Join 3,552 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Yann Frisch can't get a break
December 11, 2012 5:37 AM   Subscribe

Sleight of hand from French magician Yann Frisch (SLYT)
posted by OmieWise (35 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting character idea, but some terrible sleight of hand going on there. Nowhere near the master.
posted by DU at 5:48 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You call that terrible? really?
posted by Think_Long at 5:59 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, really. I've never seen this guy or his act before. I could follow each ball pretty much every time and even actually saw it in his hands multiple times. Watch my link to see sleights done right.
posted by DU at 6:04 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I caught precisely two things he did, and I figured out maybe a dozen more.

So, perhaps 1% of the act?

Impressive as hell.
posted by Imperfect at 6:04 AM on December 11, 2012


He's a bit manic. But, as a recovering magician myself, I'd definitely note that pantomiming - using no patter at all - makes what he's doing even harder. Pretty well done, I'd say.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:15 AM on December 11, 2012


The act itself was really distracting.
posted by odinsdream at 6:19 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, the pantomiming is a good idea, which is wrapped in what I meant by "character". And I agree, a bit manic. I would say that his magic is good enough that if he polished the acting a bit he could have something really nice. Or vice versa. As-is...meh.
posted by DU at 6:19 AM on December 11, 2012


I mostly knew what he was doing but he did it so well I was always behind the moves. DU, I'm an ex-magician (dabbler) myself but you must have a much stronger resistance to misdirection than I do. I thought that apart from a few unnecessarily confusing sequences that was a pretty terrific display.
posted by Decani at 6:23 AM on December 11, 2012


I dunno, I prefer my husband's version of this, which is Dai Vernon's. The pantomiming is a really obvious distraction. Good patter is much harder than this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:26 AM on December 11, 2012


I get the impression that a load of the "obvious" moves he makes are faked sleights... I think he's not just putting in distracting moves to confuse an ordinary audience, he's also making moves that look like imperfectly-concealed sleights, specifically to get an audience of magicians twitching and looking in the wrong places.

I hadn't thought about that much before, but is there a branch of magic specifically aimed at fooling magicians? Magic works by exploiting our assumptions and expectations, knowing what kinds of movements we'll stare at and what details we'll miss. Presumably, a crowd of magicians with a solid grounding in the basics of magical technique will have different stuff that they're watching for and will infer different things from a performer's movements. This will normally serve them well in seeing through tricks but, if you know they're all primed to see specific moves and distration techniques, you should be able to exploit those expectations, to design tricks specifically targeting a magical audience.

It seems like a lot of time and effort with little potential to get paid, but if it's possible there must be *some* genius hobbyists out there giving it a try.
posted by metaBugs at 6:28 AM on December 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is sublime. I don't mean to excuse any technical faults because I'm ill-equipped to judge the technique on display here, but it appeared to me that the "flaws" in his performance are actually what raises this to the level of art. Critiquing the sleight of hand seems a little like saying Aphex Twin can't sing, or something.
posted by deo rei at 6:29 AM on December 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hadn't thought about that much before, but is there a branch of magic specifically aimed at fooling magicians? Magic works by exploiting our assumptions and expectations, knowing what kinds of movements we'll stare at and what details we'll miss.

All magicians desire to fool other magicians. A natural and well-designed sleight is often very hard to see, even if you know it's happening. Magicians really appreciate the technique as much as anything.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:38 AM on December 11, 2012


"The hand is quicker than the eye" is a well-maintained bit of propaganda, BTW. The hand is much slower than the eye, and that misperception can be used to great effect.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:40 AM on December 11, 2012


I like Paul Gertner's variant.
posted by plinth at 6:48 AM on December 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


His sleights were almost entirely sloppy but I think what made this really bad for me was that his "flailing" did more to expose his dexterity than to camouflage it. So not only is he a poor magician, he's a poor actor. Unless the whole thing was intentionally bad just to be an ironic commentary about true sleight talent. Which, actually would not shock me too much, because apparently nothing is immune from ironic commentary these days.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:53 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is pretty terrific, in my book. I had the strong feeling that I was watching an old 70s television show where they do special effects with jump cuts.

The only false note, for me, was the head-desk distraction, which made me worry about TBI.

For everyone who finds this sloppy or simplistic: does he have a compatriot under the table? Or is he able to do all that with his feet or some clever rigging?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:58 AM on December 11, 2012


metabugs: you might enjoy this video of Teller being fooled.
posted by edd at 6:59 AM on December 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


A French magician *would* make his act about being a sad alcoholic.
posted by Mooseli at 7:04 AM on December 11, 2012


metabugs: you might enjoy this video of Teller being fooled.

