Did You Open the Gift I Sent You?

Dear Friends:

Did you open the gifts I sent you?

Each month, I’ve been sending you the McBride Muse letter, filled with things that really inspire me and that I hope will inspire you!

I really enjoy sending you these little gifts of inspiration!

PLEASE- Let me know what you enjoy reading and what inspires you. You can always drop me an email at Jeff@mcbridemagic.com

I am home from tour for the next few weeks and would love to hear from you.

The most inspirational magic video clip of the year!

THIS video reflects what our Mystery School is all about, so please…

Click the Video!

Our passion is to create safe space for learning, deep understanding, initiation and positive transformation.

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”

Do you want to be GOOD or do you want to be GREAT?

This is one of the best videos I’ve seen that touch upon this subject.

Click the Video!

So, your next step is to find a mentor or coach. We can make that happen for you!

Click here:

Take a look to see which one of these you would select!

Wonderground News!
Thurs. Jan 17th–doors open at 7:30. Get here early for the best seats! 3 great variety shows

8pm       Tim Wise is your MC
     Onyx Tribe with special guests Dyad & Stefania
     Jeff McBride – New Magic Creations.
     Chris Herren – Mime and Magic
     Jay Gilligan – Dynamic Juggling Sensation
     Tim Wise – Shows you the ropes!

9pm       Host – Will Bradshaw
     Jeff McBride – New Magic Delights
     Mondre – The Man with the Magic Hands!
     Chris Herren – Storytelling & mystery
     Thom Bedlam – Classical Conjuring & Comedy

WONDER-BAR magic by
Thom Bedlam – Up close magic, Tim Wise, Scott Steelfyre

10pm      Mainstage Extravaganza
     Onyx Tribe with special guests Dyad & Stefania
     Tim Wise – BIG magic with BIG impact!
     Chris Herren – Mime with Magic
     Jay Gilligan – Master of The Juggling Arts
     Mystery Guest – TBA
     Jeff McBride:  Presents His Feature Cabaret Show!

Photography by Sheryl Garrett. Bar Magic – Brian Apollo, Scott Steelfyre & Maggie, Corey Rubino, Taylor Lloyd, Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow with Morganne – and many more surprises and special celebrity guests

See you at the show or in our online classroom.

Jeff McBride


Balsamo and Ricardo

Dear Friends:

If you’ve been a part of our community for any length of time at all, you’re already aware of the very high regard we all have for Bob Neale. Bob was the first one ever to sign up for one of our events…back in 1992! He’s been coming to events and sharing his amazing knowledge and ideas with us ever since.

I know my own thinking about the art of magic and its importance to society at large has been vastly influenced by Bob and his writings (highly recommended). Always interested in stirring things up by taking a contrarian view to what others might be expecting, Bob’s ideas and writings therefore bring about some of the most interesting discussions and thinking about our art. I know you’ll enjoy what we have for you below.

Balsamo and Ricardo
Robert E. Neale

Founded in 2006 as an outgrowth of the early Mystery School experiences, The Magic and Meaning Conference remains dedicated to exploring magic performance as it relates to a wide variety of human concerns, such as anthropology, history, psychology of magic, and the role of magic in modern society. The gathering, held every October as the Magic & Mystery School’s “Homecoming,” contains a rich array of performances, small group discussions, large group communal exercises, and lectures on a great variety of topics.

This year’s conference was held October 24-27 in Las Vegas and featured twenty-one talks. We listened to George Parker on “TheCreationGame®: Transforming Your Life Through Magic”; Marjorie Hass on “The Living Ground of Creativity”; Abigail McBride on “Magic Words and the Power of Nonviolent Language”; and Kenton Knepper on (as he titled it in his stimulating way) “Deeper,” among many others. Far and wide, conference attendees agreed that the presentations were of very high quality, both informative and provocative.

Undoubtedly, each person had favorite talks and it was difficult to select just one as the most appealing. I certainly found it difficult. However, after one talk I rushed over to the Founder of our school (Jeff McBride) and emoted, “That is one of the most magical talks I have ever witnessed!” I did not know very much about the how or why of it, but just had to proclaim it.

