To wand or not to wand?

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
Leonard Hevia
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Leonard Hevia » January 20th, 2010, 8:48 pm

The magic can come from you--if you believe. And it can also derive from a wand--or pen?

Mr. Townsend is correct--in the end it comes down to the character of the magician. Beyond that, the wand has nice properties that can make our work smoother. Charles Bertram liked the idea of using the wand as a pointer instead of a finger so as to not offend the ladies.

Kent Gunn
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Kent Gunn » January 20th, 2010, 9:02 pm

Jon,

You're leaving out apostrophes, please stop that. Your stuff is hard enough to read without you shifting your punctuation skills.

I do not play the part of a wizard. I'm not a wizard. I don't claim magical powers. I'm a smartass that does a few tricks. You'll never see me at a renaissance festival attired in jerkin and mandillion pattering in iambic pentameter.

NO SLIGHT against ren faire magi intented. Payne, Palmer and several others entertain the snot out of folks like that. It ain't me babe, no, no, no it ain't me.)

I think you can leave an audience with a sense of awe, true wonder and some goddamn magical moments without abandoning our fine art to mindless, slavish insistance that what we do must all be motiviated or driven by any aesthetic twaddle. If that trite, condescending crap works for you, great! I find most deliveries by those who are magical artistes, studied, boring and they tend to suck at sleight-of-hand.

Brandon, you don't use a wand. Bully for you. Your advice is like the Pope telling people not use contraceptives. If you don't play the game, you shouldn't make up the rules.

KG
Last edited by Kent Gunn on January 20th, 2010, 9:03 pm, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: to render it PG, cleaned up the Pope joke.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 20th, 2010, 9:12 pm

Whether or not your character uses a wand as part of how they make magic happen is a choice. I'm only going as far as to suggest that one account for the magic and be consistent about doing so.

Now what's all this about your wife knitting sweaters for the furballs coughed up by your magic cat?

Bob Coyne
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Bob Coyne » January 20th, 2010, 10:43 pm

I don't think there's any overarching need to "account for the magic" via a "character". What matters is that the performance is entertaining and deceptive. But that doesn't require every prop (and a wand is just a prop) to have some great significance beyond it's role in the trick. Sometimes a wand is just a wand.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 21st, 2010, 9:57 am

A wand is a wand if you are a magician.
Otherwise it's a dowel, decorated dowel, twig, fetish object, or perhaps something that was created by a magician.

The notion of prop comes from a side of discussion outside of the audience, a backstage view where one discusses scripts, blocking, props, lighting etc.

Without a clearly defined character - what's to distingish a performance that is deceptive and effectve for a charlatan, con man, or something other than a magician? The magician is a role, a character that we bring forth for audiences and as such they are defined by their abilities, limits, desires and intents.

Just the basics, we can get into levels of meaning some other time.

Brandon Hall
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Brandon Hall » January 21st, 2010, 12:52 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:A wand is a wand if you are a magician.
Otherwise it's a dowel, decorated dowel, twig, fetish object, or perhaps something that was created by a magician.

The notion of prop comes from a side of discussion outside of the audience, a backstage view where one discusses scripts, blocking, props, lighting etc.

Without a clearly defined character - what's to distingish a performance that is deceptive and effectve for a charlatan, con man, or something other than a magician? The magician is a role, a character that we bring forth for audiences and as such they are defined by their abilities, limits, desires and intents.

Just the basics, we can get into levels of meaning some other time.


I totally agree, and this is all I'm saying. Be consistent and know why you're doing it.
"Hope I Die Before I Get Old"
P. Townshend

Bob Coyne
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Bob Coyne » January 21st, 2010, 5:22 pm

There is consistency to tricks, or let's say a logic to tricks which defines and motivates the flow of the effect. For example, with cups and balls the role of the balls is to disappear, appear, etc. The cups function as covers that hide and then reveal the magic. And the wand focuses the action and causes the magic to happen. There's no reason a wand needs to be used either in all effects or none, just as not all routines need to consistently use (or not use) use cups or balls or cards or whatever.

