DelGaudio Sez

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Matthew Field
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DelGaudio Sez

Postby Matthew Field » November 3rd, 2014, 3:32 am

Derek DelGaudio is holding a workshop at Tannen's in New York City (www.Tannens.com). As part of his description of the workshop and his motivation for holding it, he says something which strikes a responsive chord within me, something I believe is (unfortunately) true.

Here it is:

"The world would have us believe that magic is trivial and that choosing a life of magic is foolish. To make matters worse we, as magicians, agree. Public opinion has weighed heavily on our craft and, as a result, we have developed a collective shame. Today, the magician is a parody of himself and the first to mock his own craft. 'Oh, I’m not that kind of magician. I’m like a magician. Sort of. But not really.' We forget why we became magicians. We always forget...

"Magic is special. Magic is important. Magic is rare. Magic is worth celebrating."

Bravo, Derek.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 6:28 am

I don't want to start a fight.

But I can't resist.

I think magic is trivial. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I have seen all the greatest magicians in history. And their work is never as artistically moving as a good poem, song, play, book, or movie.

I love magic for what it is. A fun and creative way to try and do something impossible. I have dozens of reasons why I think magic is great - but trying to move people is not one of them. It comes close to being a 'category error' when we think of magic in those terms.

Magic at its best is creative, entertaining and novel. Penn and Teller do it best. I have seen most of their work - and very little of it is moving or truly artistic. Teller's Rose effect comes close - but it is more "cool" than anything else. It is not moving in the way truly great art is.

I just think this obsession with trying to turn magic into an art form is misplaced. As Penn Jillette said - art is easy, entertainment is hard. Especially entertainment in a field which most of the time is badly done, ill thought out and boring.

I just think some people are ashamed of accepting magic for what it is. And as such - try to convince themselves it is an art form which has being neglected. But to me that is like an origami enthusiast or yoyo expert worrying that their hobbies are not moving enough for the audience.

I mean look at juggling - has that ever moved anyone? And no - I don't think Michael Moschen counts - as great as his work is.

Anyway - before you shout me down. Just remember that any laypeople who watch the great magicians such as P+T, Ricky Jay and Derren Brown - come away feeling they have seen some amazing entertainment. But - they would never class it as art, no matter how much we may want them to.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Matthew Field » November 3rd, 2014, 8:19 am

Joe -- First, take a llok at Tommy Wonder if you want to see magic as art. Second, I think Penn Jillette was wrong, as he often is, when he said that art is easy, entertainment is hard. I think it's just the opposite.

You, by your own admission, are not a performer. Nothing wrong with that. But you have never tried moving people with magic. Juggling is (to me) just entertainment. I think magic can be more.

You are free to devote your time to things which are trivial. I want more than that.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 3rd, 2014, 9:46 am

Joe Mckay wrote:... But - they would never class it as art, no matter how much we may want them to.


Most I've met in the arts discuss their work or product and their craft or process. Artisans make things. In the performing arts it's a time/audience draw product for a venue. Not so many here are students of art history and our market has conflicting agendas regarding discussing deception as more than base "what to" - ... so we're still kind of disgraced as the arts go. Juggling? Read a little about Michael Moschen.
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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 11:23 am

Just because something is trivial doesn't mean it is not of value.

Hell - Wittgenstein says all of philosophy is trivial. But it is still interesting and worth exploring.

I am a huge fan of Tommy Wonder. I just feel that his work is not really art per se.

Compared to true art which is moving and profound. It is almost schmaltzy in comparison. A bit like saying the theme tune to 'The Simpsons' is comparable with the best of Bach.

I guess this all comes down to how we define 'art'. I just want to stand up for what I consider to be real art. And point out that - in my opinion - no magic trick will ever approach the artistic response that can be gotten from the best of music, literature and film.

The funny thing is that this point of view was completely unremarkable and commonplace 50-100 years ago. But in recent decades - there has being a fad to try and find meaning in magic.

As such - I want to point out what most laypeople - and most magicians throughout history will have thought.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to create art. Do magic as a hobby and then do something truly artistic the rest of the time. Just because you want something to be an art doesn't make it so. Anymore than my attempts to make pissing patterns in snow into an art form.

