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 I know nothing about magic!

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Christopher J Gould
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Registration date : 2008-03-17

PostSubject: I know nothing about magic!   Sun May 02, 2010 10:32 am

Although I got into magic like everyone else by getting a stripper pack and some fake coin thing - I gravitated towards mentalism, pretty much straight away.
It suddenly occurs to me that I actually know very little about traditional magic, and this has started to worry me somewhat.
Although I still intend to keep away from the sponge bunnies, I think I need to address this imbalance.
So, am I alone in this way of thinking?
What are your favourite - non-mentalism effects to recommend to a newbie such as myself?
Of course, my intention is to wander into a medieval market place to perform!
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Freddie Valentine
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Mon May 03, 2010 9:41 am

If it's card stuff you are interested in, you can't go wrong with Nick Trost's books.
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http://www.lybrary.com/tarot-readers-black-book-p-77423.html
Christopher J Gould
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Mon May 03, 2010 10:14 am

Hi Freddie - I should have been more specific. I still muck around with cards. However, over the past few weeks a few synchronistic conversations have revolved around the role of traditional conjuring in more magikal contexts. This culminated in the opening comments in Dr Todd's new book (review when I have digested it). All of this has led me to think that I have been far to 'snobby' regarding the tradition of conjuring. I am thinking that it would be interesting to develop an act about the historical context of conjuring and the interface between the trickster and the magi.
It is in this area that I am truly an amateur.
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Freddie Valentine
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Mon May 17, 2010 9:31 am

I have studeied traditional magic and conjuring methods certainly come in useful when putting across creepier entertainment. The manner in which I perform does allow for conjuring effects amongst the more sinister stuff and it depends in which context they are framed.

The Trost book I mentioned has a section on effects with ESP cards, which I think you may find useful. Many normal card effects lend themselves to a version with tarot cards.

There is a great effect I use all the time (as a psychic presentation) called Double Turnover Coincidence which plays well with two tarot decks. The Trost stuff is fairly simple to perform, yet the results are astonishing.

The aforementioned coincidence effect takes place in the participants hands which makes it all the more likely to be down to 'psychic' powers or influence in the specs mind as it leaves little else for their mind to go.

I study a lot of magic books, but choose my effects carefully so they are ones that fit into my persona or that I can build a (fairly) plausable story around.

Fake explantions, whether they be of an esotoric or scientific nature, engage the specatators more firmly and I am an advocater of the outrageous or speculative claim, then going on to proving it method of presentation.
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Thibau
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Sat May 29, 2010 1:30 am

Cups and Balls might fit well. It has the tradition, the symbolism (props/context), the variety of visual effects comunicated very straight, the impact of surprise of the final loads.

Levitations, impossible location effects (bill in fruit for ex) can also be effective. If you want to read good thinkers I would suggest Tommy Wonder (Books of Wonder 1 and 2 have great articles and great routines), Ascanio (spanish scholl, quite beautifull), Darwin Ortiz have 2 interesting books, Stong Magic (concerning presentation) and Designing Miracles (concerning construction), both are full with references about classics (altough boring and repetitive in some cases). Slydini, Dai Vernon, Juan Tamariz, Rene Lavand. All good references.

A touch: anyone that wants to be registered as A MAGICIAN by an audience without saying a word can achieve that simply by producing fire/smoke in a convincing/misterious manner. That creates an aura that people expect in a magician, is one of that things that would save the neck of even a very bad magician (people would hate all the rest of the show, but would remember that guy had fire on his hands). In my early experience as a stage magician I realized that it was one way to get their attention and quickly raise the level of prestige. In fact in 2002 I would always burst a flame casually in informal situation that could get me a contact (and often I would 'fire up' at wrong times). That worked fine for me and even booked me a few gigs until I got media, a prize in a magic competition and other stuff like that to promote me.
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http://www.rickthibau.com
Marcus Nogueira
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:15 pm

Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay
Don't let the name throw you, this book (my first actually) is dense and full of insight. One of the best!

Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
Large, covers a milieu of topics, and easily attainable.

Together these should give you enough of taste of almost every branch of traditional conjuring there is, cheaply.
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Christopher J Gould
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:44 pm

Thanks guys, got me thinking - I am wondering if something like Cups and Balls, some REALLY ancient stuff can be given a new lick of paint. Like the Tarot effect you talked about there Freddie - must go seek that one out!
I am sure there is something in this direction!
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Freddie Valentine
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:15 pm

Another good tarot effect is Black Hart's "Power of the Tarot".
If you used playing cards, it would be a rather mundane 'magic trick', but the fact that tarot cards are used (and their reputation) transforms the effect to a whole new level.

Putting an old effect in new, more mystical clothes, can transform something from being 'clever' into a demonstration of otherworldy powers. I do a routine with the standard Colour Changing Knives, which is presented as hypnosis and sold on the concept that the knife didn't really change colour, but due to the subtle hypnotic influence, it really did look that way. I have written this routine up for my forthcoming bizarre magick e-zine and any AM members are free to use it, if they so desire.
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Christopher J Gould
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:26 pm

cheers
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Freddie Valentine
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:43 pm

It's amazing how much things can be mixed together and the audience accept it. I once did a show where I stated beforehand my belief in the supernatural and said that many occultists throughout history had to perform conjuring tricks as well as giving demonstrations of their true powers so that they would not draw attention to themselves and be persecuted. They would aim to be considered an entertainer (which was acceptable) rather than a witch (which would mean certain death!).

How the show was structured - and there was some quite heavy stuff in there which if performed continuously would have been too much - was inspired by an early 1960's Italian "shockumentary" called Mondo Cane. The film featured strange events and customs around the world, some quite gruesome, and I noticed that light or funny clips were shown before something that may be difficult to stomach. The more pleasant things shown in a row, the more horrendous the piece coming up.
So I structured the show this way. Some light things. Something darker. A few more light things. Something that pushed it a bit. A good few amusing bits in a row. Then something horrific!

Of course, this highlighted the heavier stuff more and made them more memorable. Of course, these were the parts the audience believed must be 'real'.

It's possible to get pretty much any effect and present it within a radically different framework. A bit like changing the body of a car but retaining the same engine. It's the same thing deep down, but you wouldn't have thought it!

The restructuring of old 'magic' effects as bizarre or occult items is a regular column in the forthcoming zine. If any one has any ideas, I would be happy to include them in it.
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Christopher J Gould
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:48 pm

This is all good food for thought indeed!
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Marcus Nogueira
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PostSubject: Re: I know nothing about magic!   Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:35 am

I look forward to the zine. Smile
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