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Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 1st, 2015, 11:52 pm
by David Nethery
observer wrote:It's David freaking Roth, man.

What the **** would he have to be nervous about?

Serious question.


Simple answer: Everyone can have an off night. It happens.

He might have been off because, as Richard suggested , he was given less time than he had originally prepared for. Who knows ?

Here's the thing: even on an off night he is amazingly good. People who have not seen him in his prime don't know any better. The average person watching this didn't see the flashes that a more educated eye might have caught. My wife (not a magician or magic enthusiast) , who has never seen him perform before , thought he was great . He fooled her . Hell, he fooled me. (and I know what to watch for , though I admit I am NOT a well-versed coin man by any stretch) I really enjoyed his set.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 12:14 am
by Michael Dustman
I agree with David. Could have been an off night or rushed, but even on an off night, he still fried an audience. I have read his books and seen him lecture in person and still blew me away with the three coin vanish. My wife shook her head numerous times during the routine.

The best feeling however came today. My 13 year old son got his mind blown by David Roth last night. I came home from work today and found my son curled up on the couch with a stack of Kennedy's and my copy of Expert Coin Magic laid out in front of him. Immediately asked me if I would change clothes and help him understand one of the moves. No DVD's, No YouTube. Going old school learning from the book. So my thanks to David Roth for releasing the material and my thanks to Richard for writing and illustrating such a great work. Years ago, I wondered if my son or daughter would want to learn magic and eagerly awaited them asking me. They don't follow Criss Angel. They go for the old school Master.

Thanks Richard. It's a great and proud feeling.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 12:40 am
by Brad Jeffers
Richard Kaufman wrote:I do know one thing: having now watched the performance twice , he certainly did fool me with the vanish of the three coins toward the end (using the chopstick as a magic wand) where he showed both sides of his hands empty after each vanish. So I know that the coins to be vanished went into classic palm, but where they went from there I do not know. The easiest thing to believe is that he dropped the palmed coin into the cup with the visible coins. But then where did it go? Is he using a Lassen set of some type? Why not?
I don't know, but it fooled me. And I like that.

Dustin Stinett wrote:Everything Roth performed has been published either in Richard's books or on the many DVDs he's been involved in, including the chopstick vanish. None of these routines used any kind of gaff. It's pure sleight of hand and brilliant construction.

Richard, if you want to know the secret, it is explained on Volume 11 of the New York Coin Magic Seminar

"All of these are good, but the biggest news is that on this DVD, David Roth gives up a Secret he has kept quiet for over 15 years! He explains this secret, a useful tool for all stand up coin workers, in three routines: Coins to Cup, Chop Stick Wild Coin, and the Three Coin Vanish. This technique fried the guys at the last Seminar, and all were sworn to secrecy until the release of these DVD's!!"

If you click on the above link, it shows a clip of David performing the 3 coin vanish. I think if you watch it just one more time, you will catch on.

The secret is both simple and brilliant!

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 2:38 am
by performer
You all seem to be talking about his tricks and his technique. I noticed something else far more intriguing. His style. I really like the rhythm of his patter and always have. It is almost poetic. Even hypnotic. Still, I suppose I should not be surprised that nit picking magicians focus on the wrong thing.

He doesn't talk too much and let the words overshadow the trick as so many alleged worthies of close up magic do. He speaks when he needs to speak and there is an underlying showmanship in the rhythm of his speech that is not intrusive but highly effective. I have always said that good presentation is like a window. A good window doesn't draw attention to itself. It merely lets the light in. David Roth does this very well. He is the window and he lets the magic in.

That is what should be focused on rather than a tiny bit of hand shaking that hardly anyone noticed anyway. Or a tiny bit of alleged sloppy technique that has been edited away. And it should be edited away. It is poetic justice that it should be as it was the TV situation and pressure thereof which caused the problem in the first place. As I have stated the TV camera is a cruel witness and it is especially difficult to do sleight of hand on television deceptively particularly when you are doing an intricate sleight every few seconds.

