Brushstrokes Over Reality



Is magic an art? Magicians have been thinking about it in the wrong way for more than a century. If you feel that the question is merely academic, Brushstrokes explains the value for every magician, with examples from history and from current performances: what happens in a magic show, and what  happens in a theater show? How do you make your magic more important, more memorable, and more intriguing? How do audiences feel that something becomes artistic? What does that mean? 

From the book: “I believe that, on a basic level, there are two possible presentations for magic. The first is, ‘Let me tell you a story.’ It’s the theatrical approach, the construction of a fantasy. And the second is, ‘Watch! I can do this.’ Every magician understands that he or she is supposed to advocate for the story, the true theatrical approach. Similarly, every child knows that they are supposed to eat their spinach. But a remarkable number of magicians found success by saying, ‘Watch!’ Manipulation acts, many card tricks, and almost all mentalism, work on this level. I’m not sure if Houdini ever performed anything without the subtext of proclaiming, ‘Watch!’ Even Devant seemed to succumb to this temptation for his manipulations or mentalism routines.” 

The essay is illustrated with six novel, modern stand-up effects—with cards, glasses, words, and envelopes—to focus on additional elements that can add reality, interest and theatricality. These include Long Ago and Far Away, a transposition of a spectator’s credit card from one side of the stage to the other, and The Vasty Deep, a modern spiritual interpretation of the old, suspicious practice of Spiritualism. Thirty-two pages, plus cover; full color with fifty-one photos and illustrations. Written with honesty and good humor, this book will demonstrate the range of magic that can surprise your audiences. 

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