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Past Posts

100 Days of Gratitude - Day 95 - The Essential Magic Conference

I missed this one last year. I just don't have a very good internet connection to watch streaming video - and I had shows two of the three days.

This year I figured I'd give it a shot and see what it was about.

It was the best decision I'd made in a long, long time - and I still haven't seen all of it!

What is the EMC? Well, their website will explain it better, but basically it's an online magic convention. I may have lost my non-magic friends who read this, but I think it's a look towards the future of ALL conferences - not just magic.

There were technical glitches, but they were handled well - both on the spot and by the amazing fact that within hours of finishing the sessions you could go back and watch a replay of them on line - and can continue to do so for some time - I'm assuming a year - but I didn't actually read all of that info. PLUS - we'll get sent a set of DVD's, complete with bonus materials afterwards.

So, if you got a phone call in the middle of a lecture, like I did - there are ample opportunities to watch it again.

The roster was packed with legends in our community - big hitters; David Berglas, Stan Allen, Rudy Coby, Gaetan Bloom, Apollo Robbins, The Buck Twins, Eric Mead, David Kaye, Lu Chen, Paul Daniels, Max Maven, Rene Levand, Topas, Bill Kalush and more. What I really liked was that because of time constraints everyone was very prepared and gave short, to the point, focused presentations so they could share their most valuable information in the short time slots. It, at times, left me wanting more, but mostly, it kept me glued to my computer screen.

Strangely, when I go to a live magic convention, I skip many of the lectures and just go for the shows and to see my friends. This was a much better simulation of how I learn - so it was much more beneficial to me.

Luis DeMatos, Marco Temptest and others who I'm sure contributed as much - I just didn't do my homework on the entire project put together an amazing staff to pull off a task that was incredible, not just in magic standards, but in technology standards.

The stand outs for me were the lectures on philosophy and performance, but there was some simply stunning magic being performed as well.

The absolute highlight was a tour, via satilitte, of David Copperfield's Museum of Magic in Las Vegas (the conference was broadcast from Portugal) hosted by David himself - and followed by the very best interview of Copperfield that I've ever seen. He was gracious, charming, humble and truly interested in living up to what he sees as his responsibility to preserve some of magic's greatest history - because if not him... then who.

Having already dedicated a day of this project to Copperfield's influence on me and others it may seem like I'm gushing, but I'm just very impressed with his passion for our magic and his humility.He seems to truly understand his position in the history of our art. He gave great advice with great enthusiasm. I can't wait to go back and watch it again.

It's a far, far cry from the "advice" that Criss Angel gave someone on twitter when they asked about becoming a magician when Criss said "Don't do it". But I digress.

As for the conference next year - it's a slam dunk decision for me to sign up again. Probably on the day it's announced. My advice to you is to do the same. It's just about the best thing that's happened to magic lately and it IS the future of meetings in general.

I'm sad it's over, but I'm glad as well - as I have a lot of office work to get done, and I can't do it when I'm looking at videos on the internet. But I will be watching them again.


100 Days of Gratitude - Day 94 - Mentors, Teachers & those who inspire

Today I tuned into the Essential Magic Conference - an online magic "convention" where some of the brightest minds in magic are teaching and sharing their brilliance through lectures and performances. It's very well done and the quality of the lecturers is unsurpassed. I often skip lectures at conventions, but I was riveted to my computer screen for 3 hours today.

One of the speakers was Stan Allen, founder and editor of M A G I C Magazine, which is one of my favorite magazines - not just about magic, but favorite magazines - period. He went through a list of things that magicians should pay attention to. At the end of his talk (you should join the conference which is still going on for two more days, and the replays are on line) I was so moved that I applauded the computer screen.

I applauded the freakin' computer screen. Actually, I applauded Stan. What really stood out in his talk was the attention given to finding a mentor - and being a mentor.

I have enjoyed many mentors during my career as a magician, a hypnotist and a game show producer. I've learned from so many people that it would be impossible to list them all here without me forgetting someone.

As I mentioned in an earlier post about the Austin Magic Clubs those clubs are where I found many of my mentors in magic - many are mentioned there.

But I'd like to stretch beyond the mentors that you know personally. Sometimes a mentor is someone whose writings you like, whose recordings you listen to and whose philosophy makes an impact on the way you think and behave.

In watching today's EMC I realize what a great debt our entire art owes to the influence of, the inspiration of David Copperfield and Doug Henning. Just about every one of the people who lectured listed these guys as WHY they got into magic. Most of our generation is into magic because of these giants. While they didn't personally mentor many of us, the inspiration is truly worth mention - and I did mention Copperfield earlier in this blog on Day 90.

