Like Calls to Like

Dear Friends,

Today our guest writer is Will Bradshaw. Will appeared in our lives about 7 years ago, first as a student, then apprentice…and now he’s so busy with his own performing career and his work for David Copperfield and MagicFlix, that we don’t get to see nearly as much of him as we would like. He has been working directly with our students for the Last 7 years, has consulted for award-winning Vegas magic shows on the Strip, and worked directly for the largest names in the magic world.

As a young and talented magician, “on the rise,” Will has a perspective on our art and profession that may be of special interest to you. Enjoy!

Like Calls to Like
By Will Bradshaw

As I move forward in my career as an entertainer, I find myself pondering more and more often this question: if I had to choose, do I want to be liked or respected.
As a performing artist, I am naturally drawn to the stage out of a desire to be liked. The applause, validation of our peers and mentors, that shake of the hand and hearing “That was incredible.”
I want to be liked… no, more than that I want to be loved and the stage is the place I found that.

However, there is a sinister trap looming beyond the shiny facade of validation, thrown roses, and the standing ovation. When our desire for a wisp of a moment of love is more important than our sense of self, we fall into a place where our art, passions, and lives suffer.

Over the last 5 years I have lived in Las Vegas I have met more and more famous magicians, entertainers, and powerhouses of business–and I have found, time after time, that being respected is more important by far to them than being liked. This is why I think that is.

It comes down to value.

By demanding respect, you are telling the world your Art, your Magic, YOU provide Value. And when you provide value, you are no longer willing to receive less than that value for your services. It takes courage to say, “I provide this much value to you, and for that I require X,” and if the people you are interacting with aren’t willing to provide that, then you are willing to walk because you know what you are doing and what you are worth, and that matters. People will only respect you and your show as much as you do.


So be willing to set boundaries in your show,and ask for what you need. Respect yourself and you will find others will respect you as well, because you will remove those who do not show you respect out of your life.

But how do we show respect for our show? Well these are the things I do to respect my performance; I hope you find them helpful, and if there are more things you think of, reach out to me on the forums. Open the discussion, share your feelings and experiences, because when we start talking about how to show respect, we are more likely to ask for it.

Know what your needs are: I, the performer who crafted the show that the client is about to purchase, and who has performed it hundreds if not thousands of times, know what makes my show work better than someone who is purchasing my services the first time. I know what will make it highly successful, and what will cause it to tank. So ask yourself… what do you need to perform at your BEST–and start from there. Ask yourself…

  • How much space do you need?
  • Does your performance work better on a stage, if so, how high?
  • Do you need a Mic?
  • If performing for birthdays, does your show work better before or after cake?
  • Do you need a space to set up?

The list goes on and on. Asking yourself these questions and having the answers WRITTEN DOWN is the first step in being treated with respect. All these items won’t be available for each show, but by starting with what will make your show the best and working down from there, instead of fighting for every scrap of help, you will get more respect because you are fighting for the best show possible. Know the difference between what you NEED, and what you would LIKE. Being willing to ask for what you need, and being willing to turn down a gig if it is not given, will mean you are performing at your best, and will give yourself that edge that will move your show to the next level.

Treat your props/Venue well: This is the idea of giving respect to get respect. If you treat the world around you with respect people learn that that is the type of behavior that is appropriate when dealing with you. The same works in reverse. When you arrive at the venue and your costume looks trashed and your props are falling apart, you’re telling the world that you don’t give your show respect, so you will be less likely to receive it. In addition, if you leave junk around backstage, make messes, and don’t have a way to make cleanup easy, you show the person hiring you that you don’t respect them, and suddenly you will no longer get called to perform there again.

Arrive on time/Deal honestly: This is the same giving of respect to get respect as above, but much more direct in action. When you arrive on time you are telling the people who are meeting you that you respect their time, and time is ultimately the most valuable resource we have. Dealing honestly and directly with the people you interact with shows that you are not trying to pull a fast one over them,and that you desire clear communication. The best way to get it is to give it.

We all crave being liked–the applause, the “Thank you so much”–but getting that is a trade for performing at your best. In spaces where your work is sub-par, if you lack respect for your show and yourself, you will eventually drain yourself, and that will lead to unsatisfying gig after unsatisfying gig–and ultimately an unsatisfactory life. So go out and get respect, because each and every one of you deserve it.

Ten Ways to Become Famous in Magic


Ok, the title of this article SHOULD read “How to be a Success in Magic,” but I think people often confuse the two! Take the following steps, and hopefully, you will become both famous and successful! 

