Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

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Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 2nd, 2006, 8:36 am

Eric will be working the Castle bar up until Sunday of this week. Do not miss him!!
I sat at the bar for over 90 minutes... the guy is amazing. I have never seen someone get so much mileage from his effects. He entertains simply by just being. He is funny, charming, likeable and a smooth technician.
If you want a lesson about what it takes to be a working pro then go watch Eric. Watching his show has to be one of the best lectures around on what you should do to be a great entertainer.

Greg

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 3rd, 2006, 9:53 am

Can't agree more.

Saw him last night for the first time. So in control. So calm. He has an unresponsive crowd, but won them over.

Awesome lesson in pace and timing. And his 3 Fly was beautiful.

Going to see him again on Saturday!

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 3rd, 2006, 10:14 am

Wow, an unresponsive crowd? I saw him on Wednesday and the crowd loved him. Most of them never left the bar and missed all the other shows.
It was a night where all the guys would have bought Eric a drink and all the women would have... well, you know.
It was great.

Greg

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 3rd, 2006, 10:44 am

Last night was the first time I've seen Eric perform. I was REALLY impressed with how utterly relaxed and comfortable he is with his performance. He's a very likeable guy which I truly believe makes his magic that much more disarming. Loved the dice stacking!! Can't wait for his book!!

GG

jerry lazar
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Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby jerry lazar » November 3rd, 2006, 10:48 am

I saw Thurs. nite -- Eric soared, crowd sucked. Couldn't even get them to order a drink! At a bar!... But -- the mark of the consummate pro -- Eric forged ahead with great humor and spirit, and , yes, extraordinary talent and presentations... If any consolation, it was a dead night throughout the joint, with marvelously gifted high-energy guys like Alfonso suffering similarly lethargic feedback... It made you wanna grab audience members by lapels and shake 'em: "Don't you realize what you're witnessing here? World-class magic!"... But, hey, that's part of the game -- we've all had to shlog our way thru zombie-like crowds... Their loss!... Eric: if you're listening, I'm STILL applauding -- shells, 3Fly, ambitious card, dice stacking, coins across, triumph, etc... Delightful! Thanks!...

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 3rd, 2006, 12:38 pm

Jerry, what you stated is what I've always wondered when someone says, "don't blame the audience." I tend not to agree with that statement because I have seen audiences that react in a completely different way than another audience. I've been a director, stage manager, sound guy, lighting guy, assistant director and actor to many, many plays so I had a chance to see what the audience is seeing many nights. I did find some audiences either had no reactions or completely missed the point or ways of the play. And many of those times it was not the fault of the actors... they were doing the exact same job that they had on previous nights yet were getting totally different reactions.
I've been in funny plays that got hysterical laughs time after time and then one night the audience is in complete silence even though the lines were delivered the exact same way.
Believe it or not, some times it's just a certain group of people that just don't react the same way as other groups... no matter how fast you dance or how funny you are.
It's weird.

Greg

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 3rd, 2006, 12:56 pm

Originally posted by Greg Arce:
I've been in funny plays that got hysterical laughs time after time and then one night the audience is in complete silence even though the lines were delivered the exact same way.
I saw an interview with John Cleese once, talking about a time when the Python troupe was travelling around England, doing their skits as a live show. He describes how one night in the middle of an extremely successful run, they just got no laughs. Nothing.

I'll never forget what he said about the audience. He said "They were right. That night it was not funny." Thirty shows in a row before that night were hilarious. Thirty shows after that, hilarious. But that one night, it wasn't funny.

I think of this when I hear performers blame their audiences.

On Wednesday night, Eric was doing the shell game, and a woman in the front row was crying -- tears streaming down her face. He asked her why and she said "I'm so mad that the pea will be gone." (Eric hadn't even done the steal yet.) These weren't tears of laughter, either. It was just an intense moment for her. By the way, she loved the show. As did everyone else.

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 3rd, 2006, 12:59 pm

I watched Eric develop over the years at the Tower. I firmly believe that he is one of the best magicians on the planet. ...If you are in the LA area, run don't walk to the WC Fields this week. He is a monster...

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 3rd, 2006, 1:30 pm

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
Originally posted by Greg Arce:
[b] I've been in funny plays that got hysterical laughs time after time and then one night the audience is in complete silence even though the lines were delivered the exact same way.
I saw an interview with John Cleese once, talking about a time when the Python troupe was travelling around England, doing their skits as a live show. He describes how one night in the middle of an extremely successful run, they just got no laughs. Nothing.

