Twentieth Century philosopher Elbert Hubbard said, “I love magicians because they are honest men.  They tell you they are going to fool you and then they proceed to do exactly that.  But no matter what happens at the show, when you get home you will still have your watch, your pocketbook, and your appendix.  And that is more than I can say for some of my non-magician acquaintances.” As someone who deceives for a living and with all of the politicians in the news lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about deception; namely lying.  You could say that I lie for a living.  But like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, I lie within an agreed frame for entertainment purposes.  Some have no “frame” and lie for selfish gain.  In an ideal society there would be no need for lies, but we live in a world of deception, and whether you want to play or not, you’re in the game.  The question is, do you want to win?  I thought it might be useful to share how I know whether or not someone’s telling the truth in everyday life.  Who knows, it may come in handy some day. Read the rest of this entry »

Business Events are different than regular events.  If you are in charge of planning one and are feeling overwhelmed by details like venue, catering, housing and transportation, and you are stressed out with where to begin; this week’s blog will help you plan an event that is outside the scope of a simple business lunch or afternoon office gathering. Planning events that include coordination of outside vendors, including food, location, entertainment and transportation require careful planning and ongoing management from the event’s conception to paying of the last invoice. The task can be complex and time consuming for everyone involved if proper planning is not initiated.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed.  The very first thing that you need to remember is not to get overwhelmed with the details. If the affair in question seems to be getting larger and larger and more complicated in scope than originally intended, slow down and back up.

Think back to the original scope of the business event planning and try to get back to basics. It can be a challenging task to plan a business function, but with an initial detailed task list, it can make keeping on track much easier in the sort and the long run.  Read the rest of this entry »

This week I want to touch on temper.  Not yours necessarily, but more that of the people that will hire you.  Now, I don’t want you to become temperamental.  That’s different.  Much of your success as a magician will depend on your understanding of other people. You have to sell yourself and your wares, and you cannot do it successfully unless you know people. There are magicians who have beautiful shows and do not know how to sell themselves.  Before you can present your performance, you’ll have to sell it!  That’s as true for me as it is for you.  You may have to see a number of individuals to get an engagement — it may be a booking agent, a manager, a high school superintendent, a minister, or a doctor. You must gain the confidence of the people you see and make them feel that you are a master, a new attraction, better than anyone else they have seen.

The important thing for you to do here is create the right impression and get people to like you. Too many sales have been spoiled, not because of the goods, but because the buyer took a personal dislike to the salesman. The great basis of successful salesmanship is in understanding the likes and dislikes of those with whom you are dealing. When you understand these things, you can paint just the kind of a picture for the buyer which will give such a strong promise of satisfying his wants that your sale is assured. Read the rest of this entry »

Event planning can cover several areas.  One of the biggest, that does the most good, are charity or fundraising events. Helping people in need raise funds for a specific cause tied to an event can be a very powerful way to elicit change. Many people are interested in participating in such activities. Planning for a charity event is not all that different from planning any other event.  It’s still a gathering we’re talking about, right?  Except here you have to make all the arrangements while adhering to a very strict budget, all while trying to collect maximum charity.  Harder than you thought, eh?

To add to this, event planners arranging a charity event have to deal with several commercial issues which cannot be ignored, or else the event can collapse. To avoid such mishaps, keep the following points in mind to let your event go smoothly. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Alexandrites have asked me if I’ve seen the magicians of India.  By this they mean the street magicians of places like Bangalor, Calcutta and Mumbai. Nowadays with the advent of the internet it’s quite easy to look behind the scenes of a conjurer, but videos of Indian street magicians charming snakes and eating broken glass are rare.

In order for us to arrive at a clear understanding of magicians and their works, we must begin at the beginning, or in other words, go back, almost to the primeval man. Space will not allow us to take up the early history of magic, or its supernatural features or tendencies with which it teemed in the dark ages; the scope of the present blog is the practical part of magic and its exponents, as applied to the furnishing of harmless and pleasing entertainments.

Although I’ve never personally been to India, a neighborhood kid named Joe had a very nice mother named Maria.  Maria was the first to tell me of them in a trip she took to India.  She would tell me about the “feats of the streets” that she witnessed while traveling there because she knew I did magic.  You can see how thoroughly these street magi were by reading ancient Persian manuscripts like Acamadesic Conjoresh.  Though I’ve not read this text, people have told me the things it describes like Emporer Jepang and the miracles he supposedly performed.  Legend has it that he would raise on the spot ten mulberry trees from a corresponding number of seeds. He had people place mulberry seeds in the ground in different places and in a few moments a mulberry tree began to spring from the earth, and every tree had leaves, branches and fruit!  Trees of all kinds were produced in the same manner, and they all bore their fruit, which the emperor declared to be very good. Before the trees were removed there appeared among their branches birds of marvelous beauty in their color, form, and in their songs. Finally it was noticed that the leaves of the trees took on the last tints of autumn, and gradually, as they had appeared, the trees sunk away from the spot where the conjurer had created them. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate events are a showcase for your products and services. You will expect thousands of current as well as prospective customers and clients to show up. For a corporate event to be a success, you need it to be well-planned, well-organized, and well-executed. Can you manage? Or do you need the services of a professional Corporate Event Manager? Whether the corporate event is for business or socializing, whether it’s large or small, formal or informal; regardless of the objective, it should be well-planned with the help of professional and experienced corporate event managers.