1.     Do 1,000 shows!

That is what Lance Burton says it takes to become a fine magician. After 1,000 shows, the audience and your director (yes, get a director) will have helped you to shape your show into world class entertainment. Lance Burton has done 25,000 shows and Copperfield has done 30,000. How many have you done? So, when you finish reading this, go do some shows! Don’t expect to be able to “become a magic legend” if you don’t have a fantastic act!
2.     Create original magic with a unique character.
My pal Rudy Coby says that if you can perform great magic, the next step is to create and add original magic presentations or touches to your show. You also need to find a unique and memorable persona. Look at all the leaders in our field… each has a style of magic that they are excellent in, or that they innovated, plus they have a look and presentation style that is different from anybody else’s. I combined my love for martial arts and masks with my stage magic. That combination was part of my success! Now it is YOUR turn to combine your unique passion with your magic. Let me know if I can help you find your mojo. All you need to do is drop me an email and I’m here to help!
3.     Win a competition.
Lance Burton, Greg Frewin, Shawn Farquhar and many of the world’s top magicians started as competitors in local, regional, national and international conventions. Top agents, bookers, and TV shows are looking for the new talent, and contests give you a goal to become your best. Even America’s Got Talent and FOOL US are both competition shows.

Teller presenting Jeff McBride with the coveted FOOL US award

4.     Open a magic theater in your local market.

Build a name in your local market. Be a big fish in a small pond! More and more magicians are opening their own local magic theater venues. Rick Wilcox, Danny Archer, Joe & Carol Givan, and Maxwell Blade are just a few of the dozens of magicians who now own and operate their own theaters. Others like Steve Cohen and Professor Phelyx partner with established venues to host their shows.

5.     Get on TV.

Build your name and brand on a national or international scale. More and more TV shows are featuring magicians. FOOL US, Masters of Illusion, America’s Got Talent, etc. How do you get on? PERSISTENCE! You must have a great act that fits the needs of the show. Be persistent in tracking down the booker. Make it a priority in your life and go for it! I did my first magic television show in the late 1970’s. I was on a national game show called “What’s My Line!” and many other talk shows.  I auditioned for the talent scouts looking for talented young teens. That show was the first of dozens I’ve done around the world. One TV show will lead to another! If I can do this, you can do it, too!

6.     YouTube, Facebook & Instagram

Many bookers are now selecting performers by the number of followers they have. Magicians like Rick Lax, Justin Flom, Paul Vu, and Chris Ramsay have found social media to be a great way to share their magic with fans around the world.


7.     Become an expert in a niche area of magic.

If you do the work and become known for having excellent information in an area of magic, better than anyone else, you can become the “go-to person” for rare magic information. It could be history, technique, presentation or philosophy, but there is a demand for magic expertise, consulting, and training.

Take a look at what I do in my ‘spare time!”


8.     Write a book.

Some of the great magicians in history have left us amazing books filled with ideas and inspiration. What of your magic will you contribute to the magic community? Many magicians have built international fame with their books and writings, including performers like Juan Tamariz, Tommy Wonder, Eugene Burger, and Dr. Larry Hass.

You can also write for magic journals. There are many online magic magazines and also Genii, M.U.M., The Linking Ring, MagicSeen, and other “pulp and ink” magazines that need great articles and effects each month. Writing and contributing is how many people generate a name in the magic world. It is astonishing how many great magicians have contributed to our magazines: Sam Sharpe, Max Maven, Jim Steinmeyer, Jonathan Pendragon, and so many more… 

AND, if you write for magazines you can compile a “best of” book and release it in print or as a PDF. That is how I created my book THE SHOW DOCTOR, just one magazine article at a time. It took years, and coaching from Eugene and Abigail, but I was persistent!

9.     Tell a great story
The person who has the best story wins!
Your life, your magic, your art, and your legacy all will be told as a story one day. You must be the one in charge of the narrative! Not just onstage, but offstage, as well. All the parts of your life will be in this story – the challenges, setbacks, loves, deaths, losses, and  triumphs.
You are the master and creator of this story. What will you create to be remembered by?
10.     Teach award winning students!
I have accomplished all of the above steps, so teaching is what I love to do now! I love working with inspired students; young and old. Now it is their turn to go out and do the 1,000 shows, get on TV, win competitions, write books, become famous and successful, and blaze new trails in our industry.
Following are a few magical success stories.

