Posts Tagged ‘Healing of Magic’

SIGHTSEEING IN AKITA, JAPAN

Monday, June 16th, 2014

The conference officially ended today (Sunday) at 12noon.  I was able to squeeze in a bit of sight-seeing before I need to catch my next flight on Monday back to Tokyo and on to Istanbul.  The first stop – coffee at Tully’s!

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The pastry item next to my “honey milk latte” is a ham and gooey cheese thing.  :-)  It was very good and inside, yes there was gooey cheese!

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After some food, were were off to explore the area.  First stop was a little shopping area where I could pick up a souvenir for my office that would remind me of Akita.  Next, we were going to go to the Art Museum.  As we approached the plaza, we could hear chanting and singing.  As it turns out, Japan was playing in the World Cup today so there were hundreds of fans watching the game on a giant television screen on the side of one of the buildings.  They were pretty excited!  This is me with one of the “cheerleaders” of the group…

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There are statues and artistic representations of the Namahage everywhere.  He is considered the “protector” of Akita but the tradition dates back hundreds of years.  Here are a few of the ones I liked:

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20-NAMAHAGE-AKITA-FAIRLY

As we walked through some of the shops, it became very clear that the Japanese are very creative and will invent (or sell) almost anything like this toilet game…

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or these brushes to clean your dishes…

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And so many choices for snacks…

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But there were a few familiar things as well…

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The last stop of the day was a walk through Akita City Park.  This is a beautiful space in the heart of the city.  I took a lot of photos but wanted to share these….enjoy.

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Tomorrow morning, I’ll take the bus back to Akita Airport and fly to Haneda Tokyo Airport…and then transfer to Narita International Airport.  My flight for Istanbul leaves in the evening and I should arrive there at 5am!  I’m sure I will be totally rested :-)

SIOUX FALLS, SD

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

THE WASHINGTON PAVILION – SIOUX FALLS, SD: 

This was the first time I’ve been to the Washington Pavilion and I had a great time working with Regina and Michele.  During our five days together, I conducted a workshop for occupational therapists; visited 7 schools; worked with clients at Sanford Children’s Hospital; did an in-service program for therapists at Avera Health; worked with clients at the Veteran’s Hospital; made the rounds at Avera Hospital; and brought the show to the stage of the Washington Pavilion.  In total, we were able to directly impact the lives of more than 300 individuals.  More importantly, we were able to lay the foundation for continuing this work long after my truck left the loading dock.

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A reporter from the Argus Leader attended the workshop for therapists.  She did a bit of video to demonstrate one of the tricks and wrote this story.

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In advance of the show, I made several area media appearances including four radio stations (from rock to country) and an interview on the KSFY Morning News.  The interview on KSFY went very well but the highlight for me was something that I always ask to do but rarely get the opportunity.  Shawn Cable actually let me do the weather forecast and then tweeted about it!  You can check out the video HERE.

26-Magical Weatherman

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You may remember reading last week we had a little trouble with the truck.  I had to replace a fuel injector while we were in Lincoln.  It all worked out and things seemed to be running great…until we left Omaha for Miami.  Suddenly, that familiar black smoke started pouring out of the exhaust and we heard that knocking noise.  Eli immediately pulled it over.

Truck-Towed-Omaha

We called a tow truck and, yes, here we are again – held up in a hotel room waiting for them to repair the truck on Monday.  After that, Chase and I have a mad dash driving experience to get us to Miami before Tuesday night.

Here are a few pictures from the week in Sioux Falls:

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30-Kevin Autism Girl

31-Kevin-KSFY Studio

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ABERDEEN, SOUTH DAKOTA

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

After a few days at home, it was time to head out again for our tour in the Midwest.  First stop, South Dakota!  Eli, Chase, and I left Lynchburg and three days later, we arrived in Aberdeen, SD.  There had been plenty of advertising in advance of our show including this article in the ABERDEEN NEWS.

Aberdeen-news

MONDAY – APRIL 8

The first day in Aberdeen was spent working in several places:  first at Project Search and then in some of the schools with incredible kids.  We worked in elementary, middle, and the high school with students who could improve their skills through learning some simple tricks.

Kevin-Alex-Aberdeen

Actually, the high school workshop was one of the most fun!  In the photo below, I’m doing a little magic for a group of high school guys.  You can see the expression on their faces as five $1 bills turned into $500.

