Increasing Your Experience of Magic

Dear Friends in Magic:

Happy New Year! We have a special treat for you today—an article by Katherine Rettke. Katherine has been our volunteer administrative assistant for several years now, and she is a treasure. I know you’ll enjoy her piece, and those of you who have come to know her (mostly through attending Magic & Meaning conferences these past few years), won’t be surprised at the deep heart-centered approach to magic she offers below. Magic should enrich lives, both those of the magician and audience. This piece should help you do that.


By Katherine Rettke


“…I am always ready to do magic anytime, anywhere, with whatever I have on hand. I do not need to be on stage or prepared in order to delight people and bring magic into the world.”  

-Jeff McBride, Magician 24/7

I believe that the magicians who truly live the life of “Magician 24/7” are not only ready to do magic anytime and anywhere, they are also experiencing more magic and living magical lives 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Is it possible that you are at risk of limiting the magic you experience in your own life because you are limiting your idea of where magic can be found? Take a moment to consider the following questions:

  • Have you gone for more than two months without spending time in nature?
  • In the past year, have you gone only to magic-related live arts performances?
  • Is every single friend in your life somehow connected to the world of performance magic?
  • Do you use the word “muggle” (or other words which signify “mundane” or “boring”) when discussing people who are not magicians?
  • Is performance magic your only life passion?
  • Do you feel less awe and wonder as you learn more and more secrets about how performance magic is done?

I suspect that magicians who answer “Yes” to most of the questions above are more at risk of limiting their experiences of magic. If you are reading these words it is because you have found your way to the mailing list of the McBride Magic Museletter, and I know that means your answers are more likely to be “No.”

Regardless of how you answered the questions above, consider that it is a good idea for all of us to see if we can expand our ideas of where magic can be found, and what it means to be magical. Challenge yourself for 24 hours to find new ways to give and receive magic. Would you still be every bit as much of a magician, able to inspire, amaze and delight others even if you were not providing any sleight of hand during this challenge? Absolutely! Following are four ideas to help you get started:

Idea #1: Look for magic in your environment:

Behold, there is magic all around us”

      – Abbi Spinner McBride, Fire of Creation [CD]

Spend time in nature. Notice lucky coincidences when they happen in your life. Look for reasons to feel gratitude and give thanks.

Idea #2: Look for magic in other people:

“A wizard is someone who has amassed wisdom through experience. Wizards learn to think for themselves and  to  question  everything. They are agents of change, unafraid to explore and think differently.”

– Tobias Beckwith, The Wizard’s Way

Some of the most magical people I have ever met would never consider themselves to be magicians, and yet they create magic everywhere they go. Look for that spark of light in everyone you meet.

Idea #3: Look for new ways to share magical experiences with the children in your life:

“Magic happens when grandparent and grandchild together step outside the everyday world and enclose each other in a world of their own where adventure, discovery, and exploration are commonplace.”

– Charmaine Ciardi, Cathy Orme, & Carolyn Quatrano

The Magic of Grandparenting

Even if you are not a grandparent or a parent, you most likely have friends and family members who have children, or you have community service opportunities in your area which benefit children. The gift of your time can change the life of a child, and how can that not be described as magical?

Idea #4:  Look for new ways to give a magical gift to someone else: 

“Believe in the magic of kindness.”

-Sonia Harris, Being Encouraged [Blog]

Random acts of kindness, especially when done anonymously, can feel like magic. These acts do not have to be expensive and they do not need to involve a lot of effort to make an impact in someone else’s life.

Politics, Science, Art & Magic


“It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need.”  

— Alan Moore


Greetings to you my friends,

I do not watch TV… but I do read and search out good news sources. Oh, and I also read the works of Alan Moore!

Lately, I’ve been thinking deeply of how I can better serve our magic community with my performances and teaching. One of the questions that keeps popping up is….

What is the role of a performing artist in our society?

