Helping the Planet Through Vegas Magic: Environmental Magician Learns the Secret that Fooled Penn & Teller

JeffMcBride

Master Magician Jeff McBride bested Penn & Teller on their Fool Us TV Show with his most recent version of “Rainmaker”, his water bowls routine. He has shared his secrets with Cyril May to aid him in greening the planet one magic show at a time.

November 15, 2017

Environmental magician and Resourcerer, CJ May recently returned from a residency at the Vegas “House of Mystery” where he studied the secrets of the Water Bowls with Jeff McBride, the master magician who bested Penn & Teller on their network TV show “Fool Us”. May seeks to use this groundbreaking magic routine to help the planet by teaching his audiences about the wonder of water.

Before his appearance on the Penn & Teller hit series “Fool Us”, Jeff McBride had experimented and refined his water bowls routine over more than 30 years. Having welcomed Connecticut native CJ May to his House of Mystery, and the Magic & Mystery School for which it serves as home, McBride invited May to learn the water bowls. McBride loved May’s use of magic for environmental education in his shows on recycling, energy and, of course, water.  McBride and May began preparations for this sharing of secrets long before McBride took his beloved water bowls routine, named “Rainmaker”, to national television.

May now has the training for the routine as well as two gleaming “magic bowls”. Anyone is welcome to examine them, however, for as May says “the magic is not in the bowls, it is in water.  That is the most vital lesson and magic I can ever share.”

Master Magician Jeff McBride schools environmental magician Cyril May in The Water Bowls.  – McBride’s Magic & Mystery School. Las Vegas

In addition to the McBride Magic & Mystery School, Cyril John “CJ” May has studied at another venerable institution key to his role as “spokeswizard” for the planet. May graduated with a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

May performs his environmental magic around the country as well as internationally. When performing environmental magic shows for children he assumes the role of “Cyril the Sorcerer”. When giving his TED Talk style presentations and training programs, with magic included, to professionals and other adults he is “Cyril John May – The Resourcerer.

Supporting May in taking his magic to “The Vegas Level” has been TOMRA, North America. TOMRA is a manufacturer of recycling sorting equipment. May met representatives of TOMRA in 2016 when they shared the podium in presenting at a professional development event for classroom teachers. In partnership, TOMRA funded May’s water bowl studies in exchange for environmental magic and related work.

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Keywords: Environmental Penn Teller water magic Las Vegas McBride recycling Yale

Municipal Magician

One of the most magical moments of 2015 for me was being asked by IMG_1896the 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 2014-10-20 21.33.48tossing 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 JeffMcBridenot 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.”