Merlin Awards Banquet

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
Russell Davis
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Russell Davis » March 8th, 2011, 10:25 am

"There is a correlation on success and and one's command of the language they speak."

Yes, there is.

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 8th, 2011, 11:12 am

Russell Davis wrote:"There is a correlation on success and and one's command of the language they speak."

Yes, there is.


Unintentional humor or a legit 'so shall ye type - so shall they read' Mavis Beacon revelation/Freudian slip?

Roger M.
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Roger M. » March 8th, 2011, 12:44 pm

Interesting edit in that Mike Super presentation video.

Why does it always look like Tony is presenting an award in an empty (or mostly empty) small room?

Regardless, I'll eat my hat if the stage the presentation was made on is the same stage as the "cut" to Mike with the audience in the background.
But hey, it's only context mixed with honesty.....and who needs to worry about that.........right?

It truly is all marketing, the awards obviously aren't supposed to be legitimate........and they regularly live up to their lack of legitimacy.
But on marketing material aimed at laymen.......it's solid gold and worth every penny the recipient of the award paid to Tony H.

......but if it all consistently looks like a duck............ :)

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 8th, 2011, 6:56 pm

I'm not sure what you mean, Dennis:

You write:

"It is interesting to note, that individuals who dislike other entertainers, have a tendency to relate that to an award they receive."

Is that true? Several "winners" are undoubtedly great magicians, and well loved by many. Claiming that criticism to the award stems from personal animosity ignores what I think has been pretty clearly stated from the critics - that there seems to be no real "standards" for the award. I mean, we know that you have to pay to receive it. We know that people have been awarded the same awards sometimes for the same years (or so it seems). We know that Criss Angel was even given an award before that which he was awarded for EXISTED - but there are no rules, no procedures published.

I believe Hassini even awarded himself one of the first, if not THE first, magicians of the year. It would make sense for him to then give the award to established and respected magicians - it bolsters the credential he gave himself and that others dearly paid for.

But that has nothing to do with animosity toward the recipients - only with an inconsistency with the criterion of the alleged adjudication process.



"Please note that my post is not to convince you which award is best or worst, most have made up their mind on that for a variety of reasons. I have heard the stories and they get bigger and better as they are repeated. I was told yesterday that so-in-so isn't going to win the FISM award because they didn't like him. (The details are unimportant.) It just validates that in every contest there is bias because there are no standards. Some on the surface may appear to have some criteria, yet to date no one has bothered to quantify the judging or even standardized it."

Really? The "nobody's perfect, so everything is equal" card again?

Is it true there are no standards for judging at FISM or the other awards? I know the AMA has standards for who is nominated. I know that many contests in magic have clear directions given as to the scoring process. Judgment in any art will always have an element of subjectivity - but at least with FISM, if your alleged victim had any real basis for his claims - there are people to whom their concerns could be raised.

Not so with the IMS.

The IMS is as legitimate of a group as the International Kid Show Entertainers Association (of what I just learned I was recently award "Best children's magician of all times and in all places in all dimensions - time AND space categories")

That organization is equally as valid as the IMS, no? I mean, what I am doing is substantially no different than what Tony did, is it?

By that logic, Dennis, I am going to put the following statement on my website:

"As a representative of KidAbra and the IMS, I - Dennis Michael - would like to congratulate Brad Henderson for being duly and justly recognized as being the greatest children's entertainer of all time!"

That's cool - right?

"It was pointed out last night on the false claims that are on so many websites, yet this is more accepted by the magic society."

What magic society? One you made up to sell DVD's and give yourself awards by? One I made up?

"We are not a perfect organizations and there is a tendency to be negative of those who have succeeded especially when they have not."

Who has succeeded? The people who bought their award? Is that success? Or are we talking about being negative of those who have founded their own society's to sell awards and crappy DVDs?

I don't know many people who have ever even wanted to do that - so why would anyone be jealous?

And you use the word 'we'. What is your personal stake in this matter, Dennis?



"I would not be surprised if those who critize the most have never met or held a conversation with Tony. Given the choice of saying one is a friend, or one is not, it generally hinges on what they say. "

Wait - so, being negative because you allegedly don't like someone is wrong - but if you knew them and liked them, it would be ok to support their actions, even if those actions are not good for magic?

