Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Greetings, Magical Friends! This is Tobias writing from Las Vegas, as Jeff and Abbi are too fully occupied with creating and performing new treats for the upcoming summer shows.
We’ve all been enjoying an unusually creative time here in Vegas this summer – and I have a lot of news for you! There’s also something fun for you to try out for yourself at the end of the letter – if you dare. Whether you’re a creative artist yourself, or would just like to experience your own life a bit more creatively, you should have fun with it!
First, allow me to take care of a bit of business: We’ve all heard that word of mouth – also known as “buzz” – is the most effective kind of advertising. Part of the reason we do these muse letters is to generate that buzz — but also to stay in touch with friends, fans and colleagues, and, I hope, to give a little something back for all the inspiration, ticket sales and other ways you’ve supported us over the years. But we can do better. We can reach more of you if you’ll help us. Can you think of someone else you know who would enjoy this Muse letter? Please let them know, and suggest they sign up. You can just forward this to them and if they like it, they can click here: http://www.mcbridemagic.com/magic/contact.html, then fill in their e-mail under the “McBride Mailing List” option.
Jeff continues his popular series in MAGIC MAGAZINE, “Ask the Show Doctor,” and he’s been busy BEING “The Show Doctor,” as well! Most recently he has been coaching Hans Klok to help him build new manipulation routines to be featured in Hans’ new show, The Beauty of Magic, soon to open at the Planet Hollywood Casino, co-starring Pamela Anderson. It promises to be the biggest magic show in Las Vegas since Siegfried & Roy.
In the meantime, Jeff and Abbi are working hard on a new version of Magic at the Edge, which will be touring extensively this summer, with lots of new material. If you have a chance, do come see it! Just in the next few weeks, the show will be at the Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center in upstate New York (May 25, 26 & 27), Denny & Lee’s Magic in Baltimore (June 5), and the Fantasma Store
in New York City (June 8 & 9). We’ll be taking it
down to the Edgewater Casino Resort in Laughlin from June 15-23, as well – if you’re near Las Vegas, give yourself a treat and make the drive down – the 300 seat showroom in Laughlin is a perfect venue for this intimate but powerful show! You can find more about each of these appearances by clicking their calendar entries at the right, or going to Jeff’s calendar online.
And now, this month’s MUSE offering. I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my first book, (as yet untitled – why is the title always the hardest part?) which is designed to help magicians and other independent performers develop their own creativity and make their presentations more unique and magical. I present many different ideas and exercises in the course of the book, but the following is a basic acting exercise that can bring breakthroughs in many areas of life – not just the creative performing ones. I call it “Putting on the Mask.”
Think of something you’ve been working on that’s giving you trouble. Maybe your job requires you to make cold calls, and you hate it. Maybe you’re a teacher, and there’s one particular thing you teach that your students just can’t seem to get. Maybe you’re a student, and have been having problems with math, or with history. Just think of some simple thing you know you should be able to do, but, for some unknown reason is giving you trouble. Write it down.
Okay…now think of someone you know, or know of, for whom this problem would not be a problem at all. Maybe you’ve been having trouble getting inspiration for an art project – and so you think of Pablo Picasso, one of the most innovative and creative artists of all time. Picasso was short, sturdily built but never fat. He was balding from a young age, and notoriously irreverent. He was passionate about life – about great food and beautiful women, often having several mistresses at one time. His work was eclectic and always changing, ranging from Ingress-like classical realism through his blue and rose periods, both analytic and synthetic cubism, which he pioneered, African inspired periods and surrealistic experiments. He created continuously.
Could you step into the persona of Picasso? Try it! See if you can match his facial expression, or perhaps hold your body as he would. He spent most of his life living between Barcelona, where Catalan is spoken – a lovely language with hints of Italian, French & Spanish all mixed in, but a flavor all its own, and in Paris. Can you imagine what his accent must have sounded like? Try and imitate it. Try and get into Picasso’s body, voice…and mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re like the real Picasso. Use your imagination and become the Picasso of your dreams. What must it have felt like to BE Picasso? Imagine you ARE Picasso.
And now, as Picasso, create your own art. Allow yourself to be inspired by his passion, his experience, his approach to life. Picasso was famous later in life for scribbling on a napkin and signing it when presented with the bill for a
particularly lavish meal he was having with friends in a restaurant, and offering it in lieu of cash payment. “That’s worth at least $1,500 in the art market right now, just because it has my signature – do you want that, or shall I just give you money?” That’s confidence, and Picasso had it. Many of those napkins are now on display in major art museums of the world. What will you create now, knowing ANYTHING you put your name on can be priceless?
This seems such a simple thing, but you’ll amaze yourself at the talents you have, well suppressed within your “normal” character, which can be released by the simple act of putting on the mask of another. In playing role games in the class, it’s amazing what fun we’ve had – and what new bits we’ve discovered with such simple things as “Now do it as Daffy Duck. Okay…now you’re Heavy D, the hip hop star. Great.
Now you’re Tony Soprano…and so on. Each performer will do each character differently – and in the context of that character, will discover entirely new and different ways of presenting their magical pieces. Some are great, others not. It doesn’t matter, because by putting on the mask of the character, we’ve broken out of our own ruts and made new creative discoveries.
Oh – I nearly forgot, and promised Jeff I’d remind you – if you enjoy this kind of creative exercise and want more; it’s just one of the things we offer in our Master Classes. There are only three general Master Classes scheduled for the rest of this year: July, August & September. That means only 45 spots available, and over half of those are gone already – so it’s really more like 20. Don’t wait, go to http://www.magicalwisdom.com/ choose a class and register now!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Muse letter. I’ve certainly enjoyed bringing it to you. If any of you have ideas for a really creative title for a book about creating magic, and would like to give them to me, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great summer!
From Jeff & Abbi:
For deep mystery seekers only!
(You know who you are…)
Fires Rising, Artemas, PA, May 31st – June 3rd
Experience three days and nights of ancient and modern mysteries. Join us for an alchemical blend of fire, drumming, dance, magic, storytelling and song at Four Quarters Farm in Artemas, PA.
Read all about it at http://www.4qf.org/_FiresRising/index.htm
If you’ve been wondering about
what, exactly, happens at one of these gatherings, we’re happy to share this great video on YouTube showing the Alchemical Fire Circle. The video is from a documentary, ENIGMA, produced by Vision TV about Jeff’s magic profession and his work with alchemical fire circle with Abbi.
Please, tell your friends about it! If any of you have a YouTube account, we’d appreciate you linking to it.
We’ll see you in the spotlight, or by the firelight!
Your friends in mystery,
Jeff & Abbi McBride