The World Needs Your Magic

Dr. Larry Hass
Dean of the Magic & Mystery School

“The future hasn’t happened yet….”                                                  —Annie Lennox

I am writing this Museletter on March 25, 2020. I provide the date because the circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are changing by the day, if not the hour. My hope is to share some thoughts that will still be helpful when they arrive.

First and foremost, I want to wish you and your loved ones the very best at this terribly difficult time. Our Magic & Mystery School community extends around the world, and on behalf of the whole team, our hearts go out to you.

With this in mind and through the generosity of our paying members, for the next two months we are making our weekly online program Mystery School Mondayfree and open to all.

Our goal for the show is to create a no sales, no hype, real-time, interactive landing place for magicians and artists during these difficult days. We will have some news of the day from Jeff, Tobias, Dr. Ricardo Rosenkranz, and me, plus magic trick teaching and learning, and other content we hope will keep you smiling and inspired. At the end, we will also open a “study hall” for you to share your thoughts, insights, and feelings with us. Mystery School Monday is held every Monday at 7:00 p.m. pacific time. To access the classroom for the next two months, please use this link, which will not change:  https://zoom.us/j/685273864. (If you go there before the meeting starts, you’ll see a note asking you to “Please wait for the host to start the meeting.” We’ll do that about 15 minutes before it starts.)

In addition to that information, I want to share some of the thoughts and strategies I have been using during these days of social separation. I do not intend them to be “advice” really, because everyone’s personal circumstances are so variable these days. But I hope some of my “notes to self”—my personal maxims for well-being—might be applicable to you. Here are some things I am reminding myself to do:

1. Give love and support to the “angels” among us. By that, I mean the nurses and doctors—and all the health care professionals—who are putting themselves at risk for the greater good. I also mean everyone who is keeping the food chain going, essential supplies coming, and the garbage picked up. I mean the police officers, fire-fighters, mail carriers, and delivery people, among so many others, who continue working to assist others. I believe in angels!

2. Hone my craft. I recognize the positive feelings and energy that come from setting small goals every day and achieving them. And there is a little extra “kick” that comes from working on my magic. That is, working mindfully on my sleights, rehearsing beloved routines, and creating and curating new routines for our students.

3. Remember the distinction between short-term and long-term. It is sometimes tempting to feel fearful and overwhelmed by the changes I am experiencing these days. But as other global crises have proven, there is a difference between the dramatic short-term effects and the “new normal” that will arrive on the other side of the wave. With magic, for example, in the short term I am working hard on what I call “no-touch magic”—magic that doesn’t require borrowing anything or having my audiences touch anything. I have joyfully discovered this last week that there is a lot of that in our literature, including magic that can be performed over the telephone and internet. At the same time, I am not abandoning my “high-touch magic,” because I know at some point the wave will go out, and my audiences will be hungry for contact.

4. Guard my mental health. Of course we are all focused on physical health, but I have found it important to: a) stay connected with reputable news sources, b) yet limit my media intake, c) stay connected with loved ones, d) get outside every day and, if possible, exercise, and e) use the well-known “APPLE” model for dealing with fear or anxiety. That is, Acknowledge the feeling, Pause (without acting), Pull Back from the urge of it, gently Let Go of it, and Explore positive things happening right here and now.

5. And finally, remember that the world needs magic right now, and it does and will need our magic. Of course, magic is diverting and entertaining. But it is also more than that. Every time we, as magicians, create an astonishing experience of the impossible, the subtext is that there is more going on in this world than we know, more going on than we expect. Each little “miracle” is a reminder that this world is a surprising place, that through art, the impossible is possible. Which feels great. I remind myself that magic isn’t merely superfluous entertainment or a way to make money. It is the art form I am called to perform that opens up a space for hope and the profound pleasure of surprise. People need this now—and they will need it on the other side of the wave. I am trying to stay ready!

Again, I wish you and yours the very best. Please stay in touch with us at the Magic & Mystery School.  

The Secret to Happiness in Dark times

Greetings to our Magic & Mystery School Community.

I am writing this Museletter in very strange times.  The global outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting the lives of people all over the world.  And we know it is affecting so many of you in different ways.

