Archive for the ‘TOUR JOURNAL 2012’ Category

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

It’s a rare treat when we are home for any length of time, especially during the holidays. This year, thanks to my surgery, we’ve been able to spend a few weeks at our home in Virginia.  Today was great because we got to celebrate Christmas with family. My brother and his family live very close to us.  As is traditional for him and his wife, all their kids (and their kids) descend on the Spencer home and fill the place with love and laughter.  It was pretty awesome to be a part of it all.

Yesterday, I talked with some of our dearest friends in Arizona.  Today, I connected with my little brother and sister.  And tonight, I talked with my mom and dad in Arkansas.  Family – other things may change but we start and end with family.

I am a blessed man.  I have an amazing, gifted, and talented wife who actively supports me and my dreams.  I have a great job that allows me to spend time with her and to share adventures together around the world.  And I have a wonderful family that understands and values the meaning of Christmas.

SURGERY….

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

We’ve been off the road since the beginning of December but things have not really slowed down too much…until a few days ago. Here’s the reason why:

Almost a year ago, I had to make plans to have surgery on my right shoulder.  An MRI showed there was some damage to my AC joint and bicep tendon.  I could finish the 2012 tour but was strongly advised not to continue into 2013 without getting the shoulder repaired – so we set aside some time at the end of 2012.  Unfortunately, another year of touring took its toll and things got worse. It’s a good thing this surgery was already on the schedule!

On December 4, I met with my surgeon, Dr. Speer, and on the 5th I entered Duke Medical Center Hospital for the procedure.

After returning home, I spent almost about 3 days on some heavy medications and generally doing nothing. Then it was time to remove the bandages!

After a few more days of rest, I was able to start physical therapy – and that’s where I am right now.  I’m working hard to get this shoulder back into shape before the 2013 tour begins in Boston on January 20!  Wish me well!!

THE WHITING – FLINT, MI

Friday, November 30th, 2012

I’ve had the privilege of working with two of my favorite people these last few days – Wendi Fournier and Christi Lackey from The Whiting in Flint, MI.  Chase and I flew here on Monday….so, let’s start there.

THE FLIGHT

We arrived at the Roanoke Airport in plenty of time to board our 5:59pm Delta flight to Atlanta with a connecting flight to Flint for an arrival time of 11pm.  We checked in for our flights, dropped off our luggage, and made our way to the gate.  About 30 minutes before our scheduled departure time, Delta announced that there were some “mechanical difficulties” with out plane that would cause a 2 hour delay…and leave us stranded in Atlanta overnight.  Since I was scheduled to begin teaching at 8:30am the following day, that just wasn’t going to work.  After a quick conversation with the Gate Agent, we were moved to a flight from Roanoke to Detroit but still left with no connecting flight to Flint.  She made a note in our record that Delta would provide us with a taxi so we could arrive in Flint that same evening…it’s a 90 minute drive and a $170 cab fare.

We arrived in Detroit, found the Delta Assist Desk where we were told there’s absolutely no way that they are going to pay for a taxi to take us from Detroit to Flint!  And they couldn’t even believe that someone in Roanoke would tell us that they would…however, when they found the note in the record from a Supervisor, everything changed.  They issued a voucher, we picked up our luggage, and we were on our way to Flint in a Metro Cab.  It was very cold that night about 25 degrees outside.  And our cab didn’t seem to have any heat…even the driver was wearing a hat, gloves, and a parka!  I seriously doubted if I would arrive without being frozen to death!  We checked into our hotel and dropped into the bed for some rest.  It had been a long day.

THE WHITING

Christi and Wendi picked us up early the next morning for our first workshops of the day at Michigan School for the Deaf.  We spent the entire day here including having lunch with the students.  The kids were so amazing, so much fun, and so incredible to watch perform the magic they learned…all of the “trouble” of getting to Flint just faded away and it was worth every minute.

The next day, we started at Durant Turri Mott Elementary School.  We visited here last February when we were performing at the Whiting.  We worked with some familiar students and met a few new ones.  After lunch, we were back at Siple Element School to work with some “magical” students here.  Another fantastic day!