Is that what you mean to say?

Why should talking to someone even enter into it? Why can't we judge a thing as the thing, the act as the act?

Why do you insist on making this personal when for most of us, it is NOT about the people involved.

"Obviously, I am not impressed with what some say, and surprised that an organization like Genii allows this."

So, if someone is doing something we disagree with, we should be censored and not allowed to share our concerns?

Really?!?


"Who in our business who has the right to destroy another's good name or the good they have done for so many?"

So, you are ok with the IKSEA speaking as an authority on magic? You have no problem with their pronouncements being presented as the official position of an industry?

What good has Tony done, exactly? How is magic better because those with money have been allowed to buy credentials? Is that ever good for an art?

As to the right - I'll tell you who has the right - all of us. Anyone who cares about magic and has an opinion has a right to share it. Are you truly advocating censorship again?

"Generally they are wannabes and jealous of others and not content on self-improvement, just enjoy or get some pleasure out of this. How sad this runs their life and actions. "

How is buying an award self improvement? How is selling awards conducive to self improvement?

And why are you insisting on making this personal?

Why can't we stick to the issues?

What do you have at stake in this that makes you so defensive?

Russell Davis
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Russell Davis » March 8th, 2011, 7:41 pm

JT,

"There is a correlation on success and and one's command of the language they speak." (unintentional set-up)

"Yes, there is." (intentional punchline)

"...a legit 'so shall ye type - so shall they read' Mavis Beacon revelation/Freudian slip?" (Let me get back to you on that.)

Brad Henderson
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 8th, 2011, 7:54 pm

"There is a correlation on success and and one's command of the language they speak."

From Dennis Michael's Websites (the url of which is misspelled in his profile):

Dennis Michael is a professional magical entertainer with over 30 years of performing experience with children. He is an active member in the following organizations.. .

Magician Allience of Eastern States.

-------

Below ar varies photos and shows performed by Dennis Michael.


-------

"Build the suspence of a Magician and his Magic Show coming to your facility. Learn M for Magician or Magic Show. These are take home coloring sheeets for all the children to enjoy."

----------

Dennis Michael (Dennis Michael Dowhy) has worked with Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts for over 8 years and has had an extensive background check so he could be cleared for working with children.

---------

Daycare and Preschool shows are entirely self-contained and nothing needs be provided other than an audience wanting to be amazed and mystified, however, you could chose to add other activities to build the suspence of the magic show coming to your facility, and make it an educational learning experience.

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Let your parents know your daycare or preschool is different from others, by proving the children to their first exposure to theater, live entertainment, and it id tied into your program of teaching them the Alphabet. When the parents talk about your facility, they will remember that it was YOU who exposed thier child to a fun, exciting, live show.

-----------

Watch as your Child magically makes things appear and disappear with a wave of the wand including a rabbit.

-------------

"If you want your children's day to be memorable, exciting, plus full of amazement and laughter. Check out how hiring this magic show can make it all of these things and make your children's day a special day."

--------

The children loves the live bunny and the bunny is so cute that the kids "ooh' and "ahh" and love to pet him

--------------

This policy has been in effect for a long time and no one has been disappointed in this magic show!!! This is not a typo! This guarantee is doubly important when you realize that no other entertainers in the area offer one like this. [oh, the irony]

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The show will create wonderful memories that'll last a lifetime.

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To make a booking, check availability or just get more information why not give me a call.

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Magic is colorful with lots of audience participation and will be presented which defy the laws of nature and cannot be done -- yet they are.

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Yes, this is perferred, then performing outdoors where the wind blows away some of the magic hankerchiefs or maybe the Bunny might get loose and hop away.

---------------


And let's not forget what I hope is a licensed use of Warner Brother's characters on this page: http://www.daycaremagic.com/Activities.html or http://www.magicalbirthdayparty.com/act ... sDaffy.jpg

(And yes, I'm just being a dick, now. But I was curious to see with whom I was speaking.)

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 8th, 2011, 8:04 pm

Duck and cover Russell - it wasn't supposed to be about you.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 8th, 2011, 8:12 pm

Before someone argues that the awarding of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame must be paid forat a measly 30-grandand therefore is a hollow honor, note that there are still criteria that must be met (including nomination from outside the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce) before one can be had. And then, after nomination, the Selection Committee must approve the star, of which only 20 are given per year.

