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Everyone has heard of Mandrake the Magician. Well, this week I thought I’d tell you the story of Velvet Mandrake, his lead assistant.  You will get a feel for the adventurous life of a magician’s assistant.  This information was told by Lon Mandrake, her son.  In fact if you want to, you can compare her adventures with another assistant’s memoirs, those of my wife Elena.

Velvet was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was brought up in a show business background. Her mother and father were a vaudeville team in Chicago, and she was one of Mandrake’s best assistants.  Velvet had acting and dancing lessons and performed with dance lines at the Chicago Theatre and in plays, including touring plays such as “Maid in the Ozarks.” For a change of pace, in 1946, she joined Harry Blackstone’s magic show as an assistant for a season. You can read about Blackstone’s main assistant Arial Freed in this article.

It turned out to be great fun as there were several young women on the show and they got along splendidly. They traveled by train to many major cities in North America. Velvet remembers Harry Blackstone Junior at age nine visiting his father and being given candy by the young assistants after each show. Coincidentally, they also performed in Vancouver, British Columbia this particular season which many years later would become her home.

On returning to Chicago, she decided to continue with her acting career. Leon Mandrake had just performed at the Chicago Opera House for M.C.A. and was looking for a new assistant to complete his M.C.A. tour south. An agent by the name of Paul Satmders, was asked to find a new assistant for the Mandrake show. Paul happened to be Velvet’s agent. Mandrake was looking for a tall blonde assistant and Velvet was looking for a touring play. Paul talked both of them into making compromises (Velvet being only 5 feet tall, dark haired and looking 16 years old without makeup). Mandrake stored his larger illusions in a hotel basement in Chicago and set off with a smaller show of five, including Velvet. They performed first in Oklahoma City and then into Louisiana. Soon they were married in Kansas City, Missouri and had their first son in Chicago in 1948. Velvet decided that they would keep their children with them on tour as long as possible. This meant being glamorous during the evening shows and then washing diapers after changing out of elaborate costumes and removing eyelashes. Sometimes I think this is what’s next in store for Elena and me.

A year later they were in Miami, Florida where Mandrake had escaped from a prison with electronic locks, to help promote his show. Later, in Silver Springs, Florida he did an underwater escape from a locked trunk. He was handcuffed, tied with 100 feet of rope, locked in a trunk and dropped into the Springs. Velvet, eight months pregnant, was very anxious about this type of escape as it was Leon’s first underwater escape. Things didn’t go as rehearsed and Leon didn’t come up as scheduled. There had been a problem with the rope in the water and it had tangled him while he was still in the trunk. Somehow he managed to emerge and came up, short of breath and with his life having passed before his eyes. The cameraman for the movie newsreel asked if he could do it again for a better camera angle! that was the last time Mandrake did an underwater escape.

After their second son, she was performing again as Mandrake’s chief assistant. She was sawn in half with a buzz saw, shot through the middle with a steel bullet, beheaded with a guillotine, floated in mid air, ‘and was the chief distracter on the show. In contrast, she would take her two small boys to a local park to play during the afternoon.  In Dayton, Ohio after performing at the Van Cleve Hotel for five months she had their third son, in 1951.  Later in addition to performing and looking after 3 young boys during the day, the problem of schooling came up. Mandrake and Velvet extended their stays in cities and used them as bases. Even so, her daughter Lon attended 9 schools in the first four grades, with schools in San Francisco, Seattle, Sacramento, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Chicago, Honolulu, Portland, and Surrey.

In 1955 the Mandrakes used Portland, Oregon as a base and performed as Alexander the Great on television.  No relation to me.  Actually these were mind reading performances, using Claude Alexander’s name and apparatus, bought through Bob Nelson, years earlier. Velvet now had even a more demanding role as assistant because with weekly television and mentalism much of the performance had to be spontaneous and unrehearsed. The show depended a great deal on the audience and how you read them. They also performed the night club circuits as both Mandrake and Velvet and as Alexander, the Man Who Knows.

