America's Got Talent performance

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MagicbyAlfred
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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 5th, 2017, 9:00 pm

IMO, this is the liveliest discussion about MAGIC that we've had on here for a long time, and it is fascinating! Lots of insightful perspectives being revealed. Speaking of revealed, Performer, my good friend, I definitely share your concern about the exposure on YouTube, and would love to know what you have come up with as far as a solution. The best I have been able to come with is to go back into my books where there is a treasure trove of great effects that maybe only one layman in a million has seen, and to start incorporating those into my act.

One example, among an endless number of phenomenal tricks buried in books that layman do not even know about, let alone will read, is an effect I just learned from a Rufus Steele book (although my paranoia keeps me from mentioning the book or naming the trick). Suffice it to say that it "transcends" many, many card effects; a (truly) freely chosen card, which has been "lost" in the pack, is apparently fairly placed face-up with three others into the spectator's hand. The spectator then accomplishes an astonishing feat of magic by finding his own card in the deck (without looking at the cards) and then, upon hastily examining the cards he/she holds, finds that, "impossibly," there are now only 3 cards, with the selection having inexplicably vanished. No need for any technology, gaffs, or even knuckle busting sleight-of-hand, and the reaction is super-strong. Doubt it will ever be on AGT or Fool Us, but I was so happy to have unearthed it, and it works beautifully as an impromptu trick, anywhere, anytime, with any (truly shuffled) deck, and no set-up required.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 5th, 2017, 10:05 pm

Got your unicorns... kinda: http://www.tor.com/2013/09/24/equoid/ (not safe for unwary... he writes scary stories)

Narrative threads, perceptual and cognitive, being incomplete and having necessary gaps is still a difficult topic. Establishing that narrative thread and keeping your method work to the spaces inside those gaps makes sense. Going back to an historical example, the Turk: It's so much more fun to watch a mechanical chess playing automaton than to admire a cabinet and want to meet the chessmaster.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby performer » June 5th, 2017, 10:19 pm

I see that Sweden is getting excited. However despite the outrageous claim that psychic ability does not exist I have been in touch with Mr Jonson in the spirit world and alas he was very rude concerning both Tom and this particular matter. I told him that I wanted nothing to do with the argument and if he wanted to take it up with Tom he would either have to find another psychic medium or wait until Tom eventually arrives in the spirit world himself.

My own attitude is that although I do more or less believe in the too perfect theory I don't really care about it enough to indulge in intellectual discussions concerning the matter. I know it when I see it. And I know it when I don't see it. There is no strict rule about it. Sometimes it applies and sometimes it doesn't. Take the coin trick example I mentioned. If you know how to think like a layman as I trained myself to do a long time ago you realise the Jonson approach to this trick is the better one. Call it "structure" if it makes you feel happy. I am merely saying that old Wilfrid discovered this decades before everybody else started yapping about it. Common sense you know. Of course he didn't call it that. In fact he didn't call it anything. Not even "structure" He just knew. So do I. And so should Sweden. But I think he does. Swedes are clever.

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Tom Stone
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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Tom Stone » June 5th, 2017, 11:01 pm

performer wrote:I see that Sweden is getting excited. However despite the outrageous claim that psychic ability does not exist I have been in touch with Mr Jonson in the spirit world and alas he was very rude concerning both Tom and this particular matter.

I did make an exception for your remarkable abilities, Mark. :-)
Take the coin trick example I mentioned. If you know how to think like a layman as I trained myself to do a long time ago you realise the Jonson approach to this trick is the better one. Call it "structure" if it makes you feel happy. I am merely saying that old Wilfrid discovered this decades before everybody else started yapping about it.

Wilfrid Jonson made the same error as Rick Johnson.

