Asked for advice on how parents could help their children become more intelligent, Albert Einstein offered a delightful bit of advice. His words went something along the lines of “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” This strikes me as sage advice for parents as well as magicians and environmentalists alike. Stories capture the imagination. Fairy tales and magic spark the imagination and help young and old think outside The Box in which we find our minds imprisoned. I use fairytales of ogres, wizards, goblins and, yes, even fairies, to help tell my environmental stories about recycling, energy and water. I hope that my magic and stories help my audiences increase their own thoughts far beyond The Box.
A small dream came true last week as I had the privilege of serving as spokeswizard for a great environmental program. TheEnvironmental Affairs & Recycling Office of Washington County, Arkansas, brought me to local schools to assist in recycling education efforts during the middle of November. During the week I performed 15 shows for more than 2,000 school children, teachers, administrators and citizens. While most shows were in schools, I also performed in the gleaming Fayetteville Public Library(rated one of the best in the nation), in the Farmers’ Market, and for school administrators. The basic message is simple: everyone has the same power as a wizard to transform the old into the new by using their magic box….their recycling bin.
While I was hired to help Washington County Arkansas deliver the vital message about its recycling program, I was also delighted to receive so much information about and ideas from its environmental efforts. It hosts a special waste collection site that accepts household hazardous wastes like batteries, electronics and chemicals 5-6 days each week. This is a rare gem of convenience since most drop-offs operate less frequently. The Environmental Affairs & Recycling Office also works closely with schools throughout rural Washington County to set up and run school recycling programs.
An additional bit of magic came to me from the very audiences I was hired to educate and entertain. Most of the children for whom I performed had never seen a magician, let alone an environmental magician. As such they were especially receptive to the “Recycling is Magic” show. They enjoyed the story of how a wizard saves a town by transforming all that was trashed by an army of ogres into the new and useful. The warmth of their “thank you” and the sincerity of the many hugs I received were the finest gifts a wizard can receive.
And the magic continues. Conversations with hazwaste professionals in Arkansas revived those I had more than a year ago with their counterparts here in Connecticut. A show about household hazardous waste seems like a great addition to those shows I already have on recycling, energy, water and open space. Kids need to hear the message right along with their parents. And a spokeswizard may just be the right person to deliver that message. My pen was busy on my flight back home…a show is taking shape already. If you are interested in such a show on household hazardous waste, or would like to offer comment on my draft, let me know. The best magic is that we create together.
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