In 1955 the Mandrake’s had their only daughter. Eighteen months later they took the whole family to Honolulu, Hawaii where they performed in clubs, fairs, and the Kaiser Dome. Just prior to the trip to Hawaii, Leon and Velvet were performing in Anchorage, Alaska at the Idle Hour Club. A fire broke out in the club and the Mandrake’s complete show was destroyed except for his linking rings. Velvet lost 18 complete costumes. They were separated in the fire and Leon had suffered minor burns. The magic club of Anchorage came to their aid and lent them enough props to perform for the next couple of weeks at another club in Anchorage.  I can just imagine this having performed in Anchorage for nine consecutive summers.  Their children were in Chicago with their grandmother during this time and interestingly enough, Lon says he had a dream of his parents in a fire the night it actually happened. Velvet flew to Chicago to pick up we children and then flew to Seattle to meet Leon and from there were bound for Honolulu. In 1957 they flew to Vancouver, British Columbia. Once there, they used Vancouver as a base and performed up and down the West Coast while the children settled down to one school system (all four children graduated from high school and two went on to attain degrees from University.)

The “on the road” life continued for the family, but only during school holidays and summer vacations. House keepers were employed for the lengthy engagements during the school year.  After extensive performances in the Orient in 1967, Velvet retired from the show except to work occasionally until 1974 when they worked as a team for the University circuit until Mandrake retired in 1985.  Velvet was a magician’s assistant from 1946 till 1985 with only a few interruptions (some of which were the births of her children). Later she acted as Lon’s assistant for a show at Beth Israel, in Vancouver when his wife and partner, Linda, was having their third child in 1988.

 

You may want to consider registering a special event domain for your event. This has several advantages and makes planning easier and more effective. Whatever it is – your big wedding, any other big family event, a festival, a course/training event, a celebration event in your local community, an international seminar or conference event, a campaign event/promotion event, a school class event – it is much easier to find a proper domain name for an event website than for a permanent website. In many cases you can use the formula: [http://www.EVENTNAME2016.com] or .net, .co.uk, etc.

You can use the formula: [http://www.magicfestival2016.com] or [http://www.magic-festival-2016.com] or for your wedding event [http://www.maryANDpeter.com] or [http://www.wedding-mary-peter.com] You can use this formula or similar ideas for domain registration for events of any kind, whether special events, annual events, or more frequent events. Think of: A course day for training: [http://www.MarketingTraining2016.com], A sports day: [http://www.Soccer-championship-2016.com], and so on for all events. If your event is an ongoing event, year after year (don’t think of your wedding!) and you can get a really good domain name, then register this domain name, and use it year after year for the annual event. This is fine for the branding of the domain name, as well as for the re-use of printed material, internet links etc.

Note that you can write the domain name of the event in different ways, using capital letters to make the domain name more readable (the capitalization of the letters in the domain name doesn’t matter). Only if you refer to specific pages other than the home page you need to have an exact match for the letters. This is one of the good reasons, too, to go for a completely new domain name. You only get help from the domain name registration if you also set up a website.

In the big picture to register a domain and to have it hosted is a very small part of the expense for all events. If you are really on a shoestring budget, consider a service like Wix or https://directnic.com/. The registration costs as little as $15 per year and you can set up a free website without any extra costs. This web hosting company allows you to upload 20 MB of web pages on the free account just for your cost of the domain name registration. That is more than enough for most event websites. Just be careful with the graphics, including pictures. All the graphics have to be optimized for web use for the lowest possible file size. This shouldn’t give you any problems.

So what do you use event domains and event websites for? In your event planning make use of your event website to tell about: What is the background of the event? If it is a special event, then why is it a special event? Where, when and for whom is this event? Will it cost something and how will people register to participate in the event? Are you expecting presents or are there other things guests have to prepare for?

The website after the event should also be a part of your event planning. Most visitors will use the event website after the event, so remember that in your planning. You can post photos from the event – this is a very popular aspect of any modern event, so plan for that. You can incorporate the photos on your event website or you can link to a special service that makes it easier for you to upload the event pictures after the big day. I have put some of the best offers together here and some services are free https://www.pinterest.com/alexandergreat1.

You can highlight special messages, lessons learned, info for further work, cooperation and event planning; maybe even try to coordinate all events after the common big event. I am sure you have many more ideas already to be included in your event planning. Just remember for all events: plan in time, that makes everything much easier for yourself and for other event participants.

And please, don’t close down your successful event website just a few months after the event. Visitors will first arrive in numbers to websites after some time. If possible, include in your event planning some years of hosting of your event website and keep your event domain as long as you can.

