|Obviously, reading a book like this would be painful and frustrating. Imagine what happens to a hearing-impaired person at the magic show where the intrepid performer insists, “I don’t need a mic!” Or when the performer hasn’t done any vocal work to ensure their voice is full and their consonants clear.
Since my diagnosis, I have come to learn that hearing loss is a substantial problem for many people of all ages, and I had been oblivious to it. Thus, it isn’t primarily for ourselves that we should insist upon a mic and exercise our voice, but for the significant percentage in every audience who face this kind of challenge.
Because here is something that isn’t covered in any close-up book or video: if people have to struggle and strain to see or hear, there isn’t much magic at the show.
IN THE STUDIO
Since the Halloween release of Eugene Burger: Final Secrets, I've turned my full attention to two upcoming online courses I’ll be teaching through the McBride Magic & Mystery School:
1. Master and Mentors. Co-taught with Jeff McBride, this will be held January 13, 20, and 27 (5:00-7:00pm PACIFIC). Our plan is for each of us to discuss in detail the primary influences that have shaped our performance work. Jeff has his own impressive list, but I’ll be focusing on Tommy Wonder, Dai Vernon, and Juan Tamariz—along with Eugene. We will watch these masters and share important performance lessons learned from them. Along the way, we will teach some of their most wonderful pieces of magic. Not to be missed!
2. Deep Study of a Modern Master: EUGENE BURGER. I promised I would teach this course once Final Secrets was published, and now is the time! It will be held February 10, 17, and 24 (5:00-7:00pm PACIFIC). Following the approach I used for my previous Deep Studies (on Juan Tamariz and Bob Neale), I will elaborate what I see as the essential core of Eugene’s philosophy of magic and perform, teach, and discuss several of his most outstanding routines. Cannot wait!
Please note: every class will be recorded so registrants can watch them at their convenience. You can register here.
IT’S NOT MAGIC, BUT…
It seems we live in “the age of rage”: in party and pandemic politics, social media posts, click-bait that provokes adrenalin through outrage or victory, hair-trigger tempers, nasty complaints, snarky commentary, and email fire-bombs. A recent survey conducted by Fortune magazine found that obnoxious behavior was reported at a level twice as high as in their same study two years ago.
I observe this all around—in the culture and in the street. I see these temptations and reactions in myself, even though I don’t want to be that kind of person. So recently, I read Gabrielle Bernstein’s book Judgment Detox, which offers a bracing look at how we pass judgment on others (and ourselves) as a way avoid fear, pain, and guilt. And how this coping mechanism has a habitual, even addictive, dimension to it.
I admire Bernstein’s book because she is willing to expose her own vulnerabilities and flaws to help us examine a deep dynamic that seems to underlie our “age of rage.” Although she sometimes uses language and remedies that don’t call to me, her analysis of how the judgment-habit diminishes us is persuasive and inspiring as I try to correct my own course.
Related to this, I was recently given a unique deck of “Kindness Cards” (theschooloflife.com). Designed for “compassion and empathy,” each card has a wise insight or suggested practice to inspire kindness in our daily lives. For example, just now I removed this card from the deck at random:
“So much of what we value is preserved by, and compatible with, kindness. We can be kind and successful; kind and exciting; kind and wealthy; and kind and potent. Kindness is a virtue awaiting our rediscovery and renewed, unconflicted appreciation.”
If you, like me, are feeling the deep dis-ease of our “uncivil society,” perhaps one or both of these resources will be helpful!