But hell, I may be wrong. Just my 2 cents. I only want to make this point in order to offer a balance to a debate which largely goes unchallenged in magic.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 3rd, 2014, 11:48 am

We can discuss our backstage (method) craft and its refinements in terms similar to other artisans.

We can discuss our scripts, costumes, props, production matters as do others in the theater.

Our craft is akin to comedy when one removes the frame of the story (so the audience is in the present) and then replaces the punchline with a demonstrated impossibility.

IMHO we seem averse to discussing deception beyond base perception and hiding method behind obviously contrived design.
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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 11:52 am

Don't forget - nobody actually likes magic.

I can prove it.

The people who become magicians are the very people who hate magic the most. They were once laypeople who became compelled to learn the secrets of magic. Since they didn't enjoy being fooled. And they didn't enjoy it to such a great extent that they decide to devote their lives to studying the secrets and workings of magic.

And for those laypeople who enjoy magic? Well - they enjoy it up to a point. But - it never really moves them in a great way. Since if it did - they too would decide to learn the craft of magic and in doing so take away their ability to ever again enjoy magic.

Because of the nature of secrets in magic. There is a strange catch 22 situation where magic results in mild indifference. Or an obsessive interest which destroys the very thing it proclaims to love.

No matter how much you study the work of Shakespeare or Bach - the secret will always be out of reach. But with a magic trick - the secret can be bought for 30 bucks from Penguin Magic.

Art is a puzzle without a solution. The closer you look - the more impossible it seems. And that is a dimension that magic can never have since every trick is built on a secret which can be easily found out - if the desire is strong enough.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Brad Henderson » November 3rd, 2014, 11:58 am

bob neale offered an essay called Many Magics. In it he categorized one type of magic as trivial. later, when this easy was published in a more mainstream distribution channel, he changed that name. It seems the word itself polarizes. Which is a shame.

The truth is a lot of magic is trivial. AND at the right time and place, trivial can be not only wonderful, but also ideal.

The problem is most magicians never think beyond the coolness of the method. So they fail to consider the impact their magic has, let alone the subtle differences in feelingful responses which CAN be conveyed. We are usually happy if we just "trick" them.

This lack of awareness is our problem. Triviality is it's manifestation. We copy that which is easy to sell. Shallow is easy to sell. Film a homeless guy screaming and you are done. Deep does not film well. it is an internal experience for the participant. It is a gift we give to them. It is not meant for public consumption as a trophy of our conquests.

But for the art averse, let's take deep and meaningful off the table. how about 'different' and 'same'. look at any period of time. look at any creative endeavor during that time or compare it to other times. Look even within any one creative endeavor-ers body of work.

We see great differences. We see distinct voices. We see ideas (both ideas of concept and ideas of craft) explored deeply and in ways that resemble nothing else.

in magic we have our 10,000th version of twisting the aces which, unless you are a magician, looks exactly the same as 9,000 of those which came before.

So - you are both right. Magic is often trivial and sometimes that's perfect. Nothing wrong with trivial when trivial is the INTENTION.

But when all one has is trivial - then we have a problem. And that problem isn't inherent to magic (meaning it's not some flaw with magic itself that renders is trivial) the flaw is with our intentions for magic.

The most powerful voice of intention in magic are the sellers of secrets tacked onto the promise of fantasy - ie the magic dealers. Trivial sells because it is easy to film. And trivial leaves both the audience and magician hungry for more. And who is there to provide more?

I will provide that secret in my next Instant download. Preorders will be accepted soon.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Brad Henderson » November 3rd, 2014, 12:01 pm

Joe - magicians hate magic because we approach it with the fantasy and are handed a piece of thread. We are told that is the secret.

That is a lie. the thread is not the secret. It is a method. They are different. learning magic is often a dis illusion ment. Sometimes magicians hate magic because they see the possibilities and come to hate the work of those who hinder the audiences appreciation of those possibilities.

visual art moves me deeply but I have no desire to paint. Your premise is flawed.

And to suggest real people are not or cannot be moved deeply by magic, I would suggest you need to start watching better magicians. not on TV. but live.

why do you think art which hits a pinnacle is described as magical? we have great power and potential. We just fail to live up to it.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Q. Kumber » November 3rd, 2014, 12:12 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:Don't forget - nobody actually likes magic.

