The Burnaby Kid writes:
Figured I'd toss this out there, since SN was asking for interesting story submissions. I'm a professional magician working abroad, and I've been indulging in this incredibly geeky performing art for almost two decades. One problem that happens a lot when it comes to magic is that the nature of secrecy means that we don't get open dialogue with the muggles we perform for, and that leads to us getting into this weird sort of insular and incestuous discussion with other magicians, which ends up warping our minds to the extent that we start doing moronic things like... oh, I don't know... referring to our audience members as "muggles". We get into some pretty weird debates, and I've been trying my best to argue for raising the bar, such as by suggesting that we need to be more sensitive about what you guys like, such as by making sure that if we pull out a deck of cards, we've got something to perform that can compete with Card Through Window. And yet... Maybe I've got it wrong? What DO you guys like? If you like watching magicians perform, what do you like about it? If you don't, why not?
I am more entertained by a person walking up to a group armed with nothing but their wits (or so it seems) than a stage show with the big glittery boxes and the flash powder. Also not a fan of using animals as props.
(and slightly off topic: I like this story. It's different from the standard fare for geek/tech websites but in a refreshingly good way.)
I quite like this one of Jason Latimer's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJN1iMOfgAc [youtube.com]Very simple to "get" - some of those fancier tricks require the audience to pay attention first to realize the "magic", this one has the audience realize the magic and then start paying more attention ;). And yet still impressive.
Then there's An Ha Lim who clearly has cards up his sleeves (and elsewhere from a few mistakes ;) ) but the sheer scale of it makes it still impressive to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWG8QppPet8 [youtube.com] (second part is clearer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHjaRbTfHmQ [youtube.com] ). A deck or two up each sleeves is one thing. I wonder how long it takes to re-set everything up for practice...
Exactly this Jason Latimer guy is what is wrong with magic (didn't watch his whole youtube show... couldn't... he was too smug and not entertaining)
He thought he was SO BIG, when he isn't. If he could solve the Quantum/Gravity problem while doing it, my opinion would change and he'd have a reason to be smug.
But he is not that big. He can do a trick. Wooh!
"the standard fare for geek/tech websites"
Street magic is a good way to meet people and eventually get dates for those of a vaguely technical persuasion, which makes this article kind of an antidote to the stereotypical tech-type-person complaining about the difficulty of meeting people.
No idea what to say to that cutie at the bar? Walk up, pick up a quarter from the tip, make it disappear, make two quarters reappear, make a fiver appear and buy the cutie a drink, one way or another, you're about to get a whole lot of attention and find out very quickly what they think... If you're good enough to fool drunk people, which doesn't take much, you don't need to go up to people, they'll crowd around you once you start some street magic, at which point you take a break, have a drink with an interesting audience member, and then...
Aside from improved reproductive potential, magic tricks work to break the ice at cons, professional/business meetings, as the start of a speech.
Note that I'm not shy at all and this strategy works pretty well for me. I can imagine someone who is shy being even more petrified at the idea of screwing up the magic trick than not doing a magic trick at all, so maybe this would be a bad strategy for shy/anxious people. Then again you need to practice magic tricks extensively so as not to screw them up, so maybe rote muscle memory actually lowers anxiety relative to trying to ad lib lines. Someone else is going to have to weigh in on this. It probably helps if you think performance magic is fun; if you can't stand it I think the audience will catch on pretty quickly. I know if I think a trick sucks or is gimmicky the audience picks up on that, even if they are drunk or whatever. Then again if you ham up a failure of a trick into a big joke, if done well you'll get some laughs.
Ha, a social inadequate explaining his "pick up artist" technique. How amusing.
He'll be letting us in on his best pick up lines next. :-)
Posting only because no one mention one of my favs:
"ricky jay and his 52 assistants"
http://videosift.com/video/Ricky-Jay-and-his-52-As sistants [videosift.com]