Drink Clean Water Over Dirty Water
Kind of an interesting title, but it will make sense if you read this short article written by Canadian magician Jay Sankey recently to fellow magicians.
“Based on my experience with audience members, restaurant owners, booking agents, club managers, television producers, book publishers, and many more, people often see ‘magic’ as something primarily suited for children.
The general public also tends to think of magicians as tricksters who deliberately embarrass their audiences. And the art of magic as something which, “probably takes a bit of practice.”
On a personal level, I find such prejudices sad and upsetting. But what really drives me crazy is that these generalizations also dramatically reduce the employment opportunities of every magician on the planet.
And that in turn, limits our opportunities to polish our skills, develop our craft, and grow as artists.
These popular prejudices also seriously impede the ability of our audiences to be understanding participants and trustworthy critics.
Which is one of the reasons why talented and original magicians regularly lose work to cut-rate amateurs who stop by their local magic shop, to pick up their new closing effect, on the way to the gig.
I’m reminded of a powerful scene from the movie Malcolm X (1992.) Malcolm (played by Denzel Washington) gestures towards a glass of dirty-looking water, and says, “If dirty water is the only thing people have, they’ll drink it.”
But then, as he pours a glass of clean and sparkling water, he adds, “But if given a choice, people will always drink clean water over dirty water.”
Of course, people can decide for themselves what they do, and do not like about magic.
It’s just that, some days I get tired of hearing at every gig, “I wish we had brought the kids.”
And even worse, narrow and limited views of magic can’t help but have a negative impact on our OWN perceptions of what we are as magicians. And what we are doing when we perform “magic.”
The next time you perform, keep in mind that you represent ALL magicians. Please take it seriously and give it the respect it deserves.
It starts with us.
by Jay Sankey” (magician)
compliments of Mister Illusion Magic Productions
Charlie Fass aka Mister Illusion