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One More Thing to Think About

The average layman probably experiences close-up magic fewer than six times in their entire life. (I’m referring to an in-person performance, not a performance on television.) This means that every encounter with a magician is an important one, because the spectator will base his opinion of all magicians on that one experience. This has a profound implication. When you are out in the real world, performing for people who do not have a vested interest in your performance (family, friends, magic buddies), you represent all of magic. It is as if no other magic exists, other than the manner in which you choose to represent the art. If your performance leaves a negative impression, all of us suffer, for it is unlikely that the spectator will be enthusiastic if he encounters another magician. Generally speaking, this is the current state of affairs; the public’s opinion of magic is low, and its opinion of magic’s practitioners is even lower. This saddens me.

I’ve tried to do my part to counteract this negativity, but I’m only one person. My challenge to you is to be evangelical in your desire to raise the level of magic performance. Be so good that your spectators leave with a hunger to see more magic. Express your individuality, your point of view, and your humanity through your performance. Magic is a gift; through it our spectators can see the world through fresh eyes. Offer that gift. Watch the result. The person who is most surprised may well be you.

[From Closely Guarded Secrets]

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