Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tim Ellis is a sore winner...

In case you do not know. Tim Ellis is a hardworking blogger. His blog is actually pretty good. Sometimes. But his recent post... well, he obviously has an opinion.

An email is circulating the magic community from a certain JIM McDONALD accusing Shawn Farquhar of ripping off Russ Steven's with his now FISM Grand Prix Award Winning routine 'Shape of my Heart'.
Pete Biro said at the time: "The choice of music was the same, but to say the routines are similar if off base. No resemblance at all."
The email directs people to a blog that's so desperate to seek attention it's current post makes fun of Ali Bongo's recent passing.

In it's posts about Shawn, the author (a Roland from Germany) calls him a name-dropping braggart with inferior technical skill not worthy of being call FISM World Champion - and he says "the contest must have been rigged." He calls Shawn "A disgrace to magic" and says that FISM is now a disgrace too.

Sure sounds like the rantings of a loser.

Yes, my Ali Bongo joke is a bit tasteless. But baby, that's how I roll!

Back to "Farquhar's" routine. The premise is the same as Stevens' version. Even the theatrical approach of using a bar stool. Russ posted a statement on Itricks.com

"Hello Everyone,

As some of you may know, I have generally kept out of this situation publicly. The only time I ever got involved was when Shawn was saying to friends of mine that I'd lifted 'his' idea and I emailed him to prove that I hadn't. The fact is, that I was doing this routine for at least TWO years before him and have the proof to back that up. Shawn was very nice in his emails and I accepted that we'd just had the same idea, although when I did finally see his version 'live' in Blackpool a few years ago, the style of performance and staging was uncomfortably close."

Russ made up this routine in 1993. Shawn never asked for permission. And I agree with Pete Biro, yes, the routines are quite different. Both have a different structure and use different sleights. But watch them side by side without the music. Both routines are pretty dull. So naturally the strength of the routine comes from the music. So the music is the key here and I know that Russ Stevens came up with this first.

Also, if you take a look at Shawn's routine without the music this is a pretty bad routine. The sleights are visible. The get-readys for the many, many breaks are done by a push-off deal, which is the worst sleight to use considering the scrutiny of a fixed camera. A pinky count would have done the same result. Or a thumb count. But that is just detail for a routine that is no more than an ambitious card routine.

I thought this man is a professional, a professional should know how to block his angles.

This year FISM was bad. Really bad. They needed a filler, and Farquhar happened to be at the right place at the right time. So he won first prize.

I cannot believe, Tommy Wonder, who was and still is light years ahead in terms of originality, creativity and skill never won 1st prize. He only got to be 2nd. And as much as I dislike mentalism, I think Marc Oberon should have gotten the prize, for his act was really good.

Oh, did you know that Tim Ellis was a judge during FISM 2009? Just saying!

Bonus: I seek attention? Of course, I am a magician. But not desperate. If I would be desperate, I would go to competitions and do the same routine over and over again, until I win. Then, because I am so desperate I would take my prize and hold it up all the time. For years to come.


Tadei (tadej.pavlic@gmail.com) said...

Dear Tim Ellis ... grow up for F sake!?

darkstar said...

As per Itricks I think it apparent your the majority opinion by FAR. Ellis needs to just go away. He's the role model for most everything I loathe in the world of magic.

I think the problem is people took the comparison to Russ too seriously. The point was the routine was not up to standard at all. Many people expressed this to me also before I had even seen it. Ellis was a judge and we all know he couldn't carry good magic if it had a handle on it. Fame by his own design, not from his peers.

Trickster said...

"As per Itricks I think it apparent your the majority opinion by FAR"

What the?
A few malcontents pipe up and you think you have a majority? Try reading the iTricks comments again and counting them, and since J McDonald just echoes what ever Roland says, I don't count his comments.

There was so much crap at FISM this year, yet you wanna harp on Shawn, is it because the truly terrible performers weren't famous enough to get you noticed when you attacked them?

Roland said...

Well the reason Shawn was picked as a scape goat is, that he won. The others did not win and therefore everything is ok with them. I could attack others like Leriko from Russia, who made little blocks appear attaching them to his costume. But why? he didn't win.

Yes, this years FISM was crap, and it seems to get worse if you look ate the history of FISM. And the reason I harp on Shawn is because of guys like Shawn that FISM deteriorates from the great event it used to be.

It is not because of all losers of this competion. There were always bad acts. It is the lack of true winners. So if an artificial winner needs to be made, then this is a sure sign of either a really bad year or a hint of a general trend in magic compitions.

Again imho, FISM should be about creativity, skill and personality. In that order. And Farquhar failed in the first two categories.

Trickster said...

