The sky is falling!

May 15th, 2008 | Jason Brumbalow | Filed Under General


No matter where you go on the internet to find your news and community, sooner or later you’ll see someone talking about how this or that is killing magic.

But is it?

Is magic *actually* dying?

With an unprecedented number of new magicians entering the art, some magicians with what you might call ‘Old fashioned values’ claim that magic is becoming watered down and hijacked, becoming nothing more than a fad.

Whilst this may be true for some, what negative impact does it actually have on the community?

I’ve read on a number of forums, how “All the kids want to do is learn the secret and then expose it on the internet,” and whilst this is undoubtedly true in a small number of cases, in many others, it’s because those new magicians haven’t yet learned any better.

It’s up to *US* as a community to band together and look after the beginners, to teach them the right way to learn, to teach them the power of the magic club or society, and finding a trusted friend with whom to practice.

I have no doubt that reading this entry will be a huge mix of skill levels and experience, from professional to just beginning.

To the beginners, please, be patient with your progress. You might think that one day you’re getting nowhere, and another you’re ready to go out and perform for the world, but please, be patient and brutally honest with yourself.

To the professionals, I beg of you – be a little more lenient and patient with the “kids” who are just beginning. All they want is to learn the right way… Teach, don’t preach.

 

Others say that the prevalence of magic websites such as www.ellusionist.com are to blame for the proliferation of new magicians. Again, now it would seem that a magic store is only ever a google away – but how much easier is that for us?

The closest real magic shop to me, the one I visit most often and would love to hang out at every day, is a hundred miles away - and I’m sure I don’t have it as bad as some.

A few years ago, we would have had to make that journey every time we wanted to pick up a new deck of cards, pick up some refills for our lotions and potions or replace the thumbtip that the cat ran off with. (Don’t laugh, I swear one day I’ll find a dozen or more hidden away somewhere.)

Now, we click on the right name in our favourites and a few moments later, the order is placed and being processed.

Some may say that this takes away a lot of the human contact associated with a visit to the magic shop, but if you’re in a rush… Well, honestly – how many of us were ever able to just nip into the brick and mortar store, purchase the one or two items we wanted and walk out again?
How about the prevalence of magic on TV with shows like Celebracadabra, showing how Celebrities can learn magic quickly? *Surely* that’s to blame for the downfall of magic? The fact that you can tune in almost any day and find a show with magic on it, that the tricks are being performed by a variety of skill levels, cluing our spectators and audiences in when performed badly.

The fact of the matter is that when Penn & Teller can’t kill the Thumbtip by exposing it on international tv, and the efforts of all the Masked Magician’s shows put together can’t keep us down, will the next show that features no exposure do us any bad?
Yet other complaints have been based around custom cards, and the manufacturer’s website being emblazoned across the box. I can honestly tell you that the magician behind one of the top rated effects so far this year has exactly that to blame for hooking him in to magic. If it hadn’t been for a deck of black tiger cards, and seeing “More Black Tiger Gear available from www.ellusionist.com” on the bottom of the box, his entire magical output so far and in the future would never have existed.

That may be just one story – but that’s the first story that springs to mind.

Cards, like anything else, are a tool – they’re like the mechanic’s spanner or the painter’s brush.

They do what the artist chooses to do with them.

That’s right, it’s up to *you* to make them make sense, it’s up to *you* to create a web of mystery surrounding them, or fashion a reason for using them.

Some say that they shouldn’t have to do that – but hey, if we were all the same, we’d all like musical theater…

16 comments

  1. I’m glad somebody is actually putting some “reality” into the situation.

    I’m getting really tired of magicians complaining about the fact that the art is “fading”.

    I have seen more magic on TV and live and in person in the last 4 years than I have since I was born!

    When I was a kid there was a magic store in my town, and it was awesome! (that was 34 years ago). I went there almost every saturday and spent all of my allowance there (plus some!).

    That store closed due to lack of business, and there hasn’t been a good magic shop in town since…

    Now, I can go online and get to my favourite two or three magic shops in 2 minutes! I can watch professionals showing me the performance of a trick, and decide whether or not I have the skill to do it.

    Granted, I can’t get personal advice or have someone show me personally how to use a trick, or look at the quality of the product – but hey I have no other option!

    If magic was in its heyday sometime, I must have missed it, because my personal opinion is that it is flourishing right now.

    In fact, I have been trying to get a magic store opened in my town again, and we might be close.

    In the last few years two magic shops have opened near me (well, near as can be…the closest one is 100 miles away as well), but if the community has been getting smaller, how is it that these magic shops can justify being open?

    I think the ones that are complaining are the ones that are stuck in the past, that want to continue doing their egg bag tricks and balloon animals.

    People have become more intelligent, and are crying out for more intelligent challenges… Most people love to be baffled and try to figure out how something is done! This existed since the “real” heyday of magic in Houdini’s days.