That would make ANYONE nervous!

Now I haven't checked yet but it wouldn't surprise me if he got more gasps and strong audience reaction than anyone else on the show. I suppose I had better check it out before making such bold statements and I will do it when I get a chance. If I am right then I think I will be able to rest my case.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 2:54 am
by jjsanvert
I was great to see David Roth perform on P and T. He was obviously very nervous, and if you never did a TV show you can't understand why. Besides, this show is presented as a kind of challenge, which makes things even worst.
But David was THE Godfather of coinmagic, and I feel that he is a bit disapointed that some new young and talented guys faded him a bit with coinmagic. As he said, a lot of people forgot that he was the creator of modern coinmagic, because there is no such thing as the Internet - and obviously this added another layer of tension; having to "prove" that you are the true Master, after all these years.
So, I am very and deeply happy that he won the Trophy.
He just deserves it.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 2:59 am
by performer
I just checked. My hunch was correct. After all, I AM psychic! He DID get stronger audience reaction than anyone else on the show! I think that rests my case and is all that needs to be said.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 9:16 am
by Jack Shalom
I don't think you can judge true audience reaction from what you hear or see on a television broadcast. That, like all else on television, is subject to editing and altering.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 12:20 pm
by Jonathan Townsend
Richard Kaufman wrote:...(using the chopstick as a magic wand) where he showed both sides of his hands empty after each vanish. ... But then where did it go? Is he using a Lassen set of some type? Why not? ...


Why take the risk with gaffs when not necessary? Something to think about on the recent DVD.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 12:26 pm
by performer
Jack Shalom wrote:I don't think you can judge true audience reaction from what you hear or see on a television broadcast. That, like all else on television, is subject to editing and altering.


I agree with that but I don't give a stuff. In fact I even took it into account when I made my observation. However, it should be noted that I have an advantage over everyone else here. I happen to be psychic and I got a distinct vibe that the reaction was genuine.

One thing I was thinking about today is that David's magic is not participatory in the sense that other close up magic is. I have always said that close up magic to be really effective needs to bring the spectators into it in some way. Even if an effect is not partipatory by nature you can make it so by asking a question or getting them to do "something" such as blow on a card or say a magic word or something. Anything.

But David can't do this as it would ruin his timing,flow and hypnotic patter. Perhaps in a longer sequence he does card tricks or something where he does bring people into it a bit more.

Still, from what I see of him I think he may well be an exception to this rule. As Vernon (or at least I think it was Vernon-maybe it was Faucett Ross) said "any rule can be broken in magic". (Even if it is my rule which this is rather than anyone elses.) I this may well be the case with David Roth.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 12:44 pm
by I.M. Magician
I can tell you one thing. David Roth has always enjoyed a wonderful reputation and if he knew that appearing on that show would have created all of this, he may not have appeared. Or maybe he couldn't care less. I don't know.

I met David and he is a very nice guy. Does he deserve all of the criticism appearing on this thread? I would say no. Taking out a telescope to watch his performance and then criticizing him is rediculous. Everyone has things happen here and there. So what? Can any of us do what he does even on his worst day? Perhaps not.

Critiquing a performance is one thing. Trashing it is another...

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 1:18 pm
by Brad Henderson
Dear god - the man appeared voluntarily on national TV on a program the premise of which relies on scrutiny. Of course he is going to be scrutinized. He should be scrutinized.

When will we as magicians lose this namby pamby attitude that we should all smile, pat each other on the back, and repeat 'a good time was had by all.'

no real art does that. No real artists do that.

David didn't become great by ignoring his flaws and mistakes. You can't become great by ignoring your flaws and mistakes. No one is perfect. No own always gives perfect performances, and if you think you do, you' are deluded and will never become great (except in the eyes of the most non critical, those who determine worth based on personal popularity).

