The Workers are IN!!

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Bob Farmer » 01/21/10 04:47 PM

If Volumes 11, 12, and 13 are the "Workers" -- what was in the first 10 volumes -- that stuff that doesn't work?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/21/10 05:23 PM

Dustin Stinett wrote:At the same time Mike Close published his books (the first appearing in 1990), he also popularized a word that is now part of the nomenclature of magic. (Id say coined but based on his introduction of the first volume of Workers, he implied that it was a word that was used among he and his colleagues at Illusions. Its not really clear who coined the word, but Mr. Close most certainly popularized it by bringing to the attention of the magic community.)


Phil Willmarth was using the term with this meaning as far back as 1978 in Linking Ring Parades.
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Postby BlueEyed Videot » 01/21/10 05:31 PM

It is very unfortunate that the N.Y. coin guys chose to misname their new videos. With respect to Mr. Close, I, for one, will not be purchasing said DVDs. I know that if I were in need of a true "Worker", I'd find it in the works of Michael Close, who, incidentally, knows more about workers (Q.E.D) and honor than the entire symposium put together.

In reference to Bob Farmer's last comment, I think instead of "Workers", they should've chosen the word, "Hacks" as being more fitting for style and substance.
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Postby Michael Close » 01/21/10 05:40 PM

The term "worker" was certainly around long before Illusions opened its doors in 1988. Here's what I wrote in the Introduction to Workers 1 (1990):

The title of this series of manuscripts is Workers. So what is that supposed to mean? In the past fifteen years I have been fortunate to spend time with magicians whose creative and performing abilities I greatly admire; people who, for the most part, made their livings (or a substantial portion thereof) from the performance of magic for lay audiences. These performers plied their trade in the real world, under real life conditions. Routines would be demonstrated and shared. And very often, one or another of us would say in admiration of a routine, Now thats a worker. A worker is a routine in which every last performance detail has been thought out. These performance details include the technical aspects of the routine, the patter, audience management, and misdirection. In addition, thought had been given to how the props were introduced (i.e., how you got into the routine) and how the props were cleaned up at the end (i.e., how you "got out of" the routine).

The wonderful thing about routines that are workers is that if another performer wants to adopt the routine, the majority of the hard work has already been done. All another performer need do is to change the words to fit his own presentational personality, and become comfortable with the moves involved. (This may mean acquiring new techniques, or perhaps altering the handling in order to fit the technical level of the performer.) In any case, the routines are ready to be performed and they will evoke maximum audience response.

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Postby Jon Allen » 01/21/10 06:08 PM

Having clicked on the link, the DVDs are not titled "Workers" but the word is used as a sub heading.

Having said that, when I saw the title of the thread, I instantly thought it was to do with Michael Close and his 'Workers' series. I think everyone would do the same.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 01/21/10 06:27 PM

The issue is not whether someone else might have used the word "workers" -- the issue is who made the word mean something, created an association with it, spent years nurturing that association and took it to a whole new level. That person is Mike Close.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/21/10 07:32 PM

Bob Farmer wrote:The issue is not whether someone else might have used the word "workers" -- the issue is who made the word mean something, created an association with it, spent years nurturing that association and took it to a whole new level. That person is Mike Close.


I didn't mean to denigrate Close's contribution to the idea that a well-developed trick is a worker, or the fact that his books were a vector for that usage. Dustin brought up the issue of "coinage", and I just wanted to document Willmarth as the earliest know user of the word in that context (a usage which might well be antedated). No slight intended to Close, and I'm sorry that I wasn't more explicit earlier.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 01/21/10 07:41 PM

Bill, I will resist the temptation (and ironic twist) to turn this on its head with a homonym:

"No slight intended to Close ...."
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Postby David Acer » 01/21/10 07:41 PM

Around the same time Mike starting popularizing the term "workers," Richard Sanders and I tried to get our own term into the vernacular - whammybammers. So far, no luck.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/21/10 07:46 PM

Maybe in Canadahere in the US I hear my students say whammybammers all the time. They may mean something different than you and Richard did.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/21/10 08:04 PM

As long as it's not "Mammyjammers."
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/21/10 08:56 PM

Richard Hart wrote:I think instead of "Workers", they should've chosen the word, "Hacks" as being more fitting for style and substance.

Ive seen the DVDs and while not everything on them can be called workers (and I say so in my review), I do believe that calling the style and substance of Mike Gallo, David Roth, Dr. Rubinstein, Scotty York, Doug Brewer, and everyone else that appears on them Hacks is out of line.

Bob Farmer wrote:The issue is not whether someone else might have used the word "workers" -- the issue is who made the word mean something, created an association with it, spent years nurturing that association and took it to a whole new level. That person is Mike Close.

