Monday, August 6, 2007

Summer Library Season Comes to an End

Greetings everyone,
It has been a while since I posted a blog on my blogsite. I have been very busy with the summer library season, with almost 90 shows in 2 months! And even more importantly, my wife and I have just had our first baby - a little girl named Reagan, who was born on May 20th. She was a month early and she only weighed 5.1 lbs but she has now doubled in size and is as healthy as could be!

Now I am enjoying being a stay-at-home-dad for a few weeks before the school season really picks up. Reagan and I enjoy dancing to oldies music and other silly things. Having a child is real magic!

Well, to give everyone an update, we are now booked up for the summer of 2008 and are now accepting reservations for the summer of 2009! I have been blessed to be able to do something that I love to do and have gotten lots of great comments from librarians and others who have seen the show - and I have as much fun as the kids do when I'm performing for them!

I am already hard at work on next year's show, but I won't spill the beans yet on what will be in it - it should be lots of fun though!
Well, everyone have a great day and check back for more blogs in the near future!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Houdini's Death Revisited!

Greetings one and all!
It appears that the mystery surrounding Houdini's death has grown since the biography was written that I mentioned in my earlier blog. Some of Houdini's family want his body dug up so that they can have it tested to see if Houdini may have been poisoned - and the suspects are the Spiritualist (think psychics, fortune tellers, etc.). And, if you have seen my "Authors of Mystery and Horror Show" this past year, you know that the most outspoken Spiritualist was none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame. It is an interesting theory to say the least - if you are interested in reading the news article you can do so by clicking here.

I also encourage everyone who may be interested to read the new biography on Houdini - it is quite fascinating!

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

One of the Most Asked Questions....


As a "magical educator" I get asked lots of questions. I just recently performed at two schools - one with my "Exotic Animal Science Show" and the other just "Fun Show" for a PTA Festival. At both shows I had my snake, or snakes (at the science show), and I get asked lots of questions after my shows. Of course, I tell the kids ahead of time that they can't ask me how I do my magic tricks, because a magician can never reveal his/her secrets.
However, there is one question that always amuses me and gets a good chuckle, and it goes something like this: "Is that snake (that I am holding or have around my neck) poisonous?"

I get asked this question more than almost any other question. Now for those of you who aren't aware - I use a ball python and also a cornsnake in my science/safari show and, no, neither are poisonous! They do not have fangs, nor do they eat people.

The really funny thing is - adults ask the question just as much as the children do! I guess that I am simply one adventurous looking dude! But I regret to inform everyone that I will not be adding a poisonous snake to my show anytime soon!
But there's always the tarantula and scorpion.... :)

Have a great day!

Monday, February 26, 2007

It Makes It All Worthwhile!

This past Saturday I was performing at a birthday party. The party went great and the kids were an awesome audience. That part is fairly normal. The party was at a church in a large room with a small stage in it and the set-up was very nice. Now, when you entertain children for a living, you get to see all kinds of things and experience all kinds of behavior - some good and some bad.

With that said, I want to congratulate and thank the birthday child for making my day! His name is Walker and he was turning 6 years old. Walker enjoyed the show and let me know, but the thing that impressed me most of all was this: After the show was over and all the children ate their cake and then went out to play, Walker came up to me before going outside and asked if I needed any help packing up my stuff! Now, most children wouldn't think about that - they would go straight out with their friends and have fun, but Walker showed that he wanted to make sure that I didn't need any help first. What a great testimony from a young child!

So, Walker, just to let you know - you most definitely made my day and reminded me why I love to entertain children! Thanks.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Authors of Mystery and Horror Show Booking Up!

Greetings everyone!

Last year's "Edgar Allan Poe Reading Show" has been expanded and is now known as "Authors of Mystery and Horror." For those of you who have not seen the show, you can find out more information on my website. The response this year has been great - I just contacted the libraries that booked the program last year, and have already filled up almost 2 full weeks in October! The show can be booked all year (expect for the summer due to the Vacation Reading Program) but October and November are by far have the most sought after dates!

This show is really fun for me to perform, as I have always loved to read spooky and mysterious novels and stories - especially Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. There is nothing like reading with the lights down low and having Poe's The Raven come to life in your imagination. And the neat thing is, it was one of Poe's characters that inspired Doyle to create Sherlock Holmes!

Besides those two authors, I also like to read the famous novels like Dracula, Frankenstein, and many other scary tales! Now I am able to share that love with teens, and do so in a way that hopefully makes them curious about the authors and stories to the point of doing some reading about them on their own!

If you are thinking this would be a good way to get teens into your library - give me a call or email and I'll share some ways that I can help you get the teens into the library - and some things that you can do to cut the cost of the show in half! I look forward to hearing from you! The dates are filling up fast, so take action NOW!

"Quoth the Magician - Nevermore!"

New Biography about Houdini

Hello everyone,

I wanted to let everyone know that there is a fairly new biography about Houdini that is now out - I just picked it up from my local library and am just starting on it. It's called The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero and it's written by William Kalush and Larry Sloman. There are some very interesting theories about Houdini that are developed from a huge amount of material that the authors were able to bring together - including lots of Houdini's personal letters. I have found that most people only know a little about Houdini's life - and most of what people know is not accurate - thanks in part to Houdini himself. He was always reinventing how he marketed himself - sometimes making up things that were not true - making himself seem larger than life.

A perfect example, most people think Houdini died performing one of his stunts - which is not the case. I won't tell you the real way that he died - go read a book about Houdini and you'll find out! That is one of the many facts I introduce to people in my "Authors of Mystery and Horror" show for library teen programs - along with some very strange and interesting facts about Houdini's relationship with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame. Very few people also know that Houdini himself was an author - having written several books - some that affected his relationship with Doyle...are you curious yet?!? Go read a book!