I can prove it.

The people who become magicians are the very people who hate magic the most. They were once laypeople who became compelled to learn the secrets of magic. Since they didn't enjoy being fooled. And they didn't enjoy it to such a great extent that they decide to devote their lives to studying the secrets and workings of magic.

And for those laypeople who enjoy magic? Well - they enjoy it up to a point. But - it never really moves them in a great way. Since if it did - they too would decide to learn the craft of magic and in doing so take away their ability to ever again enjoy magic.

Because of the nature of secrets in magic. There is a strange catch 22 situation where magic results in mild indifference. Or an obsessive interest which destroys the very thing it proclaims to love.

No matter how much you study the work of Shakespeare or Bach - the secret will always be out of reach. But with a magic trick - the secret can be bought for 30 bucks from Penguin Magic.

Art is a puzzle without a solution. The closer you look - the more impossible it seems. And that is a dimension that magic can never have since every trick is built on a secret which can be easily found out - if the desire is strong enough.


Joe,

I disagree on a number of points.

I did not become a magician because I hated magic or hated being fooled. The first magician I saw was Albert LeBas and was so entranced by what I experienced that the seed was sown. I love being entranced by good magic.

I hate experiencing bad performances by inept magicians.

The real secrets of magic are more than just the secret of how the trick works.

Magic is a craft and can only be perceived as art (of any kind) if, and only if the performer is an artist. Magicians who like to be perceived as artists are generally full of their own BS. Any magicians that I know of, who I perceive as being artists, all see themselves as perpetual students.

Magic comes under the heading of light entertainment/variety/vaudeville.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 12:12 pm

But Brad - we are discussing magic. Not painting, literature or music.

And as such - the secret method is essential to any consideration of magic. The only thing that separates magic from other fields is the ability to fool people.

But fooling people is a response which provides a limit on how much ultimately people will care about magic. Since the more they care - the more likely they are to research the secrets. And in the process destroy the very magic that once inspired them.

The secrets inherent to magic creates a strange sort of kryptonite. It provides the power we have to create magic - yet it also provides easy access to the very thing which distinguishes magic from other fields.

If a layperson truly falls in love with magic. They will not remain a layperson for much longer - and instead will start studying magic like a magician. Everyone of us on this board are simply laypeople who fell in love with magic and wanted to learn the secrets.

We would do the same with music and literature - if there were simple secrets we could learn which would enable us to produce work comparable to Bach or Shakespeare.

And I can take any layperson - and within a few days I could have them providing the same sensation of magic to other laypeople as the world's greatest magician. Very few magicians can compete with a well performed 'Invisible Deck' routine. Sad but true.

I just think the strange architecture of the nature of magic creates a paradoxical situation where people will never be as moved by it as they are by other art forms. Since whilst magic deals in mysteries - it is actually the only art form whose mysteries are easily learned and explained.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 12:14 pm

@Quentin - if you enjoyed being entranced by great magic - then why didn't you remain a layperson your entire life? The very thing you most loved about magic is the very thing you destroy when you become a magician.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Brad Henderson » November 3rd, 2014, 12:19 pm

1) you cannot see the art because you are looking in the wrong place.

2) I have a deep love for animation art, food, contemporary art .... I have never tried to do any of these things. Your premise is wrong.

3) blame our method of teaching magic and the values we communicate in that process, not magic itself.

4) I know how flying works. I still tear up when I see Copperfield perform it on film or live. The magic does not live in the strings. Magic's secrets are never the strings. And they take a lifetime to tease out over hours of performing and trial and error. Your magic dealer lied to you

4) the only thing that matters is how we make our audiences FEEL. Whether through song or dance or paint or card tricks - you confuse means with ends.

fooling someone is not magic. I have no idea how my microwave works. Not knowing how something works is not magic nor art. Last night I pushed the buttons yet the food came out cold. The microwave fooled me. Still not magic. Still not art.

if all we have is fooling, you would be right. That's what most magicians care about.

most magicians are wrong
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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby mattsedlak » November 3rd, 2014, 12:22 pm

Of course magic is trivial!

Of course magic is non-trivial!

