Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

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Tarotist
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Tarotist » January 12th, 2022, 5:20 pm

David Ben wrote:
Ricky had technical skill, particularly in his younger days. In my opinion, that skill diminished over time. That is not surprising. Sleight of hand, which was his thing, is a young man’s game. Unlike a prop that generally functions like it always did, sleight of hand requires constant attention just to maintain the minimum, and then your body changes, and hands dry out, and you start to lose your touch.


I find this very true. I am 77 years old and I am very fortunate that I have still managed to maintain 90% of my dexterity. However, that means I still have lost the other 10% somewhere and it annoys me intensely. Hands are indeed drying out and there is a slight touch of arthritis setting in. However, I have always known that a magician's tongue is FAR more important than his hands. As long as my tongue is still working I know that I am just as good, if not better, than I have always been.

The key is to be constantly studying magic and more importantly doing it. If you can do that then age doesn't matter a damn.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Brad Henderson » January 12th, 2022, 6:15 pm

AJM wrote:If we all consider magicians as a group to be worthless or incompetent then why do we bother I wonder?

Why would we wish to persist with an interest in magic when we know our peers consider everyone (other than themselves of course) to be useless.

Why do we take delight in trashing ‘most magicians’? Possibly because we like to think that we as individuals have better standards than others and therefore we can adopt ‘a holier than thou’ attitude. Probably makes us feel good and massages our fragile egos.

No-one here is perfect. No-one.


Perfection isn’t the standard. Caring and the sincere desire to improve is a baseline.

most who get involved in any hobby do so with the intent of self pleasure.

Self pleasure (exclusively) is counter productive to artistic advancement.

Unlike most other hobbies, magic requires an audience. When we force others to engage in our mission to please ourselves - there’s a word for that.

Magic unlike other hobbies is fundamentally about power. And many gravitate to magic as a compensation for social and psychological maladjustments.

As a friend of mine said, one’s success in magic is in direct proportion to one’s ability to overcome that which made one want to get involved in magic in the first place.

You can see how this approach is anathema to those who care deeply about magic as an art, those who work to serve magic and not simply themselves.

Most magicians are [censored] because, as sturgeon posited, most everything is [censored]. As Max Maven observed, the percentages in our field skew higher.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Bob Plaut » January 12th, 2022, 7:52 pm

At the end of the day there's no justification for being a dick.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby jason156 » January 13th, 2022, 10:57 am

The only thing any performer ultimately owes anyone, is a good performance if you paid for a ticket to the show .... that's it.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Tarotist » January 13th, 2022, 12:18 pm

Bob Plaut wrote:At the end of the day there's no justification for being a dick.


Indeed. Ricky was outnumbered by them so he became one himself. Quite right too.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby PapaG » January 15th, 2022, 12:17 am

What makes magicians so special? I mean, seriously..? All human activity is full of arseholes. The only thing that makes magic special is that it is YOUR field of activity, you think that YOU are special and therefore you extrapolate that your peers are particularly different to the rest of humanity in their unique inferiority.

To be honest, I'm sick of hearing magician's slagging off other magicians like it's a badge of honour.

Most of you professionals sell to sh!tty magicians. That's the irony. That's your market.

Get over it.

I play guitar. To a high level. I have yet, in all my years of playing, to hear another guitarist criticise the 'guitar community' for containing people who think they can play well when they can't and who 'ruin it' for all of us and 'disrespect the guitar'.

The only thing that is truly unique about magic is that it's full of people pouring scorn on most rest of their own, and who, I'm guessing, have a deep-rooted unconscious fear that what they are doing — what they love — is actually ridiculous, will be seen as such, and need transference on some base level.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Michael Rubinstein » January 15th, 2022, 9:10 am

I once asked David Roth what Ricky thought of the New York Coin Magic Seminar DVDS. David just said that Ricky didn't like giving away secrets, so they just didn't talk about them.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby JHostler » January 15th, 2022, 9:23 am

Michael Rubinstein wrote:I once asked David Roth what Ricky thought of the New York Coin Magic Seminar DVDS. David just said that Ricky didn't like giving away secrets, so they just didn't talk about them.