The lecture was by Ricardo Rosenkranz and titled, “The Secret Life of Props.” The content was about his experience in creating a routine for his 2016 and 2018 magic shows in Chicago, The Rosenkranz Mysteries—a routine involving a prop human skull. This is a familiar object to magicians, and an easy stimulus for a magical effect. Even so, I was awestruck by the magic Ricardo created in his talk about the routine (which he had performed earlier during the conference). As you might imagine, his prop was on stage with him for the lecture.

The performance routine magically creates life by animating, humanizing, and stimulating interaction between the prop, performer, and audience. The lecture did the same. While talking about the creation of the routine for Balsamo, Ricardo and Balsamo behaved as they did in the routine itself, demonstrating the goal in the process. So the lecture itself was a very fine performance of magic.

As magicians, we often use tricks to illustrate our comments on the process of creating magic. But Balsamo and Ricardo have led me to think about this more deeply: the skull prop, but also the standard ventriloquist doll, and some other animation routines (such as the Spirit Dancing Hank) are out to create life. Perhaps that goal is the secret of many, or even all our tricks. And, perhaps we are so accustomed to the manipulation of the props, that we forget what we’re aiming for.

Please click on the photo to see a brief clip of Ricardo and Balsmo in action.

I still have so little to say about Ricardo’s lecture because I do not understand enough about creating life. My only obvious experience is with a fist puppet routine, “A Simple Test,” (in Magic Matters, pages 19-25) in which my attempts were strange and somewhat disturbing. And that is about all I know. But for more on what can be called “the secret life of props,” I recommend two works by Kenneth Gross. Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life is his thorough exploration of our creation of living puppets, and can be understood as a discussion of magic. On Dolls is his collection of thoughts on the subject by a variety of authors such as Baudelaire, Rilke, Freud, and Kafka. Both books have suggestions for further reading.

Better yet, as we begin this new year of 2019, we might pay more respect to our own creating of life. Perhaps we performers, and our audiences, too, are seeking life, just as our props do. Are we props that need be brought to life? As Kurt Vonnegut observed in Mother Night, “We are what we pretend to be,” and then added, “so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Consider carefully “The Secret Lives of Ourselves as Props.”

Wisdom of the Ages

Wisdom of the Ages
(and the Sages!)

Dear Friends:

Let’s talk about wisdom.

You will be OLDER in 2019 BUT–will you be wiser?

The word “wizard” means “the wise one.”  I’ve had the pleasure to study with some of the best wizards in the world. Wisdom comes with experience, knowledge and most importantly, (and unavoidably) age!

Magicians are young… wizards are old!

In the past 35 years I have worked with many talented teen magicians. I’ve had the pleasure of giving classes to many current and past America’s Got Talent winners. But I also work with many people who develop a passion for magic late in their lives. 72-year-old Magician David Bowers has never been to our magic school, but his story captures the spirit of taking the BIG LEAP. I so loved reading David’s story… You will too.

It took David Bowers until he was 72 years old to realize his dream! He did it ..will YOU?

In a recent article by Julie Halpert in the Wall Street Journal, Julie talks to 72-year-old magician David Bowers about his passion for conjuring and his new life as a full time magician. (The following is excerpted heavily from Ms. Halpert’s article.)

A Star is Born at 72 Years Old!

Julie writes that all his life, David Bowers wondered what it would be like to be a magician. Growing up, he read about magic, attended magic shows and regularly watched The Magic Land of Alakazam, a nationally syndicated TV series starring magician Mark Wilson.

But for 39 years, David was a salesman for Columbia Rubber Corp., based in Beltsville, Md., selling conveyor belts to quarries and heavy industrial operations. He enjoyed the job and was good at it. “All of my customers became friends,” says Mr. Bowers, who lives with his wife in Chambersburg, Pa.

You can do it, too. Just get a mentor!

For his 50th birthday party, his wife, Judy, hired a magician to perform. The magician, tipped off by Mrs. Bowers, spoke to Mr. Bowers about what it was like to be a magician—and offered to be his mentor. Mr. Bowers enthusiastically agreed. He trained for a year, then started performing part time, mostly at birthday parties, while keeping his job at Columbia Rubber. He happily continued to do both for the next 12 years.

“People in life wait to do things, and then something happens and they don’t get to do it,”

Do it now! It is never too late.

