Least favorite mental effects

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.
jimb_85
Posts: 67
Joined: April 16th, 2019, 2:04 pm
Favorite Magician: Penn & Teller

Least favorite mental effects

Postby jimb_85 » September 6th, 2021, 7:05 pm

Are there any mentalism routines that you simply refuse to do because you dislike them? I've got a few that I don't think I'll ever perform:

- readings (they feel exploitative, and if you do a reading for someone who is a genuine believer, then you don't know how they could react)
- Rubik's Cube predictions (too gimmicky for my taste)
- progressive anagrams (always felt to me like a dressed-up form of guessing)
- iPhone/iPad effects (they'll know you're using an app)

Tarotist
Posts: 53
Joined: July 29th, 2021, 7:16 am
Favorite Magician: David Nixon

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby Tarotist » September 6th, 2021, 8:29 pm

jimb_85 wrote:Are there any mentalism routines that you simply refuse to do because you dislike them? I've got a few that I don't think I'll ever perform:

- readings (they feel exploitative, and if you do a reading for someone who is a genuine believer, then you don't know how they could react)


I do readings all the time so obviously I don't feel they are exploitative (at least when I do them). However, you do have to know what you are doing and I concede a lot of people don't. However, readings are absolutely nothing to do with mentalism anyway. It is a completely different skill set.

However, with regard to your core question I find I dislike the majority of mentalism routines. They are too long winded and convoluted for my taste with the performer sometimes taking up to 15 minutes to get the trick over and done with .. Long winded magicians are ttiresome enough but long winded mentalism is torture beyond the imagination.

jimb_85
Posts: 67
Joined: April 16th, 2019, 2:04 pm
Favorite Magician: Penn & Teller

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby jimb_85 » September 6th, 2021, 8:54 pm

Tarotist wrote:
However, with regard to your core question I find I dislike the majority of mentalism routines. They are too long winded and convoluted for my taste with the performer sometimes taking up to 15 minutes to get the trick over and done with .. Long winded magicians are ttiresome enough but long winded mentalism is torture beyond the imagination.


Fully agreed. Especially when they have someone go through incredibly convoluted steps.

"Okay, take the digits of your PIN code, reverse them, multiply by pi, and then subtract the number of hikers who died on Mount Everest."

Tarotist
Posts: 53
Joined: July 29th, 2021, 7:16 am
Favorite Magician: David Nixon

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby Tarotist » September 6th, 2021, 9:38 pm

I am not completely averse to mentalism as I think that it is the strongest kind of magic if done well but regrettable the least effective if done badly. And I think it is usually done badly. However, the mentalists I personally have enjoyed the most were Al Koran, Chan Canasta, and Kreskin. Mind you I am not quite sure if Chan Canasta could be called a mentalist and I doubt he would have approved of the title either. I also like Uri Geller but I am not sure I would call him a mentalist either!

However, to me the best of the lot was Maurice Fogel. Hardly any footage of him anymore but this will have to do:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuAEzY5zVVk

Diego
Posts: 415
Joined: June 16th, 2008, 11:29 am

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby Diego » September 9th, 2021, 9:46 pm

"_______ isn't boring, YOU'RE boring!" Especially mentalism as well as magic is dependant on the performer, who knows their audience isn't there to be bored.
I second Maurice Fogel. I saw him at a magician's convention public show in 1979/80, (wish there was recording of it) at The Wilshire-Ebell theater in L.A. An education in showmanship and audience control.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5616
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL
Contact:

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby Bill Mullins » September 10th, 2021, 10:44 am

Jamy Swiss, Genii, Jan 2010:
Teller once commented to me, many years ago, that the reason mentalism is so boring is because it largely concerns itself with the revelation of proper nouns, "a job best left to museums."

jimb_85
Posts: 67
Joined: April 16th, 2019, 2:04 pm
Favorite Magician: Penn & Teller

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby jimb_85 » September 10th, 2021, 7:38 pm

I'd have to agree with Teller's comments. If you're pretending to have legitimate psychic powers, why limit yourself to such mundane subject matter?

Tarotist
Posts: 53
Joined: July 29th, 2021, 7:16 am
Favorite Magician: David Nixon

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby Tarotist » September 10th, 2021, 9:22 pm

I don't think it is the nouns that make mentalism boring. I think the main two factors are the personalities of the performers and how convoluted the material is. If the performer has not much in the way of personality that alone is an entertainment killer since there is not much to look at. A magician with a dull personality can get away with things a bit better since there are props to look at. A mentalist has nothing to hold attention with except his personality. And long windedness can be a REAL killer!

The other problem as has already been mentioned is the convoluted aspect of things. By the time you get to the end of the trick the audience has forgotten what the beginning was.

Mr. Woolery
Posts: 3
Joined: October 14th, 2016, 12:50 pm
Favorite Magician: Master Payne

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby Mr. Woolery » September 15th, 2021, 11:45 pm

Personally, there are several things in mentalism that leave me cold:

Progressive anagrams and spelling trees just feel like exactly what they are. I’ve seen a number of videos that show performances that are supposed to be good. They all look like a fishing trip.

Any information regurgitation routines. I hate watching what purports to be a Q&A but really just highlights a clever way to read information as it is simply repeated back. “I think your mother’s maiden name was Smith!” I mean, meh.

Any version of creating a number in a confusing process, writing it in an unusual script, then turning it over to show that it looks like a word someone selected from a list or book with the performer’s guidance.

Magic squares. I love the concept and premise. I have yet to see a performance of it that I like at all.

Any app-based routine. There are apps that can be excellent as tools within a performance, but so little creative effort gets displayed, they all seem like variations on “here, use my phone to draw/write/select something and I’ll take back my innocent phone and tell you what it was.”

