“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that many people enter into a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.”
Our guest columnist this month is our good friend and the Associate Dean of the Magic & Mystery School, Dr. Larry Hass. I know you’ll enjoy what follows!
From Lawrence Hass, Ph.D.
A Fundamental Secret
In my early years as a performer, I would focus on these kinds of things before a show:
—Are my props set?
—Are my pockets loaded?
—How full is the House?
—Are my hands and voice warmed up?
—Is the “mic” going to work?
—What can I do about these “butterflies”?
Obviously, they are all important. But somewhere along the line I woke up to the fact that there was something much better to focus on backstage. I realized a deep truth about performing that I want to share with you this month:
The fundamental business of every magic show is relationship building.
I can’t think of a better topic for this February Museletter. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, this is a time when we focus attention on the relationships in our lives. The classic image on the Rider-Smith Two of Cups expresses the spirit of the season: contact, mutual recognition, health (the caduceus), and heart (notice the shapes at the top of the caduceus and between the cups).
These four qualities are essential in our personal relationships, but what I woke up to many years ago was that some version of them are required for our audience relationships. With these qualities in mind, here are the kinds of questions I now ask myself before a show.
Contact: How will I greet the audience? Will I remember to look people in the eyes? Will I include the entire audience with my gaze? Will I smile and convey that I am delighted to be with them? Of course, more dramatic or theatrical openings are often desirable, but in any show (unlike an act) there will be a time and a place for contact. What will be the quality of my contact, whenever it happens?
Mutual Recognition: Will I really see and engage individuals in the audience or only perceive a wall of faces? Am I trapped in stock lines that feel inauthentic? Will I let others “shine”, or will it all be about me all the time? Do I think of the encounter as a contest or battle of wits, for applause, for control? Will I recognize what this particular audience as a whole is giving me so I can “dial things up or down” as needed?
Health: Is the show I am planning to deliver an enriching one? Will the audience members leave feeling charged, inspired, touched, thoughtful, astonished? Or will they be relatively bored, disaffected, underwhelmed? Would the producer hire me again? Would other people in the audience feel like they want to share me with their family, friends, clients, customers, co-workers, or attendees? As I have learned from Eugene Burger, “Work must make work.” If my shows aren’t generating more shows, there might be something unhealthy going on.
Heart: Where is the heart in my show? So much magic and mentalism focuses on intellect: “give me a number,” “think of a card,” “remember the conditions,” “follow the procedure,” “consider this idea.” That’s fine, but laypeople go to art and pay for art because it activates deep feelings and allows for their exploration. So which piece or pieces in my show perform this function? Also, will I have the courage to share my heart as I create and perform, or will I hide it?
In short, what I realized years ago was that there won’t be much of a magic show at all unless I work consciously before the show, and once I take the stage to create and build an excellent relationship with the people who are there. That’s the bedrock condition, the fundamental “business” that allows everything else to flow: applause, astonishment, delight . . . and further performing opportunities!
“Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”
Yes, it is cold all over the world…. We’re in the dead of winter! Even in Las Vegas, it is freezing!
It is time to catch fire my friends!
This new year holds unlimited potential.
What steps will you take this year to burn brighter than ever before?
If any of your plans include Las Vegas this year, please let us help plan your visit here in the most magical city on earth! This year we are hosting new classes for you, so take a look at what we are offering here: http://www.magicalwisdom.com
I was recently inspired to read an essay by writer Stacia Pierce, who writes….
THE BENEFITS OF TAKING RISKS.
I took a risk a few weeks ago by offering my professional performance pieces to a few select students. This was a major step in my evolution. Read the details here: http://www.magicalwisdom.com/masterpieces
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —H.J. Brown
OK, it is time to “walk my talk.” I did it…I feared it for all my life, but then I took the risk! Just a few days ago I did something I’d never dared before. I put on my old whiteface character and had him talk on stage. The audience loved it! That was a major breakthrough for me. You see, I wore the whiteface for many years. It was an excuse not to have to talk on stage. It gave me a “reason not to push my comfort zone.” But I did it. It took 30 years..but I did it! You can too, and I encourage you and empower you to make some radical changes this year….I’ll be happy to help you take the leap!
