“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Is your March coming in like a lion, or a lamb? For myself, I’m happy to have the lamb at the beginning of the month, as I like looking forward to the challenges that the lion may present at the end. But that’s me. How do you feel about it?
In today’s Museletter, we’re fortunate to have a piece by our friend and fellow faculty member (now on sabbatical), George Parker. Most of you reading this will know George, but for the few who may not: He is a magician and true wizard who works with organizations throughout Europe, using his extensive experience and training, not only as a magician but as a teacher, trainer, and corporate consultant, to create positive change in their organizations. George is always seeking out new ways of thinking, creating and being himself. We’re all fortunate to have him share his wisdom with us here. Enjoy!
by George Parker
In the late nineties I read The Greater Artful Dodges of Eddie Fields. The one thing that stood out to me was how he was able to create miracles by setting things up hours, sometimes days, ahead. He would attend a dinner party at a friend’s house. When people would ask him at the end of the evening: “Gee Eddy, could you do something?”, he would do a card trick and finish by asking: “What’s your favorite card?” “The Seven of Hearts!” He would then riffle the deck of cards and say: “Turn around. Open that jewelry box behind you. You will find the Seven of Hearts, your favorite card, in there, proving it is indeed a treasure!”
I can’t go into how he pulled this off. The Museletter is not the place for that. But I can assure you that a lot of work went into this one. When I read about his work I was floored by how much time and effort went into preparing something without being a hundred percent sure that it was even going to happen!
I think this works similarly in our day to day lives. I’ve often experienced how the truth of the famous saying ‘luck is when preparation meets opportunity’. In my case, my incurable curiosity drives my constant preparation.
I want to learn about every aspect of life. I want to explore every plane of existence. Even, and probably especially, when I resist that aspect or plane. We tend to avoid things we resist and fear. They make us feel nauseous and irritable. To me, those feelings are a sign that there’s something to discover that will help me prepare. I start moving towards my initial fears and resistance to see what’s really going on. Most of the time it’s not even ten percent of what I feared it to be. These explorations help me to prepare for the moment really nasty situations occur. When we’re unprepared, those types of situations will freak us out and we will make it worse. When we’re prepared we can turn them into memorable moments.
Even more so, exploring our fears and resistance will train us to see opportunities where others only see mundane, day-to-day, reality.
I’ll leave you with one anecdote that reminds me of this and never fails to make me smile. Most people don’t know Bob Driebeek, but he was a part-time magician and one of Fred Kaps’ best friends. In the late nineties he started to grow a beard. After a while everyone was used to it. Then, at the national convention, he appeared in the close up gala. At some point he took a handkerchief, lifted it up with his two hands before his face. When he dropped it, his beard was gone…Talk about preparation and being wayayayay ahead!
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
“It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.”
— Yogi Berra
Read the following and you will never again have to wear this label!
Today, I will share a couple of the life lessons I’ve learned while traveling the world for the past 40 years.
This month I’m in Germany and the UK touring. As a traveling performer, I meet thousands of people a year. Often I am in rather awkward situations, where I am “in charge” of the conversation, and responsible for making small talk. If you have ever been in this situation, you know it can be hell!
“Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed.”
— Robert C. Gallagher
Q. What do you say to people that you have never met to ‘break the ice?’
A. What do you love? Simply ask people about what they love! It works!
Here are a few icebreakers that I use when I am traveling.
You can read a few more at of these “ice-breakers” here http://www.conversationstarters.com/
Just remember a few of the questions above, and you will be well prepared the next time you are seated at a boring dinner party next to strangers! You can thank me later!
“The great gift of conversation lies less in displaying it ourselves than in drawing it out of others.”
— Jean de la Bruyere
As performers, we love it when audiences applaud… but what is it about the sound of applause that we love? Recently I watched this video and was surprised by the answers. You will be too!
“My advice to you concerning applause is this: Enjoy it, but never quite believe it.”
— Samuel Lover
Do you have a fear of clapping?
Here is a very good solution for magicians who are getting there act stolen these days.
Bravo to the WONDERGROUND players! We made the FRONT page of The Las Vegas Review Journal!
Great photos and story! Hats off to you, my friends, for 5 great years of magic and community!
The Buster Balloon Show is an inflatable extravaganza of vaudevillian entertainment featuring the human cartoon character that is Buster Balloon. A wild and wacky mix of side-splitting comedy, mind boggling magic, and the most amazingly twisted balloon creations you have ever seen. And did we mention The Giant 6 Foot Whoopee Cushion of Doom?
Buster Balloon, Luna Shimada, David Gabbay, Iam Creed, Jason Andrews, Tim Wise, Leo Diaz, Christian Diamond , Bizzaro, David Groves, Jungle Josh, Bijan the Magician, Polly Morfus, NWRDancers, Live art by Areeya Maria, Tarot by Morganne, body art by Suzanne Lugano, and more!
Mystery School Monday: We were the first in the world to offer online magic classes, Skype classes, and our famous “LOCKED ROOM” sessions. Learn more at:
You can become a member of our online school by registering here:
Have a fantastic February and I will see you online or on tour!
Your friend in the art of magic,
Greetings friends, fans and family!
Abbi here, writing from the House of Mystery in Las Vegas… It’s that time of year again, when pink hearts are everywhere and dark chocolate is the gift of choice. What you may not know is that, according to some accounts, Saint Valentine was also a magician. Well, in order to be a saint you have to do something spectacular, right? What Valentinus (the Roman pronunciation) did, back around the year 270, was to make a blind girl see — a judge’s daughter, in fact.