Hmm. I wonder how Ricky acquired his secrets...
"Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong." H.L. Mencken

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 15th, 2022, 9:41 am

PapaG wrote: The only thing that makes magic special is that it is YOUR field of activity, you think that YOU are special and therefore you extrapolate that your peers are particularly different to the rest of humanity in their unique inferiority...The only thing that is truly unique about magic is that it's full of people pouring scorn on most rest of their own...


Well, I wouldn't say that that this is the "only" thing that makes magic special, or that that is th "only" thing that is truly unique about magic. However some of the comments on a couple other active threads on here provide crystal clear proof that there are certain magicians who are prima donnas that think they are smarter than and above everyone else. That's why the wise advice of a great friend and superb magical entertainer given to me long ago still reverberate in my mind - stay away from magicians and remember that laymen are your best teachers.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Jackpot » January 15th, 2022, 10:12 am

Michael Rubinstein wrote:I once asked David Roth what Ricky thought of the New York Coin Magic Seminar DVDS. David just said that Ricky didn't like giving away secrets, so they just didn't talk about them.


It sounds like what others consider "sharing", Mr. Jay felt was "giving away".
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Jackpot » January 15th, 2022, 10:25 am

JHostler wrote:Hmm. I wonder how Ricky acquired his secrets...


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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Roger M. » January 15th, 2022, 11:44 am

JHostler wrote:
Hmm. I wonder how Ricky acquired his secrets...

True or not, I believe RJ considered his own personal knowledge to have been acquired the "old fashioned way", as a an apprentice who earned largely in-person instruction from the existing masters of the day (Vernon at the Castle, etc).

Presumably, every personal belief has some sort of a foundation, and (IMO) RJ's opinion on magicians and their secrets was simply that an aspiring magician was obliged to earn whatever knowledge they wished to acquire, and that simply buying a book, watching a video, or attending a magic convention actually "earned" nothing at all in that regard.

To further that concept, he apparently felt that the potential for then selling those earned secrets to the unworthy was yet another reason to simply not associate with, or share secrets with magicians in general.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby jason156 » January 15th, 2022, 11:45 am

Jackpot wrote:
JHostler wrote:Hmm. I wonder how Ricky acquired his secrets...


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Divine inspiration is usually disguised as hard work ...

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby JHostler » January 15th, 2022, 11:57 am

Roger M. wrote:
JHostler wrote:
Hmm. I wonder how Ricky acquired his secrets...

True or not, I believe RJ considered his own personal knowledge to have been acquired the "old fashioned way", as a an apprentice who earned largely in-person instruction from the existing masters of the day (Vernon at the Castle, etc).

Presumably, every personal belief has some sort of a foundation, and (IMO) RJ's opinion on magicians and their secrets was simply that an aspiring magician was obliged to earn whatever knowledge they wished to acquire, and that simply buying a book, watching a video, or attending a magic convention actually "earned" nothing at all in that regard.

To further that concept, he apparently felt that the potential for then selling those earned secrets to the unworthy was yet another reason to simply not associate with, or share secrets with magicians in general.


The problem with that whole worldview is its crippling, self-defeating elitism. How many of us would have had the personal resources or connections to secure such "in-person instruction" with masters like Vernon? And who certifies the legitimacy of the instructors, or worthiness of their pupils? RJ's hypocrisy can't be so easily explained away. He abhorred and criticized the very sharing of secrets he personally benefitted from.
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Roger M. » January 15th, 2022, 12:19 pm

JHostler wrote:
The problem with that whole worldview is its crippling, self-defeating elitism. How many of us would have had the personal resources or connections to secure such "in-person instruction" with masters like Vernon? And who certifies the legitimacy of the instructors, or worthiness of their pupils? RJ's hypocrisy can't be so easily explained away. He abhorred and criticized the very sharing of secrets he personally benefitted from.

Oh I'm not defending his choices (or him), I'm only noting that he and other magicians back in the day (like Doug Henning) made very well publicized sojourns to learn in-person, at the feet of the masters. Such sojourns were seen to imply a seriousness and dedication to learning the craft, at least as it related to simply reading a secret in a book.

Of course one has to acknowledge that the advent of streaming video, DVD's, etc occurred during the careers of folks like RJ and Doug Henning, well after they'd made such sojourns to learn with the masters of the day, and in that regard, their own personal opinions would likely shift in real time with the changes in the technology that might allow for a small town magician with no hope of learning anything from an existing magician to indeed learn the deepest secrets in magic.

Arguing a counterpoint to my own thoughts above, such secrets have debatably always been available in books, and it's very likely that RJ and Doug Henning indeed made use of such learning tools well before making the trip to the Magic Castle to attempt to "join the club" as it were.

I guess the bottom line is that RJ choose to dislike most, if not all magicians ... despite being one himself. That such a mindset is kind of odd is really at the root of threads like this ... ones which posit opinions on the road RJ choose to take though most of his professional life in magic and collecting.

In the end though, and like real life ... the only folks who know for sure why Ricky Jay might have made any of the choices he made were his closest family, and closest friends ... the rest of us really don't have much of a clue. Like entertainers across the board, the public persona reflects only what entertainers choose to portray ... with the personal life (and personal choices) usually hidden away permanently.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Brad Henderson » January 15th, 2022, 1:52 pm

PapaG wrote:What makes magicians so special? I mean, seriously..? All human activity is full of arseholes. The only thing that makes magic special is that it is YOUR field of activity, you think that YOU are special and therefore you extrapolate that your peers are particularly different to the rest of humanity in their unique inferiority.

To be honest, I'm sick of hearing magician's slagging off other magicians like it's a badge of honour.

Most of you professionals sell to sh!tty magicians. That's the irony. That's your market.

Get over it.

I play guitar. To a high level. I have yet, in all my years of playing, to hear another guitarist criticise the 'guitar community' for containing people who think they can play well when they can't and who 'ruin it' for all of us and 'disrespect the guitar'.

The only thing that is truly unique about magic is that it's full of people pouring scorn on most rest of their own, and who, I'm guessing, have a deep-rooted unconscious fear that what they are doing — what they love — is actually ridiculous, will be seen as such, and need transference on some base level.


I’m unaware of guitar players who are raw beginners claiming to be masters and sell stolen techniques from other guitar players. I’m unaware of any human being on seeing an inept guitar player who then judges all guitar playing as something not worthwhile.

Unlike guitar playing magic is special - or at least different. Experiencing a bad guitar player doesn’t make it more challenging for good guitar players to convey an artful experience for the participant. And if there were secrets to steal and share in guitar playing, the exposure of which (through exposure or poor performance) doesn’t make it more challenging for other guitar players to be successful in convey their artistic visions.

How many times has a guitar player fronted an off Broadway show using the original songs of another guitar player without compensation, credit, or permission? Unlike with magic, there are laws that prevent that from happening. Sadly in magic, there isn’t enough integrity to keep it from happening.

And that’s why inept, inconsideration, self serving “magicians” deserve to be looked down upon. Because unlike with guitar playing, their choices negatively impact other magicians and the art of magic as a whole.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 15th, 2022, 1:59 pm

One of the greatest lessons I learned from my youth in magic, learning from an early age from Sol Stone, Ken Krenzel, Harry Lorayne, Gene Maze, Frank Garcia, Derek Dingle, Slydini, Harry Lorayne, then later Brother Hamman, Eugene Burger, Dai Vernon and Larry Jennings, is that of sharing. It means so much. Ricky did not share and thought less of those who did.
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Brad Henderson » January 15th, 2022, 2:00 pm

Roger M. wrote:
I guess the bottom line is that RJ choose to dislike most, if not all magicians ... despite being one himself. That such a mindset is kind of odd is really at the root of threads like this ... ones which posit opinions on the road RJ choose to take though most of his professional life in magic and collecting.


Did RJ deslikr ‘most’ magicians or just the ones who didn’t respect the art, who stole material, who didn’t put in the same work as he? I saw RJ at several history conference and he was always surrounded by good company and engaged in deep conversations with those who cared about magic as he did.

Now if it happens that MOST magicians are lazy, thoughtless, thieves who care more about their own pleasure and advancement than the art itself - is that a reflection on Ricky or the state of ‘most magicians’?

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Brad Henderson » January 15th, 2022, 2:02 pm

Richard, though I was never a part of those sessions, it’s my understanding from conversations with those who have been that with certain people and certain circumstances RJ was open to sharing ideas and techniques. It’s just he chose those with whom he shared very carefully.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 15th, 2022, 2:53 pm

Yes, a VERY select few.
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby JHostler » January 15th, 2022, 3:07 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Unlike guitar playing magic is special - or at least different. Experiencing a bad guitar player doesn’t make it more challenging for good guitar players to convey an artful experience for the participant. And if there were secrets to steal and share in guitar playing, the exposure of which (through exposure or poor performance) doesn’t make it more challenging for other guitar players to be successful in convey their artistic visions.

How many times has a guitar player fronted an off Broadway show using the original songs of another guitar player without compensation, credit, or permission? Unlike with magic, there are laws that prevent that from happening. Sadly in magic, there isn’t enough integrity to keep it from happening.

And that’s why inept, inconsideration, self serving “magicians” deserve to be looked down upon. Because unlike with guitar playing, their choices negatively impact other magicians and the art of magic as a whole.


There is so much wrong with this, I don't know where to begin.

If magic is truly an art - a performance art that extends far beyond its mere "secrets," as we (and Brad) are so fond of asserting - it is NOT so special. A bad magician is no more likely to harm our "art" than a bad musician to discredit the entire field of music. Nor is the sharing of secrets through - for example - the books we all cherish. By Ricky's and Brad's standards, almost every naive beginner qualifies as Persi's wretched hooligan "animal." Every magic book publisher a hapless traitor. Deep down, the characterization of "most magicians" as self-absorbed fools conveys deep insecurity about this art/craft/avocation and makes me wonder what the critics [who always seem to consider themselves the exception] are really in it for.

Of course, Ricky had no obligation to share a bloody thing. That's not the point. The very sad point is that he so gleefully skewered and openly disdained the vast majority of folks who share his love for magic, and claimed them unworthy of benefits he himself received. The funny thing is, he may well have thought the exact same way about his staunchest defenders.
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Brad Henderson » January 15th, 2022, 3:56 pm

Magic is an art when presented by artists.

Sadly most who get involved in a hobby aren’t interested in the work required to be an artist.

That’s ok.

But unlike every other art, the nature of the magic experience is contingent on conveying the experience of the impossible. That is what sets us apart from every other art.

Unlike every other art, that experience can be destroyed because of the choices of those who engage in this art form.

As to beginners, part of the problem is we have a history of focusing our instructional materials on the wrong value systems. Because of this we have created expectations about what magic ‘should be’ to the audience. We can discuss if this is good, bad, or whatever but it is the reality we face.

But yeah, beginners doing bad magic harms the art.

It’s unfortunate that’s the case, but it’s the truth we have created.

The difference however is most beginners, if they cared about magic more than their self pleasure, would limit their performances in ways that minimized the damage they might cause.

But I don’t see beginning guitar players having business cards printed claiming to be pro’s and posting their ineptitude all over the internet - or worse, exposing techniques they didn’t create in order to get the attention they cannot as a magician because of their lack of skill and dedication.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 15th, 2022, 4:38 pm

Magic is a craft. A few magicians are artists.
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby AJM » January 15th, 2022, 5:29 pm

And a few consider themselves to be artists…
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Brad Henderson » January 15th, 2022, 6:03 pm

All art requires craft. But magic - when it transcends the mere display of technique - becomes art when the feelingful response of having truly experienced the impossible is conveyed.

That is the initial bar. From there it becomes an exploration of how to shade and deepen that feelingful response.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby JHostler » January 15th, 2022, 6:18 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Magic is a craft. A few magicians are artists.


Indeed, but the same can be said for musicians, visual artists, actors, etc.

Imagine how a seasoned drummer (for example) would be regarded by his/her peers for refusing to help a fellow musician learn Jeff Porcaro's tricky half-time shuffle because they "hadn't earned it." Not because they weren't ready in a technical sense - but hadn't somehow "earned it." And imagine further that this seasoned drummer openly deemed 99% of other drummers Neanderthals unworthy of certain tools/techniques.

They'd be a pariah.

We live in a very strange world.
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Brad Henderson » January 15th, 2022, 6:32 pm

Again - music is different from magic because techniques exposed and performed poorly don’t make it harder for skilled craftpeople-artists from doing what they do.

Having said that - many painters guarded their formulas for mixing various paint colors and even today some hues are protected legally and cannot be used by just anyone.

Trumpet players were sometimes hold a handkerchief in order to conceal the fingerings they used. And the idea that every musician is willing to help any other musician is utter nonsense. Just like magicians there are musicians who are friendly with each other and share their discoveries without making them known to just any and every person.

Likewise - in the early 20th century some artists were so protective of their art forms that fist fights and even duels would break out amongst members of rival artistic factions.

In Sankey Pankey Max Maven posited that in magic 99% if everything is [censored]. Is Max considered a ‘pariah’?

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby JHostler » January 15th, 2022, 6:49 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Again - music is different from magic because techniques exposed and performed poorly don’t make it harder for skilled craftpeople-artists from doing what they do.


Magic as a performance art has persisted for hundreds of years despite tens of thousands of poor performances - many by "professionals" (operationally defined as people who charge) - just as music has survived thousands of horrible college bands. No one would argue that exposure (intentional or otherwise) or less-than-artful public performances are an inherently good thing, but I'm interested in knowing specifically what you believe has made it "harder for skilled magicians to do what they do." Remember what magicdom thought of Penn and Teller a couple decades ago. They threatened the very fabric of magic! Oh my!! Yet we've survived, and they're our biggest champions. The point is that if even intentional, widely-broadcast "exposure" hasn't killed us, I'm failing to see how inept beginners will.

Tying back to Ricky Jay's legacy and attitudes regarding other magicians: I sincerely wonder what he found so threatening. He was a very smart guy who clearly tracked and understood the long-term survival and evolution of magic. Deep down, he must have grasped the pettiness of the "animals" theory. Yet he seemingly never overcame something.
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Peter Ross » January 15th, 2022, 8:10 pm

At the Paley Center in NYC in 2018, when asked what he thought of current magicians, Jay replied, “I hate them all!” then went on to say that he knew excellent young magicians who learned from YouTube videos. Make what you will of that.

Regarding Ricky Jay’s legacy, it seems to me that his show, “52 Assistants” has contributed more to magic than any individual secrets he could have imparted to the magic fraternity. Not only did the show open the doors for every serious one-man magic theater show that came after, but arguably more importantly, it illuminated and elevated magic in the eyes of laymen for years to come.

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 15th, 2022, 8:32 pm

One of the issues he took on was others copying his routines... e.g. his approach to producing the aces in one routine or using the exclusive coterie patter as written for the assembly trick. Amusing within the magic community but understandably upsetting if brought before potential paying audiences.

This was decades before we had YouTube unboxing and reveal videos. Way back when it was an odd thing to find someone's working items going public - say by way of Professor Hoffmann discussing the DeKolta's tricks or, on the continent, the publication of "Latest Tricks Revealed".

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Tarotist » January 15th, 2022, 8:47 pm

I never met a magician for the first two years of my studies and I thank God every day for it. They would have led me down the wrong path and I would have ended up as crap as they were. Even after those two years nobody taught me anything. I am completely self taught from books. I haven't stolen very much either not because of ethical reasons but more because I haven't found anything worth stealing.