Something I’ve been talking about these days is the limits of magic as an art form. Some people feel that magic performance is only for entertainment — to help people forget their worries. Others feel that theater is a place for speaking out on many immediate concerns of the day. I hear this struggle often with performers young and old. Many of my students want to add more meaning to their magic, and they want to be more that a mere trickster.

 Photo by Navarro

IS it possible to stop a revolution with magic tricks? Yes!

Many great magicians have woven important and topical themes into their magic. Legend has it that the “Father of Modern Magic,” Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, was famous for weaving theater, politics and magic together. The history books say that Robert-Houdin was responsible for quelling a revolution in Algeria with his scientific magic inventions!

For the fascinating story of how Robert-Houdin did this go here:

What makes magic “Theatrical Magic?”

When I work with students, I often ask them a few questions. Today I will ask those questions to you for your consideration!

  • What makes your show MORE than just a “normal magic show?”
  • Who are YOU on stage?
  • What kind of character do you play?
  • How is your presentation unique?
  • What is the script for each effect in your act?
  • Why should people watch your performance?
  • What is the audience’s  “take-away” from your performance?


So, where can magicians go to learn, in depth and detail, how to effectively create these important theatrical elements?

You can find new ways to present your magic here!

The Big 3: Presentation, Character & Script

These are what I call “The Big 3.”  They are the essential elements for creating magic experiences with strong and meaningful impact.

Some theatrical stories do not even have words! The Ranimaker is a piece I perform that has a “silent story.” My presentation is ritualistic, the character I play is “The Shaman,” and the script is about a man who is thirsty and conjures a rain spirit… with unexpected results! I’ve only taught this performance piece to a few of my students. Recently Jeff Christensen won top honors with his new version of The Rainmaker!

Jeff C. said, “I was very pleased to receive two gold medals for my recent performances at the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians. I won a gold medal for Mentalism and for Parlor. A huge thanks to my friend and magic teacher Jeff McBride for all of his guidance and support with my magic.”

Congratulation on your awards, Jeff, and thank you for the kind words!

Taking risks and standing out

George Carlin was a hero of mine. In junior high school, I would listen to his recording of Class Clown, and I memorized many of his comedy routines. I remember chunks of those routines to this very day! I never expected that one day I would be his opening act at THE SANDS HOTEL & CASINO in Atlantic City! What an honor it was to be in his company!

That is why people so love artists like George Carlin and other masters of political satire! Carlin was one of the rare artists who not only entertained us, he also enlightened us! The performance art of magic does not have to be political to be effective theater… as my friend Master Payne reminded me when he said, “Magic needs only to be relevant.”

Politics & Magic

For all my friends and fellow magicians that are having a hard time deciding if entertainment, art, politics and magic can fit together. I offer you the next few examples.

The Amazing Jonathan takes on Trump!

You never know what will happen at WONDERGROUND.

Last month The Amazing Jonathan took the stage and was about to perform his new “Lance Burton Dove act”, when suddenly “The Donald” rushed onto the stage and hilarity ensued. Hats off to Rudy Coby for his dead-on impersonation of Trump! Every month we have surprise celebrity guests!

The Amazing Jonathan gets “Trumped” at WONDERGROUND!

Photo by Sheryl A. Garrett

Wonderground News

December 15, 2017

7:30  – Strolling Magic with Miguel & Will


8PM –  Abigail McBride – Master of Ceremonies

Miguel Ramirez – An Expert of Reality Manipulation

Lion Fludd – Prepare yourself for “The Hustle!”

Brian Arkell – Unique Vegas Magic

Joan DuKore – Feminine Mystique!

Scott Steelfyre – “Making a point with magic!”


9PM – Strolling and close up magic

Miguel Ramirez – Mago-Deluxe

Bizzaro – Innovative Illusions

Lion Fludd – “The Hustle”- Close -Up Deceptions!

Joan DuKore – A Sensational Sorceress


10PM – Tim Wise – Master of Ceremonies

Circe! – From the TV show “Masters of Illusion”

Will Bradshaw – Theatrical Conjuring

Bizzaro – for him, normal is just a setting on the dryer

Jarol Martinez  –  “Illuminations,” the magic lamps act

PLUS:Photography by Sheryl Garrett.

