Saturday, May 18, 2013

Gregory Wilson is getting old!

What's up with all the coffee magic lately. Tricks with straws, office supply and coffee stirrers? I get the natural approach, of doing magic with "real" items. I also understand that glitter boxes should be avoided at all cost.

But why is breaking and restoring a wooden coffee stirrer a trick that is being sold? Whats wrong about a ball of yarn being unrolled, breaking off the thread in several pieces and then restoring it? It plays bigger, it is much more visual and has way more class.

Yeah that's it. Magic needs to have class. Mentally figuring out which coffee creamer has been selected has no class. However knowing which bill has been selected has class. The performer's class needs to be reflected in the props and vice versa. Doing magic with three quarters has some other level of class than doing magic with three silver dollars.

Impromptu magic with seemingly borrowed items by design is cheap magic. Supplying your own classic props breaks the illusion of it being impromptu. I agree with that, however appearing prepared has more class and magic needs that.

Here is an example you are going to hate me for. Card to Wallet is a bad - I repeat a bad - trick in a regular show. However it is an excellent trick as an impromptu trick. Let me explain: In a paid performance the client expects a bit of professionalism. The client will expect that you are clean. The client will expect that you are nice and kind to the guests and the client will expect that the stuff you do is professional and well done. So how the hell does your wallet fit in there? Your wallet is your private thing. Your wallet should be locked away with your private stuff during the show.

After the show is a different thing. Let's assume you packed your stuff already. You wear no more formal wear but you everyday wear. You are asked to do one more trick. Suddenly your wallet makes perfect sense. Suddenly it seems like you can do the magic everywhere, every time, with everything.

So it comes down to the simple fact that in a professional setting tricks with "impromptu" items have no right to be there. Which makes me realize that all the released magic is not for the professional. So please don't sell it as such.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe Gregory Wilson is starting to look like an alter kocker.

Charlie Pugsley said...

So what is your view on CTW or ring to wallet, in a sealed envelope with a legal seal? (as part of a decent routine).
To me,I would say:
Classy? - Yes
Professional? - Yes
Do the clients love it? - Yes (and often even want to keep the envelope as well... which surprised me when it first happened)

I'm not talking about a battered 'every day' hip wallet (I use a Royal for my every day wallet, which I do use for impromptu 'miracles').

I love the impossible location plot - my favorite along with a transposition in their hands probably. But what about a bank note to kiwi or lime? Amazing? Of course.
Professional and classy? erm.. here's where its more subjective. I do sometimes do bill to kiwi etc, but am not a fan of the mess. I would struggle to call the clean up 'classy'.

Keep putting out the challenging ideas and comments - I like it that you provoke thought / discussion.

sinan Ordu said...

i just saw greg wilsons show a week ago and i have to say: he is not getting old. perfect mix of comedy and magic... a lot of improvisation! the whole second half of the show was pretty much improvised with cards... i loved it.

but the fact, that he gets less and less classy is true. i dont know if that is a sign of getting older though...

Cain said...

Impromptu, anytime/anywhere is Wilson's niche for the magic market. The vast majority of people who buy this product are not going to perform in a formal show.

Also, people who attempt to impose rules, "you can do this for this but not for that" are only going to look doctrinaire and foolish.

Krab said...

I would rather do a signed card into a sealed deck in new deck order than having it end up in my wallet or shoe. Having to have a wallet in my pocket just takes up pocket space for table hoping/ walk around. It doesn't feel natural to have your wallet on you while doing a formal close up show as well. I do like card to wallet as one of my "always on me when I leave the house" items.

With bill to lemon, it is about how to work it. I do a bill to lemon, but it is part of my cups and ball routine. There is class to it and it is a nice kicker to the end of a cups and balls, and it has a reason for me to have the lemon.

Charlie Pugsley said...

