It is hot in Texas!  Lately it has been around 100 degrees or more every day.  The past two months have been slower with shows which has allowed me to visit with many of my friends and family.  Recently, I had a fun gig for my friend and neighbor Rev. James Hutchins where I performed for his 50th surprise birthday party. His friends and family were a hoot to perform for. 

Another fun gig took me to Houston to see my good friend Natalie Ingram and entertain her friend Connie for her birthday.  Natalie, Connie, the whole group were fun to perform for.  I made a wine bottle appear, someone’s $20 bill re-appeared in a chocolate covered fortune cookie, and I did a mind-reading trick on someone that left them beet red in the face.  Let’s just say it was complicated!

I’ve hung out with my sister Chelsye, had lunch and dinner with neighbors, got together with clients, and spent one weekend with my cousins Rodger & Alex who are amazing athletes. I’ve been playing lots of Texas Hold’em which I’m quite decent at.  I try not to tell strangers that I am a magician when playing cards with them;  because if I win they think I’m cheating and if I lose they think I’m a bad magician.

One Saturday was spent performing various effects from my books and DVDs at Main Street Magic in McKinney.  There was a good turn-out and I received lots of compliments throughout the day.  I introduced the owners of Main St. Magic to the world of magic when I had my shop in Frisco from 2003-2006.  I’m happy to see that they are carrying that torch and keeping it burning brighter than what I had done. Their place is truly unique and I recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in magic.

washington-dc

Although it’s slower than I would like, I have stayed plenty busy with work and begun many projects.  I still average at least a few shows each week in the summer.  Plus, I’ve found myself doing a lot more stand-up comedy magic than I have in the past.  I really enjoy it.  I have also been diligent about working on Bamboozlers Three.  My friend and artist, Ben Vincent, is in the beginning stages of illustrating the book now.

My wife and I celebrated 20 years married in May so to celebrate I planned a week long stay in Washington, D.C..  We have always wanted to see our nation’s capitol.  It was amazing!  Every American should see it at least once in their lifetime.  Plus, all of the attractions are free!

lincoln-memorial

We saw the White House, the U.S. Capitol Building, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson MemorialArlington Cemetery, the National Mall, the Zoo, the Kennedy Center, many or the various nation’s embassies, GeorgetownWashington National Cathedral, the Supreme Court (where we sat in the court to hear a lecture), the Library of Congress (where 3 of my books reside), the National Archives (which houses the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence), and many of the various Smithsonian museums which were awe inspiring.  Two days were spent hopping on and off a tour bus to see the sites.  One day we took a cruise to see the sites by water.  Other days we winged it.  To top it off we sat near the Washington Monument and watched the fireworks show on the 4th of July.  It was a vacation I’m sure we’ll always remember.

tiger-robe

We also stayed in a very nice hotel called the Donovan House.  It was chic and modern.  Many attractions were walking distance, but since it was hotter there than it was in Texas we took a cab most of the time.  Luckily since DC is only a 4 mile radius it’s only $10 in a cab to go anywhere in town.  We also enjoyed the happy hour for hotel guests from 5-6pm each day where we were treated to free sushi and wine or sangria.  Check me out the tiger-striped robe that was furnished in our closet in the pic to the left.

Magic-wise, I have been writing instructions and commissioning pieces and parts made for a new trick I’d like to market.  I reprinted my second book Bamboozlers: Volume One. Both batches of my black and white Doomsday decks have sold out! My new Blood Red Doomsday Decks are due in soon.  I sat on a panel of four magicians for the Dallas Magic Club where we were asked about our restaurant magic experiences.  I am preparing for a small tour that I’ll do in August.  My friend Paul Romhany from New Zealand has just published a book full of magician’s experiences, tips and stories called The Real Deal and mine is the last story in the book.  Finally, my friends Dal & Cinde Sanders are having their summer magic splash at their home on Sunday where I’ll see many of my entertainer friends.  I look forward to seeing everyone and congratulating my friend Dal for becoming the new president of the Society of American Magicians.

blarney-castleI always like this time of year.  People start having events outside again and things pick up.  I did several gigs in April and one took me to a fundraiser at a race track in Caddo Mills.  At one gig, I forgot to bring my magic case, and I improvised a show with a deck of cards, some rubberbands and some coins I had in my glove box.  I razzle-dazzled 30 people for two hours with magic, jokes and stories and had a blast.  I earned my money that night and appreciated my big tip which confirmed I work just as well under pressure.