We learn from our own mistakes - isn't it wise to also learn from others'

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 1:37 pm
by Jonathan Townsend
Folks might want to listen look at the introductory part of his appearance again. Even better, just listen.
Also the camera work on his segment. what a moment to look down into that cup.
Seeing David Roth walk away with that award at the end of the segment brought other things to mind.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 1:42 pm
by performer
Well, I certainly "scrutinised" it and found it wonderful. So there. Na na nanana...................

As for "perfection" I have always considered that to be an imperfection in itself. It is actually a mistake to be perfect. It is far better to be human than perfect. Audiences actually prefer it.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 4:10 pm
by MagicbyAlfred
Today on 09/02/15 Brad wrote: "We learn from our own mistakes - isn't it wise to also learn from others'" I heartily agree with that statement. I would add that, in order to learn from our own mistakes, and to get better and better, no matter what level we are on, we must first be aware of those mistakes. That is why I welcome criticism from laymen and magicians alike. When the ego gets out of the way, and the mind is open, there is plenty of room for improvement to flourish. Recently, I have implemented another facet to my practicing and rehearsing - my iPhone video camera. I just set it up against a vase, or candle holder, or book - whatever's available on the table and press the little record button. WOW! The flaws in handling, the flashing, the suspicious moves, the subtle little tells of which I was previously unaware, have come out into the harsh and unforgiving light of day. I just keep doing the moves and/or routines over and over for the camera, watching after each recording, and this has helped me improve significantly in a short time. Am I there? Not by a light year or two. My mentor, teacher and friend wisely admonished me years ago (name omitted due to reluctance to drop names): "Alfred, you are going to improve by reading and studying the classics, consistent practice, and by performance in front of people, but the minute you think you are there, that is the beginning of a precipitous decline."

I would add that aging and especially declining health will inevitably affect performance levels (we've seen this occur to more than one master, and in more than one field), so that is why I really focus on my health (rest, exercise, vegetarian diet, avoidance of addictions other than magic, and positive thinking) as much or more as my magic.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 4:45 pm
by Brad Henderson
mark, I almost added a clause about the dangers of perfection. Perfection is impossible in a living performance art. can we learn to accurately replicate moves pracriced in front of a mirror? yes. But this isn't performance.

the job of the magician is not the replication of the practiced perfect. It is, instead, an active act of creation and, by virtue of existing in a real space occupied by real people, can never be 'perfect' because the materials in which our performance arises are never perfect - they are fluid and ever changing

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 5:49 pm
by Dustin Stinett
Maybe I am just guilty of thinking back to the dozens of times I have seen David perform, including on television but mostly in person, and witnessing—every single time—perfection. To see anything less than that this time—and it was, in absolute fact, less than perfect—was a shock to me.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 8:26 pm
by Terry
The final 3 coin vanish is explained in the New York Coin Magic DVD's. Which one will require you to search.

Even though I had watched it on the Coin DVD, he burned me badly with it on the P&T show. It wasn't until afterwards that I recognized what he did.

David is a helluva nice guy and magician.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 9:19 pm
by Richard Kaufman
I just think he was nervous, and the camera angle was unfortunate. Dustin has since told me how the vanish was done (I think he reviewed the DVD it's on for Genii) and it was similar to something I'd thought of and dismissed. It's very good.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 9:25 pm
by fred kirchner
Well both David and Richard are now and have been rock solid parts of magic history, and most of us will be remembered when someone trips over our stone on the way to visit a relative.Honestly magicians are too critical of each other.Or does everyone have flawless performances?Is it possible p+t are that out of touch to not know who is who in magic today?Well all of them are making a living through magic,i am not,so who am i to judge...T.V. magic appears to be a complex trick in itself..When Roth came out i was still glued to his performance and i still subscribe to that longest running magic magazine and buy his books..what"s his name?Regards,Fred

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 9:32 pm
by fred kirchner
I think it would take too much work to hide the real work of magic techniques performed to magicians,try reinventing loads and steals in a chop cup routine..need alot of convincers

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 10:39 pm
by performer
Alfred. I would always welcome criticism from laymen but NEVER listen to the slightest criticism from magicians. I require only unadulaterated praise and glory from them otherwise I am not in the slightest bit interested in what they have to say. A layman is objective. A magician isn't. EVerything they will tell you is based on their OWN prejudices and opinions. They are subjective and biased. They have no importance whatsoever.