Likewise I see no reason a performer must adopt a role or character of "magician". It's perfectly fine for the performer to just be a normal person who entertains by doing magic. The theatrical notions being argued for by Jonathan and others in this thread might be appropriate for some sorts of magic but are largely irrelevant for most.

Pete McCabe
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Pete McCabe » January 21st, 2010, 5:39 pm

One of the undeveloped ideas in my notebook is that you would bring out, say, three different wands, and then do the same trick three different times, one with each wand, with different outcomes attributed to the differences between them. If anybody wants to develop/use this idea, be my guest.

Gerhard Dutschke
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Gerhard Dutschke » January 21st, 2010, 6:13 pm

One of the undeveloped ideas in my notebook is that you would bring out, say, three different wands, and then do the same trick three different times, one with each wand, with different outcomes attributed to the differences between them. If anybody wants to develop/use this idea, be my guest.


I like this very much.

I think as a magician I need a toolbox. In there are tools to make the magic happen. If I need for a effect a wand, I will use the wand. For an other effect I need a magic spell or I have to snap my fingers or I blow on an object.

A craftsman has also not only one tool, e.g. a hammer, in his toolbox.
I think the spectators know this and accept it.

Gerhard

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 21st, 2010, 10:14 pm

Robert-Houdin had quite the collection of wands - used for different effects. :)

A routine about finding the right wand to do a trick as in the scene in Harry Potter where he gets a wand sounds cute.

I think it was mentioned earlier that there is nothing "wrong" with a show where an affable person presents stuff found in a magic shop or seen on TV.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 21st, 2010, 10:29 pm

Bob Coyne wrote:There is consistency to tricks, or let's say a logic to tricks which defines and motivates the flow of the effect. ...

Somehow you've deleted the person performing and their presumed will which is usually part of the definition of magic. There is a consistency of action demonstrated by the person doing tricks.

Or perhaps you are arguing ala Dawkins that magicians are carriers for some sort of magical memes "effects/tricks" and transmitting them by performance, instruction and literature? Magicians as agents of "trick" infection... interesting. Kinda suggests a parallel between the spore which infects ants and then drives them to climb up tall plants before they emit more spores - and escape artists which climb up tall buildings then hang upside down in straightjackets over an awed crowd. There was an old SF story about first contact with something alien which comes in the form of an idea.

Hmmm... tricks as the equivalent of memes.

Bob Coyne
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Bob Coyne » January 22nd, 2010, 12:00 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Somehow you've deleted the person performing and their presumed will which is usually part of the definition of magic. There is a consistency of action demonstrated by the person doing tricks.


I wasn't deleting the person at all, just suggesting that the performer isn't tied in some theatrical knot with the props he or she uses or the tricks being performed. There's a lot of freedom in selection of routines and manner of performance. Sure some tricks work well with some performance styles which are in turn related to the performers personality etc. And the presentation of tricks is modified to fit individual performance styles. But that's a far cry from the type of consistency and theatrical role-playing you are arguing is required.

And just as importantly, my main point is that effects themselves have an inner logic which reflects and motivates the props (of which the wand is one). This is something that *you* seem to have deleted in requiring the wand to be derived from the character that the performer is playing. The wand can be part of the structure of one trick and not another just like cards, coins, cups, balls, handkerchiefs, ropes, newspapers, rubberbands, safety pins, wallets, blindfolds, dental dam, and head choppers.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: To wand or not to wand?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 22nd, 2010, 6:08 am

Bob Coyne wrote:...my main point is that effects themselves have an inner logic which reflects and motivates the props (of which the wand is one). This is something that *you* seem to have deleted in requiring the wand to be derived from the character that the performer is playing. The wand can be part of the structure of one trick and not another just like cards, coins, cups, balls, handkerchiefs, ropes, newspapers, rubberbands, safety pins, wallets, blindfolds, dental dam, and head choppers.


That would be the meme type argument where the person or character exists only to propagate the meme via behavior - the empty organism - or as stated earlier, the deleted person.

Another approach comes from having a character that makes choices and uses tools to accomplish tasks directed toward a goal.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time


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