Thanks for the reply.
I'm not quite sure that signed card to sealed deck is that repeatable for mix and mingle / table hopping. A wallet plus envelopes pretty much takes the same space as the switched deck.
Not saying there is a right or wrong, just replying!

I agree that a fruit can be a nice load to a cup / chop cup or C&Bs routine.

I have done bill to kiwi 6+ times in a night before, but you are left with quite a pile of stuff to ditch.. (~and messy notes)

Surely there is a factor of what your audience really likes / loves, what is practical for your working conditions and what fits your performance style.

Finger ring routine then ring to envelope in wallet (sometimes with a signed card, inspired by John Vander Put's ETE) is a workhorse killer memorable effect for me, but we're all different!

Krab said...

the sealed deck is for VIP table or someone who keeps coming back to the same joint to see me. It is a wow factor thing

walkaround said...

The problem used to be that magic was lame (rabbits, top hats, tuxs). Then Blaine and Angel took to the streets and there was a resurgence in the arts and they made it cooler (or not). By seemingly being impromptu, it made for good sound bites to film BIG street reactions (why do you think magic demos are shot in this format and with people of certain backgrounds as it's more dramatic and helps to sell the effect). Blaine loves to shoot in harlem for a reason he knows what works to sell. Gregory, as most magicians, do both types of magic (formal shows). He is also trying to appeal to non professionals as well to sell more as the trend is to hang out in coffee shops. If he sold this to every day people who go to coffee shops he would be rich. I agree the broken stir stick trick, selling that alone to magicians is a money grab, who's really going to perform this outside of a coffee shop? Put it in a book or compilation dvd maybe? Class is what you make it through patter, location, image, tricks, etc. Class has certain rules ;) Having props is ok for formal shows/so called classy settings, but not believable to have in your pocket as you walk around and someone says show me something (unless you walk around in a restaurant for a living, but thats a show). That is why ignition and linkey are examples of impromptu as they look like your normal keys. Silks, sponge balls, liberties and cards not so much. Who carries those on them? (if you do stop it half kidding as it doesn't really matter your a magician people expect that, if you must;) I think its lame it's not impromptu but that's just my opinion. Save it for your formal show? You can't compare the different settings/styles. The stir stick trick just gives you an impromptu thing to do if you're with someone at the coffee shop. Would you put it in your formal show, walkaround or even busk with it? No! You are right doing that trick outside the coffee shop is not impressive AT ALL, unless you're trying to pickup the girl/guy who works at starbucks ;) Maybe that's the kind of people he's wants to market this one to? Or that's where he spends a lot of time. He's got something for everyone.

greg wilson said...

Anybody who ever steps on a stage or contributes to the conjuring community is, and always will be, open to criticism. This is how we grow, learn and improve. My question of concern, however, is whether or not this Rolland Henning fellow is a qualified critic or source of worthwhile information. After a modicum of research, I find him to be quite questionable, as he looks and sounds like a guy who lives and blogs from the safety of his mother's basement while gorging on way too much junk food -- physically and intellectually.

Regarding the Coffeehouse Conjuring material, it's simply designed to be performed in a coffeehouse with friends, NOT for a paid gig or formal performance. It's that simple. This impromptu versus classy props nonsense is just a straw man argument that stinks of red herrings and a guy who rants for rant sake to appear important and authoritative. In actuality, this guy is a classic case of someone who chooses an agrument not worth arguing about simply because it's MUCH easier to be destructive than PROductive. Which, frankly, makes me wonder why I took this much time to point out what should already be abundantly clear.

Counter-rant over.

Gregory Wilson

PS Regarding getting older, by the way, welcome to Club Entropy!

Carl Royle said...

Always amusing to read banter!!!!!!!!!
If you are interested in general what its like in the corporate world of magic I have recently started a blog

First blogs include Trade show magic and a q&a on why someone should book a magician at a wedding

Any feedback welcome

By the way Greg Wilson is someone to be looked up to in magic know your history kids!!!!!!!