Platform magic (also known as parlor magic, club magic or cabaret magic) is magic that is done for larger audiences than close-up magic and for smaller audiences than stage magic. It is more intimate than stage magic because it doesn’t require expensive, large-scale stage equipment and can be performed closer to the audience and without a stage. Many of the tricks performed by platform magicians are sufficiently angle-sensitive as to make them impossible to perform as micromagic. Most working magicians are parlor/platform magicians.
Many magicians consider the term “parlor” to be old-fashioned and limiting, since this type of magic is often done in rooms much larger than the traditional parlor, or even outdoors. According to the Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians by T.A. Waters, “The phrase (parlor magic) is often used to imply that an effect under discussion is not suitable for professional performance.”
Parlor, or club, magicians generally work without assistants and within a few miles of their homes (unlike stage magicians, who may have several in their crew – both backstage and on stage – and may travel thousands of miles between jobs). This is because payment is less for parlor magicians (but still generally more than for close-up performers). Performances of this category of magic include civic and fraternal organizations, business groups, private parties, youth groups, church societies, public dinners, and similarvenues”.1 “The first definition of street magic refers to a traditional form of magic performance – In this type of magic, the magician draws an audience from passersby and performs an entire act for them. In exchange, the magician seeks remuneration either by having a receptacle for tips available throughout the act or by “passing the hat” at the end of the performance.
Street magic most often consists of sleight of hand, card magic, and occasionally mentalism, though the ability to draw and hold an audience is frequently cited by practitioners as a skill of greater importance than the illusions themselves”.2 Some famous street magicians are David Blaine , Chris Angel, and Dynamo.
“Mentalism is a performing art in which its practitioners, known as mentalists, appear to demonstrate highly developed mental or intuitive abilities. Performances may appear to include hypnosis, telepathy, clairvoyance, divination, precognition, psychokinesis, mind control, memory, and rapid mathematics. Mentalists are sometimes categorized as psychic entertainers, although that category also contains non-mentalist performers such as psychic readers and bizarrists. The performance of mentalism may utilize these principles along with sleights, misdirection and other skills of street or stage magic”.3