Jeff McBride’s World Premiere Show on ZOOM

Greetings Magical Friends,

Tobias Beckwith, Scott Steelfyre and I have been working hard for the past couple of months on a new project. We have been getting everything ready for you — and now, for the first time, I am happy to invite you into the home I share with my wife Abigail, for a brand new, unique experience. 

Very few outside our inner circle have ever seen the mysteries housed here. That’s all changing now! 

Our House of Mystery is the setting for Jeff McBride – MagicQuest,” a once-in-a-lifetime, magical experience. During this interactive virtual event, our guests will visit my studio and the secret archives. This is a night of magic and wonder, where we’ll explore everything from the supernatural to sleight-of-hand…and I’ll reveal the stories behind the mysterious secret artifacts I’ve sought out and collected while touring the world. 

I hope you will join us for this adventure unlike anything else you will ever encounter. I’ve been preparing my whole life for this, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

MagicQuest is my brand-new online magic show that will take you on an extraordinary journey all around the world of magic, and will highlight my amazing adventures from New York City to Las Vegas, from Tokyo to Burning Man, and beyond.

You will —

  • Enter the Golden Book of Magic Secrets.
  • Discover the Kabuki Magic of Japan.
  • Encounter the Fire Shaman.
  • Experience the Death & Resurrection Show.
  • Witness the Award-Winning Magic that fooled Penn & Teller.
  • Learn what I consider to be the Secret of Real Magic! 

Jeff McBride — MagicQuest is my combination tour and show, in which I will share my encounters with the magical and the miraculous, in a fully interactive online experience coming to you live from The McBride Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas!

The VIP Tour & After Party
Step behind the secret bookcase and enter a world of wonders. Join me after the show in the Library of Secrets for a personal Q&A session. VIP guests get the rare opportunity of having personal time behind the scenes. See the Exquisite Collection of a lifetime of world adventures in the Cabinet of Curiosities, and hear stories I have never told before! Special VIP magic only for those on the after-party tour. Delightful Deceptions, Magic with Meaning, and much more await….

Join me for a most memorable, magical, and meaning-full evening …. for MAGICQUEST!

ONLY 13 VIP tickets will be sold for each performance.

Your VIP ticket includes THE MCBRIDE MAGIC TREASURE BOX, a virtual vault containing rare archival videos, photos, and mysteries, unlocked only with your personal key!

Seating is limited, so get your tickets now. Currently on sale from May 7-16.

I look forward to seeing you at the show!

Prepare for the adventure!


The Art of Fooling People

Dear Friends:

On this first day of April, I find myself thinking about something we hold dear in the practice of performing magic – the art of fooling people.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourselfand you are the easiest person to fool.
— Richard Feynman

I was thinking of this phrase not long ago when giving directorial notes to a magical friend. “Oh, and by the way, you’re flashing when you do X.” He had been doing this bit for years, and had been certain it was totally fooling his audiences. That happens when you perform a lot and are a strong, engaging performer. They’ll “just go along” with you. But the truth was, he had been flashing just as I saw him do, for years, and the audiences had been seeing it. His audiences were fooling him by telling him, “Oh, that’s great! Amazing.”

I’ll never forget taking my (then) wife to a party at Jeff McBride’s a few years back. Johnny Thompson was there demonstrating a card trick to some young magicians. My wife watched. She had seen hundreds of magicians performing magic with cards over the years, but she told me, “That’s the first time it ever looked like real magic! I mean…I don’t always know exactly what they’re doing, but somehow it always looks like a trick. When he performs…it just looks impossible. Like real magic!”

What was so different about Johnny’s performance? If you knew him, and had the chance to talk magic with him, you realized it had a lot to do with his willingness to go the extra mile, and put in the extra thought—the extra effort to make sure every detail of every performance would look natural, and would lead you to have the experience he wanted to give. If there was anything—anything at all—that might not ring true for an audience, that was a problem to be solved, and solved before you ever showed your magic to anyone.

I suppose that’s why many of magic’s top performers over the years—I’m thinking particularly of Lance Burton and Penn & Teller—made Johnny Thompson their full-time magic consultant. You don’t do that if you don’t care as deeply about the quality of your magic as he did!

It’s hard to perform as Johnny did. It takes deep curiosity, deep knowledge, and endless effort. If I’m honest, I think that may not be the route all performers will wish—or need to take. There may be other reasons for performing as a magician than to give an experience truly indistinguishable from real magic. You might perform magic as the “special effects” in a story you tell. Or, you might perform as a trickster who doesn’t care that the tricks performed look like tricks, as long as the audience is amused. Many of us perform magic because we want to impress our audiences with how clever we are. It doesn’t matter that they can tell we’re just doing tricks, as long as they can’t figure out exactly what the secret of the trick is.

A recent survey that our friend Joshua Jay helped conduct, came up with the startling notion that what most magic fans like most about magical performances is being surprised—and not experiencing something truly magical, at all. I’m sure there are many other possible uses for magic effects within performances.

