“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!
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
— Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
As you read this, we are all entering a new year. It will not be like any year you’ve encountered before. Things will change, and so will you. If this year is anything like the last few, you’ll find things changing at an accelerating rate. So you’ll have some choices to make: Will you strive to remain the same, and attempt to slow down the change that’s happening around you? Or race forward in an effort to keep up, to go along, to stay with the crowd? I’m hoping many of you will take yet another path: That you stop, consider, and make the choice to consciously create the changes in yourselves and your world that you feel need to be changed.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
— Leo Tolstoy
I’m about to publish my book, The Wizard’s Way, which is a guide to becoming one of those powerful, potent individuals we think of as wizards. This seems a good time to take a few moments and introduce you to some of the ideas from the book that I think you may find to be of use.
Lest you think I’m speaking of your becoming some old man with a long white beard, wearing a robe and making mystic passes over a cauldron while chanting wild incantations — consider that, while Merlyn & Gandalf are amongst the models I use for what it is to be a wizard, far more interesting and useful are the examples of Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Eve Ensler and Steve Jobs. In Jobs’ words, these are all individuals who “Made a dent in the universe.” People who exerted more than their fair share of influence over the changes in our world.
None of these people just found themselves “in the right place at the right time,” which seems to be the conventional wisdom about such things. No, each one made specific choices that led them to become what they were. Each one did more than just wish to change the world. They took action. And the actions they took all started with themselves.
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
— John F. Kennedy
Each one encountered significant pushback from their communities. Each one chalked up as many failures as they did successes. But each one did some things most of us do not. Each one developed his or her own vision. Each one educated themselves (note, I do not say “was educated”) and learned to view the world from different perspectives than those around them. Each worked from a creative, proactive frame of mind, choosing action, even when the path forward was not already clearly laid out. Each one took personal responsibility for the course of his or her life, and for creating the change they believed they needed to make in their worlds.
So I would ask each one of you: What are you doing to create the life you want to have – both in magic and in the context of your personal life? Have you taken the time to define your vision? Are you doing things each day that will move you along the path you want to follow in life? Are you seeking out and spending time with the people who can help you educate yourself with the knowledge and skills you really need? Do you waste time complaining, or “waiting for that big break,” — or are taking action to create that big break yourself?
Two of the more interesting wizards in The Wizard’s Way are people most of you already know: Jeff McBride and George Parker. Both have served not only as examples of how true wizards operate in the world, but also as consultants who helped me develop the ideas and techniques taught in the book. It’s not an accident that both George and Jeff were such large influences in developing my ideas for the book. In fact, all of the staff: Jeff, Abbi, Eugene, George, Bryce and Larry Hass have been large contributors. And each one already walks the wizard’s path. In fact, it is a large part of the philosophy that governs the directions of the McBride Magic & Mystery School.
You see, we have a common vision. As we like to say, we’re dedicated to helping to raise the level of magic, one magician at a time. Each of us encounters hundreds of other magicians in the course of our work, both in performance and in our teaching. We do our best to be the best examples we can of a kind of magic that goes beyond the art of deception, and that redefines the magician’s job as one of creating magical experiences. Deception is certainly an important tool, but it by no means the only one in the tool kit of an effective magician. That’s why, although we do teach a lot of tricks and deception techniques, we also spend time teaching stage presence, showmanship, story telling, as well as business and marketing techniques for magicians.
For me, at least, this is an important distinction. The magic that consists only of tricks and illusions is a magic that is light entertainment, at best. There’s nothing wrong with that. For me, though, and I think it’s safe to say, for the rest of us at the McBride Magic & Mystery School, magic is a deeper and more important form of art and expression than mere light entertainment. It is a very special kind of theater, capable of eliciting strong emotion and inspiring real transformation in those who experience it.
Part of our growth as artists, then, comes from a constant questioning. A constant quest, not only for new techniques, but for new kinds of experiences we can create. A quest to redefine why we do magic, what it means to each of us. Reading books about life outside magic — history, philosophy, novels and science. Because magic is our medium, but life is the subject.
