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Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: January 30th, 2012, 9:30 am
by Brad Henderson
So in your mind it's all about the money? If you can find someone who you can convince to buy your product, regardless of it's quality or how it impacts peoples vision of magic and magicians, the you are successful. I suppose playing to the lowest common denominator, or people who are just looking to kill an hour after dinner, has it's reward. But you keep dodging the question - what other art or form of entertainment is so entrenched in the past, having advocates refusing to allow it to modernize itself, as magic? Comedy? Music? Theater?

Oh - and what the bell is that red bag on a stick other than a trick something a magician uses to switch one object for a other?

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: January 30th, 2012, 9:39 am
by mrgoat
Selling crap to idiots is easy. Look at the success of McDonalds and X Factor.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: January 30th, 2012, 10:21 am
by Jonathan Townsend
Brad Henderson wrote:... they conjure up anachronistic images out of touch with anything in culture today?

We got rid of the minstrel shows, perhaps magic can some day move into the 20th century. (I know, it's no longer the 20th century,... Baby steps).

Brad, you're confusing entertainment product with art. Art takes the risk of novelty. Entertainment product offers comforts of the familiar. Robert-Houdin was showing marvels already promised by technology and using deception to extend credulity.

Now about minstrel shows; Surely folks have not been able to ignore the urban market with its stereotypes of loud, colorful and stylized offerings. It seem there's a split along separate but equal lines where Medea's adventures somehow avoid meeting up with Mrs Doubfire and Mamma's Boys.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: January 31st, 2012, 12:10 am
by Bob Sanders

You have mastered the one man conversation.

Perhaps Jonathan can convince you that the "one pony show" is not the only way to go. There really are people who can walk and chew gum at the same time. (And they may still wear socks and shoes in the process and even breathe used oxygen!)

Is your assumption at this point, that being a self proclaimed "artist" forgives the failure to be a financial success?

Has it ever occurred to you that some real artists ALSO perform for others to support the "artists"?

To treat your opinionated question:
"But you keep dodging the question - what other art or form of entertainment is so entrenched in the past, having advocates refusing to allow it to modernize itself, as magic? Comedy? Music? Theater?"

What about hypnosis and mental magic? (You know I did that too in the 60s and 70s?)

The real picture to me is that the effort of finding these advocates refusing to allow it to modernize itself may be a personal perception problem. Remember projection? (It makes a great one man conversation.)

For my first half century in the business, I havent met these advocates you fear. I have met some that still fear the past.

Enjoy your magic. And, if you are doing it commercially, see to it that others enjoy it too.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: January 31st, 2012, 5:56 am
by Jonathan Pendragon
All art is entrenched in the past. Aristophanes (circa 400 BCE) and the characters of Commedia dell'arte (circa 1550 CE) influence on the comedy of today's TV, films and stand-up is profound, just as the mathematical relationships in music owe a debt to Pythagoras (circa 530 BCE). If you want to see something really scary, check out the art in the Chauvet caves. some of the work (the horses) could easily pass as post-Clovis era work even though it was created 30,000 years ago. Grand Illusion and Mentalism doesn't appear until the 1800s. Isaac Fawkes became famous in the 1700s. I have heard the argument made that it was Vernon who turned close-up into an art. While the theatrical nature and certain aspects of the craft maybe much older, magic as an entertainment form is relatively young.

I have spent a great part of my life developing new styles of presentation and magical effects. At the moment I am working on a presentation for a new piece by Jim Steinmeyer, as well an unusual style of mentalism. Jim is constantly developing new material as is my friend Tom Stone. In fact there are new movements of magic being developed in countries all over the world. Don't condemn the entire art because some cling to "Standards" or neoclassic presentations that are more classic than neo. It's easy to find fault, it's much harder to find a solution. We could use a little help and much less critique.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: January 31st, 2012, 9:02 am
by Bob Sanders
Thank you Jonathan. Common sense can be refreshing new stuff too.

You know there was a time when it could be argued that magic was a subdivision of medicine! Look at the origin of the wand.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 2nd, 2012, 10:43 pm
by Jonathan Pendragon
The Caduceus carried by Hermes. Now that guy could do a fast Metamorphosis!

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 4:51 am
by Brad Henderson
Jonathan, lots of fancy words there. No one has denied that magic or any art has a great history. But how many contemporary artists are still painting the same pictures in the same style with the same materials while wearing the same smoks? How many successful and relevant comedians are telling the same jokes using the same language while wearing the same outfits as they were in say 1938?

