Mahdi's Book Club

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Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 15th, 2016, 8:21 pm

OK. Let's give Mahdi a new start. Here is his original post. You can all talk about his book club here. I personally willl not bring the other matter up here and I suspect nobody else will either. After all we already have a place to discuss it. Anyway here you all are:
..........................................................................................................................................................................................

Hello Everyone,

Many of you know that I have created and run the Conjuring Arts Summer Reading Program for the last few years. Every week of the summer I would create a new ebook version of a classic text of magic and we would release it to the magic community for absolutely FREE. From 2013-2015 we've given away over 40 great magic books, including titles such as Erdnase, Expert Card Technique and even Tarbell.

A lot of people have been asking me, "Mahdi, what happened to the summer reading program?", since there wasn't one this year and now I can finally answer... We've been working on the Conjuring Arts Book Club!

Which like our summer reading program is 100% FREE for everyone!

Here's how it works:

Every month we will release a new ebook version of a magic book completely FREE for the magic community to download, read, and study.

THEN... near the end of the month we will broadcast a livestream onto the internet with an expert in the book's subject to discuss the book and it's contents.

For example, our first Book Club book is Money Magic by Will Blyth. The expert we chose to discuss this book on coin magic is none other than the greatest coin magician alive, David Roth! This livestream will take place on Saturday, October 29th.*

*Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get the link the day of.

Also, as a BONUS... David Roth is teaching a 2.5 hour workshop on the Okito Coin Box at our university for only $79.99 to celebrate the launch of our Book Club.

Please enjoy the Book Club and also: Feel free to suggest books you'd like us to give away in the future and experts you'd like to be in our livestream.

Thank you,

Mahdi
http://www.mahdigilbert.com

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 16th, 2016, 7:49 pm

[snip] With regard to the matter I shall merely say that I have always considered David Roth to be the greatest living coin magician despite that old misery Albert Goshman telling me that David "has no presentation". Not that I wish to gossip of course.

In any case Goshman was wrong. I have always thought David has excellent and very rythmic presentation.

There that should get things going a trifle and we won't need mention of tomatoes to stop this thread going into obscurity too swiftly.
Last edited by Dustin Stinett on October 16th, 2016, 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited for context

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Dustin Stinett » October 17th, 2016, 12:02 am

I am quite tempted to lock the hijacked thread, but I will not tolerate--from anyone--this one going down a similar path or one that casts any aspersions on Mahdi. I only hope that he will come back here because I believe that there are more people here who will welcome him. Thank you.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 17th, 2016, 12:28 am

Albert Goshman was one of the greatest close-up magicians who ever lived. And he did have better presentation than David Roth does.

However, David Roth is the greatest living coin man of the past half century and he will be remembered long after Goshman has been forgotten.

You cannot compare apples and oranges. They were/are great for different reasons. Goshman's entire act was built around his interaction with two spectators. No one else could do his act, and anyone who tries should get smacked really hard.

Roth's repertoire is very large, and he has created so much classic material it's hard to imagine. Goshman's repertoire was small, but he did it to perfection. But he leaves a small legacy.

It's hard to truly appreciate Goshman's genious as a close-up magician without having seen him live. Roth's legacy will live on for 100 years through his book and his many DVDs.
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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 17th, 2016, 3:55 am

Somebody DID do Goshman's act! Al was furious about it but on the other hand the guy was entitled to do it, I think since Al published it for all to use. I am sure the guy didn't do it nearly as well as Goshman but that wasn't the point. As for David Roth I have seen him on video once and I will concede there his presentation was below par. However, I have seen him work live and on television and his presentation was indeed excellent. And as Richard stated he had a far bigger repertoire than Goshman. He could work impromptu also. Goshman never did and seemed reluctant to. All he could do was that one 20 minute act (or however long it was). It had to be "official" and didn't seem to have a lot of flexibility about it. By "official" I mean it had to be in a "set" show. Everything prepared in advance. Basically a magic convention act although of course it could be worked for laymen too.

I saw him work live many times and he was certainly a great magician although he did have his faults but then so do we all. I know he did a few trade shows but was never invited back. It wasn't his environment. A fantastic close up act but limited to certain situations.

He seemed to like money rather a lot I noticed. I was quite shocked when he tried to encourage me to pitch the sponge ball trick to the general public naturally purchasing the balls from him. The trick was part of his own act too! I couldn't believe such a great magician would want me to expose the trick to all and sundry. I know it would sell fantastically well but I would never expose it to all and sundry. The svengali deck is bad enough but at least that is a traditional pitch item.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Dustin Stinett » October 17th, 2016, 4:27 am

Bruce Cervon could do Albert's act, top to bottom, line by line. It was with Albert's blessing, of course, since Bruce would fill in for him at gigs on occasion when Albert's health started to slow him down. After Albert's death, Bruce did a week at the Castle in tribute to him, doing the act, and that's where I saw him do it. No, it wasn't Albert, but Bruce did it pretty well because he understood it far better than someone who just read the book. I'm pretty sure that was also the last time Bruce did it.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 17th, 2016, 4:46 am

If Cervon did the Goshman act "line by line" that would be a huge mistake. In order to get an equal reaction to Goshman (which would be difficult) you would have to alter the patter completely and bring your own personality into it. You can't do that by using the same words.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 17th, 2016, 12:05 pm

To the best of my knowledge, Albert's act was created for use at the Magic Castle. He would add or subtract an item or two if working at a convention based on his time constraints. He was doing magic before he left for California as "The Baker that's a Faker," however I have no idea what he did at that time. I do know that Vernon taught him Spellbound, and Sol Stone taught him other coin material.