Jeff with one of his award winning students – Michael Trixx

Michael Trixx: Rock & Roll Magic Star
I work with Michael Trixx every month via Skype. Trixx is now an award-winning magician after starting relatively late in life. After a successful career in music, Trixx got into magic at 25 years old. Trixx says, “I never knew about magic conventions or clubs or anything, then one day I watched a magic show, and saw Jeff McBride’s Magic and Mystery School and signed up for the 7-day Master Class.”
“Jeff brought my show from “OK” to award winning. When I returned home I started winning competitions! I was hired by major corporations and headlining.  IT WAS THE BEST MOVE I EVER MADE! Since then, I’ve been performing 6 nights a week in the upper Florida Keys for 20 years!! I do that for 9-10 months a year.”

I’ve continued to attend Master Classes in Vegas.
I catch Jeff on the road sometimes and attend his Jeff McBride Experiences whenever I can. I still Skype with Jeff once a month to work on new ideas, career goals and to get his advice on moving forward!
Jeff McBride’s Magic and Mystery School has helped build my career, and that’s how I’ve built an amazing six- figure a year schedule in the Florida Keys! Follow your dreams, make it happen, and study with JEFF MCBRIDE!!” 
Learn more about Michael Trixx by CLICKING HERE
Star Watch!
My friends and students Anca & Lucca will revolutionize the art of mind-reading in our time!

Anca & Lucca appear on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us! They have just been confirmed for Monday, the 19th of August, 2019

Click the image above to see Anca & Lucca’s FISM performance

If you meet Anca and Lucca in person, you notice right away that they are more than just a mind-reading couple. They complement and challenge each other all the time, and you can almost see how the sparks fly between the two of them. “We have a very passionate love for each other and for the art of entertainment, intertwining in our mental magic performances.”
A Magical Love Story
What makes their theatre show The Mind-Reading Revolution unique is the fact that their own love story is told through their illusions. Thus, the audience members find themselves in the middle of a romance, while the two artists perform some of the most difficult mental magic tricks that can be seen anywhere in the world. Anca and Lucca continuously push themselves to improve their methods, with the goal of making the illusions as amazing and inexplicable as possible. They never use pre-arrangements, electronics or secret helpers, and guarantee this with their notarized $1,000,000 pledge.
The current FISM Vice-World Champions of Mental Magic (Italy, 2015 & South Korea, 2018), and FISM European Champions of Mental Magic will be broadcast on Penn & Teller’s TV Show “Fool Us” on Monday, the 19th August 2019. This will be their first TV appearance in America.
Magic in Las Vegas
Jeff & Abigail’s 18th Wedding Anniversary show!
Come celebrate with us! August 15th, 2019.

8pm –  Comedy Magic & Variety Show
     Tim Wise – Your Master of Ceremonies
     Jeff McBride – Sin, Greed & Religion-A true story!
     Mz. Charlamay – Puts a Twist on Contortion
     David Shareef – Min- melting Marvels
     Michael Valladares – Pantomime Prestidigitation

9pm  – Close -up, Parlor and Strolling Shows
     Will Bradshaw – Your Host for the Show
     David Shareef – Magic and Mental Mysteries

THE WONDERBAR – Bar Magic & Close up Show
     Jeff McBride – the Man with The World’s Fastest Hands
     Tim Wise – Bar Magician from The Magic Castle

10pm  – Stage Extravaganza
     Jeff McBride & New World Rhythmatism Dancers
     Jeff McBride & Abigail – Your Master of Ceremonies
     Mz Charlamay – Balance Beyond Belief!
     Michael Valladares: Wordless Wonders

All the above plus:

Photography by Sheryl Garrett. Strolling magic Magnus Mythos, Jordan Rooks, Scott Steelfyre & Maggie, Corey Rubino, New World Rythmatism Belly Dancers,
Psychic Sideshow with Eliza and Morganne– and many more surprises and special celebrity guests.

See you in Vegas at Mystery School, on TV or on the road.


The Beauty of Imperfection

Dear Friends:

Those of you who frequent our Mystery School Monday webcasts will no doubt recognize the thoughtful ruminations of this month’s guest columnist, Stonewick. We greatly appreciate his work on behalf of our community!

