Archive for July, 2006

WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?

Friday, July 28th, 2006

I can’t believe it’s Friday already! Where did the week go? WHERE did the summer go? Next week is August 1. For me, that’s almost the beginning of the end of summer. Everything kicks back into high gear in September and there’s still so much that has to be done.

We’ve got a handle on most of the major projects that we needed to accomplish this summer but I have so much more to do to get some new illusions into the show. The next few weeks are going to be consumed with making that happen. I get excited about new illusions and effects, but few really have a clue about how much is involved in making it “magical.”

On a positive note, most everything is being printed for the current tour! Now we just have to re-edit that marketing video and we’ll be set! Ah, the joys of it all….

THE RIPPLE OF FAITH

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

We’ve finished up another busy week in the office working on a variety of projects. I am most excited about the new poster (see image). But we’re also ready to send to print new stage passes for the crew, the new 8 X 10, and the DVD book that will be included with our marketing materials. David’s done a great job of pulling these together.

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be heading onto the stage to do some videotaping of the new illusions so we can update our promotional DVD. That’s going to be two really grueling days of hard work but the end results will be worth it. And then comes the editing of the projects – two new 30 second and one 60 second television commercials and the new promotional video.

We’re working hard on pulling together the Asia tour for December 2006. With all the events in the Middle East, freight costs could rise significantly. We’re working with Hong Kong and Taipei to make sure that the tour can happen with the least amount of financial disruptions.

On this blog, I write about my life – the events and experiences that I’m having as I go about living and working in a kind of crazy environment that is my reality. Sometimes my postings are boring and mundane. But life can be that way sometimes. All of us engage in daily routines that make up our individual realities. When we’re not on the road, our daily routines can be “routine.”

Often times my postings include glimpses into my personal faith, especially as it relates to the events that are happening in my life. Faith – if it means anything at all – should impact the way we think and live. Our personal beliefs should color every facet of living. Believe me when I say I’m sensitive about what I write on this very public forum. The words of Matthew 6:1 (The Message) are sobering, “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater but the God who made you won’t be applauding.”

So, on a personal note, I’d like to thank so many of you who have emailed me who are new to my blog and have written about how something I’ve experienced has had an impact in your life. I’m always touched by the sincerity of your comments and even more that you take the time to drop me a note. I’d like to share an email that I received that challenged me even more about what I write here:

Thanks again for sharing your faith so openly. It helped me here tonight and that means a lot. Your one blog post (Walking On Water – June 15, 2006) helped me. Isn’t that amazing? We never know the full impact of our words and actions – something seemingly small can really cause a big ripple for someone else. I was glad to be in the “wake” of your ripple effect this evening on this impersonal thing we call the web.

Thanks for your support and continuing to check in to see what’s happening “on the road.”

HOME AGAIN

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

We finally made it home late Sunday afternoon after a leisurely drive across Ohio and West Virginia (as leisurely as you can get in a 65 foot truck). Monday started right back in the office. We are in the process of redesigning our marketing materials for the 07/08 season which means they must be done now in time to be printed.

We’re also planning a video shoot in a couple of weeks so we can tape several of the new illusions including WALKING THROUGH A BRICK WALL and NO FEET. These will be featured illusions in our tour in Hong Kong and Taiwan in December BUT we also plan to include them in the fall U.S. tour as well.

I’m in the process of finalizing all the dates for next year. Once that’s done, I’ll have an updated tour schedule online so you can see if we’re going to be in your area.

I did take a break today to go and see X-Men: The Final Stand. It was a great movie! Several surprises for me and lots of action. Loved it!

HEADING HOME FROM FCM

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

We have just finished up a week in Marion, IN at the Fellowship of Christian Magicians convention. Cindy had a rough week with some pretty major muscle/nerve issues that caused her a lot of pain. We found a great physician/chiropractor in Marion – Dr. Arnold – who truly worked miracles on her. Her neck and shoulders were completely locked up, head splitting in great pain and she was unable to perform. She was in so much pain she wasn’t even able to travel. We made our first visit to his office on Tuesday and within a couple of hours, he had her feeling much better. The next couple of days she just relaxed and continued to see him. By Friday, she was pain free and had great flexibility (something she needs for a show). The performance went great last night and now we’re on our way back home – taking our time so she can continue to rest.

