Magic – Cinema – Politics

June 17th, 2013

“The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.” 
– Charlie Chaplin

The above quote is part of what I consider to be one of the greatest  political  speeches  of all time. It is from The Great Dictator, one of Charlie Chaplin’s greatest films.

His words can be heard in the performance piece I created that was inspired by this film. I put  the  piece up online last week in reaction to the  demonstrations  in Istanbul.

Jeff floats the world in his new piece: Anonymous
Jeff floats the world in his new piece: Anonymous

Troubles in Istanbul = Political magic & performance art

I got many emails and Facebook posts last week from my Turkish magic friends. What can we do about the situation in Turkey? Here is my recent performance that sums up the way I feel about the situation in Istanbul:

“I looked up the word “politics” in the dictionary and it’s actually a combination  of two words:  ‘poli,’ which means many, and ‘tics,’ which means bloodsuckers.”
– Jay Leno

Me and my girl!
Me and my girl!

Cinema & Magic

Chaplin was a master of “movie magic.” Today, magic is more popular than ever in the cinema.  Now You See Me is in theaters now.  Abbi and I saw it last week and thought  it made magic “cool again!”   Here is my fave scene that features Super Ninja Card Throwing!    (see 0:35)

I know a thing or two about throwing cards. I did create the Guinness Worlds Record for it! If you want to throw cards like a world champion you must see  Zoom, Bounce & Fly

Stop Thief!

My new essay about  magicians stealing ideas from other magicians is out in Vanish Magazine! Issue #8 is here and it is FREE!

 Magic and Mystery School faculty, ready for you!
Magic and Mystery School faculty, ready for you!

What Did You Do on your Summer Vacation?

Master Class is the world’s greatest live learning experience. We have only 2 more full master classes this year. July is the only time this year the entire faculty will gather for the class.

Change your magic and change your life….register today!

Mystery School Monday celebrates 130 episodes!

Over 200 hours of original streaming content is yours to research, explore and learn from.  Subjects range from “conquering stage fright” to “keeping secrets” and dozens more!  Enjoy the magical wisdom of the Magic and Mystery School faculty.  All 130 episodes are available to our Premier Members. Learn more here:

Or you can just see us live and in our most recent episodes on

Teen Magic Seminar Continues

It started at the World Magic Seminar… now the magic continues at the IBM National Convention in Phoenix.

The Lance Burton Teen Seminar is a special pre-convention event for our young magicians ages 13-19.   This event will begin at  7:00pm  on  Monday, July 15  and run through lunch on  Wednesday, July 17.  Eugene Burger and I will assist Lance Burton and Bill and Becki Wells. This unique event featuring Lance,  will also have guest lectures and sessions from Shawn Farquhar, Oscar Munoz, Larry Haas and Bryce Kuhlman.   The best news – there is  NO EXTRA CHARGE  for this event if you are a teen registered for the convention.   There will also be special activities just for the youth throughout the convention. Our challenge to you is to take this opportunity to work with the greatest teachers in magic and bring your magic to the next level.   This is an exclusive I.B.M. only event – it may be “free” but it is  priceless!!!

We have a link on our convention page at, where you can make your reservation.

“Life can be wonderful if you’re not afraid of it. All it takes is courage, imagination … and a little dough.” 
―Charles Chaplin

Looking for New Magic?

B.E.K.O.S.= Best Ever Knots Off Silk

Every time I show it at an event, it sells out! I’ve solved this problem by creating a streaming video.

WONDERGROUND – Continues to be THE PLACE to see the freshest magic in Las Vegas. Every month a NEW show! Scott Steelfyre has posted a video of this months line up… join us for the fun!

“Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.”
– Charlie Chaplin

We look forward to making magic and laughter with you soon!

Magically yours,
Jeff McBride

Putting a Dent in the World

June 3rd, 2013

Tobias BeckwithAs I write this, I’ve just passed two milestones: I just finished the first “readable” draft of my new book “Wizards Ways,” and I gave my first public presentation “The Wizard’s Way,” a talk with magic, designed to inspire audiences to take on the challenge of becoming real wizards themselves. It’s been a journey of several years for me to get here, so it feels great to have come this far. And it’s got me thinking, because this whole wizard thing marks a bit of a turning point for me.

While I’ve spent many years working with Jeff and with Marco Tempest to help them develop their businesses – developing one of my own that is based around my own writings and performances is a new thing for me. I find I’ve become comfortable as that shadowy presence in the background, always pushing my clients to the foreground, and supporting them, but seldom actually stepping into the limelight myself. So the change is giving me a whole new appreciation for what all of those of you who do regularly step out in front of the footlights, those who are always the public face of their businesses, go through. I’m a little surprised – and pleased – that it takes me out of my comfort zone!

Not a Wizard's Way

Fortunately, I do have the knowledge I need. I’ve been teaching it to others and putting it to work for others for many, many years now. But what I find myself having to really work at is the change of attitude. The need to walk the walk 24 hours a day. Suddenly, it’s no longer okay for me, professionally, to be 20 pounds overweight. Suddenly, I can’t afford to put off rehearsing that new piece of magic I wanted to learn another day. Suddenly I MUST spend at least 30 minutes a day rehearsing, and at least an hour writing. I find I’m having to re-create myself.

And, isn’t it interesting that the process of re-creating yourself..every day and again and again…is right at the heart of what it means to become a real wizard. So I find myself on the very path I recommend for others in the book. Every day, I have to make myself do things, to seek out experiences, that I unconsciously avoided before. And I have to say: If feels great!

This may be a Wizard's Way


Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. ~Les Brown

Enough about me. I find myself wondering how many of you may be out there going through something similar? How many have been thinking, for example, “I’d love to go out there to Las Vegas and study magic with Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger, BUT….”

What’s been stopping you? I know, if I’m honest with myself, that the thing that most often stops me from doing things I think I’d like to is FEAR. Fear that it will be too strange and I’ll be disappointed. Fear that it will put too big a dent in my finances. Fear that I’ll fall behind on my work while I’m doing whatever it is. Fear that I’ll fail.

I have some news for you: many of those very things you fear are the very things that will help you grow and change – and will ultimately help you succeed. What you’re really afraid of is having the experience of life. What good is your life if you continue to do only the five or six things you’ve done before that continue to make you comfortable? What if you were to actually go out and do some of those things that really scare you? Have you been too busy living your fears to go out and actually live your dreams?

I was never afraid of failure, for I would sooner fail than not be among the best. ~John Keats

So, in my new role as wizard, my first challenge is to challenge you – to join me on my quest to become a real wizard. One who embraces new experiences in search of true wisdom. One who takes responsibility for the direction of his or her own life, and for changing the world in ways it needs to be changed. One who dares to live an effective life, a life of excellence and adventure. A wizard who truly ‘puts a dent in the world.’ That kind of life is unlikely to come looking for you – but there is nothing stopping you from going out and creating it for yourself – except your own fear.

If you choose to do that as a magical performer, I have to tell you – one of the best ways to help yourself get inspired, to move your magic and your thinking about magic up to the next level — is by coming to Las Vegas and spending a week with Jeff, Larry, Eugene, and the rest of us. We will challenge you, encourage you, teach you things we’ve learned from our many years of experience. We will provide you with an environment where you can feel safe to push at your own boundaries. We will encourage you to fail, again and again, so you can ultimately find your true excellence. Other magicians who have committed their time and money, who have challenged themselves in the same ways you have, and who are quite likely to become your true friends and colleagues for life. And you’ll find yourself surrounded by a community of others who are just as passionate about their magic as you are. Who knows, you might even meet some of Las Vegas’ stars of magic!

I hope you will opt in for the adventure, the challenge, the life fully lived. I hope you’ll choose the Wizards way. And I hope to meet you soon at one of our classes or events! There are still a few spots left for both the July and August classes.

Tobias Beckwith

Design Your Life

May 20th, 2013

“We all have two choices; we can make a living or we can design a life.”
— Jim Rohn

Designing a New Life

We really have two choices. We can settle for what we’ve always done before, or take creative risks. The risk-takers are the leaders, the artists and the visionaries. Here at the Magic & Mystery School, we’ve helped many people make huge changes in their lives. We also walk our talk and continue to change and evolve the School to meet the needs of our students. We are making big changes, and we want you to know about them.

Here is a great new video by our friend, film-maker Jordan Wright. It shows how our School is evolving. Take a few seconds to see what we’re doing!

Magic School Video

“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.”
— Louis D. Brandeis

Many people did not believe that we could actually create an online magic school, one that could offer expert teaching… Well, we’ve done just that!

Scholarships available!

We know that many students could use a bit of help paying for one of our classes here in Las Vegas, and we’ve developed our Scholarship Program to help! Learn more here:

McBride Magic Experience: East Coast Tour

The McBride Magic Experience will be in Philadelphia and Baltimore. This is a rare opportunity for my East Coast friends to see my new one man show, the brand new Ask the Show Doctor lecture, and a four hour Super Session workshop! All the information is on my calendar:

Jeff McBride

Are we on your Bucket List?

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
— Oprah Winfrey

The Final Master Classes of 2013

If you’ve ever wanted to study with Eugene Burger and the full faculty of the Magic and Mystery School, the time is now. This is a life-changing event.

“The Master Class was the most transformative magic experience of my life.”
— Zac Barkowski, magician

Register now for the final classes of 2013:

My invitation to you: If you’re looking for a little magical inspiration, join us at for uplifting and inspirational programs, free, 24 hours a day!

Please feel free to email Abbi or me if you have any questions about classes or private sessions here in Las Vegas or online. It’s really an amazing world we’re living in, that we can now hold magic classes secretly and securely on the internet. I am sure that you will find many magical gifts hidden around our websites for you to enjoy….

Yours in mystery,


P.S. You can see a the full April WONDERGROUND show compressed down to just a few minutes, thanks to the great work of Scott Steelfyre! Just click here:

We create a new show every month!


The 7th Veil

May 10th, 2013

Dear Friends:

George ParkerI’m always delighted when we have a Museletter written by our friend George Parker. George is a real wizard in every sense, and I know I always learn something from every conversation I get to have with him and everything I read that he writes. George lives in Amsterdam, and bills himself as a corporate alchemist – which means he helps companies and corporations, as well as individuals, create positive change, often using his magic. I know you’ll enjoy his insights below!

