The Jerx Glossary

I make up a lot of terms here. It's not because I believe I have concepts that I think need to enter the magic lexicon at large. It's just because this blog is a record of my thinking over time. And rather than reintroduce concepts in a generic sense time after time, I put a label on them so I can refer back to them. If you've been reading from the beginning these phrases may be established in your mind at this point, but for new readers I will track and update them in this post. And I will eventually link this in the sidebar.

Amateur At the Kitchen Table (also AATKT) - A long essay containing my thoughts in regards to performing, practicing, and creating magic from the perspective of the amateur performer. Published in 2016 and available here

Amateur style - When I talk about "amateur" magic I'm not just referring to magic the performer isn't getting paid for. I'm talking about an amateur style. The amateur style is defined by lacking the trappings of a professional performance: the traditional audience/performer dynamic, heavily scripted presentations, smooth transitions between effects, the notion that everything they're seeing is pre-planned. The amateur style that I am a fan of is a way of presenting casual magic in informal situations. Even when you are showing someone something, you are not "presenting" it to them in a proper "performance." Instead you are just showing them something interesting. 

Audience-centric magic - Performing magic in a way that shifts the focus of the effect off you and your skills and onto the spectator and their experience.

Buy-In - A moment in the presentation of an effect where a spectator has to invest in some way in order for the trick to proceed. See this post.

Distracted Artist - A Performance Style where magic happens on the offbeat, as if it is happening unintentionally. Someone who immerses themselves in the study of dance will find themselves dancing absentmindedly while doing mundane things. This style suggests the idea that maybe someone who studies the performance of magic would slip into an effect without thinking. See this post.

Engagement Ceremony - A Performance Style for process heavy tricks that focuses on the process itself. Instead of trying to hide the process, you highlight it by giving it a name and a history and a supposed purpose. Named in this post. First described in this post

Field Reports - Posts describing performances that you might not be able to replicate but might find interesting to read about.

Immersive effects - Tricks that aren't shown to people or presented to them, but which unfold around them. Tricks in which they play an important role.. If a trick can be performed for a tree stump, a corpse, or a monkey, it is not an immersive effect. If people are unaware what's going on, immersive effects can be unsettling or feel like practical jokes. However, if they understand and willingly play along with it, then it becomes a Performance Style called The Romantic Adventure. See this post.  

Imps (short for Impetuses) - The actions or procedures that you claim are causing the effect in the moment. See Smear Technique.  See this post.

JAMM - The Jerx Amateur Magician Monthly. A 20+ page ebook in the style of a magazine that is released once a month and goes to people who support the site. It contains tricks and reviews. It's one of the bonuses for the people who keep this site going. 

Jerx Points - Imaginary points I award on a semi-arbitrary system. They're mostly meaningless but I have secretly released things in the past to people with high levels of Jerx Points, and there is an ebook coming out at the end of summer, 2017 exclusively to people with over 100 Jerx Points called 20/20 which includes write-ups on my 20 favorite tricks/most performed tricks that were created by other performers over the last 20 years. See this post.

Gloaming -  A blurred area between reality and presentation, and between method and effect. See this post. 

GLOMM - The Global League of Magicians and Mentalists. The world's largest magic organization. Everyone who has an interest in magic is a member unless they're a jerk or a sexual predator. You can upgrade to GLOMM Elite status as well, to let people know you're a member in good standing. 

Jerx, Volume One (also JV1) - The Tarbell Award winner for Best Magic Book of 2016. It was given to people who pledged $5/week to support this site from Oct. 2015 - Oct. 2016. Pretty much all copies are sold or on hold. On hold copies that become released for whatever reason will be available to people in the order they sign up here

Magic Circle Jerk (also MCJ) - My first magic blog which ran from 2003 to 2005. It doesn't exist anymore. You can find some of it on the internet archive. And I have most of it saved somewhere. But a lot of it is just lost forever.

Non-Explanation - We think that if an audience is fooled, then they will be affected by the magic. But I've found that people will often comfort themselves with the Non-Explanation. For example. You make their ring disappear and reappear on your necklace. You want them to get swept away in the impossibility of it, but often people will just say, "It's a trick." "It's a trick, and I don't know how it's done, but apparently there's some way of doing it." It's a Non-Explanation, but for some people it satisfies the need for an explanation, and thus puts up a roadblock to any engagement in the mystery. To battle the Non-Explanation you can blur the edges of trick and explanation which forces them to engage at least to the extent of knowing what they're dismissing and what they aren't. See Gloaming. See this post

Peek Backstage - A Performance Style where you present an effect as "an effect you're working on" and one which you're actively looking for your spectator's input. This is the most natural, relaxed style for both the performer and the spectator.

Performance Styles - A broad concept under which all your effects could exist (although I recommend having multiple performance styles). For example, your performance style could be, "I was struck by lightning as a child. Now when it rains I can manifest weird anomalies in reality." The tricks themselves may have individual presentations, but as long as you only performed when it rained, that would be your overall performance style.

Reps (short for Repercussions) - These are theatrical elements that can be added to the end of a performance blur the edge of where the trick begins and ends. See Smear Technique. See this post.

Romantic Adventure - A Performance Style based on the concept of immersive magic. It's a performance style you must build up to with people. They must have faith that if they surrender themselves to the experience they're going to have a good time, they're going to see something they've never seen before, and you'll look out for them and not do anything that's going to put them in a dangerous or awkward situation. Effects in this style often play out over a longer period of time. Hours (or even days) are not uncommon.

Smear Technique - The idea that instead of having clearly defined boundaries on a trick, you can blur the edges using different tools (See: Imps, Reps, Buy-Ins), and that by using this technique, magic tricks will feel more enmeshed with your spectator's life experience, rather than just being a disconnected, isolated moment. See this post.

Splooge - My "lifestyle blog" that took over this site for a week in 2016. Now an infrequent column in the JAMM for non-magic content.

Universal Presentation - A presentation that can be used for numerous tricks. For example, many tricks can be presented as a sobriety test in a context where people are drinking. My position is that universal presentations are stronger than trick-specific ones because, by definition, they tap into ideas that have some universal appeal or understanding. See this post.

Wonder-Room - A Performance Style where examinable and interesting objects and artifacts are on display in a room or in some kind of case. Your presentation is directed by the spectator who is free to look at and handle the objects, and if they so choose they can bring them to you so you can tell them the history of the object or how it's used. See this post.