Dustin

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 8th, 2011, 8:40 pm

Where's my star? Where's my IMS award?
I'm afraid my wallet is empty.
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Tim Ellis
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Tim Ellis » March 9th, 2011, 11:09 pm

I just called my Australian IMS Officer, Peter Balyck, on 029267 4222 as listed on the IMS site.

The phone number belongs to a company called CAREERS MULTILIST who have never heard of Peter Balyck, and are not at the address stated on the IMS site.

So... what now?

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 10th, 2011, 1:41 am

Doesn't this fellow sell stuff on here all the time?

IMS Local Chapter 12
San Diego, CA
headed by President Joel Moskowitz, MD
jamoskowitzmd@pol.net
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Tim Ellis
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Tim Ellis » March 10th, 2011, 8:36 am

We don't have a local Chapter here in Aus (they're just new and just in the USA so far). Just a non-existent officer of our "Ring".

Brad Henderson
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 10th, 2011, 11:52 am

Quack quack quack

Kevin Wisch
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Kevin Wisch » March 10th, 2011, 1:14 pm

I don't post here much, if at all as I don't truly consider myself a "part" of the magic community (other than being completely proud of my Father and his accomplishments in the field of magic and letting others know about his new "Slydini-The Lecture" tour). But I felt compelled to post on this during a break in my work-day.

I'll never forget a phone conversation with a magician who shall remain nameless. Not my favorite person in the world, he "bragged" that he had a doctorate in magic. LOL!

I'm a proud 27 year old who holds two REAL master's degrees in business and who works in Marketing for one of the world's ten most recognized brands. After claiming he had a "doctorate", I'll never forget how stupid unnamed magician looked to me. He really BELIEVED that he had a doctorate in magic! This, and other interactions within the magic community, have made me realize how truly ignorant some magicians and members of the magic community are to what real accomplishment in magic, or even life, is.

From that day on, anything IMS related gains absolutely zero credibility from me, period. For that matter, I could care less about awards in general in magic. Bottom line- awards feed ego, which is great don't get me wrong. (My ego ranks up there with the best, in business mind you, not magic). But look at Dai Vernon? And Slydini? And other real legends of magic. Did they care about awards? I highly doubt they did- only in the past 25-35 years have awards become as prominent in the field as they are.

Bottom line- who cares? Let those who win awards enjoy their 15minutes of fame. If an award is well deserved, I'll congratulate those who win. But come on- magicians who make it seem like winning an "award" in the field of magic is like winning an Oscar just shows the educated magic community how badly they need attention. How many amazing niche magicians are out there that don't necessarily "win" awards but LOVE this great art you are all privileged to contribute to?

Just my .02cents coming from a "non-magician" and "non-real member" of the magic community. Magic needs to stop taking itself so seriously and learn to enjoy what it is: a great art and a wonderful fun profession. Otherwise, go get your MBA and come compete with me and a few of the Harvard MBA's I work with on a daily basis. Let's see how you fare :)

- Kevin




Richard Kaufman wrote:Details on obtaining your Doctor of Magic Degree from the IMS Website:

With the acquistion of the complete Magic Academy 50-Volume Course of Magic, the I.M.S. member is eligible to take a written and practical exam for the DOCTOR of MAGIC or D.M. DEGREE.

There is a one-time non-refundable $100.00 Examination Fee, in order for the Examination Auditors to grade the test. The fee is paid only once, so that even if the test is not passed the first time, the test can be taken again without paying the examination fee.

The exam may be taken as many times as is neccessary to pass. Once the exam is successfully passed, members receive a beautiful certificate that they will proudly hang in their office or home.

In order to submit your answers for the exam, please click on, print, and use the following cover sheet and answer sheets, as well as follow the printed instructions.

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

********************************

You can take the Doctor of Magic Test online!

