What is Your “Walking Bacon?”

Our guest contributor this month is Mystery School Ambassador Eric Henning. Eric has been seen around the world, from the streets of Paris to our nation’s capital. He has been featured at the National Theatre, at three Presidential Inaugurations, has made five appearances at the White House, and was twice voted as the Washington D.C. Magician of the Year! Eric shares his thoughts on how to turn your clients into fans, and your fans into friends.

What is Your “Walking Bacon?”

You may have seen the popular social media meme about “walking bacon.” A woman relates how she went to a deli, bought a sub sandwich for lunch, and got a separate package with the sub. The owner explained that it was “walking bacon,“ three extra pieces that she could eat on her way back to her office. She was floored by the generous gesture.  

But this is something that smart business people have done for centuries. We already know about the “baker’s dozen,” which originated in medieval times as a kind of insurance against the crime of giving a bakery customer a short order. You may even have heard of the Louisiana custom of “lagniappe,” which basically means giving “a little extra.”

Here’s an example. One local restaurant specializing in Cajun cuisine does something special in the winter. The chef/owner delivers your check with a demitasse of hot chocolate containing just a splash of bourbon. It’s a lovely ending to an amazing meal. This is a lagniappe. It’s the thirteenth bagel, the cherry on the sundae, the chocolate on the hotel pillow, the hostess gift, the walking bacon. It’s that exquisitely tasteful little extra that makes the entire experience special, and anchors it in our memory.

It sticks in our memory precisely because it makes us feel seen, recognized, and special. In an era when customers are being reduced to data, this is huge. Any time we can be “state of the art” while maintaining our “state of the heart,” that’s a massive win. It also makes us stand out from the crowd. Sadly, this is because customer service in general has declined so much that many companies can’t, or won’t, provide even their basic product or service. They continually disappoint their customers. When we – as entrepreneurs, entertainers, executives or professionals in any field – give a little extra, these days it just means so much more. 
I was reminded of this recently, when I was able to accommodate a client who had to change their show time due to an issue with their venue. Because I had built extra time into my schedule, it didn’t throw me off, and the client was super happy. Once we grasp this, it can influence our entire business. Anyone can charge $500 and do a $500 show. But if you charge $1,000 and do a $2,000 show, you’ll soon thrive. 
As trite as it is, the phrase “under promise and over deliver” remains true in every area of business. If we follow it, we will get the five-star reviews, the raving fans, the repeat bookings, and the word of mouth referrals that help keep our businesses thriving.

These extras don’t have to be lavish or expensive. When I was in the investment business years ago, a handwritten thank-you note to a client resulted in a referral for a multimillion-dollar account. That’s not why I did it, but it shows the power of taking that extra step. The client told me that in decades of investing, I was the first broker who had even said “thank you!”
As an entertainer, the extra might mean doing a longer time than expected, lending our PA system to a client who forgot theirs, putting a customized spin on a routine to help highlight the theme of the event, advising on the overall event flow (where appropriate), magically producing awards, gifts or door prizes, or any of a hundred other ideas that we could generate organically from each unique event. We don’t always have to do it, but by adopting this mindset, we will, more and more, begin to see real, appropriate, and effective ways to add our own “walking bacon” to our clients’ experience. 
One final story. One of the best sushi places in Baltimore is Matsuri (Japanese for “festival”). My late wife and I used to go there each month before the nearby Yogi Magic Club meeting. After our second or third visit, our food would arrive with a bottle of saki and three cups. Before we finished, the owner, Bill Tien, would sit and have a quiet drink with us before returning to the swirling activity of the kitchen. He was letting us know that he valued us as repeat customers. We became and remain good friends to this day. This is how you turn clients into  fans, and fans into friends. 

So, what is your “walking bacon?” What tasteful, extra goody can you provide to your customers, your students, or your staff that will make them feel special? Sit down and brainstorm some ideas. Try different things and see what builds those relationships – and let us know what you discover.
Eric Henning

Can Magic Save the Planet

Can Magic Save the Planet?
Yes! I feel that magic can help make our world a better place when there are people like Lance Burton and Cyril May helping the next generations. Every year Lance Burton holds an amazing conference. It is, and always has been, free of charge to teens around the world that want to connect with each other and learn magic – and perhaps even make the world a better, more magical place for living! You can help by spreading the word to your friends in the magic community about these extraordinary programs, where teens flourish, and people can learn about taking care of our environment.

