Do What You Love

“Do what you love; you’ll be better at it. It sounds pretty simple, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get this one right away.”

LL Cool J

Mat Franco is a perfect example of a man who loves sharing magic. Mat is the winner of America’s Got Talent. He shared his wisdom with our students at the most recent Master Class. Mat spoke about the importance of LOVING his work and his ability to work “under any conditions.” Mat told many stories of how he pulled off shows under impossibly bad conditions. All of these “shows from hell” gave him the resilience to handle venues and audiences anywhere! He even pulled off a recent Las Vegas show after the computer system locked down… he went on with the show– with no lights, sound or tech, and killed it! The audience LOVED it!

photo credit : Sheryl Ann Garrett – Photographer of Magicians

“Attending Mystery School was the coolest thing I ever did!”

-Mat Franco- Winner of America’s Got Talent

Thank you Mat, for sharing your love of magic with our class!

Mat is the star of his very own Las Vegas show, MAGIC RE-INVENTED NIGHTLY at the LINQ Hotel on the Strip. Go see his excellent show!

Are you thriving or starving?

Did you know that Mystery School has given out over $40,000.00 in the past few years to magic students in need? We offer financial help to those in need of a good magic education. Read about our scholarship programs–we hope to help YOU.

Do what you LOVE! Even if it is not the best, it will get better! A MUST SEE VIDEO

When you are attempting to make new work, sometimes the vision does not match the results.

Many students get discouraged… but fear not! Ira Glass explains WHY we need to be patient with ourselves.


Last month’s Muse-letter stirred many to share their “Favorite Excuse.”

If your excuse is, “I’m too old to get into this magic business,” you must watch this 80 year old performer and listen to his story!  Watch this video and you can see why “80 is the new sexy!”

Perhaps Eugene will start modeling? Hey, it could happen!

Escaping the Ordinary: This girl LOVES danger!

“This girl scares even me; she braves challenges even I wouldn’t dare to do.”

-Dixie Dooley

Las Vegas’ FIRST and ONLY True Escape Show

Starring the protégé and successor to Master Mystifier Dixie Dooley, Escape Artist Randilyn is Las Vegas’ youngest performer and newest star. Performing some of Houdini’s classics, as well as a few new surprises — and utilizing some of the Master’s best-kept secret techniques — “Liberations” is an interactive show that combines fun, suspense, and hardcore skills.

The show is rumored to be so dangerous that its producer has only allowed performances to take place once per week: Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. in the Majestik Theater at the Royal Resort Hotel and Casino. 702-633-6278

“Randilyn is an eloquent and skilled performer who treats audiences to exciting and clever feats beyond the ordinary.”

— Anastasia Synn & Amazing Johnathan

“Randilyn is more than an  accomplished Escapologist… She reminds us that we can all escape  our limitations.”

— Jeff McBride

Your invitation to the BIGGEST magic party in Las Vegas.

WONDERGROUND- Thursday September 15th

photo credit : Sheryl Ann Garrett – Photographer of Magicians

Last month we BROKE HOUSE RECORDS for attendance! Yet we still had room for everyone to sit, mix and mingle! THIS month we are at it again! New lights, sounds and new acts!

 7:30 pm Strolling magic with August Meyer, Juan Pablo and Miguel, Scott Brown as Allen Scott will do tarot readings in the “art area” before and after the CLOSE UP 9 pm shows

Ian Galloway – A Magical Fantasy with Feathers!

Tim Shegitz – Twisted Comedy Magic

Gary Norsigian – The Las Vegas Magic Man

Jeff McBride – Something so old it is new!

Kris Benz – Mystery in Motion

Chris Randall – The Las Vegas Kid

 9:00 pm Christian Doleshall is your host

Strolling magic with our experts

Gary Norsigian

Kris Bentz

Chris Randall

August Meyer

10:00 pm Jeff McBride is your Host

Luna Shimada – Lady of the Mystic Arts

Ian Galloway – Light Magic

Dixie Dooley presents – Randilyn the next Generation for Liberation

Chris Randall – Competition act

Circe – Mistress of Illusion

Plus! Cabernet Dance Company!! Sue Name Sake, Nikki Girl, and Mylissa, with Natalie showing her amazing Dance on Goblets! Bar Magic: Zack Pattee, Scott Steelfyre, Iam Creed, Corey Rubino, Adriel Jacobs, Randilyn, Psychic Sideshow with Mulee Pete, Alan Scott, live art with Areeya and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!


