Greetings once again! I know that it has been quite a while since I have blogged and I apologize for that but I have been very busy with the business and have not had the chance to get back in touch. But hey, I am here now and that is what counts, right? A lot of projects in the works as usual. One of the projects I am working on is the new show theme for 2017 that is called “Magical Flight of Fancy”. My wife and I have been scripting shows for the next five years and that has been a challenge because I want to be fresh without too many new items because I have certain routines that are “signature”. At the same time, I don’t want to be too redundant and slip into mediocrity by being complacent in the familiar. I have been replacing a lot of used up equipment and have been packing the tools with ever-so-careful-effort. This equipment has to last another 10 years, I figure.
I think that it is right to say that I am currently expanding what I am doing. I am expanding my beard length because during the Christmas season I am booked to play a favorite Christmas Character at the Christmas Village at Inner Harbor in Baltimore MD. That said, I will not be blogging very much at all during that time. But I will let you know when the time approaches. I remember when I was in my late 20s and early 30s having a bushy beard and it was almost down to my chest. My wife kept pulling on it so that I would cut it. She talked me into it and I kept the beard tightly trimmed for a good many years. Now, I am caring a different way. I am not only letting it grow, but conditioning, shaping, and prepping for the dreaded day of…bleaching…ugh! Fortunately, I am mostly grey and silver and so the bleaching may not be as harsh, but we shall see. The bleaching process is not a once only experience. The first bleaching turns the beard a yellowish tinge due to the natural carotene in the hair. The second bleaching makes the hair blonde but not what I am looking for. I am looking for that platinum look which should happen after the third session. Following that, I have to continue with the shaping and conditioning along with a toner treatment to stop the oxidation from the bleaching. I tell you, you have to have a degree in chemistry to do this!
My family is adjusting to my wife going through her medical treatments. I have not really said anything about this because it is difficult and I do appreciate your prayers during this time and I will post if any changes take place. I assume all will go well.
As for me, I keep plugging along doing what I do. I am off somewhere over the rainbow and I will see you all on the other side, or at least until the next blog!
I am back for a brief moment before going out on the road again and I just wanted to touch base! I have had a simply wonderful year thus far as greater opportunities have come my way. This is certainly appreciated, I can tell you. One such opportunity has me in Baltimore during the holidays. I will be making very few blogs at that time as I will be busy up until Christmas. The month of August I was swamped with work doing well over 30 shows…actually…pushing 40. That is about right for the summer months. This month of September I am doing a little less as I have been also spending a little time vacationing with the family. On the home front, I am also assisting my wife as she is battling a auto-immune disease. She has been given infusion therapy and is almost done with them. It is a difficult road but I am confident that she will get better very soon. I try not to advertise the struggles, but there you go. This month is also a time of touring in Virginia, the last one of the calendar year 2016 in that state. The schedule is running hot! More to come so, stay tuned!
I am back at the blog for another visit! I have titled this blog “Reflecting” because I actually have a moment to reflect on what has been happening around me these last few days of my absence. I am not referring to the civil unrest or the uncertainty of our presidential race, I am speaking on an optimistic tone. While the country is adjusting to change for good or bad (the choice, I suppose is up to you as to what to make of it) I choose to look at it this way; an obstacle is an opportunity. This is not just a passe saying that you would see on cubicle partitions in a nature setting. I truly believe this to be true…or at least…I am evolving in that direction. I confess that I do struggle in letting frustration get the best of me some times, but hopefully, that will be the exception and not the rule.
Back in 2014 I was in a Genii magazine article and I took another look at that particular issue when I got back home from tour and not JUST because I was in it, but because the late Paul Daniels was featured in it. I have to tell you all, that I had no idea the depth of that individual’s resume in entertainment! If you get a chance, look at YouTube and check out some of what this excellent performer and his Wife, Debbie accomplished! Better still, have a look here!
Paul Daniels passed away earlier this year and I am sorry that I did not have a chance to meet him but I am thankful that he did leave a trail in television and video where I can reference some great magic! As for me, I am also adjusting in my career to bigger and better things. I have adopted a philosophy that my mentors Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger have taught: Always look forward to your next show. I completed a 17 day stint in traveling and doing shows. I completed a tour in Ohio and now I am looking forward to what lies ahead. This week is a little lighter as I have three shows, but next week picks up a little as I have seven shows. My next public appearance will be September 28th at Coney Island for Magic at Coney and I will be posting more information as the day draws nearer. I hope you are all well and I will be posting another blog soon!