I recently led an online discussion on one of my personal “Books of Gold.” That book is “Intimate Power” by Eugene Burger. (1983). There is a simple, yet wonderful piece of Mentalism taught in the book, that exemplifies how the ideas outlined in earlier chapters come together in a complete and scripted piece. One of the interesting aspects of the effect is the intentional error made at the end by the performer. It is a very small error. One that does not reduce the “impossibility” of the prediction, but, through this small error, a ring of truth is brought to the fore. It is a near miss that actually strengthens the effect because of the error.

I know that our teacher Eugene Burger was very much in tune with Eastern Philosophy. So I must assume he had the concept Wabi-Sabi in mind when he performed this piece of magic.

For those who may not be familiar with the term, Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic. It loosely translates to…Beautiful Imperfection. It is meant to reflect the impermanence, rustic simplicity, and incompleteness of a thing. Besides, (at least in my view) perfection tends to be a little boring anyway.

Hand in hand with the concept of Wabi Sabi is the Japanese craft of Kintsugi.

There is legend from the 14th century of a Japanese Shogun, (Ashikaga Yoshimitsu) who, after breaking his favorite tea bowl, sent it off to China to be repaired. Upon its return the Shogun was dismayed with the ugly metal staples used to hold it together. He charged his own craftsmen with coming up with a more elegant solution. The craftsmen prepared an epoxy mixed with gold dust. Rather than trying to hide the bowl’s injuries, the cracks joining the broken pieces were emphasized and made to shine out in gold. Kintsugi highlights, and even celebrates, imperfection and brokenness.

The art of Kintsugi, as you might imagine, applies not just to pottery, but to people too. After all, we are, all of us, broken people in a broken world.

So how might Wabi Sabi and Kintsugi play out in entertainment? Three characters come to my mind right away. Although I am sure you will think of many better examples.

Someone looking at Orson Welles might think…” That is a big guy” …and they would be right. But Orson Welles’ girth gave him the gravitas and authority that was his brand. If Orson Welles had been a slender man, our impression of him would be entirely different. TV detective Columbo also comes to mind. We remember him from his smelly stub of a cigar, rumpled raincoat and his never-ending questions. Yet in spite of his off-putting appearance and manner, (or perhaps because of it) he annoyed and badgered his suspects to the degree that they would expose their hand, and eventually have to confess to their criminal deeds. Then there is Don Knotts. Not a particularly handsome man, yet he made a career of playing awkward, cowardly, yet lovable characters.

It seems that the more flawed and broken a character is, while still remaining believable, the more impact they make on us. We don’t love them in spite of their flaws. We love them because of their very visible cracks and imperfections.

So what does that mean for us as magicians? We are each playing a character. Some very much like our true selves, and some totally “out there.” Although there are many rich examples, the first modern magical performer that comes to my mind in this regard is Rob Zabrecky. Watch any Zabrecky performance, and you are witnessing a master class in highly impactful character presentation: Wabi-Sabi in all its delicious colors.

 I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I will ask you the same question I ask myself nearly every day: What does Wabi-Sabi mean to you in terms of performance magic? What is your own personal Kintsugi? Whether it is part of your true self, or something specifically manufactured for your performing character, what is your sublime imperfection? And how do you mix it with gold, so it shines out loud in all of its broken beauty?

The Book of Swords

“People must not be given swords before they’ve learnt how to enjoy life and its movement.” – Confucius

Greetings All,

Awaken to this fact: One of the most dangerous, yet useful items you touch every day is a blade. The same blade can be used for cutting a birthday cake or slitting a throat! (Ok, I’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones, but I’ve made my point!)

On a very practical level, we use blades every day to cut, open, and slice away what is not needed. We use blades to shave, open mail, cut foods, and some even swallow them, or throw them around living targets!

They slice, dice, stab, slash, pierce, poke, carve and cleave, rip and rend, and can even make fancy Julienne potatoes.

Doctors use blades to save lives… psychopaths use them to kill innocent people. We walk the razor’s edge between good and evil. Great skill and judgement are needed to wield this tool that holds such great power to create or destroy.

On an esoteric level, Swords are symbols of discernment, judgement, power, and precision. The Sword is one of the four tools of The Archetypal Magicians, and a symbol for the Element of Air.

“Swords” is one of the four suits of the Tarot. Hammered from steel, in the red-hot fire of the blacksmith’s forge, blades are the weapons of Kings and their Knights.

Magicians use Swords in stage illusions. They use knives for close -up magic, and pins, needles and razor blades are swallowed and regurgitated, and then threaded on string. Magicians tantalize and torture all kinds of materials with blades. No rope, silk, or even piece of paper is safe when near a trickster with shears or blade.