As we enter this new year, we will continue to grow, to evolve, ourselves and the experiences we are able to create with the McBride Magic & Mystery School. You can help. You can let us know about your ideas for what you would like to see more of. More live classes in Las Vegas? More “on the road” events, where we bring our shows and workshops to you? More online learning? More advanced technique classes, or basic technique classes? More on the history and philosophy of our art? What subjects are we not covering enough that are important to you? Have you got any brilliant ideas for ways we can expand our impact, how we can be more effective in reaching our stated goals?
Let us know!
And, in the meantime, please accept our best wishes to all of you for a most magical and wonderful new year! These interesting times are sure to continue — but we’re sure you have what it takes to see them as exciting challenges that will help enrich your lives and your art. We’re excited and grateful to all of you who stay with us, reading the Museletter, attending classes and supporting our efforts.
Thank you, and Happy New Year!
Tobias Beckwith &
All the staff & faculty of the McBride Magic & Mystery School
PS: If you’ll be in Southern California between January 13-19, don’t miss us in our annual “Magic & Mystery School Week” at the Magic Castle! Jeff, Abbi, Larry, Bryce, George and Eugene will be joined by Jordan Wright, Michael Carbonaro, Tim Wise and Bill Cook in a special week where we bring our own special brand of magic to Hollywood.
After that, Jeff will be touring in Europe, with a special class in Germany from Feb. 13-19, then the Blackpool Convention in the U.K. Followed by a series of lectures around the UK. Check his calendar at the right for further information.
The gold was their tribute to a King,
The frankincense, with its odor sweet,
Was for the Priest, the Paraclete,
The myrrh for the body’s burying.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
If you know me well, you know I collect gold – and I love to give it away! Here are a few “golden nuggets” of magical wisdom to ponder as we move towards the new year.
I love giving gifts to my friends and family. (Shhh… and I occasionally get a gift for myself.) One of the reasons I hosted the first Mystery School 24 years ago is that I wanted to share the gifts of magic with my close friends… (and it was also a gift for myself!)
I invited the world’s foremost philosopher on the art of magic, Eugene Burger, to join us for a week at a magical retreat center. It was a exploration in “what magic could be in our lives”.
What we created that one weekend has evolved and grown over the last two decades into what is now called “The World’s Most Prestigious Magic School.” Tobias, Bryce and Abbi were all there! What our team created that weekend was a place for magicians to experience the deep mysteries of magic, and to encounter the best teachers in the world. A place to fill up on the magic of life… to be reawakened to the art of magic.
Quite simply put, you must have a magical experience before you can give a magical experience.
I want to learn form the best, so I ask the magic teacher that are tops in their fields to join us at Mystery School for a week. For the past 6 years, I have been hosting my friends and magic fans at Wonderground, and this year, I wanted to continue my studies in restaurant magic, so I called my friend Doc Eason.
Doc will be in Vegas for a special class and you are invited to join us for this special session called “Raise the Bar.”
Join us for a class this year in Las Vegas. We have Master Classes and classes on manipulation, restaurant magic, street magic, mentalism… and many more! Which class would be your favorite to attend? Explore our full schedule of classes at www.magicalwisdom.com.
We stream our magic classes 24 hours a day at mcbridemagic.tv.
My friend Gaston is really one of the great theatrical magicians in the world today. He is a great actor and a skilled conjurer. We are teaching a 3-day class in Germany together. This is a rare occasion opportunity to study the “theater of magic.”
For details, email Gaston: email@example.com
The biggest magic party in Las Vegas, and you are invited!
Once again, we have an amazing line up of guests from across the USA, including our capital of magic right here in Las Vegas. You can see the entire line up at www.vegaswonderground.com.
Abbi is home preparing for the holidays at The McBride House of Mystery. I am on tour a bit and home in time for our week at The Magic Castle in Hollywood, January 13-19. We hope to see all our friends from the Greater Los Angeles area then!
Wishing you all a most magical holiday season!
Jeff McBride and all the gang
at the Magic & Mystery School
Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.