Seconded. I searched this out before I saw that it was linked.
posted by achrise at 7:19 AM on December 11, 2012


In fact the whole show "Fooled Us" is explicitly about magicians trying to fool Penn and Teller. A few of the more "successful" ones won by making a move that looked like a bungled typical move but actually doing the trick another way. Some of the other winners won by doing the trick in a harder way than was required, i.e. a way no magician would actually do it for an audience of rubes. Very few of them actually managed to pull off a bit of magic that P&T could not actually reproduce themselves some way or another.

Teller gave an interview many years ago where he talked about a divergence in his career where he explicitly spent a lot of time trying to fool magicians with very simple stuff. Like the typical motion is pretending to put the ball into the cup but not doing it. Teller would make it look like that, but actually put the ball in the cup. To a rube, this is... not magic. Look, he did exactly what it looked like he did! To a magician, it was like... magic.

This guy is OK but I'm not a magician and I easily spotted some of his moves. It would probably be more convincing in person - people have a hard time not engaging performers in their misdirection in person. In video it's easy to concentrate on the hands or whatever.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:37 AM on December 11, 2012


The telling thing about Teller is his response is not "wow, he fooled me" it's "wow, this is the way he fooled me". The technique is the important thing to a craftsman.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:54 AM on December 11, 2012


"wow, this is the way he fooled me". The technique is the important thing to a craftsman.

Having just watched that clip again, I have to disagree here. What Teller describes and is so tickled by is the effect — what he as audience thinks is going on, because the magician wants him to think it. He says nothing about the method.
posted by stebulus at 8:13 AM on December 11, 2012


Penn and Teller are not magicians.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:24 AM on December 11, 2012


If you don't think Teller is a magician, you don't know much about magic. Penn is a showman who knows a few sleights, but is important to the act as well.
posted by gilrain at 8:42 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Illusions, Michael."
posted by Flashman at 9:03 AM on December 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's probably worth noting here that Frisch was crowned 'World Champion' at this year's 'Beijing International Magic Convention'.
posted by Flashman at 9:12 AM on December 11, 2012


Yes, his act got him a lot of praise and a few awards in magic conventions in the past 2 years, so some professional magicians, at least, don't find him sloppy. I wonder if there's a cultural component in the criticism here (the Gawker comments are particularly terrible). Frisch reminds me of the (often) disheveled Mac Ronay,whose "bumbling magician" act was quite popular in Europe in the 60-70s.
posted by elgilito at 9:43 AM on December 11, 2012


edd, yeah that's great, thanks!
posted by metaBugs at 9:48 AM on December 11, 2012


thin--and silent--zizek
posted by exlotuseater at 10:20 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, so Metafilter even has hipster magician critics now? Christ. This is a GREAT routine.. fun, imaginative, and kinda dark. Sure, any moron who has ever seen a cups and balls variation knows what is happening. It's his delivery and tone that are top notch here. As if people don't know that he's often simply discarding the balls by throwing them onto his lap for later retrieval, and palming them all the other times. Suspend disbelief and enjoy his skill at developing this mix of juggling, panto and a bit of sleight of hand. Enjoy the fact that he's not doing the typical "modern cups and balls" routine which usually unfolds as a "deconstruction" or.. "Let me show you how this trick was always done, etc etc, and then here's how it's REALLY done." Dai Vernon's masterful routine follows this trope. As do Ricky Jay's and Penn and Teller's, both of which I absolutely love. I'm gonna follow this guy now and check out his other routines. Thanks for the post!
posted by ReeMonster at 10:23 AM on December 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


Some days you just can't get rid of a rubber ball.
posted by ymgve at 11:26 AM on December 11, 2012


I noticed the moves more than I should, but I still liked the routine a lot. Technical skill is great (I'm not capable of judging that), but ultimately you are performing and not giving a workshop, so there needs to be something about the performance that clicks for me. I've seen dozens of cup and ball routines that all look exactly the same and they bore the hell out of me. This one didn't.

(I used to be an enthusaistic hobby juggler, and I saw exactly the same thing with jugglers. There were plenty of acts that were more technical showcases than performances and, after a while, they all start looking the same. The best performers actually had something else going on).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:32 AM on December 11, 2012


Meanwhile...
posted by homunculus at 5:35 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's really incredible!
posted by OmieWise at 5:46 PM on December 11, 2012


Meanwhile...

Given the rest of the content of this thread, I guess that's "One guy no cups".
posted by edd at 6:18 PM on December 11, 2012


« Older "We had a bunch of extras from the community, St. ...  |  First the Bubble. Then the Sho... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments