Posts Tagged ‘developmental disabilities’

WEEK IN OCALA, FL

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

We spent last week working in Ocala, FL.  The adventure started with a two performances – one in Lecanto and the other in Ocala.  We’ve performed in both venues twice in the past and this time the audiences were even more enthusiastic and excited.  Two great crowds for these shows!  And two great crews as well (thanks Andy).

Truck-at-Ocala-Dock

Here are a few pictures of set up from those two days:

From-the-grid2 From-the-grid From-the-grid3 From-the-grid4

After the performances, I spent two days working in the community.  The first day was at the Hillcrest School working with some very special students.  I love these working with these kids – they are simply amazing!

Hillcrest-School

I did 6 workshops here throughout the day with more than 100 students.  The following day, I went to the Key Training Center locations in Lecanto and Inverness to conduct workshops with adults with disabilities.  I can’t begin to put into words how awesome this experience is for me.  Check out these expressions!!

Laughing-Clips Smiling-and-Amazed Rope-guy Knot-Proud

Today we are driving to Andalusia, AL for two days of community outreach and a public performance!

I NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

For more than 3 years, I’ve been working quietly on a project that I believe is going to be amazing.  It’s a unique documentary on the power of simple magic tricks to bring about positive change in the lives of people with disabilities.  This film shares the real stories of real people from all over the world and their efforts to overcome what others might consider “impossible” odds.  Most importantly, it’s about hope – the hope and confidence they gain by achieving the “impossible.”  Their stories are phenomenal, encouraging, and life changing!

Check out the Indiegogo Campaign by clicking the image below – and, please, think about making a contribution.  Every little bit makes a HUGE difference!

These are my goals with the Bag of Tricks crowd-funding campaign:

  • To change people’s attitudes and perceptions about individuals with disabilities;
  • To raise awareness of international disability issues and provide opportunities for individuals with different abilities to share in the global society.
  • To begin a meaningful conversation about the power of the arts in our communities to challenge, transform, inspire, and change lives.
  • To raise money to finish the documentary – filming some international projects, editing, music, distribution, legal fees, etc.

Almost every person in every society around the world has been touched in some way by a person living with disability.  Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, extended family, and friends – all have been impacted by the life of someone with a developmental or intellectual disability, including the almost epidemic explosion of autism spectrum disorders.

Everyone who supports people with disabilities is, in some way, an advocate for their best interests.  The future of individuals with disability is contingent on the perceptions and attitudes of those without disability.  It is pivotal that we stop focusing on their disabilities and start appreciating their abilities.

In spite of international laws and policies, many people with disabilities still find themselves pushed to the margins of our societies.  And almost all encounter prejudice, bullying, insensitive treatment, and discrimination.  These attitudes and actions cause their world to become smaller.  Their opportunities become more limited, and, ultimately, they withdraw from the wider community.  That’s not acceptable – and that has to change.  I can think of no better time than NOW to confront these attitudes in a positive way and jump-start the change that can make a difference in their lives.

Please consider making a donation to this cause.  And if you can’t contribute, then share this campaign with other through Facebook, Twitter, Email, Phone Calls, or just plain old Word-of-Mouth!

THE FLORIDA THEATRE – JACKSONVILLE, FL

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I’m not exactly sure how many times we’ve performed at the Florida Theatre but it’s always a fun gig for us.  We arrived into town on Tuesday night, even though the show wasn’t until Friday.  Wednesday morning started very early.  Kendall (from the Florida Theatre)  picked Chase and I up at 4am – yup, that’s early!  We met up with Tracy Conley from ActionNewsJacksonville at the Alden Road Exceptional School.  Starting at 5:30am, we did our first hit of the morning.  We did several more interviews throughout the morning…made the noon news…and then again at 5pm.  Thank you Tracy for all that great exposure for the Hocus Focus project and the show at the Florida Theatre!

Starting at 8am on Wednesday morning, I conducted two professional development workshops for teachers at Alden Road Exceptional School.  This is an amazing school for students who have profound developmental disabilities ranging from physical dysfunctions to autism.  The teachers here are incredibly special.  This is a job they do because they want to impact these kids lives – not for the money.

After working with the teachers on Wednesday, I had the chance to let them see in practice what they learned in theory.  On Thursday, Alan, Chase and I spent the day teaching magic tricks to students with exceptionalities – physical and mental challenges that would dampen the spirit of most of us. Yet, somehow, these kids were filled with life and laugher that was only magnified with the mastery of each trick.  This is always one of the most inspiring experiences I can have.  Watching these kids learn magic tricks and then perform them for their peers is awesome.  At the end of the day, they presented me with this giant “thank you card” that they made and signed.

After two amazing days at Alden Road Exceptional School, it was time for the show at the Florida Theatre.  Performing here is like coming home. Erik, Kendall, Katie, Saul (and the IATSE 115 crew), Danny, Lisa, and the entire team at the theatre take such great care of us.  Today was no different.  The show went up quickly, thanks to a great crew.  My guys did a great job as well – allowing me to go to my dressing room and get some work done for most of the afternoon.

Doors opened at 7pm for the 7:30pm show…and we held the show until 7:40pm because of the huge walk-up ticket line!   The audience tonight was fantastic – definitely the best audience we’ve ever had at the Florida Theatre.  There were families, kids, adults, seniors, and tons of 20-somethings all there to experience the magic.  The energy was great – cheers, applause, and enthusiasm for each of the illusions.  The volunteers used in the show were wonderful (including Tracy from FOX30 who ended up in the Spikes of Doom).  After the show, I had the chance to meet hundreds of people in the lobby and hear their favorite moment.  It was the perfect day!

THANK YOU JACKSONVILLE FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT – AND THANK YOU FLORIDA THEATRE FOR A GREAT TIME!!