The Path of Collaboration

We are delighted to have another article by our Dean, Eugene Burger, for you this month:

Eugene Skull


Eugene Burger

Museletter May, 2017

Sometimes getting our (magic) act together isn’t easy. We are close to being ready to debut our performance, but we hesitate. There are so many unresolved issues, so many questions, so much doubt. Yet if the curtain never rises, we are trapped in our thoughts. and we face the danger of never putting our magic into the real world. This is a problem for many performers. Is there anything that can be done about it? Is there a way to move our inaction to action?

Let me recommend a path that I have followed for the entire length of my professional career. I began this path, in fact, before I became a professional magician. It is the path of collaboration, the way of working with others to accomplish our goals. I have found this a way to get things and myself moving, a way to end inaction and move to genuine action.

My first magical collaboration began in the mid-1970’s. I had always dreamed of putting together a séance show, and even had a title for the show in my mind: “Hauntings.” But I was stuck. The idea remained no more than an idea; a thought. Then one night when I was explaining my dream to my friend Erik Counce, he enthusiastically said he would love to join me in putting this show together. Two other friends, Dennis Rook and Marcella Ruble, also joined in, and suddenly I had a little company dedicated to realizing the dream of creating a séance show.

We worked well together. Collaborating with others helped me move my dream into reality. In less than a year the show debuted and was very successful. In fact, the show was one of the primary things that helped convince me to move into full-time professional magic.

Over the years, I have collaborated with Jeff McBride on many shows — and that collaboration continues today. I have also worked with Max Maven and Tina Lenert on a show called, “The Nocturnal Trio.”

In 2010 I collaborated with my friend Michael Carbonaro on a show in the Peller Theater at the Magic Castle. We worked together again in 2012, giving the show a name, “Dark Stories,” and a more formal structure. We repeated it in 2014 and 2015. We also performed it at James Randi’s Conference in Las Vegas and at a Genii convention in Florida.

Dark Stories

In 2013, when Michael was involved with his wonderful television show “The Carbonaro Effect,” I collaborated in the Peller Theater with Rob Zabrecky. Rob and I repeated this in 2016 with the title, “Fun and Games with Eugene Burger and Zabrecky.”

Larry Hass and I have collaborated for several years now, mounting about a dozen séance shows at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania and at Austin College in Texas. For one of the Muhlenberg shows, Michael Carbonaro joined us to be an audience-member-turned-medium who, when the lights came up, had disappeared. Larry and I have also performed non-séance shows together at colleges, conventions, and the Magic Castle.

Group of Three

Collaboration may be a path that you might consider. You can learn a great deal from working with others who are as dedicated as you are. And sometimes, collaboration may help us move our magical dreams from ideas to reality. Think about it.

Face Your Fear

“Face Your Fear!”

Face your fear

My biggest fear, and how I lived through it!

I still have the nightmare… it goes like this.

I’m moments away from show time.

None of my props have arrived. I’m naked. The curtain opens to a full theater of people and music starts! Aaaahhhhh!

I don’t have anything ready. I panic! The show is going to be a disaster! Then I wake up in a cold sweat.

My Russian Ordeal

One day this nightmare became all too real.

I was booked in Russia for an international magic convention. I was representing the United States. My prop cases never arrived. The only thing I had was my costume in my carry-on…lucky me! I had no props. I had no magic. My biggest nightmare had just become real–to arrive for a show and have nothing on me. But the show must go on…Um, right? Right!?

For some reason, I always pack a little emergency magic kit in my carry-on luggage. Here is a Photo of the contents of my eyeglass case. This little bag of tricks saved the day.

Commando Kit

“The Commando Kit”- I never leave home without it!

  • 1 pack of normal playing cards
  • Paper Butterflies for my “Butterfly Blizzard”)
  • Rainbow Mouth Coils for Kabuki act
  • Kabuki streamers–Pack small play huge!
  • Red BEKOS knot
  • McGrip T.T. — (the secret something I use to throw cards)
  • 1 “Mc-Squeaker” — the loud little noisemakers I use in my BRAVO bowl and pantomime routines
  • Red & Yellow Sponge balls for BRAVO bowl routine

I also borrowed 13 coins and a champagne bucket for my “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” Misers Dream act, and 2 normal soup bowls from the kitchen for my “RAINMAKER” routine–and I was back in show business. Nightmare over!


That ordeal taught me that my props are not my magic. I am the magic, and the props just enhance what I do. This is a lesson I share with all our students… and I also teach students how to perform a ‘prop free’ show!

Remember: YOU are the magic!

Just by ‘looking inside,’ we can find the essence of our magic. We always have everything we need. It’s there all the time! (cue wizard of OZ music here)

So “The show must go on” –and it did!