...there are many card tricks where it is almost mandatory to have the card signed to avoid suspicions of duplicates, even in tricks where no duplicates are needed. Yet... it is almost never necessary to have the balls in Cups and Balls signed, for people to accept that the balls appearing underneath the cups are the same as the ones that vanished. Isn't that odd? Why is there a difference?
The main difference is that most vanishes in a Cups and Balls routine are stronger and more convincing than most of the card vanishes. When people genuinly have no clue where the ball went, they will accept a reappearance from wherever, even underneath the cup.
But if the people suspect that the "vanished" card is sticking to another card, is hidden among other cards or have been snuck into the back pocket, they will not accept a reappearance folded up inside a little box on the table without extraordinary proof... like a signature.
In fact, any card trick which requires a card to be signed is a badly structured trick.

So, let's look at the Wilfrid Jonson's piece, and let me emphasize a few things :
Wilfrid Jonson described it well. It was to do with a great coin trick which would take too long to describe. The climax was that the spectator had 6 coins in his hand but thought he only had five. You show another coin and vanish it in the usual way. The spectator drops the coins into your hand and you count them on the table showing 6 to reveal the vanished coin.
[SNIP]
"Some performers allow the spectator to open his hand and count the six coins himself, and this procedure has been suggested in most previous descriptions of the this trick. But it is a very ill advised thing to do and one which may easily lead the onlookers to realise the existence of the extra coin. It is attempting to make the climax too strong, a thing which can often weaken the whole structure of a trick. A good trick should always leave more than one solution open to the imagination of the spectators"

The problem wasn't in making the climax "too strong", but in making the beginning too weak, with a "usual" vanish. More effort in making the vanish a complete mystery, and there would be no problems in hyping up the climax. But he got it right in the last sentence - the target is always the imagination of the spectator.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby performer » June 5th, 2017, 11:26 pm

I was the one who said "the usual vanish". Wilfrid mentioned his own vanish and said "it is admirably adapted to this situation."

Since Wilfrid knows the trick and you don't I shall take his word that his vanish is better than your vanish especially when you don't even know what your vanish actually is at the moment. I have a great suspicion that when you finally find out what your as yet uninvented vanish is which makes it a "complete mystery" it would be something which would be so much of an extravaganza that it might slow down the trick. I am perfectly happy with Wilfrid's vanish which takes a nansecond and since I am happy with it then it follows that I am compelled to follow his advice that I should count the coins instead of the spectator.

Now I know for sure that Wilfrid's structure works in practice. Alas yours is merely an untested theory. However, if it does work then you will have achieved exactly the same result as Wilfrid with no appreciative advantage.

However, I don't care either way so you can argue it out with Wilfrid. He might get so agitated over your opinion that he decides to come back and haunt you.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 5th, 2017, 11:30 pm

Tom Stone Wrote: "In fact, any card trick which requires a card to be signed is a badly structured trick."

Tom, I agree with much of the astute analysis you have offered on this thread. However, I do believe there is at least one exception to the categorical pronouncement above, and that is Card on the Ceiling.

And the reason is not to allay suspicion of a duplicate, or of one card sticking to another etc., but because as strong as the effect is when a card apparently in the middle of the pack sticks to the ceiling upon the rubber-banded deck being thrown thereto, the strong, personal identification factor that the spectator has when it is "his" or "her" card that is up there is an intangible that can not be overstated, and has huge added impact.

I have had spectators return to the bar weeks, months, even years later, and proudly proclaim to their friend(s) or family member(s) that that is "their" card, and the fact that it is still up there, makes the effect play on long after it was accomplished. Moreover,when people see the signed cards strewn upon the ceiling, they often want "their card" up there. SO, I would say that this is one effect wherein the card must be signed, and yet it could hardly be called a badly structured trick.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Tom Stone » June 6th, 2017, 12:17 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:However, I do believe there is at least one exception to the categorical pronouncement above, and that is Card on the Ceiling.
SO, I would say that this is one effect wherein the card must be signed, and yet it could hardly be called a badly structured trick.

I'm not sure I follow.
If the card isn't signed, do the illusion fall apart then? Do everyone then think the card on the ceiling is a duplicate of the one selected?
Isn't the function of the signature here to make the trick more personal and memorable, rather than to make it work?

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Tom Stone » June 6th, 2017, 1:15 am

Brad Jeffers wrote:There is however, already a YouTube video exposing the method :(

Ah yes. Found it!