Kevin-CentraHS-HundyBoys

After a few tricks, I spent some time teaching all of them a trick or two.  One of the students, Josh, learned several tricks but he also had great stories.  Once again, the Aberdeen News captured the day in a nice feature story.

Josh-paperclips

TUESDAY – APRIL 9

The next day started with a radio interview on one of the local arts programs.  This was broadcast live – and I love these kinds of interviews!  They are spontaneous and you just have to go with the flow.

Following the radio interview, Chase and I were on our way to St. Luke’s Avera Health Hospital to do a 3-hour continuing education workshop for physical and occupational therapists.  When we arrived at the Hospital, Dalita (the director of rehabilitation) had everything ready to go.  I walked into the conference room and we kicked into gear.  It’s amazing to me how quickly 3 hours can go when everyone is fully engaged in learning.  Chase and I spent the afternoon working with clients in various rehabilitation departments until about 5pm.

Avera-HOM

Eli spent the day driving to Sioux Falls to pick up Keith and Cindy at the airport.  Unfortunately, horrible weather was also moving into the region – horrible as in ice and snow storm!  As a result of all the bad weather, all flights were delayed in/out of Chicago.  They finally landed a few hours late and, by that time, ice  was destroying Sioux Falls.  Trees were breaking.  Power lines were snapping.  Roads were in rough shape, covered in ice and snow.  This turned into a BLIZZARD with more than 20 inches of snow falling.  Thankfully, they made it back to Aberdeen safely and we had avoided the storm.

SiouxFalls-ice

As it turns out, this was not the end of the adventure.  Once they made it back to the hotel, Cindy started to become very sick.  By 3:30am, we were in the emergency room at the very same hospital where I had done a workshop earlier in the day.  She had picked up a virus or (most likely) some sort of food poisoning during the day.  We spent the next several hours at the hospital trying to get her feeling better.

Cindy-hospital

WEDNESDAY – APRIL 10

After getting Cindy back to the hotel around 7am, I grabbed a couple hours of sleep before it was time to drive over to the Aberdeen Civic Theatre to start setting up for the evening show.  There’s no way Cindy was going to be able to do a show so we were also going to have to do a little “adapting” to pull it all together!  Chase and Eli did a great job of splitting up her responsibilities during the show.  In the end, it all came together well.

We pulled into the loading area, Stacy and Dawn were there to meet us…along with a crew of guys to help get unloaded.  Let the day begin – again.

Aberdeen-Theatre-Inside

 

I made a couple of trips back to the hotel during the day to check in on Cindy.  I wanted to make sure she was resting comfortably and that she was taking the medications she needed.  Stacy was so understanding in all of this and even put together some chicken broth for me to take back to her.

When I returned to the theatre, it was almost time for the doors to open.  The guys had figured out most of how the show was going to run – who was going to do what – but we still had one issue to resolve.  I had promised many of the people in the Aberdeen community that I would, in fact, be “cutting someone in half” during tonight’s show.  It doesn’t make any difference how many new, cutting-edge illusions you have in a show.  If you don’t cut someone in half, it’s just not a magic show!  With Cindy sick in the hotel, Chase volunteered to step into her place.  And he did a great job with the performance!

Chase-getting-In-Cube

THURSDAY – APRIL 11

After the show, the snow started coming down in Aberdeen.  We had been spared for the last 3 days while much of the state was slammed with snow.  Interstate 90 from Sioux Falls to Rapid City was closed.  And city officials were still trying to pull together things in Sioux City.  As we o up on Thursday morning, it was clear that we were not going to be going anywhere today.  I was supposed to be doing some Hocus Focus work in Sisseton – a small community about 90 miles from Aberdeen.  At 5:40am, the decision was made to close schools…which means I got to stay in for the day and try to catch up on some work.

Snowy-truckSD

 

FRIDAY – APRIL 12

This morning, we left Aberdeen for Grand Forks, ND…show here on Saturday night at the Chester Fritz Auditorium.  And guess what?  It’s snowing.

LEXINGTON OPERA HOUSE, KY

Monday, February 18th, 2013

The past two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind  with performances in Troy, AL and then off for a few days to Lexington, KY. This was our first visit to Lexington, KY – and working with the people at the Opera House was a great experience.  I had two Healing of Magic workshops and two performances at the Opera House.  I even got to do a little television while I was in town.  You can check out the Interview HERE.