To take the Doctor of Magic Exam, you must pay the examination fee. Then you will recieve the examination and answer sheet. To pay for your examination fee online, click the "Buy Now" button below and send a notice to the Board of Examiners, along with your test answers, to dmdegree@imsmagic.com. Thereafter, if you decide to take the test again, you can submit your answers to dmdegree@imsmagic.com.
(Please note: the button below is for Paypal. You do not need a Paypal account to use it. The system is set-up to accept any credit card you may have.)
Kevin Wisch, MA, MBA
Marketing Manager, Intel Corporation
http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinwisch

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 10th, 2011, 6:27 pm

Contests are a terrible thing. If one were competing against a "standard" it would be one thing. But when you compete against others, just because you win doesn't mean you are good - it just means you were competing with a bunch of people who were worse than you.

Further, magic contests are often judged by people who have no idea what plays in the real world. Consequently acts, which are really little more than inside jokes for magicians (told without a sense of irony) win and land TV spots. The TV people assume that if the act won it must be the best of the best. And so we have Jason Latimer. Worse, we have magicians who think this is the kind of material that lay people want to see, and we get more of the same.

I was once working the Castle when there was a buyout. Johnny Ace Palmer was brought in that night as well. The first thing he asked was if I had won any awards. Apparently, that is all he cared about. *I think my reply was - "who hasn't?". I do recall mentioning that I didn't keep them, nor did I use them for advertising purposes - that they were amusing but reflected nothing other than being the least sucky guy in any room at any time.

I don't think he liked hearing that.

Later that night I was talking with a man who, it turned out, was one of the event hosts. Palmer came over and insisted on insisting that the host should feel lucky that he had so many award winning magicians working that night.

Sad.

This year at the WMS I saw, at the contest, the same act 7 times. If an alien were to have seen the show they would have concluded the art of magic consists ENTIRELY of pulling crap out of your coat, hiding it behind your hand while you pretend it has vanished, causing random objects to multiple between your fingers the way magicians used to do with billiard balls, popping objects from behind your hand - and confetti.

LOTS of confetti.

The Make Believe movie acclaimed the creativity of the youth - but yet what did we see: the matrix - with shells. The billiard balls - with ipods. Back palming with things that might as well been cards.

But these acts win - and we continue down the spiral.

Its for these reasons that I can't see how an award that clearly has no standards can ever be seen as good for magic. How does it encourage growth or excellence? How does it accurately portray the pinnacle of our industry to the public?

Sure, most contests and awards are jokes - but some jokes are offensive.

To many - the Merlin is an offense.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 10th, 2011, 7:17 pm

Now, here's an idea for an award (and be sure to watch and pay attention all the way to the end for a little touch of magic):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qggxi0CNt2s

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Tim Ellis
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Tim Ellis » March 10th, 2011, 7:53 pm

Interesting points Brad, but I do see a difference between competitions (IBM, FISM, SAM etc) and awards (IMS).

A competition can be useful to the performer as a goal to help motivate them to create an act that is somehow different, stands out from the rest. At least that's why I have used them for.

If you win on the day, it just means the judges (for whatever reason) thought you were the best of what they saw on the day.

You win an prize, a reward for your effort, and you deserve the PR you can get from it. (Unless, of course, you can 'Winner of IBM Close Up Contest' to 'Magician of The Year'... but that's a different topic).

Even if you get an award from the AMA - you know a lot of people have voted, you've been weighed up against other similar acts and been chosen to receive the prize. There is a feeling of peer recognition and again, worthy of using as PR.

On the other hand an award from IMS, you have no idea who you were up against in the category, no idea who (other than Tony) made the decision to give you the prize, really no idea why the decided to give it to you - as opposed to anyone else - at all.

Then if you want to maximise your PR, you are encouraged to pay the very people who gave you the award to help publicise it because they do do a great job of promoting themselves.

I find the whole perception of the IMS in the magic world a little warped.

I sometimes get criticised by magicians when people write that I'm a 'FISM Winner' (because, though I won two awards - 'Special Prize of the Jury' and '2nd Prize in Close Up') - they say I didn't "win" first place thus I'm being deceptive using the term "winner". Yet the same people heap praise on Bill Bloggs on "winning" a Merlin for 'Close Up Magician of The Year'.

(Bear in mind, I am aware that sometimes the IMS does indeed give out Merlins obligation free and yes, I consider a good proportion of the Merlin recipients "worthy winners". Even Tony said to me in an email "As you know, 90% of the Merlin Award recipients are good people."


