The 2020 Magic and Meaning Conference GOES ONLINE!

From Dr. Larry Hass, the Dean
It is my pleasure to announce that the Mystery School’s annual Homecoming event—the Magic and Meaning Conference—will be happening this year, and it will be ONLINE.

As the pandemic surged in recent weeks, it became clear to the School’s wisdom team that the Conference could not proceed as an in-person event this October. This was true both for health and safety reasons, but also because so many people are reluctant to travel for the foreseeable future.
This is, of course, deeply disappointing: The Magic and Meaning Conference has been our community’s time to gather together, re-connect, and re-charge our love of magic that matters. And yet, throughout the pandemic, the Magic & Mystery School has built upon its long experience with the Zoom platform to design and deliver online programs, courses, and seminars that have achieved very high quality. For example, just last week, Jeff, Lance Burton, and I delivered two full days of the Online Lance Burton Teen Seminar. There were seventy-six teens, great teaching content, special guests, lots of breaks, and outstanding engagement from the teens.  From every perspective, the program was a smash success.
And so, we are excited to pivot the 2020 Magic and Meaning Conference into an online format. The Conference will be held Saturday and Sunday, October 24-25, 2020, from 10:00am to 4:15pm PACIFIC, each day.
We’re pleased to announce our 30th anniversary Special Guests: Lance Burton & Jade—both of whom have confirmed they will be with us for the virtual conference!

We are planning to emulate the in-person conference by featuring online versions of its most beloved events. For example, there will be:
— 12 Presentations (P-E-P Talks) from attendees. See the Call for Presentations  here:
— Guests of Honor and their Presentations
— Ensemble Shows featuring members of the community
— Small Group discussions (using the breakout room feature of Zoom)
— Special Events, such as celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Magic & Mystery School, the Festival of Wands (our archetypal magic tool of the year), and a Broken Wand Ceremony.
One important benefit of shifting the 2020 Magic and Meaning Conference to an online event, is that it now becomes accessible to magicians from all over the world.
To help make it possible for people to sign up in these challenging times, we have set the tuition for the conference at $145.00. Also, since this is an online program, people are eligible to apply for a need-based stipend that will cover 50% of the tuition. To see if you qualify, go here:
We hope you will plan to join us for this incredible celebration of the Magic & Mystery School’s 30th Anniversary!  Sign up now at: for an incredible weekend of magic and mystery with our tribe!

Jeff McBride – Hard Core Magic

Hard Core Magic

QUESTION: What separates an “OK magician” from a GREAT magician?


Great magicians have developed a formula that makes an unforgettable impact on their audiences. World-famous close-up, stand-up, and stage magicians have developed THE CORE ACT to perfection. What are the essential ingredients to THE CORE ACT

  • AN EYE-POPPING OPENING — How to grab attention and sustain it.
  • SHOW-STOPPING MIDDLE ROUTINES — Sharing your personal message with your magic
  • A STANDING OVATION GRAND FINALE! — Leave your audience breathless and wanting more!

In the past, THE CORE ACT took years and years to develop. However, now, because of the miracle of our online training programs, you can meet me in our virtual classroom, and I can personally guide you, step by step, in creating your own CORE ACT.

I can help you shave YEARS of frustration off your learning curve. I can also save you from wasting money and time, and direct you to make wise choices with your energy and finances.

  1. You will learn new magic routines, and develop powerful techniques that you will use for the rest of your life.
  2. You will learn how to take magic effects you already perform, and personalize routines to fit your style and character.
  3. You will learn presentation and performance skills, that will help you connect to your audience, and make your show a memorable theatrical experience.

I only hold these skill-building classes once a year. They are priced affordably, and we even offer financial assistance with our new Stipend Program. Our School believes in giving you a helping hand during these challenging times.

Please join me for this life-enriching, skill-building series.

Learn more and register at:

(Note: The first listing is for all four classes, but if you wish to take just one or two, you can scroll down the page and register for each one separately)

Yours in better magic,
Jeff McBride

Questions? Contact Abigail (702) 450-0021

Why We Care

Dear Friends:

As I sit to write this, we’re about halfway through two weeks where the temperature will clear 110° F every day here in Las Vegas. Between that, the pandemic, and political strife around the globe—you might be wondering why we would even care about what it means to say we’re having a “Real Magic Master ClassTM..” But we do – especially since we have one coming up in just a couple of days!

