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 virtual.magicalwisdom.com 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 http://www.mike-dolan.com/

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 http://www.mcbridemagic.tv

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 www.magicalwisdom.com.

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: http://www.vegaswonderground.com


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. http://www.mcbridemagic.com/pages/calendar.php

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: http://www.mcbridemagic.com/pages/venues/mcbride-magic-for-magicians/the-jeff-mcbride-experience.php

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: http://www.magiccastle.com/

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


January 13th, 2013

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.
—Albert Einstein

Jeff & Abbi McBride
Magical Greetings from Jeff and Abbi in Las Vegas!

What will you become this year — and what would you give up to obtain that goal?

Jeff is just home from tour and has a few new stories to tell you…stories of dreams, goals and inspirations.


Hey! Jeff here in Vegas! My friend, the writer Mike Burke, reminded me of something I had said that inspired him. I’ll share it with you, too.

“Go deep into the source of your inspiration, and get an excellent guide to take you deeper, beyond your limits.”

I find guides in some of the strangest places! I meet them on airplanes, cruise ships, waiting for a taxi, and even surfing the internet blogs! I want to share an interesting list of “resolutions” that came my way… it comes from film producer Peter Guber.

10 New Year’s Resolutions You Must Make For Your Greatest Business Success

  1. Embrace flying in the red zone – this is where the greatest risk, but also the greatest opportunity awaits.
  2. In gathering collaborators and support, focus on “what’s in it for them” – this will garner their attention and intention to respond to your call to action.
  3. Be authentic and have your feet, tongue, heart and wallet all going in the same direction – this creates a trusted and respected relationship which precedes transactions.
  4. Be interactive – engage social media to change yesterday’s sales monologue into today’s dialog. Today, everyone wants to be participants, not just passengers.
  5. Share success – emotional and open acknowledgement for work well done is critical to sustaining a motivational workforce.
  6. Be generous– your scarcest resource is your time and when you spend it helping other people, you reward yourself, others and your organization.
  7. Be a challenger to your own incumbency – sustaining your success requires constant reinvention. If you don’t, it can mean extinction.
  8. Use the emotional resonance of purposeful story telling with the facts and information embedded inside, as your secret sauce to create memorable and actionable results –for success in business you’re always in the emotional transportation business.
  9. Embrace failure – if you’re not failing on occasion, you’re not taking enough chances testing the real quality of your talents and will unlikely achieve your greatest success.
  10. Habituate yourself to success – review your resolutions quarterly and remember good habits create great results.

Join Me in the Locked Room!

Yes I know it sounds ominous, but let me explain…our school does not “expose” magic on our Web TV channel, so we created a safe place, a ‘virtual classroom’ behind closed doors, to share our magic techniques with our students.  We call it “The Locked Room.”

I have 2 Locked Room training sessions coming up:

Fire Magic – I will teach some of the most impressive fire magic ever seen. Audiences LOVE fire magic! How to best travel with fire props, the best fire magic effects and why!

Silk Magic – I’ve toured the world using silk magic in my show.  Now, for the very first time, I have created a special 90 minute training session where I will teach you all I know, as well as anything you might ask about, and you can learn my favorite silk magic effects.

Larry George, Bryce and Tobias are all teaching classes in “The Locked Room,” too, so come see what we are building for you!

Real Magicians Help Others’ Dreams Come True

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us.
And the world will live as one.

— John Lennon

New things are happening with our online Magic School.  Our business is helping make our students dreams come true… and here is how we do it. I  sincerely hope you will consider joining us to become a member of the VIRTUAL Magic & Mystery School.  Not only will you receive special benefits at each level of membership, but you will also help the School fulfill its mission of improving the art of magic one magician at a time! Learn more.

Passion and Commitment

One of our passions is helping to create a thriving community for magicians. Recently our Mystery School Monday show featured an episode on Magical Community. You can watch it online.


WONDERGROUND is the center of the Las Vegas Magic community.
— Paul Vigil, Las Vegas  Close-up Magic Artist

Photo Credit: Flash Adams

I love hosting my friends at my nightclub experience here in Vegas. We are now in our 4th year!  This kind of long run is unheard of for a non-casino show in Las Vegas!

International Magic Festival Night at Wonderground!

One night only, Thursday January 17th, 7:30-Midnight! This month we will feature a global line-up of new acts never before seen in Las Vegas!

From Brazil: International award winner Henry Vargas
From Singapore: the new Asian star of Magic, Kyle Ravin
From the UK: Matt Black comedy magic
Las Vegas Street Magic by Michael Whitson
“The Shocker” returns with new magic and mayhem!
Mythic Dance by Jenevieve the Serpentine Sorceress
Christian Diamond will be the elegant host the Close-Up Theater
Tim Wise will host the 8pm Variety, Magic & Comedy show
MC Leo Diaz will mix master the sonic landscapes
THE NWR Dancers will perform 2 NEW sets of sensual belly dance
ART INSTALLATIONS by Areeya, Suzanne Lugano, Cameron Grant & local artists
TAROT & DIVINATION by Morganne & Stephanie.
To top it all off, Jeff McBride will perform a new  “World Premiere” set of magic.

For complete info go to www.vegaswonderground.com

Ludlow, KY – McBride Magic Experience

The day after WONDERGROUND, I will jet to Kentucky, for one of my 2-day mini-conventions, featuring my full evening 1-Man show, my NEW Show Doctor Lecture and a full day SUPER SESSION workshop!

My full tour schedule is here:

Jeff McBride

Mystery School Goes Hollywood – February 4th through 10th

Yes friends, I know you have been waiting for two years for us to return! The faculty of the MAGIC AND MYSTERY SCHOOL will take over the ENTIRE Magic Castle! Every theater and showroom will feature one of Mystery School teachers! We will also offer a Sunday afternoon lecture, for Magic Castle members only.

Abbi and look forward to our time with our friends in Hollywood! We will see YOU online at www.mcbridemagic.tv.  You can tune in 24 hours a day to catch the streaming magic!

We LOVE the muse letter and it is our way of staying connected with YOU!  Hey, you can always press “reply” to these Muse letters and Jeff and I will shoot you a hello right back!

Yours in magic community,

Jeff and Abbi

From Tobias:

Dear Friends – Happy New Year!

After this very long Museletter, I just wanted to chime in to let you know we still have 2 spaces left in the “Magic for Speakers and Presenters” master class from March 15-17, and 4 spots left for the Master Class that follows it, from March 18-24.  Grab those spots now…they’ll go fast!


Best to all.
Tobias Beckwith

In Praise of Professionals

January 1st, 2013

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

— Alfred Lord Tennyson

Dear friends:

Mayan CalendarWelcome to our new year. And, if you follow the Mayan calendars, to the new B’ak’tun — a term for one of their long cycles, each of which lasts for about 394 solar years. As it turns out, the Mayans never predicted an “end of the world” scenario for the recent turning of their calendar. As it turns out, their calendars track many different cycles, some of which are roughly analogous to our lunar cycles, monthly calendars and solar cycles. And on December 21, 2012, a lot of those cycles all cycled to zero.  What does this mean?  Nothing really.  It is just another system for counting time, not unlike the significance of New Year or midnight.  Once upon a time some human being somewhere decided it would be useful to count time in that way.

Nonetheless – the new year, the new B’ak’tun, the new era – and each and every new day, when it comes right down to it – give us each a chance to begin again. Wise men learn from the past, but are not governed by it.  When you can let the past go, look to your future, and live fully in the present, real magic is possible.  Each one of us has the potential, the real ability, to make each of our wildest dreams a reality. But to do so, we must let go of our old, imagined limiting beliefs, and be willing to re-create ourselves as the ones who will live those dreams.  Jordan Wright is our guest author this month, and he addresses an issue which I KNOW has been one of my own limiting beliefs:  The feeling that I must do it all myself, instead of enlisting the aid of others whenever I could.

In Praise of Professionals!
by Jordan Wright

Jordan WrightIn my travels I meet many magicians, see many websites, am shown many promo videos, and collect countless business cards.  The one glaring issue of everything I see is people trying too hard to make everything themselves. How many of have at one time or another attempted to make our own promotional materials? These days, with every aspect of design accessible on our computers, it is so easy to become caught up in a desire to do everything ourselves just to save a few bucks here and there.  With very little knowledge of graphic design, we can download software to make it easy for us to design our own business cards.  Most of our computers come with free video editing software that gives the ability to edit our own demo videos. Why would we want to pay someone to design our website when there is such an abundance of free and low-cost programs that claim to be easy to use?

The answer is that we pay someone else because they have specialized knowledge. Just because we have the ability to do everything ourselves does not mean we will do the best job.  Hiring a professional who has studied graphic design, video production and marketing will often produce much better results than we could produce on our own, whether it be for business cards, a website, or a demo video.

Everyone has his or her own area of expertise. Just as some magicians excel at card controls, other magicians are excellent at mentalism. Some people’s specialty is graphic design, and they know the process inside and out. By trying to make everything ourselves, we end up taking time away from what we are really good at. And often times things do not turn out the way they would have had we only consulted a professional – someone with specialized knowledge. You end up sacrificing quality by cutting corners.

Many people say that money is tight and they cannot afford to have everything professionally designed. The answer to that is to prioritize – decide what your budget is and what is most important for you to market yourself. Just remember that everything communicates. If your business card has perforated edges and looks homemade, then people will associate that with the quality and value of your work. I have found that the most successful people in the business hire other professionals to ensure that their materials communicate their message most effectively. Know your strengths and leave the rest to the professionals!

Thanks, Jordan! Great advice. I know many people think, “Once I’m successful, I’ll be able to afford to build a great team.” The truth of the matter, though, is that if you don’t build that great team NOW, you may never reach that point of success. Allies and team members support your dreams in so many ways, and they are really essential for success.

Magic & Mystery School Faculty

At the Magic and Mystery School, we are blessed with great team members. Many of you may not realize it, but Jeff, Eugene, Abbi, Larry Hass, Bryce Kuhlman, George Parker and I “get together” every Monday morning in a Google Hangout to discuss the week that will be coming up.  Sometimes we’re joined by Jordan, Tim Wise or Leo Diaz – all valued team members. Each one of us brings different perspectives and different skills to the table, and each one makes invaluable contributions to the quality of all our endeavors, whether those take the form of “Monday Night Mystery School,” on mcbridemagic.tv, a new web-site for the school, upcoming classes, touring events where our various members perform and teach…or to this Museletter.

And so, before leaving you to consider what dreams you will realize for yourselves this year, I wanted to take just a moment to say thank you.  First to Jeff and Eugene for dreaming up what has become the McBride Magic & Mystery School.  Then to all those I named above – our “inner circle” who work together to make it all happen.  And, finally, to all of you reading this.  Without your interest and support, we could never do what we do. Each one of you, just by reading these Museletters, or tuning in on Monday evenings, or attending classes, is helping us to make our dream of creating better magic a reality. We are deeply grateful for that support, and for your sharing the dream with us.  Happy New Year!

Tobias Beckwith

PS:  Be sure and check our calendar at www.magicalwisdom.com for some exciting classes coming soon. We are offering our first ever “Magic for Speakers and Presenters” in March, along with our first 7-Day Master Class of 2013. Sign up now – it’s a great way to commit yourself to your dreams for the New Year!

The Magic of Dreaming Bigger

December 16th, 2012

“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. In their grey visions, they obtain glimpses of eternity.”
— Edgar Allan Poe

Greetings Magical Friends!

The China Tower Vanish Project is a giant illusion from a recent Chinese TV show. You may remember that our McBride Magic Team was commissioned to create the opening segment for one of China’s largest TV shows earlier this year.  It was one of the largest scale magic illusions ever presented!  Now you can see the result here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY53qgqTd5M.

Jeff McBride in China

I just showed the video to Franz Harary, who was a huge help with the project. He said, “Jeff, I’m honestly proud to be your friend, and now… your associate. Whatever I can ever do to help you, just let me know.”  What a great friend, designer and gentleman Franz is!  We are very happy to be collaborating on projects with him!

Dream Big!

This is the time of year to dream big.  The new year is coming, and we have a clean slate of possibilities ahead of us.  My job as a magician is to remind you that anything you dream up can come true.  Eugene Burger is a wonderful wizard.  I’ve been deeply inspired by one of the things he said years ago; “Get bigger dreams.”  Yes, it is true, people often dream little dreams, or have no dreams at all.  Being a magician is more than just being a dreamer, it is about making those dreams a reality.  One of the techniques that I have learned is to focus on putting my energy into one major goal at a time.

“You can do anything you want; you just can’t do everything you want.”
— Folk wisdom

McBride Magic on the World Wide Web

Meet the Cast of Mystery School Monday!

Magic and Mystery School Faculty

We have a new video by Jordan Wright. Before the end of the month, we’ll have one hundred episodes!  If you haven’t already been part of the fun, you can take a look at some of our past episodes at www.mcbridemagic.tv.

Last week’s show was a special holiday episode about Magic for All Seasons.

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”
— Erma Bombeck

World Tour News: The McBride Magic Experience

After I return from two weeks cruising in the Caribbean at the beginning of the year, I’ll be heading East for a show in Ludlow, Kentucky, (Just across the river from Cincinnati) on January 19 & 20.  More info here: http://ludlowtheater.blogspot.com/.

WondergroundWonderground News

December 20th will be the next Wonderground, and we will be celebrating our third year of shows at The Olive Mediterranean Restaurant!

Please join us for Las Vegas’ biggest monthly magic party! It happens the third Thursday of every month!  Every show is different!  See this month’s new line-up.

Tobias wrote up our official press release.

McBride’s Wonderground has inspired our friends in Louisville, KY to start a similar event! Read about it. Hats off to Ray Smerlin for creating new opportunities for many performing artists!

It is my sincere hope that your big dreams for the new year come true, and if I can assist you in manifesting your dream, I will be happy to do so.

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”
— Joel Barker

Have a happy holiday season, and dream big!
Jeff McBride

Receiving and Giving

December 6th, 2012

A book is a gift you can open again and again.
— Garrison Keillor

Dear Friends,

We are delighted to start off our December Museletter with a few words from the Dean – Eugene Burger:

Receiving and Giving

Eugene BurgerIt is the holiday season: the time for giving and receiving.

In the title of this piece, I have purposely reversed these words because so much more is written about giving — and how important giving is. Perhaps it will be a good idea to spend a few moments thinking together about receiving. Receiving gifts.

We are told, for example, that giving is better (more “blessed” according to Acts 20:35) than receiving. I have no doubt that all of this is important and true. I think that giving may, indeed, exhibit a higher virtue.

But to say that giving is more blessed than receiving is not to say that receiving has no value at all. And that is just the point. It may be that receiving involves a real, though lesser, blessedness. But it is blessedness nonetheless.

Do you ever consider that giving is much easier for us, psychologically, than receiving? To give a gift is to stand in a position of power; to receive one is to stand without power. Giving makes us feel strong; receiving can make us feel weak.

Over the years I have met so many otherwise wonderful and intelligent people who, when presented with a gift, become embarrassed and say truly stupid things, such as, “Oh, you shouldn’t have done this!”


I believe that one of the most important life-lessons all of us might learn is how to receive gifts in our lives, how to receive them truly, to receive them with sincerity and grace and an honest acknowledgement of how grateful we feel that the gift has been given.

And, let us not forget, if we ourselves are to experience the higher blessedness of giving, we need to have receivers to receive! Without the receivers of our gifts, we couldn’t be givers and experience the higher blessedness that giving brings.

So, perhaps this holiday season, we will summon the courage to be the best receivers of gifts that we can be. Happy holidays!

Thanks, Eugene! I always especially enjoy reading Eugene’s thoughts, because he always makes me think a bit deeper myself. Today, he has me thinking about gifts I’ve received, and how well I’ve received them. Have I always been gracious and appreciative? I hope so, but I somehow doubt it. Sometimes we receive things that delight us and honor us, and we are truly delighted to receive them. Other times, they make us wonder, “what were they thinking?”

Jeff recently received one of the first kind. He recently traveled to London for the International Festival of Magic — and at the end of the festival was awarded the David Berglas International Magic Award. The award is quite a big deal — Jeff is only the fifth to have been chosen for it, after David Copperfield, Uri Geller, Derren Brown, Juan Tamariz and The MacMillan family, one of Britain’s legendary magic families.

Jeff McBride and David Berglas

It’s not hard to gracious when you receive a surprise gift like that.  Thank you, David Berglas!

So: How to make sure you receive the gifts you would most like during this holiday season. It’s really quite simple: just ask. But ask clearly. Not just for “a book about magic,” or “a magic trick.” No, you want to ask for The Show Doctor by Jeff McBride. It is available online at http://www.theoryandartofmagic.com/ or http://shop.yourmagic.com. Or maybe what you want is George Parker’s INDEX-terity, also available from both places. We all have family and friends scattered across the globe these days, and sometimes they become frustrated trying to find you the things they know you want — so be sure and tell them how they can do that…and you’ll be far more likely to receive those gifts that will make it easy to feel the gratitude, and to respond in a way that will make your friends feel great about what they’ve given you.

Perhaps you’re like my father — hard to buy for. There’s nothing that fits into a box that he really wants at this point in his life. So a few years back the family banded together and bought him a cruise aboard a tall ship. The gift of an experience he would probably never have thought to buy for himself…and one he’ll always remember. A trip to the Magic and Mystery School can be just such an experience for many of us. So don’t be afraid to ask / suggest to your family that, “Maybe what you would like to do this year, is all pool your funds to send me to study in person with two of the world’s greatest magic teachers in Las Vegas,” and send them to http://www.magicalwisdom.com, where they can find out more.