With your company hosting the corporate event, you would have decided whether to plan the event yourself or to hire the services of professional a Corporate Event Manager. Of course, you may feel that most of you have planned some event or other; a meeting with your business associates, a get-together with friends and family.  Organizing a corporate event would be the same. A corporate event is not similar to organizing get-togethers and meetings. The role of corporate is not small and any mistake on this front could cost you dearly.  There are many advantages to hiring Corporate Event Managers. They bring a number of assets, skills, services, and economical advantages to the table. Read the rest of this entry »

I received an email from Alexandrite Arthur Jameson asking about The Multiplying Bottles Trick.  He wanted to know if I thought it was a good trick for him to perform in his stage show.  Since he took the time to write me and ask about it, I thought I’d include my response and a darn good routine for all of you peruse.  If you’re not familiar with the trick you can view it here.  The Multiplying Bottles, I am told, is credited to Arthur P. Felsman, a well-known Chicago Magic Dealer of the early part of the century.  It laid dormant then until the 1940’s when it was revived by Percy Abbott.  I first witnessed the effect presented by Paul Daniels on a video. The production of nine bottles from the two tubes seemed like a novel trick.  I made mental note that here was an item for future consideration. The price of the set kept many from buying so I knew that once I had my own I would have few competitors.  My dear friend Peter Pit did a great Multiplying Bottles routine.  You can see all of his magic on a DVD called Memoirs.

A few years later, Bert Pratt asked what he could build me in return for a favor, and I suggested a table for Multiplying Bottles and soon a wonderful table some five feet long, 18 inches wide, and 30 inches high, with padded upholstery like an expensive brand with a black felt top was ready for use. Not to bore you with details of the development of the routine, but let me outline the scene as it would be presented: Read the rest of this entry »

In June 1967, the groundbreaking Monterey International Pop Music Festival literally destroyed traditional notions of major event programming when The Who, after playing “My Generation,” demolished their equipment, followed by Jimi Hendrix, who torched his guitar before smashing it to pieces.

In the decades since, California has disrupted another arena innovation. From San Diego’s flourishing start-up scene to Silicon Valley, home to game-changers like Apple, Facebook and Google and seat of global venture capitalism, the state continues to deconstruct and reinvent the corporate landscape. Employed throughout this entrepreneurial ecosystem are Gen Yers – the 20 to 35-year-olds who are also altering the agenda for meetings and events.

Joseph Adams, 26, is the archetypal Gen Y go-getter. Originally from Ohio, the self-described Bay Area “marketing hacker” (his adaptation of “growth hacker”; a person skilled at using technology and analytics to test the market-worthiness of new ideas and products) reveals how the Gen Y ecosystem works.

“We are a meritocracy of highly social, mobile, networked multitaskers, passionately engaged in creating and evolving our environment,” says Adams, presently “hacking” alternative asset strategies for an investment firm while also consulting on multiple fronts.  “Our mode is challenging the status quo to achieve different or enhanced outcomes. That’s how we live, work and play-and want to experience meetings and events.”

In the Gen Y world, hotel ballrooms, sit-down dinners and other traditional solutions, including paying for Wi-Fi, are out.  “Box us in and we disengage, typically then alerting others about the experience on social media,” Adams says. “Our more natural state is mobility, with multiple environments and experiences.”

He cites South by Southwest (SXSW) and’s events as prime examples. “Bottom line: The event must surprise and delight,” Adams says.  Along with some insider tips, Adams identifies The Village, a new 17,000-square-foot space in San Francisco’s tech-heavy Mid-Market Corridor (Twitter is here, among others) with a brewpub, dance floor and its own “experience design center” and Dinner Lab, a national concept new to the city where top chefs cook gourmet meals for groups in unconventional spaces, as on-target choices.

In the 1976 sci-ti classic Logan’s Run, citizens reaching the age of 30 were ceremonially vaporized.  Is that fate at hand for traditional meetings?  In California especially, Gen Yers are disrupting the scene, but for Gen Xers and boomers, it’s more about just adapting to changing times.