I suppose my point here is this: If you want to provide experiences that feel like real magic, you’re stuck with going Johnny Thompson’s route. Just learning a trick from a book—a “secret method,” and then practicing it a few times in front of your mirror, won’t get you there. Deep study, deep thought, endless practice, endless rehearsal, and after a thousand performances or so, it will, sometimes begin to look and feel like “real magic” to your audience.

But that shouldn’t be too daunting for all of us enthusiasts and hobbyists, or even those who simply use magic within the context of their “big spectacle” shows, comedy routines, or even great storytelling. In these endeavors, audiences can be fully and delightfully entertained by magic that’s not as perfect, and not as completely magical, as Johnny’s was. There are different levels to this “fooling us” thing, and as long as you’re not really “giving away the secret,” I suppose you can call yourself a magician.

For myself, though, I’d like to see more magic like Johnny’s, and fewer magicians out there “just fooling themselves.”

As you know, we’re always changing, and always moving forward here at the McBride Magic & Mystery School. Have a look at some of our upcoming classes and events by clicking the calendar below.

A bit of late breaking news—Dan Harlan has agreed to be our special guest at this year’s live and In person Magic & Meaning Conference at Sunset Station. Dan is one of the most knowledgeable and creative magicians of our time, and has been a friend of the Magic & Mystery School from the beginning. We’re going to have an amazing time at this, our first real “in person” event in over a year. I hope you can join us. CLICK HERE to register!

Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and keep on making magic!

Tobias Beckwith

Variety – The Spice of Life

Greetings Dear Friends!

Welcome to Vegas — a city of variety and magic! So many people want to visit magical Las Vegas, and you will get your chance again soon! But, right now, you deserve a break! A break from reality… and end to the humdrum, mundane, locked-in, fenced-out, feelings you may be experiencing these days. What is the perfect antidote? 

No, not the magazine, my friends…. The real thing! Variety is more than just the spice of life. Variety — it is essential to add this element of surprise, magic, delight, and wonder to our lives every day. You can bring variety to your life in the following ways:  Writer Lori Deschene suggests we… 

  1. Start the day with a blank piece of paper and the question: “What if today were my last?” Write down what you’d do differently, and then try to do at least five of those things.
  2. Wear something much bolder than you usually do. This gives people the opportunity to see you in a new light, which means they may interact with you differently. 
  3. Change your workspace. Bring new pictures and candles, or move your desk if you’re able. Rearranging furniture always makes my space more exciting.
  4. Commit to complimenting everyone you encounter on something. Sometimes it will be easy, and sometimes it will be challenging. Every time it will brighten someone’s day, and fill you with joy.
  5. Commit random acts of kindness. (Eugene Burger’s Favorite!) You’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling, and you’ll create some good karma for yourself. You never know when that kindness will come back to you and open up your world.

Read more of Lori’s suggestions here:

How much VARIETY do you have in YOUR life?
I can help you add a bit more! Great Masters of the Art often add a splash of the unusual to their presentations. In this exciting class, you will have the opportunity to meet masters of the variety arts, and learn their secrets of success. Many of these arts are nearly lost or forgotten. That is what makes them so exciting, novel, and fresh to modern day audiences!

New online class. April 11th–25th, 2021. Three great classes on three consecutive Sundays, Noon – 2 pm (Pacific). With Jeff McBride and special guests: Charlie Frye, Rafael, Lee Alex, and more to be announced! We will talk live with each of these modern masters, watch great acts in history, and learn so much about the “allied arts.”

Special guest artists will be live in the classroom to give you personal instruction. 

  • Charlie Frye – Eccentric juggling, magic and showmanship.
  • Rafael – One of Europe’s most talented magical variety showmen.
  • Lee Alex – Quick change artist & magician.

Topics will include demonstrations, and how to access resources and study materials about ventriloquism, puppetry, tamasudare, dice stacking, origami, plate-spinning, shadowgraphy, chapaugraphy, troublewit, balloon sculpting, sand painting, rag pictures, chalk talk, smoke painting, sword swallowing, fire and flow art, and even the old-time flea circus! 

Many other subjects that are obscure or forgotten will also pop up during our lively interactive session.

Register now:

Three Great Variety Performers You Must See!
Just look at their videos below. Charlie Frye – His YouTube videos are so inspiring. He is known around the world as modern master of variety skills.

Charlie Frye began life as a clown, performing alongside his father and grandfather. He then joined the circus and kidnapped a ballerina – his future wife, Sherry. Together they created a distinctive, original act, that is universally applauded for its unparalleled blend of skill and physical comedy. As one of the world’s most successful and sought-after variety acts, they’ve opened for Liza Minnelli, and traveled extensively with The Illusionists, playing the famed Sydney Opera House and The Palace on Broadway.

One of the most beloved, and talented artists of our time, Charlie will talk about juggling, clowning, character, and magic!
Rafael is truly a many-faceted artist! He is an award-winning magician, inventor, comedian, illusionist and world traveler. His background in mime, circus, dramatic arts and commedia dell’arte helped to shape him into the incredibly off-the-wall and original act that he is today.  

