This month I was supposed to be in Manila, in The Philippines, doing several stand-up shows for Resorts World.  I was very much looking forward to this opportunity but it had to be postponed once the Covid-19 virus began spreading fast across Asia.  For now it has been postponed until 2021.  I look forward to seeing my friends and fans there as soon as I can make it over.

Now all of my shows until July have been cancelled.  I’m hoping that the virus has stop spreading by then and that all returns back to normal for the world’s sake.  Once it hit in America hoarders began hitting the markets and essential items became scarce.  Luckily I live alone and don’t need much so it’s easy for me to survive.  However, it is lonely not being able to interact with people.  I didn’t realize what a social butterfly I was until I was forced to stay inside.  Honestly though it has been good for me.  I’m making the most of my time by working on office projects.  I typically have 20 things listed on my project board.  I’m starting to knock some of those things out.  Times like this make us resourceful and we are reminded to appreciate the little things in life.

On a brighter note my new book Bar Bets To Win Big Bucks comes out next month.  This is something I’ve kept secret until now.  This is my second title with Dover Publications.  I’m working on a third title for them now.  Learn more about the new bar bets book here.

90% of my income derives from my shows.  People have said that I should do online shows.  The problem for me is that I believe magic is best experienced live.  Most of what I do is interactive.  In the meantime I am slowly converting my instructional DVDs to become downloads.  This is something I should have done a long time ago.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  I’m hoping this confinement sparks some creativity within me.  I’ve always been a hard worker, innovator and a survivor (of many things).  I will get through this and come out a better version of me when it’s all over.

Happy New Year!  Wow.  Later this year I turn the big 50.  That’s 34 years performing professionally and 44 years practicing magic.  Believe it or not, I’ve had a deck of cards in my hand almost every day now for 48 years.  Dang I’m old!  When not performing, practicing, writing or booking shows I enjoy playing Texas Hold’em.  I’m in a league.  Lately, I’ve been playing extremely well.

I started off the year right by doing a show for Phoenix House as has become tradition.  These troubled teens love magic and my show and I find it very rewarding performing for this audience.  Magic has been a huge blessing in my life.  I’m so lucky to get to make money with my passion.

I performed many shows for many regular clients over January and February.  I’ve made some new clients as well.  For years people have asked where to come and see my show and the answer has always been, “You’ll have to hire me, because I rarely do public events.”  Until recently that is.  The end of February I rented out a theater again and sold tickets to my one-man show.  It was great to see fans, friends and family at my show.  My friend Ladonna, who I play poker with, whom others have nicknamed giggles, helped me keep the audience in stitches with her infectious laugh.  I purposely put her in the front row because I knew this would happen.  Seen in the pic on the right is herself and her husband Howard.

I booked several Penguin MAXX events for later this year.  Penguin is the #1 online retailer of magic.  Currently, I hold the record for having the highest rated lecture with them with the most 5 star reviews.  My second download lecture with Penguin is in the top 10.  This is impressive considering they have thousands of products for sale. From time to time they have live events in well-known cities across the US where one can see their favorite magicians lecture, perform and session with them.

My colleague and friend Alan Paoletti did a video interview with me for his webcast (seen below).  Alan is a good friend and one that I recommend to clients when I am not available.  While performing in Houston I stayed with my magic buddy Scott Wells.  Scott helped arrange my first lecture tour across the US forever ago.  Scott asked that I appear on his podcast while there.  Here is a link to that interview.

Any one that claims to know me, knows I’m fond of not just magic but puzzles, illusions, art, etc.  So I added the perfect product to my line.  It’s called the Ambi-Ring.  It’s a nice looking finger ring that doubles as an optical illusion.  Check it out here.

 

 

Things are always crazy.  I have more projects to work on than I can get to.  I feel like Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes who once said, “God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things.  I’m so far behind I’ll never die.”

The last quarter of the year is always my busiest time.  Corporations and folks seem to have the most events and parties then.  My bread and butter is working private events.  In October I worked several high profile events.  One took me to Burbank to work for a well known radio station.  I worked the stage outside along with several other performers.  They actually promoted my appearance on a huge billboard which was a first for me.  At the event I also met Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey’s ex-husband, who is the host of their morning show.  Nick is a nice guy.  I’d like to give a big shout out to my buddy Mitch who made it all possible.  He’s been a great friend to me over the years.  He started off as a magic student of mine and is now one of my best friends.

I have been designing a metal top that spins for an impressively long time.  I shot several episodes for Scam Nation found here. I’ve played lots of poker.  My new Diamond Playing Cards are out and selling well. Plus my good friend Brian Brushwood has an awesome puzzle box designed after them.

I’ve added the Batman 66 and Elvira’s Scared Stiff pinballs to my game house collection.  I also found an old home game pinball called Diamond Jim that I had refurbished.  Besides all the other games and machines in my house I now have 8 pinball machines and I’m glad I do not have room for more.  It seems to be an addiction!

Obviously business has been good.  In November I flew to Indiana for a client.  I still perform twice a year for Jackson’s Pottery.  I attended the Peacock theater. Plus I’ve started doing my own one-man show here in Dallas.  Typically folks have to hire me for an event to see what I do.  So I’ve decided that I will try to rent a theater semi-regular basis, maybe once a quarter, and sell tickets to my hour long show.  The theater I’ve found is owned by a friend, who once was a magic student as well.  It’s an awesome space in Addison, Tx.  It seats 40-50 comfortably but is under remodel now and will seat twice that many soon.  My first show there sold out quickly and everyone had nice things to say after.

In December I did 27 shows.  Most all of them were corporate holiday parties.  One was for the the Meruelo Group who flew me out to Burbank once again.  One was for a car dealership where I was Mr. Popular producing $100 bills and giving them away all night long.  That night they gave away $100,000 worth of prizes and cash.  I did a show for a well known home builder that asked me to help present game show like effects where they gave away around $250,000.  Plus I did magic for many repeat clients who have been loyal to me for the last 5-20 years.  I’m very blessed to get paid to do what I love and help create special memories for those in attendance.  I really do have the best job.

It’s now January and I’m just now catching up on a three month break from my blog.  As I go into the new year I am planning some big trips, more projects and making more time for my family and friends.  One of my New Year’s resolutions is to try and be less condescending.  Do you even know what that means?