There are a tiny few magicians I respect and would listen to carefully but even then probably reject what they have to say unless it was very obvious that they were correct. That is because there is more than one way to skin a cat.

I do NOT agree with Brad that entertainers can learn from criticism on magic forums of their work. In fact I think I would argue the opposite. If they listen to half the crap they read the odds are they will become even worse. Magicians give a lot of very bad advice and should generally be ignored particularly as most of them have no idea what they are talking about.

I get a strong vibe of the saying from Confucious, "Do not complain about the snow on your neighbour's roof if your own doorstep is unclean"

In other words if you are going to complain about a fellow magicician's performance you should put up a video of your own to show how it should be done.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 10:42 pm
by Jonathan Townsend
Glad to read Roth's latest published approach to vanishing three out of four coins has proved effective on national TV. One of his earlier methods is in the Hanging Coins routine and that has been deceiving magicians too.

fred kirchner wrote:I think it would take too much work to hide the real work of magic techniques performed to magicians,try reinventing loads and steals in a chop cup routine..need alot of convincers


Someone did a good job of that back around the turn of last century. There's a hardcover book about his cups and balls routine - which does kinda read like he's using two chop cups side by side - but no gaffs. His student has written a few books of tricks where you make a cognitive blind-spot to cover a sleight.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 2nd, 2015, 11:16 pm
by Brad Henderson
Mark, you misunderstand me. I do not believe someone learns from reading the criticisms of one's act as found on magic forums. I believe that one can learn by analyzing and discussing (aka criticizing) acts either on one's own or in the company of other magicians, as on a magic forum. (Assuming you can then apply What you see and learn to your own act.)

Also, i was not suggesting david would benefit from reading what we mignt think are flaws or mistakes, only that one doesn't become great without being able and willing to search for flaws and mistakes. no one is perfect and the great performers, I am convinced, are most aware of their lack of perfection. Again, you can't become great Without finding and taking your flaws head on.

No one is hurt by analyzing the work put out voluntarily by other magicians. We should get over our fear of being critical.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 6:08 am
by performer
I am not as vicious a critic as I used to be. Not in public anyway. I must be getting soft in my old age. However, one thing I have never approved of is criticism of a named perfomer in a book. That is one issue I had both with Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber and the otherwise excellent Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz. At least online the performer or his supporters can answer back. They have a right of reply. That is not easily done in a book. A book has more permanance and more gravitas and is taken more seriously than chatter online.

Of course reviews of products and books in magic magazines are fair game to advise consumers but I would hate to be a reviewer for a magic magazine. I would imagine that would be a great way to make enemies no matter how much you protest that you are reviewing the product rather than the person.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 6:54 am
by Tom Gilbert
Is David now doing more performing while standing? I've always known him to be seated. On the other hand I haven't seen him lecture in a while.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 7:13 am
by performer
I would imagine that if you are of a nervous disposition standing would make things worse. You would feel more exposed psychologically than if you were seated.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 7:49 am
by Jack Shalom
I suspect that without a lap, those P&T-fooling vanishes are a lot more impressive.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 7:52 am
by MagicbyAlfred
I think several factors converged to put David in an uncomfortable situation and account for the nervousness: First, as Tom pointed out, David has, at least to my knowledge, almost always performed sitting at a table (with the exception of that one coin routine that culminates in the jumbo half production). And as Mark notes, having to perform standing (perhaps due to the demands of TV and/or the producers) could easily taken him way out of his comfort zone - especially on international TV. Further, the sheer volume of effects performed. It felt like all of those effects were being crammed in just to get across the point that he was an icon of coin magic (which of course he is), and it put undue pressure on David to prove something (which of course he did not have to), a situation that usually doesn't end well. It took me a long time to learn when to stop and to understand that less is more. IMO, the three coin vanish routine with the chopstick would have been enough. Short and sweet, powerful and memorable. As it turned out, that phenomenal routine was diluted by all the other effects, and he was effectively forced to admit that he probably fooled P & T only with the 3 coin vanish routine. Ironically, this weakened the iconic image that was intended to be projected. And had he just done that one routine there would have been no need for P & T to hem and haw about how they probably knew how a lot of it was done but only because they had allegedly read David's (i.e. Richard's) book. P & T were fooled by the 3 coin routine - badly - and isn't that the unabashed object of the show?

