Archive for June, 2011

Good News and Great Reviews

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
– Anne Frank

[A Quick note from Bryce:  Don't miss Jeff's new essay, Audiences: Remembering and Forgetting, in the Secret Art Journal]
Greetings Magical Friends,
My show props are back from Russia and I am re-packing them for the upcoming summer tour. If you want to know what Russian magic looks like, take a look at the Russia video here: http://tinyurl.com/mc-russia
During my travels I collected a few “golden nuggets” of wisdom for you:
From Australia! Our friend and student Adam Mada talks about making a living in the performing arts: http://tinyurl.com/amada1
A thought-provoking essay: Changing the Face of Magic, recommended by Brian Brushwood: http://davidrowyn.posterous.com/youtube-is
Featured Star Student of the Month: Eduardo Galeano
It is a great pleasure to see one of our students realize his dream! Take a look at Eduardo’s email and the link attached!
From Eduardo:

“Hi Jeff! I just wanted to say again thank you, thanks for all your support. I wanted to learn card manipulation, and it was because of your DVD´s The Art of Card Manipulation. It would not have been possible for me to perform at the French Cabaret without your DVDs and your lessons at the Mystery School. Thanks.”

Take a look at Eduardo’s act here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM3FNtefMr8
Jeff McBride by Lydia Burris
Artwork by Lydia Burris
We have some great reviews and letters this month:
It was quite a surprise to see my Butterfly Blizzard get such a good write-up!
Here is a photo of world-famous quick-change artist Arturo Brachetti performing Butterfly Blizzard accompanied by a full symphony orchestra:
Arturo Brachetti butterfly blizzard
Here is what Jonathan Pendragon said about Butterfly Blizzard:

“Hi Jeff,

I just wanted to tell you how much I loved doing the butterflies.   I used a double load and filled the air on a large stage in an arena.  The air time was amazing, much better than any snowstorm load I have ever used.  I just stood there and thought, “that is so cool.” It is a rare experience to be captured in the magic of your own making. Butterfly Blizzard does exactly this.  As the butterflies flutter around me, with astounding air time, the anthropomorphic illusion becomes so real that I feel transformed as well.  It never fails to amaze the audience and take my breath away in the bargain.

Ave Magnus,
Jonathan Pendragon.”

Touring:
Upcoming McBride on Tour: New York City, Dallas Texas and Canada!
News about my shows at the Vancouver Music Festival: http://tinyurl.com/vancomus
Magic in Las Vegas:
Here is a link to a new review of our show at the Wonderground, from the UNVL Rebel Yell. They call us “Las Vegas’ most wonderous show.”
In addition to our monthy WONDERGROUND event, we have been streaming LIVE every Monday from our Mystery School TV studio here in Vegas. As of last week’s show, we have recorded over 22 hours of original magic content, and it is all FREE to you, my friends! Just log on to www.mcbridemagic.tv at any time.
See you all Monday night at 7pm Vegas time (PST) for the next Mystery School Monday! I’ll be coming to you this week live from Dallas, where I will have just landed in preparation for the national I.B.M. convention.
Your friend in the art of magic,
Jeff

Selecting Magic to Perform

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.
– The Buddha

Dear friends:
As I write today, Jeff McBride is mid-tour on a trip that took him to Kalamazoo, MI, Edmonton, Alberta, and Indianapolis. Next, he will fly to Perm, Russia, for what I believe is the first-ever magic convention there.

Jeff McBride in Perm, Russia

For this tour, Jeff tells me he is traveling with just two bags (checked luggage), performing four shows while on the road – 3 different versions of the show, and playing theaters ranging from under 100 seats to over 2,500, and lecturing three times. If you’ve ever tried packing a magic show that is going to run longer than 30 minutes (and you’re not a mentalist), you’ll know that just the ability to pack for a trip like this is real magic. This is something Jeff covers in his lectures, both on the road and at the Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas, and may be one of the most valuable lessons any professional performer can learn.
Today we are blessed to have as our guest writer (well, he’s not really a guest…he is Dean of the Magic & Mystery School), the one and only Eugene Burger. Eugene is not only, for my money, the world’s best close-up entertainer in magic – he is also among the top lecturers and teachers. Our definition of true wisdom at the Magic & Mystery School is, “open your mind and listen to what Eugene has to say.” And so…open your mind, and read what he has written!