The theme for the week was Standing in the Gap. We saw and heard many illustrations through the week about what that can mean. Our final challenge to the audience on Friday was to define what “standing in the gap” means in our lives. The words are taken from an old testament book of the Bible, Ezekiel 22. God was looking for a few good people to stand up for truth, honesty and integrity during a time in Israel’s history when they were not worshipping God. He was looking for someone to “stand in the gap” for Israel and defend them so He wouldn’t have to scatter them in order to get their attention.

This conference urged attendees to be the kind of people who stand up for those qualities in the world in which they live. That means more than being available to “serve God.” It requires those of us who are Christ-followers to allow God to unlock our destiny and character through a vibrant and growing friendship with Jesus Christ. It requires us to discover our God-given purpose; define and develop our God-given abilities and to use them to honor Him in everything we do.

God doesn’t ask all of us to fill the same “gaps.” I can’t be responsible for standing up for these qualities in anyone’s world but my own.

One of my favorite passages in the new testament of the Bible comes from Romans 12. It tells us to “take our everyday, ordinary lives – our eating, sleeping, getting up, going to work lives – and place them before God as an offering.” It really is that simple.

God can and does use ordinary people – just like me, just like you – to do extraordinary things when our attitudes, motives and actions are guided and empowered by Him.

We’ve got a busy week ahead of us and I should have the full tour schedule up on the website by the end of the week. I look forward to meeting lots of you on the road this year!

CARELESS IN THE CARE OF GOD

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

This has been an interesting week for me, Cindy and the team. We’re attending the Fellowship of Christian Magicians convention in Marion, IN. My presentation on Tuesday morning went very well and was well received by the unexpectedly large group of people who got up so early to attend. Because we work in the entertainment industry and not in a “ministry” capacity with churches, this has been an eye-opening week for us.

We are entertainers. We also have a real faith in the teachings of Jesus Christ that influence our actions, attitudes and motivations for how we live our lives. But we aren’t “Christian Entertainers.” We are simply people who work in the entertainment industry whose lives are impacted by our faith.

Our faith doesn’t prevent us from experiencing the same personal challenges that everyone confronts in their lives. And this week, we have had to meet some of these challenges head-on. Knowing that God is in control helps reduce the stress. The disciple of Christ, Matthew, writes in his book (chapter 6):

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more than birds…What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”

Careless in the care of God – what a great concept. True freedom – real life – comes when we allow God to unlock our destiny through a vibrant and growing friendship with Jesus Christ.

ON THE ROAD – AGAIN

Sunday, July 9th, 2006

After several weeks of being “off the road” and working in the office, today we packed it all up and hit the road again. This is a brief trip – we’re only out for a week. But it’s going to be a very different week for us. Our first stop is Marion, IN where we will all be attending the Fellowship of Christian Magicians (FCM) International Convention that’s being held here all week. We will be staying in Marion on Monday and Tuesday, enjoying the events of the conference. And I’ll be doing a presentation on Tuesday morning to some of the participants about “Life On The Road.” We’ll be catching the evening performances on Monday and Tuesday as well.

Wednesday we all take off for Lakeside, OH where we will perform at Hoover Auditorium on Thursday night. Immediately after the show, we’ll make the trip back to Marion, IN for the final day of the FCM Convention. We are the closing event on Friday night, performing our show as the finale for the organization. We will be in the beautiful Phillippe Performing Arts Center on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University – show time, 7:30pm!

I’ll keep you posted on the details of the week – stay tuned!