Attend the I.B.M. Convention for Free!
The best deal in magic is so good that it is hard to believe. If you are one of the first forty I.B.M. members under the age of 18 to register to attend the annual convention in Pittsburgh this July, your registration is totally free! *Boom!*Mind Blown!* In addition to the insane fun that you will have hanging out with the best magicians on the planet, I.B.M. members between the ages of 13 and 19 can also sign up for the Lance Burton Teen Seminar for free as well! (Seriously! That is crazy!) 
Like last year, the seminar takes place two days before the convention, and for an hour each day during the convention. Please understand that you must apply to the Lance Burton Teen Seminar and be registered for the convention to attend the Seminar. The main faculty will be Lance Burton, Jeff McBride, and Dr. Larry Hass, with many other surprise guests. Remember this though – last year the convention sold out a few months before the opening day, so be sure to secure your spot early. For full information, please go to https://ibmconvention.com/lance-burton-teen-seminar/

A Call to Wands
CJ May is known as “Cyril the Sorcerer,” and he is a real wizard! Not only does he educate young audiences about environmental concerns such as energy water conservation and recycling, now he has created a competition to encourage magicians around the globe to put environmentally empowering messages into their magical performances. 

…And there came forth a “Call to Wands,” a summons to magicians far and wide, to create, record and submit environmentally-themed magic routines. For their magic, by its ability to capture the imagination and inspire The People, had the power to change the world.
Submit 3-5 minute videos of environmentally-themed magic routines by posting on Vimeo before midday on Sunday, October 1, 2023. First, second and third place winners will receive $500, $300 and $200 prizes respectively. Find out more at www.betterworldmagic.com

Summer Tour News
Dive into a weekend of bewitching wonder at the New England WizardFest Magic Convention, where I will be performing with Cyril the Sorcerer on August 25-27 at the Boxboro Regency Hotel. Step into a world where illusion meets reality, and the ordinary becomes extraordinary – and prepare to be dazzled by the extraordinary! #NEWizardFest #MagicConvention https://newizardfest.com/

A Modern Classic of Magic
In the summer of 1983 I crafted the “Money Goblet,” and there was only one of them in the world. Now, 40 years later, Jeff Copland and I have created some more, and put them on the market a few months ago. The response was bigger than I could have imagined, and the Money Goblet sold out instantly! Jeff (from Copeland Coins) has just created a new batch, and right now we’re slammed with orders and are shipping as fast as we can. Don’t miss out on your chance to grab one of these while you can, because these might be the last! We have an extremely limited manufacturing run left to offer you before they sell out. Grab your brand new Money Goblet featuring Jeff McBride and the Disco Dollars! All details are at www.copelandcoins.com.

Are You Attending Magic Live This Year?
If so, then visit us! We are hosting events the day before and the day after the Magic Live convention. Step into the enchanting world of magic with Jeff McBride’s Magic & Mystery School Experience! Immerse yourself in a five-hour magical journey that will take you through the art and heart of magic, all while discovering the world’s premier magic learning experience. 
IMAGINE yourself guided on a mysterious adventure as your host Jeff McBride invites you to join him for an unforgettable experience at The Magic & Mystery School. Watch Jeff perform some of his new and classic magic pieces, and then embark on a guided tour of the magic school. You’ll visit our incredible magic library, and behold the thousand and one wonders of Jeff McBride’s extensive magic collection, a treasure trove he has gathered from his many years adventuring around the world! Find more information about this exclusive opportunity here  https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/the-magic-mystery-school-experience-session-1

A Note from Abigail McBride

I’m coordinating private classes here in Vegas. The private sessions are fun, and are a great investment in your magical future. They’re also a wonderful gift for the magician in your life! During a session, Jeff will help you to take your magic to the next level of excellence by suggesting magic routines and effects that suit your style of presentation. Jeff will share his 50+ years of performing and touring experience with you, and teach you the inner secrets that are not found in books or other media. Jeff will also suggest reading materials, DVDs, and other learning materials that will help you grow in the art of magic. Find out more at  https://shop.magicalwisdom.com/event/private-magic-lessons-with-jeff-mcbride

Will we see you in our online magic classroom Monday nights? Or here at one of our live in-person events in Vegas?

Either way, we hope to see you soon!

Jeff & Abigail

The Magic Bookcase

Our guest contributor this month is Byron Grey. Byron is known for combining skilled sleight-of-hand with scintillating storytelling, creating magical experiences for audiences of all ages. With over 30 years as an entertainer, he has performed at many prestigious venues, including the Wynn, Venetian, Bellagio, and Paris Hotels in Vegas, at Bechstein Hall, Merkin Hall, and the esteemed Carnegie Hall in NYC. 

Hello! Wyoming magician Byron Grey here, and I’m thrilled to be writing my first Museletter. I have been attending McBride’s Magic & Mystery School since 2001. In 2006, life took me on a weird detour, but I came back to the fold in 2017. Since that detour, certain passions have come and gone, but my passion for books (especially magic books) will not leave me!
During the pandemic, Jeff McBride and I started working on a new show that took this passion to a whole new level: “The Magic Bookcase.” The title was taken from a book published in 1964 by Magic Inc. written by The Jarrows. Along the same lines of that published act, every book within the bookcase contains some sort of magical effect or story. “The Magic Bookcase” debuted here in Wyoming during the summer of 2021 to great acclaim, and a new pared down version is being introduced this summer for library appearances.