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.

People can develop deception detection.  However, police departments usually do not provide more than a day of training for their detectives, if that, and the available research shows that you can’t improve much in just a day.  There are signs of deception.  Once you realize that you’re being lied to, should you confront the liar immediately? Usually not. The best approach is to note the fact in your mind and continue with the conversation, trying to extract more information.  Once you confront someone who has lied to you, the tone of the conversation changes and gathering additional facts becomes difficult. Therefore, wait until you have all the evidence you want and then decide whether to confront the person at that time or hold off to figure how you can best use this insight to your advantage.

There is usually body language that gives a liar away.  He or she will make little or no eye contact.  A person who is lying to you will do everything to avoid making eye contact.  Physical expression will be limited, with few arm and hand movements.  What arm and hand movements are present will seem stiff and mechanical.  Hands, arm and legs pull in toward the body; the individual takes up less space.  His hand(s) may go up to his face or throat, especially to the mouth, but contact with his body is limited to these areas.  He is also unlikely to touch his chest with an open hand gesture.  He may also touch the nose or scratch behind the ear.  If he is trying to appear casual and relaxed about his answer, he may shrug a little.

There are also emotional states associated with deception.  The timing is off between gestures and words. If the facial expression comes after the verbal statement (“I am so angry with you right now” … pause … and then the angry expression), it looks false.  The head moves in a mechanical fashion without regard to emphasis, indicating a conscious movement.  Gestures don’t match the verbal message, such as frowning when saying “I love you.”  Hands tightly clenched and a statement of pleasure are not in sync with each other.  The timing and duration of emotional gestures will seem off.  The emotion is delayed coming on, stays longer than it should, and fades out abruptly. Expressions will be limited to the mouth area when the person is feigning certain emotions – happiness, surprise, awe, and so on – rather than the whole face.

In deception interpersonal interactions will give signals.  When we are wrongfully accused, only a guilty person gets defensive (see my blog Wrongly Accused).  Someone who is innocent will usually go on the offensive.  He is reluctant to face his accuser and may turn his head or shift his body away.  The person who is lying will probably slouch; he is unlikely to stand tall with his arms out or outstretched. There’s movement away from his accuser, possibly in the direction of the exit.  There will be little or no physical contact during his attempt to convince you.  He will not point his finger at the person he is trying to convince.  He may place physical objects (pillow, drinking glass, et cetera) between himself and his accuser to form a barrier, with a verbal equivalent of “I don’t want to talk about it,” indicating deception or covert intention.

There is a lack of precision of language with lying.  Actual verbal content will shift.  The liar will use your words to make his point. When asked, “Did you cheat on me?”  The liar answers, “No, I didn’t cheat on you.”  In addition, when a suspect uses a contraction – “It wasn’t me” instead of “It was not me” – statistically, there is a 60% chance he is truthful.  He may stonewall, giving an impression that his mind is made up.  This is often an attempt to limit your challenges to his position.  If someone says right up front that he positively won’t budge, it means one thing: He knows he can be swayed. He needs to tell you this so you won’t ask, because he knows he’ll cave in.  The confident person will use phrases like “I’m sorry, this is pretty much the best we can do.”  Watch out for the good old Freudian slip.  He depersonalizes his answer by offering his belief on the subject instead of answering directly. A liar offers abstract assurances as evidence of his innocence in a specific instance.  For example: “Did you ever cheat on me?” and you hear, “You know I’m against that sort of thing. I think it morally reprehensible.”  He will keep adding more information until he’s sure that he has sold you on his story. The guilty are uncomfortable with silence. He speaks to fill the gap left by the silence.  He may imply an answer but never state it directly.

Implication and how something is said shows how true it is.  The liar will have a deceitful response to questions regarding beliefs and attitudes take longer to think up.  However, how fast does the rest of the sentence follow the initial one-word response?  In truthful statements a fast no or yes is followed quickly by an explanation. If the person is being deceitful the rest of the sentence may come more slowly because he needs time to think up an explanation.  Watch out for reactions that are all out of proportion to the question. The liar may repeat points that he has already made or be reluctant to use words that convey attachment and ownership or possessiveness (“that car” as opposed to “my car”).  The person who is lying may leave out pronouns and speak in a monotonous and inexpressive voice.  When a person is making a truthful statement, he emphasizes the pronoun as much as or more than the rest of the sentence.  Words may be garbled and spoken softly, and syntax and grammar may be off.  In other words, his sentences will likely be muddled rather than emphasized.  Statements sound an awful lot like questions, indicating that he’s seeking reassurance.  Voice, head and eyes lift at the end of their statement.

