Magical Communications

Dear Friends:

June is upon us, and I thought you might enjoy this segment from my new book on building your business as an independent performer. As many of you know, I’ve been working with Jeff McBride for the past 30 years, and Marco Tempest for almost as long. Before that, I got to work on Broadway, as a part of the management teams for several Broadway shows, including the original production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It was during that time that I learned of the extreme importance of communication, not only in art, but in conducting a business in the arts.

Tobias Books

What follows is a section of the new book on that very subject.


I got my first job on Broadway as a production assistant in the offices of Richard Barr and Charles Woodward when they were producing Sweeney Todd, and I remember being surprised that their work seemed to consist almost entirely of making and receiving phone calls. Charles and Richard sat at opposite ends of one long table, each with a phone in front of them. All day long, they placed and received phone calls, one after another. There were calls with the creative staff—director, designers, composer and author, and others. There were calls with investors, calls with the management company for the show, with lawyers and with accountants, with the theater owners, and later with the office booking our tour of the production. There were calls with all our vendors, the people who made costumes and sets, who placed our advertising, plotted our public relations strategies, etc. Calls, calls, and more calls.

When Charles and Richard went to lunch, they had a phone on their table at the restaurant, and continued to communicate throughout those lunches! This was before the age of personal computers, cell phones or the internet, so virtually all communications started with a phone call. Important calls resulted in letters that summarized the call. But virtually everything that happened on that production was initiated with a phone call—a communication.

It’s essentially the same with any business. If you are the CEO, the one in charge, your job is to make the right decisions, then make sure those decisions are carried out in the best way possible. Your ability to communicate is the most important tool you have to accomplish that.

Here are some examples:

  • If you want to hire someone to design your marketing materials, those materials will be successful only if you can communicate your ideas and desires to the designer.
  • If you want to create a new piece of magic, you will be successful only to the degree you are able to communicate with dealers or builders to get your props, costumes, etc.
  • You need to communicate your ideas to your script writers (if you use script writers).
  • You need to engage and communicate clearly with a director, designer, etc.
  • Performance itself is a form of communication, so your ability to communicate with your audiences will be the ultimate driver of success.

Communication drives success in business! Study all the different possible ways in which communication is possible.

I’m fond of the phrase, “You can’t NOT communicate.” Everything we do—the way we dress, our body language, the tone of our voice, the way we set our stages, the way we answer phones…everything communicates. It communicates something whether you have thought about it or not. So it can really pay to stand back and look at yourself. Watch videos of yourself, not just performing, but interacting with others. Do you handle yourself in a professional, friendly manner when dealing with others? Do you remember to treat everyone you come in contact with as though they are a potential “big client?” Do you dress in a way that sends those who see you the message you want to send as a professional entertainer? Do you always answer the phone in a way that will both impress and help you achieve the mission you’ve defined for your business?

If the answer to any of the above questions is “no,” or even “not always,” and you do want to build a career as a professional performer—you have some work to do! Don’t be discouraged… we all do, and that work can not only make us more successful performers, but will also improve every other aspect of our lives as well.

Are YOU Easily Fooled?

Jeff McBride will appear on Penn & Teller’s FOOL US in July. Tune in to see if he fools P&T

Are You easily fooled? A recent BBC article explains why our mind is easily fooled.

The real boom in studying illusions began in the 19th Century. A school of scientists who studied perception – among many other things – created simple illusions to shed light on how the brain perceives patterns and shapes, which kick-started the early theories on how our eyes can play tricks on our mind…

One school of thought suggests that some illusions highlight the way the brain constantly tries to predict what will happen. The theory goes that many illusions show that we try to predict the future to compensate for the slight delay between an event and our conscious perception of it. The real boom in studying illusions began in the 19th Century.

The light from these words you are reading has to reach your eye, before a signal travels to the brain to be processed – this takes time, which means the world you perceive is slightly in the past. Mark Changizi, a theoretical neurobiologist, believes the brain may make predictions about your surroundings in order to “perceive the present”.