SELECTING MAGIC TO PERFORM

Eugene BurgerJUNE, 2011
Eugene Burger
A few years ago, purely as a personal experiment, I asked myself the following question: In order for a particular piece of magic to make it into my performing repertoire are there any criteria that must be met? What features must this particular piece of magic have – or not have – for it to be something that I would like to perform?
As I thought about it, several criteria did appear. I have noted eight criteria that must be met before I begin performing something professionally. Two years ago I shared these criteria with the teens at the Lance Burton Teen Weekend of the World Magic Seminar. And now I shall share them with you.
The first criteria that must be met before I add a piece of magic to my repertoire is that the magic effect must call to me. It must be a piece of magic that connects with me on some level so that I want to perform it. When I am performing material that gives me joy to perform, the audience “catches” my enthusiasm – just as they might catch chicken pox or any childhood disease. Enthusiasm communicates from the performer to the audience. The great 20th century master of this was certainly Doug Henning. I think that whether a piece of magic calls to me is the most important of the criteria because, if it does not call to me, there is no reason to add it to my repertoire.
The second criteria asks whether this piece of magic fits in my pockets. When I perform at a corporate party, I do not carry my little box; instead, I work completely out of my pockets. So, if this piece of magic I am considering, does not fit in my pockets, it does not make it into my repertoire.
The third criteria asks whether the effect under consideration requires any reset. The truth is that I have enough magic in my present repertoire that requires reset and I really do not need any more.
Fourth, to perform this effect do a need a table. Again, I have enough material that does require a table and I would rather not be burdened with more.
The fifth criterion asks if the plot of the effect is simple. There is so much magic that isn’t simple to follow and, as Vernon always said, magic is not confusion. I personally want simple, easy to follow and memorable plots.
Sixth, is the action of this effect up by my face? If I have any hope of appearing on television this is where the action is best. I am selling myself not my belt! I want myself – that is, my face — in the action. It’s simply better theater.
Seventh, if I add this piece of magic to my repertoire will I need to check luggage on flights? I am now in the enviable situation where I can go to Europe for a month, often with material to sell, without needing to check luggage. Frankly, I would rather not trust my magic props (or clothes for that matter!) with the airlines. And there is nothing better than getting off an airplane and, without stopping and waiting for luggage, to go directly to a taxi.
Eighth and finally, how many people can be in the audience for this effect? The fact is that I want a balance in my repertoire. I want material that is intimate and best performable for two or three people; but I also want material that I can perform for a thousand people. Before any effect enters my repertoire, I asks myself how many people can be in the audience.
These, then, are the criteria that I use when selecting material for my own repertoire. I am offering them for your reflection. I am certainly not suggesting that these criteria are perfect for you. No, on the contrary, they are but signposts on a path – the path to better magic.
Have you ever asked yourself how you go about adding material to your repertoire? If you do ask this question – if you ask it honestly – you might be surprised at the answer.

Thank you, Eugene!
Before we leave you today, an update on upcoming classes seems to be in order. Both the July and August classes are nearly full, with only one or two more spots available. Sign up and get your deposits in quickly if you want to attend either one of these – they are our last Extended Classes until next year, and there’s no better way I know of to immediately raise the level of your magic. The remaining classes of the year – Sisters of Mystery, Focus on Street Magic, Master Class for Mentalism and Magic & Meaning are all currently about half filled, and we expect them to completely fill at least a month or so before they are scheduled…so again…get your registrations in early.
Oh…and I should also mention that at the end of the month, you can catch Jeff performing and teaching both at Fantasma’s “Magic on Manhattan,” honoring John Calvert, and at the I.B.M. “Legends of Magic” annual convention in Dallas. They are both star-studded and promise to be fantastic events. If you’re attending either, be sure and say hello to Jeff!
Best wishes.
Sincerely,
Tobias Beckwith

 

Visit Our Sponsors

Syndication