“Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”
— Jackie Robinson
One of the Burning Man Art Festival mottos is “No Spectators!” In a magic show I think this is a crucial concept to incorporate.
“People support what they help create,” is one of the mottos I live by!
This concept holds true in just about any organization, political movement, internet group, club, and yes, even in the theatre or at a magic show. I feel that the more audience participation there is in a show, the more successful that show becomes. If you look at current Las Vegas shows, the ones that have lasted have a lot of audience participation: Penn & Teller, Mac King, Amazing Jonathan & David Copperfield.
“It’s better to be in love than to watch it!”
There is a huge difference between a spectator and a participant. A spectator spectates, merely watching, witnessing without being directly involved. A participant is co-creating the experience, and has a role to play in the production of the magic.
Experience and learn from some of my favorite participation routines at SCIENCE VS MAGIC.
I’ll be performing in the Close-up Room with Kevin James for the special Rudy Coby week at the Magic Castle, April 21-27.
Also appearing with me will be Marco Tempest, Chris Korn, Rafael, Kevin James, and Timo Mark.
When I hear a magician say, “I have the spectator select a card,” I cringe inside. I am aware that they are not conscious of the words they are using. The more conscious we are of our words, the more conscious we can become as performers. Spectators do not pick cards; they watch cards being picked. Participants pick cards. I want everyone involved in the experience…not spectating. An example is my poker routine called:
This is one of my favorite close-up card routines. I get the entire audience into the story and playing parts in the show, and it’s very easy to do. Have a look and you might like to try it as well.
You can ask me to perform this routine if you attend one of my shows. I have a few coming up while on tour.
I will be performing with my friends at the Weekend of Wonder — perhaps we will meet there?
I rarely get to New York City and I’ll be performing and doing the lecture and workshop at FANTASMA magic shop in New York City, after our evening show Salute to Magic at the Queens Theatre.
I love to perform for Spanish audiences. And the Spanish magicians — especially the close-up artists — are some of the best in the world. If you are in Spain join me here:
Jaun Tamariz is one of the top Spanish magicians. He get the audience to join him in creating the magic. I encourage you to study great performers like Juan, and how they generate excitement, mystery and fun by using audience participation techniques. Explore ways you can welcome your audience into your magic world, and participate in the magic.
Remember: “People support what they help create.” So let them help you create magic! If you have ideas to share with me on ways that you engage your participants, email me and let me know. (just reply to this email!)
The Lance Burton Teen Magic Seminar is where we help the next generation of magicians learn expert skills.
This June, Eugene Burger and I will be joined by Larry Hass and Bryce Kuhlman at the combined IBM-SAM Convention. We will be working with Lance Burton hosting the youth magic seminar. These are the magicians of the future.
Xavier Mortimer will be our special guest this month. Take a look at his amazing talent here.
Early stage – 8pm
Your Host is the versatile Tim Wise
Joe Krathwohl, The Birdman of Las Vegas
Alien Warrior Comic
Close-Up – 9 pm
Your Host is the most elegant Christian Diamond
plus! The Psychic Sideshow with Allan Scott
Late Stage – 10 pm
Katie Kenner and the Maraschino Dolls
With: NWR Dancers, LiveDJ, Art by Areeya, video by SteelFyre
At WONDERGROUND and all of my shows I encourage “PARTY-cipation!
Take a look at one of our shows, and learn from our examples of how you can move your audience from being objective witnesses into subjective participants. Objective witnesses have less responsibility, and do not participate in the action. A subjective participant is actively engaged in the magic experience. They support the show by not only applauding at appropriate moments, but also by selecting cards and helping the magician with various tasks. I use this technique all the time and I would love to teach you how to use it in your work.
We often talk about this kind of technique each week on our Mystery School Monday Show. I invite you to join us and participate with us at our online Mystery school classes!
So come join us online or at one of our shows and be PART of the fun!
See you onstage,
“Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.”