From George Parker:

The 7th Veil

Shakespeare once wrote: “I like your silence. It the more shows of your wonder.” I think he was right. When we experience wonder we fall silent. We react quite differently when we’re surprised, astonished, amazed, flabbergasted, stunned, astounded or startled.

I love both the experience of wonder as well as creating that experience for my audience. Yet I know that my success is often judged by how loud people scream and laugh and how much they will talk about it after the show. If I want to be perceived as successful I need to include some ‘cheerleader’-magic generating big laughs and loud cheers. If I want to be successful in my own definition I need to create the state of wonder which will in turn generate silence.

I’ve tried to solve this in a couple of ways. First, I look at my shows from a musical perspective. I want my shows to be symphonies. The instruments (script, visual effects, music, interaction, etc.) need to work together to create the bigger picture. I also want to mix in slower pieces and silent moments to create more texture.

Abbi McBrideThe second solution was inspired by Sam Sharpe. In his ‘Neo Magic’ he wrote about the famous 7th veil that belly-dancers never remove while dancing: “The fine artist never attempts to withdraw the 7th veil. This means that in conjuring the greater effect is liable to be created or some sort of cover is used. To vanish a lamp from under a foulard is far more magical than to use the visible disappearance.”

Using this principle I’m able to ‘train’ my audience to hold their attention and open up to being silent. Once they get used to postponing their need to release tension by being loud, they will be much more inclined to switch to a state of wonder later.

It’s even true in real life, I’ve discovered!

George Parker

From Tobias:

Thanks, George!

And now on the the “news” part of the Museletter newsletter.

At the end of this month, Jeff will be travelling east for just two East Coast events. The first, on May 29-30, is sponsored by our good friend Marc DeSouza, who is an amazing magician in his own right. Marc’s space for events is very small, so if you’re in the area, I would urge you to get in touch with him as soon as possible. This will sell out fast, and you’re amongst the first to hear about it. For more info, e-mail Marc directly:

The second event will be at Howard Katz’ Magic Warehouse, again with show, lecture and workshop. The dates are June 1-2, and I understand Jeff will be actually hosting our Monday Night Mystery School show from The Magic Warehouse on Monday, June 3. For those of you who may not be aware, The Magic Warehouse is one of our sponsors for the Monday night shows, so it will be especially fun that Jeff will be able to broadcast – and give you all a short tour “behind the scenes” with Howard while he is there. There is a link to all Jeff’s events while in Baltimore on the home page for the Magic Warehouse: Go…buy a ticket now. They’ll go fast!

And while you’re there – buy some magic, too!

Till next time, then.

Tobias Beckwith

Stop Thief!

April 14th, 2013

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats. — Howard Aiken

Dear Friends:

The Big Story!

This may be the biggest story in the world of magic today!

The BBC picked up on my recent situation with the recent “copy act” and how I handled it gracefully as “a magic teacher.” They picked up on this problem, currently rampant in our magic world – acts, inventions and other intellectual property are being ripped off left and right.  Read all about it here:

There’s also a ‘webified’ text of the radio story that ran on PRI, but it’s much better if you click the ‘play’ button to listen to the audio of the radio show:

Look at or listen to both of these stories! They are ground-breaking stories on “magic theft,” and intellectual property rights, getting notice by major mainstream media.  Many thanks to our new friend, Arun Rath, the reporter who wrote both stories.

An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original? —Jean Cocteau

Q: What can you do to encourage originality and fight magic theft?

A: Support our magic school!

Become a Member. Our scholarship programs help many students find a magical education… you can help! Please go to and sign up or donate now.

But there are some things, child, that you should steal. That you must steal, if you have enough love and courage in your heart. You must snatch freedom from the hands of the tyrant. You must spirit away innocent lives before they are destroyed. You must hide secret and sacred places. — Lian Tanner

Mystery School News

Not only did I get the advice I was looking for, the inspiration from Jeff and Eugene will last a lifetime. — Dan Rodriguez, S.A.M Past National President

Surprise Guest: Siegfried comes to Master Class!

He is a living legend of magic. Siegfried is a Grand Master of Illusion. For 2 hours he held court and shared his marvelous teaching stories and wisdom with our class. You just never know who will drop in on our classes!  Who  would you like to see show up when YOU attend our class?

Larry Hass, Jeff McBride and Siegfried

Here is Siegfried, with Larry Hass and me, opening his personal copy of The Show Doctor! He looks as delighted as a kid on Christmas morning!

Jeff  has had such an impact on my show as well as my creativity in life.   I never would have been able to stand toe to toe with Hollywood’s biggest think tanks without the lessons   learned from my mentor and friend Jeff McBride. — Nick Norton

Meet Mo!

Here is a new character I’ve been developing. His name is “MO -NOPOLY” and  he is the “Wizard with Money-Magic”.


Every month we create  a NEW show for Wonderground.  We are a tribe of artists and rebels, dreamers and rowdy misfits who support each other’s divine madness!

