Self Check

My art is my art, and some of it … well, all of it is intensely personal. Effects come and go in my core act, but some are anchored there. The basic structure of what I present is a celebration of the gift I’ve been given.

There’s an effect I’ve been performing for seventeen years. It was born and forged in comedy clubs in the late nineties. It was inspired by an effect of the late Johnny Paul.

In the past it has been subject to debate, scorn, and ridicule. It has been stolen (word for word) by lesser magicians trying to make a name for themselves.

It is at the core of one of my funniest true stories from the road. I’d removed it from the act on several occasions, but lay audiences keep requesting it and are sometimes disappointed when I don’t do it in a show.

This is Roadhouse.

What I want to know from you is: IN YOUR OPINION is this presentation offensive or misogynistic? I want honest answers and full disclosure, please, especially if you have seen it live more than once. I’d really like a calm, rational discussion if there is some debate.

Tell me your thoughts. Let’s discuss.




Filed under Musings, Public Diary

6 responses to “Self Check

  1. River

    Seems fine to me

  2. Amy Reeps

    I find this neither offensive or misogynistic. I have seen this trick performed live on several occasions and honestly I am so busy trying to figure out the “how.” I love what you do and would not change a thing! Your art is your art and if people find it in some way offensive then they can choose not to watch. Do not change for anyone, stay true to yourself!

  3. Catherine

    Definitely not misogynistic…(I confess, I had to look that word up)…and I was not offended at all…I was entertained and delighted…as always…your art, and the fact that you share so much of yourself, is a gift to anyone who has the privilege to see you perform.

  4. Not at all offensive or misogynistic when done by someone who knows his audience, knows how far to take things (verbally & physically) & can adapt if necessary. I’m the guy who requested you do this at Blackpool in Febuary & would love to perform it. Sadly it’s not mine to perform & I don’t feel any kind of ‘spin’ of this trick would hit as hard as this presentation does anyway so wouldn’t try it. It’s not for everyone but no performance is. I love this video & have watched it many times, you should be immensely proud of it.

  5. Luigi Anzivino

    I have layered thoughts about this, honestly. This very performance on YouTube was the one that made me aware of you as a magician, and it electrified me as I watched it. First of all because it fooled me, but not because of any fancy technique: because the presentation and your personality are so warm and compelling that I forgot to watch it as a magician would, and missed all the technique. Upon a second viewing it became clear what technique you were using, and I was twice impressed by how simple and direct it is, and had a personal experience of how powerful it can be.

    I kept watching your online presence and when your DVD came out I rushed to the magic shop to buy it, hoping this trick would be on it because I really wanted to add it to my repertoire. And… it was! But with a caveat: perform it at your own risk. You make the point that your persona on stage is that of a friendly, non-threatening guy, and if you can’t pull that off, maybe this trick isn’t for you.

    I am—modesty aside for a minute—a fairly conventionally attractive guy, and I want to think that I don’t come off as creepy or threatening in any way when performing (I self deprecate quite a bit…) but I had doubts. I tip-toed up to the full brunt card in bra presentation over repeated performances, and found that the reception has been good, positive, and apparently free of resentment. So I’ve done it a few times, and it’s always been good and fun, but I’ve had a niggling doubt in the back of my mind that maybe this isn’t… ok. I’m guessing it’s the same doubt you’re having?

    Your question is not “does it play?” but “is it offensive or misogynistic?” In my opinion it is neither, I am not offended by it nor were any of my audience members or clearly the women in this video, and I really don’t think it comes from or promotes a hatred of women (which is the definition of misogyny).

    But I am wondering if perhaps it is a bit sexist.

    (And please understand, I am going out on a limb here based entirely of what little I can tell of you from the internet, which isn’t much, hoping you can grok that I am saying this from a position of love both of your art, you as a performer, and truly of the way you put yourself out there as a human being, and I am in no way saying that *you* are sexist, but just that the structure of this trick might have some components of sexism in it. And also remember that I myself have performed the same exact presentation, so I’m shining this light on myself as well!)

    And to answer that I think it doesn’t really matter what the intent is on the part of the performer, or how the audience receives it. You have to look at the structure of the trick and what roles it predicates for men and women, which potential stereotypes it reinforces, what shared understanding of what women “are for” in society makes it work, etc… In a recent video you posted I’ve seen you do it with two men instead of women, and then all sexual innuendo was gone, you didn’t ask them to put the cards in their underwear or even inside their shirts, there were no jokes about the cards being happier when facing one way, etc. And so it makes me think that perhaps there is an underlying assumption of different roles and values assigned to men and women that this trick reinforces.

    Is it still ok to perform it? Does dealing with a measure of sexism make your art better? Those are questions I cannot answer, I do not consider myself an artist, but an enthusiastic hobbyist, so my answer might be different than yours, but it is something I have been wondering for myself. I’d be very interested in your thoughts…

  6. Luigi Anzivino

    I’m honestly curious what you think about this…

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