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 9:46 am
by performer
The object of the show may well be unabashed but it is not very commendable although it may well be commercial. It reduces beautiful art to a mere puzzle to be solved. I am glad he did the whole thing. It was pure art.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 10:50 am
by MagicbyAlfred
Proving that what is "art," like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 2:08 pm
by performer
Yes, but my beholding is obviously the correct one as befits my genius and astute judgement in these matters. I would naturally have thought that perfectly obvious.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 2:14 pm
by observer
The man's been on television. He's performed for live audiences around the world. If the camera zoomed in and picked up a slight tremor or two, if the camera revealed a flash that a live audience would not, that is simply to the discredit of the director. To suggest that David Roth was overawed at appearing in front of Penn and Teller is laughable.

Put the wrong person in charge of camerawork on a TV show and he can make any magician in the world look bad. Any magician in the world.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 2:59 pm
by MagicbyAlfred
Yes, and Muhammad Ali had been on television and performed for live audiences around the world when he was dethroned as heavyweight champion. That is not a denigration of his greatness or legacy, but only the inevitability of human imperfection. And when I use the term, "human imperfection," of course, I am not including Mark in such category.

I don't think anyone disputes that David Roth is the Father of Modern Coin Magic, but that does not imply infallibility or merit deification.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 3rd, 2015, 5:39 pm
by observer
MagicbyAlfred wrote:
the inevitability of human imperfection. And when I use the term, "human imperfection," of course, I am not including Mark in such category.

.



That goes without saying.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 4th, 2015, 1:10 am
by performer
What many of you do not realise is that audiences LOVE the magician slipping up providing he makes a joke about it. It can actually be quite good for psychological reasons to slip up here and there. That is because the audience underestimate you and you can then go in for the kill while their guard is down. Perhaps not for David Roth for various reasons but it is great for the average person to fumble on the odd occasion.

I don't think I have ever done a single performance of close up magic (and stage too) over nearly 60 years when something hasn't gone quite right. Every single time. Yet I can get astonishing reactions from laymen when performing close up magic. (oh, I know you don't believe me-just ask anyone who has seen me live working for lay people). The reason I get this reaction is because all sorts of things go wrong. I forget what cards I force. I turn over double faced cards accidentally, I drop cards etc; Alan Alan once said that I am looking for outs even before the trick goes wrong.

It doesn't matter. It truly doesn't matter. The secret is not to care. Naturally you try and do as many things right as possible but it really is no big deal if you don't. This is the difference between the professional and the amateur. The amateur thinks it is a disaster beyond compare if there is a small slip here and there and even a big slip up. The pro knows that it doesn't matter a jot.

This all may seen nonsense or revolutionary to many of you. It isn't you know. There is sound psychology behind it. It lowers the subconscious resentment of the spectator and lets them underestimate you. Then you go in for the kill.