Magic is entertainment. Just like television shows and movies and sports. For nearly everybody that is as far as it goes. I enjoy coming home and sitting down for an hour to watch an episode of something on Hulu because it is trivial. It allows me a brief diversion from the responsibilities and problems in my life and that triviality is what makes it so pleasant.

Then at the same time the fact that it gives me that brief diversion makes it non-trivial. Magicians want to feel as though they are better than the birthday clown but it is really the same thing. I think a lot of athletes forget too that they are entertainers. As has already been mentioned in this thread there is nothing wrong with trivial. Too many magicians fail to accept that though and try to put more importance and meaning in their role. You see the same thing in large organizations. Every department thinks that theirs is the most important one.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Brad Henderson » November 3rd, 2014, 12:24 pm

so transformers the movie is trivial. Schindler's list equally so? both movies

just because an apple is a fruit, not all fruits are apples.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Q. Kumber » November 3rd, 2014, 12:30 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:@Quentin - if you enjoyed being entranced by great magic - then why didn't you remain a layperson your entire life? The very thing you most loved about magic is the very thing you destroy when you become a magician.


I love it when a really good magician turns me into a layperson again.

My goal, as a performer, is to try and give my audiences the same experience Albert LeBas gave me.

At various times I am a professional magician, an amateur magician, and very occasionally (sadly) a layman.

You can know the mechanical secrets and still be entranced.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 12:30 pm

If I love music - I can study it, and music will still have the power to move me.

If I love magic - I can study it, and in doing so - I have removed my ability to ever experience magic again.

That is the crucial difference between magic and all other fields. The people who love it most are the very ones who are unable to experience it.

I think it is great if you are moved by Copperfield's 'Flying effect'. But if you know the secret - it is no longer magic. It is essentially no different to being moved by a theatrical production of Peter Pan where the wires are visible.

Magicians can still be moved by magicians like David Copperfield. But the tools he is using to move people are the very things which are not unique to magic. Which is simply the ability to fool.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 12:35 pm

I love sex.

So - what do I do?

Seek out more sex.

Or decide to devote my life to sharing the gift of sex with others?

On the one hand I could try and obtain more sex.

On the other - I could go round with a stack of cash and a bunch of hookers - giving free sex away to any people I bump into in the street.

Would it make sense that somebody who truly loved sex - would get more enjoyment from helping others to have more of it - as opposed to simply having more of it himself?

Hell - I love pizza. So - maybe I should never eat pizza again - and should just give away free pizza to everyone I meet. Sharing "the gift of pizza" means much more to me than simply eating it - since I love it so much.

These examples don't really make an sense. Yet it is the same logic that magicians use to justify why they decide to become magicians instead of remaining as laypeople.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby mattsedlak » November 3rd, 2014, 12:44 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:so transformers the movie is trivial. Schindler's list equally so? both movies

just because an apple is a fruit, not all fruits are apples.


Yes they are. Schindler's list is a bit of a special case because it is mostly history. It serves to educate about a non-trivial person and a non-trivial event in time. What about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas? It is set in the same period and while it draws on real life events it is fiction.

To be fair, I consider all art trivial. While I have had emotional responses to movies, poems and literature none of them have moved me so much to change my life more so than any other event.

Come to think about it. I once witnessed a magic performance by a fellow student at a high school talent show. That moved me so much to have spent the following 15 years of my life pursuing magic as one of my biggest hobbies. So I guess magic really is art.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 3rd, 2014, 12:46 pm

DelGaudio wrote, "To make matters worse we, as magicians, agree. Public opinion has weighed heavily on our craft and, as a result, we have developed a collective shame."

I don't agree, I have NO shame, and this is an overgeneralized statement. Who is he talking about? He implies that it's the great majority of people in our field, which is demonstrably false.

Who the hell gets into magic because they hate it? Certainly not me. All the magicians I know LOVE magic.

While there may be a percentage of people in our field who are embarrassed to do a trick because they feel it's silly or dumb or whatever (to which I would respond, "Why the hell are you doing a magic trick then?) this simply doesn't account for the great majority of people I've met in magic over the past 50 years.

Magic is made trivial or not trivial by the performance of it, by the performer.