Gordon Thompson is president of Cappa & Graham Inc., a boutique San Francisco DMC specializing in meeting, conference and event services throughout the Bay Area since 1979.  While continuing to expertly deliver the “well-conceived, well-structured” experiences preferred by traditional groups, Thompson is keenly attuned to the Gen Y pulse.

“For a generation that likes to run with ideas, collaboration, creativity and fun are the operative words,” Thompson says. “Music, technology, specialty venues and unique environments are key elements, along with a casual, free-flowing atmosphere and interactive stations like food trucks and photo booths. This is a sophisticated audience with discerning tastes-so ‘special’ and ‘elevated’ are also key criteria.”

Reflecting on recent successes, including a private event on Alcatraz, a Gold Rush party at the Fairmont Hotel and a corporate appreciation event in Justin Herman Plaza across from the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, Thompson offers his thoughts on planning for the younger generation.  “Be the shepherd, the curator, the mentor;,” he says. “It’s the way to collaborate on the fun and ideas.”

Planners savvy to Gen Y tastes and sensibilities are enjoying the greater creative freedom.  Constance Adamopoulos, founder of San Francisco-based Organized Chaos Events, has created edgy happenings for local entrepreneurs, including underground tours of Chinatown opium dens, art tours at Gap Inc’s headquarters, Dinners in the Dark at the Braille Institute and visits to at the Armory, where attendees manned the phones with-gasp!-former online sex operators.

“There is no greater disaster than a dull party,” “Madamopoulos” says. Gen Yers can also energize a meetings destination. Reinvented after a $1.6 billion renaissance, surprising Riverside, roughly an hour east of Los Angeles, has experienced an 8.3 percent growth in residents aged 20 to 29 over the past three years and is No.2 in the U.S. on Forbes’ 2014 “Millennial Boomtown” list. This influx has produced an energetic entrepreneurial and networking culture, which combined with Riverside’s hip new vibe and revitalized product set, has primed the city to attract a whole new generation of meetings and conventions.

Based in the Bay Area, Candice Boaz is the Burlingame-based business development manager of global conferences and events for FROSCH, a conference and event management company.  In her view, Gen Y trends merit understanding and acceptance.

“Older folks may not ‘get’ the younger generation, but given their often huge successes, I think it is important to learn what makes them tick,” says Boaz, who herself understands the key principles of organizing Gen Y events. “The big themes seem to be freedom, variety and choice, so the approach is to create programs that tap into each attendee’s individual desires, while being responsive to changes.  That can be difficult, but with social media and instant feedback, adjustments can quickly be made to keep attendees engaged-and coming back.”

While Gen Yers have attracted labels like “bratty” and “narcissistic,” Boaz has a different perspective.  “What older generations might consider selfish may actually be the key to life,” she says.”The younger generations seem to have figured out work-play balance, and how to get the most out of every day!

Gen Y Checklist:

Tips for planners and venues catering to the “in” crowd:

* Keep your Web and social media presence fresh and engaging-online is where Gen Yers look first and out of date can say “out of touch.”

* Don’t know?  Ask.  Gen Yers are happy to talk and share.  Just don’t assume, fake it or try too hard to fit in-they are not fooled.

* Know what Gen Yers like: unconventional, unstructured, unusual, and unique.

*Article by Jeff Heilman in Meetings Today, Sept 2014

Some call it the greatest scam in history.  Have you ever gone to a Psychic or had your palm read?  Throughout history, throughout the world, they defy explanation. They are psychic readings.  Everyone has either had one or knows someone who has. People find these readings astonishing, and with good reason, since they are often intriguing and incredible.

Here’s how it usually goes down.  You go to see a psychic – someone to whom you are a complete stranger. The psychic, usually female, describes your personality with pin-point accuracy. She identifies events in your past and present. Her reading may include the names of people you know, and specific facts about your personal life, career, and plans for the future. She refers to your innermost thoughts and problems, and provides wisdom and guidance which seems to make sense. She may also offer glimpses into the future which have an uncanny way of coming true. Read the rest of this entry »

Technology can mean the difference between a business that just survives and one that truly thrives.  With this fun new economy we’ve all become a part of a significantly reduced workforce, so a number of companies are turning to technology-based solutions to manage and execute corporate events.  However, finding the right solution isn’t as easy as it sounds.  A variety of apps and online tools are available free of cost.  Select the perfect event planning software for your organization to enjoy the event that you have the responsibility to put on.

Take a look around you.  The trends of today seem to validate the designs, styles and colors from past years.  It’s almost a confirmation of how much we love the beauty of event planning and the process of identifying all that inspires our romantic and creative style.  While trends in color, fashion, fabrics and themes continue to reinvent themselves, there is one trend that continues to evolve and seldom repeats.  Technology. Read the rest of this entry »

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