Keeping Up With The Times

Change in the Character of Magic

The character of Magic, like that of everything else in life, has changed with the changing world. At one time a great deal of cumbersome apparatus was used — many trick cases and trunks and long table drapes. The Magician, too, was encumbered with voluminous robes.

Robert-Houdin, whom I have mentioned before as the founder of the modern school of legerdemain, did away with all the gaudy, clumsy paraphernalia of his predecessors. From his time sleight of hand came into its own and this, of

course, does not require much paraphernalia. Many Magicians acquired great skill in manipulating small objects, such as coins and cards, and made a great success of it. T. Nelson Downs is a King of Coins in the magic world. Manuel is another clever coin expert. There was a craze at one time for coin acts in imitation of Downs. Special acts were also built around the use of cards. Howard Thurston was once famous for his card act.

This was the beginning of the development of impromptu and vest-pocket Magic, which of recent years has come into such popularity. The demand for Magicians to perform at clubs, in homes, at social functions, has required the further development of this type of Magic. In such cases the performer cannot have an elaborate preliminary set-up. This has necessitated the simplification of apparatus and the creation of effects which permit the use of paraphernalia which the Magician can carry about with him and for which he can use ordinary objects.

This simplification of paraphernalia and of effects has made the Art of Magic even more astonishing by reason of its impromptu and apparently makeshift nature.

This type of work has developed the suit case act, where the properties are carried in a suit case and are taken out and replaced as necessary. (See Lesson 10, How to Present a Program.) At such a performance the Magician is ready for work when he opens the suit case and has completed his act when he closes it.

The important thing in Modern Magic is not necessarily elaborateness, but novelty, surprise, something spontaneous and effective; and that is what the Modern Magician must give.

Individuality You Display Must be Suited to the Times

This brings us back again to a discussion of Individuality — an Individuality suited to the times. Robert-Houdin was the first Magician to discard the old clumsy robes and to appear in a dress suit. He did the Art a good turn by making departure from the old order. Since his time, however, many performers have worn full dress, and not with such good effect. On the stage with a full evening show a la Thurston or Houdini, the dress suit is permissible, providing the performer is the type that can wear one. In view of the change in style, you are much safer in appearing in a Tuxedo for dress wear, thus avoiding any possibility of friction with the audience. For the informal performance the business suit will do very well. There is no need for you to try to display individuality in dress or appearance until you know just what you will accomplish thereby, and whether it is of positive benefit to you.

Take mustaches, for instance. At one time there was a craze for Magicians to wear mustaches and goatees. It arose through imitation of a hero, the usual foundation for fads. This hero was Alexander Herrmann — Herrmann the Great. This great magician wore a mustache and a goatee. They enhanced

his appearance and were well suited to him and gave him individuality. Those who imitated him, however, must have in many cases appeared ridiculous. Today we have Laurant, LeRoy, and Brush who wear distinctive looking mustaches and with effect. However, there are some would-be magicians who feel that they must have mustaches, regardless of suitability, to make them individual and great magicians. If these fellows don't grow them, they paste on big black mustaches and utterly disregard their complexions and color of their hair with the result that they present a ludicrous figure.

Set Your Stage in Keeping With the Times

Dealers in magical supplies have greatly influenced the stage settings of magicians, particularly of novices in the field. The dealers sell certain stock sets and apparatus. The result is that there has been too much sameness in stage settings. When the curtain rose or parted, there stood the old familiar magic tables, the same apparatus. This has grown very monotonous and uninteresting to the audience.

Other magicians went to the other extreme of too much display and gaudiness in striving for individuality. The pendulum is now swinging back again, however, to simplification of stage settings with better effect. It is not necessary to overdo special costumes and gorgeous scenery in these times. People like simplicity with artistic effect. You may make your stage setting colorful and unique, if you like, but keep it simple. Do not use old, cheap looking effects in your settings, and remember always to suit the occasion and the audience. Let good taste and modernism guide you.

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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