While today is a tip of the hat to Mentors, teachers and those who inspire - the message that I took away from Stan Allen's talk today was to BE a mentor. If you were mentored as you were getting into your hobby or business - take the time NOW to be a mentor to someone who is deserving on your guidance.

To those who mentored and taught me personally I owe you so much - to those who inspired me I also owe you. We've all got these people in our lives. Say thank you to at least one of them within 12 hours of reading this. You'll be glad you did - and so will they.


100 Days of Gratitude - Day 93 - Drive In Movies at Home

"The Beast" off duty and letting us show Fight Club on her at the end of our driveway.I've been grateful in the past for our home and property. Also for my company Game Shows To Go.

One of the things I love about having all of the game show equipment is that about 2-3 times a year we will pull "The Beast" (our Box Van) to the end of our driveway and project a movie onto the side of the van.

What's awesome is that the box on the van is 16' x 9' - the PERFECT 16:9 ratio for a widescreen movie. It makes the perfect movie screen as I never have to worry about wind. You do have to get used to the rivets that are going down the side of the "screen", but that doesn't take long.

We use a 4500 lumen (that's bright for those who don't know) projector and JBL EON 15 Speakers. I've been to movie theaters in small towns in Iowa that don't have equipment as good. Our closest neighbors are still a good ways away - so we can crank it up pretty good.

It's a great way to have friends over, sit in our lawn chairs, drink a refreshing beverage, eat popcorn and enjoy a movie in a unique way.

We're basically sitting at home watching a movie - but it makes that into an EVENT.

Last night we watched "Fight Club". Our friend Keith had never seen it. We've also watched "The Big Lebowski" with a friend (Dan) who had never seen it. When I find out a friend hasn't seen what I consider to be a GREAT MOVIE - we'll set up the drive in.

One of the funny things is that you can see the movie from the road - so we'll have people slowing down as they drive by wondering what the heck is going on. I'm sure it's an unusual sight out here in the country. I'd look too.

What movies would you like to watch this way?


100 Days of Gratitude - Day 92 - Danny Garcia

Julian Franklin, Danny Garcia and me at our house the morning after Epic Karaoke IV. Shooting guns and blowing things up.If you're a magician you know the name. Daniel Garcia is a very talented young man. OK, he just turned 30, but 30 is the new 20 - he's a youngster.

I've known Danny since he was a teenager and I'd see him performing his dove act at the TAOM Conventions. His amazing parents were always there to support him and always looked (and were) very proud of him.

In the past 6 years or so he's become (along with Alex - the guy who's always by his side) one of my favorite people and one of my truest friends. If you want to know what true friendship is - watch Daniel Garcia with his "brothers" David and Alex. If you are Danny's friend he will always have your back and you'll always want to have his.

He's generous, funny, talented, motivated, giving, caring, loving and an all around great guy. He's an amazing magician, creator, consultant, singer, musician and some of the best Karaoke I've ever done has been has been duets with Danny - though I'm pretty sure I drug him down - as he can really sing and I, on the other hand, cannot.

He even designed the logo for one of our game shows "Brain Cell" he did the basic logo with the Brain and the Circle. I did the phone with suggestions from Brian Brushwood and Jonny Zavant.

I am truly proud to have Danny as a friend. I know there are a lot of people who feel the same way.

Danny is the very personification of "To have a friend... be a friend".


100 Days of Gratitude - Day 91 - My Liberty Hill Circle of Friends

Dave, Dan, Keith and Me at a "Mad Men" party. None of us really smoke, but the props made it awesome.I talk here often about my old friends and my entertainer friends, but today is all about OUR friends, Kim's and mine, here in Liberty Hill, TX. They're stay at home mom's, business owners, air traffic controllers and managers - unlike my entertainer friends - you can't go to "their name" .com. But they're equally as valuable to our lives.

Our close circle is Kim and me and three other couples, the Warners (Dave and Stacey), the Endres' (Dan and May) and the Perske's (Keith and Cydney).

The guys became friends because the women were. Fortunately, we all really like each other too - so the couples get along great. We are diverse in what we do for a living, what we are interested in as hobbies and in politics and Kim, Stacey, May and Cydney at a Holiday Partyreligion - but we love one another and enjoy one another's company.

Just about any weekend that I'm not on the road we are together at one of our four houses, laughing, eating, drinking and laughing some more. Sometimes we play music (I am musically impaired, but will sing from time to time), sometimes we have a bonfire (not lately since it's so dry) always we have excellent company.

Tonight it's going to be all of the above - with the exception of the bonfire. I, for one, am looking forward to it.