Here is a photo from the finale of that show…you can see the grin on my face after making my way through this ordeal

Russia Finale

Oh! And the man–Vladimir Danilin–who ran the event, booked me back the following year! That year, my props did arrive…  but by that time my story had become a legend.

This real-life horror story motivated me to go online and do some research, and I have reprinted the real “List of Fears” below, along with comments on how Mystery School can help you move beyond your fears, so you can discover your magic potential


Here are the top fears, and how our Magic & Mystery School classes can help you overcome your biggest fears!

01. Fear of flying

Make it a road trip! Many of our students drive to Las Vegas or take a train or bus. Just don’t fly United, OK?

02. Fear of public speaking 

We teach you how to gain confidence. You can also do a silent magic act to music! I did that for 20 years all over the world!

03. Fear of heights 

Most of our activities and classes take place on the 1st level of our House of Mystery. No need to worry!

04. Fear of the dark 

Las Vegas is one of the brightest places on planet earth. Even at night there is no darkness here!

05. Fear of intimacy 

Our small group classes will help you make connections with your magic.

06. Fear of death 

No one ever dies at our classes! We create a safe place to explore your growing edge.

07. Fear of failure 

We are here to help you move past all that!

08. Fear of rejection 

Nope! We love you and will be accepting your application when you register.

09. Fear of spiders 

We spray every month and you won’t see them here!

10. Fear of commitment

Now you can commit to taking a class with us and move beyond your self-imposed limitations.


Fear Kills

What do you need the most help with?

Our students composed the following list of topics that we have explored at recent McBride Master Classes. What are the areas you need to focus on this year?

*Presentation *Character Development *Originality *Theater Arts *Confidence* Showmanship * Encouragement * Music *Costuming * *Personal Attention *Improvisation *Movement *Routining *Script Writing *Show Building *Lighting Design *Creativity *Mentoring *Acting *Dealing with Hecklers *Career Development *Marketing *Motivation *Business *Artistry *Insight *Brainstorming *Advertising Resources *Coaching *History *Close-Up Magic *Vision *Evaluation *Street Magic *Publicity *Support *Innovation *Parlor Magic *Psychology *Mastery *Stage Magic *Transformation *Empowerment *Consultation *Philosophy *Performing Arts Diction *Prop Construction *Card Magic *Networking *Comedy *Technique *Trade shows *Audience Participation *Wisdom  *Mentalism *Hands on Learning *Coin Magic *Corporate Shows *Dramatic Arts *Storytelling *Manipulation *Stagecraft *Pantomime *Family Shows *Promotion *Public Relations *Inspiration *Social Magic for friends

Take a free tour of our school today

Go to this link first and sign up for the school. Watch the video.

Then, after the video, go here and take the tour of the online school.

Be inspired by the tour.


Criss Angel, Banachek, Maestro & Jeff onstage at WONDERGROUND


The heart & soul of the Las Vegas Magic Community 

Our next Mega-Magic Party is April 20th—and you are invited!

APRIL 2017

7pm – Strolling magic: Will Bradshaw, Tim Shegitz, Taylor Lloyd, and Miguel. Scott Brown as Allen Scott will do tarot readings in the “art area”

8pm – Comedy & Magic Show

Jeff McBride – Magic to Dye For

Lion Fludd – The Hustle & Muscle of Magic

Bizzaro – Something NEW and very Twisted!

Smoothini – From America’s Got Talent!

Tim Shegitz – Classy Conjuring & Comedy

Steve Owens – Award Winning Manipulations

9pm – Three different Close-Up strolling magic lounge areas are open!

Lion Fludd


Tim Shegitz

Steve Owens



Jeff McBride is your MC – with something very new to show you!

Magnus – Zombie Time

Steve Owens – World Class Manipulations

Jason Andrews – Neo Classical Conjuring

Habaka Kfj – Musical Magical Enchantress

Mondre – Pure Magical Mastery

PLUS:  Photography by Sheryl Garrett. Bar Magic with Zack Pattee, Scott Steelfyre, Corey Rubino, Taylor Lloyd, New World Rhythmatism Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow with Alan Scott, live art with Areeya – and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!

I look forward to seeing you at Wonderground, one of our upcoming classes or one of my touring events soon!

Jeff McBride


Shocking Mysteries Revealed

Look deeper into the Mystery

One of the real secrets to living a magical life is seeing just a bit deeper into the mysterious things in life—the things that most people gloss over and never notice.

Did you know that

*  Your eyes are capable of processing 36,000 pieces of information per hour.

*  Your eyes will process 24 million images in your lifetime: Overall, they contribute nearly 85 percent of your knowledge. Simply put, they’re responsible for setting up how we react to the environments in which we live.

