Mental Magic

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Re: Mental Magic

Postby Guest » September 10th, 2001, 6:50 am

CMON TOM!,CMON TOM!,CMON TOM!!....(MUSIC)

Jim Morton
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Re: Mental Magic

Postby Jim Morton » September 10th, 2001, 4:18 pm

Originally posted by Tom Stone:
I'm still not sure why it didn't fly like Letterman's and Leno's jokes. Can you point out what I've misunderstood?


Talking about what is or isn't funny is a tricky issue, but I'll give it a try. When attempting to be sardonic, it is generally not a good idea to make victims the objects of the jokes. As for Leno and Letterman, they sometimes do go over the line, but they keep things moving, so that no one gaffe ruins their monologues.

Jim

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Re: Mental Magic

Postby Guest » September 10th, 2001, 5:19 pm


Posted by Tom Stone:

Each audience is different, and it is impossible to know how they will appear until the show begins. And by then it is a bit late to custom design something for them.

Why giving them what they want, when you can give them something that they didn't know they wanted?


Now I have oft been chastised for asking magi to push beyond mere entertainment to something more. Giving them more is exactly that deeper meaning to which I (we)talk.

I am behind what you say but, perhaps, not that an audience will pay attention to something that disinterests them simply because it interests me. I think that is where knowing what your audience wants comes in.

I never feel locked in to a shows texture. It can always be watered down or psyched up by a simple presentational "tilt" if one encouters a unique audience. I also think that one can add material of a more progressive nature mid show when one starts to get the type of feedback that asks for the real believable miracles.

I also believe that with a deep understanding of the human animal we can structure routines and even whole shows to motivate the maximum number of spectators to the place where they feel open to these miracles. That in itself is a moving experience but what happens for them when they get there can be so much more.

How many magicians really think about what happens when their audience starts to believe? I would guess few based on the way they run from the implications. How many mentalists? I would guess most.

Tom Cutts

[ September 10, 2001: Message edited by: Tom Cutts ]

Bill Mullins
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Re: Mental Magic

Postby Bill Mullins » September 10th, 2001, 6:28 pm

Originally posted by Tom Stone:


Sorry Bill,
I'm still not quite familiar with american humour, and since Jay Leno and Letterman frequently makes casual one-liners about the death penalty, I thought that this would be in the same vein. Especially since I thought that the reference would be rather obscure by now.
I'm still not sure why it didn't fly like Letterman's and Leno's jokes. Can you point out what I've misunderstood?


Like Jim Morton said, making fun of the victim is in poor taste -- particularly when the victim was a 25 year old woman who was brutally stabbed to death, as her neighbors turned a deaf ear. Her death certainly is a strong metaphor for "involvement", but to use it as point of comparison is so strong that I tended to withdraw from what you were saying, rather than accept your analogy.

I think also that this is one of those situations that if we were speaking face-to-face, the personal contact would have lessened the impact that the stark, cold words on the computer screen had. But, that's just my opinion, and most of the people that know me socially or work with me could give examples where I have been as bad or worse in inappropriate communication.

Regards, Bill

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Tom Stone
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Re: Mental Magic

Postby Tom Stone » September 10th, 2001, 7:52 pm

Originally posted by bill mullins:
Like Jim Morton said, making fun of the victim is in poor taste

Thanks for the clarification Bill. Actually, I agree, I too cringe a bit when hearing Leno making fun of people the same day they get killed. I might have misunderstood american humour, but at least I picked an incident that happened almost 40 years ago.

However, the point wasn't about Kitty Genovese. The point was that if you rely on that "people want to be involved", you can expect to get a nasty surprise. Can you suggest anything else that illustrates that in a more convincing way?

I think also that this is one of those situations that if we were speaking face-to-face, the personal contact would have lessened the impact


I believe that you are right.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Mental Magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 10th, 2001, 10:29 pm

There are lots of different types of humor, and lots of different lines drawn in the sand. Comedians are lunatic fly-boys, constantly daring to cross the line and frequently flying right past it. Frankly, I am revolted by a lot of what passes for humor these days, and I think that both Leno and Letterman are idiots for different reasons (where the hell is Johnny Carson when you really need him?).
I don't think that what Tom wrote about Kitty Genovese was in poor taste considering the climate of humor in this country on national television and in the movies. It seems entirely in line with the tenor of the times. His statement, and invocation of the horrible crime in Forest Hills (I grew up nearby) is indicative of a lot of what goes on in New York City (and perhaps other large cities). People's disinvolvement is a symptom of the chaos of the time--they do NOT want to be engaged by anything if they can avoid it. Once you get past that, however, people CAN be reached. It may take a few seconds or a few minutes. In Kitty Genovese's case, it took like 20 minutes. I can only say that where I live in Washington DC, nothing like that could happen. Our neighbors would be out of their houses in a shot!
I don't think any further discussion is necessary about what Tom Stone wrote. Let's try and get back to the topic of "Mental magic."
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Re: Mental Magic