Bar Magic with Zack Pattee, Scott Steelfyre, and Iam Creed. NWR Belly Dancers: Abigail, Megan & Deborah, Psychic Sideshow with Mulee Pete and Alan Scott, live art with Areeya – and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!

Now let’s all get off email and Facebook and go see a live show and support performers who not only entertain, but also enlighten!

Best wishes for the holidays!

Jeff & Abigail


Friends and Family

Dear Friends:

This month, we get to hear from our Dean, Eugene Burger.

It is December, a month of holidays and time spent with friends and families. And it is also a time when we are asked — or wish — to perform some magic for them. I have definite thoughts about these shows. They are not always easy; in fact sometimes they can be very difficult! My essay is drawn from a new book I am presently completing, which I hope will be published in 2017. The current title of the book is, Teaching Magic: Personal Reflections for Students and Teachers.

One of the grim facts of life that students of magic — especially amateur students — must recognize, is that friends and family are usually the most difficult audiences on the planet! There are exceptions, of course. If your friends and family are exceptions to this “rule,” be grateful, because you are truly blessed. For most of us, the reverse is true: while strangers can be easy audiences, friends and family can be the most difficult.

Why is this true? One reason is that friends and family feel they can interrupt us during our performances. Another reason is that sometimes they don’t want us to be the center of attention because they want to be the center of everyone’s attention.

Is there anything that can be done about this? Honestly, I am not sure that there is. At the same time, I have had some success by approaching the problem directly in the following way. After I perform my first effect (as Jeff McBride would say, “Magic First, then talk”) I say…

“You know, we can watch a performance of theatrical magic in one of two ways. The first way is with an analytical frame of mind, trying to figure out how the magic is accomplished. This is the way many people watch a magic show. Another way to experience magic is to watch it through the eyes of a child, a child who appreciates the experience of wonder. If I were given the choice, I would hope that tonight you would experience my magic in the second way, as a child appreciating the wonder in the world. Later, of course, on your way home, you might want to get analytical and try to figure it all out. Then you can be my guest. But for now, let’s relax and enjoy the magic!”

Feel free to use or adapt this little introductory speech for your own performances. Does it always work? Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. But when it does work, I find that I am having a more enjoyable time performing for my friends and family.


Creating Your Own Masterpiece

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”

 John Ruskin

Hello my friends,

Today I have a few serious questions for you…  then, the fun begins!

  • When you die, will you leave some art of yours behind for others?
  • Will YOU ever create a masterpiece in your lifetime?
  • Who is teaching you how to make your life an artwork?

I have many inspired, talented teachers who encourage me along my path. Two of my teachers are named Joshua; you will learn about them both today.

One of them is Joshua Millburn. He is a writer.

Mr. Millburn says,

Do you wish you could create something meaningful? Do you wish you had the time to work on that thing you’ve always wanted to produce—that novel, that piece of art, that passion project?

Step 1. Look at yourself in the mirror. It’s time for you to be honest with yourself. Either you’re accomplishing what you want to accomplish or you’re not. There is no in-between. If it’s the latter, then you must admit to yourself that you are the only person preventing you from pursuing your passion project. Denial is heartless; so the first step is looking in the mirror and admitting that you haven’t even scratched the surface on creating something meaningful.

Step 2. Kill your distractions. Make a list of everything getting in your way. “Surfing the net” too much? Get rid of the Internet at home. Are certain people draining all your time? Get rid of your unhealthy relationships. Are material possessions getting in the way? Get rid of your crap.

Step 3. Make time every day. None of us were born equal. We come from different backgrounds, different cultures, different socioeconomic situations. Suffice it to say, we were not all born on a level playing field. Time is the one exception. The only thing we all have in common is time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. So, get up at 3:30 a.m. if you have to. Find 30 minutes before you leave for work. Work through your lunch break. Find an hour after work. If you want it bad enough, you’ll find the time. You have the same amount of time as everyone else who has ever created a masterpiece.