But maybe, once everyone gets a Merlin, they WILL be respected within the industry... As Tony has said to me via email ".And regarding a small hand-full of people whom might post offensive comments about the Merlin Award, I bet you it's professional jealousy. And if any one of them were given the opportunity to receive this award, they'll jump on it and sing a completely different tune about the Merlin Award."

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 10th, 2011, 9:40 pm

While there are clearly differences, often the central problem
Is the same - the perception of what the award means. With most contest we can put the award into a context, (even though some people actively misrepresent that context). But yes, The standard less Merlin is far more insidious than most contests, but they are not devoid of comparison.

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Tim Ellis
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Tim Ellis » March 11th, 2011, 6:52 am

Well it's a lot harder to win a FISM Grand Prix than it is to get a Merlin... ;)

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 11th, 2011, 11:04 am

Sometimes.

I hear it's easier when tv people want a happy ending.

But that begs the question. Which is - an award of any type is meaningless unless it is clearly understood what that award means. Who gave it. On what criterion.

Winning a fism anything does NOT mean you have an act that lay people will enjoy. It does not mean you have a practical or commercial act. It does not mean you are a talented or even experienced performer. It means you have 8 minutes that a bunch of
magician judges that day felt was worthy of an award.

Granted, all of those are far more relevant and require far more from the winner than a Merlin - but bs is bs, even if Its bs you've won, work for, or support.

Just because someone can memorize the waldstein piano concerto and play it better than anyone else in the room does not make them a world class piano player. It makes them someone who knows how to play the waldstein piano concerto better than the other people in the room. Or, more relevantly, writing and performing a piece of music
the judges havent seen before that tickles the ear of a very specific audience does not mean the song will be a real world hit or even listenable to those who don't have very specifically ticklish ears.

And there is nothing wrong for being recognized for that. But we should not forget what we are really recognizing. Perhaps fism should recognize all magic contests in general with an award --- Clearly theyve managed to fool more people, especially the winners than even the most innovative of grand prix recipients!

Look Tim, I know you have a vested interest in fism - and any sentient magician knows the Merlin is a meaningless award stemming from hassini's desires to elevate his own position in the community and / or make money (why else would he have awarded himself one?). But let's not fall prey to the logical fallacy Dennis and others cling too. Just because one other thing is worse or also flawed does not make something else good or right. The reason the merlin even exists stems from the fact we allow ourselves to put value into awards, we allow them to mean more than that accurately represent. Should we be blind to the core problem - the disease - even when it is reflected in gold more coveted.

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 11th, 2011, 11:24 am

Brad, the Golden Globes are essentially meaningless, and also essentially bought and paid for, so why should magic be any different?
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 11th, 2011, 11:48 am

People get away with murder. Does that mean we should advocate it?

Nonsense

Because a sex tape can make you famous, does that mean we should advocate this is a viable path to success?

Its the same position Dennis advocates - because some people buy awards we should support and propagate the legitimacy of all bought awards.

If that's what you want to believe, that's up to you. But I can't see how doing so, in any way, can ultimately be good for magic.

I guess it's a matter of priorities. The prevailing attitude seems to be "Who cares as long as I get mine. "

Have at it boys.

All hail the Merlin

There will never be a better magician than criss angel or that kid in the Ukraine.

Now, where can I get some baby chicks and some doves to split.

All hail Merlin.

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 11th, 2011, 12:01 pm

Nonsense is even remotely equating murder with meaningless awards.

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 11th, 2011, 12:07 pm

I am not equating the two. It is the principle underlying the justification that I am speaking to- just because some people advocate bad practices does not mean we should support bad practices. Murder. Sex tapes. Reality tv. Mullets - Whatever

I would hope people who allegedly engage in an art form would have evolved beyond the 'but he did it too!!!!' preschool mentality

That'll teach me.

[censored] hope

All hail Merlin.

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 11th, 2011, 12:13 pm

So what's your point, Brad?
The IMS awards are what they are.
We all know what they are.
Nothing you write will change what they are.
Along with lots of other media-related baloney, the IMS awards are meaningless to us, but have meaning to the uneducated because they assume there is some value to them.
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 11th, 2011, 12:14 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:I am not equating the two.

Yes, Brad. You did. You should have just stuck with the sex tape thing. Or Charlie Sheen.