I'll never forget what he said about the audience. He said "They were right. That night it was not funny." Thirty shows in a row before that night were hilarious. Thirty shows after that, hilarious. But that one night, it wasn't funny.

I think of this when I hear performers blame their audiences.

On Wednesday night, Eric was doing the shell game, and a woman in the front row was crying -- tears streaming down her face. He asked her why and she said "I'm so mad that the pea will be gone." (Eric hadn't even done the steal yet.) These weren't tears of laughter, either. It was just an intense moment for her. By the way, she loved the show. As did everyone else. [/b]
Peter, although that's an interesting quote from Cleese, and I love his work, it still doesn't explain why one movie will cause an audience to love it and the same movie will be hated by others. Mind you, that movie never changes from night to night, but the audience does. Everyone is different so I'm sure on any given night you'll have different people who have different takes on things and different feelings.
I was there when the lady cried over the pea... it was funny. Sitting next to the lady was her friend Nicole Sullivan from Mad TV. Nicole was also having a brain aneurysm from the magic... it was killing her that she had no idea how it was done.
So I guess we'll agree to disagree on this one.
All said and done, Eric is the man when it comes to being an entertainer.

Greg

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Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Ian Kendall » November 3rd, 2006, 3:44 pm

Many moons ago I did two consecutive nights at the Fringe Club Bear Pit (a nasty cabaret bar). On night was grear, the next, less so).

The next day I was standing in line at the Australian Consulate to get my Visa to go to Oz. The woman behind the counter asked me why the audience had been bad the night before.

After recovering from the shock of this non sequiteur (we had been discussing visa requirements) it turned out that she had seen me on the first night, and came back again. While I was flattered I tried to explain about different audiences liking different things, but it seemed like a cop out.

My punishment? She made me go all the way home to fetch my Equity card to show her before she would stamp my passport...

Unfortunately, I'm unlikely to make it to California this weekend.

Take care, Ian

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 4th, 2006, 7:39 am

Greg:

I did not mean to criticize you, although I see now how it came across that I did. Of course audiences vary and some of them will mesh more or less effectively with a performer's style, etc. But it doesn't mean you have to blame the audience -- I think Cleese's point was that it's better for a perform to try to figure out why he or she didn't reach the audience, rather than to just blame the audience for not getting it.

Movies, I think, are a different beast because the movie can't adapt to the audience. This is one of a live performer's basic professional responsibilities, I think. In other words, I would argue that it's not enough for performer to deliver their lines exactly the same, and if the audience doesn't get it, it's the audience's fault. I think you have to be able to get a feel for the audience and at least try to adapt.

Eric is certainly a master of this, which is why he was able to win over an unresponsive crowd.

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 4th, 2006, 9:53 am

Peter, I was not offended in any way by your statement. I just wanted to point out something I've noticed over the years... that audiences some times do have one brain and at that particular time the brain is telling them, "I don't feel like being entertained."
I think the statement about not blaming the audience holds true for some performers who are just not that good and seek any reason to figure out why their act is not working.
But I see that as a whole different animal when it is a performer that works constantly and has worked all the kinks out of the act.
Case in point, if you are doing a funny act or play and the audience is very small it is sometimes harder to get them to laugh out loud because of peer pressure... the person who finds something extremely funny and would normally laugh loudly now feels he or she will be singled out in the crowd so tends to hold it in a bit... which in turn affects the rest of the audience from laughing.
If you don't believe this is true then you should know that in certain TV shows they hire fake laughers to sit in the audience and laugh really loud so that everyone is at ease with laughing.
Oh, and as for changing a bit for the audience, well, I also agree to some point, but let's say Andrew Dice Clay is suddenly faced with an audience of stuck up Mormons should he then drop all of his A material and do knock-knock jokes? Personally, I don't think so... that particular audience would not be for him so in that case it would be the audience that is at fault and not the entertainer.
Anyway, I know it's a fine line because it is true that some will blame an audience when it's simply the fact that they still are not entertaining enough to please any audience.

Greg

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 4th, 2006, 10:13 am

Anyone who performs a lot will have come across this amazing oddity:

You do a show which brings the house down, you get the best reaction ever and you leave walking on top of the world. But... they nver rebook you, never recommend you and you never hear from them again.

Next day you do a show which dies. No reaction. It's like performing to a bunch of corpses. But...they rebook you, recommend you to their friends and the feedback after is that you are one of the best acts they've ever seen.