(Register here if you want one of the last spots available:

It would appear that the term “Master Class” is losing its true meaning. There is “,” where you can sign up online and watch people—many, but not all, of whom really are “masters,” teaching lessons on what they are best at. I’m sure they’re wonderful, but you won’t get what you can from a “Real Master ClassTM.” It seems that every magician and his sister are also offering online and offline “Master Classes,” which, though they might be wonderful classes and lectures, are NOT really what that name would imply. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

You might well be wondering why this would be important to us—and, honestly, if you’re one of our students, YOU are the reason.

I first encountered the idea of a Masterclass on a PBS program back in the 1990’s. It was a broadcast of a real masterclass, conducted by the opera singer Luciano Pavarotti at Julliard. There were several episodes, and on each one, several Julliard students would sing for Pavarotti, as their classmates looked on from the audience. The great maestro would proceed to give notes, direction, and otherwise help the student who had just performed, get better. Each student had different problems to be solved, and each got individual feedback and attention. Those who did not perform (most of the class) got the benefit of the maestro’s instruction, as well. The students were advanced students, and much of what was taught would never have been taught in a “normal” conservatory class.

I’ve seen other real Master Classes over the years, including those Jeff and Eugene started conducting about 20 years ago. We actually took the conservatory model and added to it…because we start each class by asking every student what their goals are—both for the long-term, and within the context of that class. One student might want to learn a particular kind of card manipulation. Another might need guidance to develop their onstage character. Still another needs to learn how to build their business and market it. You get the idea. Everyone has different needs and desires—and if the teacher doesn’t ask up front, chances are strong that the class will not meet everyone’s needs. But we do ask, and we pay attention, and we structure the rest of that Master Class Session to meet those particular needs.

So…in addition to the performances given for feedback, each of the faculty members creates and conducts break-out sessions that will address particular students’ needs and goals. If we have three students focused on new close-up magic with cards, we’ll do a session on that. If several others really want to talk about how to market their magic, we do a break-out on that. Every one of our Master Classes is, therefore, different from every other one. That’s why some students come back again and again. There really isn’t anywhere else you can get that kind of intense personalized attention from real masters of their craft, without paying top dollar for one-on-one instruction.

Of course, not all of our classes are Real Master ClassesTM. We also have focus sessions, training sessions, and seminars, all of which offer real deep dives into particular areas of magical performance. They each have their places, and will be right for particular students at particular times…but they aren’t “master classes,” by the real definition of that term.

So…I hope this longish and somewhat academic diatribe has entertained and enlightened! And…if I’ve really piqued your interest, that you’ll join us this Saturday and Sunday! This will be our last Real Master ClassTM offering this year.

Wonderground News
The news is that this month will be the first in over 10 years without Wonderground. Why? Because we’re working on something we think will be even better, but it’s not quite ready yet. I can’t give out details just yet, but watch this space for information on Jeff’s own “Magical Mystery Tour ZOOM Show.” Jeff and the team are all inspired to create a magical experience unlike anything else out there…and you’ll be the first to learn all about it!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll join us either for the Real Master ClassTM this weekend, or one of the upcoming Monday night shows. This next week will be all about Washington Magic, a unique, once-a-month show put on at The Arts Club in Washington, D.C. by some of our favorite students, including David Morey, John McLaughlin, and Eric Henning. Tell your friends…and make sure they know the Monday show is FREE to all.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Watch your inbox for another timely Museletter in just a few days, and Jeff McBride will be telling you all about his “CORE ACT” classes next month.

Till then, stay well, stay safe, be kind and keep making magic!


Tobias Beckwith

Is the Magician a Stoic?

Dear Friends:

Our guest columnist this month is our long-time friend, recently named as an instructor here at the Magic & Mystery School, Tim “Santiago” Converse.

Tim has an extensive background doing Quality Assurance for companies ranging from small startups to enterprise level software systems for the US Military. He is the owner of his own business, as well as being an instructor in the art of magic, and has used those opportunities to develop a significant skill in “out of the box” thinking. He regularly uses his skills as a magician and entertainer to enhance his workplace skills in communication and management of people.