Originality is the best form of rebellion. — Mike Sasso

Wonderground Rocks

You are invited to The Biggest Magic Party in Las Vegas! This, and every other third Thursday April 18th at 8PM, at The Olive on Sunset.

Here are highlights from last month’s event edited by Scott Steelfyre:

Abbi & Jeff McBride

My New Video Download!

The Kings of Poker are here:

See it now! The finale teaches you how to script a standing ovation into your act.

I will see you in Vegas or on our webTV show, live on Monday nights, but available 24/7 if you can’t make it on Monday:

Enjoy the magic of spring!

Yours in magical community,

Jeff McBride

Danger Sign: Slow Down!

April 1st, 2013

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
— Albert Einstein

Dear Friends:

Today we hear from the Dean of McBride’s Magic & Mystery School, Eugene Burger.  Last week while we were all in Las Vegas for the first evern “Magic for Speakers & Presenters” and our first 7-day Master Class of the year, we sat down and figured out Eugene’s book have sold over 25,000 copies over the past twenty years – which means he is probably far and away the best selling contemporary author of books for magicians.  Let’s see what he has for us today:

Danger Sign: Slow Down!

By Eugene Burger

“Slow down, you move too fast / you got to make the morning last…”
— Paul Simon

These words are from “The 59th Street Bridge Song,” by the American singer, Paul Simon. They were written in the 1960s. In July of 2005, in an article published in MAGIC magazine, Max Maven wrote that, if he were to give a bit of advice to all magicians, it would be to slow down because they speak too fast. It is also something that we see regularly at the Magic School: magicians talking too fast.

What about us? You and me? If we are performers, in our performances are we speaking too fast? How would we know?

The easiest way to find out is to audio record your performance and listen to it with ruthless honesty. Ask a friend to watch it a well and get their feedback. Are you speaking so fast that you are running words together? Is the pacing of your speech much the same? Is there variety in the pacing?

If I do this — really do it! — and I find that I am speaking too fast, what then?

Eugene Burger, Jeff McBride and Abbi SpinnerThere are several sets of questions here. The first set deals with why this is happening. Why is it that in our performances we speak too fast? What got us on this road? And does understanding the origin of our fast speaking empower us to change? Does this knowledge empower us too stop speaking too fast?

The second set of questions asks about the effects of our fast speaking. What does our rate of speed do to our performances? How does our speaking too fast impact the view our audiences have of us and what we are doing? What price are we paying for our fast talking?

Well, how did this fast talking begin? What got us on this road? A few have gotten on this road because they have consciously chosen the theatrical role of con man (or con woman). Needless to say, this is a perfectly wonderful theatrical choice.

But what about the other magicians who are fast talking?  How did they get on this road? I think that our fast talking comes from a variety of sources. To mention only two of them, there is, first, the fear of silence that so many performances exhibit. A second source is the some of the models for our magic have been bad models. We have watched earlier performers, who spoke too fast, and we imitated what we saw. The magicians we watched spoke too fast and now we speak too fast. Bad models for our magic explain a lot.

But does knowing how our fast talking began empower us to end it? While Freud might have said yes, I am less convinced. Frankly, I doubt that our knowledge of origins gives us the power to do something different. In other words, while looking for origins might give us interesting knowledge, the study of origins does not necessarily give us the power to change our actions.

What, then, does give us the power to change our actions?

And this, of course, is a basic human question.

The Indian speaker, J. Krishnamurti, who repeatedly dealt with this question, asked us to look at the dangers that some of our actions can bring to our lives. If we see the danger of something, if we see it deeply, does that very seeing not empower us to change our actions? An example he often gave is this: Imagine you are in the woods and suddenly there is a poisonous snake in your path. What will you do? What will you do then? You might go up to the snake and tease it, torment it — and be bitten! On the other hand, seeing the fact that the snake is poisonous is the new action of getting out of the snake’s way. If I deeply see the danger, that seeing is the beginning of something new.

For many people, seeing the danger of their actions is enough to empower them to stop and make changes. But it does not seem to be true for many others.

For a moment, look at the real dangers of our fast talking in performance. This persona, the fast-talking-con-man-type-of-person, does have consequences for us if we find we are doing it. The biggest consequence, I think, is the loss of importance. We sacrifice the sense that what we are doing really is important. We reduce what we are doing to the status of the trivial and we reduce ourselves to the status of unimportant performers.

And we lose the sense that we are sincere human beings!

At its heart, then, this is a question of value. Is our performance communicating that what we are doing has value and importance for our audiences? Does our performance communicate that, as magicians, we are special — and talented — performers?

Or does our performance communicate that we are simply fast talking — and unimportant — con men?

Thank you, Eugene!  One of the great pleasures of teaching at the Magic & Mystery School is getting to listen to one another’s thoughts about our art – and then discussing them together, and with the students.  I always come back from Las Vegas feeling inspired and excited about the new directions magic is moving.

Lawrence HassWhich brings up an interesting thought, and one I know we’ve mentioned before, but which I think is worthy of mentioning once again.  In the last two classes, we had no fewer than 4 students with us who had received scholarships in one form or another.  All of them were wonderful additions to the class – and people who faced challenges getting there – challenges which the scholarships helped them overcome.