Now you can read the rest of Mr. Millburn’s  16-step guide here:

My wife Abigail is a work of art!

“This is Abigail Spinner McBride Those of you who know her will recognize that she’s been conservatively rendered, without any embellishments or exaggeration. The fantastic light and mythic extravagance of a truly accurate portrait would fail in the arms of disbelief.”  —  Joshua

Joshua Levin is a fantastic artist. He inspires me with his ability to transform paint into magic! Joshua is holding a contest tribute to Abigail, who is also known as “Abbi Spinner.” You can win one of these posters by hearing what Joshua has to say,

”FREE art print to the best “Spinn” on my new drawing of Spinner (digital pencil)!  I’ll send a free print of this image to whomever writes the most captivating poetic or mythopoetic description of the Spinner. If you want to participate, just “follow” my artist’s page at, and post your description there. I’ll choose a winner on November 24th (Thanks Giving). “Spinner” was hand drawn on an iPad pro. Prints are available on 240gsm natural white archival paper with archival ink at:…/joshualev…/works/23683209-spinner

Visit Joshua Levin here:

“To be creative means to be in love with life.”

– Osho

What does it take to create your masterpiece?

I feel that in order to win the title of “master,” you must earn it from your peers. Your peers or teachers are the ones who can proclaim that one of your works is “a Masterpiece.” In my lifetime, I’ve been fortunate to have created a few magical works that my peers call masterpieces. Let me teach you what I know about creating your own masterpiece.

World Tour

December – Touring in the Carribbean

January – The Magic Castle in Hollywood

Schedule & Available dates here:

Spring Training Series (nearly sold out aready!)

New Class: Magic & Theater

I have toured the world with my own theatrical blend on magic, theater, dance, mime and mask, and I am often asked who inspires my work as an artist. I am inspired by magicians who have a deep knowledge of theater and the performing arts. These people work wonders on stage.

The name Gaston comes to mind.  Here is a photo of Gaston.


Gaston is his name.

Gaston is a miracle worker!

Gaston is a F.I.S.M. award winner.

Gaston is one of the most talented actor-magicians in the world.

Gaston is the theatrical director for many of the world’s top performers.

Gaston travels the world teaching theater arts to magicians and other performers.

Gaston can teach you many excellent techniques that will help you get to the next level.

Gaston lives in Germany.

Gaston speaks perfect English… oh, and perfect German too.

Gaston is coming to Las Vegas!

Gaston & I will be teaching a 3-day Master Class workshop in July here at the Magic & Mystery School!

Wonderground News –

We create NEW art for you every month! Come join in the celebration!

Thanks to our amazing art and theater community, every month our shows get better and better! YOU will enjoy a 3-hour immersive magical encounter with many of the top variety acts in the world, performing inches from your face!

NOVEMBER 17, 2016


Astonishing  close up /strolling magic with Will Bradshaw and Tim Wise


With your Master of Ceremonies-Tim Wise

Joe Atmore – Modern Mind Reader

Krystal Lawrence – Delightfully Twisted

The Shocker – The Loudest Magician on Earth!

Will Bradshaw – Theatrical Magic

Zamora the Torture King – His Pain = Your Pleasure


Will Bradshaw – Conjuring Dreams

The Shocker – Extreme close up magic!

Miguel Ramirez – And Now…For a touch of Elegance!


Jeff McBride is your MC

Sonny Fontana – The NEW Invisible Man

The Shocker – As seen on TV!

Rene Delgadillo – Salsa magic

Zamora the Torture King – World record breaker!

Jason Bird – Direct from “Masters of Illusion!”

AMAZING JONATHAN – a historic appearance at WONDERGROUND!

PLUS: Bar Magic with Zack Pattee, Scott Steelfyre, and Iam Creed. The New World Rhythmatism Tribal Belly Dance Troupe, Psychic Sideshow with Mulee Pete and Alan Scott, live art with Areeya and Suzanne–and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!

Photography by Sheryl Garrett.

May your life become your magical masterpiece!

Jeff McBride


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