Have you even bothered to look at the FISM rules which clearly state how winners are decided? I assume you haven't or you wouldn't be complaining. Although first prize in the general categories isn't given unless someone gets more than 80 points, the Grand Prix has no such restriction and must be presented. All those with more than 80 points are eligible, which left very few eligible this year. I like Shawn and think his routine is great, but his performance was poor at FISM this year, that doesn't how ever change the fact that he was the best (of a bad bunch).

I've watched at least 50 vids of this years comps and was just saddened, but I'm not going to attack the guy who won just because no one was up to a standard that could beat him. Who should have been declared the winner? A guy doing mindless boring card productions? The guy obviously loading? What about the guy with magnets all over his outfit? Or what about my favorite, the guy who said Soma should have got Shawn's award, suffice to say he needs to learn the difference between stage and closeup.

I'm sticking with my original assertion, you attack Shawn because attacking others won't get you the attention you crave.

I look forward to seeing what you perform at FISM 2012, if you do indeed have the balls to compete.

Have you considered that Russ has been very quiet on this issue because he knows that Shawn's routine shits all over his and didn't want to encourage the comparison?

Roland said...

Oh boy... Again I picked Shawn because he is the pick of the litter. And yes, picking on someone else wouldn't have gotten me the attention that I get now. You figured it all out by yourself...

I would have the balls to compete, if I would want to spend the money to actually participate. (travelling and staying is not cheap you know.)

So I make you an offer. If you pay for all the expenses, I WILL go to next FISM. Think about it! It also means you pay for the preliminary decision here in Germany, that a German participant has to go through.

But please do not get to the conclusion that all of that is just an elaborate scheme to get to next FISM for free.

Trickster said...

"But please do not get to the conclusion that all of that is just an elaborate scheme to get to next FISM for free."

Of course not, it looks much more like an elaborate plan to justify NOT going to the next FISM at all. Especially considering the cheap dive that is Blackpool.

You really are just are a hate monger Roland.

I assume by your silence that you HAVEN'T actually read the FISM rules etc. Or are you madly reading them now in the hope that you can pretend you knew them all along.

Roland said...

Nope I have not read the FISM rules recently... I have some years ago. Did they change? Is there a rule now, that bad acts can still win FISM?

Roland said...

And as much as I try not to be a hatemongerer, I cannot help that sometimes I am. This is unavoidable when trying to be honest to people. If I am honestly critizing someone who cannot take criticism I will look like an arrogant ahole. But I can live with that, knowing that at least I said what I truly think and not repeating what others try to make me believe. (like that Shawn is creative)

Trickster said...

So you are happy to admit you are ripping on the FISM award without really knowing how it is awarded. No sense letting fact or truth get in the way of your little hate fest huh.

Show some brains and do some research before going off half cocked and making a fool of yourself.

Why was no 1st place awarded in some categories yet the Grand Prix was awarded to a not great performance?

Read the bloody rules and you'll know, then perhaps you could focus your disdain towards changing the FISM rules instead of attacking a man who has done nothing wrong (I believe Russ over you on this issue, and your lack of respect for Russ's opinion is astounding)

Curiously, how do you justify attacking people for supposed theft and exposure when you yourself run an exposure site?

Roland said...

Oh boy you are making rethorical claims. That is a sign of bad argumentation. Do not throw me a "missing middle" argument.

I do know how the FISM award is awarded, I never claimed I did not. I have not read this years rules. And that 80 point rule is just an indicator who should be taken into consideration to get the first prize. The judge didn't have to award the prize. It was not mandatory. They could have not declared a close up winner at all. The judges have that liberty yet decided not to do it. I can see a lot of political reasons why this was the case, but that's it.

And I do not run an exposure site. If you refer to my free magic stuff blog, go on, give what I expose to a layperson to read. I doubt they understand.

Magic Unlimited said...

"I do know how the FISM award is awarded, I never claimed I did not. I have not read this years rules. And that 80 point rule is just an indicator who should be taken into consideration to get the first prize. The judge didn't have to award the prize. It was not mandatory. They could have not declared a close up winner at all. The judges have that liberty yet decided not to do it. I can see a lot of political reasons why this was the case, but that's it."

Roland, you DON'T know how the prizes are awarded. The rules changed prior to 2006 FISM and again prior to 2009 FISM as the organisation tries to find a way to make them fair to everyone.

The rules clearly state that any acts getting over 80 points get a first prize. Any first prize acts must compete for Grand Prix. One on the Grand Prix acts MUST be awarded the Grand Prix.

Trickster is right, you don't know what you're talking about.

I don't agree with the current version of the FISM rules, but I'll talk to FISM about that, not attack the winners.

And yes, going to FISM China was expensive for Europeans, it was expensive for Shawn too, but if you are confident with your material it's a good investment.

As for you competing at FISM in Blackpool, let's not get ahead of ourselves... compete in the German preselections and let us know how you do.