Now if an artist wanted to do these things as "commentary" that would be one thing - but most magicians don't even know what this bag on a stick is even meant to be - other than a bag on a stick which magicians use to change things.

When we ask the public what it thinks when it hears "magician" - do they reference those rare individuals in our field who are trying to make things relevant and resonant for a modern audience - or a guy in a tux with flowers made from feather dusters, canes that collapse (when was the last time a cane was a common fashion accessory?) and a bag of lines that have not seen a modern reference since or orben penned them a lifetime ago?

When a hollywood movie or tv show wants to portray a magician (the illusionist and prestige being notable exceptions) do they define him or her as a contemporary character with presentations relevant to modern concerns and sensibilities - or is our defining quality the same dress which to Robert Houdin was once "contemporary".

No one has suggested that modern magic be a complete schism from the past - only that it be in SOME sense of the word,well, modern.

I notice you don't do the sawing the same way that goldin did That plexi has a nice almost futuristic appearance doesn't it, compared to the painted wood boxes of yesteryear

Yet how many magicians props look any different from the way they have been for the past century?

And it's been a while since I've seen you work, but I don't recall you in a tux when I did.

Bob apparently wants to measure ones artistic success by how much the check clears for. I suppose that's one way to value things. But that says less about the quality, relevance, and modernity of ones magic than it does ones marketing - wouldn't you agree?

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 6:18 am
by Jonathan Pendragon
I was born with severe speech impediments. Words were trapped in my head, words I couldn't pronounce. It took decades of work to do what most people take for granted, speak well. I overcompensate, but I don't think of words as fancy; I think of them as tools of expression, even profane words which are often the only ones that express exactly how we feel.

You can't force progress by shaming those who refuse to move, only by example.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 8:59 am
by Jonathan Townsend
Jonathan Pendragon wrote:Brad
...force progress ... by example.

@Jonathan and Brad,

Are you up for sharing the development process behind some of your works - the "what I stole and how I applied it" so folks might have suitable examples?

An emphasis on the how rather than the what - with examples so they can anchor the process to known outcomes in context.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 9:00 am
by Bob Sanders

Did it ever occur to you that I am not the only one there in a tux?

I generally work trade shows in a blue blazer.

In the rodeo arena there is the clown costume.

In business meetings, suits are appropriate. (Corporate rank even has a color code: blue, grey and black.)

If you knew much about costuming or had ever even attended my events, you should know that there are indeed changes over time. Ever tried my Walk-Around Silk to Egg? Now it is used all over the world.

But, to outlaw shoelaces because the audience has seen them before is not progress. Teaching a cannibal to eat with a fork is not civilization. Being appropriate certainly does count with sophisticated audiences. I have seen entertainers taken off the bid (consideration for hire) list for being inappropriate for the audience.

This still is not a contest. Nobody asked you to justify your biases. Why compete with a myth?

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 12:21 pm
by Brad Henderson
Bob, have you noticed all of your arguments stem from the personal - your work, your clothes, "your" tricks? Perhaps the reason david's essay heats you up so much is because by it you feel attacked. He didn't say you could no longer use the items your currently do - only called our attention to the fact that doing so runs counter to the notion of a modern magician. (and thanks for that up to date tip on color coded business suits. It will help me tell whose who when I'm at google, Facebook, apple, amazon, pixar.... Heck, I don't think IBM even requires suits anymore.)

JP - my comment re: fancy words was meant to communicate that while what you said was indeed lovely, and not untrue, it simply had no bearing on the dynamic points at
hand. All arts have history and those tendrils reach far. But all arts (at the least one of
which I am aware) strive to be resonant with the modern age. Magic seems to be the one who actively and directly fights that notion.

And my intent is not to force evolution through shame. However, the first step to growth is being able/willing to actually SEE what we are, SEE what is around us. Until one sees, no change is possible. (and based on your work JP, it seems to me that you did/do try to see who you are and what you are doing as clearly as possible. So i find it odd that you seem to be supporting someone who advocates for sticking to the old - BECAUsE it's old - and sticking ones fingers in ones ears when another dare call attention to the fact that old is, indeed, NOT modern.)

As an undergrad I studied with one of the greatest trumpet players in the world. He said, if you can listen to yourself and doc severinson and hear the difference, you have - with work - the potential to one day play as great as he. HOWEVER, if you listen to
yourself and Doc and DON'T hear the difference ...