Did you know that I have gone where NO magician had gone before!

A few rare photos for all of you STAR TREK fans who are celebrating 50 years of the show.

Meet my character Joran Belar from STAR TREK DS9 a few years back. This episode was written especially for me and my mask work! How cool is THAT?!

Watch the trailer:

Many people are updating their profile photo with STAR TREK frames. Time travel does make me look a bit younger–it does that to a man! How many of you saw this episode?

See you in Vegas, on tour or online!


From Tobias:

Wow… that’s a lot of material! Let me just chime in to let you know we still have a couple of spots available in our “Money is the Best Applause” sessions Oct. 14-16. There will be pre-class & post-class work to do in connection with this class, as there is just too much material to get through in the three days we’re together. During that time, we’ll have a shoot with famed photographer Richard Faverty, a showing of up to 5 minutes of your best material for commentary by Jeff McBride on making it more commercially viable, tons of work on how to define your market and your product, then how to make the best use of that work to get the word out and get yourself booked solid!

As many of you know, I’ve advised Jeff McBride & Marco Tempest for nearly 30 years, and booked many millions of dollars in gigs for them during that time. This is a “no holds barred” weekend, where students are encouraged to ask anything, and get any kind of help that Jeff and I have to offer. I hope to see you there!

Till next month, then!

Best to all.

Tobias Beckwith

September 2016 – Magic & Mystery School Events

12 Teaching Magic – Larry Hass Hosts
19 Teaching Magic – Bill Cook Hosts
26 Teaching Magic – Eugene Burger Hosts
September 2016 – Jeff McBride Calendar
16 Wonderground
19-30 *Cruising – Holland America – Alaska to Hawaii

Will, Love & Imagination

Have you signed up for our grand celebration event, at Magic & Meaning 2016? It’s the 25th Anniversary of the Magic & Mystery School, and It only comes once. If you’re not signed up yet, now’s the time. Spots are nearly gone, so click here to sign up now!

“Magic is no more than the art of employing consciously invisible means to produce visible effects. Will, love, and imagination are magic powers that everyone possesses; and whoever knows how to develop them to their fullest extent is a magician. Magic has but one dogma, namely, that the seen is the measure of the unseen.”

                  — W. Somerset Maugham

Let’s break it down.

“Magic is no more than the art…”

Art is the “application of human creative skill and imagination…”

The creative skill part is what we practice, over and over, on a regular basis, so that the difficult appears easy, so that muscle memory takes over, and we don’t have to worry about thinking killing our magic.  The imagination part is all connected to what makes our magic unique.  It’s not just another dollar bill in an impossible location, but there is something unique about it, something that we have dreamed up that makes it unlike anything ever seen before.

Visible Invisible

“consciously invisible means to produce visible effects.”

I think this is all about making choices, conscious choices that are planned, prepared and practiced in order to create something that is seen by someone else, who has no knowledge of the planning, preparation and practice that has gone in. The participant is able to receive the gift of momentary astonishment because of the time and effort the magician has put in.

“Will, love, and imagination are magic powers that everyone possesses…”

Ah, three of my favorite things.  Will is all about the power of choice; it’s no accident that the prime words of the Magician in the tarot are “I Will.”  Love is the true expression of the heart, whether it is toward another living being, an experience, or a thing. Imagination,  “the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images, or concepts of external objects, not present to the senses.”  To me, imagination is real magic.  We all have all three of these at our disposal.

“whoever knows how to develop them…”

How to Develop the Will

Many years ago, I learned of a method to develop the Will, which, according to the magician I learned it from, was created by Alice Bailey. You go into your bedroom.  You stand on a chair for ten minutes.  You do this every single day for a month. You tell no one you’re doing it.  Simple—but not easy.

How to Develop Love

To me, this is both about love for self, and love for others.  Here’s what you do.  Put your right hand palm over your heart.  Place your left hand directly over your right hand.  Breathe, slowly and deeply.  Bring to mind someone, someplace, something you really, really love.  Breathe in and think of that person.  Breathe out and imagine sending that love through your hands, into your own heart.  Breathe in, see them, and in your mind say “I love you.”  Breathe out and send that love to your heart.  Loving your own dear heart is the way to love all else.

How to Develop Imagination

Start here:  Shakti Gawain’s book, Creative Visualization.