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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 6th, 2017, 1:37 am

Tom Stone wrote:
MagicbyAlfred wrote:However, I do believe there is at least one exception to the categorical pronouncement above, and that is Card on the Ceiling.
SO, I would say that this is one effect wherein the card must be signed, and yet it could hardly be called a badly structured trick.

I'm not sure I follow.
If the card isn't signed, do the illusion fall apart then? Do everyone then think the card on the ceiling is a duplicate of the one selected?
Isn't the function of the signature here to make the trick more personal and memorable, rather than to make it work?


Yes, that is precisely my point, except you articulated it better than I.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Brad Jeffers » June 6th, 2017, 1:54 am

Bill Mullins wrote:I liked Darci Lynne's vent act much more.

I wholeheartedly agree with you Bill.

Darci Lynne was certainly deserving of the reaction she received from the judges and the audience.

Magicians can learn a valuable lesson from a good ventriloquist.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Dave Le Fevre » June 6th, 2017, 4:35 am

Tom Stone wrote:any card trick which requires a card to be signed is a badly structured trick

I can think of several examples that would appear to disprove that. But maybe I'm coming at the problem in the wrong direction, maybe it simply proves that they're bad tricks.

Shawn Farquhar performed something for Penn & Teller where a signed card appearing reversed inside a brand new (and shrink-wrapped) deck.

I've seen two other people perform it, in a close-up competition. One of them didn't have the card signed, the other did. To ensure that I'm not viewing it from a jaundiced magician's perspective, I asked my wife's opinion. The unsigned card, nice trick. The signed card, an oh-my-god trick.

And when that signed card ended up in a sealed bottle of J20 which was given to a friend of mine, that bottle is now a prized souvenir for her. She still hasn't stopped talking about it, and it was several years ago.

Maybe those effects are badly structured. But it's difficult for me to see what's wrong with them.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby performer » June 6th, 2017, 7:25 am

The best thing is to go by instinct and have done with it. And the more you know about magic and the more you perform the more astute that instinct will become. No need to analyse and agonise too much. Just do it.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 6th, 2017, 7:43 am

I would assert the premise that the Ambitious Card requires that the card be signed. Well, "requires" in the sense that it loses a huge amount of its impact if the card is not signed, and goes from an exceptionally strong trick to, at best, a decent or good one. Is it thus a badly structured trick?

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby performer » June 6th, 2017, 9:12 am

Oddly enough I was thinking about this ambitious card signing in connection with this discussion. Alfred must be psychic!

Let me start at the beginning. When I first learned this trick as a kid from Classic Secrets of Magic the author Bruce Elliott stated that at the end if the spectator grabs the deck to see if you have more than one "ambitous card" it means you have done a sterling job! He felt you should actually want people to think precisely that! Of course he never said you should have anything signed which was just as well for me as I would have never touched the trick. When you are a teenager doing card tricks for friends and acquantainces you really don't want to ruin your cards by having them signed. Particularly when you are performing impromptu for fun and not in a set paid show.

Now of course if you are mainly performing for family and friends or in my case finding regular places that I frequented such as bowling alleys, parks and other places where the same people would tend to frequent after a while they get to know you never use trick cards or duplicates because over time they will be grabbing the cards from you and eventually they realise everything is on the up and up and your reputation for using normal cards becomes established. Incidentally the thing they suspected the most was marked cards! Oh, and I did card to ceiling too without having the card signed! I gave it up when various ceiling owners got fed up with it.

So it really wasn't necessary to have the cards marked anyway. However, I did realise the logic and the strength of having cards marked particularly in a paid performance where your fee would easily make up for the loss of one card in a deck. There is no doubt that it makes most versions of this trick stronger.

However, most versions I learned of this trick had a sequence where you showed all the cards to be the same via the Hindu shuffle as a kind of mock explanation. The Royal Road did it this way and so did the excellent version by Harry Lorayne which I noticed had quite a few similarities to the Bruce Elliott version in Classic Secrets of Magic although of course there were quite a few differences as well. I expect one evolved from the other.