Many magicians never hear the difference. sometimes, because they 'see' the fantasy and not the reality. Often, because they simply don't ever take the time to really look. Now add to that the the need of looking even beyond oneself to the culture surrounding them. That last step apparently happens even less frequently, we still have change bags that look like offering collectors, after all.

I would have hoped david's essay would have encouraged people to take a moment to "look". Some did. Many, like Bob, chose a different tact. My posts are merely in hopes
that other magicians do not read his words and think that keeping ones eyes closed, or focused solely on oneself without considering the larger issues, is the path the growth.

It isn't.

The tux and change bag are proof

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 6:25 pm
by Bob Sanders

Projection is your life. Enjoy it. Invent your own imaginary facts.

What this thread has gotten is plenty of emails to me from other forum members advising me that you are hopelessly in love with arguing for meaningless reasons. (Your fixation on the change bag is one example.) I thank them for the warning. Shame on me; you fooled me longer than you did them.

We are very obviously not in the same league. There are probably some very good reasons for that. We are not competitors. I like my league. Im not here to defend it to a beginner.

To those who are open to becoming modern, my position was only to encourage them to not major in the minors and not shoot the messenger. Progress based upon knowledge is much more probable than change based upon ignorance and arrogance. Being blind is not a total disability it is just a handicap, unless you are the government. I see heroes overcoming handicaps everyday.

Back to the heart of this thread, for the most part this old professor actually liked Davids position paper. And we agree totally on his second post. My suggestion was to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Effort is better invested on the replacement rather than being spent destroying the existing asset.

Oh! Another dose of reality is due. In real business, we do still wear suits as appropriate. It is even appropriate in the Legislature and Congress.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 6:35 pm
by Brad Henderson
Hi, Bob. Thank you for both the direct and the not so thinly vieled personal attacks. I'm sorry you are unwilling or perhaps incapable of discussing the issues.

But I am glad to be educated that places like amazon, google, Facebook and the like are not 'real' business.

I suppose they are beginners too.

They'll never last, right?

I'm reminded of a story related by David lichtman. He was brought into a school to work with a group of teachers. One of them haughtily informed him that he had nothing to offer her as she bad been teaching for over 40 years. David's response is fitting here: "No ma'am, you taught for one year. You've just been repeating it for 39."

Just because you've been around a long time, bob, doesn't mean you have good advice - just old advice.

The world has changed.

Viva la change bag.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 6:51 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Please return to your corners, holster your pistols, and go have a drink at the saloon.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 6:55 pm
by Brad Henderson
Pow pow. Dammit. Shot my foot.

(not a native Texan, clearly).

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 6:55 pm
by Bob Sanders
I will gladly discuss the subject with an adult.

You are changing YOUR definition of business. You specifically used IBM.

You have to pay to discuss business life cycles with me. Are you prepared to do that?

Educated adults in my circles use capital letters on proper nouns.

My teaching fields are Marketing, Management and Finance. They are not static like some fields. While doing that I started and sold business too. Being the CEO and Chairman of the Board tends to keep you current.

Like Ronald Regan, I'm not going to hold your youth and inexperience against you.

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 7:44 pm
by Brad Henderson

Thank you for the personal attacks. I have no doubt you have experience as a marketing person. Being a good marketing person says nothing about one's knowledge, skills or ability as an artist let alone a magician. As goat as mentioned, SELLING crap to people is easy.

I apologize for capitalization issues. I type on an iPhone. It happens. (an iPhone is a device like the thing you have with that hook on it that you use to ask Rita down at the switch board to connect you with Klondike -372. I say that not to make fun of you. I'm proud you own something more modern than what a change bag is meant to be).

But, Bob, it was you who mentioned that corporate ranking was captured in the color of one's suit. I'm sorry that calling your attention to the outdated world view this represents proved so upsetting. As I said, I don't think IBM, one of the most conservative of businesses, still requires suits let alone as a marker for a caste system. Certainly modern businesses, which I listed, do not. Why would I want to pay someone for insight into the business world when statements like this indicate a fundamental disconnect with those most successful companies of today

It's rather like hearing that the 'expert' you have consulted for laying out a restaurant has a plan to keep the other races separate.

The world has changed.

Ps. The Reagan line is funny. But be careful. With jokes only 40 years old, the people might think I've convinced you to update your material.

Seacrest, out!

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 7:57 pm
by Brad Henderson
Rk: I tried

Re: 11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

Posted: February 3rd, 2012, 9:23 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Jeez. Thread now locked.