Click image above to see video.

So, it is time to share your love, and share your magic with a sword held high! This year at the Magic and Meaning Conference we are having some serious fun:

We are looking for the VERY best magic effects with Swords. One of you will be crowned in an official ceremony as the
KING or QUEEN of Swords!

The most promising ideas will be selected and put into a special Conference PDF:

The Book of Swords

Please send your submission to us: 500 words or less.
Bring plenty of your ideas to The Magic & Meaning Conference to share, but select the BEST routines or ideas to submit for The Book of Swords, which will be a compilation of ideas, magic effects, and routines that utilize the symbol of Swords, blades, knives or anything “cutting edge.”

Also, please note: this will be the second year in a four-year cycle that explores the Tools of the Magician: The Sword, the Wand, the Cup, and the Shield. Last year was the “Year of the Cup.” This year we will explore the history, mystery, magic, and symbolism of “The Sword.”

  1.  Each entry is 500 words maximum. You can send in as many effects as you like, as long as your total is 500 words.  These can be original effects, or a variation or twist on a classic.
  2. At this year’s Magic and Meaning Conference, we will have a hands-on workshop exploring magic with swords (or blades, or pens, or feathers)! We will experiment and learn many ways to use these objects in our performances and beyond!
  3. You must attend the Conference to be “crowned” King or Queen, but even if you’re not attending, please submit your effect for inclusion in The Book of Swords, because if it is accepted you, too, will receive a copy of this special Conference PDF.
  4.  Please send your entries as a Word document to Katherine, our Executive Assistant at

“And with my sword I salute you, until that time we should return.”

See you at the Magic and Meaning Conference—our School’s Homecoming Celebration!

If you have not already registered for this year’s Magic and Meaning Conference, this is an excellent time to do so, by going to:

It is also a perfect time to reserve your discounted hotel room at the Sunset Station Hotel & Casino. The rates for the rooms this year are quite reasonable: $65.00 per night for Wednesday (10/30) and Thursday (10/31), and $95.00 per night for Friday (11/1) and Saturday (11/2). (Please note: those rates are subject to the Clark County room tax, currently at 14%.)

To reserve your room, call the Reservations Department at 888-786-7389 and identify yourself as attending the “Conference 29” group and supply the Group Code of SCICE29.

One final note:  there is still a couple of weeks to submit a proposal to deliver a presentation and/or a performance at the Conference. The details about how to make a proposal can be found at:  Please note: the deadline for all proposals is July 15, 2019.

Yours in “cutting-edge magic events.”

Jeff McBride


7pm – Mo-Jo Music by Richard and Thayer
     Tarot by Eliza

8pm – Comedy and Variety show
     Tim Wise is your Master of Ceremonies
     Tetro and Stacy – Hocus Hoop-us!
     Rick Maisel – Modern Master of Escape
     Jeff Lockett – Makes a Magical Point!
     Jarol Martin – Magic direct from Cuba!
     Jeff McBride – Presents a world premiere- “The Dancing Egg”- (you’ve never seen this!)

9pm – Close-up Show and Strolling Magic
     Will Bradshaw – Your Master of Ceremonies
     Clyde McBride – The Three Magic Wishes
     Jeff Lockett – Close-Up & In Yo- face!
     Jarol Martin – Legerdemain with a Latin Flair
     –more acts to be announced!

     Kent Axell – Magic with your Mind
     Tim Wise – The Magic Castle Bar Show
     Steelfyre – Dice-ee-Deceptions
     –More to be announced!

10pm – Stage Extravaganza
     Jeff McBride – Is your Host
     Jeff McBride with The New World Rhythmatism Dancers – Magic by Candlelight
     Jarol Martin – From Masters of Illusion TV!
     Jeff Lockett – How to win BIG in Las Vegas
     Tetro & Stacy – A Ritual of Enchantment
     Rick Maisel – Death Defying Escape

Live Music by Richard and Thayer, Tarot by Eliza, Photography by Sheryl Garrett. Bar Magic-Scott Steelfyre & Maggie, Corey Rubino, New World Rhythmatism Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow with Morganne– and many more surprises and special celebrity guests.

So, see you at The Magic & Meaning Conference!

It is our Mystery School homecoming; please join us! Take a look and hear what the attendees are saying.
See you Online or in Vegas at one of our events!

Jeff and Abigail

« Older Entries Next Entries »