Welcome to the holiday season! A time of year filled with much magic and special challenges for all of us. I think of it as “the dark time” of the year – probably because I have an inordinate fondness for sunshine, and there’s just not enough of it to go around for the next couple of months. In magic we must, however, learn to embrace both light and darkness, and to find ways of keeping our lives and our art in balance between the two.
Our guest author for this Museletter is Ricardo Rosencranz, our friend, colleague, and the man responsible for gaining us the ability to offer CME credit for our Magic & Medicine event. As a lover of magic, I find what Dr. Rosencranz has offered below to be a great reaffirmation and inspiration. I hope you will find it the same.
Ricardo T. Rosenkranz, M.D.
Sure, I love the magical arts. And I have dedicated a significant portion of my life to medicine. But connecting them together has never been about my interests or me. Magic and Medicine intertwined in my life just as the two snakes encircle the rod of Hermes. But for what purpose?
For as long as I can remember, I have longed for a life of beneficial service. Painting a smile on someone’s face and pouring measures of hope into someone’s cup have been my fantasies, then dreams, then quests. I am no different than many of my colleagues in Medicine who enter the profession for the self-same reasons.
Today, however, the life of a physician seems to drift away from that fundamental, ventral, central goal of mine. Productivity, technology, competence, efficiency, evidence and proficiency are the terms that define our professional lexicon. And yet, we long for the true meaning of what we do. I know this because nearly every physician I meet reflects on the existence of this malaise and senses that our boat has indeed veered away. Is it unexpected? Not really. Today’s winds, forcibly swirling around the ship, are the product of the engine of progress. We hunger for more knowledge, want to have a bigger impact in the health of others, and strive for excellence and precision. It seems that since the 17th Century, when the Scientific Method gave rise to the modern view of Medicine, we have been sailing at vertiginous speeds, eradicating illnesses right and left. But where are we going?
Currents create winds and winds beget storms. Today, I would venture that we are adrift because we believe more in ship than sailor, more in GPS than captain, more in engine than ingenuity. The noise of the motor is so loud that it drowns out the voices of the most important ones, the oft forgotten reluctant passengers of this ship: the patients. Even the great William Osler, father of modern medicine said, “He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all.”
That is where I have found the second snake of this caduceus I might call my life’s paradigm. I would like to think that she saw what was missing in my “Aesculapian Staff” and methodically embedded herself into my self-awareness. Her name is Magic, and she is teaching me to better understand the world of healing. Every night she reads to me from the books of Burger, McBride, Maven, Neale, and Hass, among others. She lifts a mirror towards my audience allowing me to see my patients’ hearts while my reflection sheds a painted smile. And it is through her that I have come to understand that which I already knew, yet needed to experience from the other side of the sail.
Today’s Medicine, while breathtaking, needs a course correction. Medicine needs to pay heed to the balance of science and humanities. But this is not the only realm caught up in the storm of reductionism and practicality. It seems today that all educational endeavors are challenged by this concept. Recently, the presidents of Stanford University and Michigan (a computer scientist and a biochemist) published the following in the Washington Post:
“The humanities — history, literature, languages, art, philosophy — and the social sciences focus on the lasting challenges relevant to all of us: creating lives of purpose and meaning, appreciating diversity and complexity, communicating effectively with others and overcoming adversity. Ultimately, our ability to work meaningfully with others will determine the success of our enterprises, and that ability is honed through the humanities and social sciences.”
In the world of the Caduceus, I firmly believe that technology, technique, synthesis, evidence, and method need to embrace with art, grace, empathy, reasoning, understanding, and love. To me, this is the challenge of my generation.
That is why I chose to merge these two realms of mine. That is why I love to teach young medical students who hold neither preconception nor predisposition. Because I believe in transformation and empowerment, I never tire of sharing what Medicine and Magic can say to each other.
And when the Caduceus is planted in terra firma, when complementary snakes dance upon its solid staff allowing the inner eye to really learn and see the truth, the wings shall overtake the sky, embracing all with care and compassion. Now that’s a journey of a lifetime.