December is upon us, with its short days, long nights, and holiday preparations in full swing! In many traditions, this is a time of gift giving, and our guest writer for this Museletter has some fascinating observations about gifts and magic. And don’t miss a special offer from Teller and Todd Robbins at the end of this Museletter.  Enjoy!

This month we hear from Associate Dean Larry Hass:

Dear Magical Friends,

As the calendar turns to December — with a chill in the air and perhaps also the flickers of snow — we turn and return to a remarkable, wonderful time for the giving of gifts.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or some other gift-giving practice, this is a time of year when most of us think about the people in our lives and the gifts we might like to give them.

If you are like me, then you know there is a deep joy and pleasure in this meditation; it feels good to connect my heart and thoughts with the people around me.

But you may also know there can be disquiet or confusion in it. We may say or hear such things as: “How can I top last year?” “I don’t have enough money.” “I don’t have enough time!” “I hate the lines and the hassles of shopping!”

For me, an alternate approach starts with a quote from novelist and poet Richard Bach: “Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.” Wow! What a magical thought! For me, that trasnforms and re-frames everything.

As I think about gifts I have received, I recall so many of them that arrived on the wings of a wish for my happiness: the long-desired Led Zeppelin album I received when I was fourteen (even though my parents hated that stuff), a big, fluffy bathrobe from my wife Marjorie, hand-written, hand-drawn cards of love from my kids — just to name a few. Each of these arrived with a palpable wish for my joy in the world.

And so as we approach the season, as we think about the people to whom we might gift, perhaps we can approach it this way: “What could I give to [fill in the blank] that would arrive as a wish for [his/her] bliss?”

For me, when I approach the coming season this way it becomes much easier to know what to give my people; the light bulb goes on! And too, when we quiet the disquiet — the struggle and chatter fueled by market and marketing forces — it is rather amazing how quickly flawed practices fall away.

For example, it becomes clear that spending a lot of money — or even any money — is missing the point. It becomes clear that giving something because we want to enjoy it isn’t much of a gift, such as “Here’s that 52” HD TV for us, honey; now we can watch the game!” It becomes clear that giving to others out of sheer obligation arrives more like a burden than a blessing.

And so, again, what can I give to each person in my life, or to needful people in my community that will let them “feel the love?”

I hope you find Richard Bach’s magical idea to be helpful and refreshing as you approach the coming season. And I truly wish for you wonderful days and nights with family and friends—and all the people you love.

Larry Hass

(Larry is also the editor and co-author, with Jeff, Eugene, George Parker, Bob Neale, and Rich Bloch, of Gift Magic: Performances that Leave People with a Souvenir. All the profits from the book are being donated to Rich Bloch’s non-profit Encore Foundation that assists magicians in times of catastrophic need.

Gift Magic is available from Larry at and from select magic dealers.)

From Tobias:

For those of you near Kansas City, now is the time to give yourselves and your loved ones the gift of magic. Take someone you love to see Jeff’s show at US Toy on December 11. Not your average magic show, by any means. Jeff will not only dazzle you with his amazing feats — he will make you think, and, even more important, his magic and stories will touch your emotions. I see what care he puts into sculpting each of his performances, and I know you are your loved ones are in for a treat! And if you’re a magician yourself, by all means stick around for the lecture. Jeff always has something new to teach and talk about, and he carries several items to lectures that you can only get directly from him…so this is an opportunity not to be missed. Finally, the workshop. For those truly serious about taking their magic to the next level — no matter what level it is at now — there’s really no better way to get a quick boost in knowledge, skill and inspiration than learning directly from the master. Don’t pass this up — it is Jeff’s first visit to your area, and we have no idea when he might get back there! For more information, please go to:

One final reminder: Magic makes a great gift, for you, for friends and family…and we have lots of very special magic to offer. Visit our sites at:

Wishing you all a fabulous holiday season!


Tobias Beckwith

(415) 889-9491

From Bryce:

We do our best to shy away from advertising in our Museletters.  In fact, we’re doing less than ever so we have more room to bring you quality content.  However, we’re so excited about the new Play Dead production from Todd Robbins and Teller that we couldn’t resist making their offer available to our Museletter readers. Information about the show and the special offer can be found below.

You’re probably well past getting scared by haunted houses, but you haven’t been entertained in an abandoned-looking theater, lit by a single ghost light leading you on a darkly comedic journey, encouraging the dead to speak to you.

PLAY DEAD takes a more supernatural road than what’s generally seen on, off or anywhere near the great white way. Co-writer TODD ROBBINS (“Dark Deceptions”) stars as the audience’s storytelling guide on an evening exploring death, darkness, and deception. Magician, comedian and dark arts expert TELLER (Penn & Teller), is the director and other co-writer. Their collaboration and combined knowledge and expertise in the underworld promise to take the audience into uncharted supernatural waters, loaded with haunting surprises and plenty of shrieking nervous laughter.

“4 Stars. Great Date: It is exactly the kind of show that will have you pawing each other for comfort!”

– Time Out New York

“This wild, wicked show is not just a screamfest; it’s a good piece of theater!”

The New York Times

“Funny, furious and wholly enthralling!”

Wall Street Journal

“Teller has filled Play Dead with elaborate illusions and effects including a slam-bang finale!”

New York Post

“Todd Robbins is a consummate showman!”

New York Magazine

“If there’s one thing more fun than a haunted house, it’s a haunted theatre!”


Performance schedule:

Tues-Fri at 8pm |Sat at 7pm & 10pm |Sun at 3pm & 7pm


$25 TICKETS (reg. $61.00)


ONLINE: Visit and use code DEAD1

PHONE: Call 800.982.2787 and mention code DEAD1

IN PERSON: Print out a copy of this offer and visit The Players Theatre Box Office – 115 MacDougal Street (Between West 3rd Street & Minetta Lane)


*Offer valid through 1/16/11. Offer is subject to availability and may be revoked at any time. Blackout dates may apply. Normal service charges apply to online and phone orders. No exchanges or refunds. All sales are final. Cannot be combined with other offers. Not valid for prior purchases. Limit 8 tickets per order. Schedule subject to change.

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