Magicians are very busy trying to manipulate the cards and coins etc; They don't seem to know that it is far more important to manipulate the people.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 4th, 2015, 3:45 am
by MagicbyAlfred
Mark, I have to hand it to you, you hit the nail almost completely square on the head - with just two caveats: It is arguably fine for the pro to sometimes appear sloppy and to sometimes mess up, that is to say, up to a certain point, at which point he or she slides into the realm of the amateur, much worse yet, the hack. (well you did specify "slip up here and there") Furthermore, I agree that it is more important to know how to manipulate the people than the cards and coins, but I don't think we should lose sight that, for the most part, it is also important to exhibit skill in the manipulation of the cards and coins. Even beyond "manipulating" people, I believe that what is paramount is entertaining people. And, while being clever, witty, personable, having good patter, and involving the audience are all important factors in entertaining people, IMHO, blowing their minds with well-executed magic is also a significant component of a magician entertaining people.

Somehow, I already feel like I know what you would say as far as the importance of being able to manipulate people, i.e., that it is a necessary, even vital, component of being able to entertain people. Am i psychic or off the "mark?"

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 4th, 2015, 7:10 am
by performer
The manipulation of the people is indeed utterly vital and I don't think enough performers pay as much attention to it as they should. You can get more out of psychological ploys than you get out of sleight of hand.

But I may have given the wrong impression in my post. I am not necessarily saying that you should fumble and bumble during the majority of your work. If the fumbling goes beyond 10 percent (and even that may be a bit high) you are on the border of incompetence.

Let me take the example of the pitchman. Let us say the svengali pitchman. It is inevitable after doing perhaps 50 demonstrations a day many times when spreading the cards in a row showing all the cards to be identical, that sooner or later some odd cards are going to show up that shouldn't be there. In other words in a sea of nine of hearts you are going to get say, a five of clubs and perhaps an ace of spades.

It will be such a tiny irritant to a pitchman that he will hardly bat an eyelid. After all he has a lot more to worry about. Or if a kid yells out "it's on a string" when demonstrating the magic mouse. The best that can be done is some sort of quip such as "Now I know why some mammals eat their young". All I am saying is that you can't worry about these things. You just carry on and the audience will love you just the same. Within limits of course.

The danger of doing a sleight every second the way David Roth does (or at least I assume he does) is that sooner or later something will flash especially if you are of a nervous disposition as some people here say he is. I have always said that if you are of a nervous disposition then it is wise to include intricate sleight of hand in your act a bit later on. In other words do not open with it otherwise you will drop things all over the place. However, here I am talking about stage performances.

Oh, and Alfred. Entertaining people IS manipulating them. Or perhaps I should say it the other way around. You entertain them BY manipulating them. Magic is PEOPLE. Matt Schulien said this and I agree with him. Concentrate on the people and the props will take care of themselves.

I expect Alfred did not mean what is sounded like when he said that it is important to "exhibit skill in the manipulation of cards and coins". I expect he meant something else and that is just the way it came out. In fact it is fatal to "exhibit skill". I am of the "art that hides art" school of thought where magic is concerned. The audience should not be aware you have any skill in the first place. That is why the odd fumble (providing you do not overdo it) can be a very good thing.

This is a reason you should use flourishes intelligently and in moderation. Some people believe that you shouldn't use them at all although I wouldn't quite go to that extreme.

Now I think the audience will be well aware that you have skill on a metaphysical subconcious level but we won't get into that as it might stir up poor old Widdle again. That is fine. They sense that something is going on but they sense it after it is all over rather than doing the show itself. You can't avoid them thinking you have skill but you should certainly keep it to a minimum as much as you can.

I think that is one reason I rather like the work of David Roth. You somehow know there is skill involved but you never actually see it. Not a whiff (except on Penn and Teller TV shows which get edited out anyway so that nobody except nit picking magicians know about it).

I am in great favour of using ANY method to entertain and astonish audiences. I am not a sleight of hand dogmatist although I am very skilled at it. However, I will not hesitate to use self working tricks, mathematical principles, double faced cards, psychological ploys etc; to achieve my objectives. It doesn't matter what method you use and in fact it makes good sense to mix up your methods.

I will do a Notis Cascade which takes a lot of skill but I am wise enough to do Poker Player's Picnic or something similar not too long afterwards. That is the intelligent way to include flourishes. I believe it is a mistake for every trick you do to be full of sleight of hand. You can have too much of a good thing and although an audience may not know what has happened they know SOMETHING has happened.