So now I had an excuse not to have the cards signed! It would make no sense whatsoever to have a card signed when you are pretending they are all the same anyway! Now I worked out a killer ambitious card routine which is a sort of combination of Bert Allerton's "Eye Popper" sequence, a sucker move I learned from Jean Hugard, an idea of putting the card face up in the pack, and bringing it to the top using the pass (startling and visual) and finally using the Hindu shuffle as per all the variations I have read, finally producing the card from my pocket.

I did notice that EASILY the strongest part of the routine was showing the cards all the same! Just like the bloody svengali deck! And of course making them all different again. So for those routines (and there seem to be quite a few) where you do this hindu shuffle display there is no point whatsoever in having the card marked as it would kill the whole premise. You can't Hindu shuffle a deck to show all the cards have the same signature! (mind you, you never know what daft magicians will come up with nowadays to sell things).

So yes. If your routine doesn't use the Hindu Shuffle display as most routines seem to do then go for the signing even though I think it is cruel to the card in question. After all if you happened to be the three of hearts you would not like some annoying human being telling another annoying human being to scribble all over you. I detest defacing and ruining cards but that is just an individual quirk. If this is not a problem for you and you are not doing the Hindu shuffle sequence then go for it. If you are using the hindu shuffle then there is no need to bother and you will get gasps of amazement and laughter when you show the cards to be all the same.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Brad Henderson » June 6th, 2017, 11:24 am

the movies have already figured this out. spielberg and scott both learned that to show the entire creature (the shark or the alien) was to kill the horror factor. when we can see something clearly we either accept or reject it. when we create it in our own minds it remains partly undeniably real.

this is why the blair witch project was so terrifying - to some people. the movie allowed others to fill in the gaps with their own personal terrors. for some however this was not possible and they were bored.

visual magic where the method and effect are nearly identical (or occurs at nearly the same moment) works to a degree on screen because most screen viewing is passive.

visual magic is, as a rule, the weakest as it requires nothing on the part of the audience. they either accept or reject it.

however when they are forced to participate in the creation of the magical moment through the engagement of their imagination, they become complicit. they are no longer just 'spectators' - their minds are making the magic.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 6th, 2017, 11:56 am

@ Performer: I have long been aware of the showing all cards to be the same effect via Hindu, but have actually never tried it out on anyone. But hearing about the reaction Performer gets with it, makes me definitely want to give it a go. I suppose one way to alleviate my paranoia that they will attribute the effect in AC to a duplicate(s) would be to have them take the deck in their hands and go through it until they find a card they like or (as I like to patter) that they "feel a connection to" and then ask them to be sure that there is only one of that card in the deck - that it is unique and one-of-a-kind, just like them. This could work for me, as I do not begin the routine with a pick-a-card that I don't know and then have it "lost" in the deck approach. I will have to see the reactions I get, as it has long been my belief that the signing of the card provides an emotional hook and a more personal connection of the spectator to that card.

@Brad: Perceptive and insightful comment. Makes a lot of sense. I have long been intrigued with the idea of trying to ascertain and drawing upon what it is that is compelling about movies and incorporating that into my presentations. I mean, as with magic, people know it is not real, that these are actors, and thus in a sense, that it is a "trick." Yet, they suspend disbelief and their interest and emotions are fully engaged - often to the point of tears.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Bibliophage » June 6th, 2017, 12:47 pm

I have hesitated jumping into this mud wrestling match of opinion but from the second I saw Will's set on AGT I thought, "As soon as cover of the cards or the hands go away, the mystery goes away." And that thought has persisted.

I used to have this discussion/argument with Tim Connover about magic and mentalism, my view being that some "smoke" was necessary for the presentation of theatrical magic or mindreading. If you could really read minds, after proving the existence of the ability beyond reasonable doubt, people would start lining up to employ your abilities as functional, not for entertainment.

"Did he cheat on me?" "Does she love me?" "Is the business worth what the asking price?"

Did it look great? Yes. Just like the first time we saw the T-1000 melt through the bars in the terminator film. But in the film we had the characters and the story and the drama to keep us engaged. The drama was the "smoke" that kept us from stopping mid-movie to put the special effect under the microscope.