If DelGaudio feels that it applies mostly to the magicians who go to magic lectures, why doesn't he just say so? "You schmucks are embarrassed to do magic, you hate magic, so pay me to tell you why." What does that sound like? A motivational speaker.

And Joe, this statement is false: "That is the crucial difference between magic and all other fields. The people who love it most are the very ones who are unable to experience it." You are not taking into account the fact that every magician I know, no matter how knowledgeable or clever, can be fooled. They CAN experience it.
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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 12:49 pm

Art tells us something about life.

And vice versa.

Personally - I don't believe in God and I am a nihilist.

I don't think there is such thing as meaning - and nothing really matters. From the point of view of the universe - the Holocaust and tying your shoe laces are of equal importance.

So - the very fact that magic is trivial - speaks to me in a much more profound way an art form which presupposes the universe has some kind of meaning that I don't believe is really there.

So - luckily for me. The very triviality of magic touches me in a very profound way.

And whether or not you think magic is trivial. Feeling shame towards that fact is pretty dumb either way. What has shame got to do with it?

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 12:52 pm

@Richard - studying magic means you will have experience "magic" about 99.9% less often than if you chose to never study it.

Why would somebody love something - and then willingly choose to experience 99.9% less of it?

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby mattsedlak » November 3rd, 2014, 1:29 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:@Richard - studying magic means you will have experience "magic" about 99.9% less often than if you chose to never study it.

Why would somebody love something - and then willingly choose to experience 99.9% less of it?


Good chefs experience food in different ways than the average restaurant patron. Good musicians experience music in different ways than the average listener. Why can't magicians merely experience magic in a different way from the average spectator?

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 1:32 pm

Because being fooled is the most fundamental part of magic.

A chef and a musician can appreciate those fields just as much as an amateur. Since there is no secret underpinning it which would take away from the experience.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 3rd, 2014, 1:42 pm

What makes folks here assert that people with an arts background don't enjoy and appreciate works as presented?

If you must use the word "fool" then look for such constructions as draw attention to where the trickery happens. That's not what Johnsson meant by 'imperfecting'. People are not stupid. Just because they don't know what we call sleights, gaffs and mechanical props does not imply the methods are transparent when used.
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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 3rd, 2014, 2:11 pm

My point is that most magicians can be fooled by a good trick, or a good magician. There is no loss of mystery. We love magic because we love to be fooled.
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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby mattsedlak » November 3rd, 2014, 2:24 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:Because being fooled is the most fundamental part of magic.

A chef and a musician can appreciate those fields just as much as an amateur. Since there is no secret underpinning it which would take away from the experience.


When I go to a good restaurant and enjoy a well made dish I usually don't understand everything the chef did to get the combination of ingredients to work together in such a way to present that dish.

A good chef goes to the same restaurant and eats the same dish but understands what went into the creation of it and appreciates it on that different level.

When I listen to good music I don't really understand how the composer was able to get such a wide variety of sounds to work together to produce something so beautiful.

A good musician goes to the same show and listens to the same music but understands what went into the creation of it and appreciates it on that different level.

Why can I not watch a magician and appreciate the fine details that go into the presentation of it? I'm still enjoying the magic even if I am not fooled. I know a reasonable amount of magic. I'm certainly not the most knowledgeable magician out there but I would think it is safe to say I know more magic than 99% of magicians. (To be fair this isn't really a difficult task) I still get fooled.

I got fooled by a Braue Reversal on Friday. It wasn't the move that fooled me but it was well-covered and led to another moment (a secret reversal of the deck) that I didn't catch. So you can certainly still be fooled by magic if you insist on your point that fooling is everything.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby GlennWest » November 3rd, 2014, 2:33 pm

Typically the chef and the musician aren't trying to fool you.

Is it possible to be a magician if you don't intentionally fool at least one person?

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 3rd, 2014, 2:46 pm

Being fooled is typically what differentiates magic from other art forms.

However, when one chef is eating what another chef cooks, sometimes he doesn't know how the chef cooked it, or what all the ingredients are, and it is a mystery to him.

When one artist is looking at the work of another artist (let's assume it's painting), sometimes he doesn't know how the artist accomplished some of the effects he sees in the painting, and it is a mystery to him.