The leadership team at the Mystery School has been monitoring the global and national situation very carefully and meeting every day to make the best decisions we can, based on the latest information.  I don’t have to tell you that things are changing rapidly and the situation is fluid.  But we are working to make the very best decisions for the School, for the team, and for our students and participants.

For one example, based on the rapid developments of this past week, we have decided to cancel the Wonderground scheduled for this Thursday, March 19th. We want to thank all the artists who were going to perform–and were happy to do so–but it seems prudent to cancel this one while the situation is still gaining clarity.  Rest assured performers:  we will have you with us soon!  Also, as of right now, we are planning to proceed with the Wonderground on April 16, but we will let the community know if the circumstances require a change to that plan.

With regard to the Spring Training Classes in Las Vegas, April 14-19, after careful consideration and consultation with health experts, we have decided to not cancel them at this time.  Since this is a small-group learning experience, we are comfortable proceeding with the class under the conditions as we know them today.  (Of course, we will be following all the best practices for keeping things clean and washing up.)  We understand that developments might force us to cancel Spring Training at some point, but for now, we are planning to proceed with it and everything else on our event schedule. 

In fact, we have recently added some new in-person class experiences to the website for the later summer and the fall.  We know at some point the situation will settle down and many of you will be ready to refresh your spirit and your magic through a rich magic experience with us in Las Vegas.  And please note:  if you register between now and July 1 for any class, you will receive a full refund if these classes need to be canceled for any reason.

Moving forward, we will use our Museletters and direct emails to inform our community about our plans with events and classes.  And we will continue to make use of and expand our online offerings–which we started developing in 2012.  After eight years, we are now the industry leader in online, live time, interactive magic education.  If you haven’t already joined us live and online, we encourage you to do so every Monday night at 9:00 p.m. pacific time.  You will be warmly welcomed, engage with new friends, and learn a lot of magic!  To join us, become a member by going to: 
https://virtual.magicalwisdom.com/members/signup.  Being a member at any level allows you to join the magic classroom live every Monday night.

Friends, these are strange times, but through our magic and our Magic & Mystery School community we will find many ways to turn this “lead into gold.”  We will keep you posted!  So stay healthy, be well, and stay in touch!

Jeff McBride
Founder and President

PS: One of the many ways we turn on the light in dark times is by sharing magic via our online school. Right now, many students are having challenges getting to Las Vegas; however, this does not stop us from spreading the light. We have hundreds of students who are currently joining us online for our group and private classes. You can too! We would like to share the light of magic with you.

Here is how you can join the fun, and at the same time, learn some great magic!

1. Small Group Classes
Each week, we host our online class, and you can watch it on demand, any time of day or night to get inspiration and insight into the art of magic. Our Mystery School Monday is one of the most viewed private magic training courses of all time. Over 500 hours of programming are available for our members, anytime, anywhere: http://virtual.magicalwisdom.com

2. Private Classes
One of my favorite ways to share magic with you is on Skype. I can help you with technique, character, putting your show together, and even coach you on the business aspects of magic. I’m here to help you with your particular needs.
http://virtual.magicalwisdom.com/infopages/view/skype

It’s so fun and easy–just connect with Abigail and she’ll get you all the information on how we can start. Abigail@mcbridemagic.com

3. Magic Training Materials
You might not be aware of the amazing amount of training materials and exclusive magic supplies we have on our website. You can visit our online magic shop here: https://www.magicalwisdom.com/shop/

Student of the month:
Every few months, we enjoy featuring one of our students. Recently, Chris Herren has been winning international awards with his unique form of pantomime and magic. Here is a look into his magical journey–we hope it inspires your magic!

“My Unexpected Journey with Magic”
By Chris Herren as Faust

Magic has always been part of my life. When I was a little boy, my grandmother would tell me stories of magical beings that existed in Philippine folklore. When I was 12, my mother gave me my first magic book, and even now, I keep it close by. It is called, The Amateur Magicians Handbook, by Henry Hay. I was enchanted, and its influence on me would be constant throughout my life. I enjoyed watching magic but, ironically, I never really had the passion of performing magic on the big stage. I simply enjoyed performing for my little nieces and nephews. Later on in life, I would have the greatest satisfaction performing for my own kids; however, as they got older, I performed less and less but my love for magic never dwindled. 

