Magic & Artistry

Hola! Jeff here in Bogota, Colombia!

I have been touring and doing my shows in South America in theaters and on the streets! One of the joys of travel is meeting other interesting magicians and getting them to be guests on our web-TV show.

Jeff McBride doing street magic in Botota

The recent topic: Street magic around the world

See this new episode, featuring some street magic direct from Bogota.

“Art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth.”
— Theodor Adorno

What is artistry? What makes an artist?

A few thoughts by Henry Miller:

But there is a class of hardy men, old-fashioned enough to have remained rugged individuals, openly contemptuous of the trend, passionately devoted to their work, impossible to bribe or seduce, working long hours, often without reward or fame, who are motivated by a common impulse – the joy of doing as they please. At some point along the way, they separated from the others.

The men I speak of can be detected at a glance: their countenance registers something far more vital, far more effective, than the lust for power. They do not seek to dominate, but to realize themselves. They operate from a center which is at rest. They evolve, they grow, they give nourishment just by being what they are, To live beyond the pale, to work for the pleasure of working, to grow old gracefully while retaining one’s faculties, one’s enthusiasm, one’s self-respect, one has to establish other values than those endorsed by the mob. It takes an artist to make a breach in the wall.

An artist is primarily one who has faith in himself. He does not respond to the normal stimuli: he is neither a drudge nor a parasite. He lives to express himself and in so doing enriches the world. (H.M.)

What is “artistry?” and what is it that makes the difference between an “entertainer” and an “artist?”

We will explore this next Monday on the show. I have been collecting interviews from illuminated magicians on my travels. You can experience the reflections of master magicians on the upcoming show and listen to their words of wisdom and experience. Join Tobias Beckwith, George Parker, Bryce Kuhlman and the faculty and friends of our Mystery School for an evening of Artistry and Wisdom.

Remember, “Monday is a school night!” – Monday, Feb 13 at 7PM PST.

“Art is magic… But how is it magic? In its metaphysical development? Or does some final transformation culminate in a magic reality? In truth, the latter is impossible without the former. If creation is not magic, the outcome cannot be magic.”
— Hans Hofmann

Wonderground – February 16

Tim Wise hosts the 8pm comedy magic show.

Christian Diamond will host the 9pm close-up gala show

DJ Shinobi spins the deep chill out grooves

Abbi will host the 10 pm “stage extravaganza!”

Leo Diaz
DJ Shinobi (aka Leo Diaz)
Tim Wise
Tim Wise


For details, directions and the full line up of amazing talent, go to:

This month Scott Steelfyre will help Tim and Christian stream the show live on We will go live at 9pm Pacific/Vegas time.

“The art of art, the glory of expression, and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.”
— WALT WHITMAN, Preface to Leaves of Grass

From Tobias:

Jeff is still in South America as I write this, but will soon be back in the US. For those of you in the Chicago area, be sure to catch him when he is there for a special McBride Magic Experience, hosted by the Aces Magic Club. Our good friend Bill Cook is president there, and we’re looking forward to a fantastic weekend put on by Bill and the great team working with him. Learn more at Be sure and sign up early for show, lecture and workshop.

Then, April will be another “convention month,” as he returns to Hank Lee’s Cape Cod Conclave. One of the highlights of that weekend will be the special 4-hour workshop Jeff conducts on the last day. Learn more at

Finally, Jeff will be traveling to Italy for the 11th Saint-Vincent Magic Convention, taking place from April 19 to April 22 2012. He will be joined there by an allstar line-up including Juan Tamariz, René Lavand, The Great Tomsoni, Xavier Mortimer, Dean Gunnarson, Fielding West, Eric Jones, Danny Cole, Andrew Mayne, Mark Mason, Dani Da Ortiz and more. The program is packed full: 11 lectures, 5 Gala Shows, 2 International Contests, 5 Workshops, the escape day, street-magic shows, parties and after-nights. Again, Jeff is offering his special Super Session workshop. Learn more here.

For more information contact: or +39348001125.

I’ve just checked, and it turns out we do still have one or two slots left for our Extended Master Class in March…but only a couple. This is the first extended class of 2012, and I’m sure it will be filled. If you’re serious about your magic, I urge you to grab one of the remaining spots now at

Until next time, then.