Finally, do you know what date that Houdini died on? It makes for a great story - and it doesn't end there - after his death things got even more strange...

I would tell you what I mean...but it's much more fun to go and find out yourself by digging around in a good book or two...have fun reading!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Attending the 2007 Children's Services Annual Conference!

Greetings everyone!

I had the opportunity to attend the annual Children's Services Conference in Macon a few days ago, and I had an awesome time. It is always fun seeing lots of children's librarians/friends that have had me as part of their programs over the years. The conference center in Macon is also very nice, and lunch was great (thanks to Mrs. Elaine and all the other local librarians who saved me a seat!).

It was also great meeting so many new folks. This year I was really wanting to get the word out about my "Authors of Mystery and Horror" Teen Program, and lots of youth workers stopped by to pick up a brochure and watch a demo of the floating table - that trick even amazes me! It is my desire to help libraries bring in more teens - as so many teens tend to fall by the wayside when it comes to reading and taking advantage of their public library - and any part that I can play to bring in a few and plant some seeds of curiosity I'll do!

Feel free to leave me a comment or an email anytime if you have any questions about anything you saw or got information on at the booth! Have a great day all and thanks for what you do for children, youth, and the love of reading!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How Did You Become a Magician?

One of the main questions that I get asked after my performances is, "How did you become a magician?" If you have seen any of my reading shows, then you already know the simple answer to this question, but for those who have never seen me, here is the story.

During my last year of college I was given a gift certificate for a book store, and one day I decided to go into the local bookstore and use it on something different. When I say different, usually I got a fantasy novel or some other work of fiction, but this time I wanted to get something that was not the usual fiction book. So, I went searching and found the hobbies and games section, and there on the shelf were a few books about magic. I thought back to when I was a child and my parents bought me a set of linking rings on a trip to Gatlinburg, TN, and I also remember not being able to do the trick very well at all. So I decided to get one of the books and learn a few tricks. The book that I ended up getting was called Mark Wilson's Cyclopedia of Magic, one of the best general books on magic there is - although I didn't know that at the time.

I ended up paying .60 in tax for the book, and it ended up being the best magic purchase that I ever made. I then went on a mission trip to Savannah, GA and we spent the day picking up kids from the projects whose parents kicked them out and told them not to come back until dark. We took the kids to the local Baptist Center and played with them, gave them something to eat, and really tried to be their friends - the Baptist Center was a safe place for them, and many of them came to the Sunday services also. However, some of the children would just sit against the wall and not say anything to anybody, so I got the idea of performing a magic trick for them to see if they would open up a little. Some of the youth and I begin reading the book and learned a few simple card tricks and showed them to the kids - their eyes lit up and they were instantly our friends. That was the hook - I new then that I was going to learn more magic!

To end the story, I kept reading that book, learning new tricks, and eventually found a local magic shop when I moved back home near Augusta, GA to start my new job of Middle School Science Teacher, and that was that. Pretty soon I was performing for birthday parties for families of teachers that I worked with and now, I perform my educational shows in schools and libraries all over Georgia and South Carolina.

But one thing remains the same, in every educational show I do, and every time that someone ask me how I got started, I bring out that little magic book that I got for .60 several years ago and tell them very simply, "I read this book." Reading - you gotta love it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Magical Movies

As a magician, I am always interested in movies that deal with the subject of magic. My wife and I have watched two movies this past year that involve magicians - The Illusionist and The Prestige. When we saw The Prestige, we were both convinced that it was one of our favorite movies of 2006, and that The Illusionist would not be in the same ball park. I am happy to report that both movies lived up and exceeded our expectations, and I would encourage you to make an evening of watching them both. There are many, many plot twists in both, and there are even some classic magic tricks thrown in as well.

A note, you don't want your children watching these movies, as they are rated PG-13 for some intense drama/action, and there are some scary moments in The Prestige. If you have ever wanted to watch a movie that takes you back to the magicians of the Vauldville era, you can't go wrong with either one.

Have fun watching them and feel free to let me know what you think!


Introduction and Greeting!

Hello there,
I am glad that you have taken the time to read some of my thoughts and feelings about all things related to performing and educating children. As mentioned in my profile, my specialty is educational entertainment in libraries and schools in GA and SC. As you can see by the picture here, I have a lot of fun doing what I do and it's my goal to make sure that the children learn something while having the most fun possible.

This past summer the theme for the Vacation Reading Program was "Once Upon a Time" and my show was designed to incorporate the theme. That is part of the reason that I can do the same libraries year after year - the show is always new and fitted to the theme - you won't get the same show year in and year out.

For librarians who are reading this, I tend to book up almost a year in advance - as you can see from my schedule. This summer (2007) I am almost at my limit with around 75 shows during the end of May, all of June and all of July. The reason I am not doing many more are two-fold:
1) It's a very busy schedule already - with two or three shows a day all week long.
2) My wife and I are expecting a new edition to our family this summer - a baby girl! Her name is Reagan.

Reason #2 is the main reason that I am keeping it around 75 - 80 shows.

I hope that you will take the time to watch the video on my website of last year's "Once Upon a Time Reading Show" which has also been performed in schools all year long.

A few last thoughts: If you are a librarian and you need a specific date for the summer and that date is booked, or if you need several days in a row for your whole system, then consider securing a spot for the summer of 2008. You already know that the show will change from this year's show to fit whatever the theme will be, and you are under no obligation - you can cancel at any time and for any reason up until contracts are sent out at the beginning of 2008!

The final thought: If you are a librarian or a school educator who has experienced my program first hand - I encourage you to send spread the word to others that you know could benefit from having a quality educational program that both educates and entertains.

Have a great day and check back often for more blogs! Feel free to post your thoughts, suggestions, etc.