In 2008, Mr. Bowers says he realized something.

“People in life wait to do things, and then something happens and they don’t get to do it,” he says. He retired from the rubber company that year, at age 62, and set out on a new career as a professional magician. Now David performs for people of all ages, from preschoolers to the elderly. Last year, he had 110 shows. His largest show was when he performed before a crowd of 2,000 at a 2014 event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The gift of a push

Mr. Bowers credits his wife with giving him the push he needed. She now is part of the act, “The Magic of David Wayne and Judy,” and assists him in every show. Magic has taken the couple all over the world, including Italy and England. Mr. Bowers was elected national president of the Society of American Magicians.

 “I’m a strong believer in Peter Pan.
You should never grow up.”

Some skills from his old job have been helpful, he says, like his ability to speak comfortably in front of large groups, something he honed through sales presentations.

It ain’t about the money!

David makes about half as much in his career now as he did when he was a salesman, he says, but he doesn’t do it for the money. In most ways, magic has kept him young. Memorizing tricks, learning new routines, being among children and entertaining people has helped with the aging process, Mr. Bowers says.

“I’m a strong believer in Peter Pan,” he says. “You should never grow up.”

Read Julie Haplert’s excellent full article on David Bowers here: https://tinyurl.com/y9qawlbe

How long will it take until you live your dream?

I tell all my students, young and old, that it might take much longer than you think… Some people must wait for 50 or more years before following their dream! The important thing is to take steps each day to move ahead on your path, and to silence the negative voices that are around us and within us!

What are your favorite excuses for not taking the big leap this year?

We all have negative voices in our head; voices of fear, doubt, and indecision. Here is a technique you can use to BLAST those voices OUT of your head! Just choose a few of your favorite excuses from the list below. Then read how to blast through your negative thoughts in the following tips.

* I don’t have the money to follow my dream. (See the scholarships available to you here):
* It is too late–I’m too old. (Read the article above again!)
* It might be too soon. I’m too young.  (Read the tips below.)
* I’m stuck in my routine and I can’t get out.
* I’m not good enough. I don’t have the time to practice.
* I’m a phony. People will see I’m faking it.
* I have too many commitments to my family and friends.
* I do not want to travel so much–I want stay home with my family.

Now what?

Ok…now that we have that out of our system, let’s take some steps towards our dream.

3 things you can do to prepare yourself for the BIG LEAP.

Start with “little steps.” Each day work on your skills and knowledge by reading and practicing. I have found that morning is the BEST time to do practice, when you are fresh. Get up an hour earlier to make a special “magic time,” just for you. Work on your show, your business, and your presentations.


I recently wrote a performance piece in my show that explores, what I feel, are essential habits for performing magicians. I tell a story about working with my mentor Eugene Burger.  Eugene taught me some of the most valuable lessons in my life. Lessons that are simple yet profound.

Practice: Work your outer world.

Every day, not just on the weekends. The key to effective practice is to find uninterrupted times each day to focus on your skills. Early in the morning works best for me.

Patience: Work your inner world.

Your skills and technique will grow slowly over time. Be ready to hit “plateaus” where you do not think you are growing. There will be long periods in your skill building where you do not see improvement. But keep at it. It takes years to become a master. Be patient with yourself. Persistence is a key to mastery.

Imagination: All created works of art are visualized before they manifest.

Keep visualizing your success. See yourself building your skills and knowledge to a point of mastery.

“Patience, practice and imagination are all
equal parts in the arts of transformation.”

Would you like to spend 1, 2 or 3 days with a real wizard?
If the answer is yes! Look here: http://www.magicalwisdom.com/events


Victor is a successful L.A. businessman and author, who is looking to make magic his second career. Listen to Victor’s story on how our mentoring is helping him “make the leap!”

Take years off your learning curve and sign up for Mentoring now. Just call Abigail at 702-450-0021 and she will help you schedule a Skype session with Jeff… or take a look here:

Wonderground News 

As always, we have a fabulous, all new line-up for Wonderground.