I recall in my twenties, when my wife and I were still dating, we would watch magic shows on the Vegas Strip. It would also be the first time I met Jeff McBride at the Caesar’s Magical Empire. On that day, among all the kids and adults in the room, he chose me to assist him in his signature act, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” He presented me with a wand that had words inscribed on it. “What You Believe is Real, is Real”. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but it would definitely resonate with me later on in life.

When I was 35 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I was Stage 3 when it was discovered, and my future seemed uncertain. After completing chemotherapy, I developed a Parkinsonian tremor in my hands, and I was forced to give up magic completely, at least in practice. I never stopped reading or watching magic, because it was one of the many things that took me away from my pain. After 7 years of recovery, I overcame the illness, and with the encouragement of my lovely wife, I took my first class at the Magic & Mystery School in 2017.

It has been 3 years, and since then, I have been mentored by Jeff McBride through his Skype Program on a monthly basis. It has led me to an extraordinary journey of finding my love and connection to pantomime, masks, and magic. I still recall the days of watching Jeff McBride on television and the big stage. In my magic journey, I would have never imagined that doing shows for my own kids would lead me to share a stage with him, and many other great magicians. I would even go on to win two gold medals in Parlor Magic, at the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians (PCAM) Competition.

Jeff McBride had given me some wise advice with that wand all those years ago, although I didn’t realize it at the time. Looking back, perhaps it was just the beginning of my magic journey. Little did I know where that journey would lead. “What You Believe is Real, is Real.” Once I began to believe in my stage character, Faust, I came to believe that I could really give a magical experience to others’ Unexpectedly, at that moment, I realized what I had become; a real magician. 

* * *
Study the Magic of the Masters
Over 1,000 videos and growing! The team gave me a private promo code for my friends. Go to MAGICFLIX.COM, register and put in the code “MCBRIDE”. You will get 30 days for free… and you will see all the great masters from THE GREATER MAGIC LIBRARY.

Content providers on Magicflix already include Eugene Burger, John Carney, Rich Ferguson, Franz Harary, Kenton Knepper, Amazing Johnathan, Justin Miller, Jeff McBride, Rocco, Dan Sperry, Michael Trixx, Stephane Vanel, Jason Ladanye, Fielding West, Larry Becker, and Paul Gordon. We also feature the entire Greater Magic Library featuring such masters as Karrell Fox, Shimada, Michael Ammar, John Carney, Sylvan, Johnny Paul, Larry Becker, Charlie Miller, Tom Mullica, Johnny Thompson, J.B. Bobo, Billy McComb, Mr. Electric and Daryl. This list is an impressive one, and it is getting bigger and better all the time.

Take a look and tell me what you think!

Wonderground News:

As you read above, we have chosen to skip WONDERGROUND this month, for the first time in eleven years. Many thanks to all of you who participate. We expect to be back next month!


Final Thought:
Here is one of Eugene Burger’s favorite quotes from one of his favorite singers that speaks about light:

I look forward to seeing you, either in person or online soon!

Be inspired,

Jeff
Jeff@mcbridemagic.com

March 1, 2020

Dear Friends:

Tobias here. You may remember Mr. Spock’s endearing way of saying goodbye: Live Long & Prosper. Something we wish for all of you, as well!

As I write this, I’ve just visited Jeff and Abigail and Will Bradshaw as they headline the week at The Magic Castle. Later this month, Jeff and Larry will head off to the U.K., where one of their stops is at the Magic Circle in London. Two of magic’s oldest institutions in a single month!

As someone interested in keeping our own institution, McBride’s Magic & Mystery School alive and thriving, I’m wondering what we might learn from these two, much older organizations. I don’t have firm answers, but I DO have a few strong suspicions.

A few years back, Jeff and I were very much involved in Caesars Magical Empire…and attempt to re-create and expand on the success of The Magic Castle.