Okay…I know I’m starting to sound like a used-car salesman or carnival barker here, so I’ll stop. And hope to see you in Las Vegas one day soon!

Oh — just one last plug. I’ll be doing a Locked Room lecture next week — Tuesday Dec. 12. I’ll be talking about the mystery of developing a deeper purpose for your magic, and how that can serve you many times over as it will help you create unique and powerful magic — magic that is truly all yours.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

Tobias Beckwith

Celebrating Friendship

November 11th, 2012

“It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us.”  — Epicurus

Dear Friends:

In today’s Muse, we celebrate our friends and collaborators – and we have LOTS of news to share while we do it!

We are happy to report that Jeff is off to the U.K. this week, for his only visit there this year!  While there, he will first be appearing, and lecturing and conducting a workshop at Noel Britton’s “International Festival of Magic.”  Established by the late Ron MacMillan over 40 years ago, it is still affectionately known as “Ron’s day”. The convention is now run by Ron’s family and close friends. Not to be missed – and you can learn more here: http://www.internationalmagic.com/pages/convention.html

McBride Magic Experience – UK

Smoke & Mirrors

Just a few days later, our good friend Jay Fortune is hosting Jeff for a series of events in Bristol, at the “Smoke & Mirrors Café.”  Jeff’s full evening “McBride Magic Live!” show will be featured on two nights, plus a new lecture and a workshop.  These are Jeff’s only appearances in the UK this year, so don’t miss this rare chance to see and learn from the master:  http://www.smokeandmirrorsbar.co.uk/

Locked Room Events

The Locked RoomEven when Jeff is away, The McBride Magic & Mystery School continues to offer fantastic events for you.  We have three Locked Room events coming in the next few weeks.  The Locked Room is our online teaching space where you can sample lectures and workshops conducted by our faculty from the Magic & Mystery School – all from the comfort of your own desk!

November 27 @ 7pm PST: Booking Shows and Hidden Venues

Larry Hass offers his insights in a new lecture on how to increase your bookings by finding new and different markets for your magic you may not have considered.

December 4 @ 7pm PST:  The Best of McBride

Jeff McBride wants to help you be a better magician. Join us for a very special happening at which Jeff will teach several of his FAVORITE magic effects. Many never before explained!

December 12 @ 7pm PST:  Beyond Beyond Deception

Tobias Beckwith has been working on Volume Two of his book Beyond Deception. In this lecture he shares some of what he has discovered.  Subjects include how to deepen your statement of purpose, and how this can help strengthen your marketing and create unique new pieces using material you already own.

Do Your Really Want to Read Minds?

Master Class for Mentalists starts in just a few days, and will feature the masterful QUESTION AND ANSWER ACT OF ROSS JOHNSON.

For the 1st time in history, Ross will share the real work on one of the greatest mysteries of all time. Ross is not only a GREAT mentalist but also one of our best friends in magic… he will give you the very best of his professional experience in this special 3 day class.  And the best news:  We still have 2 spaces left.

Jeff McBride’s Wonderground

The magic comes early this month: Thursday, November 15, hosted this month by Abbi McBride!

Abigail McBride

The Wonderground is the biggest magic party in Las Vegas — and YOU are invited!  Read about this month’s line up here – we have many new acts!

“I get by with a little help from my friends.” — John Lennon

John Lennon had it right. We all depend on our friends to get along. They are the real magic that can save lives!

A few years back, my entire show was stolen in Boston. My friend and magician David Oliver saved my show! He helped me rebuild my show in just 2 days to meet my show commitments. David is a wonderful magician and an amazing person. Now, David has a serious health challenge from exposure to doves! Yes, he developed a rare lung disease and needs to have both lungs replaced!  Here is the positive news… Magicians from all over are helping David raise funds for his condition.  Read about the David Oliver fundraiser and how you can help him get by.

“When a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it.” — Edgar Watson Howe

That’s all the news for now.  We hope you’ll be giving thanks for your friends over the coming holiday… just a we give thanks for all of you!


Jeff McBride, Tobias Beckwith and all the crew at The Magic & Mystery School

For inquiries about Classes & Skype Sessions with Jeff McBride,
Call Abbi McBride: (702) 450-0021 (spinner@mcbridemagic.com)

For information & booking Jeff McBride:
Contact Tobias Beckwith (tobias@yourmagic.com) or (702) 697-7002

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