Read the full article:

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. “

–Abraham Lincoln

“Jeff points east towards his upcoming Asian tour”

World Tour – ASIA 2017

June, July and August I will be on tour in China with our new show: LAS VEGAS MAGIC STARS!

Going with me will be master Illusionist Greg Gleason, Ariann Black, Dean Gunnarson, Will Bradshaw, Bill Cook and Tobias Beckwith.


Our Magic & Meaning 2017 Guest of Honor will be Mat Franco!

Mat Franco takes the stage in MAGIC REINVENTED NIGHTLY at The LINQ Hotel & Casino with a fun and feel-good twist on magic that defies all expectations. The show was named Best Show by Las Vegas Weekly and featured in the 2016 Best of Vegas awards in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. You’ll remember Mat from his triumphant win on America’s Got Talent.

“Mat Franco with Jeff McBride at a recent Master Class”

The Magic & Meaning Conference 2017

“Return of the Mysteries”

To celebrate the 25th year of our school, we will be returning to our roots to explore some of the best loved rites and ceremonies of the past 25 years.

People often ask, “What were the old mystery school days like? Will you ever bring back the activities you did in the early days?”

YES! Magic & Meaning 2017 will be our Return of the Mysteries.

We’re excited that he’ll be with us for this year’s Magic & Meaning at Sunset Station.


The Heart & Soul of the Las Vegas Magic Community 

Our next Mega-Magic Party is May 18th

7:30pm     Will Bradshaw – Showman Extraordinaire!

Strolling magic & Tarot Reading by  Stephanie Castellone


8:00pm     Tim Wise is your MC

John T Sheets – Ingenious Illusions

Lance Johnson –  Outstanding Variety Artist

Ming Da – Direct from Asia!

Krystal Lawrence – Delightful Deceptions

Jeremy Mikaelson – The award-winning stage show

John Shaw –  You won’t believe what you see!


9:00pm     Ming Da

Krystal Lawrence

Lance Johnson

August Meyer

Jason Powers


10:00pm     Jeff McBride is your MC

Jeremy Mikaelson – International Award Winning Illusion

John Shaw – Shock and Awe!

Ming Da – Asian Mysteries

Jamilla Deville – Sensuous Sensation!

Lance Johnson – Smoking Hot Manipulations

John T Sheets – The Modern Mystifier!

PLUS:  Photography by Sheryl Garrett. Bar Magic with Zack Pattee, Scott Steelfyre, Corey Rubino, Taylor Lloyd, New World Rhythmatism Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow with Alan Scott, live art with Areeya – and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!

The day after WONDERGROUND I will be performing at one of the magic events of the year! BEYOND BROOKLEDGE!

Stay and Play in a Palace of Dreams

“The best way to describe Beyond Brookledge is that it’s as if somebody fit the L.A. Opera and Burning Man into the Magic Castle, and then had a three-day slumber party.”

– LA Weekly

“This is your chance to be immersed in performances, and community, with the most amazing magicians, comedians, and performance artists you’ll ever find hanging around a 5 star hotel… Join this party!” – Boing Boing


With magical best wishes.

Your friend,

Jeff McBride

The Path of Collaboration

We are delighted to have another article by our Dean, Eugene Burger, for you this month:

Eugene Skull


Eugene Burger

Museletter May, 2017

Sometimes getting our (magic) act together isn’t easy. We are close to being ready to debut our performance, but we hesitate. There are so many unresolved issues, so many questions, so much doubt. Yet if the curtain never rises, we are trapped in our thoughts. and we face the danger of never putting our magic into the real world. This is a problem for many performers. Is there anything that can be done about it? Is there a way to move our inaction to action?

Let me recommend a path that I have followed for the entire length of my professional career. I began this path, in fact, before I became a professional magician. It is the path of collaboration, the way of working with others to accomplish our goals. I have found this a way to get things and myself moving, a way to end inaction and move to genuine action.