Steve Owens
Dyno Staats
Jungle Josh
Nickole Muse

Jungle Josh
Jeff Lockett
Lucy Darling

Steve Owens
Dyno Staats
Juliette Electrique
Jenn O. Cide
And an all-star special set including Dan Sperry, Bizzaro, and The Shocker

All of the Above PLUS:

Photography by Sheryl Garrett. Bar Magic with Kent Axell, Brian Apollo, Scott Steelfyre & Maggie, Corey Rubino, Taylor Lloyd, New World Rythmatism Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow with Morganne– and many more surprises and special celebrity guests.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday from the high seas!

Jeff McBride

The Gift of Giving

Dear Friends:
This month our Museletter comes to us from our dear friend, who is so much more than the “administrative assistant” that her title with us would convey. So much of magic is created not by the bigger than life personalities out in front of an audience, but by the wizards behind the curtains, or up in the control booth in a theater. It’s the same  with the McBride Magic & Mystery School. Much of what you all experience as the magic of this community is actually set in motion by various members of our team working out of sight and without enough credit.

Katherine Rettke is responsible for all of those 10-day-out and 30-day-out letters you receive before you arrive for classes at the House of Mystery. She is our registrar for the Magic & Meaning Conference, and she takes on countless other small details that help us provide you with the best experience we can give. It’s a real pleasure to have her write this article for us now, as the most “giving” of our holiday seasons begins.

From Katherine Rettke:

“…I realized a gift could be anything – It didn’t have to have a bow on it, it didn’t have to be money or material things, it didn’t even have to be announced with words.”
George Parker, Gift Magic (Edited by Larry Hass)

I love this time of year, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This is the time when I find myself thinking of all the gifts and blessings I have received, as well as all of the ways I can give to others. So many holidays on the calendar involve the giving of gifts. I would like to share with you some of my favorite holiday memories, and how these memories relate to my love of magic.

When I was 14 years old, I moved to a new neighborhood where I didn’t know anyone. For many reasons, those years were not always happy years. I am so thankful that I was welcomed with open arms into a neighbor family shortly after this move. In this family, Santa delivered and decorated a Christmas tree, and wrapped all of the presents after the younger kids had gone to bed on Christmas Eve.

The first year I spent the night at their house on Christmas Eve, none of the teens or adults got any sleep. Instead, we stayed busy and enjoyed each other’s company as quietly as we possibly could, with one ear turned in the direction of the rooms where the little kids were sleeping. The lost sleep was worth it.  As long as I live, I will never forget what it was like that first Christmas with my “second family” to see the expressions on the faces of little kids on Christmas morning when they woke up to a house completely and magically transformed. Just being part of creating such a magical experience gave me one of my all-time favorite holiday memories.

Over the years, the kids in this family grew up and the family grew. Little kids who once slept through the night on Christmas Eve joined the big kids and adults to experience an entirely different tradition. Over the years, traditions evolved. Santa decided somewhere along the way that it wasn’t much fun anymore to stay awake all night, so Santa allowed this family to decorate their own tree earlier in the evening. No matter how much the family traditions changed, that feeling of wonder and magic on Christmas morning never went away.

It has been fun over the years to watch these kids grow up and go from wide-eyed wonder on Christmas morning to creating that same feeling of wonder for their own children.  It wasn’t the actual gifts under the tree that I remember when I think of the gifts of the season, it was the gift of the magical experience.

I had a late start in magic, when I took an adult education class on performing magic at about age 30. I remember at the time thinking that learning magician secrets felt a bit like learning about Christmas magic. There is no way to ever go back to the same feeling of awe and wonder once magician techniques are learned. However, creating that feeling for someone else is even more fun.

I remember back when I first successfully performed a magical effect. There was a look of delight on the face of the person I performed for. I felt like I had just given that person a little gift. The feeling I got from that moment felt so good, that it created in me what has become a life-long love of magic. It has been a long time since I have actually performed magic, but helping behind the scenes gives plenty of opportunity for me to know that I am helping to create a magical experience for someone else.

Those in our community give so many gifts to others through their magic – the gift of time, of expertise, the gift of a magical experience. I invite you to take time to reflect during this holiday season. What are the holidays and traditions you have celebrated in your own life, and what are the feelings of wonder and awe these holidays have inspired in you?   I encourage you to ask yourself how these memories might have had an impact on your own love of magic.

« Older Entries Next Entries »