And since we started out this note with a few words from our Dean, it seems appropriate to end it with a few words from Dr. Larry Hass, our Associate Dean, on the subject of the scholarships:

Notes from the Associate Dean, Larry Hass:

  • For Supporting and Premier Members:   the 2012 P.E.P Talks (Performance, Entertainment, Philosophy), from the 2012 Magic and Meaning Conference, are now available for viewing.   Please go to and sign in to access them.
  • If you are not already one, please BECOME A MEMBER of the Magic & Mystery School.   A portion of your membership fee goes directly into our Scholarship Fund, every dollar of which provides need-based financial aid to magicians who need a hand getting the magic education they need for greater success.
  • To meet some of our recent scholarship recipients, watch the Mystery School Monday episode from March 18 on our Scholarship Program.   I think you will be impressed with the talented women and men that you have helped reach for their goals and dreams!

Siegfried with Elizabeth Schalf

Up above, I mentioned I had just returned from Las Vegas – and I thought you might enjoy this photo of Siegfried with one of our scholarship students, Elizabeth Scalf, whose scholarship was sponsored by the Siegfried and Roy North American Fan Club.  We had a wonderful afternoon and evening with Siegfried…a true gentlemen who is just as fascinating one-on-one as he was in the incredible show he and Roy performed for so many years at The Mirage.

Finally:  Jeff is currently in Thailand with Jordan, headlining a magic convention in Bangkok.  We thought you might enjoy this photo, taken onsite at the festival there, more or less as I am writing this.

Jeff McBride and Jordan Wright in Thailand

Thanks for taking time to read this rather long version of our Muse.  I thought about trying to cut it down a bit…but then thought it would be criminal to deprive you of ANY of Eugene’s wisdom, which we feel incredibly blessed to be able to bring you here, without charge.  I hope you’ve read this far, and that we’ll see you back here in just a couple of weeks.

Tobias Beckwith

Manifest Magnificence

March 17th, 2013

“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see.”
—Arthur Schopenhauer

Dear Friends:

No one saw it coming! I certainly didn’t… but a strange, magical phenomenon happens when you share time with brilliant minds. The “group mind” is smarter than any single person in the group. That is how magic works, I think. That is the very reason we created Mystery School over 21 years ago. We gathered talented people together to co-create the future of magical education.

We certainly did not see this in the future, but here it is! (read on my friends, read on!)

The Magic of Social Media

World’s First Online Magic School

Mystery School makes history! Read the whole social media story in Beyond the Square Magazine about us, and Penn &Teller too!

Manifest Magnificence!

Many years ago, I read lots of magic books. I was 8 years old, and my first stage name was “McBride the Magnificent.” My grandma thought it was “a bit too much,” but my mom and dad printed up little business cards for me. Hey, the name gave me something to shoot for! I would have to give that name up in a few years, though. It was a name that I had to let go of. (Keep reading!)

McBride the Magnificent


Today, I still read lots of magic books. I also read Michael Dolan’s blog each week, and he inspires me.  I read this next piece by Michael, just in time for a crucial meeting this week about “letting go of preconceptions!”

Michael writes:

“SHOWTIME! And the demon of doubt”

We box with the demon of doubt daily, while at the same time [we] wrestle with our art, fighting to get it just right before we launch, release, publish, ship or produce. The inner dialog is relentless and the process is exhausting.

No one else on earth could possibly understand what you go through to manifest just one inch of acceptable, original work.

However, this is it, this is what it’s like to be an artist, an entrepreneur, and every single day of your life is “Showtime!” And every single day of your life you have a choice; Stick to the same o’l script, or write a new screenplay. Rehash mediocrity, or manifest magnificence.

Bring to the show:  A finger, pointing in the direction you want to go.

Leave behind: A well thought out plan.

Bring to the show: Your best work—the work you’re afraid to present.

Leave behind: The work that makes you feel safe.

Bring to the show: Gratitude, transparency, genuine humility, and an eagerness to suck up that which you don’t already know.

Leave behind: Your righteous opinions on how things ought to be.

Bring To The show: Your truth.

Leave behind: Everyone else’s.

“Showtime” is different for all of us, and it doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a growing corporation, the keyboard player of a rock band, or a songwriter with one aging hit to your credit. Every day when the lights go on and the curtain goes up, it’s your choice to “bring it on”…or not.

For more of Michael Dolan visit

I like the phrase Michael uses “Manifest magnificence!”

“The difficulty lies not in grasping new ideas, but rather escaping old ones”
— John Maynard Keynes

Give it up!  Let it go!

Some ideas are hard to let go of for me.

When I was a kid magician, I lived near the Catskill Mountain resort hotels in upstate New York. I used to think that “If I could only do my little magic show in the big Catskill resort hotels, ah! then I would have made it to the big time”…Now, all the Catskill resorts are either torn down, or rotting away.  They no longer exist! I had to let that idea go, and my “McBride the Magnificent” title with it!