Is “The Magician” a Stoic?
by Tim “Santiago” Converse 
One of the things that has long fascinated me about things like magic and philosophy is how often I find connections between them. Those connections are usually about vision, training, and discipline.

For the past year or so I have been making a serious study of a particular philosophical discipline known as Stoicism

Stoicism has its roots in Athens going all the way back to the 3rd century BCE. Originally founded by Zeno of Citium, and practiced by philosophical luminaries like Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, Stoicism is based on the foundational idea that being virtuous would lead to one’s happiness. The way to judge what were “virtuous actions,” would be by observing behaviors of people and the results of their interactions with each other, rather than their words. When it comes to random external events, we must take the time to pause and carefully reflect on what the best course of action might be, rather than to react instinctively on what we might perceive, as that would often be to our own detriment.

Magic teaches us forms of control over the perceptions of others, and it does so by virtue of our own understanding of our perceptions. The Tarot Magician teaches us to use our tools to exert control over the world around us, and both our own perceptions, and the perceptions of others.  But thanks to the efforts of our special corner of the magic world, the Mystery School, we find that as we dig deeper, it also teaches us to understand and master ourselves. 

So I found it particularly interesting when I ran across these words:

“Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”
— Epictetus  

I can spend a lot of time explaining anything I want to an audience, but if they can simply see for themselves by looking at me that I have magic to give, that will mean so much more. Which brings us to an idea we’re all familiar with; “Magician 24/7.”

As I have spent more and more time trying to master myself, I have found it easier to pass on a sense of magic – a sense about how my audiences, too, can be magical.

We strive to teach our audiences that they have magic in them – that they can use that magic to take control over their perceptions of the world to be in charge over their lives, rather than simply being reactive to everything around them. In times like we have been facing, that is a very precious gift.

“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.”

– Marcus Aurelius  “How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”
– Epictetus

Don’t we deserve the best for ourselves? No one is going to give it to us, but if we truly are magicians, then certainly we have the power to go out and get it for ourselves. What is that power? It is nothing more than the willingness to face the world in control over our own choices and our own perceptions.

Does any of this have a practical way to translate to the stage, or to a performance? My answer comes in the form of three of the most powerful words I have ever heard spoken:

“I don’t know.”

What I do know is this: the better I understand myself, the better I understand what I have to offer an audience. I can share their hopes and fears by sharing mine with them. I can share my magic and be some kind of light that says, “Look! That’s where your magic is too!”

“Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well-ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is, and pass some time in his own company.”
 – Seneca

The classical Stoics never really speak directly of magic. But the legendary magicians in literature, often seem to have a stoic philosophy about them.T hey are comfortable with the world as it is, knowing that they get to choose how they respond to it, knowing that they can change the course of things with their power, but only so long as they remain in control of themselves. They often see the world for what it is, and are perfectly content to live within it as it is, reserving their magic only for those times when it is truly needed.

“It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.”
 ― Seneca  

I have noticed more and more, especially in our current time of turmoil, that we magicians really do seem to be unconquerable. In a world that has been brought nearly to a standstill, most people have been frozen in their tracks, afraid of which way to move. There are many brave souls who have taken to the defense of our physical bodies, our health, and our overall well-being. They are amazing people to be respected and supported in all that they do.

There are also the artists and entertainers who have adapted to this new world. They find a way to continue to bring something to the rest of us that is in defense of our hearts and minds, doing all they can to help keep us sane.

But the magicians? We not only seem to be able to adjust and adapt, but we are thriving under this very strange time. Beyond that, we are even creating something that gives hope. I think that is a very stoic place to be. I think the Stoics knew that they had the vision to see not just what they needed, but to see what we all needed – not just to survive, but to thrive, no matter what the adversity may be.

The Stoics teach us to consider everything carefully with all due deliberation. Then from there, to determine what it is that we cannot affect, and what it is that we most certainly can. To act with purpose in order to bring about our own happiness and the happiness of others. That seems like an act of deliberate magic.

And so I have to wonder, is “The Magician” a Stoic?

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