McBride World Tour News
Jeff McBride Starring on Masters of Illusion, Live & on TV
I’m incredibly happy these days. I’ve been performing live with Masters of Illusion on tour at Harrah’s and on the live TV show later this month. The good news is that I’ll be filming more segments for this next season, as well as touring internationally with this amazing show.
See my performance on the CW network January 30th
Maxwell Blade – Rock Star of Magic!
Maxwell burns up the stage! He has his own show in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
He has the longest running magic show in the territory, and he just opened a museum of curiosities!
And you thought James Brown was the hardest working man in show biz?
Just take a look at Maxwell’s website to see his impressive magical creations: http://www.maxwellblade.com
Maxwell will be headlining this month’s WONDERGROUND!
The Biggest Magic Party in Las Vegas! – January 15th, all info at www.vegaswonderground.com
7pm – Michael Mirth will be strolling and doing Psychic readings
8pm – The Comedy stage show
RandiLyn – Magic with a touch of bondage!
Maxwell Blade- Rock n Roll Magic
Joan Dukore- Smart,Classy & Sassy
9pm – The Diamond Parlor
Harrison Lampert – Close up with a humorous touch
Joan Dukore – Even more Smart, Classy and Sassy
RJ Owens – The man with the best job in the World!
10pm – Stage Extravaganza
Arian Black – Sensual Sorcery
Tim Wise – Man on Fire!
Steve Owens – Award-winning Manipulation
Maxwell Blade – The Rock Star of Magic Rocks the stage
Live DJ, Belly Dancers, and The Psychic Sideshow!
I’ll see you on TV January 30th on the CW network’s Masters of Illusion!
Check my tour schedule for shows near you!
Catch on fire and stay warm my friends,
“I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.”
— Coleman Cox
A German woodcut depicting The Saw, published in 1474.
Also the cover photo of Eugene Burger’s Strange Ceremonies (Kaufman and Greenberg, 1991).
2014 was a year of transition for most of the people in my life, myself included. We’re not talking getting a new job or moving down the street. These were major changes in life’s direction.
To make room for new things, old habits and activities have to be sent to the chopping block (execute: to put to death). I learned the hard way this last year that the path to success is dependent on the level of success you’re trying to achieve. What gets us to one level isn’t sufficient to get us to the next.
Change isn’t easy. We work hard to achieve stability in our lives. The idea of quitting behaviors that allowed us to achieve that stability is terrifying. But stability is always temporary. You can either wait for the world around you to change, and then try to catch up, or you can choose to take control of the future and affect the change yourself.
For those who have chosen to walk a new path, 2015 will also be about execution, but following the second definition (execute: to carry out fully, put completely into effect; to do what is required; to make or produce).
The good news is that success is achieved primarily through simple, mundane tasks. Unfortunately, that’s also the bad news. Since we don’t get any instant gratification out of these tasks, we tend to forget how important they are and let them slip. Success can be glamorous, but the path to get there is filled with pretty boring stuff.
[If you want to dig deeper into this idea, I highly suggest The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson. Thank You to my dear friend, corporate speaker Heather Rogers, for sending me a copy.]
For me, 2015 is about giving back and writing in a new language. Over the past 25 years I’ve penned tens of thousands of “sentences” in Assembly, Fortran, C, C++, Java, Perl and PHP (programming languages for you non-techies).
Now I’m switching to English.
After building and operating a successful one-person company, I’m ready to start teaching others how to do it. I’ll be focusing a lot on automation. To me, the whole point of software is to intelligently automate those mundane tasks that lead to success. This frees us up to dream even bigger dreams and allow more time for the things that are really important (friends, family, health, travel, _________ [fill in your own]).