Years ago, I had to let go of the idea of being “The Mime Magician.” Hey, talking as much as I do now, I had to let that idea go! I had to let go of the idea having a typical “old fashioned Las Vegas magic show” for something that I feel is much, much better! (Wait for it, here it comes!)

Finding new ground…WONDERGROUND!

Big changes ahead in Las Vegas

The last few months we have been re-visioning our monthly magic party. Letting go of old ideas and getting together with our Wonderground-crew to dream up some BIG new ideas!

We plan to broadcast a new Wonderground TV project in the coming months. We will also be searching the planet to bring NEW and original acts and ideas to our stages!

See the new “magic mash-up” video created by Scott Steelfyre and Jordan Wright to see this month’s line up!

Jeff McBride at Wonderground

The Wonderground Players create a new show every month  – and let go of the old ideas!

Our crew at The Wonderground is conspiring to create new ways for the world to interact with us. Watch for us on YouTube or join us live at the show Thursday March 21st at 8pm.

“A man can learn only two ways, one by reading,
& the other by association with smarter people.”

— Will Rogers

This month I’ll still be reading magic books, and I will be in the company of some of the smartest people I know.

Eugene Burger, Tobias Beckwith, Dr. Larry Hass, Bryce Kuhlman, Abbi and the faculty of Mystery School are hosting 2 weeks of classes here at our Vegas school. Although Magic for Speakers and Presenters is sold out, there is still time to register for the March Master Class, and for our summer school events.

More Press Coverage

Another great article has appeared on the touring show The Illusionists. I made the cover again this month! Take a look at “the touring life” from our point of view:

If you missed the tour, you can see the incredible clip here:

Late March takes me to Thailand with Jordan Wright. We will be doing shows and reporting back on Monday Night Mystery School.

8pm PST every Monday night!  Watch it at

For my full tour schedule for 2013 go to:

See you on the road or here at a class at the Mystery School!
Yours in the art,

From Tobias:

We continue to add to the fare at the online “virtual” Magic & Mystery School, and now Jeff has just released his own version of a classic card table routine, “Kings of Poker.” It’s a fantastic presentation, and easy to do.  Now available as a download (or you can just see the great trailer that Jordan created for it) here:

Also, we’re considering an East Coast Tour for The McBride Magic Experience in May.  Let me know if you want to sponsor, or know someone you think would!  It’s great fun, and sponsors wind up getting their own private master class in producing and mounting a show.

Tobias Beckwith


Watery Wishes

March 3rd, 2013

When you pass beyond this human form,,
no doubt you will become an angel
and soar through the heavens!

But don’t stop there.
Even heavenly bodies grow old.

Pass again from the heavenly realm
and plunge into the ocean of Consciousness.
Let the drop of water that is you
become a hundred mighty seas.

But do not think that the drop alone
becomes the Ocean —
the Ocean, too, becomes the drop!

— Jelaluddin Rumi

Spinner & Magnus

Hello friends,

Abbi here, in the House of Mystery, sipping a cup of tea, and thinking about all of you….

Sometimes, the real magic is right in front of our eyes; all we have to do is slow down enough to notice it.  I think about the magic of water, which comprises a large percentage of our bodies and our planet… descending from the sky as a gift from above in the rain, moving through us, keeping us hydrated, enabling us to see, pulsing with the blood in our veins, cleansing and purifying, nourishing all life, flowing toward the ocean in mighty rivers and small streamlets, and rising again to the sky.

Abigail Spinner McBrideHow often we take this precious resource for granted.  When I moved to Las Vegas, nearly sixteen years ago to be with Jeff, my entire relationship to water changed.  I try to make my connection to water a conscious part of “the flow.”  I make it a point to stay hydrated, and each time I drink, I think about my part in this great tide, and I strive to be mindful in my use of water.

One of my favorite magic memories is of seeing Just Alan perform the “Sands of the Desert,” with a slideshow accompaniment of a journey to India. You probably already know Jeff’s “Rainmaker” water-bowl routine is my favorite piece of magic that he performs, and one of my regular pieces that I love to perform is a version of “In the News.”

Our friend, Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil, has started a foundation called One Drop, dedicated to ensuring that water is accessible to all, today and forever.  It is heartening to see someone working so hard for such a good cause.  Check out what they’re up to:

Abigail Spinner McBride at Wonderground

So, as the springtime rains bring out the daffodils in the front yard, and the blossoms appear on the apricot tree, I am offering an opportunity to each of you, to drink deeply of the beauty inherent in each moment, and to savor each sip of life.  May you never thirst!


From Tobias:

If you have visited Abbi and Jeff in their “house of mystery,” you will know they live surrounded by magic every day – and not just the kind that involves decks of playing cards and Kabuki masks.  Poetry, music, literature, graphic arts – their home is filled with things that evoke magic and wonder.  And of course, one can always sense the magic and artistry in Abbi’s writing.

