Learning from the Best

We all crave inspiration, and motivation to stoke our creativity.

Our Muse Letter this month is brought to you by Surrealist Illusionist Jordan Wright.

One of the first experiences I had with Jeff taught me just how a simple gift of magic can make a huge impact on a person. One night we were in the checkout line of a supermarket and Jeff asked the checkout guy if he likes magic. He replied that he had not really seen magic before. Without hesitation, Jeff began doing card manipulations for him and ended by giving him one of his cards. The guy was so shocked that his entire demeanor was transformed into a state of bliss. As we were walking out to the car I realized how a simple magic trick in an unexpected way will almost instantly bring people out of their mundane task. This was one of those unique moments that had I not witnessed, I never would have understood.

I often get emails from people asking what advice I can give them on finding a mentor. One of the best pieces of advice I can offer to anyone is to seek out a magician in your area or local market whose work you admire and who is willing to “show you the ropes”. It is not about learning tricks. It is about watching others and learning from the way they work. Having a mentor will allow you to see what real world performing environments are like, to learn what goes into structuring a show, and to absorb all the wisdom that comes from their years of experience. Having someone to not only help guide you but also teach you the life lessons of being a performer is invaluable.

In today’s digital age with so much information on the internet we often feel uncertain of where to turn to for inspiration in our magic. Here’s one suggestion:

For many years now Jeff, Eugene, Larry Hass, and the other Mystery School faculty have been hosting an event in Las Vegas called The Magic and Meaning Conference. Inspired by the TED conference held in Northern California every year, the Magic & Meaning Conference is an event with some of the most brilliant minds in magic and other fields. Philosophers, writers, filmmakers, and other artists gather with some of magic’s greatest thinkers to share their wisdom and insight to inspire others in their work. We call the talks “PEP Talks” — PEP standing for Performance, Entertainment, Philosophy. We recently posted several of the talks from previous years on the Magical Wisdom website to give people a sense of what the conference is about. You can view them here:


I recommend viewing Larry Hass’ talk on Gifting Magic and Payne’s hilarious presentation on Why Must We Repeat Ourselves?

For a little more insight into this amazing conference here is a short video I created:
Magic & Meaning Conference

I recently got the chance to impart some wisdom on younger minds in magic at the World Magic Seminar. This 2 day workshop brought together 52 teens from all over the world to gain insight from Jeff and Eugene on ways to improve their magic. Many of the teen magicians have studied with Jeff and Eugene numerous times. In fact, the three winners of the Teen Stage Competition are all alumni of the Magic and Mystery School.

1st Place — Henry Vargas
2nd Place — Reuben Moreland
3rd Place — Eric Gilliam

What do these talented your magicians have in common? They all have have attended classes with Jeff. We are all very proud of these young rising stars of magic!

It is always amazing to see what an impact Jeff and Eugene have had on magicians, young and old.

This year’s SARMOTI award winner Nestor Hato was quoted as saying “Jeff McBride was the man who taught me magic.”

As I write this Jeff is just about to return from touring in the Midwest and we are making the final preparations for our March WONDERGROUND, which will take place this Thursday, March 18. If you are unable to attend we hope you will tune in to the live broadcast on www.streetofcards.tv.

Read more about the magic and film work of Jordan Wright in his new column on www.iTRiCKS.COM.

The Magic of Italy

Dear Magical Friends:

The Magic & Mystery School staff has had quite a ride this past month! While Jeff and Eugene are currently at the World Magic Seminar (please drop in on them there in the special ‘McBride’ room if you’re attending the convention), they’ve each been making their own kinds of news these past few weeks.

A Magical Vision, the film Michael Caplan created about Eugene Burger had its international premiere in October 2009 in Indore, India at the Global Film Festival, which was very exciting. Now, A Magical Vision is available for a limited time to watch on line as part of the Spirit Enlightened Film Festival — it is among the most viewed film currently, with 3800 views last time we checked. So, if you haven’t seen this, do it now, and then spread the word and the link:


A DVD release of the movie will be coming soon, as soon as the Spirit Enlightened Film Festival ends at the end of March.

Jeff McBride, of course, has just returned from a whirlwind tour in the Netherlands (Magic GONGA), and Italy (Turin, Venice & Milan). He was hosted by Ferdinando Buscema, one of Italy’s leading corporate magicians. Along-time student of Jeff and Eugene, he has now become Jeff’s Italian Tour Manager, and we’re delighted to have him on the team!

This week Ferdinando will be performing at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Our congratulations for such a success! If you’ll be in L.A., make sure and drop in to see him. You’re in for a treat!

Ferdinando is our guest columnist this month, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy his description of the fantastic Ballo del Dogeand Jeff’s other adventures in Italy. Enjoy!

From Ferdinando:

Greetings to you all!

We have just awakened after 7 days and 1171 miles on the road with Jeff and my partner Anna: an unbelievable experience!

This Italian tour (de force) has been a huge success: Jeff performed, lectured, held a Master Class and received outstanding reactions from all the friends in both Torino and Milano!

The highlight of Jeff’s tour has of course been his performance at the Ballo del Doge in Venice, the hottest party of the Venetian Carnival. According to Vanity Fair, it is “The most exclusive, sophisticated and sumptuous ball in the world.” Having been there, we can only wholeheartedly agree! What a magical experience!

The creator of the event — Mrs. Antonia Sautter — is a most refined costume designer, having created the masks and costumes for Stanley Kubrik’s final masterpiece “Eyes Wide Shut”.

Jeff was the headliner of the show, and his masks’ act was highly acclaimed by the 400 masqueraders attending the party! A greatest hit!!

After Jeff’s departure back to Las Vegas, it took Anna and me a few days of “recovery”, after a breathless immersion in Jeff’s energy and enthusiasm. Jeff is a volcano of ideas, information, books, movies, music, stories, laughter and… magic of course!! We got an overwhelming dose of inspiration!

Having had the great fortune of spending a lot of time with Jeff, Eugene and all the Magic and Mystery Tribe, the one lesson that I always get is: Be brave and dare to dream bigger dreams! Jeff sets his own bar very high, and through his own example, gives the other permission to do the same.

Learning from the Masters means learning to dream bigger dreams!

Greetings from all the Italian friends, who look forward for having Jeff here again soon!!


PS: a small piece of secret knowledge I discovered about Jeff: he looooves to drink Sambuca and Limoncello! 🙂

That’s all for this Museletter. Thanks for continuing to read our news and ideas. If you know a friend who might enjoy keeping up with our musings, please send them a copy and invite them to sign up themselves!