I find most "magicians" are not really magicians. They are merely laymen who happen to know how the tricks are done. I suspect I am even worse than Ricky Jay in my contempt for so called magicians. The main difference between he and I is that he ignored them and by and large kept away from them. I am the opposite. I never keep away from magicians and prefer to annoy them instead. If I keep away from them I can't annoy them and would find that most frustrating.

People ask me why I detest magicians. I haven't quite figured it out yet. Let me work on it.....................

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Bill Mullins » January 15th, 2022, 9:03 pm

JHostler wrote:The very sad point is that he so gleefully skewered and openly disdained the vast majority of folks who share his love for magic, and claimed them unworthy of benefits he himself received.


This is Ricky's reputation among many magicians, but I don't think you can find anything he's said or written that confirms this.

And I don't think there is a big hidden legacy of "secrets" that he took to the grave. Watch "52 Assistants" -- Is there anything in it that is inexplicable to a reasonably well-informed card magician? He was open about the fact that much of his material came from old books. Ricky's secrets were that he worked very hard for long time at sleight of hand; that he had an artisitic vision which came out in his stage shows; and that he had something to say through his performance. Any magician who made a similar lifetime commitment could be just as respected (and, if this thread is any guide, just as resented and envied).

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Brad Henderson » January 15th, 2022, 10:15 pm

JHostler wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:Magic as a performance art has persisted for hundreds of years despite tens of thousands of poor performances - many by "professionals" (operationally defined as people who charge) - just as music has survived thousands of horrible college bands. No one would argue that exposure (intentional or otherwise) or less-than-artful public performances are an inherently good thing, but I'm interested in knowing specifically what you believe has made it "harder for skilled magicians to do what they do." Remember what magicdom thought of Penn and Teller a couple decades ago. They threatened the very fabric of magic! Oh my!! Yet we've survived, and they're our biggest champions. The point is that if even intentional, widely-broadcast "exposure" hasn't killed us, I'm failing to see how inept beginners will.


I don’t think ‘well , we managed to survive’ is really a valid reason to defend poor choices by anyone or in regards to anything. How about instead of looking to excuse these poor choices we instead admit that it would be better to dedicate ourselves to better ones. And to do that requires we acknowledge the difference, and advocate for one over the other.

Which, if you think about it, is exactly what RJ did.

The only difference is he lived that commitment and expressed his feelings without regard to the feelings of those making the poor choices.

As to specifics, I sat in the audience as Ray Anderson floated a woman in the air and overheard a frat boy lean over to his future date rape victim and tell her ‘there’s a forklift behind that curtain’. This of course was the method used by the masked magician. I leaned forward and told the ball capped cretin that ‘no, 6th street was behind that curtain.’ The illusion was being presented in front of a curtain in front of a plate glass window. Someone with half a brain may have realized that would make the Believed method impossible, but the choice of MM led to this person no longer having a magical experience and they intended to insure no one else within ear shot would as well.

This was one person. But We convey magic experiences one person at a time. And more than one person saw those specials. They made it more challenging for those who presented those effects or anything like them. In fact the MM said exactly that - whenever you see this trick or any trick like it, this is how it’s done. That doesn’t open minds. That closes them.

A magic duo in NY were doing exposures as part of their show. Any card trick presented to those who saw this show would be met with ‘it’s a double flip’.

Now a skilled magician could easily move beyond this - but remember - survival shouldn’t be the best we can hope for.

The fact remains nothing was served by these idiots’ choice other than to make it harder for further magicians to convey a feeling of magic.

I can’t think of a single reason why this should be defended as some are doing here.

And to those who do believe the art in magic can transcend such obstacles, I contend that exposure of this nature only serves to reinforce the idea that magic is nothing more than a puzzle and that the relationship of magi to audience is inherently antagonistic.