— Nora Roberts
From Dr. Larry Hass, Associate Dean:
After this long, difficult winter, the glorious month of April is here. There is no fooling around on this April 1: spring is on its way—a time of rebirth and renewal.
In my family and Jewish tradition, it is a time for cleaning and cleansing. Not a chore, but a delight: throw open the windows, wipe up the dust, turn a new page!
With this fresh start in mind, I would like to mention one of my deepest commitments: to perform magic for people rather than “tricks.”
Have you recently thought about this difference? Or has it all become “just tricks” to you? Which pieces in your repertoire are more like magic? Which ones feel like empty, clever tricks?
One way to answer these questions is to look carefully at the reactions you are receiving. After you perform a particular piece, does your audience feel energy, delight, and wonder? (You can tell by the smiles and the palpable excitement.) Or do they say things such as “You fooled me,” or “You really had me with those cards until all the spelling and counting.”
During the spring, I renew my commitment to the pieces in my repertoire that create magic—energy, delight, and wonder—and to set aside the rest. Every garden needs pruning so gorgeous new things can grow. But even more important, people in the world today hunger and hope for magic in their lives, not stupid, stinking tricks. They have quite enough of those—thank you—from advertisers, marketers and salesmen of all kinds.
No, no: the people around us need magic. The world needs your magic. As a magician you have a great gift and a calling. Please go forth this spring with a renewed commitment to magic . . . and fewer tricks.
1. We have just released the 2014 Premier Member Video.
This 45-minute video was filmed in the Hollywood Hills in January for our Premier Members of the Magic & Mystery School. It features Jeff McBride, Eugene Burger, Larry Hass, Bryce Kuhlman, and George Parker in a fun conversation about commercial close-up magic. Jeff, Bryce, and George each teach a great piece of commercial magic that has not appeared on video before.
The only way to receive access to this video is to become a Premier Member of the School (the $100 level). And please remember, $80 of your Premier Membership fee goes directly into the Scholarship Fund that provides need-based financial aid for magicians who need a “hand up” getting the magic education they need to be more successful in magic and in life.
If you are not already a member of the Magic & Mystery School, or if you haven’t yet renewed your membership for 2014, we ask that you please do so. Of course, there are excellent benefits at every membership level, but more importantly, your membership helps us provide the gift of magic education for people in need.
2. Magic and Medicine in the latest issue of MAGIC Magazine.
The April 2014 issue features a 6-page article about our dear friend Dr. Ricardo Rosenkranz. Ricardo is not only a Guest Teacher of the School’s Magic and Medicine CME Seminar, he has also pioneered a Magic and Medicine curriculum for first and second year medical students at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
In this article you will learn all about Ricardo and his extraordinary program, and you will quickly understand why our recent Magic and Medicine CME Seminar earlier was completely sold out. You will also enjoy many photos of Ricardo, Eugene, and me taken at one of our Magic and Medicine teaching programs.
Please note: whether you purchase the iPad or print version of MAGIC Magazine, you will receive access to a video of Ricardo’s smash-hit P.E.P. talk on Magic and Medicine from last year’s Magic and Meaning Conference.
3. Important News about the 2014 Magic and Meaning Conference.
First, we are delighted to announce that Rob Zabrecky will be the Keynote Presenter for the Conference. Rob Zabrecky is the two time winner of the Stage Magician of the Year award at the Magic Castle, and he is the primary medium at the Magic Castle’s famed Houdini Séance room. If you have seen Rob perform, then you know he is a great, distinctive talent. If you haven’t yet had the chance, this is a perfect opportunity for you to meet him, learn from him, and enjoy his work.
Photo credit: August Bradley
Second, the Conference is already over half sold out. If you plan to attend (October 15-18), I encourage you to register as soon as possible. To do so, please go here: http://www.magicalwisdom.com/events#469.