Once you’ve read it, email me, and let me know what you think, and how what you think, is changing.  =)

“…to their fullest extent is a magician.”

If you engage in these practices, and truly develop these three: will, love and and imagination, then you really can manifest change, according to your Will, in the world around you.  You really can awaken consciousness in others (and isn’t that really what the Magician archetype is all about?).

“Magic has but one dogma…”

Dogma: a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.

We, magicians, who by our nature make the art of deception our craft and trade, all hold this truth.  Look, we all agree.  Regardless of political viewpoint, or thoughts on climate change, or any number of other topics that could divide us, we come together to agree that:

“the seen is the measure of the unseen.”

And there is so much that is unseen.  Not just the hours of practice and preparation, but the Great Mystery itself.  That which can only be hinted at in words, and in glimpses through the telescope.  Magic connects us with the mysterious, the unseen, the potential of creativity.

Mmmm.  I love that quote.

With love from your Sister of Mystery,



What is Your Big Excuse?

Excuses: Are They “Good” or are they “Bad?”

We all make excuses. I remember in elementary school, making up excuses to get me off the hook for not doing my homework. Magic was usually the reason that I did not do my homework. I was too immersed in my passion to toil over meaningless book reports…. My grades may have suffered, but my magic got better!

Magic was a GREAT excuse!

“The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right. Which one are you?”

Henry Ford

What is your excuse?

I hear the following “cop-outs” almost on a daily basis.  Which one do YOU use the most?

  • I can’t do magic because–My hands are too small.
  • I can’t do magic because–I don’t have the time to practice.
  • I can’t do magic because–I started too late in life.
  • I can’t do magic because–I don’t have the skill.
  • I can’t do magic because–I don’t have the patience.
  • I can’t attend Mystery School–I don’t have the money.
  • I can’t come to a magic class–My job is in the way.
  • I can’t watch  Night Mystery School–I can’t stay up late.
  • I can’t read all those magic books–I learn better from video.

No Excuses!

Mahdi Gilbert amazed the world with his passion for magic. He COULD have come up with MANY excuses for NOT following his passion.

Thank you Penn & Teller for hosting this man on your show FOOL US. Now the magic world has a new hero! Just look at this amazing man doing what he loves. Mahdi inspires all of us to move beyond our limitations.

Are there “Good” Excuses?”


  • Following your bliss is a GREAT excuse for making more time for your magic.
  • Focusing on your passion just might make you take time off from your day job.
  • Focusing on your magic is a GREAT excuse for watching less TV!
  • Taking a magic class in Vegas is a GREAT excuse for taking a ‘work-study vacation!”

Hard questions, easy answers!

Do you get people asking these questions?

“What do you REALLY want from your life?”

“Are you happy with your life?”

“Are you doing what you REALLY want to do in life?”

“What is next for you?”

Wow! I had to sit down to think and write about this for a while. I made a list of what I feel are the most important things in my life. First, I have a wonderful relationship with my wife Abigail. That is the most important part of my life and what I focus on the most. We run a Las Vegas magic show. Our magic school and lovely home are open to friends and students. We have many dear friends and we are in good health… we are very blessed. So what do we focus on NOW?  Now it is time for us to help others live THEIR life’s dream! I am grateful for the great team we have here at the school. We are all here to help and serve YOU!

Scholarships to Empower Your Magic Dream!

Larry Hass helped us develop our scholarship program to help those of you with the passion, but who need some financial help to take advantage of one of our classes. We don’t want that to be an excuse that prevents you from following your magic dream.

Take a look and see how we can help you!

A hint: watch this to the end. It really rocks!

Life Lessons from the Masters

The following 2 great artists never let their challenges get in the way of their passion and vision! Matthew Buchinger was born in Germany without hands or lower legs. He was 29 inches tall. In the 1700’s he became a world famous magician and artist! He toured Europe to entertain kings and aristocrats with amazing feats of physical dexterity, and was known as the “Little Man from Nuremberg.”  Buchinger was married 4 times and had at least 14 children (by eight women). He also is rumored to have had children by as many as 70 mistresses… Go Matthew!

DID HE MAKE EXCUSES? No he was too busy living his dream!

Despite his having small, finlike appendages for hands, his art engravings were incredibly detailed. Despite his handicap, Buchinger was an accomplished magician, causing balls to disappear from under cups, and birds to appear from nowhere. He was reported to be unbeatable at cards and would dazzle audiences with his amazing displays of magic.