And to my point, it was Mr. Close who first clearly defined the word and at the same time brought it into the lexicon of magic; just like other titles have risen above just being a mere title.

An Invisible Deck was a patter line (sorry Petemake that a line from a script) before it became the label for an effect (whether using a gaffed deck or not). The same goes for the other examples I gave above.

Anyone who knows anything about hand tools can tell you that a Crescent Wrench is actually just an adjustable wrench. But because a company named Crescent made them, mechanics called them Crescent Wrenches, so its now part of their language even if they are made by Craftsman. A lot of people buy Private Label facial tissue but they still call it Kleenex (a word that can be found in the dictionary). How many of us call cola Coke but dont give a hoot if the restaurant only has Pepsi when we order?

Workers has become a word in the language of magic and that will always be a part of Mike Closes legacy. Workers has surpassed just being a title, and when that happensand as has been happeningother people are going to use it; be it in a title, or advertising, or what have you. So since its being used, I think its important that the word be used correctly. Its misuse belittles and trivializes it, and to me that is more important to the gift Mr. Close gave us.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/21/10 09:02 PM

I give a hoot: Pepsi is disgusting.
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Postby Mike Rubinstein » 01/21/10 10:03 PM

Wow! When I first saw Mr. Close's post, I had no idea why he was taking a shot (and I still don't understand the Tsunami reference). I have since found out about his own series, from I guess around 10 yrs ago. So, all I can say is that our DVD's are called THE NEW YORK COIN MAGIC SEMINAR DVD SERIES. They have subtitles - Coins across, Copper Silver, Productions, Vanishes, and Penetrations, More, Much More, and Still More, and now, Workers, Back to Workers, and Workers United (based on the theme of our last seminar). With all due respect to Mr Close (who I don't know except by his reputation as a wonderful magician), there was no intent to steal or "copy" his title. I speak for myself now, but I don't think any of us were aware of Mr. Close's series (Which I imagine is mostly about card magic). However, we (the group) used the term Workers to define effects that we can do in a variety of situations - practical, versatile magic, not angly, that has good audience impact. We have used that term for yrs, and I for one was not aware it belonged to anyone, much less popularized by anyone. I once said I didn't like any knucklebusting magic in order to explain that coin magic should be more about subtle moves, and I got flack from Reed McClintock since he had his own series. Again, the term was not his, and I had used it to explain my own philosophy on coin magic that had nothing to do with Mr. McClintock. There are so many terms we use all the time in magic, and many of them have been used for different applications. I guess this one struck a chord. I have had a trick out since 1987 called FUSION. How many Fusions are out there? A heck of a lot, all different effects. Who was the first? I have no idea, but whoever it was doesn't own the name. HOw many of you have put out a Matrix routine? Al Schneider came up with that name, and now it is a magic industry standard.
To address the guy who called my friends and I "hacks",I don't know who you are, and you are entitled to your opinion. It would be nice if you got to know me first before resorting to name calling, which is simply bush league (does anyone own that term?). Our intent in putting on our seminars and putting out our DVD series (to date 13 volumes with almost 200 routines and over 30 hours of coin magic), was to provide a reference for anyone interested in this art. The fact that we gave the name Workers as a subtitle for our latest series, was done with total ignorance to Mr. Close's work, and with no malice whatsoever. I imagine that the content of these DVD's are also very different from Mr. Close's material. However, I apologize to Mr. Close if he is upset,and hope that one day our paths can cross so I can say hello in person.
PS - I just want to mention that in all the months we advertised our Seminar 7 from last October(called Workers),discussed even here on the Forum, not ONE person took the time to write or mention that this name was accociated with anyone or anything.
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Postby Ted M » 01/22/10 12:22 AM

I speak for myself now, but I don't think any of us were aware of Mr. Close's series [...] The fact that we gave the name Workers as a subtitle for our latest series, was done with total ignorance to Mr. Close's work

If accepted as true, this would reveal a surprising ignorance of the literature. It would be interesting to learn whether your prominent partners are, in fact, similarly poorly read.

On the other hand, it appears from the titles of Volumes 8, 9 and 10 -- "More", "Much More" and "Still More" -- that very little thought goes into the titling of these publications. Maybe the titles might be excused on those grounds.

However, if these were presented as thoughtless publications created by people ignorant of the literature, they would not sound very attractive to the paying customer.

Good luck.
Last edited by Ted M on 01/22/10 12:28 AM, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: added some "if"s
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Postby Mike Rubinstein » 01/22/10 12:41 AM

Ted, I think we know more about coin magic than you ever will, which is the subject of our work. For someone as obviously well read as yourself, you seem to have missed all of the great reviews we have received over the years in Genii, Magic, and MUM, to name just a few. Good luck to you as well.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/22/10 04:16 AM

How many of us call cola Coke but dont give a hoot if the restaurant only has Pepsi when we order?