This combative, technique fixated attitude is an obstacle to magic being treated as an art. It breeds an audience that goes to the theater and spends all evening looking for the lights while ignoring the story on stage.

We don’t need to condone this. Condemnation is a far better stance.

Finally, you ignore what Bill has pointed out. Magicians are thieves. Ricky saw part of his act presented in theaters just down the street from where he had worked. We all see how dealers rush to sell long ignored routines once Honed by visionary artists after being seen on tv

Del ray once told me that magic, by definition, should be special. Some work their entire lives developing a repertoire of mysteries and miracles, unique feelingful experiences, to share with their audiences.

When the lumpen copy those visions they make the work of the real artist less special.

Why would you even try to defend this?

Tarotist
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Tarotist » January 15th, 2022, 10:55 pm

I agree with a great deal of what Brad wrote above.

JHostler
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby JHostler » January 16th, 2022, 9:53 am

Brad Henderson wrote:Why would you even try to defend this?


A rather reductivist mischaracterization, but I have five minutes.

I'm not defending a thing. To repeat a central point: "No one would argue that exposure (intentional or otherwise) or less-than-artful public performances are an inherently good thing." But these are inevitable things, and we as practitioners possess limited resources. So the fundamental question is this: What portion of these resources do we expend on complaining, lamenting, criticizing, ostracizing, and perhaps tamping down our collective progress... and what portion do we invest in rising above the inevitable spread of information concerning how we do what we do?

I am not defeatist, and am not proposing that we allow secrets to flow freely. I am, however, realistic. This is not the 1920's. Information spreads almost instantaneously. Anyone with a driving interest can find speculative (and often accurate) explanations, for example, of material introduced on Fool Us within minutes of broadcast. Additionally, the acceleration of technology has made what was impossible just 20 years ago humdrum today. So we're constantly fighting an uphill battle - but this is part of the craft. To make the impossible possible under ever-changing and increasingly stringent conditions.

Ricky Jay invested his time in collecting, performing (brilliantly), writing (also brilliantly), and - yes - complaining, lamenting, criticizing, ostracizing. But he was clearly more "classicist" (a perfectly fine and legitimate bent) than "innovator," which perhaps illuminates his personal resource allocation as much as than anything.
"Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong." H.L. Mencken

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Bill Mullins » January 16th, 2022, 11:33 am

So do you agree, or disagree, with Ricky's resource allocation?

JHostler
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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby JHostler » January 16th, 2022, 11:36 am

Bill Mullins wrote:So do you agree, or disagree, with Ricky's resource allocation?


I believe the degree to which it was skewed was, on the whole, counterproductive.
"Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong." H.L. Mencken

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Brad Henderson » January 16th, 2022, 12:10 pm

JHostler wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:So do you agree, or disagree, with Ricky's resource allocation?


I believe the degree to which it was skewed was, on the whole, counterproductive.


Well, let’s see. Ricky’s chosen resource allocation allowed him to be considered one of the preeminent magicians of all time, heralded as a celebrity among the cognoscenti, and allowed him to remain true to his principles. We don’t know how much energy he expended avoiding the animals. But clearly it didn’t hurt his success.

In comparing the two of your resumes, I think the case may be made that complaining about Ricky’s choices may be the one which is, on the whole, counter productive.

So, why? Why would someone defend bad behavior and what is to condemn about someone who does?

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 16th, 2022, 1:55 pm

What specifically was Ricky's allocation? His number and choice of students and confidants?

Part of the commentary reads as if making an argument that he had an insufficient number unwise associations who gossiped to the magic public.

Sharing? With who(m)? What business is that of yours? :(
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Ricky Jay - his legacy in the world of magic

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 16th, 2022, 2:05 pm

About the 'lumpen magii' - and commentary about folks expecting to get information about methods:
Our culture trains a response to magic performance of "how did he do that?" instead of "that was fun".
Then there's "fooled" in place of "deceived" - as if something were a prank rather than a short con.
At a guess that's related to "what really happened" mysteries. Treating tricks as if they were mystery stories...
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time


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