*  One eye consists of more than two million working parts. Incredibly complex, your eye, as previously mentioned, is a highly productive and resilient organ that can adjust to different conditions and overcome a number of disturbances.

Your eyes can recognize candle light from up to 14 miles away: Of course, this can only be done under perfect conditions, but it’s impressive nonetheless. Your eyes are the strongest muscles in your body relative to their duties, and they function at 100 percent capacity. Capabilities such as this one prove they’re one of the most powerful tools possessed by humans…

(Read the full article this comes from at:

Not all facts we see are USEFUL facts! But it is worth looking closely at things that ARE meaningful to us… so let’s take a deeper look at 3 things today.


Words have more power than we think! Did you know that the word “ABRACADABRA” has a deeper meaning?

It does, and it is a secret that can change what you think and say! Our words have a powerful effect on our reality… more than you can even imagine!

What does the word “Abracadabra” Mean?

Magicians use it all the time. So does Hollywood! But does it really have a meaning? Yes!

The word ”Abracadabra” comes from an Aramaic phrase meaning “I create as I speak.” In the Hebrew language, the phrase translates more accurately as “it came to pass as it was spoken.”

What are you creating with your words… for example, if your thoughts and words are old thoughts or  “last year’s” words, you will repeat another year of not getting what you desire!

The Amazing World of Female Magicians

Let’s take a closer look at the world of magic. People often are surprised that there are many great female magicians! Click and look at this list and see how many YOU know!

Did you know that we have MANY female magicians that are part of our Mystery School Team? Here are just a few:

Abigail McBride – Executive Administrator

Katherine Rettke – Executive Assistant

Simone Marron – Social Coordinator

Marjorie Hass – Faculty Consultant & Teacher

Sheryl Garrett – Official Photographer

Jenny Hearn, Betty Riley – Costumers

Melanie Kramer – Stage Assistant/Choreographer

Did you know that Jeff McBride’s FIRST magic teacher was a woman?

Yes! My first exposure was my “Aunt Joanna.” Joanna Rawson married my “Uncle Craig Hammond.”

Joanna’s father was Clayton Rawson the mystery writer. He was also known as The Great Merlini and was founder of “The Witch Doctors Club.” Joanna showed me my first magic trick when I was 7 years old.  I was crying because I did not want to go to sleep. Joanna showed me an amazing magic trick to try to stop me from crying—and it worked. Joanna wiggled her fingers and plucked off her thumb! I was amazed. I was so amazed that when she said that if I stopped crying I would learn it, I stopped immediately, and she  showed me  how to do the trick. I’ve never stopped learning magic since that night! I have also learned that magic can make tears disappear!

Here is a rare film of Joanna Rawson floating!

My Aunt Joanna The Floating Lady!

Thank you Clayton Rawson for the video clip!

Who is the Greatest Magician of all Time?

I would be interested to hear who YOU think it is.

Here is my vote! (You can see that I am biased though). Just watch Abigail and see how smart, funny and skilled she is! Can you see why I voted for her?

In this video, my dear wife Abigail talks about our much-needed healing of Mind, Body & Spirit! Love is the greatest healer of all.  Magic is good medicine!

Jeff McBride: Top 10 Magicians to Watch

9 Artists Who Help Redefine Magic Entertainment

by Wayne Kowamoto

Read the full article:

Jeff McBride made the Top Ten List list!

The article states:

“Like the rest of the world, the art of magic is changing with social media and YouTube, and there’s the decline in brick and mortar magic shops and struggling magic clubs. But, there are artists who are evolving with the changes and even pioneering how magic is presented in our age. Jeff McBride played a key role in redefining magic entertainment.”

Other Vegas magi included on the list are David Copperlield, Mat Franco, Penn &Teller, and Criss Angel.


The Mysteries Return! An Immersive magic experience like no other!

Our Annual MAGIC & MEANING CONFERENCE will have a new mysterious format that harkens back to the original days of Mystery School! Preparations are being made for a 4-day long, interactive and immersive ritual theater experience, designed to create memories of a lifetime.

A real Brick and Mortar Magic Shop opens in Vegas!

Yes folks, there is a new shop in town! The Top Hat & Wand Magic Shoppe is now a proud sponsor of MYSTERY SCHOOL MONDAY. Owner John McClenahan also hosts the INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF MAGICIANS Ring 257, and features magic lectures every month by top names in magic.

Epic Event: Mystery School Monday reaches 300 episodes on March 20th!

300 HOURS of professional magic training await you 24 hours a day!  Just go here and look:   www.MCBRIDEMAGIC.TV


Join us for the biggest magic party in Vegas!

