Too Many Tricks?

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 08/08/01 01:02 PM

After holding our moistened finger in the wind, Richard and I have chosen to deep-six the notion of "movie reviews" on this forum or in Genii magazine...except when it is acutely and profoundly relevant to magic with a capital M. A nice feature of this forum is the immediate and articulate feedback regarding such notions. Too often "content providers" are operating by their instincts or are fumbling around in the dark.

Here are other questions: Are there too many explanations of tricks in the various pubs? Should they be reduced? Should our focus be elsewhere?

During my tenure as the "trick provider" in Magic Magazine, I wrote up over 500 tricks. I always wondered how many readers ACTUALLY read and work through the tricks?

I'm more inclined these days to publish fewer, BETTER tricks than to always provide an obligatory number of 5-6 tricks per issue.

What say you?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 08/08/01 03:23 PM

I am inclined to agree with you, but only because I have reached that point in magic where I am trying to whittle down my repertoire, not add to it. However, not everyone who reads Genii is at that point. I suspect that there are those that wish to see more tricks. Of course, Genii could be at the forefront of a revolution of sorts: Quality as opposed to quantity. However, this is a much more complex issue than just numbers.

You say more "better" tricks as opposed to a prerequisite number. Where is the line drawn, and who draws it? I'm not questioning your ability to determine good from not so good. I'm asking about how you go about representing the entire readership? What I might think is "good" may be too difficult for the beginner, but nothing at their level will hold my interest, and what holds mine bores experts to tears. How do you reach a balance?

I am reminded of a golf magazine I used to receive. Each month it had a section of "private lessons," one each devoted to four differing levels of expertise. Perhaps Magicana could be segregated into such sections? One "good" effect each for the beginner, intermediate and expert, each one with an appropriate level of theoretical information accompanying it.

Just a thought.


[ August 08, 2001: Message edited by: Dustin Stinett ]
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Postby Guest » 08/08/01 03:40 PM

Originally posted by Dustin Stinett:
Just a thought.

Just a mighty fine thought (albeit one that makes more work for the Genii staff)!

Postby Jeremy Medows » 08/08/01 03:43 PM

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:

I'm more inclined these days to publish fewer, BETTER tricks than to always provide an obligatory number of 5-6 tricks per issue.

What say you?

I'm in favor of keeping some tricks published in Genii for a few reasons. Genii is a record of the magic scene of the day and part of the magic scene is new tricks.

There are some people who may only create a handful of tricks and will never publish a book, and publication of these tricks in a magic periodical may be the only way to record the trick. A good trick column can introduce its readers to the work of magicians that we may not be aware of.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/08/01 03:46 PM

Speaking of which, wait until you folks see the "Jet-Propelled Coins" by Akira Fujii in the October "Magicana." If you're a coin guy, this thing is a dream.
I've also got a routine from an Italian guy in which a chosen and signed card vanished from the deck and reappears sewn to the lining of the magician's jacket. It is ripped off and handed to the spectator, torn fabric patch sewn to it!
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
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Postby Jim Morton » 08/08/01 06:12 PM

Tough call.

One could argue that the process of weeding out the lesser effects is already occuring. I'm sure you guys reject plenty of ideas every month. So what we are really talking about here is tightening the selection process even further, right?

BETTER tricks is always a good goal, but there is an argument for printing those lesser tricks as well. Occasionally, effects that are merely okay can act as a springboards for better ideas. They are like diamonds in the rough.

...and sometimes they just suck. :)

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Postby Brian Marks » 08/08/01 06:45 PM

I like to see the tricks and the thinking behind them. Even if I dont do it, I may still learn something.
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Postby Guest » 08/09/01 12:08 AM

I'm with Brian. In honesty, I rarely ever use an effect I read in a magazine. I do, however, use lots of the techniques from them, and in general I just like to see what unique ways other creators are applying both new and old techniques.

So, yes, I'd rather see a number of different effects -- especially because what one person may think is a great effect might stink to me, but what stinks to me might be great to somebody else. If that somebody else is the person deciding which couple effects go into the magazine, I may very well end up hating most of the material that appears. With a wider variety of material, you're more likely to have "something for everyone".

Postby Rafael Benatar » 08/09/01 04:57 AM

In Ascanio's words, 1989:
"...And that's precisely how each one's magic should develop. Not anymore taking a trick from here or there, but above all concepts that enlighten our path."
Anyway I'd keep the tricks. I almost said otherwise and going through the thread gave me wonderful insight that reshaped my thoughts on the subject.

[ August 09, 2001: Message edited by: Rafael Benatar ]
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Postby Tomas Blomberg » 08/09/01 07:28 AM

The method descriptions is the main reason I subscribe. I bought a load of older Genii from the Swedish Magic Archive and decided to subscribe after I saw the effects explained there. I'd be happy to see even more.

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Postby Matthew Field » 08/09/01 09:21 AM

Most amateurs perform for mostly the same people all the time, so they are in constant need of new tricks to amaze their friends. Many effects are developed by people with insufficient material for a solo book, and many interesting tricks are variations of older effects and unworthy for publication in the "permanent" form of a book.

So keep the tricks in Genii.

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Postby Jeff Haas » 08/10/01 03:19 AM

Maybe an interesting way to think of the tricks in Genii is, "How can they be made better?"

One way is when you've got enough material to present several quality effects from one person. The Earl Nelson material is a good example of that. There weren't a lot of tricks, but the profile combined with some examples was very interesting, and gave readers a deeper insight into the material and how the creator thinks of it.

Too many times there are just a bunch of tricks, and you don't know anything about the creator and their approach to the specific trick, and perhaps what context the trick is used in. Is it an opener? A closer? Is the creator a performer who likes "sight-gag magic?" Etc etc.

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Postby Guest » 08/12/01 04:32 PM

I would just like to add that Genii has of late captured the focussed imaginations of the magic community world wide. (i.e.2PT and Heinstein) This IS advancing the art.

As such, the tricks can serve as a way to bring together and focus magicians who, due to the advent of the Internet, are seperated by thousands of miles. Maybe without the Internet we would be more centralized like in the Marlo/Vernon days, who knows.

Genii is providing the glue that is bonding a very wide spread magical fraturnity. An invaluable service indeed.

People are sharing knowledge like never before because we are getting input world wide. What ever you have done has cracked the barriers to global magical communication.

Might I further say, the level of conduct on this forum is testament to the quality of the products called Genii!


Tom Cutts

Postby Robert Kane » 08/12/01 04:46 PM

I agree with you Tommy. The wonders presented in Genii & Magic are (in my mind) representative of the pure joy of life and the nurturing of this fabulous art. I rely on these publications the same way I rely on the New York Times to present a much needed view of the world today.

Whoa...I am gettin' way too cerebral. ;)
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