I’m fortunate to be heading off to Vegas in just another week or so for our two classes in March.  First is Magic for Speakers and Presenters – which is completely sold out already, in just the first time we’re offering it.  Just after that we have our first full Master Class of the year, from March 18-24, and as I write this, there are still several slots open for that one.  We usually see several students at our March class gearing up for competitions at the summer conventions, and I’ve noticed we have at least one of those signed up this year.  If you’re looking for a way to assure you make the leaps forward in your performance you need to compete effectively, this is your best chance.  Sign up now at

Immediately following the March classes, Jeff and Jordan will be heading off to Asia again – this time to Bangkok – to share magic at a festival there hosted by our new friend Mamada.  If you’ll be in Thailand between March 26-29, be sure and see them!  That will give Jeff just a few days home before he takes off on two weeks of cruising the Pacific for Holland America…and that takes us nearly to the end of May.

For May, I’m looking for a few good “sponsors” for the McBride Magic Experience.  This is Jeff’s signature one-man-magic convention, as only Jeff can provide.  Combining show, lecture and workshop in an amazing two-day event not only provides a special treat for the local magicians and magic – but it winds up serving as a master-class in promotion and production for the sponsors. We’ve developed the methods for working with venues, handling press and overall production that, once you’ve learned them with us ‘holding your hand,’ can be applied to events you’ll want to promote for the rest of your lives.  A true win-win for all involved, and designed so it actually carries less financial risk for the sponsor that just having another magician come and lecture would.  I hope I will hear from several of you in the coming week or two, as now is the time to start promoting for May!

That’s all from me for this week.  By the time this Museletter comes out again, we’ll all be sharing time in Las Vegas for the Master Class.  Maybe one or two of you reading this will be sharing time with us there, too!

Best wishes.
Tobias Beckwith

Sharpen your axe… and your act

February 17th, 2013

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
— Abraham Lincoln

Dear Friends:

What an excellent quote from Abe! I “sharpen my axe” by attending conferences, lectures and seminars that upgrade my skill sets and open me up to progressive ways of thinking.  I just must get away and get some real life experience from expert teachers.

Recently I attended a lecture by Juan Tamariz.  It was not just the magic effects that I found so mind expanding, it was more just being “in his company.” I felt like a dry plant being watered; I felt rejuvenated. I also get this extraordinary feeling when I host our classes here in Las Vegas. Eugene, and all of the teachers here at the school, continue to “upgrade” my creativity and my life skills.

If you want to join us for a class, please consider the March or summer classes.

If you can’t fly to Las Vegas, then take a look at our online school offerings for this season.

Jeff McBride at Wonderground
Jeff pushes his technique to the limits in his card manipulation routine.
All photos by Seryl Aguilar

“Thanks for the gift and thanks for the Master Class experience. It was really something different, something that felt meaningful and a memory for life. It was way better than my expectations. It was more than magic effects, it was a totally different kind of life.”
— Jompa Anderson, Master Class student

Are you Old School, or New School?

Do you prefer a Kindle book over a hard back book?

Do you “pop in a cd” or play mp3s on your iPod?

Do you write quick notes by hand or do you send a text on your iPhone?

Do you work with Bicycle playing cards or those new “fancy-schmancy” decks?

Yes my friends, we are living at a time where technologies are obsolete before they even hit your home!  We have been “bridging the gap,” as it were. Our Online School is a perfect example of a solution to the “old school/new school” division.

“A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.”
— Anonymous

Jeff McBride and THE WONDERGROUND PLAYERS in a recent stage extravaganza!

Meet my Freaky Friends!

I love stretching my limits, and so every month we host the greatest magic party in Las Vegas! Each month we create A NEW SHOW! Join us this Thursday, Feb. 21st at 8pm for the latest edition. For full line up and information go to:


This month at WONDERGROUND we are featuring ZAMORA THE TORTURE KING!

ZAMORA: is just back from Europe, and makes a rare appearance.

JASON ANDREWS: 1st place winner at the IBM stage competition.

DAVID GROVES: the author of “STREET MAGIC”  weaves his wonders

LES CONTORTIONETTES-:fantasic blend of puppetry and contortion

BIZZARO!:One of the most creative minds in modern magic!

BIJAN & DAVID GABBAY From Hollywood, rising stars in comedy magic.

Take a look at some great images by Sheryl Aguilar, from last month’s event

If you like, you can watch our show for free, ONLINE at 10 pm on  WWW.MCBRIDEMAGIC.TV

Kyle Raven
“New Rave” magician, Kyle Raven from Singapore lights up the stage at WONDERGROUND!

McBride World Tour: China & Thailand
I am on my way back to China again for a super stage show. Jordan Wright will join me on this trip and my next one to Thailand. Hey, I might even be coming YOUR way soon, so please look at my tour dates.

See you at the shows, on tour, or online at the “virtual magic school!”


P. S.

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”
— Plutarch

Join us & set your mind on fire at our annual MYSTERIUM gathering.

From Tobias:

We have several weekends in May currently unbooked.  If you’ve considered sponsoring one of Jeff’s “McBride Magic Experience” mini-conventions in your city, now is the time to think about doing it.  You can learn more about how the whole process works at:

Jeff loves coming out to share his show and teaching across the country, and we’ve developed a “minimum risk” way for you to sponsor him – in many cases you can sponsor the whole show, lecture and workshop with a lower overhead that it would take to sponsor a lesser known magician just for a lecture.  Click the link above to learn more, and then get in touch with me and make arrangements!