To your future,
P.S. If you want to follow me on this journey, I’ll be posting regularly on my blog and sharing additional ideas, both mine and those of my business colleagues and mentors, on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
Greetings Magical friends,
All is well in Las Vegas. As we look towards the holidays, it reminds me how much Santa depends on his helpers to make dreams come true.
My question to you this season is who are your helpers making your dreams come true?
Who is on your team?
You are not in this alone. You have our help to get you to the next level of excellence! Some say, “It takes a village.” At Mystery School we have evolved a “Dream Team” of magical people to help empower our goals and your goals too!
“Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.”
Our Expanding Universe….New Additions to Our Dream Team
Over the years you have met many of our team in these Muse letter pages. Now, I introduce you to our newest team members…..team members who have stepped up this year to add new dimensions to our expanding circle of magic.
Jay Fortune: Secret Agent
One of the UK’s funniest comedy magicians, Jay is also a pioneer of magic media. His Radio Magic ran for years in the UK, and now he brings his many years of experience to our Mystery School seminars, shows and webcasts.
Scott Steelfyre: Video Production
One of the most versatile and knowledgeable magicians I have ever met, Scott has high touch skills in stage magic and knife throwing as well as high tech skills in computer design and electronics. He is the video mage at WONDERGROUND and he also helps with shooting and editing many of our new school videos.
Simone Marron: Social Coordinator
One of the most passionate magic lovers I know, Simone is known worldwide as a woman who attends more magic events than nearly anyone in the world! Simone has a keen interest in performing mentalism and is known and loved throughout our international magic community. Her skills include preparing these monthly Muse Letters as well as planning the social events for our Mystery School celebrations.
Bill Cook: Web-TV host & Stage Assistant
Famous for his role in the feature documentary “Make Believe,” you have seen him as The Mystery School Monday anchorman, and as my onstage assistant. Bill is currently one of the top magicians in Chicago and has plans to open an office in Hollywood.
Sheryl Garrett: Photographer of Magicians
Her father Marvin was an explorer, magician and pilot. His adventurous spirit lives on in his talented daughter. You can see Sheryl in action at WONDERGROUND each month. You can contact her if you need on-location shoots or promotional materials.
Let us help you build your team!
I’ve learned a lot about team building from my friend and manager, Tobias Beckwith. When I was first starting, Tobias guided me to the right printers, illusion consultants, costumers, sound editors and more– in short, all the various people and artists that I needed to generate a final product that was professional and polished. This is the type of work we do at our Mystery School. We help people like you to build skills and business, and we become part of your team, to help guide you to make the right artistic and business decisions to strengthen your own career.
We are always planning new events to invite you to. Take a look at some of our upcoming seminars and offerings here:
Big News at Mystery School
My recent post here and on Facebook got lots of attention and comments worldwide. As you know, I’ve been crafting a new way to teach magic.
THE MCBRIDE MAGICAL MASTERPIECE SERIES
This new series is a step forward for our School, and also a step backwards in time… to a time when the “real” professional secrets of magic were passed down from master to student. As Eugene Burger told me years ago, the real secrets are not in the books or on the DVDs, but are passed from master to apprentice… In whispers.
Here is the next step- http://www.magicalwisdom.com/masterpieces
WONDERGROUND NEWS—Next show December 18
It’s the biggest magic party in Las Vegas, and you are invited!! 3 shows, all different, starting at 8pm. Get there early to get a seat.
We are now celebrating going into our sixth year at THE OLIVE. Join Tim Wise, Christian Diamond and the lovely Abigail, with a host of NEW ACTS! For more information:
MASTERS OF ILLUSION– on tour at Harrahs, San Diego
See you in San Diego. One night only, and the night is January 9th. I’ll bring the best of my Vegas show to you then! Also on the bill that evening: Michael Grandinetti and Ed Alonzo.
Wishing you a magical holiday season, from all of us at The McBride Magic & Mystery School,
Jeff, Abbi and the “Dream Team”