Third, the “Call for Presentations and Performances” has now been posted online, and proposals have been coming in. If you are attending the Conference and would like to propose a 20-minute presentation and/or a performance, please do so at your earliest convenience. The deadline for proposals is July 15, 2014. To learn how to make a proposal, please go to the Call for Presentations and Proposals page.
4. The Magic & Mystery School hosts the Lance Burton Youth Seminar at the IBM/SAM Combined Convention.
Continuing a long tradition, Jeff, Eugene, Bryce, and I will be hosting and teaching the Teen portion of the Lance Burton Youth Seminar at the IBM/SAM Combined Convention in St Louis. The Youth Seminar runs from June 29-30, 2014, and the Convention itself runs July 1-5.
If you are the parent of a teenager or a child, please consider putting this event on your family vacation calendar. There is no extra charge for the Seminar. Last year, Lance Burton spent the whole day with us doing hands on teaching with the teens. For information about how to register for the Lance Burton Youth Seminar, please go here: http://ibmsam.com/youth/.
5. We have just posted new classes and events for 2015.
A 3 Day Master Class is being held on March 18-20, 2015; Magic for Speakers and Presenters is March 22-24, 2015; and The Magic and Medicine CME Seminar will be held March 26-29, 2015. (In 2015, the Seminar will include an additional day of programming and will also include a spouses program led by Dr. Marjorie Hass.)
Also, the 2015 Magic and Meaning Conference has been posted. Because of Jeff’s touring schedule, we had to move it forward a couple of weeks. It will be held November 4-7, 2015.
To register for any of these events, please go here: http://www.magicalwisdom.com/events.
We truly appreciate all of you who stay connected to the Magic & Mystery School. Thank you for supporting our efforts to be the kind of magic school we want to be: full of heart, committed to excellence, and generous to others who need a hand!
“Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity.
When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.”
— Jonah Lehrer
I have been talking to friends and students about the major changes, and life choices they made in their life. I’ m talking positive change.
Have you ever wanted to reinvent yourself? Perhaps you’ve thought about going away to an exotic land? Or just starting life all over as a new person? From the stories I’ve gathered from successful people, they had some commonalities.
I have had the opportunity for radical reinvention a few times in my life — and I look forward to more!
The first time I had this experience, I was going to Japan to perform and study. I was 16 years old and was hired as an opening act for the Fania All Stars; a Latin Salsa super group. I had the extraordinary opportunity to perform magic and to explore the exotic mysteries of the East. I fell in love with Asian culture. I encountered mask theater, Kabuki, and Japanese classical magic. I was forever transformed by this encounter. Everything about me was changed, including my fashion sense, aesthetic, and my approach to magic theater.
“So fake it till you make it.
Make it till you master it.
Act if it is so and watch it all come true!”
— Billy Bardo
I dreamed of being a famous, world-touring magician. In my early 20’s, I left New York City, and went to Montreal for a few years. No one knew the “old me,” so I could just pretend to be a “young famous magician.” It worked! I even fooled myself into believing it! When I came back to NYC I was a new person.
Now I get to help others all over the world master the art of creating their own future. Many of my students cross over from the “normal world” into the magical world… and it is my pleasure to help them dream bigger dreams! Yes you can live your dream life. And please know that there are folks like us here to encourage you and help you along your way!
If you have plans to reinvent yourself… Please consider me your own personal “dream coach!” http://www.magicalwisdom.com/about/consulting
Melissa Kirk is an inspired writer. She says that change means reinvention. Each time a major shift happens in our lives — leaving a job or a relationship, moving, losing a loved one — we have to take control of who we will become or we risk never reaching our full potential. Melissa says that these are 5 steps she has identified to reinvent yourself:
1. Create a vision for your future.
Sit quietly, close your eyes, and imagine the people, places, or situations that you need to leave behind. Now imagine the future that you want, whether it’s simply a feeling, a group of people, or a situation such as a wonderful new job. Imagine how it will feel to be in that new place. Picture the sun coming up behind your future, the warm glow of the light on your face. Stand for a moment and silently voice your appreciation of everything that came before. Once you’ve thanked the past, turn toward the sun, and with compassion and gratitude, imagine yourself walking away from the past and into the future.