Liars have a psychological profile.  We often see the world as a reflection of ourselves. If you’re being accused of something, check your accuser’s veracity.  Watch out for those people who are always telling you just how corrupt the rest of the world is. Beware of those asking you if you believe him. They may respond with, “you don’t believe me, do you?” Unlike our politicians, people who tell the truth expect to be believed. I don’t “expect” to be believed when performing my magic show.  After all, I’m trying to put an illusion across.  When it comes to everyday life however, let us protect our “watch, wallet and appendix” from those Elbert Hubbard referred to as less than honest.

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.

The first thing you have to determine is what budget has been allocated for the event.  Once you know that determine the scope to be included in the meeting. Third, determine what personnel will be assigned to facilitate this event’s success. As everyone already knows, there is a big difference between planning an office gathering and planning a large conference with participants coming from all over the world. Don’t let yourself get trapped in a situation where you can’t succeed.

Each business event is unique, but there are many tasks that an experienced event planner already has on his or her check list of things to do. We all know that the bigger the event is, the more complex the meeting, and the more components there are that need to be finalized. In addition, some of these tasks will be dependent on others. For example, negotiating hotel room rates depends on venue selection. You certainly would not book rooms in Chicago for a great rate if the event location changes later to St. Louis. You should always strive to book hotel rooms close to your meeting’s location so venue selection becomes critical.

You should immediately develop a team and assign planning tasks to the members, making them responsible for event planning, management and execution of the project? In order to make an event successful, assigned personnel with proper project management and a carefully developed timeline is a must. One question to ask:  Do the event team members have adequate time to accomplish their usual company tasks in addition to the event tasks?

Business event planning can be difficult if care isn’t initially taken.  There are five major pitfalls to avoid during your business event planning task. You will not only need to be concerned with all of the major details about your upcoming corporate or business affair, but be sure and take detailed notes on any problems that you run across so that you’ll be able to deal with them more effectively in planning your next business meeting.

You will need to have your priorities documented on paper, items such as the overall theme of the corporate or business function, decorations, food, catering (type of menu, as well as costs per person involved), various supplies, and of course, the overall budget that you have to work with.

Depending on the scope of your business event planning and the affair itself, you may need an assistant to aid you.  Don’t be shy about delegating less important tasks to an assistant or even multiple assistants for more mundane tasks that you need not be bothered with, such as general “fetching”, picking up supplies, tables, chairs, decorations and etc… at the various suppliers. This will leave the most important details of the gathering to you, as it should be.

Screen Your Caterer.  The next pitfall in setting up a successful function is the food. More than likely, your business event planning will make use of a catering company. If this step of your event isn’t executed properly, you could have a disaster on your hands. Unfortunately, you are depending upon an outside company for this task. But you can easily screen the catering company that you have chosen.

Do this by asking for at least three references from clients that have had similar sized functions to yours, not only ask for references, but contact the references. Ask about timeliness of the caterer, were they on schedule?, were they professional?, did they provide the required amount of food for the affair?, was the food of high quality and taste? Did they come in on budget?

Insist on signed contracts.  Be sure and get a signed contract whenever you are contracting out services to outside companies. This will ensure that you will be able to create a budget and not go over that budget. When you have a contract, there are usually no surprises. That’s what contracts are for. Be sure and set the dates and times when the services will be needed with a firm price for services rendered.

Be certain to set up an operating budget in advance of even beginning your business event planning. Generally speaking, you will have some idea what your company has allocated for this function. Maybe even an exact figure, if they’ve allocated $7,000 for your company event, start budgeting for a $6,000 function. Trust me when I tell you, it will always cost more than you think. This way, you are giving yourself a bit of a buffer. Planning for the $6,000 event, more than likely, you will easily meet the desired goal of $7,000 or less.