My first magical collaboration began in the mid-1970’s. I had always dreamed of putting together a séance show, and even had a title for the show in my mind: “Hauntings.” But I was stuck. The idea remained no more than an idea; a thought. Then one night when I was explaining my dream to my friend Erik Counce, he enthusiastically said he would love to join me in putting this show together. Two other friends, Dennis Rook and Marcella Ruble, also joined in, and suddenly I had a little company dedicated to realizing the dream of creating a séance show.

We worked well together. Collaborating with others helped me move my dream into reality. In less than a year the show debuted and was very successful. In fact, the show was one of the primary things that helped convince me to move into full-time professional magic.

Over the years, I have collaborated with Jeff McBride on many shows — and that collaboration continues today. I have also worked with Max Maven and Tina Lenert on a show called, “The Nocturnal Trio.”

In 2010 I collaborated with my friend Michael Carbonaro on a show in the Peller Theater at the Magic Castle. We worked together again in 2012, giving the show a name, “Dark Stories,” and a more formal structure. We repeated it in 2014 and 2015. We also performed it at James Randi’s Conference in Las Vegas and at a Genii convention in Florida.

Dark Stories

In 2013, when Michael was involved with his wonderful television show “The Carbonaro Effect,” I collaborated in the Peller Theater with Rob Zabrecky. Rob and I repeated this in 2016 with the title, “Fun and Games with Eugene Burger and Zabrecky.”

Larry Hass and I have collaborated for several years now, mounting about a dozen séance shows at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania and at Austin College in Texas. For one of the Muhlenberg shows, Michael Carbonaro joined us to be an audience-member-turned-medium who, when the lights came up, had disappeared. Larry and I have also performed non-séance shows together at colleges, conventions, and the Magic Castle.

Group of Three

Collaboration may be a path that you might consider. You can learn a great deal from working with others who are as dedicated as you are. And sometimes, collaboration may help us move our magical dreams from ideas to reality. Think about it.

Face Your Fear

“Face Your Fear!”

Face your fear

My biggest fear, and how I lived through it!

I still have the nightmare… it goes like this.

I’m moments away from show time.

None of my props have arrived. I’m naked. The curtain opens to a full theater of people and music starts! Aaaahhhhh!

I don’t have anything ready. I panic! The show is going to be a disaster! Then I wake up in a cold sweat.

My Russian Ordeal

One day this nightmare became all too real.

I was booked in Russia for an international magic convention. I was representing the United States. My prop cases never arrived. The only thing I had was my costume in my carry-on…lucky me! I had no props. I had no magic. My biggest nightmare had just become real–to arrive for a show and have nothing on me. But the show must go on…Um, right? Right!?

For some reason, I always pack a little emergency magic kit in my carry-on luggage. Here is a Photo of the contents of my eyeglass case. This little bag of tricks saved the day.

Commando Kit

“The Commando Kit”- I never leave home without it!

  • 1 pack of normal playing cards
  • Paper Butterflies for my “Butterfly Blizzard”)
  • Rainbow Mouth Coils for Kabuki act
  • Kabuki streamers–Pack small play huge!
  • Red BEKOS knot
  • McGrip T.T. — (the secret something I use to throw cards)
  • 1 “Mc-Squeaker” — the loud little noisemakers I use in my BRAVO bowl and pantomime routines
  • Red & Yellow Sponge balls for BRAVO bowl routine

I also borrowed 13 coins and a champagne bucket for my “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” Misers Dream act, and 2 normal soup bowls from the kitchen for my “RAINMAKER” routine–and I was back in show business. Nightmare over!


That ordeal taught me that my props are not my magic. I am the magic, and the props just enhance what I do. This is a lesson I share with all our students… and I also teach students how to perform a ‘prop free’ show!

Remember: YOU are the magic!

Just by ‘looking inside,’ we can find the essence of our magic. We always have everything we need. It’s there all the time! (cue wizard of OZ music here)

So “The show must go on” –and it did!

Here is a photo from the finale of that show…you can see the grin on my face after making my way through this ordeal

Russia Finale

Oh! And the man–Vladimir Danilin–who ran the event, booked me back the following year! That year, my props did arrive…  but by that time my story had become a legend.