I liked what Will did the same way I like fireworks: great eye-candy that I tire of quickly because what you see is all you get.

The real test is what comes next for Will. Too strong a start with nowhere to go next is what killed "Specialhead." He's a smart fellow so I am sure he has a strategy and some more great eye candy, but my money says this first success gets him about three more grabs at the golden ring.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Brad Jeffers » June 6th, 2017, 12:58 pm

performer wrote: an idea of putting the card face up in the pack, and bringing it to the top using the pass (startling and visual)...

Mark, haven't you learned anything from this discussion?!

Startling and visual = "too perfect" = flawed = no mystery = direct link to the method.

Too bad Harry Blackstone didn't have access to this advice back in the 30's. He would have wrapped that bloody birdcage in a towel before vanishing it.
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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby erdnasephile » June 6th, 2017, 1:09 pm

When considering the sub-optimally named "Too Perfect Theory" in practical terms, for me, it largely comes down to conviction. (Close, Ortiz, and Racherbaumer have written better than I can on this point) That is: does the amount of conviction (made possible by the method) support the level of impossibility of the claims of the presentation. That's why I grok Mr. Stone's argument Re: vanishes. Imagine if you could design a method where a card literally vanishes in the open from a spectators fingertips, leaving them with nothing in their hands. If you reproduce an unsigned duplicate after that, you still have a strong effect because if you can really make such a convincing vanish, surely reproducing the "same card" from a wallet is child's play.

Ambitious Card can be thought of as a vanish from one part of the deck (middle) to another part of the deck (top). Therefore, I think you need a signature to cancel out the notion of duplicates because the vanishes (in many cases) just aren't that strong. Parenthetically, this is why I'll bet many of us save the most convincing vanishes for after the first couple of rises when the audience starts to suspect you really aren't putting their card in the middle. Tommy Wonder's routine plays off this very nicely.

As far as the Svengali gambit in AC routines: I think it's effective because it acknowledges and plays off the suspicion of duplicates (which points to the vulnerability of not using a signed card). As Mr. Lewis points out, it makes no sense if you are using a signed card since duplicates are no longer a suspicion. I don't really care for Mr. Elliott's stance (I don't favor tricks where the spectators feel compelled to grab stuff at the end to check out a suspicion that we deliberately fed them--I think the "Ha, ha--fooled you!" moment is really anticlimactic).

Having said all of that, I do believe that the best performers can use their superior performance skills to strongly sell even seemingly flawed effects. I, on the other hand, must rely more on really strong routine construction to help carry the day.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby performer » June 6th, 2017, 1:16 pm

The only thing I have learned from this discussion is a validation of my oft stated position that the trouble with magicians is that they think their opinions are important. Just get out and do the bloody thing a few times and you will soon see what is the right way to do things and the wrong way providing you know a bit about magic and more importantly, how to present it.

As I am typing I am thinking out loud. There may be a way of Alfred having his cake and eat it. I am thinking as I type so this may only be a kernel of an idea with all sorts of flaws in it but food for thought anyway. He could do some sort of routine with the card and not bother signing it. Don't whatever you do waste time with all that unnecesary palaver of getting someone to go through the deck to find a card they "feel a connection to" otherwise you will be there all night. Just tell them that the card you determine will have a connection to them whether they like it or not. In other words just use any bloody card at random. Do some sort of short ambitious card without signing a thing, do the hindu shuffle thing and then reproduce the card from your pocket. NOW chatter that you don't really have a deck all threes (or whatever the card is) and to prove it you ask them to sign it. And then do what you normally do. And finish how you normally finish.

You will have to edit all the above to suit yourself. Do a bit of what you normally do and do a bit of something else that is out there in ambitious card land. And have a good finish.

Something like that anyway. I haven't thought it through properly. I shall leave that to you.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Tom Stone » June 6th, 2017, 1:18 pm

Brad Jeffers wrote:Too bad Harry Blackstone didn't have access to this advice back in the 30's. He would have wrapped that bloody birdcage in a towel before vanishing it.