2. Write about your reinvention.
Imagine a scene from it or write about how you’d like it to play out. Where are you living? What do you do in the mornings, afternoon, evenings? Who are your friends? What do you spend your days doing?
Continue writing for as long as this exercise feels invigorating and exciting. Write scenes, dialogues, lists, plans. Make the future come alive. Write about how it will feel to be there. Keep your writing somewhere where you will look at it occasionally. Feel free to add to it.
3. Surround yourself with visual reminders of the life you’d like to create.
If it’s a new job in a particular field, put objects or images from that field someplace where you’ll see them every day. If it’s a home, find a picture of a house that you love and put it near your front door. It can be anything that reminds you of what you’re moving toward.
4. Now that you have a vision of your future, break it up into workable tasks.
What do you need to do — every day — to create that vision? Look for work? Meet new people? Search for a place to live in your chosen town? Make it specific. Make a list of everything you need to do and a schedule for when you’ll do it. Then do it and commit to keep doing it, one day at a time.
5. Every day, go back to that vision of you walking towards your future.
Every morning or evening, close your eyes, and see yourself walking into the rising sun, toward your dreams, and reconnect with why you’re moving toward this new possibility.
Reinvention is neither easy nor always smooth. Often we encounter resistance. We don’t want to let go, even of things that cause us pain or that are obviously already out of our grasp. We often struggle with limiting beliefs or stories about ourselves that hold us back from trying new things.
Each time you find yourself slipping into old habits — isolating yourself, making excuses not to look for work, procrastinating on a task that might help you advance in your career — don’t bother wondering why you’re doing it or beating yourself up.
Just ask yourself this: “What can I do in this moment to keep moving forward?”
Then, no matter what you feel in the moment — lonely, self-critical, tired, lazy, or disappointed — do something to maintain momentum, even if it’s one small thing. There’s an old adage that says that true courage isn’t about not feeling fear; it’s about feeling fear and acting anyway.
Choose courage instead of letting your fear choose your future for you.
For more writing from Melissa Kirk http://www.joyattheheart.com/.
For More ways to reinvent yourself: http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/19/the-ultimate-cheat-sheet-for-reinventing-yourself/
“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
— Jessica Hirsche
I still travel half the year. I love touring and I love coming home to Las Vegas. Abbi is the greatest wife, and she keeps the Mystery School and our home running in top form! April brings a few great adventures.
The McBride Magic Experience on Tour
Denver, Colorado April 4th & 5th
Mercury Theater: 7 pm show Friday April 4th. http://mercurycafe.com
All new magic lecture and Supersession workshop, Info: Chad Wonder: email@example.com
Marlin from the volcano island of Hawaii will enlighten audiences with his stage production of LUMA: Art in Darkness during a ten-city tour at performing art centers across the country beginning March 28th. Ticket information and more can be found at www.lumatheater.com or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUJC18-Jyu4 to see a three minute video.
Yes it is true! Both of us were born in Goshen, NY in the same tiny hospital room. We had different moms, but both of us daydreamed about magic enough to change our lives… This month we celebrate Rudy’s birthday in a BIG way! With a very special show.
Rudy and I will be at Science & Magic Week at The Magic Castle. Rudy Coby and I will be at The Magic Castle along with Marco Tempest, Chris Korn, Rafael, Kevin James, and Timo Mark.
April 21-27 2014
Rudy Coby also comes to Las Vegas at Jeff McBride’s WONDERGROUND on Thursday March 20th.
This month’s Wonderground will feature the premiere Las Vegas appearance of Elliott Hitchcock’s Top Secrets Magic Experience. There is only one in the world and we are proud to present it live at Wonderground.