Don’t relax too soon. Many times business event planning you will schedule and plan the affair months in advance and think that everything is under control. Taking it easy up until the day or so before the event. Invariably, one of your outside contractors will not be able to deliver and you’ll be left scrambling to replace them hours before the event. Be sure an make contact with all of your vendors at least a week before your big get together and make sure everybody is on the same page.  Business Event Planning Doesn’t Have To Be Hard.  Keep these five possible pitfalls in mind when business event planning and things will go much smoother than you could imagine.

The procurement of a professional event planning company can be indispensable.  Such an organization can provide years of expertise and leadership on producing successful events. In addition, they have expert event planners that bring specific ideas, “how to” lists, project management skills, even the tools and controls to make certain that things take place correctly. Often their outside knowledge can save the company money through use of their connections, negotiation skills for room rates, transportation and catering. Their experience frees you from the drudgery of organizing the event and best of all they report directly to you. After all, they are the ones putting their reputations on the line which is completely dependent on the success of your event!  Their reviews, future promotions and business depend on it.

The responsibility of event planning for your company’s function can be as simple as ordering lunch or as complex as creating a convention with an international guest list. Each event depends on having the right resources dedicated to it, as well as, the proper management and supervision of the project to ensure everything goes as planned. As the scope of the event becomes more involved, the event components may change from your company’s internal resources to hiring an outside, expert conference and meeting management firm. Consider the complexity of your upcoming event and plan accordingly.

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.

Everyone has something to sell. Everybody is a salesperson, in some sense of the word, whether he or she is marketing commodities, skilled service, or ideas; whether he or she is selling his or her personality to a sweetheart, family, friends, or business associates. And just as everyone is interested in selling something, so everyone is equally interested in buying what he or she needs. And when a person is buying, he or she is attracted most strongly to those things which he or she likes and which he or she believes will meet his or her needs.  Likes and dislikes can be accounted for, definitely and scientifically. They are part of each individual character and are openly displayed in their body language and manner.  Here they can be read, not by guesswork, but with scientific accuracy. The unsuccessful salesperson does not know these things and so he fails.  There’s a great book you should read on this.  Even though it was written about a hundred years ago, it still applies today. It’s Scientific Advertising, by Claude Hopkins

As an Alexandrite, I want your success to be assured so I am going to give you some insight into analyzing people.  These are the same techniques I use when I meet people whom I want to hire me for a show.  I am going to give you a quick and dependable working knowledge of people so that you will know what picture to paint, what buttons to push, and what packages to offer in order to attract favorable attention with different people, arouse interest, awaken desire, inspire confidence, and effect the sale of yourself and your magic.  As many of you know I’m a huge Tony Robbins fan, and many of these techniques can be found in one of my favorite audio programs called Mastering Influence.

Generally speaking, there are three big classifications of people. Each class is as different as night and day in its likes and dislikes. People in each class may differ somewhat from each other, but in their basic desires they are similar. Behind these three divisions of people is a scientific reason, the result of heredity and environment.  There are three things necessary for the construction of man or woman, without which he or she  could not exist. They are Vitality, Will, and Mentality. They are sometimes called the Triangle of Life. Each has a definite purpose and each plays its own part in man’s life, and the loss of any one would cause disease, death, and dissolution.

We speak of Vitality, Will, and Mentality as the Three Temperaments. A knowledge of these Temperaments, their location and development, their relative proportion to each other form the basis in analyzing peoples’ characteristics. These show the foundation on which man’s tendencies are built.  Each individual possesses all three of the temperaments, but there is a difference in proportion and relative development of each one. For rapid analysis, the predominating temperament is determined — that is, the one which has the greatest development — and is used as a basis.  Let’s discuss the three temperaments separately so that you will understand them individually.

The Vital temperament controls the vital organs, the blood supply, and nutrition. The vital processes of life depend on it — warmth of the body, digestion, assimilation, absorption, and secretion. It gives people hunger and makes them distinguish the requirements of their body through their senses of feeling, smelling, tasting, seeing, and hearing. It is essential to reproduction and growth. Herein lies the great chemical laboratory of the body. It also gives the power of relaxation and sleep, creating in person the desire to seek comfort and to accumulate plenty of material things. Vitality is magnetic. It makes people sociable, agreeable, and lovable. In combination with the other temperaments, it fires them to action.  Quantity of development is typical of this temperament.