Postby TCTahoe » September 12th, 2001, 11:06 am

“Tom may disagree, but I believe one of the magician's primary jobs is to determine what is most meaningful to your audience, and then present that very thing to them. This I believe is the primary job of any artist, performing or otherwise. “

I have always believed the statement “Be true to yourself”. I do a lot of shows, and if I tried to determine what was important to each and every member of my audience I don't think I would every get around to performing. I think people, audiences, relate to what has a ring of truth to it. I think you will find that if most of the arts were to cater to the audience (appeal to the common denominator) you will come up with some pretty bland stuff.

No, songs are written for the writer, books are written for the author; audiences relate their own personal experiences to them. Steven King and Phil Collins (to name but two) have both expressed this sentiment.

Haven't you every heard a song, didn't give it a second thought, then something in your life changed and that song takes on a new more powerful meaning?

We, can only hope the audience will respond to the passion we have for our work. That they recognize the honesty in our performance.

OK enough of my ramblings, none of this probably makes since as I have been up all night and there is no coffee in the house.

TC

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Re: Mental Magic

Postby Guest » September 12th, 2001, 6:16 pm

I haven't read this entire thread but in response to the original post, I think part of being a performer is finding a way to make magic have meaning, also if you feel that the only thing people care about is money then I think you are poorly mistaken.

Brian Marks
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Re: Mental Magic

Postby Brian Marks » September 12th, 2001, 10:33 pm

I dont think humor in America should be in this thread but comedians push the line because it needs to be pushed. Look at Lenny Bruce, George Carlin or Richard Pryor. Lenny Bruce got arrested on stage, George Carlin got fired from a Vegas hotel for saying [censored] despite their main game being called Craps. Jay Leno is none of those comedians but pushing the "line" of what is acceptable is what comedians do, hopefully while making you laugh

Larry Horowitz
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Re: Mental Magic

Postby Larry Horowitz » September 13th, 2001, 1:59 am

Maybe the word meaningful is to strong a word. Maybe we should be refering to making the magic something the audience can relate to.

I gave a show for the air force generals involved in spy satilite telemetry. For them I performed a matrix coin routine and referred to the coins as MX missiles that could be moved from silo to silo undetected by viewing from above.

Maybe Cap in Bottle can be told as a story of How great it would be to compact all of ones garbage into a little bottle for easy disposal.

I wouldn't call these examples meaningful. There not important, they won't change the lives of our audience. They just cause a little part of the brain to click on and say..Hey, that's just a little more interesting then an inattimate object.

You want meaning perform well. The audience enjoys the time spent with you. That's meaningful.

Guest

Re: Mental Magic

Postby Guest » September 13th, 2001, 3:17 am

I am not convinced pushing the envelope, "that" envelope, is what comedins do. I rather see it as what humans do. What more, what next little thing can I get away with? You see it in movies, TV, music, pornography, income tax returns (interesting transition), diet fads, and probably many more things. It is about desensitization.

Comedians make us laugh at and sometimes think about ourselves. To do so they must elevate things to the absurd. Many vary great comedians, however, don't push boundaries...or at least "those" boundaries.

Yes, there can sometimes be meaning in pushing the limits...and sometimes JUST ratings.

Likewise I feel we must understand, meaning goes beyond being topical or commercial. Meaning reaches into our very soul of existence as humans. Yes, that can be a very brilliantly crafted and exceptionally executed humorous routine; or so many other things that it might be as well.

Guest

Re: Mental Magic

Postby Guest » September 14th, 2001, 1:11 am

TC wrote:
I have always believed the statement Be true to yourself. I do a lot of shows, and if I tried to determine what was important to each and every member of my audience I dont think I would every get around to performing. I think people, audiences, relate to what has a ring of truth to it. I think you will find that if most of the arts were to cater to the audience (appeal to the common denominator) you will come up with some pretty bland stuff.



I hadn't thought of it that way, but now having seen someone else putting this into words, I really felt this way myself. I want my show to allow the audience to get to know me, and see the world of "wonder" a little through my eyes. I guess what I was saying before is that we do need to be sensitive to our audience (not try to offend, while making them think).
I have found, getting back to the topic of mental magic, that the mental effects that I perform, DO get a stronger response from the audience than the magic. I think people are looking for something to believe in, and though many intelligent people don't "believe" in magic, they do believe in mindreading.
Rick

Steve Hook
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Re: Mental Magic

Postby Steve Hook » September 16th, 2001, 1:54 am

And if you have any doubt about Rick's post, go back and check Eric Mead's article in MAGIC from the time when he broke his (thumb?)


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