It was a magnificent attempt, and those of us involved have many fond memories…but it didn’t survive. So perhaps it might be profitable to look at the differences between the Magical Empire and the other two organizations. Here are just a few:

  1. Both the Magic Castle (the organization is actually the Academy of Magical Arts, but it’s easier to just write “The Magic Castle”) and The Magic Circle are non-profit membership organizations, with magicians themselves as the primary “first class members.” CME (Caesars Magical Empire) was a for profit business where all decisions were made by the corporation that ran it. Magicians were never more than employees.
  2. Both the Magic Castle and the Magic Circle recognize the excellence of those performing and lecturing there through annual awards ceremonies. This is their way of acknowledging both the excellence and importance of the art of magic. CME had no such means of acknowledging either the excellence or importance of those who performed there.
  3. Both the Magic Castle and Magic Circle are fully governed by a Board of Directors, with managers appointed by and answerable to that board. CME had fragmented leadership. Although there was a General Manager of Caesars Palace who was nominally it’s leader…in fact there was a “parent corporation” called Caesars Entertainment at that time which ran all of various Caesars properties, and which booked the magicians playing in the two theaters at CME. Caesars Food & Beverage was in charge of the dining experience there, and handling ticket sales and operations like cleaning and maintenance. And the entire place was designed, with dining room wizards, centurion characters and others hired and managed by Landmark Entertainment. Oh, yes…I had nearly forgotten that the whole marketing effort was run by the in-house marketing arm of Caesars Palace. The various management entities were often in conflict about who was responsible for what, who had the power to make various decisions and other facets of the operation.

 I’m sure there are many more differences, as well…but we have space and time limitations here, so I’m just going to go with what you see above. What are the lessons we can derive?

Let’s summarize the differences and see how we measure up:

The more successful organizations had a clear purpose other than profit. Both are dedicated to celebrating and furthering the art of magic. I feel good that our school is in alignment with this. We have a clear vision and purpose, and our decisions are not guided just by “the bottom line.” Although we know it’s important to turn a profit, that is NOT the primary purpose of the organization.

Both the Magic Castle and Magic Circle are non-profits, governed by the membership. Our school is a part of a for-profit corporation, so we don’t really fall into alignment there. We do make every effort to listen to our constituents (if you’re reading this, you are one), and to make sure we are serving their needs. I’ll come back to this in a minute.

In terms of clear leadership, I think we are in good hands. Jeff McBride is the founder and leader of the school, with Larry, Abigail and me as supporting “board” and fellow operators. We all advise and carry out the work of the school, and most decisions are by consensus…but when they aren’t Jeff’s word and vision rules. This means we don’t have to waste time arguing about who is in charge of what.

So…I feel that in many ways we’re in a good position for a very long and productive run! But only if we can maintain a strong sense of community with all of you who support us in one way or another. Without you, we wouldn’t stand a chance! We know our vision is strong and inspiring…to lift the level of our magical art, one student at a time. We know that we’ve been able to draw and inspire many who are the best of the best in our field. Just have a look at the “winners page” on our web-site, where we celebrate the success of our students: http://www.magicalwisdom.com/winners

But it takes more than a few successful students to keep our community healthy. For us, it’s those who have stepped up, often without any financial compensation, to help us make sure every aspect of our operation is efficient and user-friendly as we can make it. Visit the faculty and staff page to meet some of them: http://www.magicalwisdom.com/teachers

Even more than that: It’s really people like you, who take the time to read this Museletter each month or tune in to see Monday Night Mystery School as a “member,” or who attend classes, or visit McBride’s WONDERGROUND each month. You, as much as any of us, makeup and contribute to the community and thus the organization. Thank you!

I do have an “ask” here at the end of this month’s note, and I hope you can help. As you probably know, we offer what we do on a very tight budget over the course of the year. Marketing via advertising is expensive, and not as effective as we would like it to be. What’s more, advertising and social media don’t always draw the people most suited to help us move our goals forward. You, on the other hand, already “get it,” and, if you’ve read this far, must care about the school and all we stand for. So here’s my call to action: Please take a few minutes and think about your friends who are either also magicians or magic enthusiasts—and take another couple of minutes to call or send them a note encouraging them to visit magicalwisdom.com to see what we offer—and to sign up for this Museletter.

We promise to do our very best to continue offering our best in every video-cast, every live class and every event we sponsor…believe me, we want you to feel good about being a part of our magical community, just as we feel proud to have you. So I hope you’ll take a few minutes to help us continue to build on what we’ve done so far.

In the meantime, you might find it useful to consider these ideas in connection with the organizations you’re a part of—clubs, companies and organizations. I hope they might help you!
Thank you for joining us on our adventure of discovery! We look forward to seeing you again soon—online or in Las Vegas.

