Andre Kole?

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Todd Robbins » 07/07/03 06:56 AM

So I hear that Andre Cole displeased a number of people at a convention. Or perhaps it was Penn & Teller disguised as Andre? Details from those that were there would be appreciated.
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 07/07/03 07:48 AM

Andre Kole did several fantastic illusions and a strong set for kids. He then ventured into what was apparently supposed to be a motivational style presentation about character, courage and commitment using the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as a foundation for it. It was not an "evangelical" message.

However...

The content of that presentation became muddled with a commentary about the 4th of July and the documented reverence for God in the founding documents of our country. He then made a comment that there were organizations spending millions of dollars to remove any mention of God from our motto, from the pledge, etc., and that they would have to change the Declaration of Independence, too.

For those who may not have been paying attention, I will emphasize that he did *not* engage in direct Christian evangelizing or proselytizing. His comments in the Saturday night show were not specific to Christianity. His political statement (basically a veiled criticism of the ACLU) was much more specific than any religious statement he made.

Neither of the statements, unfortunately, was presented with much magic. This was one of the situations when "less" would have been "more." If the statements had been condensed to 25% or 30% of the time he actually spent, and he actually performed some kind of illusion along the way (the effect he was attempting to perform didn't really work), he probably would have tiptoed through the whole episode without a problem -- much like P&T include plenty of social and religious commentary in their show as part of the presentation of some magical effects.

Instead, Kole's segment seemed unrehearsed and it dragged the show's energy way down. The energy of the entire show up to that point sadly dissipated and was only partially saved by the (very impressive) Statue of Liberty vanish at the end. Also, in the other shows where I've seen Andre, he is able to give the audience an opportunity to leave before he engages in ANY commentary that anyone could possibly find irritating or offensive. That did not (and perhaps could not?) happen here.

Personally, I agree with the content of Andre Kole's remarks and suspect that most folks reading this would actually agree with 90% or more of what he said (about courage, commitment, character, and patriotism, etc.). This venue, though, was not the place for the sort of extended remarks he made. It is a credit to the convention that this seems to be the hot topic of discussion because so many other things went so well that there must be nothing else to complain about. So far, I am hearing that people are more upset that the show's pacing was thrown than they are about the specific content of the comments he made. That said, I'm pretty comfortable letting his tactical miscalculation fade in comparison to his massive contributions to magic over the last several decades. (Some folks, however, would rather focus on this... someone has already posted to the EG trying to start a debate.)

If you all really want to talk about something controversial at the IBM convention, let's discuss the close-up competition. To me, I think what happened there was far more important than Kole's blunder on Saturday night.

JMT
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 07/07/03 08:09 AM

Originally posted by Joe M. Turner:

If you all really want to talk about something controversial at the IBM convention, let's discuss the close-up competition. To me, I think what happened there was far more important than Kole's blunder on Saturday night.
Okay, Joe, I give--what happened in the close-up competition?

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Postby Joe M. Turner » 07/07/03 08:55 AM

The Gold Cups were awarded. The winner, Chase Curtis, definitely had the most outstanding act of the competition. However, much as with the gold medal last year, there are a number of divergent opinions regarding whether it was appropriate to award the Gold Cups.

JMT
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Postby Danny Archer » 07/07/03 11:21 AM

When Kole started his speech about God and religion I got up left the theatre and walked back to the hotel. I saw that I was the first to leave and I figured that the rest of the audience would follow shortly ... I saw a few brave souls did follow my lead, but the overwhelming majority stayed and listened to his inappropriate comments (for this crowd and organization)

I heard later that night that his remarks were out of line (and that he rambled on for over 20 minutes), that a fight broke out in the balcony between two people, but as I said, as the first to leave I cannot accurately comment on what followed ...
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Postby Guest » 07/07/03 03:32 PM

Originally posted by Danny Archer:
....that a fight broke out in the balcony between two people, but as I said, as the first to leave I cannot accurately comment on what followed ...
Nothing like religion to give somebody a bloody nose. Or worse.

Best,

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Postby Bill Evans » 07/07/03 03:40 PM

Originally posted by Danny Archer:

I heard later that night that his remarks were out of line (and that he rambled on for over 20 minutes), that a fight broke out in the balcony between two people, but as I said, as the first to leave I cannot accurately comment on what followed ...
Gee Danny..if you were only there "in character" you could have stopped that fight before it began. :D

Kudos to you for what is a most entertaining close up presentation. For those of you who haven't had the chance to see this act, Danny's character is that of a Mafia close up magician and it is extremely funny. Saw it for the first time at the convention and loved it!

Bill
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 07/07/03 04:24 PM

Originally posted by Danny Archer:
When Kole started his speech about God and religion I got up left the theatre and walked back to the hotel. I saw that I was the first to leave and I figured that the rest of the audience would follow shortly ... I saw a few brave souls did follow my lead, but the overwhelming majority stayed...
Thanks for stating that you were not held captive and forced to listen to anything you didn't want to hear or think about.

By the way, I really enjoyed your lecture and enjoyed re-reading the notes last night. And I second the comment that Geno Mozzarella is a wonderful character... your act and Shoot's were the highlights of the Big 3 close-up show.

