Mystery & Unexpected Transformation

You mentioned magic experiences with the shamans and other people that had a great deal to offer. Were these discoveries made during your travels? And is this what contributed to you losing your “cockiness?”

I think what led me to that quest was disappointment. I was supposedly at the pinnacle of my career. I was headlining in the Vegas Hilton “Bel de Moulin Rouge.” I was exactly where a magician should be at a very young age – doing the Vegas thing and headlining in my own show. On paper it looked great. But inside I wasn’t satisfied with where I was as a human being. So I had to walk away from that into the desert for a while and find out who I was underneath all those masks. Then I could come back and take them off, and maybe the audience would be able to feel that experience.

Were you separated from magic during that time?

No, I had to keep doing magic, but I just spent about half the year performing magic and half the year going to alternative magic gatherings and studying with different shamans, teachers and wise men and women. I was experiencing other aspects of being alive and other ways to magical other than doing the latest card trick. I had to find out who I was off stage, and I realized that I’m off stage most of the time.

Many magicians fall into what I call the “Seven Minute Syndrome.” “As soon as I get that great seven minute act together, everything in my life will be perfect. As soon as I get the perfect three minutes for television down, boy won’t life be on easy street?” And they put the act before the expression of their lives. That’s the cart before the horse.

So I think what I was searching for in my personal growth was a way to live off stage – instead of just working to live on stage, and having all my energies focused to that point where I’m on stage. Because, in reality, I’m off stage most of the time.

What are your thoughts on the current state of magic?”

I personally feel that magic right now is at the place where comedy was back in the late 70’s and early 80’s with all the comedy clubs. I think that all these “World’s Greatest Magic” specials on TV are kind of like the early Rodney Dangerfield showcase for young comics. I think there will be an incredible commercial market for magic very soon, but it is in danger of burning out very quickly as a “magic fad” or “magic boom”. There’s so much shallow “flash” magic out there. I don’t think there’s enough deep magic being performed to really get inside of people right now.

They’re calling this the “second golden age of magic.” I prefer to call it the “Platinum Age of Magic.” There are probably more magic shows on the planet than there ever were before – I think this is great. I wish the quality of magic was better. Everybody seems to be copying everybody else, and there are many battles going on with proprietary rights and exposure. Hopefully, that will all subside and people will start exploring deeper into themselves for the magic. I think this is most important for the close-up performer. I probably do more close-up magic than stage, but I offer my close-up work as medicine. Laugher is good medicine and with the Native Americans anything that is healing – anything that makes you feel good – is medicine. So magic is good medicine, and I give it away freely.

In your opinion, do you think that magic will ever be continuously accepted as a serious performing art?

Only when the magicians get deeper than just “blowing the audience away”. Only when all the pieces of the puzzle start getting put together. With magic in its present form, NO. In the present day the tree of magic has been cut off at the roots. Until those roots are grafted back on and reintegrated, we’re only experiencing half the magic. It doesn’t get inside.

I think magic has to get inside the soul, inside the people that are experiencing it in order for it to be a source of sustenance. There has to be a hunger for it – “soul food”. I think that magic has the potential of being that, but the ability to make it happen is an individual choice. Most contemporary magicians aren’t ready to give it. They just want to get really slick advertising materials and do good corporate parties. If that’s the focus magic won’t be accepted as a serious performing art. Focusing on being commercial and mainstream wont’ get us there. The things that make painting and dance and theater great is that they have rich histories of very un-commercial endeavors. There’s a history of great painters who were never commercial in their time.

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