Too Much Power!!

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.

Postby Steve Vaught » 02/25/09 05:07 AM

With Uri being the Cover of Genii, I thought this topic would be interesting to introduce.

I work close-up magic at a local restaurant. I've been there for years. I've known about the nail writer and have practiced with it for several years but never introduced it into the repertoire until last week.

The reactions I'm getting are pleasing. It's the silent kind, where they just stare out into oblivion, trying to wrap their head around what just happened...then after a few beats you hear...WOW...and then a laugh...tension realease.
I do a basic 1-100 number prediction that I got from Corinda's book. Baby steps.

So things are flowing smooth and I'm beginning to think about the POWER I have with this writer and the possiblities. I mean, If I wanted to, I could bare the initials of a customers dead father. And then IT HIT ME!!! Somewhere inside, I felt that stepped over the line. What line??? I'm not sure...maybe ethics...conscience...

Whatever it was, at that point I felt that something had shifted and I was no longer entertaining but doing something else (that is if I would have gone through with a dead person initial predection). Maybe other people could do this and it would be OK.

When I perform my sleight of hand, I do it with sincerity. I want my audience to know I am putting effort into what I am doing with a belief that this is-not real-but a convincing illusion. So the nailwriter comes into my life...I'm working in the act...and BAM! ...I feel like I'm holding some strong power and if not handled delicately could really end up alienating people all under the guise of "making it real".

Maybe this sounds hokie, but I believe you could bring someone to tears by a well thought out presentation and the nailwriter.

Am I wrong? So where does that leave you? Is that what your after? Is that what I'm after? My thought right now as I type at 3:00 am in the morning...I would love for an audience member to tear up...BUT under what pretense? ...I would like the tears to flow BECAUSE OF THE MAGIC that they see or the image that THE MAGIC MAY EVOKE, NOT because I manipulated someone to give up the name of her dead loved one and unleash pandora's box of emotional baggage that may be coming up with it.

That's not magic it's rape...WOW...is that too strong, maybe I'm missing a point. What's your comment?

Steve V (the other one)
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 02/25/09 10:17 AM

Steve, that's the basic power of magic. Good of you to have experienced it and started asking yourself that question.

And at least now you have some perspective on why some people don't like magic and others make a point of showing that it's just tricks even to the extent of explaining how tricks are done.

The basic question is what folks wish to do with that power. Do you want to spread the word of the Easter Bunny by giving out jellybeans?
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Michael Kamen » 02/25/09 11:57 AM

Steve,

Your insight is 100% consistent with my own. Your rape analogy is excellent. Thank you for having an intellect that can see beyond its immediate self-gratification.
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Postby mrgoat » 02/25/09 12:48 PM

I did a 2 digit prediction with an older gent in a pub I frequent. I got him to think about the first house he bought with his wife. Imagine the front door, the colour of it, etc. Built up to the number.

When I revealed I had predicted it, he cried. But it was kind of 'nice' tears. He was remembering his dead wife, and said "I haven't thought about that house for years, thank you".

So I think sometimes the tears can be good...
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Postby David Alexander » 02/25/09 09:48 PM

One goal of art is to create or invoke an emotional reaction. That reaction can be good or bad, positive or negative, depending on the intent and actions of the artist.

My wife has done hundreds of portraits of deceased children. When presented to the parents they always provoke a strong emotional reaction. These reactions are real and human but are not the product of deliberate manipulation.

I think the intent of the artist is important to consider - provoking a positive emotional reaction like Damian's spectator recalling a good memory. In the hands of someone less ethical it could easily have been little more than cheap exploitation of emotional vulnerability.
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Postby Michael Kamen » 02/25/09 10:02 PM

Arguably, some deliberate emotional evocations, i.e., highly personal ones, belong in the therapist's office. The nature of ours ought perhaps to be somewhat more empathic, otherwise light-hearted.
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Postby Steve Vaught » 02/26/09 04:17 AM

...and IN THAT...is the delicate balance.

I'm always looking for ways that I can connect with my audience. Yes, it is lighthearted, but I want them to take what I do seriouly as well. I want them to laugh, but also, to get something out of what I'm doing that stays in their melon for days to come.

I'm sure most of you have been in front of people that could care less about what your doing. You feel the apathy and disrespect like a wet blanket over you.

You politely asked if they would like to see some magic...they agreed, but then one keeps playing with his dessert, another starts texting, and the other is looking at you with this "I've seen this all before, I wouldn't give you a reaction even if you pulled out your johnson".

But, usually you don't have those kind of people.

The people that are open to your magic will be willing to take you by the hand...the question then...where will you lead them?

Thanks for all of your comments

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Postby mrgoat » 02/26/09 08:17 AM

Bertolt Brecht, the German theatre practitoner, said he detested 'culinary theatre'. ie the sort of evening out where you left the theatre feeling like you'd had a satisfactory meal. He strove for people to feel SOME emotion. ANY emotion. He didn't mind if it was hatred, laughter, or whatever.

So as magicians, can we take something from that. I know in the ring float in Derren Brown's book, he got an emotional reaction from his speccy.

How do we draw the line?

Where is the line?

Damian
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Postby NADLIVE » 04/24/09 04:23 PM

You could also do this with the lucky number for the day. Tell them that you know their lucky number. Go to write it down and then ask them what it was. Turn the pad around and show them that you knew what it was. Then, reduce the number to a single digit by adding the numbers together until you get a single digit, unless the number is an 11 or a 22. Then give them their numeralogical reading for the day. You'll have to study a little about numerology, but I'm sure it will be worth it.
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