Glad to be back at you again with some updates, announcements, and some general observations. First of all, it is my habit to try and be as consistent as I can regarding posts on the blog and if you take a look at some of the entries, you will find gaps in time. This is due to my being on the road. I will assume that you are keenly aware of that fact and will overlook the apparent lack of continuity. That said, I would like to let you know that my son, Simon has been joining me on the road a lot this summer and he has been getting an education about showbiz and life on the road. He was really looking forward to one gig in particular, but as is the case from time-to-time, the show was cancelled due to issues beyond my or the client’s control. You can be sure that Simon was none too happy about the cancellation and it tells me that he might be the kind of person that could possibly stomach show business. Who knows? In addition to his joining me and helping in the lugging of equipment, he has been taking some pretty nice pictures of me in action and if you would like to see some, just go to Facebook and take a peek. The schedule has been good for the past few weeks: it has been a mix of both adult and kid shows, seasoned with a wedding gig at a resort in upstate New York. June was a stretch as I not only had to fix the car to make it safe for everyone on the road, it was time to give the old Magic Mobile to my son, Peter as I went to get a new set of wheels. It is almost like the Magic Mobile so now IT has garnered the name while the old car has the name “Tooth-less” because of the former missing grill. My son has fixed up the old car nicely and he gets around town with it. The mileage reads a little over 485,000 miles on it. The new car is just getting her legs on at 36,000 miles and unlike its predecessor, doesn’t have the uncomfortable bucket seats. This makes the long travel miles much easier, believe me! This is an additional expense and I don’t mind telling you that I am not a fan of car payments, but this is a necessary evil in our times and it requires me to really focus on the business and keep the work coming in and going out. One of my sayings is “keep it hot”. My wife and I have been cleaning up the office area with some needed effort and attention. We are almost at a comfortable stage where we can get things done. I am not one who likes to spend the day doing busy work, but in this case, I made an exception. I jammed the shredder at least twice and thought I broke it. I recovered it and now it is fine. Again, still not all the way done, but am working on it, bit by blessed bit. For those of you who like to learn things on line, we are developing a new website called “The Magic Clubb”. The web address to check it out is themagicclubb.net It is still in the infancy stages but will add to it lessons and related articles of magical entertainment. On the front page you will see examples of five basic principles of magic as demonstrated by some of the greats in the field from days gone by. I also give a demonstration and teaching on the vanishing coin and the static magic wand. I know it is not much, but it is a start, and in addition, I will be teaching about the history and the many uses of the most exploited secret of magic. Want to know what it is? Check out the website for a spoiler! Sorry for the long post, but again, evidence that I have been on the road a lot. Tomorrow, I will be in Hershey PA and then back in upstate NY and then Pittsburgh PA to do a special class reunion magic show! I will touch base soon! Ta-Ta!!
I am back posting yet again. I am getting ready for a couple of shows in upstate New York and MA and then will be rehearsing the Harry Potter show coming up next month. Got the music all situated and the scripting down, just need to do a couple of run-through passes to get the feel down. The tricky thing is to get the spacing down as it will be at the event! Hopefully, it will not be too cramped at the event. In case you are curious, this event will be at the Lycoming Mall “Books A Million” June 30-31st. Details are forth coming. Next week will be my wedding anniversary! I was married to my lovely wife 27 years ago and we are taking a much needed breather at the lovely town of Mystic CT. Very appropriate for a magician and his wife, right? Well, I gotta go so I will keep you posted a little later!
I am happy to welcome the summer months! I love the hot, sizzling summer! It has been a while since I have posted on the blog and it is not because I have been bored and not had much to report! In fact, I have a lot to say about what has been happening and what will be coming down the pike here in these hot summer days! I just returned from a tour this past month. Actually, it was more like two tours, but one of them was really small as it was just an over-night that I will not count that one. June is almost over and I have been pounding the pavement by going upstate New York and Virginia. I have posted some of the pics on Facebook so if you would like to check it out just take a look at my Facebook. My son has been accompanying me on the tours and he recently got a new uniform for the job. Funny, up to now, he hasn’t considered how hard life on the road really is. He was deprived of his devices for nearly a week and when he walked in the door to unpack, he grabbed his devices and I really haven’t seen him since! I am now on a much needed day off and I feel weird because I have been at it for 10 days straight and my body wants to keep going. But rest is good too. Thankfully, I was able to secure additional bookings during my tours and I will keep working. I had to spend some additional money on the car. My hub was just about ready to fall off and my brakes were shot. I had the work done for a little over a thousand dollars. My pockets feel really empty now! I have about six more shows this month and then it will already be July!!! Where does the time go? Now, for the movie recommendation for all of you who may be curious about the behind the scenes of show business, check out an old classic called “The Clown” starring Red Skelton. It is a jewel of a movie and you will not be disappointed. It is about a washed up comic/clown and his struggle to remain relevant and find work in the cut throat business of show. I love the opening scene of Coney Island and the Steeple Chase. It makes me long for those days to return but alas, it most likely will not any time soon. The movie is very heart warming and sappy, but if you like Red Skelton, you will love this movie! What is happening in July is going to be exciting as the new Harry Potter book is set to be released and I will be participating in the celebration at the Books A Million on the evening of July 30th at the Lycoming mall Books A Million store! Details will follow in future posts so keep a weather eye! So long for now!!
