One of the most magical moments of 2015 for me was being asked by the Mayor of Waterbury, CT to return to full-time work as a sustainability professional so that I could use my magic to increase the Brass City’s recycling rate. I have become, for lack of a more accurate term, the world’s first municipal magician. I am delighted that the Mayor as well as others in Waterbury support this mix of “sorcery” with sustainability. I incorporate magic into outreach while visiting neighborhoods, knocking on doors and delivering bins. I introduce myself to parents and children in the waiting rooms at the City’s Health and Education Departments, levitating a bottle to show them the magic of recycling. I empower school children with my magic so that they realize the power they possess to change the world one can, bottle and piece of paper at a time.
One very powerful bit of magic I use to share a very practical truth is producing an enormous “wad” of cash from an empty garbage can: after telling on-lookers that Waterbury gets paid for its recyclables I continue by saying that tossing them into the trash is tossing away (presto!)…MONEY. I am repurposing magician’s magic for a new purpose beyond that of entertainment. It not only delights, but it also educates.
To ensure I am successful as a “spokeswizard” for Waterbury, I learn from local and national allies, both magical and otherwise. David Copperfield (photoed with me) was kind enough to chat with me before his evening show in Las Vegas. The world’s most famous and successful magician, he was humble in admitting that there is no secret formula to great magic. He felt his success is due to constant innovation, hard work and a certain amount of experimentation. He has also assembled an amazing team of other experts to support his work. I am fortunate in having the support of Master Magician Jeff McBride (photoed with mask) and the very real faculty of The McBride Magic & Mystery School, a real-life Hogwarts for modern magicians. Jeff has been Magic Castle’s Magician of the Year, is a Guinness World Record Holder, and carries more honors than I can list here. The classes, lectures, consultations and personal teaching of Jeff and these other masters of the mystic arts have aided me in my efforts to protect the environment in more ways than even they can fully realize.
One of the secrets that David Copperfield and I did not discuss is that along with other successful entertainers he is an expert at making a personal connection with his audience. He structures his show to make sure that “tricks” and “wonders” are interwoven with personal stories,
conversations with volunteers and other very-human interactions. We may be astounded by his magic but we love him, and so many others, because of who they are.
I follow this interactive model while door knocking on the streets of Waterbury, meeting people at events in the Silas Bronson Library, or visiting a block party. It may be the magic of magicians that gets their attention, but it is likely that it will be the magic of a very human interaction that wins them over. After performing recycling magic for my impromptu audiences at Health and Education I introduce myself to each family and take their address if they need a bin. I make sure to deliver the bin within a few days personally. I put their address on the bin and call or knock on the door while dropping this off. This refreshes our personal connection and gives them some sense that there is a “kinder, gentler” component to Waterbury Recycling than they may have experienced elsewhere in our very big world. It is with this combination of interactions, both magical and human, that we will together “vanish” much of Waterbury’s trash bill and “transform” not only cans and bottles but also a City’s sense of itself…at least with respect to recycling.
I still bring my magic to other communities beyond Waterbury. I recently performed at the 25th Anniversary celebration for CleanRiver, a manufacturer of high-end recycling stations based near Toronto. Sharing recycling magic with their guests, as well as sharing the magic of energy, water and wilderness with others, remains a true pleasure and a devotion. I hope our magical paths may meet up some time in 2016!
CJ May – Cyril the Sorcerer
“Magic, by its ability to capture the imagination, can change the world.”