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 11th, 2011, 12:17 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Along with lots of other media-related baloney, the IMS awards are meaningless to us, but have meaning to the uneducated because they assume there is some value to them.

Which actually is to Brad's point, unless I am mistaken (which is certainly possible).

Some people think magic blows. They see a "[censored]" win an award saying he's "the best" and their belief that magic blows is supported.

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 11th, 2011, 12:31 pm

Obviously not everyone knows the Merlin is meaningless. There are plenty of people at the ready to justify and defend it. Couple that with the fact that it is used to propagate lies to the public and you have a doubly insidious award.

And yes, part of the answer is education. I applaud Tim for the pressure he exacted on tony. We now have more information because of it, and more of it's meaninglessness has been exposed.

But part of the problem stems from our attitude on awards and contests in general. And yes, this extends far beyond just magic. But why hold ourselves to attitudes held by the lowest denominators?

Is this not an opportunity to reevaluate our values - to ask, are these attitudes encouraging growth and art in magic or just more objects that aren't billiard balls being manipulated like billiard balls?

Maybe it's time we rethink magic contests and fism and the like. Maybe we can do something different - something that promotes growth. Maybe we can stop putting so much weight on contests and start valuing acts and practices that have relevance in the real world - not inside jokes with clear props.

What am I thinking

Never mind

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 11th, 2011, 12:57 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Is this not an opportunity to reevaluate our values - to ask, are these attitudes encouraging growth and art in magic or just more objects that aren't billiard balls being manipulated like billiard balls?

I dont see this as non-growth. Arthur Trace manipulates cards that represent paint swatches. Its an artistic expression. The act makes sense. And am I mistaken that it is commercial in the sense that he can work in revue shows and cabarets (particularly in Europe and on cruise ships)? [And yes, I am aware that Arthur has other acts that he does as well.]

While I agree with Brad that the rule is that acts that tend to win awards at FISM et al are geared for winning awards and not working in the real world, there are exceptions to the rule. Rick Merrill does his act in the real world (using some different patter for obvious reasons). I know he does because he has performed for my companywhich also happens to be his company as well. Of course, that he uses office supplies makes his act very commercial. And that he is one of the most grounded-in-reality individuals I have ever met doesnt hurt. He chooses to keep his day job for personal reasons while continuing to do the act as much as he can, not as much as he could.

Dustin

Brad Henderson
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 11th, 2011, 1:10 pm

There will always be exceptions. But the "rules" today are I credibly dire.

Would Arthur be great without a contest? Knowing him, I would say - absolutely.

And his act has grown into something artistic. Originally it was a clever variant of the manip act. Now (having seen it recently) I would heartily concur that he is doing something both interesting and artistic. He has continued to grow And that growth happened after the contests - so apparently it doesnt stem from an award.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 11th, 2011, 3:57 pm

This just in from Rick Merrill:

For attendees of the Abbotts Close-up Convention this weekend, he will be bringing his FISM Grand Prix Trophy to share since this event is one of the places where it all started for him.

His wife will be bringing a nice cheese ball and crackers as well which will be spread around the trophy. Says Rick, I thought that would be a fun way to share the trophy: making it a very beautiful, important, and expensive cheese dip holder. Everyone can scrape their crackers against it and partake in its FISMY goodness.

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Tim Ellis
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Tim Ellis » March 11th, 2011, 4:42 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:This just in from Rick Merrill:

For attendees of the Abbotts Close-up Convention this weekend, he will be bringing his FISM Grand Prix Trophy to share since this event is one of the places where it all started for him.

His wife will be bringing a nice cheese ball and crackers as well which will be spread around the trophy. Says Rick, I thought that would be a fun way to share the trophy: making it a very beautiful, important, and expensive cheese dip holder. Everyone can scrape their crackers against it and partake in its FISMY goodness.


:)

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Tim Ellis
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Tim Ellis » March 11th, 2011, 5:14 pm

Just as a side note to Brad, yes, I am a fan of FISM, but I don't wish to blindly defend it.

I've seen some odd things happen, and I've seen organisers go out of their way to fix them as best they can.

