The Illusion of Communication

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

—George Bernard Shaw

From Larry Hass, the Associate Dean:

As you may know, I have spent the past three months on tour—both in support of my latest book, Inspirations, and of the 25th Anniversary of the Magic & Mystery School. I have met magicians from all over who have been very kind and enthusiastic about our efforts to help people become better, more successful magicians.

Even so, I have been surprised to hear the following kinds of comments, again and again:

“The School has a live video broadcast every Monday night? And we can watch it ‘on demand’?”

“You offer scholarships to attend your classes in Las Vegas?”

“Wait: you guys are a real school for magicians!”

Answers: yes, yes, and yes!

I am always happy to educate people about the Magic & Mystery School, but I have also been thoughtful. How can it be that after 25 years and all the articles, press, and media, many magicians still don’t know what we do?

One answer, with a nod to Shaw, is “The Illusion of Communication”—our assumption that flying the flag loud and clear, far and wide, is sufficient for people to hear us. Indeed, in our age of information overload, where so much media screams for attention and the information cycle is measured in minutes, people might well miss seeing our “flag,” or not understand much about it.

So in the interests of ever-clearer communication I will devote this Museletter to the latest, exciting news and notes about the Magic & Mystery School. I have a lot to report, so let’s plunge in!

1. Latest News

— Last week Jeff and I learned that we, as co-lecturers, were nominated for the “Lecturer of the Year” award from the Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood, California. We are greatly honored by this, and we send our warm congratulations to the other nominees. Voting for Academy members begins very soon and will conclude by the end of April. Margie and I are planning to attend the Awards Ceremony in Beverly Hills on Sunday, May 15. Hope to see you there!

Larry Hass and Jeff

— The House of Mystery was home to a Penguin (Live) Lecture shoot on March 24-25, hosted by Dan Harlan. After a week of pre-production, Penguin filmed four long lectures during those two days; lectures by Jeff, Eugene, Ross Johnson, and me. Penguin’s plan is to release them one-by-one over the next several months, so please keep your eyes out for them. They are fully reflective of our Magic & Mystery School approach to teaching and learning.

Larry Penguin Lecture

2. Magic and Meaning Conference Announcements

— We are now accepting proposals for presentations and performances for the Magic and Meaning Conference this October 19-22, 2016. The guidelines and requirements for making a proposal can be found by going to: We hope that you will consider sharing your best thinking and magic with us at the Conference.

— Also, it is not too early to register for the Conference. This is going to be our big 25th Anniversary Party, and we think you will want to be there. The theme for the Conference is “Honoring Eugene Burger,” who will be our guest of honor. Our Special Keynote Speaker is the wonderful magic director, Bob Fitch.

3. 2016 Supporting and Premier Member Videos Now Available

In January 2016 we increased our benefits as a way to generate new members. Previously, we had made an exclusive video available only to Premier Members, but this year we decided to extend this exclusive video to Supporting Members as well. On top of that, we are making an additional special video available for Premier Members.

The 2016 Exclusive Supporting and Premier Member Video is a film of the show and panel presentation that were part of the School’s 25th Anniversary Party at the Magic Castle in January. This was an extremely successful event for the School. (The place was packed, wall-to-wall, and the Southern California Friends of the Magic & Mystery School kindly sponsored the refreshments.) The 2016 extra video for Premier Members is a terrific interview with Jeff and Eugene that was filmed at Blackpool several years ago.

If you are a Supporting or Premier Member, these two videos are now available at your Member Home page at If you are not yet a member, we ask you to please join at the Sustaining, Supporting, or Premier levels ($25, $50, and $100), or at the new Angel level (any amount over $100 you like). The benefits of membership are extensive, but also the lion’s share of your membership fee goes directly into our scholarship fund that provides need-based financial aid for talented magicians to come study with us in Las Vegas.

4. Program Notes

— The theme for Mystery School Monday for April 2016 is “Going with the Flow.” Tune in every Monday night this month, 7:00 p.m. PDT, to learn what our faculty and facilitators have to say about this fascinating topic.

— Dr. Lynn Miner, our Director of Development, has published “A Prescription for Practice” in the April issue of MAGIC Magazine (pp. 44-50). The article details a strategic approach to the work of practice so we get the most out of it.

— The April article for The Secret Art Journal is from Craig Conley, author of the remarkable book Magic Words: A Dictionary, who instructs us to create a personal and inspirational talisman that employs Robert E. Neale’s “Birth Date Magic Success Square” from An Essay on Magic. Go to

5. In Case You Missed It . . . .

For many months Jeff and I had been laughing about the Beatles’ connection with our recent “Magic & Mystery School Tour” of the UK. We imagined Jeff, Eugene, and I in satin, pastel-colored Sgt. Pepper’s jackets. We wondered who would be the Walrus (“goo, goo, g’joob”). But there we were in Hertfordshire with our friend and producer Jay Fortune, and it all became clear. On the way to lunch, we saw a crosswalk, and our fantasy became a reality. We call this our “Abbi Road” photo. Enjoy!! And no, I am not dead!

Abbey Road

Thank you for being and staying connected to the Magic & Mystery School!

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