Magically yours,
Tobias Beckwith


Dear friends,

Our writer this month is our friend and faculty member at the Magic & Mystery School, the corporate alchemist, George Parker. If you’ve been watching Mystery School Mondays, you know we’re in for a treat. Here’s George:


By this time, we’re all familiar with the 10,000 hours concept that was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. Gladwell is great at making interesting ideas and concepts accessible.

But he wasn’t the first one to focus on excellence and expertise. K. Anders Ericsson published his Toward a General Theory of Expertise in 1992 and came to similar conclusions. He looked at experts in different fields like medicine, performance arts, music, sports, etc. and suggested that having a talent is great and a genetic predisposition for something may be very helpful, but a lot of training and aiming to be excellent is key to become an expert.

And way, way before him, Aristotle wrote that “we are what we repeatedly do.”

I know salespeople who should be excellent communicators/listeners but they spend 80% of their time in a car. They are probably excellent drivers, but I doubt their ability to really connect with their clients.

I think we all struggle with this from time to time. We desire excellence but there are a thousand other things that distract us from practicing it. Sometimes that’s because we don’t love what we’re doing or we lack the will to be excellent. But most of the time there’s another reason: we don’t have the time.

In order to help you create time, I’m including a list of things you may want to stop doing this year.

  • Stop acting like a rat. For rats there’s nothing between stimulus and response. So they will instantly answer an email when they hear the sound of their inbox. They will answer a call when their phone rings. They don’t have any planning skills at all.
  • Stop mindless traditions. I’ve been to lots of family parties, weddings, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, etc. in the past. A lot of the time I was asking myself: what am I doing here? I wouldn’t hang out with these people when I met them in a bar. So why am I now? Think about it: where do you really want to be? Or where do you really need to be in order not to be rude?
  • Stop reading annoying and/or trivial things. Are you really, wholeheartedly interested in how Tyra Banks washes her clothes or how George Clooney’s housekeeper likes him so much? Allow 15 minutes (or less) a day to read this kind of stuff.
  • Stop doing work that’s not worth doing. Some procedures, meetings and other habits don’t help to achieve your goals. Do them differently (like Skyping instead of doing a live meeting) or stop doing them altogether.
  • Stop sweating the small stuff. When something is bothering you, don’t act on it, write it down, wait 48 hours and see if still bothers you. I bet 75% of those things will have lost their urgency.

My guess is that you will create at least 400 free hours this year, but probably more. That’s a great step towards your 10,000 hours!

George Parker

Thanks, George! One of the best ways you can fill in those hours you gain back using George’s methods is certainly to fill them with practice and rehearsal. But another is to use them to come to a Master Class. We have our first extended class of the year running from March 11-17, and it is not too late to make plans to attend. There are a few slots still available, and March is a fantastic time to visit Vegas. It’s already warm, but not the super-hot that comes with summer. We’ll be seeing some great shows, and you’ll get lots of one on one attention from the full faculty. There’s no other experience in magic that comes close – so treat yourself to the one experience guaranteed to help you raise the level of your magic right now! Go to and sign up for either the March class, or one of the classes later in the year.

Jeff McBride will be in South America in February, first at the Mundial de Magia, in Bogota, Colombia from February 2-12, and then at CADI – Congreso Argentino de Ilusionismo, in Buenos Aires, Argentina from February 15-19.

Just to follow up a bit of what George was writing about: I’ve traveled on many long trips with Jeff, and I can tell you he puts his airline time to good use. He always has a deck of cards and several tricks he is working on, and it is not unusual at all to see him practicing his sleight of hand skills while waiting to check in or at his seat. And if he isn’t practicing, he’s likely to be reading a book on magic.

So…thanks, George, for the excellent advice for all of us. We hope to see all of you soon – either on Mystery School Mondays (Live at 7pm PST every Monday at, or available in archived form for a full week after each web-cast in the same location), at one of our upcoming “Locked Room” sessions, or live in Las Vegas!

Best wishes for a magical February!

Tobias Beckwith