You mean - instead of the dozens of kids' hands he covered the cage with?
Or instead of the jumping stool that Paul Daniels used?
Or instead of the scarf used as cover by Billy McComb and Tommy Wonder?


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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby performer » June 6th, 2017, 1:22 pm

Bibliophage wrote: If you could really read minds, after proving the existence of the ability beyond reasonable doubt, people would start lining up to employ your abilities as functional, not for entertainment.

"Did he cheat on me?" "Does she love me?" "Is the business worth what the asking price?"



Actually I get this kind of thing all the time. In fact I willl be doing it on television tomorrow night. Anyone live near Niagara Falls? If so click onto this link.

http://www.fsparanormal.com/

I will be a guest on the Paranormal Show on TV Cogeco in Niagara Falls this Wed. June 7th, and I look forward to it. The show airs live from 7pm to 8pm. It is then repeated on Saturday night at 11pm. FYI, the audience is throughout the vast Niagara Peninsula. It also has a large international audience from the many tourists who watch the show from their hotel rooms in Canada’s number one tourist attraction. If any of you or your friends subscribe to TV Cogeco in the Niagara Region, they will be able to watch the show.
Alas I won't be able to see it since I live outside the area but I hope you do!
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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 6th, 2017, 1:29 pm

Watching Tommy Wonder - I wish I did not know about any of the magic methods before seeing him perform. His routines work.

I think we're taking the long way around to discussing notions of confidence/conviction and agency as regards deception. A routine may be pretty but is it deceptive? For example - talking to the elephant in the room - we're all sure there are only four coins, on a perfectly ordinary table and that he was doing the magic by sleight of hand... right?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 6th, 2017, 1:42 pm

I thank Performer for his thoughts and creative thinking on the Ambitious Card. And yes, he is right that it would be ill-advised and unnecessarily time-consuming to have them go through the deck and decide which card they feel a connection to. I find the middle-ground solution that Performer has come up with to be an appealing one. It's amazing that the ACR has been a continually evolving work in progress for me for decades. Now, I would not want to overlook doing a phase that shows that all the cards are the same if its that strong and comedic, and I certainly believe Performer that this is indeed the case. It seems to work well for Harry in his routine from what I have seen.

As a practical matter, since I often work in bars and restaurants where Card on the Ceiling is a featured item, and IMO the card must be signed, and further, since I often use the ACR routine as the appetizer and salad courses prior to the main entree (card on ceiling), I do believe Performer's idea will allow me to have my proverbial cake and eat it too.

Also appreciate and agree for the most part with Erdnasephile's observations on the ACR, although his modesty has probably caused him to sell himself somewhat short.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 6th, 2017, 1:47 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:I thank Performer for his thoughts and creative thinking on the Ambitious Card. And yes, he is right that it would be ill-advised and unnecessarily time-consuming to have them go through the deck and decide which card they feel a connection to. I find the middle-ground solution that Performer has come up with to be an appealing one. Although I would probably not want to select the card for them, because the "connection" they have to the card angle figures prominently in my routine, I could just spread the cards face-down and ask them to select one, have it shown to all, me included, and then comment that their intuition led them to the card, and that they have a connection to that card, as will be seen. It should be easy to get one or two ahead even without the misdirection of having the card initially signed, simply by using the ploy from the Royal Road where a card (or more than one) is turned face up on the top of the deck by dropping the hand holding the deck down to the side, and using the thigh as a leverage point for the turnover(s).

It's amazing that the ACR has been a continually evolving work in progress for me for decades. Now, I would not want to overlook doing a phase that shows that all the cards are the same if its that strong and comedic, and I certainly believe Performer that this is indeed the case. It seems to work well for Harry in his routine, as well, from what I have seen.

As a practical matter, since I often work in bars and restaurants where Card on the Ceiling is a featured item, and IMO the card must be signed, and further, since I often use the ACR routine as the cocktail, appetizer and salad courses prior to the main course (Card on Ceiling), I do believe Performer's idea will allow me to have my proverbial cake and eat it too. I guess that would be the desert!