Etc.
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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Brad Henderson » November 3rd, 2014, 2:55 pm

so someone who sees no meaning in the universe complains that magic suffers for presenting or exploring meaning. I think the meaningless poster is the special case. When one feels no different when watching thousands die and someone tying their shoes, they probably are not really qualified to discuss magic as art. You are of course welcome and encouraged to pursue your personal path, but it doesn't contribute to a discussion of a path you refuse to or are incapable of recognizing.

fooling is but the first step of magic. It is foundational, but not the ends - a means. Magicians have lost this. This is why we present puzzles to people who don't care. And yes, the public perception of magic is terrible. We are charactitures to many people. We have only ourselves to blame.

if you spend you life only ever performing for people who ask you to, this may not be apparent. When your job consists of performing for people who are not expecting you, you learn what they really think. When you have to convince then to spend thousands of dollars to hire you, you get even greater honesty. Doing a trick for the guy sitting next to you on a plane is not the same thing.

The problem Derek is addressing is real and worthy if address.

As a magician when I am fooled I dare say my experience is far more intense than it would have been if I lacked the ability of discernment. Learning magic does not prevent you from feeling it. It just makes you a more discerning clientele.

Of course, as I said, all of this is built on out educational models. When we teach the secret is the most important thing, we get audiences who lose interest upon seeing the thread.

Some if my best lay audience have read the steinmeyer books.

when you teach them what magic is, they don't get distracted with threads and Mirrors.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby GlennWest » November 3rd, 2014, 2:58 pm

@Richard: Agreed.

I'm trying to understand if the intention of the 'performer' (craftsman, artist, etc.) is important.

A chef can be a chef without ever intending to fool anyone.

Can a magician be a magician without ever intending to fool anyone?

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 3:10 pm

Humanity is a mistake of evolution.

For billions of years we were not here.

And for billions of years in the future we will not be here.

As such - I find it hard to visualise what meaning there is to be had in a universe in which we all die and nothing really matters.

All of human history is nothing more than a passing dream.

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Matthew Field
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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Matthew Field » November 3rd, 2014, 3:19 pm

I don't know where Richard got the idea that Derek said most magicians hate magic. That was Joe speaking.

As to motives, here's most of Derek's original email, addressed to Tannen's owner Adam Blumenthal. Perhaps it will make things clearer, especially motive. Perhaps not. At oleast people are thinking about something other than how many repetitions of Wild Card are effective.

Matt Field

-------

For years Derek Hughes tried to convince me to visit [Tannen's Magic] camp. I’ve always been astonished by his devotion and commitment to the camp. Whenever he speaks about his experiences there I can see him fill with a modest sense of pride and joy. It’s really annoying. Why? Why does he rearrange his life for these kids, year after year? I didn’t understand.

Well, I do now. I know why. Ready?

Magic.

Obvious, I know. But true. The world would have us believe that magic is trivial and that choosing a life of magic is foolish. To make matters worse we, as magicians, agree. Public opinion has weighed heavily on our craft and, as a result, we have developed a collective shame. Today, the magician is a parody of himself and the first to mock his own craft. “Oh, I’m not that kind of magician. I’m like a magician. Sort of. But not really.” We forget why we became magicians. We always forget...

Magic is special. Magic is important. Magic is rare. Magic is worth celebrating. And if one should choose a life of magic, not only is it a life worth living, but the only life imaginable.

This is what we have to fight to remember everyday of our lives. But at place like your camp it's easy to remember. It’s the natural state. It’s a safe place to love magic. The kids there have not yet let the world define magic for them. They have fresh eyes and open minds. To them, magic is still…amazing. And for the counselors, well I was thinking about that all wrong. The counselors aren’t selflessly donating their time. Hughes and Carbonaro and Rubin, they’re not “doing it for the kids.” Noooo. They, like Walter White, are doing it for themselves and trying to remember what they’ve forgotten. Bunch of selfish bastards!

In other words, I get it. That camp is a good thing you have there, Adam. It’s a worthy cause you’ve taken up and I’m happy to help where I can.

Now, in regards to lecturing at the shop, that’s another story… I don’t really have a lecture. I have no products or notes. It’s not that I’m opposed to it. I just…don’t. I guess I just look at teaching as the thing you do after you actually know what you’re talking about.