This is one of the things that makes my blood boil, and I've been known to let rip at ignorant barmen who say 'it's all the same thing...'

They can sell fifteen types of beer, one hundred wines, fifty spirits but my beveridge of choice only warrents _one_ choice?

*takes chill pill*

On another note, I find it hard to believe that the entire New York coin magic scene have never heard of Mike's books.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Matthew Field » 01/22/10 05:46 AM

"Whammybammers" is the subtitle of my new one-trick DVD, "Tsunami -- the Real Work(ers)".

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Postby Jon Allen » 01/22/10 06:52 AM

When a barman gives you Pepsi instead of Coke saying "It's all the same thing", offer to pay in Monopoly money telling him "Its all the same thing"

I'd like to take this opportunity to take issue with Mr Acer's "Whammybammers" as it is way too close to my upcoming release "Bammywhammers".
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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/22/10 07:32 AM

I had a routine published in 1997 called Whammybammers. If you don't believe me, wait fifteen minutes and check Wikipedia...

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Postby Matthew Field » 01/22/10 10:03 AM

I know Michael Rubinstein, and David Roth is my oldest friend in magic. They're both upstanding guys. I don't think they would have trespassed on Mike Close except in ignorance. So what say we cut them some slack. After all, the "Workers" appellation is only a subtitle.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/22/10 10:37 AM

Just a poorly timed response to a tsunami of a side issue that happened on other threads and on another bbs.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time
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Postby Ted M » 01/22/10 10:49 AM

...we know more about coin magic than you ever will, which is the subject of our work.

I noted the prominence of your partners, which is why the claimed collective ignorance of the magical literature is so surprising.

...you seem to have missed all of the great reviews we have received over the years in Genii, Magic, and MUM, to name just a few

How odd that all of you would completely miss all the reviews of Mike Close's Workers series over the years in those same journals.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/10 11:46 AM

I think we're done beating these guys up over a poorly chosen title. Points have been made on both sides.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 01/22/10 01:03 PM

I agree, but can we now berate Matt Field?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/22/10 05:06 PM

Rammer Jammer
Yellowhammer
Give 'em Hell
Alabama.

I'm not a Crimson Tide fan -- I just had to throw that in.
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Postby Kent Gunn » 01/22/10 08:04 PM

Let's see here. Mike Gallo, David Roth and Doc Rubinstein. Who's the coins only guy . . .

The good vet, that's who.

Gallo and Roth have no doubt heard of Mike Close's Workers series. If Doc Rubenstein says he hasn't heard of them, I believe him. He knows coins and critters. In the heat of Magic Board madness he extended his ignorance to his partners.

This entire topic fits neatly into the:

Magicians think everyone shares their opinions and experiences box.

Don't take that the wrong way. I have the Workers series. Bought it twice. Once as MC was publishing and again on CD. I think Mike Close is a bad-ass, magical legend. That doesn't mean some coin guy from NYC is knowledgable about Close's stuff.

Gallo - Big Mikey Gallo knows who in the hell Mike Close is. They've probably sat down and told each other lies. If anybody would've asked him about using Workers in the title, he'd have said, "Ah that's Close's goddamn thing, leave it be."

I don't know Mr. Roth. Seen him lecture.

Whoever called those three guys hacks . . . Jesus, Jumpin' Christ on a stick!

The two Kaufman books, "Coin Magic" and the "Expert Coin Magic" broke more ground than anyone knew existed. The second book is almost all Roth, the first one, has him as the main contributor. Calling Roth a hack is just stupid. Plain old ugly, butt-thumpin' stupid.

Gallo a hack? He's from upstate New York, so maybe he's a hick. He's not a hack. Any magician who ever sees him work knows that this he's a consummate magician, the guy's world-freakin' class.

I have only seen the good doctor work on video. His were the first magic VHS tapes I ever bought. (if you don't count porn) Watching him do coin magic that transcended anything I could envision from Bobo stays with me do this day.

So . . .

The NY Coin guys are not hacks goddamnit. They or some of them chose a sub-title that was at best poorly chosen and at worst damned embarassing. Doc Rubenstein freaking apologized. He showed more grace than most would have.

I'm no fan of video anyway. Here's a link to buy the most important written work, by a single creator/writer in magic, if you're ready for it. You're not, by the way.

http://www.michaelclose.com/index.php?m ... ucts_id=14

If you haven't read this you are missing out. I can't explain how freakin' important it is that you buy this and read it. Do memdeck stuff, seminal work's in here. Wanna do Travellers and make people laugh 'til they pee, it's in here. SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY PAGES OF . . . well . . . I'd call them Workers!

Video - yuk. Somebody ought to get Gallo to write a book.