JMT
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Postby ADG » 07/07/03 07:05 PM

Greetings......I agree with Joe. This was the wrong place and time for Andre to speak about politics and religion. I personally fell asleep during his speech after being magiced out for 5 days/nights of lectures, shows, tricks, sleights, sessions, friendships, dealers,...etc. That being said, Andre has been known to do this in the past. It's not new to me. I think part of some blame lies in the person who drew up his contract. If you don't want this type of behavior in a performer's act, you specifically write it down in the performer's contract. If he/she violates any part of his contract, he/she doesn't get paid. However, not having the original contract in front of me, I don't know if the ball was dropped or not. Anyways, I woke up in time to see the Statue of Liberty disappearance. It was awesome!!! Alex
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Postby Guest » 07/07/03 08:10 PM

Can't comment on what I did not witness, but it seems that there should be an even stronger reaction to what Penn and Teller pulled in Las Vegas! What they did was Blasphemy with a capital 'B' and I don't mind saying so! Shame on them. As for Mr. Archer, he left because he didn't want to hear the message. I suppose he did what he thought best. It is his business, not for me or anyone else to judge. As for Mr. Kole, he is known as an evangelical performer. If he was not specifically told to avoid politics and/or religion, then I suppose he had a right to say what he said, and Mr. Archer (and ostensibly others) had a right to walk out. But what did it really hurt? Hurt the 'energy' of the show? Come on! To some of us there are more important things in the world than 'energy' or 'timing', like salvation, for instance. Perhaps those of you who say it was the wrong venue are correct. But when "One nation, under God" is being stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Ten Commandments are being removed from courthouses, it makes you wonder if there ever will be an appropriate forum....at least in the eyes of ACLU and their ilk. Thanks for reading. Sorry it was so long, but some of the comments struck a nerve.
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Postby Robert Allen » 07/07/03 08:45 PM

/snip

Bah, I've deleted my post in consideration of the fine audience in these forums. I'll just indicate I have a difference of opinion with Mr. Jaegers.

Regards.
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Postby Guest » 07/07/03 08:59 PM

Mr. Jaegers would you mind posting an email address so that I may respond to your comments without adding to what already looks like a thread with nowhere to go but down.

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Postby Pete Biro » 07/07/03 09:09 PM

Other than Andre's antics, can anyone post a review of the convention? :help:
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/07/03 09:49 PM

Enough has been said about this issue I think. If anyone (please!) would like to review the convention, please start another thread. I'm locking this one before things get out of hand.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/08/03 09:33 AM

I've been approached by Andre Kole and his attorney regarding my original post here with the request that I modify my statements to reflect what they consider a more truthful rendition of what occurred during his performance at the IBM convention. I should add, at the outset, that I admire Andre Kole's creativity and enjoyed MOST of his performance--he's an old fashioned showman, and it's a pleasant change of pace to watch him instead of the atomic-paced acts of so many young magicians.
My original post, modified with more recent information, follows.
As a witness to this fiasco, I should add that afterward new president of the IBM David Sandy walked up to me and apologized. He said that he had no idea such a thing would take place. (From a letter Andre Kole has written to John Moehring, "I have been told that as a result of my patriotic presentation, the future contracts for performers [at the IBM convention] will state that if they use blue material or even refer to God or religion in a respectful way, they will not get paid.)
Andre Kole brought the show to an absolute dead stop for 9 minutes (not the 25 minutes I originally wrote) in order to perform an effect using a Square Circle in front of the curtain while several illusions were set up behind the curtain. The Square Circle routine involved placing three silks representing the Jews "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego" into the burning Square Circle (which failed to ignite), then reproducing them not burned. While the casual spectator who heard only the first part about Jews being tossed into the fire might have taken this to be anti-semetic, those who didn't tune out or leave would have heard the conclusion at which the three Jews (silks) survived the burning, an event which, according to the speaker, changed King Nebakanezer into a better person (or something along those lines). Andre has written to me, "Some of my closest friends are Jewish and I certainly would never make any anti-Semetic statements. My only reference to any religion was mentioning the admirable courage, convictions, and commitment of the outstanding young Jewish men in my illustration. It is ludicrous to imply anything otherwise."
As far as my earlier statement here that he "carried on about Jesus," Andre Kole has written to me, "No religion was promoted at any time in my presentation apart from my commentary about the bravery of the three Jewish young men ... The only time the name of 'Jesus' was mentioned was in connection with the quotes by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Teddy Roosevelt when I mentioned Jesus' statement condemning hypocrites."
During all of this, the magicians in the theater did nothing, but when Kole started talking about the bad folks who want to remove "In God we Trust" from the dollar bill, etc., there were catcalls from the laymen in the balcony.
Subjecting people to his religious material (which he believes was not a religious presentation, but a "patriotic presentation" that was perfectly in line with the 4th of July period when the convention was taking place) was in the opinion of a number of people who attended, no different, and no less offensive, to people of other religions, or no religion, than what Penn & Teller did to people of religion.
Neither belonged in a magic convention.
I have offered Andre Kole the opportunity to discuss all of this and much more in a Genii cover story.
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