Also appreciate and agree for the most part with Erdnasephile's observations on the ACR, although his modesty has probably caused him to sell himself somewhat short.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Brad Jeffers » June 6th, 2017, 2:53 pm

Tom Stone wrote:Or instead of the scarf used as cover by Billy McComb and Tommy Wonder?

I see your point.

That transparent scarf makes all the difference.

For Will Tsai's next appearance, perhaps he will perform the same effect, but this time drape a large piece of Saran wrap over the table.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 6th, 2017, 3:38 pm

@Brad there was a Triumph presentation like that.

It's simpler to address confidence and agency. What's on display and what's supposed to be happening? Does the narrative engage or does it seem like "confuse a cat"?
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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Tom Stone » June 6th, 2017, 4:23 pm

Brad Jeffers wrote:
Tom Stone wrote:Or instead of the scarf used as cover by Billy McComb and Tommy Wonder?

I see your point.

That transparent scarf makes all the difference.

For Will Tsai's next appearance, perhaps he will perform the same effect, but this time drape a large piece of Saran wrap over the table.

Not a bad idea. Jose Carroll used something like that, in combination with the same technique, in his "The Glass Wall". And Luis Piedrahita is using two small squares of thin bubble wrap in his matrix: http://littleegyptmagic.com/magic_august2012.html


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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 6th, 2017, 6:14 pm

If your peripheral vision picks up an abrupt action - you wonder what happened there. Tom, you wrote about that problem in a Genii column (May 2011 page 45) where you suggested using a slower mechanism. The cover is cognitive focus of attention on the performer - or a basketball being passed between players... etc.

A no-cover assembly/backfire effect leads to a natural question of agency. What moved the coins? Add a sudden discrepant shift of one coin that is not accounted for by the effect... and you've got folks wanting to pick up the coins - probably looking for threads.

Let's see what Will does for the second round. If he's asking for director's notes - different discussion.
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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Jack Shalom » June 6th, 2017, 6:43 pm

I don't agree that in Tsai's case non-magicians are led to the method. I am not even convinced that magicians know the full method. Yes, magicians can probably speculate correctly on some of the principles used, but does anyone think they have a blow by blow account of what happened? I think there's just informed speculation, not certainty.

I agree though that while the uncovered visual is startling and effective, there also needs to be a place where the spec can complete the action for any depth.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby performer » June 6th, 2017, 6:52 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:I don't agree that in Tsai's case non-magicians are led to the method. I am not even convinced that magicians know the full method. Yes, magicians can probably speculate correctly on some of the principles used, but does anyone think they have a blow by blow account of what happened? I think there's just informed speculation, not certainty.



I agree with this completely. I had no idea how it was done although I will confess I didn't particularly care. I never do. But I doubt laymen knew how it was done either. The panel didn't anyway. Or at least said they didn't. I never did trust that show. People with cards telling the audience to stand up and applaud and all that sort of thing.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Tom Stone » June 6th, 2017, 8:26 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:If your peripheral vision picks up an abrupt action - you wonder what happened there. Tom, you wrote about that problem in a Genii column (May 2011 page 45) where you suggested using a slower mechanism.

It also relates to the December 2009 column "Honesty & Deception" - the almost mortal fear we have of committing to any kind of consistent plot. Almost within seconds of establishing a plot, we abandon it in panic, leaving all the introduced threads untied and flapping in the tailwind of us rushing away from any promises we've made.
In this piece, the causation is initially established as sympathetic magic, what is done in pantomime above the cards get real results underneath the cards.... but after the second sympathetic transposition, that plot is abruptly abandoned and everything is nullified and returned to the initial state without any causation.
Now it is started over, but this time there is apparently no need for any sympathetic rites - which makes one wonder why time was spent on establishing the sympathetic plot to begin with?
Ok, the second time, he establishes a new plot, the ability to displace matter with the palms of his hands, and he's committed to that plot for about four translocations... than that plot is abandoned as well, as he magicially resets the piece - but this time it apparently requires causation, which it didn't the first time. So why bother with waving with both hands, if the transpositions could be effected with just a snap of the fingers? Oh well. So, the abilities change. Ok, so snapping fingers is the third method of causation introduced, let's stick to that then... nope, back to waving the hand again, which have been established as causing translocations to happen... but the coins seem to turn into loose rose petals, and they were introduced at the start when they were dropped on the floor... so... are these 4 new petals? Or are the coins now on the floor, in the place of the rose petals that were initially dropped there?
The aversion against consistency is striking. It seems he wouldn't stay to any kind of plot even if you handcuffed him to it.
Yes, it is visually a remarkable piece, but it is also a badly written piece of crap. It can be both. Like magic's counterpart to the Transformer sequels, Jupiter Rising or Wrath of the Titans.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Dave Le Fevre » June 7th, 2017, 5:18 am

