Conferences vs. Conventions

From Dr. Larry Hass, Dean of the Mystery School
 
As I write this, July is turning to August and I’m looking ahead to the cooler days of September and October. I am also hungry to re-fill my tank after a busy several months.
 
As many of you know, Margie and I moved to Washington, D.C. in early June. And when I wasn’t working on both sides of that, I spent every spare minute finalizing Eugene Burger: Final Secrets, which has just gone off to the printer for release on Halloween 2021. That’s right, friends: the wait is nearly over! (It is available to pre-order right now at www.TheoryandArtofMagic.com.

This all has been exciting, but I am definitely ready to recharge. When I was a college professor, my favorite way to do so, was by attending conferences that focused on my areas of interest.
 
“Conferences” are different than “conventions,” which are built around serving members and membership. Instead of that, conferences focus on bringing diverse people together to talk, deliberate, and inspire solutions to problems or new ways of thinking. They are about each one bringing their gifts and laying down swords in the service of learning.
 
From the very beginning, the Mystery School has been informed by the spirit of Conferre—the medieval Latin word for this pilgrimage on behalf of learning. But in 2006 we made it official by founding the annual Magic and Meaning Conference—where we come together to listen and learn from each other, as we attempt to perform magic that matters and connects to life, rather than getting lost in the echo chamber of tricks and trickery.
 
And it is that time once again: the team is preparing for this year’s conference, which will be held online, September 24-26, 2021. (Last year’s online event was a smash hit—the school’s most fully attended program of the year.) As usual, the Magic and Meaning Conference will feature 18 of our famous PEP Talks (the Ted-style Talks of Magic). It will also include magic shows, magic teaching, and breakout groups for meaningful conversation. This year the conference will feature “The Festival of Coins,” in which we will celebrate this fourth archetypal tool of the magician. And I am delighted to announce here that this year’s Guest of Honor is Dan Harlan.

Dan Harlan is known and admired by magicians all over the world. He is the host of Penguin Magic: Live and Penguin Magic: Live Acts, and he is an extremely knowledgeable magician who has been innovating excellent magic for over 30 years, including “Starcle,” “Cardtoon,” and nothing less than the entire Tarbell Course on video! But you might not know that Dan was an early “Mystery Schooler,” and we are delighted to have him back. 
 
So that is our long-standing, well-known conference, but in just a few weeks the school is hosting a new one: the First Inclusivity and Diversity in Magic Conference (August 27-29, 2021.) A few months back, faculty member Paul Draper brought the idea for this conference to our “table,” and we empowered him to transform his vision into a reality.

Paul gathered a first-rate, star-studded leadership team to craft a three-day conference experience that would inspire new thinking about ways to make our art more inclusive. The conference program—panels, performances, lectures—will highlight historical and present-day magicians who are women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and individuals living with disabilities. The conference is open to anyone interested in learning.
 
Learn more about the leadership, presenters, schedule, and register, here:
https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/the-first-annual-inclusivity-and-diversity-in-magic-conference-idm-con
 
This is going to be a tremendous event, and I can’t wait to experience what Paul and the Team have created for our community. Personally, I want to listen carefully and learn from each individual to expand my understanding of the issues, so I can be a better Dean for our School, and a better colleague for all our friends in magic.
 
So… the Fall Semester at the Magic & Mystery School is almost upon us! Please bring your gifts, set aside your swords, and SIGN UP NOW (https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/magic-meaning-2021-live-online) to join us at these upcoming events. If there is anything I can foresee it is this: you will be renewed for the season ahead!

McBride Magic Expands Your Mind

My friends, it is time to expand your mind and to expand your horizons!

Let’s start with asking this question:
How will you spend your summer vacation? Will you do the “same old” or will you be doing something new and exciting?

I have a few thoughts for you. People have been asking me if Vegas is “back to normal?” Has Vegas ever been normal? Vegas is exciting, invigorating, inspiring but never ever normal. But, things are “opening up” and we have some fun events for you to participate in, both online and in person.

You have one last chance–Our hit show Jeff McBride – MagicQuest is making one appearance only this summer and that will be July 28th.