I had a nice birthday dinner with family at Four Winds and witnessed my nephew Lane turn sixteen and hop into his new ride which is a decked out El Camino.  Following him home down the highway we watched in horror as he accidentally threw the car into reverse while doing about 60mph.  Actually I think my sister Jodi did it, who was riding with him.  Luckily no one was hurt and we all had a good laugh about it later.

On my actual birthday, the 25th of April, I flew out of DFW for London to catch my connection to Ireland.  I flew onto Cork and took in as much of the city as I could before the start of the magic convention titled Magic Uncorked.  Myself, John Lenahan, Luke Jermay, Helder Guimaraes, Laurent Baretta, Aonghus McNally, Quentin Reynolds and Paul Gordon were the featured acts.  Everyone was great.  Before the convention some of the locals took me to the top of Blarney Castle to kiss the blarney stone, which apparently gives one the gift of gab.  I loved the after hour sessions with many of the attendees.  I made some new friends and learned some new routines. See a news promo with me about the Cork seen below.

 

Then I went onto Dublin with my new friend named Steve.  One day I did the bus tour and took in sites like Christ Church (which was wonderful), the downtown area, stopped at Trinity College (attended by Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, etc.) and I toured the Guinness Factory where I enjoyed the history and my pint on the 7th floor glass observation bar.  That night I performed for the Dublin magicians.

Then I went onto the Isle of Man the next day.  What a beautiful place!  I toured a small town named Cregneash where they re-enact days of old.  It’s the same town where they filmed Waking Ned Devine.  Me and my host toured a working farm where I learned all about fleecing and also saw the famous manx cat and manx sheep.  That night I lectured for the young magician’s club.  Click here to read about it. The kids were great and treated me like a rock star mainly because they had seen me on many episodes of Scam School.  After the lecture I walked the coastline that night and hunted down some of their famous ice cream which was delicious.  I hope to make it back to the Isle of Man one day.  Perhaps I could come back for their famous TT race which is the largest motorcycle race in the world!

christ-church-dublin

From IOM I made my way onto Liverpool to see my friend Richie Smith.  Richie is a great magician who is writing his auto-biography now.  I can’t wait to read it.  He’s a wonderful storyteller.  That night he took me to the Liverpool magician’s club meeting and I surprised them with a mini-performance.  The guys in Liverpool are great and always make me feel at home.

Then I went onto to Leeds to see family who always take great care of me.  Since 2008 I have kept in touch the best I can and I’m happy to see that relationship blossom.  Then I made my way onto Derby to stay with my friends The Smiths.  That night we had a nice dinner and surprised one of my young fans by showing up at his home where I gave him a few “Diamond Jim” items.  The young man was very excited but I was more thrilled to be given the chance to help put a smile on his face.  My friend Graeme help set it up and he has a huge heart and a wonderful mind.  Graeme creates all sorts of wonderful electronic magic and he could probably make a living at it if he ever chose to do so.  His family and dog Maggie are always fun to hang out with.

From Derby I went onto Chelmsford, more specifically Great Waltham, to see my cousin Adrian, his wife Laura, their new baby Harriet, and Laura’s parents Graham and Jeneen.  I absolutely love this little town.  My cousin Adrian and I took in the new Avengers movie in 3-D and toured Chelmsford and a nearby castle.  We ate well and one night I made them my famous jalapeno-cucumber margaritas.  Laura is a great cook and I appreciated meeting Harriet for the first time.

The tour was productive, but the 16 days I was gone, felt more like two months.  I can now proudly say that I have performed in 22 countries.  While I was away the new Vanish Magazine launched.  The second issue just released recently and has an outstanding review of my DVD Collateral on page 43.  The magazine will feature my Bamboozlers column each month (Vol. 1- pgs. 29-30, Vol. 2- pg. 33).  Paul Romhany, who put it together, has done an excellent job.  It’s hard to believe it is a free magazine for download.

More Scam School episodes aired while I was abroad which make a total of five that I participated in.  The host Brian Brushwood says they are all getting great feedback.  See one of the videos on the right where I teach you a sneaky way to get a girl’s phone number in a bar under the guise of doing a mathematical magic trick.  The video seen above has been featured on the Discovery Channel’s homepage for two weeks now.

Also, on the day of my flight to Ireland, my birthday, Woot.com featured my Doomsday Deck on their site during what’s called a woot-off.  See the sale page and blog here. During the woot-off they sold 2000 of my decks in about half an hour.  That was a good day for me!