My real magic bookcase at home contains some of those wonderful books that I would always check out from the local library. Books by Ian Adair, Walter Gibson, and yes, my library had Henning Nelms’s Magic and Showmanship. How truly fortunate I was! So much information – and the smell! Oh yes, I’m one of those “weirdos” who smells books. Just remember, it’s the pages, not the glue!  
On the top shelf of the bookcase is a section of my favorite books that informs my magic, my storytelling, and who I strive to be as a person. I would like to share just five of those great titles with you. 

The Experience of Magic by Eugene Burger
Why is this book out of print !? Woeful, I say! This was the first book I ever owned written by Eugene. There are so many great essays that I keep coming back to over and over again. My favorite essay is “Unfinished Pictures.” In fact, I have a photocopy of it framed on my workshop wall! A gentle reminder (and sometimes a rude awakening) that I need to complete the pieces that I already perform.
Gunn’s Golden Rules by Tim Gunn
Yes Virginia, it’s not just magic books on the top shelf! Straight to the point, and yet warm and charming, Tim takes you through his 18 principles of how to make life easier, even among the hardships that may come your way. If you love Tim Gunn, but never knew about this book, get it!
Improving Your Storytelling: Beyond the Basics for All Who Tell Stories in Work and Play by Doug Lipman
This book introduced me to a piece that I have told, with audience participation, for over 20 years. As the subtitle suggests, this book will give you ideas on what to do if you miss an important part of a story, the best way to structure a new story, how an audience takes in a story, and so much more. Highly recommended.
Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms

I was too young to appreciate the genius of this book when I started checking it out from the library. Just like The Miracle Factory’s Art and Magic by Sam Sharpe (also on the top shelf), you can turn to any page and find a nugget of wisdom – or five! Bottom line: Byron Grey wouldn’t be “Byron Grey” without this book!
The Preston Market Mystery Project by John Newling 
Warning – this is a wild card and I shouldn’t have even told you about this book. It’s a collection of mysteries and a fun, fascinating read. That’s all I’m going to say, except that this book informs you why I love performing magic, and it reminds me to always leave a chair at the table for Mystery.

There are many other books on that top shelf, including books penned by faculty of the Magic & Mystery School. There are several other books in my “man bunker” (1950s Wyoming house). Even if you could only budget for one of these five books I mentioned, I fervently believe that book will help you with your magic and as a person, by leaps and bounds!

Ciao for now!

Byron Grey
@wyomingmagician on all major social media

Chicago is on Fire…with Great Magic!

Yes! The magic is heating up at The Rhapsody Theater, with many new shows and the world premiere of McBride’s Magic & Mystery School Festival of Magic!

Three exciting shows, close up magic, lectures, workshops, and many magic parties await you. Get the inside information on our “VIP All Access Pass” here – 

Collector’s Alert!
There are only a few copies left! If you’ve not yet ordered your Jeff McBride Portrait Mini-Print drawn by magical artist Jay Fortune, then act quickly, as Jay has only a handful left – and they won’t ever be reprinted! Get yours free (you only pay shipping and handling) or buy it for just a few dollars and support the Mystery School Scholarship Fund. Get your signed copy here: https://store.jayfortune.co.uk/product/new-jeff-mcbride-mini-print

Can You Imagine This?

Are you attending Magic Live? This August, the day before and the day after Magic Live, the Mystery School will open its doors for 20 lucky adventure seekers. This is your chance to step into the enchanting world of magic with Jeff McBride’s Magic & Mystery School Experience

Immerse yourself in a five-hour magical journey that will take you through the art and heart of magic, all while discovering the world’s premier magic learning experience.

IMAGINE yourself guided on a mysterious adventure, as your host Jeff McBride invites you to join him for an unforgettable experience at The Magic & Mystery School. Watch Jeff perform some of his new and classic magic pieces, and then embark on a guided tour of the magic school. You will visit our incredible magic library, and behold the thousand and one wonders of Jeff McBride’s extensive magic collection – a treasure trove he has gathered from his many years adventuring around the world!

You will also get to participate in lectures, hands-on workshops, and, of course, lots of magic! To keep you fueled throughout the day, snacks and drinks will be provided. This is a one-of-a-kind experience that may never happen again. This may be your last chance to make it a day at The Magic & Mystery School!
If You Can’t Get to Vegas
We open our virtual doors every Monday night at 7:00 Pacific time for Mystery School Monday! This is your opportunity to learn magic from us from the comfort of your own home. Join the fun and excitement and learn the insider secrets to our fascinating art. Just go to this link and join us – www.mcbridemagic.tv

See you in Vegas or online!
Jeff and all your friends at The Magic & Mystery School

« Older Entries Next Entries »