MAGIC QUEST- the mind-expanding magic show, is now online. Be part of the ONLY show this summer season.

https://tinyurl.com/MagicQuestJeffMcBride

Just in case you missed it, here is a quick peek at the show:

Sisters of Mystery
Women have always played an important part in the world of magic, and now their ranks are growing like never before! More and more women are developing interest, and exploring the art of magic. Abigail has been hard at work all year lining up a super array of talented women for this extraordinary conference.

We are the Sisters of Mystery,
born from the deep beginnings of the Oracle at Delphi,
and the Tarot’s High Priestess. We, the Women of Magic,
announce and affirm our presence, our potential and our power.
In a circle of safety and sisterhood we will join together,
while the waning moon is high in the sky,
to share our stories and our secrets,
to help each other become wiser,
to build new webs of friendship and fun,
and to celebrate all that we have been,
all that we are, and all that we are becoming.

Registration is now open for our online gathering happening Thursday, August 26th, starting at 10am pacific time. All those who identify as women are welcome to attend.

Special guests include: Gay Blackstone, Suzanne the Magician, Meadow Perry, Joan DuKore, Connie Boyd, Lupe Nielsen, Sara Crasson and more!

Register here:
https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/…/sisters-of-mystery…

Financial Aid is available here:
https://www.magicalwisdom.com/about/scholarship-program

Inclusivity and Diversity in Magic
Paul Draper will host the first annual Inclusivity and Diversity in Magic Conference on August 27-29, this year with a diversity in magic history theme.

Please join in the lively discussion! You can find more information here:
https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/the-first-annual-inclusivity-and-diversity-in-magic-conference-idm-con

McBride – Live in Las Vegas
Michelangelo was famous for this saying, that captures the essence of what we do here at our Magic & Mystery School:

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”
Let us help you reach your goals.

We are now hosting live classes again at our school here in Las Vegas and online. You can also give Abigail a call at (702)-450-0021 to set a time for your private session.

People are sooo hungry for our live, in-person events. Our friends have been asking when we are re-opening the Magic and Mystery School for in-person events. We have set the date! Our new Weekend of Wisdom: the Philosophers of Magic will be held live in Las Vegas. Only five seats are still available. We are already almost sold out.

All the information is here:
https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/weekend-of-wisdom-the-philosophers-of-magic-live-in-las-vegas

For more magical wisdom please take a look here at all the life-enriching events we host. See you online or in Vegas!

Jeff and all your friends at Mystery School.
jeff@mcbridemagic.com

The Four Archetypes and the Four Stoic Virtues

Dear Friends:
 
Happy summer! Our guest columnist this month is the ever-thoughtful Santiago.

Tim “Santiago” Converse

The last time I wrote for The Museletter, I explored the idea that the overall character we think of as “The Magician,” could very likely be a Stoic as defined by the ancient philosophers such as Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. I have continued to deepen my understanding of the Stoics, and I have been thinking about the Four Stoic Virtues.
 
So what are the Four Stoic Virtues?  Justice, Courage, Temperance, and Wisdom.

Very quickly I began to think about the four archetypes of the magician with which we have all become so familiar: The Trickster, The Sorcerer, The Oracle, and The Sage. I began to look at both the differences and the similarities. I grant that some metaphors are better than others, but the more I thought about this one, the more I thought that there really seemed to be something to It—a lesson to be learned.

Let’s start with Justice.  For the stoics it wasn’t just about following “the law,” but rather more about the idea of doing what was right for the common good of all. It was about making sure that we were true to ourselves, and thus served as good examples to emulate.

This made me think of one of the ultimate “tricksters,” Coyote.  His job was to teach people lessons about themselves, to put a pin in their pomposity, and get them to realize that they were being arrogant, egotistical, or just plain wrong, and in so doing, get them to act better—to be more true to who they really were, or could be.

The greatest justice we ever experience is when we ourselves are just. The Trickster seems ideally suited to pushing us in the right direction, even if we have to take a few lumps along the way to get there.