Taking a little breather as I have just finished two and a half weeks of solid bookings that had me really running! It really doesn’t do justice to keep plugging how busy I am without just showing you… (Assuming the care meter is in my favor that is). Why do I post anyway? Well, I have always thought that the strange job I have is worthy of noting. I have met people who also have done very strange jobs. I went to college with a fellow that spent a summer working on a farm and cleaned manure from farm equipment. That is a strange job that I would not like to follow nor chronicle in any vivid detail. Suffice it to say, it was a dirty job he was glad to eventually walk away from. On the other hand, some would consider being a full time professional magician right about in that same level of interest as the farm hand cleaning manure. Obviously, I cater to those faithful folk that hold a different view on the matter. That said, there can be a fair amount of…wait for it…BS that goes along too! I am not in the habit of complaining and so, please don’t take what I say as a rant or a complaint, but merely an observation of a typical day in the life of a professional magician. BS comes in many forms; from payment of services, to performing of services. The great Kramien had a saying that went “No dough, no show.” It came from the vaudeville era to stipulate the obvious. He held true to that saying I can tell you and he counseled many entertainers to do the same. He felt that a showman is worth the work and effort and it should be reflected by the fact that the client is not going to cheat. I like to think that a client generally doesn’t think to cheat by denying payment for services rendered, but like all businesses, it requires constant vigilance to be current. The power company can’t continue to operate if they didn’t expect payment of services. This is why they pester their clients to pay their bills and if the clients are hard up, the company offers ways in which the client can satisfy the payment. This is not unusual, nor should it be unusual for an entertainer to be vigilant on keeping his/her payment record current and not feel weird in asking the client to honor the contract. The second BS is the performance aspect. A magician has an additional hurtle to clear to be taken seriously. Most people put a magician in a big pool of people that include hobbyists, and enthusiasts. A good professional magician has to prove that he/she is in a completely different pool altogether and then keep the heat up so as to earn the respect. I don’t believe that musicians have that same challenge, theirs are different. Well, off I go again! Talk to you later!!
Here I am at the busy season and I want to make sure that I am doing a bit more than I did last year because I have been hearing in the wind that there is a slow down in our economy…I mean even…slower. So….what does this mean for someone like me? I have to do more DSM (direct sales marketing) while I am already on the road. I have a set up in my car where I can make it into an almost portable office. Now that may seem sleek, but it makes for cramped spaces even more cramped. But a fellow has got to do what a fellow has got to do, right? I also try and get repeat bookings from the clients as well as additional bookings from other people that may be interested in my services! Oh by the way, if you have read some of my earlier blogs, I may have mentioned this individual: His name was Edwin Brush, or “Brush the Great”. A very close friend of mine who met him years ago, said of him that he was so neatly dressed at all times, carried himself as very respectable and professional. My friend met him at a Church. Brush was a devout Christian and performed at the Church as well as the local YMCA. As he was about to board a bus to go back to Stockton California, a person stopped him and as it turned out, Brush was booked again for a corporate event on the spot. Naturally, the magician changed his plans and bus schedule and rode out to the event. At the time I thought, “how romantic and adventurous!” I must confess, this line of work does have some of those benefits from time-to-time. Yesterday, I did a school show that went well. These kids were rewarded for a fundraising drive for their school and I was part of that reward. I made sure I was on my game! The previous day I was in Upstate NY doing a series of shows for senior citizens and it was the first time they had a magician on their campus. The feedback was that they thoroughly enjoyed the show. That is good because I had a lot of fun as well! This is what the late Steven Covey wrote as “synergy”. The audience anticipates and the performer delivers, can’t get any better than that! Tomorrow, I have a local fair I am performing at the Kingston Armory in Wilkes Barre PA for a few hours of strolling magic. Should be fun and tiring. I have worked through my box of cards that I need to get some new ones and break them in before tomorrow morning. Have to clean the costume and shine the shoes too. Fortunately, I was able to update my tails jacket and now it looks really flashy! My hair is trimmed and I feel pretty good about things right about now. Got to get a move on, but thanks for stopping by!
I am sorry that I have not been posting on the blog as of late as I have been very busy on the road. I just got back from a Virginia tour that was very well received and I got as a result, return engagements set on the calendar!
I was near “Phili” yesterday and the day before that I was in Brooklyn New York! This week affords a couple of windows where I can catch up with things but then, it is back to it! So, what does a magician do on his/her off time? Well, I have found a new book that I am reading that has to do with the history of the conjuring arts as well as I am doing some additional practicing on some smaller scale effects trying to better myself. I know, it sounds a little boring, but I am a simple kind of man. there really is nothing to me; I don’t party, I stay at home and spend it with my family when I am done with work. I like to read and watch goofy martial arts movies and wonder about the next Star Wars film/films coming out and stress out about being able to see them in the theater. I love the character in the Television series Flash, named Ramoan Cisco. He is the closest that I have discovered that can match my level of irrelevant geek-ness. Granted, the character is…a science geek also, while I am not. He is also twenty…something, and I am…well…not. What’s more, he is fictional….I am all too real, my friends. Learn it, love it, live with it! Anyway, I spend my off road days cleaning up my equipment and repairing and replacing any broken items that happen. You might be amazed at how quickly I go through things. 100 ft rope is nothing to me these days. Cut and restore the thing, it gets shorter and shorter until it becomes laughable. I have a production box that is more nails than wood at this point, and so I am looking to replace that ASAP. These are only two examples. I can name more…ok, one more; my jacket needs to be replaced. So much to do!