    Nowadays, people want to see something different and have their brain challenged… younger people are more interested in something different and radical… that’s why they get so fascinated to see Chris Angel levitate on top of a 30 story hotel, or watch Derren Brown trick someone into another reality…

    It’s time to put away the egg bags, the cups and balls, get some new equipment or ideas, and do some challenging and thought inspiring performances.

    I think Celebracadabra is great, and non-industry people I know that have seen it love it too. (I just wish it was available in Canada!). It will inspire new people to get involved and do things that nobody ever thought possible.

    As for the advertising on the card deck packaging, I do agree that it shouldn’t mention the place it was purchased… only because it will give the indication to people that it is a “trick deck” – regardless if it is or not. People aren’t used to seeing that, and will naturally assume the deck is rigged or marked in some way. (There’s a reason why magicians use Bicycle decks so much!)

    There’s no reason that the selling company can’t put a removable sticker on the box, or put the sticker on the outside of the shrink wrap.

  2. yup many here in the world is exposing magic so we as magicians sould stop it

  3. What you say is true, however the “newbie” magicians who reveal tricks online do not know how to “show” or present the tricks. That’s probably why their showing how to do a trick anyways, because they can not present it to others. Notice how boring and dull their voices are online, I get so turn off that I don’t even try to learn it.

    As for the killing magic part, in a school of 1500, only 4 are considered “real” magicians including myself. The others have no clue as how to perform magic, and if they do, they don’t have the courage to outwit someone. I notice those who do try that lack skill, stops after the first try after they fail.

  4. Magic may be dying, but illusion lives on.

    interpret as you will

  5. these “kids” and masked who are exposing magic are just frustrated and jealous. They don’t value value the art of magic.

  6. Clifford, Goa , India on:

    The magic art – can only be felt 100 % when performed Live. These exposures on the internet & TV certainly effect the art to a small extent . Recollect as a magician , you suddenly see a trick being performed which you did years ago (and have nearly forgotton) . When you see the trick inspite of knowing it ,the magic will at first hit you , before you realize you know the trick. For a lay audience, if a trick is explained, most of them would not co-relate the methords used if the trick is shown to them after some time, probably under different setting and conditions. So these exposures must not perturb us magicians.Continue doing your magic – MAGIC WILL NEVER DIE

  7. I am being beat down constantly with my magic. Magicicans need to create something new, fresh and exciting. We need something that will capture the audiences attention. For those of you who live in Nevada, go to Winnemucca, NV for Run-A-Mucca (Motorcycle Rally) as i will be attempting to enhance my artform. For those of you who wish to join and keep magic alive, come on in (Memorial Day Weekend).

  8. Youtube, Metacafe and other sites are not holding the banning active enough for the jealous kids.

  9. That was a great article.

  10. rocco giovacchini on:

    a great articale indeed!
    this guy knows whats hes talking about!

  11. Wow, a good article.

    For me, maybe because magician is like a proffesion (or a hobby) that includes ‘mind alteration’ of peole or something that ‘shift the reality’ or something else that actually involve the people’s mind a lot, some peole have some ‘pride’ that they are above that audience.

    It’s like become a leader or speaker of some religion…..

    When the trick is exposed in many ways (magic store, internet, and so on….), they fear that their tircks are more and more exposed and known to the public.

    In my oppinion, magic world changing,…yes it’s changing but in different ways.

    Not showing off about illusion and some ‘out of mind’ tricks, but in this time, it beomes like showing more skill and creativity.

    Everyone knows ‘how to do the pass’, but ‘to do the pass’ smoothly is something else. Everyone knows ‘how to do duble lift’, but ‘to do double lift’ smooth and unseen is a skill that not all people want to learn.

    I repeat….not all people want to learn….

    Because magic required practice, event for some self working tricks.

  12. nicholas lim on:

    magic is OUR life.we go thru so much pain,money,time,effort to master those skills.So really value those skills and talent as a magician.DO NOT leak out e secrets to people who ARE NOT INTERESTED in magic BUT e secrets only. why waste ur talents to someone unworthy.im a magic teacher in Singapore n i ALWAYS stress e importance of keepin e secrets.So my fellow magicians pls uphold ur rules n keep our magic secrets SECRET.

  13. its easy to see why people go on the internet to tell how a trick is done when you see pros on television telling how a trick is done. they need tolead by example and follow the old school rules— never reveal how a trick is done. period.

  14. I think that the magic community needs a little boost. Getting some new tricks or illusions should get everyone back into play and pumped up

  15. seth aaron youngblood on:

    I only have one thing to say i have slow internet if anyone wants to send me a message ill never get it now to what have to say
    if no ones ever exposes magic then how will it grow im 16 years old i only want to learn and where i live there r know magic shops
    if no one ever tells how they do a trick then how will this get bigger
    its a shame to because no one will never be able to find me the only person i want to find me is criss angel the mindfreak

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