CONVENTION IS OVER

Sunday, July 2nd, 2006

After five days of magic, magic and more magic, I’m in the Miami airport waiting to fly back home. I really had a great time at the International Brotherhood of Magicians convention.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to talk with the I.B.M. Youth as the anchor speaker in the afternoon. I spoke on the Top 10 Misconceptions of Life On The Road. The young people in attendance were very responsive and had lots of questions during the talk. As it turns out, several of them became friends over the next few days and the “brotherhood” of the organization became apparent.

I gave a brief update at the general business session to the membership and the Board of Directors of the progress and successes of the Healing of Magic over the last two years. It had been a while since I had taken the time to do that so this was important.

Hours later, I had the privilege of conducting a workshop on the Healing of Magic. The response was overwhelming – people packed into the room, overflowing and standing room only. Unfortunately, we turned away several dozens of people who just couldn’t get in. But those who did participate left excited and ready to make a difference in their communities using their magical skills. I could not have been more pleased.

Some of the highlights for me were:

1. Being interviewed by Keith Barber and Andrew Payne from “Go Magic Go” Podcast (www.GoMagicGo.com). You can listen to the interview online or download it and listen later.

2. The overwhelming response we received from the Healing of Magic presentation. I met some really inspiring people as a result and was especially impressed with a young man named Clark who is considering the program as his Eagle Scout project.

3. Attending the President’s Party (invitation only – yikes!) in the Presidential Suite on Friday night. This is a great chance to informally meet with friends and acquaintances in magic.

4. The Saturday Evening Gala Performance at the beautiful Olympia Theatre. All of the performers were outstanding and there were numerous standing ovations throughout the evening.

5. Attending the 50th Birthday Party of magic celebrity and friend Michael Ammar. Unfortunately, the hotel LOST his very cool birthday cake but they did manage to send up to the suite some desserts of their own which were very good. Hannah, Michael’s wife, had prepared a wonderful celebration of food, music and fun.

6. Being interviewed by Enigma DVD Magazine (www.EnigmaTheDVD.com). This is a bi-monthly “video magazine” that includes magician profiles, discussions, reviews, lectures, etc.

7. Shopping at South Beach!! There is a reason why they call this an amazing beautiful place. The architecture is incredible and the restoration of the area is impressive – not to mention the restaurants and clothes. It’s the Melrose Avenue of the East!

8. Meeting the President-Elect of the Society of American Magicians, Maria Ibanez. She was a gracious and lovely woman filled with excitement and enthusiasm for magic and the possibilities of our art to impact people’s lives.

9. The autograph table at the convention. This sounds more pretentious than it is. This is where all the lecturers and performers at the convention gather at a single location so that participants can get their programs autographed, etc. It is a very humbling experience as you meet hundreds of people who take the time to say hello and share their time. Meeting this people was really special. I sat next to three very unique performers – Junge Junge from Germany. They actually performed three times during the convention with a different type of performance each time. They were warm and friendly and really livened up our end of the table!

10. And, most importantly, spending time with some of my best friends in the world. This was a great chance to relax and enjoy the company of people I rarely get to see but with whom I have a life-long connection.

There was one significant low point of the convention for me too. On Friday night, my very expensive PDA/Cell Phone was unexpectedly exposed to a significant amount of water! Immediately, it was destroyed and I was without communication or schedule. I was borrowing anybody’s phone I could to try to call Cindy. She is at home recovering from an ear infection. I haven’t been able to talk with her since Friday night. Each time I called, the phone would go to voice mail because I don’t think she could hear the phone ring! So, I haven’t spoken to her for what seems like forever but has only been a little more than 24 hours. It’s amazing how much you miss the person you love when you have no contact with them for even a brief amount of time.I can’t wait to get home today just to hear her voice! I’ve missed her very, very much during this time away!

This week will be filled with finishing up marketing projects and getting things to the printer. Then we’re off to Ohio and Indiana for performances and the FCM Convention. We’ll be the closing performance for that conference. I’ll be writing updates from there as well.

That’s it – busy week and I’m really tired!