Decline of Western Magic: The Not-So-Amazing Gordo
When an amateur magician posing as a professional (The Amazing Gordo:http://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingGordo came to defend Criss Angel after his thievery (found here, and here), he brought our attention to his online work. Below is the description and account of one of our operatives who felt Mr. Simmons was worthy of discussion.
I fell in love with magic at the age of 10 when I watched my first Copperfield TV special. I have had high expectations of magic ever since. As a child my family could only afford the books and trick from our local dollar store. Due to the clear “trick” nature of the cards and props, as well as ridicule from family and friends, I chose to not to bother with the pain of sub-par magic kits. Then at the age of 24 I found myself with the time and money to pursue magic in the way I had always wanted, as an art form.
But we’re not here to talk about me; we are here to talk about how amateurs are passing themselves off as professionals and destroying the name and art of magic. In these articles I will be presenting examples on what I feel is wrong with magic in our world today. I do this not for the sole purpose of tearing down the subjects of this and future articles, but to enlighten the lost souls that love the art as much as I do. I feel in my heart that all magicians want the best out of themselves and magic, what we need is to find and show ourselves through our magic.
Today’s example is Gordon Simons aka The Amazing Gordo.
I would first like to bring up the topic of dishonesty. Yes, in magic, you are cheating in a manner of speaking, but it is used in a way to bring wonder and entertainment. When performing magic, it is not typical for a magician to lay sole claim to an effect that was not created by him alone. In fact there are very few magicians that I know of who claim ownership of their effects in such a broad sense as the Amazing Gordo. Most will perform to the enjoyment of their audience and not be so arrogant.
The warning let’s use know that in his mind “The stunts and illusions performed in this video were DESIGNED and tested by the Amazing Gordo”. In my book ALTER and DESIGN mean completely different things. I’ve always seen design defined as to conceive or fashion in the mind; to invent. I don’t see the zombie hanky, levitating card, flame to rose, or that body penetration as something that Gordo has any claim to design wise.
At the 6:20 mark Gordo claims that he is “going to try something that hasn’t been done before”. This is of course a classic of comedy magic in where the participant has two large silks stuffed down the front of their pants and their underwear has been magically attached to the ends of the silks. This may have been thrown in to add theatrics, but the line “I’m going to show you something amazing” or “Let me show you something wonderful” are better choices and they don’t come across as disingenuous.
Now I would like to stress the importance of quality performance. This is going to be a recurring theme with me as I believe it is the most important. I will once again use example #2 as evidence of my point. You are free to browse his videos at your leisure, but for my purposes this video speaks volumes for what NOT to do.
Let me first talk about sound and music. If you have music in your act, please plan out where it will be needed and for how long. Most magicians use music as a way to cue actions within their act. This is an example of poor music management. There was no reason as to why this dreadful music had to continue, sans the lack of microphone skills and I will get to that in a moment. If at any point in your act you are speaking from your script, you should have the ability to be heard by the farthest member of your audience.
Gordo also exemplifies poor script construction. There seemed to be few to no scripted lines for the purposes of theatrics. If you are presenting a show, you need a script. Movies, TV, plays, music, they all have scripts. Why would a magic act be any different? If you fly by the seat of your pants in a magic act without thought as to what you’re going to say, the audience and critics will hang you by the balls. And for Christ’s sake, NEVER, and I mean NEVER EVER, start your next effect by saying “For my next trick”. That phrase alone will destroy everything you have built. This phrase stems from everyone’s preconceived notions of how a magician performs. Treat this phase like the plague and avoid it and people that use it.
Gordon’s big finale, the straight jacket, was quite possibly the worst escape I have ever seen in a magic act.
He looked like a tired child fighting to remove his pajamas. Also, if you are going to wait until the end of your act to say something uplifting and meaningful, don’t bother. Your magic should have messages sprinkled in not only to have them take what you say at the end seriously, but to add depth and dimension to the whole act. You want people to feel emotions when you perform your act. I remember the first time I saw David Copperfield’s “Portal” and “Snow” illusions, I cried like a baby and still do every time. That is the best misdirection ever, the ability to entangle emotions so much into your effect that the audience never has a chance to doubt. They care too much not to believe. Everyone of use has that in us; we just have to put in the work and time.
We have gone over two very important topics that magicians seem to have issues overcoming. There are many resources out there that cover scripting, performing and finding yourself in your magic.
If you make false claims of ownership however; you’re on your own.
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