Our final day in Flint started at Hahn Intermediate School.  We worked with some of these students last year and they have now moved on to junior high school.  It was pretty awesome to walk into the classroom and here some of the students call out my name.  And they remembered not only my name, but many of the tricks we taught them almost a year ago!  A little review, a couple of new tricks, and it was time for the kids to get creative and tell us their “magic stories” to go along with their tricks.  They didn’t hesitate to come up and perform – and the stories were quite….creative!

We wrapped up our time in Flint with a 2-hour visit to the Genesee Valley Regional Center.  This will be one of the most memorable experiences for me.  In a very organized way, young adults age 13-17 walked single file into the room and found their seats. Many of these individuals will go from here to prison, some may be released, and others may spend a few months here.  What I have learned over the years is this – it doesn’t make any difference how old you are, how tough you think you are, or what your background is, when someone brings out a magic trick, people are intrigued.  This group was no different.  Over the course of our time together, they learned several tricks and stood in front of their peers to perform…telling their stories that ranged from super heroes to drug-deals-gone-wrong.  They laughed.  They cheered.  They applauded their peers.  And, for a few minutes, they were able to experience what it’s like to believe in the impossible.

I have had the best time working in Flint…and we are already talking about when we will be back again next year!  I can’t wait!!

OFF TO MICHIGAN!

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The fall performance tour has wrapped up but I’m still doing some outreach work with different venues.  Today, Chase and I fly to Flint, MI to work with two of our favorite people –  Christi and Wendi at The Whiting!  Christi has worked very hard over the last many weeks to put together a great residency program for us with the Hocus Focus project.  I’ll be writing and posting throughout the week….so stay tuned?

THANKSGIVING AT HOME

Monday, November 26th, 2012

After our local performance for the Lynchburg Academy of Fine Arts, we took a couple of days off…kind of.  On Monday morning, I met Chase and Eli at the warehouse.  We need to get some work done on the trailer, the truck, and a few of the illusions so they unloaded most of the equipment.

After that, we dropped the truck off at the repair shop and did a few things around the office.  Starting Tuesday,it really was time to get some rest and regroup after a very successful fall tour.  We took the majority of the week off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.  Cindy and I stayed around the house mostly, something that we rarely get to do.  But we spent Thanksgiving Day with my brother, his wife, and two of their sons.  It was quiet and a good chance for us to talk and catch up on life.

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving as well – a special time with your family and friends.

HOME FOR THANKSGIVING

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

We are home!  After a great 3 days in Oxford, OH that included Hocus Focus workshops, Healing of Magic presentations, and a show for a phenomenal audience at Hall Auditorium, we are now home.  This weekend, we worked with the Lynchburg Academy of Fine Arts to perform in our hometown.  In the days leading up to the show, my “media schedule” was slammed!

There was a great article in the local newspaper, The News & Advance, promoting the show and raising awareness in the community about the need to restore the historic Academy of Music downtown.

The Friday before the show, I was up early to make an appearance on WSET’s GOOD MORNING VIRGINIA followed by an in-studio interview with Brian and Mari on WLNI’s The Morning Line.

The show on Saturday was so much fun!  It was a little nerve-racking to be on stage in front of hundreds of people that we know – our friends, neighbors, business associates, and family.  In the end, we all had a blast!

We are going to relax these next few days and enjoy this amazing time of the year that reminds us to consider all the things for which we should be thankful.  For us, those are numerous!

TWO DAYS IN OXFORD, OH

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

We arrived in Oxford, OH on Sunday night in advance of some of the work we would be doing in the community in the two days prior to the performance at Miami University’s Hall Auditorium.  Patti and David worked hard to pull together some really exciting opportunities for me.  On Monday morning, David stopped by the hotel to pick me up (along with Chase and Eli) to drive over to the University.  They had scheduled Hocus Focus presentations for two different Introduction to Special Education classes on campus.  This is a great opportunity for me to demonstrate the power of the arts in the education process with future teachers.  The earlier they are exposed to these concepts, the more likely they are to actually use them in the classrooms.  After a powerpoint presentation, we started learning some easy magic tricks.  After mastering each one, students participated in a task analysis of each to see how it could be aligned with national or common core state standards of learning.