The Will temperament controls the muscles, ligaments, bones, and glands. Upon this Temperament depend the power of contraction and tension and the density of the body structure –the hardness and compactness of the muscles, ligaments, and bones. It holds the minute structures together and blends them into one, giving the body power to stand erect, power of mobility, equilibrium, and resistance. It has the power of locomotion, protection, and defense. It has a cooling power and acts as a balance to the warmth of the Vital temperament. It gives repelling power and makes a person reserved, conservative, skeptical, and cautious. The Will temperament, because of its tension and concentration powers, builds structures that are muscular, ligament us, or bony. Solid development is typical here.

The Mental temperament controls the nervous system and brain. It is the result of experience of mind and body, and it is the basis of the power of comprehension. It arranges, harmonizes, and refines the influences of structure and chemistry of the body. It enables every cell in the body to work in an intelligent manner, peculiar to itself. It enables the brain to grow brain cells — the liver, kidneys, stomach, and heart cells to carry on their respective work and duties. Wisdom, knowledge, consciousness, recognition, and interpretation are dependent on this temperament.  The Mental temperament builds a face triangular in shape, due to lessened development in the Vital and Will areas.  Quality of development is typical of this Temperament.

So from a study of these three temperaments, we can readily see a great difference in people. Some have great vitality –blood-making and relaxing power — but have poor resistance and are not keen in creative mentality. Others have powerful strength, love to work hard, have solid bones and muscles — but have poor assimilative powers, are over-tensed, and have but moderate mentality. Others may be mentally bright, quick to think for themselves and invent improvements — but have poor vitality and resistance to support their mentality.

No temperament is strong in and of itself.  It must be supported by the other two.  What good is a keen mind without blood to feed it and muscle and bone power to support it? What good is force without intelligence and creative energy behind it? And what good is the finest building material without something to build it into and without intelligence to direct the building? A perfect development of all three temperaments makes a balanced person, and that’s what progressive people of today are striving to make of themselves. The average person, however, is unbalanced temperamentally. That gives rise to the somewhat intolerant likes and dislikes which we find in people. Each sees through his own individuality. The vital temperament sees through the eyes of vitality; the will temperament sees through will; and the mental temperament sees through mentality.

Therefore, when you sell your show to vitality, will, or mentality, you must talk the language which each will understand. When you have finished this discussion, you will have an understanding of the way in which to appeal to each class.  I hope you will make a real study of the fire started in this blog.  Use this material in understanding yourself and other people better so you can arrive at the success for which you are working.

Do you want to be famous?  Whether you do or not, there is an often forgotten side effect of being high profile and successful.  Of course, there are degrees of fame, or perhaps more accurately different types of fame.  You could, for example, be famous locally, within your own town.  Maybe you have performed your own shows there, appeared in the local newspapers, switched the Christmas lights on in your town, and so on.  That kind of fame is great, and will probably give you a real boost, but don’t let it go to your head!  Some of this was covered in my blog, Don’t Let Success Go To Your Head.

You can also be famous nationally, and internationally.  Some countries have nationally known magicians who are a household name within the country, but who are relatively unknown outside the country.  Magicians who are known internationally are very few, you can probably count them on the fingers of one hand in fact, and usually the reason for their widespread fame is because of many high profile TV appearances, large scale tours, or years spent in Las Vegas where tourists from all parts of the globe abound.  Another type of fame is what some magicians call “magic magazine heroes.”  These are individuals who have a degree of experience in magic, perhaps with a specialty act, and who are regularly featured in magic magazines, but who are unknown outside the field of magic.

These guys are regular speakers at magic conventions and derive most of their income selling videos, lecture notes, and so on to other magicians. Nothing wrong with it, it’s just a different type of fame.  The only time this type of fame becomes a problem is when magazine heroes think they are famous outside of magic. Sometimes this happens, and it becomes a bit silly as they think they demand to be treated like superstars! Read the rest of this entry »

letter-1442872_640In 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.” Read the rest of this entry »

magic-2034146_640It’s so encouraging to see many of you Alexandrites taking an active interest in magic!  Even for you hobbyists with a growing interest in magic, you’re starting to venture past the gates of the magic I offer at http://www.alexandergrait.com/store and starting to buy magic props and accessories online.  Unfortunately, a few of you have gotten “burned” by unscrupulous magic websites promising “pie in the sky” magic effects.  This is an unfortunate part of today’s cyber world.  It’s the wild west all over again.  As any magician who’s been in the business awhile can tell you, magic effects, above any other product sold online, have often been hyped up beyond all recognition.  The only product that might be hyped more today are the fun world of “diet pills.”  It’s sad for part of my brotherhood of magicians because competing dealers continually try to offer something better than their last effect or better than a competing dealer.  It’s a neverending quest to offer the most amazing magic effect.   I covered some of this in my blog YouTube Magic, but thought it might be prudent to offer some further guidance here since so many of you are buying magic online.  Of course you can always email me privately at Alexander@alexandermagic.com for a list of recommended online dealers.