March 16, 2017

3 big shows, starting at 7:30pm! All info at

7:30 PM Strolling magic with Will Bradshaw, Taylor Lloyd & Allen Scott will do tarot readings

8pm   –    Comedy Variety and Magic Show – Tim Wise is you MC

John Shaw –  Sideshow Arts Supreme!

Michael Mirth – Master of Mystery

Will Bradshaw – Diamond in the Rough

Matt Johnson –  Urban Deceptions

Richard Rebuffo – Theatrical Enchantments

The Halls of Magic – Side Splitting Sorcery

9pm   –   Close up Magic Show

The Halls of Magic – Crazy – Comedy – Conjuring!

Richard Rebuffo – Theater of Magic

Matt Johnson – Urban Deceptions

Jeff McBride – Always a Wonder to Remember!

10pm   –   Stage Magic Extravaganza – Jeff McBride IS YOUR MC

John Shaw – Beyond Bizarre!

Matt Johnson – Urban Deceptions

Michael Mirth – And his World of Wonders

The Halls of Magic – Madcap Magic & Mystery!

Mysterion – The New Face of Magic

PLUS:  Photography by Sheryl Garrett. Bar Magic with Zack Pattee. Scott Steelfyre, Corey Rubino, NEW Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow Alan Scott, live art with Areeya – and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!

I look forward to seeing you there!

Jeff McBride

What is the hot NEW class of the season? Take a look!


scholarships available


A Fundamental Principle

Dear Friends:

We’re delighted to have another article from our Associate Dean, Larry Hass, this month. Larry’s work always makes me think deeper and in new ways. I expect it will do the same for you. Enjoy!

Larry New

A Fundamental Principle

Larry Hass, Ph.D.

Over the past couple of years I have used these columns to discuss some key insights about the (show) business of performing magic. In February 2013 I revealed my “Fundamental Secret” for performing better shows. Last October I discussed the “Fundamental Mistake” I see many performers make. Here I will share a “Fundamental Principle” I follow for enriching my magic . . . and my life. Here it is:

In the age of information overload, the focused shall inherit the earth.

Indeed, I have long believed that hand-held smart devices, with their bings, burps, pings, rings, and alerts, turn us into homo interruptus. But recently I have been thinking a lot about the extent to which digital distractions split our attention and diminish our engagement.


One part of this has been the increasing number of meals I’ve had during which my dining partner leaves his or her cell phone face up on the table, and spends the entire time interrupting our conversation to send texts, check emails, search for files, or answer calls. Have you had this happen to you?

I continue to be struck and somewhat amazed by this behavior. For none of the people doing this were rude, boorish people—not at all. But somehow they had lost sight of how insulting this kind of behavior would be. And they had no awareness of how they were compromising the quality of our time together. They were there, but not there. Things were said, but interrupted. Start and stop: their participation remained superficial, fragmented, and unsatisfying.


The other part of my reflections on this has been recent empirical studies from places like Stanford and the University of London, demonstrating that multitasking substantially lowers productivity and effectively lowers IQ. To be precise, the studies demonstrated that when people were multitasking they had far greater trouble organizing their thoughts, filtering out irrelevant information, and switching from one task to the next. In effect, their IQs fell to within the range of an average eight-year old.

But to multitaskers it doesn’t feel that way. To them their output feels prodigious, or that they are an exception to the rule. Yet the University of London studies tested for that, too; they showed the more firmly people believed in their ability to multitask, the greater their inefficiency was.

So obviously, when it comes to dinner with a cell phone or the power of multitasking, many people are in the grip of an illusion . . . and perhaps a subtle addiction to continual stimulation, or “fear of missing out” (FOMO). Be that as it may about “many people,” the question is what are we going to do: you and me? What are we, as creative magicians and aspiring performers, going to do?

At this late date in the digital era, the results are in, both empirically and experientially. If we want to have quality interactions and relationships with people, if we want to go deep, if we want to experience levels of complexity and challenge that make genuine learning happen, if we want to become really good at something through focused repetition, if we want to create artwork that’s original and expressive of self, then we must say “no” to digital-age distractions, and reaffirm a rather old piece of wisdom: one thing at a time.

Every New Year season I come up with a motto that I especially want to embrace in my life during the year ahead. I write the motto on note cards and leave them lying around my house at meaningful locations: by the coffee maker, in my magic studio, by my computer, in the dining room. And for 2017 my motto is: “One thing at a time.”

Because when it comes to deepening relationships, conducting business, booking shows, writing with quality, creating a fine piece of magic, or performing it with excellence, it seems clear that “the focused shall inherit the earth.”

Go forth, stay focused, and prosper!

One thing


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