Boom! We Had an Explosion In Our Garden!

Greetings all, Jeff and Abigail here in Las Vegas. BOOM! There was an explosion of color, fruit, and flowers in our garden…and DRAGONS! The oleander trees are bursting with red and white flowers. The peach tree is giving off new juicy peaches. The garden is scintillating with the “slow fireworks” of nature, and we are hosting live magic classes again – HOORAY! When you visit, you will see our new outdoor Dragon Stage and Mystic Fire Circle. We have upgraded all our outdoor areas for the upcoming shows that we will host.

Above is a photo of magician Jason Hudy, who joined us for a 3 day RAINMAKER training session. 
When will you come visit us for your special magic experience?

Las Vegas Magic News!
We have some fun news, and we are inviting you to The Las Vegas Street Magic Super-Sessions, which we are hosting online! Take a look at the details here:

Thank you, Jeff and Abigail, for the updates on the happenings in Las Vegas! Our guest contributor this month is CJ May, a storyteller, recycling professional, and environmental magician. He brings together the learnings he received from two great institutions: Yale’s School of Forestry and McBride’s Magic & Mystery School. With his magic and real-world experience, he reminds his audiences of the wonders of our world, and the power each of us has to protect it.

The Wizard of Aquilon show asks, “What if someone had the power to steal a river?” and “What if you had the power to save it?”

How much is enough?

The answer that my archery teacher provided to a question many years ago has relevance for magic and many other fields.  When I asked him how much I should “cant” (lean to the side, so that the limbs of the bow are no longer straight up and down) he responded “enough.” It was a wise answer. By this he meant there was no golden rule that all archers should hold their bows with their limbs on a perfect vertical plane, or should “cant” so they were all at fifteen degrees, or to any specific degree. Instead, each archer must work out how much, if any, was enough. 

The reminder that there are few absolutes in archery fits also for magic – and also for environmental magic. Give some consideration as to what sort of enviromagic you might try, experiment with, or even perform. How big should it be? Enough. In our consideration let us employ the archetypal sizing system first put forth by the Scottish Shoppe owner on Saturday Night Live – “Wee,” “Not So Wee,” and “Freakin’ HUGE.”


A good way to try out enviromagic is to go small. Use a method you already know, and couple it with a new script. I use “Professor’s Nightmare” to demonstrate the carbon footprint of different methods for creating electricity: solar and wind (short rope), oil and natural gas (medium rope), and coal (long rope). 

In The Magic of Ecology, enviromagician Steve Trash offers a beautiful and simple way to explain the “magic” of renewable resources. The full routine is laid out in Steve’s book, but this is enough to get you started.

Renewable Resources (shared by permission)

  1. Pour three small balls of smooshed-up bread out of a coffee mug and onto the table with your right hand. Say “Renewable resources can be used, but they must not be used any faster than they can be replaced.” Set the cup down.
  2. Pick up one of the balls from the table with your right first finger and thumb. Show this bread ball and drop it back into the coffee cup. Say, “One.”
  3. Pick up the second bread ball and drop it, along with the fourth bread ball which you had hidden in your hand, into the coffee cup. Say, “Two.” (See the next illustration.)
  4. Pick up the third bread ball and put it into your mouth and eat it. Go ahead and swallow it…it’s only bread! Say, “Bread is a renewable resource because we can use it, and then grow more.”  
  5. Pour out the three bread balls that are now in the cup. “Because it is a renewable resource we can eat it and still have more in the future.”
  6. Count the three balls on the table.  
  7. Congratulations! You’re fabulous! Absolutely fabulous, darling!

Not So Wee
Since my performances are largely at schools, libraries, festivals, and online after-school programs, I more often use enviromagic slightly bigger than close-up, to ensure that both the entertainment value and educational message reach a larger audience. The “Unequal Carbon” routine I mentioned earlier works well on a stage with three volunteers each holding ropes. The routine is expanded yet further when one holds a toy wind turbine, the second holds an oil drum and the third a large black chunk of “coal.” The ropes are contained in these props furthering the interaction as the volunteers pull out their ropes when receiving the prop.

Many other somewhat large props and routines are suitable for enviromagic in parlor, stage, assembly, and festival settings. Restoring a newspaper remains a standard way to showcase the power of recycling to change old into new. Expand it even further by having the audience wave fingers, wands, or say magic words to cause the magic to happen. Tom Yurasits’s “Foiled” fulfills a similar function, recycling a sheet of aluminum foil into a metal can in the blink of an eye. Audience participation can also expand the already small and powerful “Bottom’s Up” by Tom Burgoon. The rising up of an old plastic water bottle in one’s palm is amplified when it is the audience members, in-person or on Zoom, that cause the magic to happen.

Freakin’ HUGE!

If so much good enviromagic can be created at the “Wee” and “Not So Wee” levels, why even ponder making it “Freakin’ HUGE”?  Well, as the teaser for the Godzilla movie so aptly reminded us, “size does matter.”  Sometimes bigger is better!

Steve Trash exemplifies big enviromagic. I have seen performances where he filled an entire stage in a large theater with light, sound, and energy. Props and music, plus his own stage-sized persona, gave the students bused-in for the performances a taste of Vegas majesty. Big magic allowed him to reach many audience members at once, and do so in a way which created a lasting impression – and he accomplished this with a single van-load of props.
Steve’s feat of creating a big stage show from modest transportation reminds me of a new adage I learned reading Morgan & West’s Parlour Magic: “pack medium, play big.” They realized that by adding the right props, they created the feel of a proper English parlour, adding considerably to the show’s mystique and panache. It is worth it for them to fill their own van with backdrop, staging and other items included simply for their atmospheric value.  
I find myself experimenting with “pack medium, play big” in creating a new enviromagic show “The Wizard of Aquilon.” Through multiple characters, costumes, and styles of magic, I bring the audience into this fairytale kingdom. This is a play filled with magic, rather than a magic show. The environmental message is there, but it runs subtle and deep, at least at first. Like the ever-present Aquilon River itself, the messages of “water is life” and “a river is everyone’s” are foundational, even if never directly spoken. Is such an expansive production really worthwhile? I will let you know!
I hope that you will try a bit of enviromagic, whether it be Wee, Not So Wee or Freakin’ HUGE! Our world needs magical help. By using your talents to inspire and empower audiences you will be making an important contribution–however large your routine and show may be.

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