- Street magic
Street magic actually falls into two genres; traditional street performance and
Traditional street performance
The first definition of street magic refers to a traditional form of magic performance - that of
busking. In this, the magician draws an audience from passers by and performs an entire act for them. In exchange, the magician seeks remuneration either by having a receptacle for tips available throughout the act or by "passing the hat" at the end of the performance.
Street magic most often consists of
sleight of hand, card magic, and occasionally mentalism, though the ability to draw and hold an audience is frequently cited by practitioners as a skill of greater importance than the illusions themselves.
Anthropologists chronicle this form of street magic from approximately 3,000 years ago - and there are records of such
performersacross the continents,Fact|date=November 2007 notably Europe, Asia/ South Asiaand the Middle East. While it is a very old performing style, its history is not particularly well documented in print. In his diary, Samuel Pepysmentions seeing magicians performing in this fashion and one can see street magicians in depictions by Hieronymous Bosch, William Hogarth, and Pieter Brueghel. Book XIII of Reginald Scot's "Discoverie of Witchcraft" (1584) describes magic tricks of the type performed by buskers in the 16th century. New Yorkbased artist and magician Jeff Sheridanis regarded as one of the pre-eminent U.S. street magicians to emerge from the surge in street performance artistry which began in the late '60s. He authored the 1977book, "Street Magic" and allegedly was one of the performers who inspired and taught the young David Blaineafter Blaine saw Sheridan perform in Central Park.
More recently, other performers have garnered accolades from the magic community for their contributions to the art. Jim
Cellini(aka Richard Sullivan) has been a full-time street performer since the 1970s and has published a book ("Cellini: The Royal Touch") and DVDs ("The Art of Street Performing, volumes 1 - 3") on the subject. Gazzo Macee(aka Gary Osborne) has been a full-time street performer since the 1980s and has published a booklet ("The Art of Krowd Keeping") and DVD ("Street Cups") on the subject. David Groves has been a part-time street performer since the 1990s and has published a book on the subject ("Be a Street Magician: A How-To Guide"). Cyril Takayamahas produced and starred in three TV shows on street magic and produced one street-magic DVD.
The term "street magic" is often incorrectly used by beginners in magic, who think it is some new form of magic or a "paradigm shift" originated by David Blaine when he debuted in his first "Street Magic" television special. In reality, it is simply a rebranded form of
buskingwhen performed for pay or simply close-up magic performed outdoors when not done for pay. Wrote magic historian Jamy Ian Swiss, "I propose that street magic does not exist as a magic form" (in the sense of being something wholly differentiated from already existing and well-established forms of magic such as busking] ). [http://www.antinomymagic.com/swiss.htm In Search of Street Magic] ]
The second category is more appropriately called "guerrilla magic"Fact|date=November 2007in that it is a relatively recent style of performing magic illusions where the magician performs a single trick or two in a public space (such as on a sidewalk) for an unsuspecting, unpaying audience. The desired effect of this "hit and run" style of magic is to give the audience a feeling that what they are seeing is , unrehearsed, and experimental. It is, however, highly debatable whether magic should be performed for people without asking or without being asked to do so.
Eugene Burgeropined to Jamy Ian Swiss "On one level it's the ultimate trivialization of magic: accosting strangers on the street."
This style of "street magic" is associated with
David Blaine(who popularized the term) and more recently, Criss Angeland was largely developed to play well on television beginning with the 1997ABC television special "David Blaine: Street Magic." Many magicians respect Blaine's choice of material and give him credit for creating an image of the contemporary magician distinct from other magicians in recent television history, such as David Copperfield or Doug Henning. Many magicians, such as Jamy Ian Swiss, however, dispute whether any such category as guerrilla magic even exists, since it is primarily associated with only one performer.
One of the main questions about the phenomenon is the performer's actual purpose. "Street magic" has not mainly appeared because of some urban trend, but simply that new magicians who perform usual tricks outdoors call it "street magic". If there are "stage magic", "parlor magic" and close-up, it is mainly because these three are highly different kinds of magic, and because magicians are getting paid to perform it.
Joao Alberto (magician)
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