Early Stage 8pm
Hosts Jeff McBride Tim Wise
Halls of Magic – Seen on AGT! Madcap Magic & Mayhem
Alien Warrior Comic- Out of this world comedy
Jon D’Ark- Classic Gypsy music with an edge
Cecile & Mighty- Outrageous feats of skill and daring
Diamond Parlor Magic Room 9pm
M.C. Christian Diamond
Elliot Hitchcock’s “Smoke & Mirrors Theater”
Featuring the magic of “V”
Late Stage 10pm
M.C. Jeff McBride
RUDY COBY! A living Legend of Comedy Magic
Bizzaro – For him “normal” is just a setting on the dryer
Les Contortionettes – Unique in the world, elegant, & mysterious
Arian Black – Scintillatingly Sensuous Sorcery
When I am home, I am working on our new & Mystery & Mystery School
www.mcbridemagic.tv Please stop by and say hello. Our classroom is open around the clock!
We have special new programming every week! Here is a frequently asked question…
Q: How can you travel lighter and get more impact on stage?
A: “The Commando Show & travel tips”
See you on the road, at a class or online!
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Is your March coming in like a lion, or a lamb? For myself, I’m happy to have the lamb at the beginning of the month, as I like looking forward to the challenges that the lion may present at the end. But that’s me. How do you feel about it?
In today’s Museletter, we’re fortunate to have a piece by our friend and fellow faculty member (now on sabbatical), George Parker. Most of you reading this will know George, but for the few who may not: He is a magician and true wizard who works with organizations throughout Europe, using his extensive experience and training, not only as a magician but as a teacher, trainer, and corporate consultant, to create positive change in their organizations. George is always seeking out new ways of thinking, creating and being himself. We’re all fortunate to have him share his wisdom with us here. Enjoy!
by George Parker
In the late nineties I read The Greater Artful Dodges of Eddie Fields. The one thing that stood out to me was how he was able to create miracles by setting things up hours, sometimes days, ahead. He would attend a dinner party at a friend’s house. When people would ask him at the end of the evening: “Gee Eddy, could you do something?”, he would do a card trick and finish by asking: “What’s your favorite card?” “The Seven of Hearts!” He would then riffle the deck of cards and say: “Turn around. Open that jewelry box behind you. You will find the Seven of Hearts, your favorite card, in there, proving it is indeed a treasure!”
I can’t go into how he pulled this off. The Museletter is not the place for that. But I can assure you that a lot of work went into this one. When I read about his work I was floored by how much time and effort went into preparing something without being a hundred percent sure that it was even going to happen!
I think this works similarly in our day to day lives. I’ve often experienced how the truth of the famous saying ‘luck is when preparation meets opportunity’. In my case, my incurable curiosity drives my constant preparation.
I want to learn about every aspect of life. I want to explore every plane of existence. Even, and probably especially, when I resist that aspect or plane. We tend to avoid things we resist and fear. They make us feel nauseous and irritable. To me, those feelings are a sign that there’s something to discover that will help me prepare. I start moving towards my initial fears and resistance to see what’s really going on. Most of the time it’s not even ten percent of what I feared it to be. These explorations help me to prepare for the moment really nasty situations occur. When we’re unprepared, those types of situations will freak us out and we will make it worse. When we’re prepared we can turn them into memorable moments.
Even more so, exploring our fears and resistance will train us to see opportunities where others only see mundane, day-to-day, reality.
I’ll leave you with one anecdote that reminds me of this and never fails to make me smile. Most people don’t know Bob Driebeek, but he was a part-time magician and one of Fred Kaps’ best friends. In the late nineties he started to grow a beard. After a while everyone was used to it. Then, at the national convention, he appeared in the close up gala. At some point he took a handkerchief, lifted it up with his two hands before his face. When he dropped it, his beard was gone…Talk about preparation and being wayayayay ahead!
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”