Here we are coming into a month named after the Roman god Janus, an appropriate personification of the start of the new year. This particular Roman god had two faces so that he could look ahead toward the future and back at the past at the same time. As we get rid of an old year and look forward to a new one, we all try to be a little like Janus. We know through experience what we did wrong and what we did right, and hope to do better this year. Some people make ambitious new year’s resolutions; others just take a deep breath and hope for the best.…
—From The Complete Speaker’s Almanac
Greetings from Las Vegas!
The snow has all disappeared from the Las Vegas valley, but the mountains are shimmering. The sun is out again, and I’m getting ready to go skiing atop Mount Charleston with my friend Dr. Joshua Levin! Yes, we have skiing in sunny Las Vegas, just 50 minutes from the Strip! I’ve been an avid skier since I was 6 years old. I grew up skiing. In fact we had a ski area literally in our back yard… you could see the chairlift from the kitchen window! I would ski every day after school and on weekends too. I used to compete in the East Coast Freestyle Skiing Circuit…. I love “stunt-ballet” skiing, and in many of my competition routines, I actually mixed magic and special effects into my ”hot–dog” skiing; appearing ski poles, fire on my skis, and the occasional poof of a flash powder charge, as I swirled and whirled down the slopes doing my trick skiing act. The magic and effects I added to my routine gave me a “winning edge.” I stood out from all the other competitors because I did something new and different! I guess I’ve always combined my passion for magic with my other interests. I think that’s one of the things that helped me with my performing career. Here is a vintage photo of me doing a flip, in a Freestlye skiing competition at Holiday Mountain in Rock Hill, New York, 1975!
A PASSION FOR SIMPLICITY
Many of our students here at the school are not full time performers. Many of them are public speakers who combine business messages with magic. I often help these speakers to come up with ideas to illustrate their points with magic, comedy and special effects. In short, we work together to “punch up” their presentations.
I encourage them to share real stories from their lives, and to add a bit of magic to these stories as they communicate with their audiences. In Tobias Beckwith’s book BEYOND DECEPTION, there is an exercise called “PASSION PIECES.” This essay gives the secret formula on how to turn simple magic effects into pure theater. Here is a short version of that magic formula: Take a real story form your life, something you are really passionate about and tell people about that passion when performing a simple magic effect. Why a “simple effect?” The best reason is so that you can connect more with the emotion of the story rather than worrying about the technique of the effect. I have learned over the years to focus on the story as much as the trick. Give the audience “more truth than trick” is a formula that has been successful for me!
JEFF ON TELEVISION – CATCH IT JANUARY 1st & 5th!
I will be appearing on My Network TV for Masters of IllusionMasters of Illusion series. I had a great time shooting the show in Los Angeles, along with Abbi and Jordan Wright. Oh…and if you missed The World Magic Awards last month, they are re-playing it on New Year’s Day at 8pm.
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT—EDUARDO FROM SPAIN
Eduardo Galeano, from Spain, recently joined us at a Master Class. He also made his Las Vegas debut on our “Midnight Magic Show” at THE WONDERGROUND. This week, he shared the good news that he will be representing his birth country, Argentina, in the competition at the World Magic Seminar here in Las Vegas in March! We were all impressed with his card routine, and thought you’d like to see it, too!
It is a great pleasure to introduce some of our students to our Museletter readers, so we can all share in their success! I look forward to featuring many of our students in upcoming Museletters.
If you would like to see more of our award-winning students, you can enter the WINNERS CIRCLE, by going to http://www.magicalwisdom.com/winners.php
Stay warm, my friends, and if you get too chilly, why not join us for some fun and magic in sunny Las Vegas!
Yours in mystery,
Jeff and Abbi McBride