Okay, onward!  The first thing I want to say is, “beware of the description.”  Marketing-speak, no matter what the industry, is often very different than reality.  How many times has your vacation hotel turned out to be very different from the pictures in the brochure, or how many times have you seen an advertisement for some mouthwatering microwave meal only to buy it and conclude that you must’ve eaten the cardboard packaging by mistake?  Magic marketing is no different than any other form of marketing that you come across every day in terms of exaggerated and misleading claims.  Frequently such terms as “reputation-maker” or “show-stopper” are applied to magic effects in dealer catalogs.  Some of these descriptions, like skin care products, are written by copywriters and not magicians. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve got a very important observation to share with you. Did you see the James Bond movie Goldfinger?  Ian Flemming, the author, wrote an earlier book titled Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which is a complete departure from the Bond series.  Anyway, Goldfinger, the book, is populated with several really top level experts in espionage.  They’re all interested in the ultimate stake which happens to be robbing Fort Knox.  Now all of these men have I.Q.’s reaching to the stars. They compete to be selected for Goldfinger’s team that will accomplish this. One of the men in the book is especially adept at getting selected for these teams and has been on several of them.

Yes, he is brilliant and highly skilled at his craft which happens to be espionage. But, so are the other men competing against him to be on the team. Why does he get chosen so often over the others? Simply, because he is obsessed with his work. Here’s a quote from the book:

“Sometimes it’s difficult to tell who is the more brilliant but I, Goldfinger look for something more important gentlemen….I look for who is the most driven!” Read the rest of this entry »

WarrenWarren and Annabelle’s is a magic night club in LaHaina, HI where we were lucky to be the guests of magician and friend Warren Gibson.

An adventure starts with a mysterious key and a riddle to get through a secret passageway. Once you find a solution you are allowed to pass through to a beautiful parlor. Now it’s time to sit down, relax and have a drink or a meal before showtime. Couple of words about the parlor itself: if you‘ve ever been to Magic Island in Houston, TX – the interior and the atmosphere is very close to it. It even reminded me of Magic Castle a little in theme.
The food and drinks are very tasty whether you bought a dinner package or purchased it a la carte. And you have more than enough time to enjoy both. At the very entrance you are given 2 playing cards that you’ll be able to exchange for drinks later on. Warren seems to think about every aspect of the evening: while you are enjoying your dinner or just chilling in the parlor, a ghost comes to visit you and performs any song your heart desires on the piano.  Then you are accompanied to the theatre. It’s a small room with approximately 70 seats. So every seat has a good view. There are also 8 HOT seats upfront for the people who are brave enough to be a part of the show, which is a lot of fun. If you are asked to be one of the 8 lucky ones – don’t back up. I promise you will have a great time.

The show itself is unlike a regular magic show. From the time you enter the theater until you leave there are lots of little surprises. We truly enjoyed it. The sleight-of-hand left us shaking our heads, especially the linking of three borrowed finger rings!  The added treat of side stitching humor left us breathless. Truly worth the money.  Unfortunately, no children are allowed to the club. Though material and jokes are age-appropriate, cocktails make it impossible for anyone under 21 to enjoy this wonderful show.   At the end of the show Warren is outside the theater to thank each guest for coming, which was very classy.  Warren is warm and engaging, bursting with southern charm.

No wonder this outing is so highly recommended by Maui locals.  One of the best shows that we’ve ever been to, and we’ve seen all the magic shows.  Warren & Annabelle’s books up 2-3 weeks in advance so the reservations are a must.  It’s just such a different type of magic/comedy combination than you’d see anywhere else.   Aloha Y’all!

You can also see my review of Warren & Annabelle’s on Trip Advisor.

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