This real-life horror story motivated me to go online and do some research, and I have reprinted the real “List of Fears” below, along with comments on how Mystery School can help you move beyond your fears, so you can discover your magic potential


Here are the top fears, and how our Magic & Mystery School classes can help you overcome your biggest fears!

01. Fear of flying

Make it a road trip! Many of our students drive to Las Vegas or take a train or bus. Just don’t fly United, OK?

02. Fear of public speaking 

We teach you how to gain confidence. You can also do a silent magic act to music! I did that for 20 years all over the world!

03. Fear of heights 

Most of our activities and classes take place on the 1st level of our House of Mystery. No need to worry!

04. Fear of the dark 

Las Vegas is one of the brightest places on planet earth. Even at night there is no darkness here!

05. Fear of intimacy 

Our small group classes will help you make connections with your magic.

06. Fear of death 

No one ever dies at our classes! We create a safe place to explore your growing edge.

07. Fear of failure 

We are here to help you move past all that!

08. Fear of rejection 

Nope! We love you and will be accepting your application when you register.

09. Fear of spiders 

We spray every month and you won’t see them here!

10. Fear of commitment

Now you can commit to taking a class with us and move beyond your self-imposed limitations.


Fear Kills

What do you need the most help with?

Our students composed the following list of topics that we have explored at recent McBride Master Classes. What are the areas you need to focus on this year?

*Presentation *Character Development *Originality *Theater Arts *Confidence* Showmanship * Encouragement * Music *Costuming * *Personal Attention *Improvisation *Movement *Routining *Script Writing *Show Building *Lighting Design *Creativity *Mentoring *Acting *Dealing with Hecklers *Career Development *Marketing *Motivation *Business *Artistry *Insight *Brainstorming *Advertising Resources *Coaching *History *Close-Up Magic *Vision *Evaluation *Street Magic *Publicity *Support *Innovation *Parlor Magic *Psychology *Mastery *Stage Magic *Transformation *Empowerment *Consultation *Philosophy *Performing Arts Diction *Prop Construction *Card Magic *Networking *Comedy *Technique *Trade shows *Audience Participation *Wisdom  *Mentalism *Hands on Learning *Coin Magic *Corporate Shows *Dramatic Arts *Storytelling *Manipulation *Stagecraft *Pantomime *Family Shows *Promotion *Public Relations *Inspiration *Social Magic for friends

Take a free tour of our school today

Go to this link first and sign up for the school. Watch the video.

Then, after the video, go here and take the tour of the online school.

Be inspired by the tour.


Criss Angel, Banachek, Maestro & Jeff onstage at WONDERGROUND


The heart & soul of the Las Vegas Magic Community 

Our next Mega-Magic Party is April 20th—and you are invited!

APRIL 2017

7pm – Strolling magic: Will Bradshaw, Tim Shegitz, Taylor Lloyd, and Miguel. Scott Brown as Allen Scott will do tarot readings in the “art area”

8pm – Comedy & Magic Show

Jeff McBride – Magic to Dye For

Lion Fludd – The Hustle & Muscle of Magic

Bizzaro – Something NEW and very Twisted!

Smoothini – From America’s Got Talent!

Tim Shegitz – Classy Conjuring & Comedy

Steve Owens – Award Winning Manipulations

9pm – Three different Close-Up strolling magic lounge areas are open!

Lion Fludd


Tim Shegitz

Steve Owens



Jeff McBride is your MC – with something very new to show you!

Magnus – Zombie Time

Steve Owens – World Class Manipulations

Jason Andrews – Neo Classical Conjuring

Habaka Kfj – Musical Magical Enchantress

Mondre – Pure Magical Mastery

PLUS:  Photography by Sheryl Garrett. Bar Magic with Zack Pattee, Scott Steelfyre, Corey Rubino, Taylor Lloyd, New World Rhythmatism Belly Dancers, Psychic Sideshow with Alan Scott, live art with Areeya – and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!

I look forward to seeing you at Wonderground, one of our upcoming classes or one of my touring events soon!

Jeff McBride


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