Both workshops went very well.  Tony English, the Division Director of the Department of Physical Therapy at UK said, “I was very pleased with the presentation and the energy all the attendees expended in learning and sharing their successes.  Thank you for your work in opening our minds to alternative ways to engage our patients as we help them reach their goals in rehab.”

The performances at the Lexington Opera House went extremely well.  I can’t say enough good things about the hospitality and warmth with which we were greeted.  It was outstanding – and so greatly appreciated!  When you are on the road as much as we are, things like a home-cooked meal, the thoughtfulness of volunteers, and the little things they do to make you feel welcome make it all worthwhile.

The audiences both nights were fun and eager to have a good time.  The Saturday night audience was especially excited with so many families in the crowd.  The crew was awesome – and we had a great day from load in to load out!

I’m already excited about the next visit to Lexington, KY!!  Thank you all for such a wonderful experience!

THE FLORIDA TOUR

Monday, February 11th, 2013

After a bone-chilling start in Massachusetts and Ohio, we made our way south to Florida.  We’ve been touring here since the end of January and it’s been great.  As I write this, New England is getting slammed with one of the worst snow storms in almost 40 years.

PANAMA CITY, FL

I started the tour in Panama City, FL working with Jennifer Jones and the Marina Bay Civic Center/Bay Arts Alliance.  I spent a full week working with Jennifer including several performances, including one for a group of students and their teachers.  Jennifer sent along some of the thank you notes she received as well as some drawings the kids made.  This is one by a 1st grader who is attempting to draw the “Spikes Of Doom” with his teacher in the prop.

Some of the highlights for me include working with some amazing students at the Margaret K. Lewis School.  This is an education institution for children with developmental and cognitive delays too profound for mainstream classrooms.  Chase, Eli, and I spent an hour doing a little show for the entire school and then working with a few of the students to teach them some magic tricks.  This is the mission of the Hocus Focus Project and we all had a great time!

After a morning at the MKL School, we spent the afternoon working at The Pyramid Center.  There are several locations of this organization throughout Florida serving more than 700 adults with disabilities.  It was another success adventure and, afterwards, I had the chance to talk with Barry, the director of this service location.  He is preparing some of his clients for a big magic show that will happen in July 2013.  I’m hoping I can get back here for that!

The following day, I was back at the Marina Civic Center doing a workshop for about 40 homeschool students and their parents.  These opportunities allow me to clearly show the functional and academic benefits of learning magic for all students – those with or without disabilities.

We ended the week with a public performance at the Marina Civic Center.  The audience was energetic and enthusiastic – a great way to wrap up Panama City.

MADISON, FL

A short three hour drive from Panama City brought us into Madison, FL.  I was here in 2008 and had a great time working with Kim.

The show was on a Saturday night and we were SOLD OUT – only their second sold out performance in a very long time.  The audience was packed into the Van Priest Auditorium and ready to be amazed – about 650-700 folks.

This time she expanded our stay to include a Healing of Magic workshop for area therapists and those studying to become therapists and nurses.  We had a FULL HOUSE of almost 200 participants – too big to capture in one picture!

I’m always amazed at how quickly a 3-hour workshop goes…and this one went by so fast!  Students were engaged, learning, and participating in all of the activities including a few of them who “performed” for the rest of the group.  The most important aspect of this workshop is the task analysis of each trick so participants have a working knowledge of how to use them in their practice.

FORT LAUDERDALE

After our weekend in Madison, we were heading even further south to Fort Lauderdale.  I’ve worked here several times over the past few years.  This time they opted to include some educational outreach programs as well – including workshops for Therapists, Educators, and Care-givers of individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, and mental health concerns.

On the first day, I worked primarily with Occupational and Physical Therapists but also had several Behavioral Health professionals attend the 3-hour workshop.  We focused on how to integrate simple magic tricks into other treatment techniques to help motivate and engage clients.  Using magic can help clients improve processing skills, dexterity, coordination, coping techniques, frustration tolerance, impulsivity control, emotional regulation, social skills, and build their self-confidence.  In the afternoon, we stopped off at the Ann Stork School to do a little show and teach the clients a few tricks.

On Saturday morning, I had one more workshop at the Broward Center – this one for families and caregivers of children on the autism spectrum.   After the workshop, we stopped back by the hotel, picked up the rest of the team, and made our way over to the Parker Playhouse to get loaded in and start the set up day.

