2. The fun of it
3. To seek something better than what I have
4. To test against what I use now
5. To possibly modify what I use now
6. To KNOW WHY I DON'T want to use the new handling (knowing why NOT to use something is almost as valuable as knowing why TO use something). Trying different handlings can help you learn why not to use something.
7. To maybe find something completely knew that I love.

Lastly, the props and routines are only a part of a sucessful performance. One also needs the ability to perform and entertain.

Sincerely,

Dan
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Postby Guest » 12/13/01 07:04 PM

I agree Dan,
As I mentioned, the whole affair disheartens the student in me. There's nothing I love more then sinking my teeth into an exciting new routine, even if it resembles a currant one in plot.
Sometimes I'll carry something new around in my pockets for weeks before I get the nerve up to start breaking it in. Falling back on the "sure thing" is what concerns me as a pupil.
As an "entertainer" though, nothing beats a "sure thing"!
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Postby Guest » 12/13/01 10:09 PM

Originally posted by ChrisDavid:
Falling back on the "sure thing" is what concerns me as a pupil.
As an "entertainer" though, nothing beats a "sure thing"!


There is no problem with falling back on the sure thing. I personally am a coin magic nut. Lets take a coins across routine, I personally know and can perform about five or so different handlings of the plot, (and many more than I am not practiced up on enough to perform) though often I find myself using the tried and true David Roth's Coins Across with a shell which happens to be one of the easier, yet very magical handlings ever devised.

There is nothing wrong on leaning on what works well, thats only being a smart performer. The trick is to make everything in your performance repertoire a "sure thing" so that you can choose at will. That I believe is one (but not all) of the keys of being an exceptional performer.

Dan
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/14/01 09:02 AM

Steve: Thanks for the KIND WORDS about my performance and lecture in Portland. Stan has asked me to return and work it again.

Guess I'll have to drag out some old NEW STUFF....
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 12/14/01 09:51 AM

As I enjoy the lively and back-and-forth commentary on the subject of being "sick" of certain tricks, I remember asking Al Goshman if he knew how many times he performed his Salt Shaker routine. He shrugged and said, "More than anybody should..." Then he added, "...probably 10,000 times..."
I then asked, "Aren't you sick of it?"
He said: "Yeah... But it doesn't matter. What matters is whether or not the audience is sick of it!"

I also now realize that I have not performed for any magic forlay people in at least 6-8 months. In fact, I rarely perform magic for anyone other than magicians. Instead I spend most of my time writing and reading about magic, explaining tricks, watching performances, and so on. Oddly enough, I'm not really attracted to performance.
Hence...
I don't get sick of performing the same tricks over and over and over...I do, however, become bone-weary of explaining things like Atfus or the Elmsley Count or writing up versions of "Triumph."

This is why I read lots of non-magic books and spend time with friends who know nothing about my interest or involvement in magic. It keeps my mind unfettered. If the "boredom-factor question" continues to interest anyone, I suggest that you ask actors who have been in long-running plays or musicals what they do to keep things fresh. As RK can attest, Tom Jones seems able to belt out "She's a Lady" as though he was singing it for the first time. Copperfield also keeps plugging away, and how do you think the late Judy Garland's felt when she was asked to sing "over the Rainbow" for the millionth time?

Onward...
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Postby Matthew Field » 12/14/01 10:15 AM

Jon's post stirred me to add tothe discussion. I almost never perform for magicians and don't "session" (I hate that noun-to-verb construction). I do stuff for co-workers and friends, and occasionally at parties. I've got my standard card effects line-up, and I never tire of doing, say, the "Magic Bullet." But I try to keep some new material at hand. Most recently, it's a gimmick called "Credit Card Fraud" which enables you to apparently peel the black magnetic strip off a borrowed credit card. It's not sleight-heavy, but it gets the reaction I'm looking for. I also carry the Kennedy "Thought Transmitter" and about four other effects with me every day at work.

Jon has also posted some great stuff at www.JonRacherbaumer.com which I've used, most notably a trick by Peter Groning. I don't know if I'll be doing this in five years, but it's the sort of thing which keeps those who've seen me perform my "usual stuff" interested.

For personal finger-flinging pleasure, it's Harvey Rosenthal material. I don't think I'll have the stuff up to performance standard anytime soon, but what enjoyment it can be to work on this sort of magic.

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Postby Guest » 12/14/01 11:11 AM

I've been included some sort of sponge ball routine in my walk around act for nearly 12 years. I think you have to ask yourself, Do I enjoy this effect? Does it make me feel good and does the audience enjoy it?

Perhaps, the fun for you is learning it?
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/14/01 11:15 AM

Aw come on... the REAL FUN is waiting for the mail to bring us new crap.
Stay tooned.
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Postby Guest » 12/14/01 11:19 AM

Now that's the understatement of the day.

I'm currently waiting for my third set of Mike Rogers' mini baseballs (white) and I'm flipping everytime my mail box is empty. I had the hardest time finding white ones (I already had 2 sets of red) and Ammar's shop had them in stock.

Ah, the US Postal Service!
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Postby Guest » 12/14/01 11:50 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Aw come on... the REAL FUN is waiting for the mail to bring us new crap.


Pete you have found the essence of it all!
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Postby Guest » 12/14/01 03:01 PM

Thanks Jon,
The Goshman story and actor/singer analogy is exactly what I mean.
Not including private shows,I work four, sometimes five night a week in restaurants and coffee shops, performing for the public. What this means is that 8 to 10 hours a week, I'm working the same material, for the most part. It also means I'm quite familiar with all the subtle touches that make up the tricks I do.

This is all a good thing.

However, it is so amazing to work something new into the set. Such a charge!!

Jeffery,
you are correct when you said the fun for me is "learning". This concept blew me away. Now I have to re-think everything!!

Learning and studying vs. performing, hmmmm! Now there's a topic!
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