It is of course more difficult to find effective tricks with coins that do not require sleight of hand but this certainly isn't the case with card magic. Some of the greatest card tricks of all time have no sleight of hand at all and it would be foolish not to make use of them. You are more limited with coins.

The reason magic is an art is because of the use of these psychological ploys and the above considerations. With all the thought that goes into it, it cannot help but be an art.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 4th, 2015, 9:07 am
by MagicbyAlfred
You are right Mark, in saying that I probably meant something else in my comment that "it is important to exhibit skill..." than the way it may have come across in my post. I realize that my choice of words was, at best, ambiguous. The skill is "exhibited" by having routines down so there is minimal fumbling or awkwardness, and most importantly, pulling off a great effect, be it through sleight of hand, self-working trick, confederate, or any of the props you mentioned. So, I agree with you in your observation that it is the effect, not the method, which is important. I have nothing against the tasteful utilization of a nice flourish here and there (e.g. spread flourish, pressure or giant fan, coin walking across back of hand, coin star, Charlier cut etc.) as I believe this adds to the aesthetics and entertainment. However, I have seen magicians who take pride in attempting to pull off an effect in the most knuckle-busting way conceivable just out of a misguided sense of purism. The result, if the difficult sleights are not totally mastered (and often they are not), is more often than not at least suspicion, if not outright detection. And as Erdnase (or whatever his name was) said, neither should occur.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 4th, 2015, 1:30 pm
by performer
It is foolish to use skill more than it is necessary to do so. An excess of skill can actually be detrimental. It is foolish to be skillful beyond the bounds of necessity. The key word is "necessity". Sometimes the most direct and best method to achieve an objective IS skilled manipulations but often times it is not. One should always use the easier method if one is available providing it is the most sensible one that should be used rather than something else.

Much of my philosphy in these matters is contained in the presentation section of Expert Card Technique and I have always been greatly surprised that I have hardly seen any references or recommendations to it in all the decades I have been doing magic. I consider it to be the finest advice ever written on the presentation of close up magic and I enthusiastically endorse the entire section, particularly the first few pages where they emphasise the importance of the idea that it is not so much the trick that is important as the illusion you create about yourself. In other words as Al Goshman once said, YOU are the magic! The tricks are secondary.

Re: David Roth on this week's Penn and Teller show

Posted: September 5th, 2015, 10:59 am
by Jonathan Pendragon
Cavet Emptor!

I know the subject has been discussed but I haven't read the entire thread. I find that my hands shake as well and I am a year younger (I think) than David. In my case it's nerve damage from years of doing the really fun and often dangerous stuff I do. In 2001 I developed Catastrophic Tinnitus (the term means I hear a loud hissing sound 24/7) after a mean bought with a really nasty flu. It's not curable and I know all the medications. Most deal with the anxiety, but one actually helps the neuropothy, nerve death. It's called Neurontin or Gabapenten, not sure of the spellings, but they're well known. When I take it before a close-up show, it helps steady the shaking. I was given the medication for my tinnitus and discovered the affect on my hands by accident. I worked a week at the Magic Castle in the close-up room and several people felt I was nervous because my hands would shake slightly. The last time I worked the Close-up room I was taking the medication to see if it would help the shaking, and it did.

This is not recreational medication and although some feel it does afford some pain relief, that was never the reason I was given it. If you are having problems with the shaking that comes with age, might I suggest that you check with your doctor about this drug. Even though it's not like the opiates (vicodin and that crowd), I believe it is still classified as a narcotic. Make sure you explain the circumstances to your doctor.

I feel weird giving medical advice because I really hate medications, and, I am not a doctor. Every doctor/psych I have ever known has told me I under-medicate. My injuries and assorted neurosis made my complete ignorance of medication impossible. I am relating an experience that I believe might help others who suffer from aging nerve endings like me.