They were fast learners – and they were able to see the value in “arts integration” for not only special education students, but all learners in general.

In between classroom presentations, we managed to grab a pretty awesome lunch (thank you David) at one of the local restaurants.  Great food! One more activity helped close out a fantastic first day in Oxford – a visit to The Knolls, a residential community for seniors.  We worked with some of the residents there, teaching them a few tricks but (more importantly) sharing stories, smiles, and some laughs.  What a fantastic first day!!  You can see more pictures on the Miami University Facebook Page –  HERE and HERE.

Today (Tuesday) was another great day.  We started off on the Miami University campus working with two groups of students in the University’s mentoring program – one group in the morning and one in the afternoon.  These are high school students who are working to improve certain skills – and many of those goals can be achieved when you learn a magic trick.  This is my favorite picture of the day.  Austin is an amazing young man that will attempt anything – nothing slows this guy down and he did some incredible tricks today.

Tomorrow is the show at Hall Auditorium at 7:30pm – there are still a few tickets available so come have some fun!  Click HERE to buy tickets!

PREPARING FOR THE HOMETOWN SHOW

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

On Saturday, November 17, at 7:30pm, we will be bringing our show to the stage of the E.C. Glass Auditorium in Lynchburg.  We’re working with the Academy of Fine Arts – they are the sponsors of the show.  We’re hoping to raise some awareness for the need to restore the beautiful historic Academy of Music theatre in downtown Lynchburg.  It is quite a show place!

Chase and I flew in from Canada last night.  We’ve been there the last few days conducting Healing of Magic workshops for therapists.  It was a great experience – lots of fun and positive feedback.  Once we landed in Roanoke, we made the hour drive to Lynchburg…without our suitcases.  As it turns out, I drove back to Roanoke this morning to do an in-studio interview of the Danny & Zack Morning Thang Show on K92.  We had a blast!  After the interview, I picked up the suitcases and made the drive home.

Once home, the day kicked into high gear as the area media help us get the word out about our hometown performance.  I did a phone interview with the Casey at the local paper and the entertainment weekly, The Burg.  After that interview, I drove down to the historic Academy of Music theatre to meet up with a reporter from the local ABC Affiliate, WSET.  I did another interview there to promote the Saturday night show.

We are going to enjoy Saturday in Lynchburg before heading to Oxford, OH on Sunday morning for a few days.  I’ll be speaking to college students on Monday and working with special learners on Tuesday…and the show is on Wednesday!  Get your tickets online!

CANADA WORKSHOPS

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Once again, I’ve been delinquent in writing in my blog.  It has been a very busy last couple of weeks.  Here it is – November!  We wrapped up October with some great shows in Connecticut (Palace Theater) and South Carolina (Theatre on the Green).  We had a packed, sold-out audience in Cheraw, SC at the Theatre on the Green – what a great night before Halloween!

This is the inside view of the spectacular Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT.  We had a great time – wonderful audience, strong responses, and got to spend a little time with the kids from the Special Olympics at a reception afterwards.

We started November in Aiken, SC where I did some Hocus Focus workshops with some amazing kids…

Two solid performances in Aiken at the URS Center for the Arts with packed houses, enthusiastic audiences, and great volunteers was a strong way to start November.  Early on Saturday morning, we drove back to Virginia so Chase and Cindy could vote early.  Cindy would be working the polls on election day…and Chase and I are currently in Canada conducting Healing of Magic workshops for rehabilitation therapists.

CONNECTICUT STYLE

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

This morning, Eli and I were picked up by Sheree at our hotel for the drive to New Haven, CT.  I would be taping an appearance on Connecticut Style that will air on Friday, 10/26, prior to the evening performance.  On the way to the television station, I did a phone interview with WATR’s Morning Show with Tom and Frank.  It was great fun but, unfortunately no pictures!

Here are a few pictures from today’s interview.  If you live in the Waterbury area, come check out the show tomorrow night at 7pm.