I cannot, in my wildest nightmare, imagine Bruce Cervon (one of the least likeable performers I've ever seen) do the act of Albert Goshman (one of the most charming performers I've ever seen).
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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 17th, 2016, 1:16 pm

I worked out a terrific sequence to Spellbound which I do to this day. I showed it to Goshman who growled that it was illogical and didn't make sense. I knew that it made no sense at first sight but I also know psychology and how the human mind works and that barefaced as it was it would fly right by an audience. In other words the secret was hidden in plain sight. I had only just put it together and was not actually sure it would work so I made the mistake of asking Goshman who growled that it wouldn't. Thankfully I had the sense to ignore him and have been using it ever since.

He really was an old misery and all he could do was criticise. He didn't seem to have a good word about anyone. He told me that Slydini "couldn't handle trouble" and when someone asked him about Vernon the best he could say was, "I have known the professor for 40 years and I am not going to comment" which implied who knows what.

I did show him some lapping stuff and he growled, "that's not how Slydini does it" I responded, "I don't give a stuff how Slydini does it. I am not Slydini. This is how I do it! "

One guy who idolised him and who is a damn good magician himself drove him to the airport and asked him, "Mr Goshman, I wonder if you could do me a favour. You saw me do my act at the convention. I always appreciate criticism and try to learn from it. I wonder if you could give me some criticisms concerning my act" It seems that Goshman growled "You are not even at the standard yet where I can criticise you". After that the guy was no longer a fan of Goshman.

Our dear departed friend Mahdi whose new thread seems to be going off topic just as much as the last one once muttered to me at a gathering of magicians, "magicians are weird". I think that last little story proves his point.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Q. Kumber » October 17th, 2016, 1:23 pm

International Magic of London sell a DVD of Goshman performing his full act, taped at the International Convention in 1985

https://www.internationalmagic.com/prod ... vd-94.html

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby erdnasephile » October 17th, 2016, 2:47 pm

It is hard to see Cervon doing this given Goshman's act is so personality driven:




Dustin: when Cervon did this as a tribute, did he do it "as" Goshman (ala Kopf's Vernon impression) or did he do it as Cervon doing Goshman?
Last edited by erdnasephile on October 17th, 2016, 3:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 17th, 2016, 2:53 pm

I think it is a bit of a pity that we have drifted away from Mahdi's book club thread. Oh well..........................

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 17th, 2016, 5:02 pm

Well Mahdi isn't here, so what do you expect?
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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 17th, 2016, 5:25 pm

ALL acts should be personality driven. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM! It was the first thing I ever learned.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby erdnasephile » October 17th, 2016, 5:38 pm

Very true.

However, IMHO, there are certain routines that are more easily adapted to various performers' styles than others. A good example would be Terry Seabrooke's Burnt Bill Routine--I think a large number of magicians could (and have) gotten laughs with a lot of those lines. Not as good as Mr. Seabrooke, of course--but at least they could probably perform the routine competently.

OTOH, many of Mr. Goshman's lines and bits seem so idiosyncratic, I suspect not many could use those lines without coming off as a weirdo.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 17th, 2016, 5:52 pm

But you don't use Goshman's lines! You use your own! Old time magic books would often refuse to give suggested patter since the authors knew perfectly well that the patter is an individual thing and what suits one person does not suit another.

If I were to learn Goshman's act I would do just as well as he did with it because I wouldn't do it like him in the first place. I would alter moves to suit myself and streamline things that I considered needed streamlining. I would use my own knowledge and experience in magic to make it work. You can't ape other people -you have to do things your own way. I would replace the Goshman idiosyncrasies with my own and interact with the punters helping me in my own way. And amuse them in my own way.

After all when it alll comes down to it the Goshman act is simply tricks. And tricks are always the least important part of a performance. YOU are the main part. All you have to do is make sure that YOU are interesting and the magic will take care of itself providing you do it well and the material is strong.

A magician does not present magic. He presents HIMSELF presenting magic. And so endeth the lesson.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 17th, 2016, 9:12 pm

It would be hard to use Goshman's lines without coming off like a lech.
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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby erdnasephile » October 17th, 2016, 9:46 pm

performer wrote:But you don't use Goshman's lines! You use your own! Old time magic books would often refuse to give suggested patter since the authors knew perfectly well that the patter is an individual thing and what suits one person does not suit another.

