Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Appreciation

Only time for a short posting today. I can see already that keeping this project up to date will be a more daunting undertaking than I had imagined. Despite the chagrin I often felt for other bloggers, I'm developing a new respect for their ability to post on a regular basis. I'm also coming to understand why so many don't post on a regular schedule. I had planned on a follow up to my first post, but it will have to wait for another time.

I want to comment briefly on Jon Racherbaumer's treatment on the subject of Equivique which appears in the fourth issue of the quarterly Antinomy. Truthfully, I had never viewed Equivique as having any real significance for me; that is to say, I couldn't see the possibilities that thoughtful implementation of this technique could bring about. After reading Mr. Racherbaumer's treatment, my attitude has changed considerably, and I now find myself wanting to explore in greater detail this powerful tool. I have already ordered Phil Goldstein/Max Maven's Verbal Control, and am seeking a copy of Chuck Smith's lecture notes called What If? so I might learn his routine for his 52 object Equivique. Mr. Racherbaumer outlines the 52 object Equivique itself, not the routine, and it was this more than anything which convinced me what a wonderful tool this could be.

I think I can be forgiven my ignorance on this subject considering I concern myself primarily with sleight of hand. It has served to remind me, once again, how little anyone can truly know about magic, and how veritable gems of deception can be right under our noses, ignored and unused until something stimulates the imagination. I thank Mr. Racherbaumer for his wonderful look at the subject and for showing me the possibilities.

If you haven't subscribed to Antinomy, I highly recommend it. Visit the Antinomy site to learn more.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

No Time Today

I don't have time to make a real post today. My youngest was sent home early from school with fever, and this necessitated a visit to the pediatrician and a general rearrangement of the day. Mr. Pagliacci was kind enough to respond to my first post, without rancor I might add, and while I would like to address a few concerns which still linger, that will have to wait.

Monday, January 16, 2006

E-Mail

In my haste to begin this blog, I discovered that the e-mail address I had provided had not yet been activated. That has been taken care of now and I may be reached at tolliverlives@gmail.com

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Girl Magic

When I decided to write a blog, I went into it with the intention to do so anonymously. Much ado has been made about those who post anonymously, so please allow me to briefly outline my reasoning for taking such a course.

As I stated in the introductory post, I am not a professional magician, although I hold aspirations to one day become one. I do have a career outside of magic, and I don't wish to in any way jeopardize that career, however unlikely that might be, by someone taking offense at something I write here. Even though I have no plans of ever launching the kind of brutal attacks some anonymous bloggers do, it's all too easy to rankle someone when he or she is the focus of an honest appraisal. If I have learned anything in my life thus far, it's that people can be extremely vindictive when criticized, so the possibility of someone taking offense and making trouble for me at my job seemed all too real, no matter how nicely I might word my observations.

There are other anonymous bloggers who hint that they hold positions of prominence in the magic world and have elected to write anonymously to insulate themselves from reprisal by their colleagues. Frankly, I've always been dubious of such claims, believing it far more likely that they're attempting to give their words added weight with the suggestion that they're professional performers and the like. It would seem to me that a well known professional magician would get much more satisfaction posting his opinions under his own name, rather than taking shots at his colleagues anonymously.

The blogger who calls himself Pagliacci is a case in point. In a post dated May 19, 2005, Pagliacci states:

I recently finished shooting two episodes worth of material for my upcoming TV special (yes, let's get this out of the way - I will be having a TV special) and only got to see the footage when we went into the editing room.

In a more recent post, Pagliacci makes reference to performing professional close-up work. Now, far be it from me to question the veracity of Mr. Pagliacci's claims, but I can't help but wonder why a working professional magician, especially one in the enviable position of filming a television special, would spend his free time writing a magic blog, let alone writing it anonymously. If he's truly enjoying the level of success he implies, wouldn't he write his blog under his real name?

Leaving that question aside, as you probably know if you read Mr. Pagliacci's blog, he's currently selling an ebook called Girl Magic.Girl Magic is supposed to teach you to use magic to make yourself more appealing to the opposite sex. It sells for eight dollars, although when it first went on sale it was only five.

I can't help but wonder why, if you have a name in magic and are filming a television special, you would choose to sell something anonymously instead of using your real name. I don't know about you, but name recognition plays a role in the magic I buy, and I'm much more likely to buy something authored by say David Regal than an unknown, let alone an anonymous author. The only justification I can imagine for authoring a work and selling it anonymously is that the work isn't something you would want to have your name associated with. That's hardly an incentive to buy it.

Another problem is that he's claiming an unverified expertise. Supposedly Girl Magic will help you be more successful with the opposite sex. Well, I think it's only fair to offer some assurance to the buyer that the author is successful with the opposite sex. For all the consumer knows, in reality Mr. Pagliacci has never had a date, let alone is proficient at using magic to meet girls. Of course this problem would have been avoided had he published the work under his real name and he really has enjoyed great success with the opposite sex.

Even more of a problem, in my opinion, is that by buying the work the consumer is admitting that he's a geek, so to speak. I don't think anyone wants to buy a product that makes him feel bad about himself.

I mean no malice for Mr. Pagliacci. I think these are legitimate points I'm making, and I'd like to see him address them. It's unfathomable to me why someone filming a television special and performing close-up professionally would bother selling an ebook for such a small sum and doing so anonymously.

When it comes to Girl Magic, I'll have to pass.

Welcome To Magic Watch

Magicians seem to have a knack for taking a good thing and making it bad. The magic blog is a case in point. From a very promising beginning, established by the fertile mind of "Andy" with his Magic Circle Jerk, the enterprise has degenerated nearly to the point of collapse. Magic blogs aren't much fun to read anymore, and they certainly aren't very informative, ironically enough, about magic.

That's why I've decided to throw my hat into the ring, so to speak. I'm not arrogant enough to believe I have all the answers, or even very many of them. I do believe I can offer an unbiased look at magic bloggers and what they're doing, and hopefully evaluations of what's good and bad in magic without the usual cut throat rancor.

I come to you with no pretensions concerning my abilities; I'm not the best magician in the world, and although I'm a serious student of the art and a semi-professional performer, I don't earn my living solely from magic. So many magic bloggers attempt to paint themselves as highly successful magicians that I think this distinction is important. I'm like many of you. I do the occasional show, but for now the dream of becoming a full time professional has had to take a back seat to the realities of earning a living. Maybe someday.

These will be my opinions for what they're worth. Maybe along the way we can learn a thing or two.

My name is Tolliver. Welcome to Magic Watch.