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in one direction… It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Laying on of hands, miraculous healing and magical restorations of lost function have become commonplace in some of the tent-revival circuits. Anyone who has seen the movie Leap of Faith (from the early 90s, with Steve Martin) will be familiar with some of the methods used to create these “miracles.” Whether Valentinus used a secret method or not is up for discussion….
But, there is something to be said for the power of love to heal, the magic of a mother’s kiss on a booboo to stop pain, the comfort one receives from a gentle hug. This intersection of healing, magic and medicine is one we are looking forward to exploring more of in our upcoming conference Magic and Medicine. There are four spots still open, if you’d like to come explore with us.
“Love is a balm that contains the power of healing and of renewing and of everlasting life within its effulgent essence. Love is the great refiner and beautifier. Love is more! Love is the key to every door. It is the creative reality behind every righteous desire and every ardent hope. Love is the cohesive power of the universe as it binds together atoms and substance. It holds families together-the world and the entire universe. If love were withdrawn all things would fall apart and disintegrate. When a human being eliminates love from his life he too begins to fall apart. Love is not only eternal but it is the most desirable element to possess.”
— Annalee Scarin
If you love something, you give it your attention, and that which we give our attention to, becomes that which we love. The more energy we invest in something, the more we care about it… which is why we need to be mindful about where we spend the limited amounts of time that we have. Jeff and I make a conscious choice each day to spend time together… even if he’s away on tour, we spend time together on Skype. One of our practices is to hug each other for the time it takes to have three deep and gentle breaths together— long enough to feel our connection. We’re also big into eye-gazing. Check out a book called Rumi: Gazing at the Beloved: The Radical Practice of Beholding the Divine by Will Johnson if you’re ready to go deep with your beloved.
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
Wishing you all the love in the world,
“Imitation is the sincerest form of show business.”
— Roseanne Barr
America’s Got Talent-style shows all over the world seem to be supporting the copying of original magic acts. Take look at this shocking video from Turkey’s Got Talent. When you watch this “side-by side” video ask yourself, “Is this originality or theft?”
Are the Turkish magicians Kivanc and Burak copying the magic from Las Vegas headliners Jeff McBride, Mac King, David Copperfield and Penn & Teller? Did they copy? Watch the video and YOU be the judge!
What do you think: Is this kind of behavior killing our art?
Who is at fault? Is it the TV station? The performers? Some say these guys are just puppets of the TV producers who ‘have to’ copy other artists to stay on the TV show. Others say that they just don’t know it is wrong to copy! How can we help people like this learn that this is not OK? I feel that clear communication might help prevent this sort of behavior.
Dear Copy Cat Acts,
As a magic teacher, I wish to educate artists on how to protect their original material. I also want other performers to know that it is not ethical to copy other artists’ work without permission or agreements.
Young artists can prevent these situations from happening if they are well educated in the history of magic and well connected to the magic community. Here are three nuggets of wisdom for our students of the magical arts:
“Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.”
— Marva Collins
“No man was ever great by imitation.”
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”
— Herman Melville
Please look deep within yourself. Good things take time, energy and patience to grow. If you nurture your creativity, you will develop your own style and original work. If you cannot create your own original work, you can ask for permission before you decide to take other people’s material, art, or ideas and put them in your show. Often, other artists will help you with your projects. Personally, I really enjoy helping young magicians make good choices when it comes to performing on TV. A few simple emails or a phone call to the originators would have prevented a situation like this from happening. Let us all learn from this, and grow in our understanding of each other and our magical art.
Yours in magical community,
Jeff McBride, founder of The McBride Magic & Mystery School
Raise the Bar – Real World Restaurant and Bar Magic
with Doc Eason and Jeff McBride
This is a rare opportunity to learn from the best in the business about the secrets of how to create a career doing what you love. Learn the secrets of success from the world’s most famous “Bar Magician,” Doc Eason, and one of the world’s great magic teachers, Jeff McBride. 2 days of workshops and personal training with Jeff and Doc.
We will go to The Olive where Jeff hosts his Wonderground night club experience. Inside this venue, in real world conditions, you will see Doc in action and also get a chance to have your magic seen and receive feedback from the pros! To join us just go here: http://www.magicalwisdom.com/events#471
I will be teaching with Gaston in Germany and then will perform and teach at the Blackpool Convention in the U.K. I will be having 4 hour workshops in both countries, so please join me for the fun and magic!
Send us an email:
Germany contact Gaston: email@example.com
Blackpool UK go here: http://www.blackpoolmagic.com/convention-2014/
Or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know you can get free magic lessons every day at www.mcbridemagic.tv?
I’ve also been working with students via SKYPE. Learn more about that here:
Your invitation to the BIGGEST magic party in Las Vegas!
Thursday January 16th, 2014
3 totally new and different shows
Our headliners this month are Kyle and Mistie Knight in a rare Las Vegas appearance. Here’s a sample: http://tinyurl.com/lw5s7g7
Circe Martinez – from Cuba – returns from her award winning shows in China with her amazing dove act, “Wings and Dreams.” You can see highlights here http://tinyurl.com/koo5pzw
For a full list of the line-up go to www.vegaswonderground.com
Please join us soon for one of our exciting events: online or in person!
See you in Vegas or on tour!