Book tests. Why do I only get to pick the first word on the page? Why do you have to bring the book? Why can’t I just pick a word in my own mind?

Most of all, I dislike mentalism that has no connection to the participants. I can guess your word, number, or other limited selection, but never say a word about WHY any of it should matter.

Patrick

Mr. Woolery
Posts: 3
Joined: October 14th, 2016, 12:50 pm
Favorite Magician: Master Payne

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby Mr. Woolery » September 16th, 2021, 12:01 am

Now, after that, I’d like to comment on a few other elements of the conversation so far.

There are different kinds of readings. I’ve worked at a local witchy shop as a palmist and tarot reader, so I have some experience with private readings. And I don’t think of them as mentalism.

However, a mini reading in a routine gives more interest and meaning to the performance. It can answer the “why.” For example, if I have you choose a card to remember and I go about trying to divine it, I might say “I sense a lot going on in your life, and I believe you will be drawn to a card that relates to your life right now. Everyone has problems, but I believe in balance your life isn’t all that bad right now. However, I do get the sense of some money concerns. From that, I believe you are most likely to have chosen a Diamond card. Did you?” Yes, you know they did. “And this is a time of change in your finances, to some degree. This means you chose either the ace or the five. Not sure about this, but I sense the energy of a new opportunity, either recently or in the very near future, so I’m going to say you chose the Ace of Diamonds.” The mini reading helps make the card divination meaningful and I think that’s better mentalism.

Patrick

Tarotist
Posts: 53
Joined: July 29th, 2021, 7:16 am
Favorite Magician: David Nixon

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby Tarotist » September 16th, 2021, 9:06 am

I completely agree that private readings are nothing whatsoever to do with mentalism. It is a completely different skill set altogether. I do know that some mentalists do readings and use trickery in the doing of them such as centre tears and billet switching but I consider that silly at best and fraudulent at worst.

It is true that mini readings can sometimes enhance a performance but I prefer not to bother since when performing I want nothing to do with readings since I want people to laugh, gasp and enjoy themselves. I want nothing to do with readings since I do enough of the damn things as it is. However, I did see a numerology presentation to "Obliging Aces" in the recent publication "Annotated Royal Road to Card Magic". I rather liked this book. It seems that Michael Vincent sent the author an email saying it was "superb". I tend to agree.

Incidentally the best book for beginners on Tarot is entitled Streetwise Tarot which is being sold in bookshops all over the world. I know the author personally and consider him to be a genius of the first magnitude. Here is a link to said literary masterpiece:
http://marklewisentertainment.com/html/magicians.html

jimb_85
Posts: 67
Joined: April 16th, 2019, 2:04 pm
Favorite Magician: Penn & Teller

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby jimb_85 » September 18th, 2021, 9:57 pm

Mr. Woolery wrote:Personally, there are several things in mentalism that leave me cold:

Any version of creating a number in a confusing process, writing it in an unusual script, then turning it over to show that it looks like a word someone selected from a list or book with the performer’s guidance.

Patrick


I think that can be effective once or twice as long as it's not too obvious you're forcing the word on them, and that the upside-down reading isn't too much of a reach to have the numbers match letters (I've been running into similar issues with an ambigram-themed effect)

Mr. Woolery wrote:
Book tests. Why do I only get to pick the first word on the page? Why do you have to bring the book? Why can’t I just pick a word in my own mind?

Patrick


Fully agreed here. This is why when I do book tests, I make sure to use a method that allows the person to have a free choice of any word, not just the first one on a page or one they count to through a convoluted method.

Syzygy007
Posts: 2
Joined: April 9th, 2021, 5:14 pm
Favorite Magician: Penn & Teller

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby Syzygy007 » October 6th, 2021, 3:29 pm

Whoa, interesting topic here. I have a lot of feelings about what I like/dislike in magic, mentalism, cinema, cigars, etc.

I'll post about what I dislike in a day or two but first, and what I would find helpful, is what I LIKE:

- I like a bit of surprise. For example, I have a version of Sum Total where I show the participants 4 cards with numbers and one blank card. They are then asked to generate a 6 digit number (no math, just "give me a number between 100-200, give me a number between 200-999"). The number they give matches the sum of the four numbers showing on the table. Direct, quick, clear. I didn't provide any of my script but there should be obvious openings for numerological readings if you have that sort of persuasion. I also didn't offer a plot. Both the lack of scripting and lack of plot are intentional as I worked really hard on both of those things.

What else do I like?

Well, this is because of my experience in magic and mental magic but a little bit of originality would be nice. I liked some of Cassidy's performances. I've like ZERO Cassidy rip-off performances (and some even use the same scripts and beats as Cassidy which is just so ... lazy).

jimb_85
Posts: 67
Joined: April 16th, 2019, 2:04 pm
Favorite Magician: Penn & Teller

Re: Least favorite mental effects

Postby jimb_85 » October 8th, 2021, 6:27 am

Syzygy007 wrote:Whoa, interesting topic here. I have a lot of feelings about what I like/dislike in magic, mentalism, cinema, cigars, etc.

I'll post about what I dislike in a day or two but first, and what I would find helpful, is what I LIKE:

- I like a bit of surprise. For example, I have a version of Sum Total where I show the participants 4 cards with numbers and one blank card. They are then asked to generate a 6 digit number (no math, just "give me a number between 100-200, give me a number between 200-999"). The number they give matches the sum of the four numbers showing on the table. Direct, quick, clear. I didn't provide any of my script but there should be obvious openings for numerological readings if you have that sort of persuasion. I also didn't offer a plot. Both the lack of scripting and lack of plot are intentional as I worked really hard on both of those things.



Now that is clever.


Return to “Mentalism & Mental Magic”