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.