Towards an empirical theory of performing Tenyo tricks and other magic gadgets


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/08/i-am-oz-the-great-and-powerful.html


#2

That analogy is hilarious, but imperfect. You see, most of my sainted mother’s recipes involved canned soup.


#3

Yeah, my grandmother’s corn pudding recipe that I’d eaten for years turns out to come from the corn meal packaging. Of course, on a box 20+ years ago and not on there now that I’ve ever seen, but the same idea.

I would never have known given that she gave it to me from memory. I asked where it came from and she told me. I don’t know that this negates anything since it’s not like anybody’s recipes came from the elves or something.


#4

Except my lembas. It’'s pretty good, I think. Better than those shills at Keebler.


#5

on an unrelated note, it seems I may have briefly dated a psychopath.


#6

but which are nearly guaranteed to fall flat when performed for friends and strangers.

This is unfair and inaccurate. Tenyo has put out a ton of great stuff, much of which is fun to perform and charming to witness. Not everything is a winner, of course. Some items are more puzzle-like than magical, and some of it is more cool to dissect methodwise than to perform. But they’ve produced plenty of quite solid tricks over the years as well.

In fact, the particular effect he references, Magic Crystal Cleaver, is pretty damn strong on its own, despite the plasticy props. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhuW7Z7tP8c

Andy is mostly reacting to the cheap, toylike nature of Tenyo tricks, which makes them unsuited to professional performance unless they are couched in some story that makes use of their appearance. He argues that bullshit “my first trick” type stories, which are supposed to justify the use of Tenyoesque cheap plastic props, do more harm than good unless they’re believably sold as true. Of course, Andy’s Jerxian philosophy on amateur performance involves creating an actually beautiful and plausible justification for why he has a cheap plastic trick…and why his audience should care.


#7

Instead of my first instinct (“haven’t we all been there?”), may I instead ask about the juicy details that lead you to think so?


#8

joke’s on him, I already think magicians are psychopaths


#9

Since I literally wrote the book on this subject, and have been performing Tenyo’s tricks exclusively for regular folks (that is, non-magicians) for many years, I can safely say that this is a lot of nonsense.


#10

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