If you actually get chosen to represent your country at FISM 2012 maybe someone will cough up the money for your trainfare to England and the B&B accommodation...

Magic Unlimited said...

"give what I expose to a layperson to read. I doubt they understand."

Of course not, like all magicians you realise laymen are stupid... ;)

I think Trickster is referring to your 'Napkin Mentalism' effect which (in case you didn't know) you didn't invent.

Roland said...

if he is referring to the napking mentalism effect, then please tell me the source. As I have come up with all of those myself... Boy, that sound familiar.

As for the FISM rule... it still doesn't change the fact, that Shawn had a bad day, that he flashed like hell and that those 80 points are given out by the judges. Numbers = decision = people. And people make mistakes. So numbers are never an excuse or a reason to justify a cause that arises from those numbers.

Magic Unlimited said...

Hi Roland, I'm beginning to dislike you intensely - simply because no-one could not "get it" as much as you unintentionally.

One final time:

Sean & Marc both received over 80 points (you'll see how many when FISM publishes it on their site).

That gives them both 1st place and admits them to the final.

In the final they both flashed and gave performances not a good as they did in the heats.

If th judges were to give points again based on those performances they may not have received 80 points, but FISM rules to the jury to simply give each at 2 points for 1st or 1 point for 2nd and the one with the highest score gets Grand Prix.

You may not like it (I hope you finally UNDERSTAND it now) but don't lame Shawn and don't blame the Jury.

Write to FISM and offer a new better system. I'm sure you have some brilliant ideas no-one has ever thought of and they'll be ever so grateful.

As for "and people make mistakes"... are you saying the seven people on the Jury made a mistake? That we should have elected Marc Oberon instead? If you were there, you would have heard the cheering when Shawn was announced Grand Prix winner... but maybe all those people made a mistake too...

Come out from behind your computer and participate in life.

You might find you enjoy it.

Roland said...

Well if Oberon won have won instead, people would have cheered as well. That agrument is kind of weak. And I do participate in life. Assuming that I do not, otherwise why make that statement, is biased opinion towards me.

And one of the greatest strength in life is to look past a biased opinion and make up an objective opionion bases on oberservation, knowledge and the lack of emotions.

I admit I failed in Shawn's case. As a man, that I don't like won something I used to love.

Well I am done with it. I said, what I needed to say. You may add something. But I won't beat the dead horse anymore.

darkstar said...

I'll give 200 dollars to anyone that performs the following in 2012 and gets 80 points.

-Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue" to a cups and balls routine, doing basic vanishes with the style glasses he wore.

-A basic card stab routine in which the performer uses a Wolverine glove and says "shnickity schnickiy" like Jay in Mall Rats.

Magic is super easy to call yourself original if you just use pop culture as your crutch. FISM should allow all of the above.

PS. Shawn's routine still sucked balls. The judges should be ashamed. The way the point system works is irrelevant. First place is first place.

James said...

Wow - I've never seen such an uproar in magic. I don't think you can blame the judges for what many feel was a very low standard at FISM this year. Rules are rules and they had to present the award.

Personally, I enjoyed some of the acts - Soma's was original and had some great magic. There were some really clever and well thought out acts - but these were overshadowed perhaps by the too many bad ones. It seems that for the past few FISMs too many bad acts are getting in. I am not sure what the criteria is to compete at FISM. I know you have to be sponsored.

It's JUST a competition folks - no need to get all worked up. With any type of competition whether it be music, dance etc. there will always be those who don't agree with the outcome.

The internet has created a different society where people CAN have their say and share their feelings. Often, when we read something we react straight away and it's 'out there'. If we had time to sit back, see the whole picture then perhaps the attacks wouldn't be so strong.
Roland is simply viewing his opinion on HIS BLOG. It's just like at television - if you don't like the program stop watching it or change channels.
There are loads of other magic blogs out there - just chose another one to read.

I often read Tim Ellis's BLOG and just read it again today - from what I understand he has had enough and will no longer be writing his BLOG. This is the impression I got from his last statement on his BLOG. I am sure it has taken up all his energy and time defending Shawn and his stance on judging and he has quite simply had enough - again, this is the problem with the internet and how it works.

One final thought and it's a good point made by Russ. When ever I listen to Vivaldi 4 Seasons I can't help but think of Lance Burton's act. That music really is a major part of his act - it's HIM and his winning and amazing routine. When ever I listen to Shape Of My Heart I'm now going to think of Russ and Shawn sitting on a stool performing card tricks. I do feel music does play a major role and from a lay persons point of view they are very similar. Don't look at from a magicians point of view when it's about technique, look from a spectators point of view and it's very similar.

tim parra said...

i wish darkstar would get in contact with me, once again

Roland said...

And I wish I could reply to you, but I get an error message via facebook when I tried to reply to you.