With gratitude.
Sincerely,
Tobias Beckwith
tobias@yourmagic.com

PS: Have an idea for something we don’t offer now, but that you’d like to see? Drop me a line, and I’ll share your ideas with our team!


Never Too Late to Live Your Dream

Greetings all,

I am back in Las Vegas after a long tour. Many of my days are spent working with students on Skype. One of my students who has a very interesting story is The Great Lorenzo! He often performs in the secret downstairs rooms at Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle.

Many magicians have a passion for magic early in their lives, but don’t commit fully to the path of mastery until later in life. The first Dean of the Magic & Mystery School, Eugene Burger, did not become a full time professional until his late 30’s.

Some students of magic have dreams of performing for their friends and families, and some even aspire to work at Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle. Our student, Lorenzo, is one of those magicians who came back to magic late in life and is achieving his dreams.   

Student of the Month
The Great Lorenzo…in his words…

My passion for magic started in 1982. I trained very hard, but had to let it go because of other life commitments. Nearly 40 years later, I came back!

In August of 2018, eight months after retiring, I attended my first Master Class. I had spent the prior three months selecting, conceptualizing, scripting, constructing, and rehearsing a 10-minute performance piece. I had no idea what to expect from the class. I had hopes, and I had fears. Who was I to take a Master Class? I was so short of mastery of anything magical anymore. However, the Master Class best fit my schedule, and was within my budget, so I enrolled.

That class was a truly inspiring experience. Jeff and Abigail have opened their home and hearts, and, with all the Mystery School staff, they have created an amazing place to learn magic. Most importantly they have created a safe space to try and fail. Negative anticipation of failure is destructive. It is destructive of self, and it is destructive of art. However, constructive failure is essential for growth and learning. The Mystery School’s greatest strength may be that it provides for safe failure.

Don’t get me wrong – the lessons themselves are intense, packed with magical knowledge, both hands-on and theoretical. The instructors are all amazing, knowledgeable professionals, and each lesson is layered with such depth of material that magicians at all levels can come away with valuable new insights into our art and new skills to practice and perfect.

At the end of that class, I was emotionally wrung out. It had caused me to reach inside myself for magic connections beyond expectation. I was exhausted and bulging with magic. It was like a Thanksgiving dinner spent with people you truly enjoyed being with, at which you had eaten all you could, but even so, barely sampled the feast laid out before you.

My strongest feeling coming away from the class was gratitude. You see, I came to the class doubting if I could be a magician again, and left it knowing that I could.

Two years after returning to magic, with Jeff’s guidance, and through the Mystery School experience, I now perform regularly at the Magic Castle. I’ve got a solid 20-minute set, and am working on another to showcase more of my close-up magic. That’s so much more than I could imagine two years ago.

 # # #  

You can read Lorenzo’s full article in the Secret Arts Journal  
http://secretartjournal.com/

Wonderground News – Join Us for The Biggest Magic Party In Las Vegas!

February 20, 2020

7:30           Strolling and Close-up Magic

8:00pm      Comedy & Variety Show with your host, Tim Wise
     Jeff McBride – Always Something New!
     Will Bradshaw – Animated Illusions
     Charly D’Carlo – Star of The Magic Factor
     Dyno Staats – Magic or Science?
     David Groves – Direct from Hollywood
     TAPEFACE – star of America’s Got Talent

9:00pm       Parlor, Close-Up and Bar Magic!
     Jeff McBride – King of Cards
     Lyra Zoller – Conjuring with Coins
     Dyno Staats – Experimental Magic
     David Groves – Original Illusions
     Charly D’Carlo – The Magic Factor
     Tim Wise – At the WonderBar
     Plus special guests, TBA.

1000pm    Stage Extravaganza with your host, Jeff McBride
     Charly D’Carlo & Co. – Grand Illusions
     Lyra Zoller – Scintillating Sorcery
     Dyno Staats – Magic or Science?
     Will Bradshaw – Valentine’s Magic
     TAPEFACE – Star of the Las Vegas Strip

ALL THE ABOVE PLUS: 
Photography by Sheryl Garrett, Bar Magic-Brian Apollo, Scott Steelfyre & Maggie, Corey Rubino,  New World Rythmatism Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow with tarot reading, and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!

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