The Maestro of Magic

René Lavand was a magician from Argentina. René lost a hand in a car crash at age 9, and taught himself how to perform exquisite sleight-of-hand magic, utilizing only one arm. I had the great pleasure of sharing time and magic with Mr Lavand. He inspires all of us to move beyond our limitations, and towards mastery.

Historic Passion for Life!

25 years ago I was performing in Barcelona at the Olympic Arts Festival, when the following incident took place. This amazing story touched the hearts of millions. Derek Redmond has a magical story to tell you. He will be remembered for his unstoppable passion for running.

Be inspired by this great story.


I hope you enjoyed this month’s McBride Muse Letter. It is a joy to explore these topics with you. We get great pleasure out of sharing our inspiration and magic with you. Please let us know when you come out to Las Vegas. Abigail and I will roll out the red carpet for you!

Yours in  the magic of life,

Jeff and Abigail

p.s. we are having a party…

Your Invitation to Mystery: The Biggest Magic Party in Las Vegas—WONDERGROUND!

photo credit : Sheryl Ann Garrett – Photographer of Magicians

Wonderground News—Meet the Magic Live Mystery Guests!

Thursday August 18th is the next WONDERGROUND. Get to the Olive early to get a good seat!

7:30 PM – Christian Diamond is your host

Strolling Magic with Miguel and Juan Pablo

Allen Scott & Mulee Pete offer Tarot Readings


8:00 PM – Jeff McBride MC

Joe Givan and Carol Massie – DreamMasterz

Jhony the Joker! – Magic with Mystery

Kevin Hall — Towers of Teller

Bill Cook – Magic in a Bottle!

Nathan Phan – From TV’s Wizard Wars

BIZZARO – Master of Demented Delusion


9:00 PM – Christian Diamond MC

Nathan Phan – A Man with Magical Plans for his Fans

Bizzaro – For him “Normal is just a setting on the dryer!”

Jeff McBride – Always a wonder to remember!

Tim Wise & Zach at the WONDERBAR


10:00 – Jeff McBride MC

Bill Cook – “The Competition Act!”

Michael Trixx – ABRA-cadab-ROCK!

Natalie and Eli – Quick Change Artistry

Nathan Phan – Magic, Music, and Mayhem

Ryan Stock and Amber Lynn – Rising Stars of the Bizarre!


PLUS: Bar Magic: Zack Pattee, Scott Steelfyre, Iam Creed, The NWR-Tribal Belly Dance Troupe, Mystic Sideshow with Mulee Pete, Alan Scott, live art with Areeya and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!

Learning From Other Disciplines

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

–Carl  Frederick Buechner

Dear Friends:

Tobias here, writing from my Wizard’s Corner!

Jeff, Larry and I have just returned from the National Speakers Association’s Influence conference in Phoenix. Jeff’s mainstage performance opened the first general session with a standing ovation response. We got to present a miniature version of our Magic for Speakers and Presenters workshop, make some new friends, and to attend several of the sessions at the convention. The performance and presentation went very well, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of those who attended at our class for speakers & magicians in November.

We also got to see a number of magician friends who were attending. Pretty much universally, they asked us “not to tell everyone” they were there—or that they are making quite a good living doing magic as speakers. I expect they’re having too much fun, making too much money, and really don’t want too much competition from other magicians! We’re going ahead with the class in November, anyway. It’s not just for magicians who want to learn how to build and deliver great talks using their magic, but for people already doing speaking who want to learn our “magicians’ secrets” for doing better presentations.  As those of you who have attended any of our classes know, “magicians’ secrets” include a lot more than just how to do various tricks.

I’m a rank beginner in this world of professional public speakers, and therefore something of an outsider. I think that can actually be an advantage. As a beginner, I get to see the whole experience with the eyes of an outsider, and take different insights away with me. Here are some that I think you might enjoy:

  1. The true “stars” of the public speaking world are not primarily public speakers. The general session on the opening night featured a magician, a stand-up comedian, and an impressionist–and each one won a standing ovation from the crowd! So: If you really want to make it in the world of professional speaking, perhaps you need to succeed in some other area first. This reinforces one of the big principles in my book, The Wizard’s Way to Powerful Presentations: Every great talk has to succeed on at least two different levels: first, as a sale (more on that later), and second, as a great show. The “stars” of that first night’s presentation were each great entertainers.
  2. In the breakout sessions I attended, one presenter after another repeated, “It’s not enough just to be entertaining. You must be an expert. You must have an interesting experience to relate. You must have a point of view, if you want to succeed in this business.” I’ve seen too many magicians who decide they’ll move into “motivational speaking,” but really have no original thoughts or insights to offer.