Brad said: "Further, magic contests are often judged by people who have no idea what plays in the real world. Consequently acts, which are really little more than inside jokes for magicians (told without a sense of irony) win and land TV spots. The TV people assume that if the act won it must be the best of the best. And so we have Jason Latimer. Worse, we have magicians who think this is the kind of material that lay people want to see, and we get more of the same."


I realise a lot of the time the winning acts are those that fool magicians and don't appear to be commercial (maybe you may even feel my Runaround Sue and Six Card Rap fit into that category) but I regularly do both of those routines in corporate shows and they get great reactions from lay people too.

(As a side note, the Rap WAS created solely as an inside joke, yet here it is on Taiwan TV for a non-magic audience... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw0Xd7Eu ... re=related )

I think one of the greatest positives of FISM is the fact that it gives otherwise unknown artists the opportunity to be exposed on an international scale - simply by entering the competition.

Perhaps, as an alternative, an international convention could be staged where anyone can simply perform, without the need to compete? I know the WMS does/used to have an "open mic" show as one of it's events.

At the last national convention I staged in Australia, I dropped all of the contests and added more shows, inviting a huge number of local artists to perform. The entire convention became the "contest" with registrants voting on 'Best Stage Act', 'Best Close Up Act', 'Line of the Convention' etc. Everyone who performed on any show (or even informally) was eligible. Yes, it was a popularity contest to a large extent as opposed to more experienced judges trying to assess artistic merit, but it was an attempt at trying something a little different and it got a lot of people involved who may not have performed at all if it was a contest.

I assume that your point is that you dislike all magic competitions and magic awards.

Is there any form of peer recognition that you feel is, or could be, worthwhile?

Edward
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Edward » March 11th, 2011, 10:41 pm

So how much are the IMS Merlin awards going for? Does anyone know what Tony charges?

bagelsandlox
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby bagelsandlox » March 12th, 2011, 12:36 pm

The suck ups on the Cafe are haling Brooks as if he was the Cecil B. DeMille of the magic world. He runs an online forum, where he and his goon squad staff get kickbacks in order to promote their newest products. Brooks is more like P. T. Barnum.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 12th, 2011, 12:50 pm

I wish someone would pay me money to promote products! Isn't that what happens every day in real-world media? Lavish press junkets, getting paid for product placement and to promote products, paying for awards? It all takes place daily and I want to know when I'm going to start getting my share!
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Timothy Drake » March 12th, 2011, 1:13 pm

bagelsandlox wrote:The suck ups on the Cafe are haling Brooks as if he was the Cecil B. DeMille of the magic world. He runs an online forum, where he and his goon squad staff get kickbacks in order to promote their newest products. Brooks is more like P. T. Barnum.


I'm wondering if all those people who got ripped from Snap Illusions think of Steve Brooks as worthy of any award.

Hey... Maybe it was Snap Illusions that bought the Merlin for him. I understand its about $5K once Hassini's travel is figured in. For a while Hassini considered having a " virtual Magicians Walk of Fame" online where you could purchase a star and pay a yearly fee to have it maintained. So far that idea hasn't happened. Maybe I will beat him to it since there seems to be so many willing for fork out the cash for a fake award.

I suspect Steve got a deal with all the " revealing" buzz around the award. It will benefit Toni to have Steve on his side to delete any negative threads about the award.

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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Jim Riser » March 13th, 2011, 11:27 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:I wish someone would pay me money to promote products! Isn't that what happens every day in real-world media? Lavish press junkets, getting paid for product placement and to promote products, paying for awards? It all takes place daily and I want to know when I'm going to start getting my share!


Richard;
Your ethics and sense of fair play will prevent you from participation in such deceptive activities. Unlike some forum owners, you know right from wrong and do not abuse your awesome power. Such good traits go unrewarded when it comes to bribes but reap other types of rewards such as respect.
Jim

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 13th, 2011, 6:08 pm

Is there a J. D. Powers (tm) (r) (sm) award for most obvious statement in its category in an online forum?

Meeska mooska marketeers - venal agendas now appear. wow.

Brad Henderson
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Re: Merlin Awards Banquet

Postby Brad Henderson » March 14th, 2011, 2:13 pm

Tim,

Great question, and one I did not wish to try to answer on an iphone! Sadly, this isn't as well written as I had hoped, but I thought it might get a discussion going, at least.

There are, at least, two problems: the first being the nature of the award process itself and the second being the perception associated (or foisted upon) the award itself.