Then there is Courage. Of all the Stoics, the one we may know best is Marcus Aurelius, and he faced some of the greatest challenges of all ruling an empire wracked by war, plague, and politics. But, he always faced these challenges first and foremost by reminding himself that he must never let the power he had corrupt him. He faced each day with courage, and used the power he had to master not only an empire, but more importantly, himself.

Sounds a heck of a lot like the Sorcerer to me; someone gathering the knowledge and power to rule the world around them, and to achieve whatever it is they want. But, having power is one thing. Having the courage to use it well is something else.

Where I felt that the metaphors started to become stronger is with the virtue of Temperance. After all, once the Sorcerer has the power to get everything they desire, the first thing they have to determine is what they desire!

Turning to the wisdom of Seneca we get these words.

“You ask what is the proper limit to a person’s wealth? First, having what is essential, and second, having what is enough.”

The Sorcerer may have all the power and control, but they may not yet have direction. Turning inward and tempering that power is the job of the Oracle. 

With the Oracle, suddenly mysteries are revealed. We begin to understand ourselves and what we want.  We begin to see others around us, and understand them on an even deeper level. 

We then see that we have the power to create a better world, not just for ourselves, but for others. Recall Justice and The Trickster?  Maybe it’s time to take some of that Sorcerer’s power and teach some lessons. Add a dash of Oracular Temperance and you’ll soon learn enough about yourself to understand the kinds of lessons you not only want to teach, but are best suited to teach.

For those of us who are thinking about making our performances more meaningful, isn’t this exactly where we want to be—using all that knowledge, all those skills, and all that “power”, to connect, communicate, and ultimately teach with your magic?

And now here we are, teaching. We have crossed into the realm of the Sage who is best characterized by Wisdom. For The Stoics, the course of Wisdom was to recognize the things we can control, and understand the difference between them and the things that we cannot control. Once they knew that, choosing the right actions, the right lessons, and the right way to be, became easy.

Through the archetypes of The magician, and maybe with some help from The Four Stoic Virtues, we’ve found ourselves in a place where we have a deeper wisdom, not just about the magic, but about the journey.

What we also have found ourselves with is a certain responsibility—a responsibility to take all that we’ve learned from what came before, and share it with “the tribe”. Our community grows stronger by virtue of the Sages among us who take the time to do more than say “see, this is how this is done,” but also say “this is why this is done.”

The word ‘philosophy,’ derived from the Greek ‘philo’ (love) and ‘sophia’ (wisdom), is literally defined as “the love of wisdom.”  What makes philosophy fun, in my opinion, is to take disparate ideas and bring them together to see what happens. My ever-growing love of The Stoics brought me here to a place where I could bring their ideas and our school’s ideas of The Archetypes together, to see what happens.

For me, this is what happened, and I hope that it sparks some deeper ideas in you as well.

Old School Magic Rocks

“The classics of magic teach us about ourselves; they are the heart and soul of our magical art.”  –Sam Sharpe

Classical Jeff McBride in 1979, working on an original Mime and Magic act.

Old School Meets New School.

I started my magic career by learning classic “old school” magic. I learned the “building blocks” of how to make magic, then added a modernistic twist to the classic routines to build my original act that took me around the world.

Many of the world’s top magicians learned by performing “The Classics.” David Copperfield, Lance Burton, AGT winners Mat Franco and Shin Lim, and many others, worked on classic magic to springboard to global fame.

Jeff in the 1990’s always wore the classic top hat and tails look …updating the look for modern audiences

What Makes a Classic a Classic?

  • Works in nearly all conditions–indoor, outdoor, or surrounded. Works in pantomime, talking, or to music.
  • Minimal skills to perform the basic routine.
  • You can add more complexity depending upon your skill level.

 The Classics of Magic endure the test of time and each generation of performers brings new and fresh presentations to them.

Here are just a few of the effects that you can explore with me in my upcoming class! 

Egg Bag, Linking Rings, Zombie Floating Ball, Miser’s Dream, Chinese Sticks, Torn & Restored Paper, Water in the Newspaper, Professor’s Nightmare, The Salt Pour, Ring on Rope, Cut & Restored Rope, Razor Blades, Hydrostatic Glass, Silk to Egg, Chop Cup, Chinese Sticks, Six-Card Repeat, Grand Finale Card Stab. These and many more will be covered in this “skill building” class!

