I have updated a trick I developed with the help and inspiration of Jim Sisti 7 years ago. In the original effect, I put recyclables into a trash can and transform them into ashes. This works well in CT where recyclables are burned along with trash if put into the trash can. Performing in Arkansas all next week, however, I needed a version that speaks to landfilling. With this version the recyclables come back out….along with a huge handfull of 50 dollar bills. This showcases that valuable resources don’t get transformed into new and useful items when trashed, and how we are wasting big money in managing them this way. Earlier this year Jeff McBride, offered the suggestion for the handful of 50 dollar bills for a routine on saving money through energy conservation….and it works well for recycling as well!
Join us this Tuesday as we mark a big step forward for Message Through Magic, a program which Yale’s Peabody Museum and I hope to launch there formally in 2014. Beginning at 3:00 pm we will be involving families, off school for election day, in creating video to promote environmental magic. In addition to performing “Recycling is Magic” and “MAGITRICITY”, I will be interacting with children to showcase the use of magic to teach about water and other issues. The resulting video, being artfully crafted by Super 9 Studios, will be sent to a philanthropic magician for consideration. We also hope to use the video in reaching others who may support Message Through Magic and partner with us to advance this program. We hope you can join us Tuesday in New Haven, CT! Facebook has event details. I am especially delighted to use the term “Enviro-Magic” for this milestone event as it was created by my teacher, Master Magician Jeff McBride, at the dawn of the modern environment movement in the 1970s.
I am delighted to be a conspirator in a cabal of magicians casting a spell on New Haven for the 7th year in a row. Magic Week New Haven is an annual celebration of magic that provides magic shows of an amazing variety during the latter half of October. In 2013 the magicians assembled include several mentalists, two wizards and a gritty street magician. The core of Magic Week is the series of free magic shows offered in each of New Haven’s five public library branches. The frosting on this year’s cake, being the shows out of the ordinary, includes a thought-reading and paranormal performance by Keith Zalinger at historic Lyric Hall (Saturday October 19th) as well as New Haven’s newest and greatest evening outing: Comedy Magic Monthly (last Tuesday of each month: 10/29/2013). I will be providing several shows as well. For a complete listing of these events, and magics offered year-round, visit www.magicnewhaven.com. Magic Week New Haven is sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Magicians Ring 59, the New Haven chapter.
Delighted to perform environmental magic at the Annual Hawk Watch Festival and Green Expo, I was also delighted to be out performed. No magic I or any other magician will ever create can match the sheer wonder those gathered felt as rehabilitated hawks flew. Catch this magic, and my own more humble magic, tomorrow as well: 11-3 environmental magic, 11-5 festival. If you can, be there at 4:15 when they release a hawk back into the wild, setting it free after rehabilitation. It will be a truly enchanting experience! http://greenwich.audubon.org/15th-annual-hawkwatch-festival-green-bazaar
It has been a year since I left the Ivory Tower for the Wizard’s Tower. In July 2012 I finished a career of two decades as Yale’s recycling coordinator. Although I miss the worthy work of ensuring 21,000 Yalies recycle all they can, I embrace the more magical life of an environmental magician and educator. The “magic” goes beyond the increase in magic shows, tricks and the small wonders you might expect in the life of a full-time magician. Some of the best sorcery in my magical life has been that of increased sustainability on personal and planetary levels.
Some highlights of this year’s sorcery can be shared in a quick summary. Since July 2013 I have created 5 new magic shows (see below), performed in Las Vegas, created two environmental PSA videos in concert with magician-film maker Jordan Wright, performed in historic Lyric Hall, and was keynote speaker at the first ever sustainability luncheon for community leaders in Gastonia, North Carolina. I even “vanished” my carbon footprint (see earlier blog entry). All of these made for a very busy and very fulfilling year.
Some aspects of this magical year are hard to capture in a summary, however. By working at home I spent more time with wife and children. I was no longer a visitor to the rhythms of my home but a more intimate partner in them. I collected chicken eggs, tended to dogs and helped with chores and childcare. These extra dances during the day hurt my productivity, but helped to heal a soul separated from family too often by 22 years of office work.
Some of this sustainable sorcery is growing beyond what even I had hoped to conjure. Like a successful “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” I am delighted to see my endeavors to use magic for environmental education growing in all the right ways. I have worked with educators to develop programs using magic to cover mandated recycling issues in public schools. I have trained environmental professionals on how to use magic to strengthen their messages on sustainability.
These various and valuable efforts are now taking shape in the large umbrella of a new program: Message Through Magic. In addition to teaching environmental issues through magic shows, Message Through Magic cross trains magicians, environmental educators and youth to use magicians’ skills in conveying their own messages. Staff at Yale University’s Peabody Museum share in the enthusiasm and are helping to grow the program. As a magician I can pull a coin or two out of the air. To make this dream of environmental education through magic come true, however, takes the greater magic of team work, administration and support.
Please offer your thoughts and suggestions on how to expand and support Message Through Magic. Please let me know if you would like to see a copy of the current proposal. In so many of our popular modern films and novels, magic is the key to saving the day. I feel Message Through Magic is a real-world example of this. Message Through Magic will enable others, as well as myself, to deliver important messages to audiences far and wide. Your suggestions will help us make this magic happen. What topics, partners, events and venues should be a part of Message Through Magic?
New Magic Shows Since Summer 2012
- Little Fairies Big Magic – a whimsical story of tricksy fairies teaches the importance of preserving wild lands.
- The Magic of Hanukkah – the story and the traditions of this magical holiday told through magic.
- MAGITRICITY – a show on energy and climate change developed in concert with the “Seasons of Change” exhibit at Yale’s Peabody Museum.
- Magic of Water – Following a larger pilot project I stripped this down to a very quick and portable “commando” show, performable outdoors.
- Secret of the Dusty Castle – a fairytale adventure which teaches the basics of lead poisoning prevention.
Enjoy the magic of Fathers’ Day with a magic show on energy and recycling!
See “MAGITRICITY” at 12:00 noon and 5:00 pm on Sunday June 16th at Lyric Hall!
Seating is limited in this exquisite, turn-of-the-century performance hall. Tickets will be available at the door if not sold out. Seats are $15, $10 for “Dad”, or $40 for a block of four.
Join me after each show for a “meet the sorcerer” chat. We will share some fair trade chocolate from Ten Thousand Villages!
I was delighted to follow through on a request by educators at the ACES Wintergreen Interdistrict Magnet School in Hamden, CT to provide my special mix of magic and message. The three 3rd grade classes were completing a unit on recycling. I provided “Recycling is Magic” and a few extra elements to bring the message of recycling in a fun and powerful way. I then went to each class to cover the technical magic of recycling operations. We reviewed what can be recycled, how recycling helps the economy as well as the environment, and what the environmental and economic effects are when recyclables are discarded as trash.
This opportunity was especially enjoyable for me as I was able to rely on both my magical skills as well as my 22 years as a recycling coordinator. As well, my many summers as a camp counselor came into play in ensuring that the time I spent with each class was fun as well as educational.