To the first: I see no value in artistic adjudication in which one person is pitted against another. For one, it leads to "winners" whose work may be lacking, but simply better than the other offerings presented. Second, when it becomes a "him" versus "him" event, taste and prejudice become too important. Third, it makes it too easy for personal politics to come into play.

However, there were some artistic festivals that picked up on this problem. They awarded medals based solely on a standard. FISM flirts with this idea, but does not take it to its full and logical conclusion.

In a standard based adjudication, there is no limit or guarantee on the giving of awards. If no one's performance achieves what has been defined as gold level standards, no gold medals are given. Further, if three participants have acts that achieve what is defined as silver medal status, 3 silver medals will be given. To the credit of the festivals with which I was familiar, they had NO PROBLEM holding themselves to the high gold medal standard. They did NOT cow tow to pressure from participants. If someone didn't win a gold for a while, so be it. (of course, this requires that judges be well informed, of strong personal character and competent! This will be true for many of the other concerns raised later, as well.)

In this manner, it is about a level of quality of execution, and differences in taste or localized comparative worth are minimized. For this to work, however, standards must be clear (more on that later) and HIGH. When silver medals are given out to everyone, then the standard needs to be raised.

Second, and Dennis rightfully referred to this, contests need clear standards AND facilities for demonstrating said standards. Most contests (IMS being an exception) have some sort of stated judging criterion, but I doubt any are as thorough as one would find at legitimate art and music festivals. Further, how often in magic do we award closeup awards to acts that have never been seen close up? I realize there are logistical concerns for this, but when someone fairs better in a closeup contest using the Gene Anderson Newspaper Tear and a Zig Zag than they would a torn and restored card or matrix (though I can't see how many should win with any of those) then the contest is flawed.

In educational circles, tests are tested to determine if they actually and reliably measure what they are meant to test. Magic contests seldom "test" what they purport to represent.

Likewise, we need real procedural standards. Every contestant, every judge should be told the same thing. In Texas, for years, one old timer would tell the judges "the way you score a contest is this: imagine the perfect act. Now everything you see the person do different - count off for that."

With this one sentence the entire contest changes dynamics.

A third problem with contests, is they often become the end rather than the means. I have fought for years here in Texas to get this stupid anonymity of the judges rule over turned. Without the judges being available to provide feedback and discussion, acts simply can not grow. It privileges the act (or more specifically, the free show convention organizers get on the backs of the contestant's hard work) over providing opportunities for growth and improvement. In my mind, any contest that does not provide for interaction between the judges and contestants is actively working AGAINST growth in the art.


The second problem - the perception - is probably the bigger one. As Dustin pointed out, I do take issue with people touting awards proclaiming them the best of the best when those awards are based on nothing. I feel this is bad for magic. Whether it is the IMS, or the magic woods award, or that Houdini thing they tried to do in Nashville - I cannot see how we as an industry should support or even tolerate these attempts to speak "for" the industry - especially when these attempts are nothing more than a marketing tool created for self serving purposes. I would also have the same problem for awards that are little more than popularity polls on internet forums. They may not be intended to be self serving tools, but they often end up serving tools. (word play - no awards for that one!)

In show business there are many people who are more concerned about their personal advancement than they are about the growth or well being of the art. This leads to people making claims about their accomplishments which paint them in lights perhaps more favorable than are realistically warranted.

Unless the public (lay or insider) knows the terms under which an award is given, who gave the award, what is its history, etc. the award is really worthless.

Lay people have no idea what magic awards mean, and because of this, recipients have been able to paint them as something more than they often are.

I cannot see how that is good either for magic, or for the award itself.

How would it affect the magic contest industry if people were not allowed to list their awards in their promotional materials?

If your knee jerk reaction is to think: "Then no one would enter them," then I think my point has been made. If this is all about personal promotion and not the fostering of individual or field wide growth then what Tony has done makes a lot of sense. Just let the people buy their accolades.

Perhaps they will even have a category for "most awards bought in a single season."

At least that ACCURATELY reflects the goals and achievements of those who have them.

Otherwise, I think those that give awards should clearly state what they mean, and insist that those awards are accurately represented in the media (and that includes promotional materials).

Just some thoughts.


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