Best wishes.
Tobias Beckwith

A Community With Heart

February 1st, 2013

Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice.
— Unknown

Dear Friends:

Today we have a special message from Dr. Larry Hass, our Associate Dean. If you’re reading this, and don’t already know Dr. Hass, I can assure you he knows what he is writing about as he writes about having heart. Larry contributes so much to our magical community – not just as an excellent performer, or as part of our Magic & Mystery School, but through his work running his Theory and Art of Magic Press, and through the programs he has created to bring the serious study of magic to traditional college curriculums, first at Muhlenberg College and now at Austin College. If you get to see him perform or lecture, you’re in for a treat – and can be sure he will touch your hearts and inspire you with his own passion. We count ourselves extremely fortunate to have him as a part of our team.

Lawrence HassFebruary is the month of heart. With Valentine’s Day in the middle of it, it is a time when our thoughts turn and re-turn to love and friendship, to the relationships we make with partners, spouses, children, family, friends, and the communities in which we engage.

This February I especially am thinking about the fact that the Magic & Mystery School community has heart. Frankly, I wouldn’t be involved if it didn’t! We are not all about intellect, competition, or achievement. Of course there is room in our community for these things, but what keeps them in balance is what I think of as the School’s heart core.

This heart core is beating away in our educational mission and in many of our projects and initiatives. The truth is, we feel a bit shy about trumpeting them, but because we need your help right now (more on this below), I want to underscore a couple of them.

First, it is my pleasure to announce that over the past two years our Gift Magic book project has generated over $4,700 for Rich Bloch’s Encore Foundation, which assists magicians in times of tragic need. Indeed, our pledge was that every penny of profit from sales of Gift Magic would go to Encore, and we are delighted that the book continues to sell so well.

The second thing to formally announce is the extraordinary success of the School’s 2012 Scholarship Program. Once in a while some wise guy jokes, “Oh you’re a school; do you offer scholarships? Ha, ha.” The answer is: Yes, we most certainly do!

In fact, the School offers two scholarships for qualified students: 1) The Magic & Mystery School Scholarship, and 2) The SARMOTI Legacy Scholarship (founded through the generous support of the Siegfried and Roy North American Fan Club). Both of these scholarships provide need-based financial aid for students to have a magic education experience at one of our classes in Las Vegas. Please go to the Scholarship Program page of the new website to see if you qualify and to download an application.

The wonderful thing is that these scholarships are funded by you. They are funded by people in our extended community who have “heard the call” and made generous donations to our Scholarship Fund. In 2012 we received enough gifts from people in our “heart community” to fund scholarships for three people who needed a “hand up” at this point in their life to get the education they need for greater success. (The recipients are wonderful, talented, highly motivated people and you will read about them in the months ahead.)

This brings me to another part of our heart core: the launch of our new Membership Initiative. We are asking you to become an official member of the Magic & Mystery School.

We are launching this initiative for two reasons. First, we need your help in covering the basic operational costs of our online offerings (for example, the Museletter, the free Monday night show, and the Virtual School in all its shades and content). The fact is, none of it is free and none of it is cheap, and as our viewer hours per month at Livestream are going through the roof (last month well over 100,000 hours), we need your help to make it sustainable.

But more important for us is the fact that, after a portion of your membership fee goes to cover basic costs, all the rest of it goes directly into our Scholarship Fund. And every penny of the Scholarship Fund goes out to talented magic students who need help closing the gap for their magic education.

So please, right now, go to the new Magical Wisdom home page and “Become a Member” of the Magic & Mystery School. When you press the big red button on the home page, you will be taken to a page that shows you the three levels of membership ($25, $50, and $100), and the exclusive benefits that each level brings.

We are proud of these “goodies,” and we think you will enjoy them. But above all, remember that your membership fee is helping us in our educational mission to improve the art of magic one magician at a time.

We make this frank appeal to you because we know you have heart. And we know you are connected to us because we have heart. Thank you for helping us to be the kind of community we aspire to be!

Become a member!


Magic & Mystery School Faculty

From Tobias:

We’re excited that next week (February 3-10) will be “Magic & Mystery School Week” at the Magic Castle. The whole faculty and staff will be there, and if you’ll be in Southern California, you won’t want to miss this special week when we get to bring our special “Mystery School” brand of magic to one of magic’s great institutions. Learn more at:

After that Jeff and Jordan Wright will be taking off for a week in Shanghai, performing Jeff’s “Magic Behind the Mask” show there on a whirlwind schedule, before returning to Vegas in time for next month’s “Mysterium,” and to our first classes of 2013: “Magic for Speakers and Presenters” and our first Master Class of the new year. There are one or two slots still open for each class, so if you hurry you can still secure one of them. Because of Jeff’s and Eugene’s extremely busy performing schedules, we don’t have additional classes scheduled till July…so I’d urge you to grab these spots while they last!

You’ll be hearing from Jeff directly in a couple of weeks with our mid-month Muse, including stories from the week at the Magic Castle, information about this month’s Wonderground, and more…till then, we wish you a magical February, filled with heart!

Tobias Beckwith

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