So: I know that most of you don’t want to become speakers, and may not be interested in the world of speakers. Still… in the past couple of weeks we’ve endured (or loved, depending on your proclivities) two national political conventions, with the chance to view many and varied speeches before large crowds–and those speeches varied widely in terms of their purpose, content and entertainment value. I generally dislike almost everything about politics—but if you can step back for a moment and look at the whole thing as a big game, with lessons to be learned for all—a campaign is certainly a great time to observe what makes a great talk, and what doesn’t. Not only that, but with this country as polarized as it is, it’s fascinating to observe that the things which make a great talk for one side, with their perspectives, make for a terrible talk for the other, with theirs.

What, you may be wondering, is the relevance of all this when it comes to magic, magicians and those who love magic?

I think it is extremely relevant. A talk is a presentation, and so is a magic show. What makes one great, probably applies to the other. Just as a talk needs to have a clear purpose—a thing that it is selling (I told you we would come back to that)—so does a show. Just as a talk must have a good through-line with a clear beginning, middle and end, so does a good magic show. Just as any good speaker knows, their talk must take facts and logic and wrap them in stories and experiences involving their audiences—so must a magical performer make their tricks into a show that will actually move an audience and be remembered.

So, over the coming weeks and months, I hope you’ll take some time and make an attempt to step out of the fray; that emotional cauldron that is our political system, and watch talks by each of the candidates before various audiences. They each have distinctive styles and messages. Each commands audiences in a different way. As performers, what can you learn from each of them?

Remember, one of the great principles of true wizards—those who make a larger “dent in the universe” than others– are those with the ability to view any situation from multiple perspectives. When you can view even a highly emotional event like a political speech from many different points of view, there is much to learn. For most people, the campaign is a time to align with one candidate or the other, and they limit their experience of the campaign to doing that. There is, however, so much more to be learned by observing the process with different mindsets. Observe not just what each candidate has to say, but how they appeal to their particular audiences. What kind of stories does each one tell? What sort of experiences do their talks provide for the audience in attendance? Are the talks calculated just to affect the audience in front of the speaker, or are they also consciously tailored for the opponent’s audience, to give a different experience? Have they thought to make them effective not only for the live audience, but also for the one watching on video?

In this day of YouTube and on-demand video feeds of all kinds, it’s easy to watch the same speech, or parts of that speech, several times. I think it might pay to do that, and to consciously try and see the talk from a different point of view each time you watch it. First, just watch it as yourself. Then try and see it as someone from the opposite political camp would. Then as if you were a director, hired to help the candidate better reach his or her audience, perhaps a fourth time through. You’ll want to watch as though you were a viewer living in Europe or elsewhere.

This is something I do with a magician’s performance when I’m directing. I generally don’t fully “get” a performance until I’ve seen it at least twice… and my notions of how to improve it often don’t fully kick in until two or three days of rehearsals and viewings. It is only when I’ve had a chance to fully understand what is going on in the performance on several different levels that it becomes clear how we can best change that performance in order to improve it. Often, we don’t know until we’ve seen that particular performance in front of several different audiences.

I hope I’ve made the case that there is much we can learn from speakers—our fellow performers, in many ways. I also hope you’ll join us for one of our upcoming events, whether that be the 7-day Master Class in August (1 slot left), for our new class on business and marketing for magicians, called Money is the Best Applause, or this year’s Magic & Meaning Conference celebrating 25 years with our Dean, Eugene Burger, and with keynote by our good friend Bob Fitch–or any of the other rapidly approaching events here at the McBride Magic & Mystery School. Oh… and, especially, do consider Magic for Speakers & Presenters, which is slated for early November. Whether you’re a magician looking to add public speaking to your repertoire, or already a speaker and you want to learn some magician’s secrets (including tricks!) that will enhance all your future talks, it promises to be a great way to expand your current abilities!

A couple of quick reminders before I go: Our subject on Mystery School Mondays this month is “Paper Prestidigitation,” and our opening, all free episode is Monday night, August 1, on Also: if you know someone else who would enjoy this Museletter, please let them know! The link to sign up is here:

Best wishes for a magical August!


Tobias Beckwith

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