KG

PS. To Ted M. These guys only read their own reviews! C'mon you knew that.
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Postby fkaps1 » 01/22/10 11:05 PM

Hi All,

I agree that it was a bad choice for a subtitle and Mike has apologized for it. The real issue is the material on the DVD's. I was there for the shoot (I had no choice, it was at my house) and there is some fantastic material on the disks. Let's focus on that. I can tell you that the secret that Roth has been hoarding for years and releases on them is worth the price of the set to any coin guy, worker or not.

Marc DeSouza
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Postby Tom Gilbert » 01/23/10 05:56 PM

I hope the guy that called them hacks was kidding... If not, I'd love to see some of his work and ideas.

Tom
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Postby Jon Allen » 01/28/10 05:01 PM

Linked to this, I've only just found out there is a new effect called 'The Infinity Deck' which has NOTHING to do with the deck of cards I sold called...yep... 'The Infinity Deck'. The deck is mentioned in my book relating to my IBM act in 1995 and I have always been looking to get it manufactured again. I'm really pissed off! Why is there a sudden spate of 'same name' products? Surely we haven't run out of names?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/28/10 05:12 PM

People independently use older names all the time. It's always unwise to assume that everyone has heard of, or remembers, the names of everyone else's tricks.
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Postby Jon Allen » 01/28/10 05:45 PM

But it's easy to spend 10 seconds on a search engine:

http://www.google.com/search?q=infinity ... GGLJ_en-GB

Surely people would want to come up with a brand new title for their book/DVD/trick and a little time searching would be in order. Maybe before the Internet it's easy to say you had never heard fo it or had no way of finding out. Not now.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 01/28/10 05:53 PM

We haven't run out of names. We have run out of people who are versed in the history of their art and therefor have no idea what has come before and what it was called.

(This of course is an overstatement. There are still plenty of people who know and care, but the vast majority of "creators" and "visual artists" have little knowledge of their history or even the foundations of their craft.)

Magic, as we all know now, began in the dark ages with Paul Harris and was brought into modern times by David Blaine. Anything before then is irrelevant. Anything since is AWESOME!!!! BADAZZZ!!! and, dare I say, KEWL!!!!

Besides, if it doesn't have a one word title or a video demo that begins with a ripped-jean wearing teen (or teen wannabee) walking through an abandoned street or warehouse area, it clearly can't be worthwhile.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/28/10 07:12 PM

Ian Kendall wrote:They can sell fifteen types of beer, one hundred wines, fifty spirits but my beveridge of choice only warrents _one_ choice?


I believe that the standard restaurant's agreement with Coke gives them a discount if they do not carry any other cola drinks. Pepsi's has the same clause. So it's not the establishment's fault.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/28/10 07:31 PM

Pete, I know that. It's the ignorant bar staff who say 'it's the same thing' that gets to me. Just say it's Pepsi and I'll go somewhere else.

It's when you ask for one, and they bring another without realising that it matters to some people, and then get snooty when you point out the difference. If they asked for a vintage cabernet and I turned up with some supermarket plonk I imagine they would get quite miffed. But to me, wine is wine and it all tastes pish. There's a huge double standard going on.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/28/10 11:02 PM

Ah. I misunderstood.

One thing that happens all the timeat restaurants here in the States, at leastis I ask for a coke and they say "is Pepsi okay?" I was under the impression that they have to ask you. I can't remember anybody ever just giving me a Pepsi. But maybe they gave me a Pepsi and I didn't notice.

I had a friend once who lived in upstate New York, and when he was buying a can or bottle of soda would first look to see where it had been canned or bottled. If the Coke was from Rochester he would get that; otherwise he got Pepsi.

At the Magic Castle from time to time I will see Damien Nieman (director of Shade and a serious card mechanic) with four or five different decks of cards, working with one for a while and then switching to a different brand.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/29/10 12:54 AM

"No Coke; Pepsi...Cheese burger!"
--John Belushi
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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/29/10 04:28 AM

Look what happened to Belushi...

My father could do a blind taste test on coke that was bottled in a 330ml glass bottle, 330ml can, 1 litre bottle and draught. My grandfather was high up in Beecham's, who did all the bottling for Coke before they had their own plant in the YooKay, and was able to get hold of the different types. The throng were surprised, to say the least, when Mike pulled it off.

Blackpool Winter Gardens is a Pepsi house, so I have to go outside to get anything to drink...

Take care, Ian
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/29/10 12:17 PM

Belushi should have stuck with Pepsi.





(too soon?)
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Postby David Alexander » 01/29/10 12:25 PM

Ian,

Your father could probably discern the difference between Coke made with high fructose corn syrup instead of the "old way" with cane sugar. Aficionados claim the taste is different.

Costco brings in large quantities of Coke made in Mexico with cane sugar and people claim it's "The Real Thing."
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