Today's entry comes from a good friend of mine from Texas. He's creative, funny, and skinny as a rail. The best trick he does is turn sideways and vanish. I shit you not!
BY: Aaron Stone
I have started this article five times now, gotten distracted, and tried again. I'm sitting right now in a hospital waiting room... yay...
The last time I wrote for Bizzaro's blog, I was nearly held at gunpoint. Actually, it was more like this: I went to his house, was led to the laptop, and forced to do nothing else unless I filled the gap in his guest spot for the week, fed Michelina's frozen dinners, smacked by a Wii remote, beaten by Tigger Tails, even suffocated with a fedora... okay, not really, but it was completely unexpected.
Yet again I have the honor of being told there is an open invitation! That's almost a request! So, naturally, I've jumped on my girlfriend's laptop (shuddup) and started typing away.
I now get to rant about one thing that really pisses me off! PONIES.
That's right. Ponies.
Not like, “oh, I want a pony for my birthday,” that every girl (and some of you boys) want, but the one-trick ponies that claim to be magicians in our world today. The ones who claim to do “tricks” and feel like that's quality entertainment. That's a problem, and I've found an effective solution: Nerve gas.
The kids (well, grown people too) that learn a trick from YouTube or a drunk guy in a brothel and immediately go show everyone they can (poorly) and claim they are magicians need to be thrown into a room littered with sharp objects and instruments of destruction and force-fed good, high-quality magic footage. Why?
“Anyone can do a magic trick. Only a magician can do magic.” Even if someone knows thousands of tricks, they are not a magician. A magician is more than someone who has too much free-time and zero remaining social life. Much like a mortician, magicians need to know everything. Which is why we can be so cocky sometimes.
Magicians need to be well-versed in theatrical performance, stage lighting, set design, writing/scripting, timing, costuming, make-up, mechanics, construction, psychology, business management, current events and world news, study of competition, marketing, physical therapy, public relations, and various other technical skills. Show me one full-time professional who doesn't fit this, and I'll eat Bizzaro's hat. (Editor's note: The hell he will)
So what really, truly separates the pros from the soon-to-be-nuked populous of 21-cardtrickville? Entertainment. Whether it be funny, serious, dramatic, esoteric, satirical, or insipid... entertainment value is what draws the line. A professional magician can take the simplest trick (one that a metric ton of imbeciles would dismiss as “a lame trick”) and turn it into a masterpiece that will leave a lasting impression on the audience. (NOTE: Lasting impression, as compared to the depression left by a falling anvil, taken to the face).
A trick is just that: a trick. The effect accomplished is in the hands of the performer, and the more tools and subtleties used in proper moderation, the better. The amount of entertainment is dependent on the performer, how much practice he/she puts into it, and the receptiveness of the audience. (Yes, I left a window open for a cop-out later on. There is such a thing as a bad audience).
Where does that leave us? Ponies! Oh yea! Okay, so even if a one-trick pony knows a thousand tricks but treats them all the same and shows them all in the same way (in an unrehearsed, unpracticed and immature fashion... seemingly trying to fit into a music video that would obviously be edited later) it still only knows one trick: ambitious lame.
Let's stamp it into the brains of the one-trick youtube star-wannabe's: Knowing how to do a magic trick doesn't constitute calling yourself a magician. A paycheck for your labors of your craft that covers more than your gas to get there... that does. A kit that says, “Learn all the tricks in here to become a REAL magician” DOES NOT. Surviving, supporting your family, taking it seriously and not perpetuating the crap in the market DOES. Doing every trick you can possibly afford to buy off the shelves of your local magic store does NOT make you a magician. Being creative, original, and working hard to improve yourself and your act DOES.
Basically, take it seriously or don't call yourself a magician. Right now, most “magicians” only know enough to be dangerous.
Which is why I opt for nerve gas.
Aaron Stone is a full-time performer in the DFW area, currently hiding his car from the bank and has just been put on the Ramen Noodle diet. Shaving with a broken spoon and defending himself by watching “Walker: Texas Ranger” re-runs, he can be reached with a rope ladder and a peace offering of York™ Peppermint Patties, or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hopefully we'll have more special guest goodness for you tomorrow.