When I got round to watching Will Tsai’s performance, my reaction was wow, that’s absolutely magical, and utterly beautiful. However, somewhere in my reaction there was also a “but …”. And I’ll try to crystallise it.

Consider Al Schneider performing Matrix. Our reaction (well, my reaction, anyway) is that it’s perfect, it’s magical, it’s amazing.

Now consider Will Tsai’s routine, where he merely waves his hands over the coins and the magic happens. Does that make it more magical? If it does, then surely it’d be even more magical were he to stand several metres away, or be in another room.

If I put coins on a table, sit in another room, and ask my guests to look at the coins on the table while they move/vanish/transpose-into-petals, their reaction wouldn’t be that I was an expert conjuror. They’d comment what an amazing table I had.

And I think that that’s the aspect of Will Tsai’s performance that people have a problem with. By having his hands not touching the coins, he’s made it more magical. But equally, by having his hands not touching the coins, he’s turned part of his effect into “merely” a clever piece of hardware. Presumably there’s an optimal separation between coins and hands, maybe a matter of centimetres, such that if the hands were closer to the coins then it’d be marginally less magical and if the hands were further from the coins then it’d enter the that’s-a-clever-table reaction. And maybe that optimal distance varies from spectator to spectator.

Dave

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Bill Marquardt » June 7th, 2017, 9:40 am

Could it not be simply stated that Will was not performing for magicians? He did not "fool us." He fooled "them."

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Tom Moore » June 7th, 2017, 9:47 am

He didn't fool them (in any magic sense) he dazzled them, wowed them, showed them something they'd never seen before but 10 seconds looking at the online public comments shows that he didn't fool them.
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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 7th, 2017, 9:51 am

Bill Marquardt wrote:Could it not be simply stated that Will was not performing for magicians? He did not "fool us." He fooled "them."


He certainly engaged them. As to deceived... not sure there was any serious attempt to attach the weight of convictions to the items or to claim agency. The act was about fleeting moments - anchored by rose petals pulled from a flower. It worked on that level.

The ventriloquist presents an obviously specious absurdity for amusement while the magician gets you to catch yourself believing the absurd.
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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby performer » June 7th, 2017, 10:31 am

Tom Moore wrote:He didn't fool them (in any magic sense) he dazzled them, wowed them, showed them something they'd never seen before but 10 seconds looking at the online public comments shows that he didn't fool them.


Were the online comments from other magicians?

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 7th, 2017, 10:45 am

performer wrote:
Tom Moore wrote:He didn't fool them (in any magic sense) he dazzled them, wowed them, showed them something they'd never seen before but 10 seconds looking at the online public comments shows that he didn't fool them.


Were the online comments from other magicians?


Depends on what you mean by magician, there were no "is that ******* for sale yet" posts.
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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby performer » June 7th, 2017, 12:33 pm

I was actually going to put inverted commas beside the world "magicians" but I forced myself to be polite. It was quite a strain I assure you.

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Re: America's Got Talent performance

Postby Bill Marquardt » June 7th, 2017, 12:46 pm

"That is the greatest close up magic I have ever seen in my life," said a judge. Either he was "fooled" (no, I don't like the word, either) or at least was entertained, as apparently were the rest of the audience. Unless, of course, the whole thing was a put on. At any rate, he was not trying to mystify other magicians. That's my point.


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