I have yet to receive my issue, so I cannot unfortunately comment on Pete's article (which I look forward to reading), but I find the direction of this conversation interesting.
I generally don't like to crosspost, but someone on another board was complaining about Amazon.com exposing palming in the excerpted pages of Modern Coin Magic
and I thought my response to that (elaborated quite a bit here) related well to the questions as to method that we as performers will often receive.
Personally, I feel that we get these questions because we have given our audiences nothing else to care about except method. Until we begin communicating something of value to our audiences (either personally, intellectually, emotionally, culturally or other), they are going to continue to focus on that which we are often most enchanted by.
As I indicated on the other board, it is intriguing to me that many performers in the 20s and 30s would actually advertise with posters exposing their ability at palming, both coins and cards...
P.T. Selbit in particular had a poster with dozens of photographs exposing his technique.
The concept being that the more audiences knew about technique, the more they could appreciate the virtuosity of the performance and be more focused on listening to what the performer has to say rather than trying to understand what language they are speaking.
It would seem that they were more interested in displaying the apparent ability to perform magic than trying to get audiences to believe they could actually perform magic.
That and the fact that they wanted people to think about their performance and how well they performed and not necessarily the methods.
Perhaps we need to spend more time sharing with our audiences what we
find interesting about magic and why we choose to use magic as our medium for communication. This of course means we must spend time contemplating why it is that we are drawn
to this odd pursuit anyway.
Of course, then we must do the work of scripting an appropriate and satisfying piece that effectively communicates that message woven with a presentation of magic that illustrates and expands on that information.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if audiences used terms such as "evocative", "revelatory", and "expressive" when describing a magical performance?
Sometimes, you have to give a client not only what they want and need, but that which they were unaware they wanted or
We need to rely on our audiences more, and remember that they are intelligent and caring people who participate in the broader community of the world. They do not attend our performance to satisfy our momentary need for an audience, but rather out of a need they have to broaden their experience of the world.
I write more about this and semi-related thoughts in an editorial ("Knocking Opportunities") in The Magic Menu
, Issue 63, currently at press.
Curious to hear other's thoughts. (And to see if my reputation as a thread-killer holds true yet again...)