Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
When you pass through the fire, you pass through humble
You pass through a maze of self doubt
When you pass through humble, the lights can blind you
Some people never figure that out
There’s a bit of magic in everything
And then some loss to even things out.
– MAGIC AND LOSS by Lou Reed
I want to share some thoughts and feelings about my friend and mentor Lou Lancaster.
I got the call a few days ago while I was on tour. On July 5th Lou drove himself to the Veterans Hospital here in Vegas. My friend Phyllis said Lou collapsed and never got up again.
Lou had a great influence on my magic and presentational style. His “Chan Lu” act* was the very first Asian themed I ever saw. In the mid 70′s, Lou was performing at the Grossinger’s Hotel in the Catskills at magic convention hosted by George Schindler and Frank Garcia.
I remember the impression Lou made upon all of us as he breezed through the lobby of the nightclub just before the show. I had never seen Lou in his full-on Chinese make-up, coolie hat, and formal costume. It was an awesome sight! Onstage he looked as if he was from another world! His act was very mysterious and pure manipulative magic. I got to meet Lou at this convention. After the show he took the time to help me with my fledgling card fans. A few years later I moved to NYC and would meet up with Lou at the old Tannen’s magic shop. He held court at Tannen’s. Lou could “go behind the counter” at any time he desired to show us his magic and moves. Lou was magic shop royalty, and the card acolytes would be awestruck as he first back palmed the entire deck and then produced them in fabulously full fans, and then in impossibly intricate interlocks! Lou was THE MAN! We shared many hours together at the shop and various local magic hang outs, begging him to “tip the work” and tell us his war stories of life on the road.
As the years went by, Lou took me as a student and taught me the inside work of the traveling stage manipulator; the hidden pockets, secret gimmicks, the steals, the moves and the routines he had learned over his many years and travels. After a few years of apprenticing with Lou, he gave me my first big break; a steady job performing at the world famous Club Ibis in NYC. Lou was the house magician there for years but he felt called to the sea. He bought a sailboat and was off to explore the world….. and offered the Club Ibis gig to me. I stayed for 3 years working 6 nights a week 2 shows a night. The pay $100.00 per week; I was in heaven.
This steady gig gave me the experience working tough NYC crowds and a place to showcase for producers….it was the opportunity I needed to get my show polished!
Much of my professional repertoire I learned from Lou: Card fan Manipulation, silent linking rings to music, Zombie, and his version of the multiplying candles with the Chinese fan. I still perform these routines often and pass his techniques on to our students at the school. Lou’s creativity and magic will live on to inspire many other generations.
Read much more about Lou here – http://www.loulancaster.com
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT ON TRIXX!
Our friend and student Michael Trixx is a veteran of many of our classes. Trixx will be on America’s Got Talent soon! Here is what Trixx has to say:
“Jeff McBride’s Magic and Mystery School gave me the courage, skill, and confidence to take my show to the next level — which landed me a spot on America’s Got Talent! I thank Jeff and Abigail McBride, along with Eugene Burger, for all their time, help, friendship and support. And I will continue to visit the school, It
NEWS FROM TOBIAS:
We are thrilled to announce that we’ve booked Jeff’s show “Magic at the Edge” into the Sound Trax Showroom at Palace Station here in Las Vegas starting August 21st! The show, which is an updated version of the show we’ve performed in Laughlin and Atlantic City over the past 18 months, will run every Wednesday – Monday nights with performances at 7:30 each evening.
Tickets will be available for sale as of August 11 by going to www.stationcasinos.com and following the entertainment links to the one for “Magic at the Edge.”
Not only that, but Palace Station has also agreed to host “McBride’s Wonderground” club experience every Friday and Saturday evening for the run of Magic at the Edge! This moves up our schedule on that project significantly…and expands it from once a month to twice a week. We’ll be looking for lots of help from our friends (that’s you) to make both events the success that Jeff’s vision deserves.
We’ve written you before about the Wonderground, but in case you missed it, here’s a clipping from the press release: More than a nightclub, the Wonderground features interactive close-up magic, uncommon variety acts, and performance art. The experience will include special performances by Jeff McBride and celebrity guest artists, and will change every evening. Installations and attractions include a psychic sideshow, celebrity interaction with the stars of the show, and plenty of dancing with magic DJ Leo Diaz.
“The Wonderground is a techno-tribal revival,” says McBride. “It’s a party that will thrill and give both locals and visitors great stories to tell their friends when they get home.” McBride’s Wonderground encourages each guest to dive in and help create the overall magical club experience.
As many of you know, Jeff moved to Las Vegas in 1997. “I chose to live here because Las Vegas is the magic capital of the world. Vegas has more light per square inch than anywhere else on the planet – and it has some of the darkest shadows. In this show, I enjoy exploring that edge, between darkness and light. This is where the magician finds his home.”