That said I don’t want to leave you hanging. What about a workshop? You do those, right? I can do it when I come out there for Ricky’s wedding, mid Nov. Make it a couple of hours, limit the number of people and charge $100 a head. But there’s a catch…

I want you to set up a scholarship program for camp and donate the proceeds from the workshop. Do the math on how much it would cost to send a kid to camp and make that the limit for the number of attendees at the workshop. Sound good? What say you?

Let me know. Talk soon.

DD

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Tom Stone » November 3rd, 2014, 3:44 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:I am a huge fan of Tommy Wonder. I just feel that his work is not really art per se.

Compared to true art which is moving and profound

I'm sorry, but this is just nonsense.

First of all, the whole "what is art?"-question is among the most pointless and uninteresting questions that can be asked. "Art" is just an approach to something, with no inherent value in itself. The interesting thing is what remains of the question when the nonsense word "art" has been removed: "What is...?" Now, that is a real question worth answering!

Secondly, what kind of fastfood view do you have on the work of others? You sincerely believe that a creator's main task is to please you, and to narrow themselves down to your level of understanding and apprehension? "True art" is a popularity contest? Lot of people find velvet paintings of Elvis moving... so, if following your lead, that must be larger and truer "art" than anything by someone who simply tries to explore something new and personal.
Any step outside your own cultural realm must be to step into an artless world for you. Pick any kind of music you are unfamiliar with - like folkmusic from Japan, India or an african country - and I bet you'll summarize it as "it sounds all the same", and will make the conclusion that it is like a dead craft, with no evolution or progress, and that no one can be moved by it. And you'd be wrong on all accounts. Whether you find something moving or profound is completely irrelevant when looking at the artistic qualities of something.

Thirdly, you use the aspects of one art to judge the qualities of another art, in a way that is insane.
Would you judge a piece of music based on how it works as a clay animation? Do you judge a theatre script on how well its graphic composition is? Do you judge an oilpainting on how well it works as a magic routine? Do you judge a dance choreography on how gripping it is to listen to? No? So why do you judge a magic routine on its merits as a theatre play? Magic isn't a theatre play, a dance, a music piece, a painting... Magic is itself! Separate from its related fields.

The works of our great creators are moving and profound! If you can't see the very essence of Tommy within the construction of his stage act, then your eyes are dead and your soul is deaf. Myself, I get goosebumps!
And if you can't recognize, let's say, Max Maven just by looking at his works, you know way too little about this field.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 3:53 pm

So - basically - in defending the view that magic is art.

You are saying anything can be art?

Well - why not just remove this word from the dictionary since it obviously doesn't mean anything.

If you ask a million people who is the greater artist, Bach or Tommy Wonder. They will all point to Bach.

Bach is as highly rated in his field as Tommy Wonder is in ours.

So - why should this be the case?

Perhaps because some art forms really are superior to others?

If you are asking the question - then you already have your answer.

A lot of magicians wonder if magic is an art? Yet nobody in the fields of painting, poetry, film or music does.

Why?

Because the answer is obvious.

The fact that there is even a debate in the world of magic shows that there is a good chance that it really doesn't qualify as art. And this is a viewpoint that most laypeople would agree with as well.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby GlennWest » November 3rd, 2014, 3:54 pm

Joe got under Tom's skin, I'd say.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 4:00 pm

I am a big fan of Tom Stone. I love his column.

http://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=44478#p298612

So - I hope I don't come across as disrespectful to him. He is a great thinker. I can only dream of being 1% as creative as he is.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 3rd, 2014, 4:03 pm

Matt: you misunderstood what I wrote, but perhaps it was the way I wrote it. I quoted part of DelGaudio's statement, then addressed what Joe was saying.
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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Bill Mullins » November 3rd, 2014, 4:09 pm

Joe Mckay wrote: I am a nihilist.

I don't think there is such thing as meaning - and nothing really matters.


Well, there's your problem.

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Re: DelGaudio Sez

Postby Joe Mckay » November 3rd, 2014, 4:13 pm

It is a fun outlook to have.

You can enjoy things for what they are. Without getting hung up on the deeper meaning which may or may not be there.


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