Rafael has appeared on stages all over the world, including Wintergarten Varieté in Berlin, the Opera House in Blackpool, Theater Carré in Amsterdam, Crocus City Hall Moscow, L’Olympia in Paris and performances before the Royal family at the Théâtre Princesse Grace in Monaco.  A few of his awards include: The Mandrake d’Or in Paris and the Siegfried & Roy Golden Lion Award, which Rafael won in 2005 with his comedy magic dove act in Las Vegas. More info at:
Lee Alex is one of the world’s most respected creators of quick-change effects for our magic community. He is known worldwide in the magic fraternity for his work and study in the branch of “quick change,” the art of transforming male and female costumes in a flash. His celebrated “Color Change Waistcoat/Vest” has been performed internationally by magicians, dancers and jugglers. Lee’s lecture “Time for a Change?” has taken him to the prestigious Magic Castle in Hollywood, the Magic Circle in London, the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas, and to over twenty-five other countries in a multitude of cities and towns, always with great reviews from magical peers.

A Gift for You, & Our Magic Community
April brings new changes. Beginning April 5th, we will host one Monday night show FREE every month! That is correct. “MYSTERY SCHOOL – OPEN HOUSE” will be the first Monday of every month!

Join your favorite magicians and magic teachers from around the world for an exciting and informative evening of magical wisdom. We go live at 7pm PST. WWW.MCBRIDEMAGIC.TV.

We are posting these shows at our Magical Wisdom site, so if you did not get a chance to join us, here is a link to Mystery School Monday free shows and all back episodes:

I’ll see you on the first Monday of EVERY month my friends, or see you at one of our exciting new online classes.

Be inspired!

The Speed of Magic

Dear Friends:

Our guest columnist this month is our good friend and instructor at the school, CJ May—or as you may know him better, “Cyril the Sorcerer.” CJ uses his magic to advocate for the environment, and particularly recycling.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
– Ferris Bueller

Ferris Bueller’s famous quote is good wisdom for magicians as well as teenagers in Hollywood films. Magicians, however, have an exceptional advantage during most performances. We can set the speed of our magic, and thereby set the speed of life…at least for a while.

Our days generally move along at an unsteady pace set by work, family, friends, and global pandemics. Even a single day may move fast, and then slow. It may be punctuated by jumps, starts, twists and pops. It might contain vast stretches of mind-numbing slowness—which turn out to have been 2 minutes long, but which felt like twice eternity. 

Our performances, however, are very largely under our own control. For the most part, we get to decide how fast our shows move at any point. Openers, welcome, audience participation pieces, deep personal dives, and finales, can all move fast or slow. Within each. we are the ones who can adjust the throttle, tap the brakes, or intentionally hit the warp drive button.

WHEN and HOW to move fast or slow, or adjust show speed from one to the other, is the hard part. Really hard. Some basic wisdom on this comes from our teachers and guests:

  • Abigail generously admired a few Ninja Ring flourishes I was showing at Wonderground a few years back. She commented, “That was amazing! Now slow it down.” Although I had been enjoying imitating the rapid moves I had seen another student perform a few years before, the importance of her suggestion in making powerful magic holds true. Too often we go fast to the point where no magic moment can stay in the mind of a viewer. In line with Abbi’s comments, I find that the strongest Ninja Ring routines impress in large part because they are intimate and slow.
  • Max Maven apparently offered a similar observation when he put forth that most magicians could improve their magic simply by slowing down. 
  • Jeff has shared some general advice he received earlier in his career along the lines of, “play the music fast enough and loud enough, and the show will be over before people realize it sucks.”  Although this may seem a vote against high speed, it does recognize that for certain performers and routines, high speed is an asset in making a show great, and that it does not mean all fast shows “suck.”  But, it does suggest that we might be tempted to resort to speed as a crutch if we are not careful.
  • Tobias advised in Beyond Deception that one should experiment with the speed of one’s magic by rehearsing a routine to a metronome, and then again after resetting the metronome for other speeds. His advice to try a routine set to music using alternative music also shifts your gears. This will help by forcing you to speed up or slow the routine as a whole, as well as to establish the rhythms and various tempos.

In the end, however, the best speedometer will likely be our own. But, to get an accurate reading, we are  likely to require several things:

Practice and rehearse extensively. Doing so will get you so comfortable with your magic, that you won’t be accelerating out of nerves. This is a big challenge for me, especially with new material. Watching video of yourself can alert you to magic moments that were lost due to accelerating past them. Video may also help you see moments where you did drag your feet, and audience attention might flounder.

Perform extensively. As we hear again and again from our teachers, and the oft quoted Lance Burton, the best magicians are those that perform the most shows. Learning when to speed up, slow down, continue a rigorous pace, or a placid moment, will come from us seeing audience reactions to our shows.

I wish you luck in finding your speed, avoiding speed traps, and creating fast and slow wonders in shows that weave together in delightful harmony.  Life moves pretty fast these days. Let us make sure that the Speed of Magic in our shows is just right.
Cyril John “CJ” May is an instructor and continuing student at Jeff McBride’s Magic & Mystery School.  He performs for professionals and other adults as and for children and families as In his fulltime work as Refuse/Recycling Coordinator for the City of Waterbury, CT, he regularly performs enviromagic in-person and online. Reach CJ at He is happy to help you with your enviromagic.

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