This would be our fourth time to perform on the stage of the Parker Playhouse.  We love working with Tate and his guys…it really is like working with old friends.  They take such great care of us.  And the audience never disappoints us – and last night was no exception!!  Amazingly responsive audience – thank you Fort Lauderdale!

SPRINGFIELD, OH

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

We finally arrived in Springfield, OH after two days of driving in the snow.  Guess what?  It was snowing in Springfield!  Oh well, I guess it is January and we are in the north.

Once we were settled into the hotel, our next stop was the Springfield Regional Medical Center.  David (Springfield Arts Council) had made arrangements for me to do a workshops for the therapists.  I’m always impressed that they are willing to stay for another 3 hours after they’ve been working for 8 hours, but they did – and they were great fun to work with.  We had a group of about 15 ready to learn a new treatment technique for their clients.

The following day was our performance at Kuss Auditorium in Springfield.  There was a nice article in the local paper about the show so tickets had been selling very well and we were practically sold out.  In spite of the weather, the auditorium was packed – about 1500 seats.

We arrived at the loading dock just as the plow was removing the last bit of snow.  Load in went smoothly with an enthusiastic crew – and the day moved along very well.  Here’s a pictorial glance of the day:

LOAD IN

CASES ON STAGE

HANGING THE SCENERY & LIGHTS

FOCUSING THE LIGHTS

This was my first full 2-hour performance since my shoulder surgery.  I was a little nervous about some of the illusions but knew that adrenaline would push me through any challenges.  Overall, things went great!  The underwater escape was the one that gave us the most concern…but it all worked out.

We left Springfield with great memories of a great experience and wonderful audience.  Off to Florida!

ON THE ROAD…

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

After several weeks off the road (to recover from my shoulder surgery), today we start our 2013 tour.  In the next few days, we have two performances in Boston, a Healing of Magic workshop for therapists in Springfield (OH) followed by a performance the next evening.  There was a nice article in the SPRINGFIELD NEWS SUN last week about the show.  You can read that article HERE.

Once we wrap up in OH and MA, we are off to Florida…and, hopefully, warmer temperatures!

I have begun working on an exciting new project.  I really can’t talk much about it at the moment but, I promise, I’ll keep you posted when the time is right!

If you’re interested, my first article appeared in KIDZEDGE MAGAZINE on January 13, 2013.  You can find the article HERE.

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!

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.

A WEEK IN NEW JERSEY

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

I have to apologize again for not being as prompt as I should be in writing this blog.  My days have been slammed – and so have my nights.  The performance schedule is busy and that’s a great thing.  But beyond the shows, I’m also working in many of these communities with special education students, clients in rehab hospitals, and conducting continuing education training sessions for educators and therapists.  And I’m trying to wrap up my Certification in Autism Students while writing a research paper on the Social and Cognitive Benefits of Integrating Magic Tricks for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

We have had some great shows this season – enthusiastic audiences and strong responses!  Our week in New Jersey was no exception.  The opportunity to work in two schools and two rehabilitation hospitals in Somerville was a great way to start the week.  You can reach more about it on the previous blog post

From Somerville, we made our way to Vineland in the southern part of New Jersey.  Our performance was scheduled for Friday night in the Guaracini Fine & Performing Arts Center…

…but, on Thursday, Chase and I had the chance to work with some college students.  I taught them a few magic tricks with the express purpose of improving memory, concentration, sequencing, and creativity.  They did an outstanding job!

On Friday, when we arrived at the theatre, we were greeted by Chris and the technical crew.  This would be our second time on the stage at CCCNJ.  Greg and his team are great, fun to work with, and very professional.  They were ready to get the show loaded in, set up, and ready for the audience.  The day rolled along very smoothly – scenery, lighting, focus, cues, etc.

The audience for the Friday performance was fantastic!  Meeting them in the lobby afterward is always a highlight for me.  Hearing their comments about their favorite illusion or moment in the show makes it all worthwhile.

After Vineland, we were on our way back north to Somerville.  This would be our 4th or 5th performance at the Theatre at RVCC working with Alan and his team.  It is always such a pleasure to work here (dare I say like family?) – and after two days working in the community, I was looking forward to the show!  I took lots of pictures during the day AND this audience was wonderful – engaged and responsive to all the illusions.  It was the perfect way to end a week in New Jersey!