Regardless of your audience you will rest much easier when you realise you can only be responsible TO your audience. You cannot be responsible FOR your audience.

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 4th, 2006, 11:19 am

Quentin is spot on.

I remember working a nightclub revue in Canada in 1969. We did three shows on Saturday night. The first two were always well received but the third was a waste of time. The audience was always tired or half drunk, or wanting to be someplace else....or something. Everyone on the show was a seasoned pro, but no one scored well, no matter what they did.

Some years ago I did a bar mitzvah for a well-to-do lawyer's son in Los Angeles. The kids were Beverly Hills monsters, grabbing at my stuff as I worked, being snotty...truly, a bunch of unruly little [censored]. I've done hundreds of bar mitzvahs, rarely with a problem, but that day required someone with a cattle prod, a chair and a whip. The adults weren't that much better and didn't do a thing about controlling their kids. A large check at the end helped me get past my irritation, but....

a week later I received a letter from the lawyer praising me to the skies. It went on for two long paragraphs about how great I was and how much the kids enjoyed my show and how she was recommending me to others. I felt like calling her and asking her what show she saw, but of course, I didn't.

Oddly enough, I got three more bookings out of that show, all at good fees from people who were there. It didn't make any sense to me, but I took the gigs, did the shows and cashed the checks.

Quentin is absolutely right. We have a responsibility TO our audiences, not FOR them.

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 4th, 2006, 1:39 pm

Originally posted by Greg Arce:
Oh, and as for changing a bit for the audience, well, I also agree to some point, but let's say Andrew Dice Clay is suddenly faced with an audience of stuck up Mormons should he then drop all of his A material and do knock-knock jokes?
Just to clarify, I was not trying to suggest that you change your material. I was referring to the subtle adjustments in things like timing, inflection, persona, which I've seen made by performers far better than myself (a long list, since I'm not a professional performer), which can all help an audience come into harmony with the performers. I'm sure it's hard for performers to adjust to the odd audience whose wavelength is very different from what they are used to, and even more so for ensemble casts, which have to adjust in synch with themselves as well.

This is what Eric is a master of: he is extremely sensitive to the immediate ebbs and flows of the audience, and when he loses them for even a second, he gets them right back, so he can take them where he needs to take them.

When I read about the performing aspects of being a magician -- or an actor, comic, etc. -- I rarely hear "leadership" mentioned as a prerequisite for being a successful performer, but it really does seem to be quite fundamental, both to magic and performing arts in general.

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 4th, 2006, 5:02 pm

Great news. Wish I could go.
I've never seen anything of Eric's but I'm on the list to get his book.

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Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby George Olson » November 4th, 2006, 6:01 pm

Remember he's on the Stevens "Bar Magic" tape with Scotty York and Bob Sheets! It's hilarious.

Some darn good magic too.

By the way, when Cody Lindstrom was out last month he expounded on Mr. Meads prowess, they busked together years ago!

GO

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 4th, 2006, 7:27 pm

I saw Eric perform in front of some of the best magicians in the world in August--he killed.
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Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Pete Biro » November 4th, 2006, 10:05 pm

I remember one night after doing a show at the Castle the night before that went quite well, but before our first show (a Friday night) the bartender sais, "You won't go as well tonight."

I asked, "Why?"

He said, "It's Friday night, the people that come on Friday nights seldom go out, especially during the week, they don't know how to react, it's a one time night out for them and they break thier fingernails picking dimes up off the bar."

He was right.
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 4th, 2006, 11:56 pm

Just back from seeing Eric again. Twice in a week. I am an Eric junkie.

Totally different from Thursday. The crowd were in the palm of his hand. The whole time.

It was interesting for me as I was on the left standing and really couldn't see the close up area. But just watching him work is a lesson - even if you can't actually see the work! His crowd control was amazing today.

Beautiful, wonderful magic.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 5th, 2006, 1:12 am

Damian,

Next time, don't select six!

;)


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Steve Bryant
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Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Steve Bryant » November 5th, 2006, 5:51 am

Oooooh, I hope THAT's in his new book!

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 5th, 2006, 6:53 am

Eric is a great thinker in Magic, apart from his excellent technique. He's also one of the funniest guys around.

I'll never forget when a gag of his went wrong at one of the early Collector's Workshop Word Magic Summits. On stage he was juggling water balloons. I believe he was supposed to switch in a baloon filled with silicone pellets or something and toss it to a plant in the audience, where it would harmlessy explode.