Each of these timeless favorites has a lesson to teach us. 

  • The methods are deceptive and easy to learn.
  • Perfect for adding your personality.
  • Can be performed in all conditions, close up, stage, and often surrounded.
  • Learn secrets of the Classics of Magic and why they have endured over the years.
  • Learn the correct techniques and practice disciplines that lead to a professional presentation.
  • You will learn both basic and advanced techniques, suited to your skill level, and how to make your magic entertaining and play BIG in large venues.
  • The Classics work in pantomime, talking, or to music.
  • Minimal skills to perform or add more complexity and nuances, depending upon your skills.  

Join us for three Saturdays, July 10, 17, and 24, starting at 12 noon pacific time. Ninety-minute class, followed by thirty minutes of discussion, and Q&A. All classes will be recorded so you can view them later.

Learn the real secrets to the world’s most beloved magic!

Imagine yourself receiving personal instruction from Jeff McBride and some of the top experts in the world of magic as they teach you the real secrets of the Parlor Magic Classics.

  • We will explore the hidden MEANING of these magic effects, why they are memorable, and how they can touch the souls of the audience.
  • We will explore the symbolism, mystery, and metaphors of each of these classics of magic.
  • By the end of this course, you will have the ability to present a practical and powerful stage performance. 
  • Jeff will draw from his more than 50 years of teaching and performing experience to give you insights and empowering lessons in presentation, technique, and character.

Take-Aways

  • PARLOR MAGIC CLASSICS includes six plus hours of powerful content and personal interaction.
  • Free bonus videos and resource lists.
  • This could be the last time this class is ever offered online! Our classroom is opening in September for live events in Vegas, so register now! 

https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/parlor-magic-classics-online-on-zoom

NOTE: This class will be recorded, and available to all registered students to view, so you can watch them at any time if you miss the live class. These videos will be available for twelve months following the conclusion of the class.

Private Classes Live in Vegas …or online.

For the summer, I will be teaching online and hosting private classes in Vegas. Call Abigail for more info: 702-450-0021, or go here https://www.magicalwisdom.com/about/private_sessions.

Join Jeff, Tetro and Lance Burton at the teen magic seminar!

Free Lance Burton Teen Seminar for Kids

Join us for the 2021 Lance Burton Teen Seminar. If you are an I.B.M. Member between the ages of 13-19, or the child or grandchild of an I.B.M. Member, and are between the ages of 13 and 19, you can attend the online Lance Burton Teen Seminar this year ABSOLUTELY FREE.

The Seminar will be facilitated by none other than Jeff McBride and Dr. Lawrence Hass, the Founder and the Dean of the world-famous Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas. It will also feature special guests. 
Dates for the Seminar are  July 6th, and  July 7th. 

We are ecstatic to announce that as well as the Lance Burton Teen Seminar being FREE, the actual online convention will also be FREE to all I.B.M. Youth Members under the age of 18. Please register for the online convention by CLICKING HERE.

The McBride Magic and Mystery School has been facilitating Lance Burton’s Teen Seminar since its inception in 2003. In the past, our special guest instructors have included Jeff McBride, Eugene Burger, Suzanne, Oscar Munoz, Joe M Turner, Larry Hass, Joshua Jay, Jessica Jane, Bill Cook, and Shawn Farquhar.

If you are a teen and have a serious interest in magic then this is the place to be in July, 2021… seriously! Need more info? Contact Simone Marron at simone@marrons.us. To sign up for the Lance Burton Teen Seminar, please download the application form by CLICKING HERE. You can complete and email it back to simone@marrons.us. Don’t forget to register for the 2021 I.B.M. Convention by CLICKING HERE.

Special thanks to the I.B.M. Endowment & Development Fund (EDF) for sponsoring this event.

In the Fall, WONDERGROUND will reopen and so will LIVE events at our Mystery School in Vegas! 
 
Until then… See you all online!

Jeff 

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