If I were to learn Goshman's act I would do just as well as he did with it because I wouldn't do it like him in the first place. I would alter moves to suit myself and streamline things that I considered needed streamlining. I would use my own knowledge and experience in magic to make it work. You can't ape other people -you have to do things your own way. I would replace the Goshman idiosyncrasies with my own and interact with the punters helping me in my own way. And amuse them in my own way.

After all when it alll comes down to it the Goshman act is simply tricks. And tricks are always the least important part of a performance. YOU are the main part. All you have to do is make sure that YOU are interesting and the magic will take care of itself providing you do it well and the material is strong.

A magician does not present magic. He presents HIMSELF presenting magic. And so endeth the lesson.


Yes---agreed. That's what makes the notion that Cervon was doing Goshman line for line such a strange idea.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 17th, 2016, 10:30 pm

I don't know much about Cervon so I looked him up on you tube. He seemed polite enough and not as aggressive as I have been told. Maybe he was just doing the Goshman act as a tribute and nothing more. As for Goshman's "lecher" persona I never liked that one bit. I think he could have done without it. Funnily enough he once told me a woman he employed in his sponge ball factory complained about him to the authorities for forcing her to make pornographic materials. In other words that awful Ding Dong trick he manufactured.

In fact it seems that he did the trick once too often at a trade show when he showed it to the wife of the president of the company! He wasn't hired back the next year!

Goshman was a great magician but he certainly had his limitations and wasn't perfect. I liked his act an awful lot. The whole thing has been put down in great detail in Patrick Pages book about Goshman.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby erdnasephile » October 18th, 2016, 10:05 am

BTW, I went looking for some footage of Mr. Cervon and realized this piece tied two current GF threads together.



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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Terry » October 18th, 2016, 11:42 am

On JC Wagner's interview with Dodd Vickers' Magic Newswire, JC noted that the Professor got after Bruce Cervon for his performing persona at the time. He could be very brash and "holier than thou". Bruce took it to heart and changed.

I got to meet and talk with Bruce at the Salt Lake City IBM in 1992(?) and found him very engaging and willing to share. To this day, I think well of him.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Dustin Stinett » October 18th, 2016, 12:58 pm

Sorry for the late response.

Bruce was not "doing" Albert, but he did play it light and fun, and yes, line for line. He talked first (and during as needed) about Albert and how he acted (and that it was just that, an act) and how he was so beloved. There were also less than veiled jokes about past meals on his tie—a shot at Albert's less than tidy nature—and things like that. It was fun. It was a tribute to his friend and nothing more.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 18th, 2016, 1:50 pm

I've seen so many people fail miserably trying to replicate Goshman's act and the timing, so if Cervon was able to do it successfully, then I'm impressed.
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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby erdnasephile » October 18th, 2016, 4:22 pm

What was Albert Goshman like in real life? Was he like a toned down version of his performance character or was that character pretty much him?

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 18th, 2016, 4:49 pm

I spent an entire day with him. He was a real misery. The only thing that seemed to cheer him up was lecherous remarks or what seems to be in the news lately as "locker room talk" so that part of his act seemed to be part of his everyday world. And I did notice that he rather liked money a lot.

Someone that knew him once told me he had a heart of gold and was very kind underneath the misery. I never saw that side of him.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 18th, 2016, 5:07 pm

Goshman could be extremely sweet and friendly, and also a misery. I saw him both ways. In a way he was the Willy Loman of the magic world, lugging his spongeballs from convention to convention, which killed his hips. And he was in a lot of pain because of that.
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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby Q. Kumber » October 18th, 2016, 6:19 pm

erdnasephile wrote:Very true.

However, IMHO, there are certain routines that are more easily adapted to various performers' styles than others. A good example would be Terry Seabrooke's Burnt Bill Routine--I think a large number of magicians could (and have) gotten laughs with a lot of those lines. Not as good as Mr. Seabrooke, of course--but at least they could probably perform the routine competently.



No one ever did Seabrooke's burnt note routine even close to how he did it at his peak. The first time I saw him perform it was the mid-seventies in Dublin at the newly opened cabaret room, The Chariot Inn, Ranelagh, Dublin. The audience were screaming with laughter, so much they were in pain. I don't think I've ever seen any other magician get so much deep continuous laughter over such a long routine.

I've seen others do the routine, some even competently as it is well structured, but not one ever came close.

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby PickaCard » October 18th, 2016, 7:34 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:lugging his spongeballs from convention to convention, which killed his hips. And he was in a lot of pain because of that.


It!s hard to imagine any amount of sponge balls being so heavy...

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Re: Mahdi's Book Club

Postby performer » October 18th, 2016, 7:46 pm

I don't think it was just his spongeballs. I do recall he had some quite substantial cases with him. I can't remember what he was selling but he did have quite a bit to carry.


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