Somehow, he tossed a real water balloon by mistake. It got a huge laugh, so he kept tossing water balloons into an audience of well-dressed, well-known Magicians, drenching lots of people. A less-likeable performer would have been in deep trouble with the audience, but these people loved it. It was the talk of the convention.

Re: audience reactions... Part of the problem, I believe, is that we expect audiences to react the way that WE think they should. Just because tonight's audience doesn't react in the same way that last night's audience (who stomped their feet and screamed with laughter) did, we think they aren't enjoying the show. They are, they are just enjoying it differently.

Another trap some performers fall into is LOOKING for the same laughs/oohs and aahs in the same place night after night. We do something in a show that gets a big laugh, so we do the thing in another show, but instead of just doing it naturally, as we did in the first show, we do it in expectation of the same laugh we got before, and it doesn't work.

The audience feels the artificiality of the moment, and doesn't respond. Some moments can't be repeated.

- entity

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 5th, 2006, 11:42 am

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
Damian,

Next time, don't select six!

;)
Wow. It's like you can read minds! Would have been nice to shake your hand Mr S. Maybe next time.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 5th, 2006, 12:04 pm

Originally posted by mrgoat:
Would have been nice to shake your hand Mr S. Maybe next time.
Agreed. I was stuck in the corner and couldn't get out and I thought it would be bad formnot to mention dangerousto jump up and down!

Dustin

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 5th, 2006, 12:34 pm

It always surprises me when magicians find bar magicians to be good. Now, I don't know too many bar magicians but any that I do know or have read about have not been just good but exceptional.

The reason isn't hard to find. They work a lot. An awful lot.

And not only do they perform, thay also have to do a lot of other things that a regular magician doesn't do - like serve drinks, take money, keep the place clean, deal with unruly folks.

Businessman Michael Masterson estimates it takes 1,000 hours in any discipline to achieve any level of competency and 5,000 hours to achieve mastery.

So if a bar magician works five hours a night he will achieve mastery far, far quicker than his brother who just does forty-five minute shows.

This doesn't mean that a bar magician will necessarily make an equally good stage show performer, as there are major differences, but in his own environment - people gathered around in close-up, he is a joy to watch, especially because of the experience of fun that is created.

If more magicians understood the concept of adding "the experience of fun" to their shows, magic would be a lot more popular.

I first saw Eric Mead at The A-1 convention in Sacramento in 1998. He said one line which caused Jerry Camero to explode so much with laughter that he had to leave the room.

What was the line? "But Chunks is my dog!"

Ask Eric to explain.

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 5th, 2006, 1:07 pm

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
Originally posted by mrgoat:
[b]Would have been nice to shake your hand Mr S. Maybe next time.
Agreed. I was stuck in the corner and couldn't get out and I thought it would be bad formnot to mention dangerousto jump up and down!

Dustin [/b]
You could be right on that front!

:)

Well I'm off to let Rich Cowley teach us how to memorize a deck now.

I can't keep away from the Castle. :)

Guest

Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Guest » November 5th, 2006, 2:00 pm

Great post Quentin!

My wife and I watched three of Eric's shows last night. SO MUCH FUN!!! We talked with him after his last show and I asked if anything surprises him anymore when performing. Nope!!! He's pretty much seen it all.

There were some fairly intoxicated specs in the last show, one of which was very verbal. Instead of drawing him into a long exchange, Eric had him come up to assist with the shells and pea and let this guy be in the spotlight. This spectator, who was probably looking for some attention, really hammed it up with Eric. It completely diffused any possiblity of this guy preventing Eric from continuing and ended up being a VERY funny interchange. It was just masterful the way Eric managed this situation, which I'm sure he's dealt with thousands of times over his long performing career.

I certainly hope it's not another five years before he returns to the Castle.

GG

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Pete Biro
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Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Pete Biro » November 5th, 2006, 4:09 pm

I agree, some of the best performers I have ever seen are Johnny Paul, Heba Haba Al, Bob Sheets, Frank Shields, Doc Eason, Eric Mead, Frank Everhart and Jim Ryan, not to mention Clarke Crandall... and where did they work? Behind the Bar.

There are others that I have not seen, darn!
Stay tooned.

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Re: Eric Mead at The Magic Castle bar

Postby Andrew Martin Portala » November 6th, 2006, 3:43 am

How about Mullica ,Pete?


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