Thursday, December 15, 2011

Doc-ember Musings


Here we are in December again. Most of you wonder how one may make a living of sorts, being a magician. Well, December should always be the answer. December is the time when I meet the most people, and in one month, do the most shows. Holiday parties, luncheons, and cocktail hours can keep you busy every day of the week, save a day or two. Which is good, but, can be taxing at times. I do love it. I love seeing people in the holiday spirit, and slightly tipsy with that holiday spirit.

Lately I've been into documentaries. If you know anything about me at all, it's that I am a documentary nut. I love them. In the last few days I've watched one on Keith Haring (love him), one on the war called Restrepo, and one on the oldest cave artwork ever found in human history called Cave of Wonders. If one were to look at all those things in separation, you might find no consistent thread that ties much of anything together with these three films. For me, if I add in December, it's thankfulness. I know it's a day late and a dollar short of Thanksgiving, but, I have always felt that Thanksgiving was the inauguration of the new year, and that 'thankfulness' as it were goes well beyond that 3rd Thursday.

From Keith Haring I learned what it is to be free. I mean like, truly free. Keith was an amazing guy and nothing short of an inspiring artist. He basically showed me, how to 'endure' life to be free. Through his life, and his uncompromising position on art, he endured. Through his struggle with HIV and subsequently, AIDS, he endured. Endured so much, in fact, that his art work, the truest expression of the man's freedom, is still talked about to this day.

From Restrepo I learned what 'freedom' costs. It's not a documentary for the faint of heart. It's gritty. It's tense. It's all too real. You know what these guys did, given their situation? They endured. They made the best of it. It was amazing that anyone would do that. It was more amazing that anyone could do that. Reminds me that there are tougher things to endure than our own meager lives. That traffic isn't really that bad. Complaining about holiday crowds at a shopping mall, isn't that bad, because somewhere, there is a guy in a ditch in the desert...getting shot at...and he wishes he had our problems.

From Cave of Wonders I learned the ultimate endurance story. Artwork that was somewhere around 30,000 years old. You read that right, and you should read it again. 30,000 years old. A cave full of this stuff, by one guy, with a crooked pinky. His footprints still preserved and his hand prints all at the cave entrance. Amazing. When the Alps had 9,000ft of glaciers on them...he was painting...in a cave. I'm sure he had no idea that his audience wouldn't come around for 30,000. So I guess there is hope for anyone if that's the case, yeah? But he endured. What he did...endured.

We are in the last days of 2011. Depending on who you ask, might be in the last days of the world. I honestly don't believe that, but, some people do. Maybe what they really should believe in again, is people. People are out there doing amazing things every day. YOUR FRIENDS are doing amazing things. YOUR FAMILY is doing amazing things. Everyday. Just take some time and be thankful, because in all honesty, that is 'real magic' to me.

Happy holidays to you and yours,

Michael.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Am Not A Clown



Nor, am I a stripper. Yet, a quick search for 'Magic Mike NC' will probably turn up such results. Yeah, I know it's vain to look yourself up on the internet, but, my moniker of Magic Mike (given to me by people, not by choice) is slowly becoming...well, I don't know. It's becoming something. My favorite find thus far:



"Magic Mike Outer Banks Favorite Clown"



That's not me.



Steven Soderberg is making a movie about a male stripper entitled...you guessed it...'Magic Mike'. I think I should be allowed, at least, on set. Not that I'd want to be, but, dammit clowns and strippers! There is nothing 'magical' about either one of those things! Maybe I should roll back on that. Maybe I haven't seen the right clowns. Maybe, I haven't seen the right male strippers? I probably should have seen this coming. Actually I did, and sealed it in an envelope and mailed it to myself 5 years ago...predicitions are uncanny sometimes.






In other news, I had a really great time at Pepper's Sandwich Shop in Morrisville last night. It was their second anniversary party, and they invited me to perform there. Great, people. Wonderful staff. Absolutely amazing food. I even invented some effects for the night, and well, they were met with open mouths. That could also be from the food, but, I'm going to put a check by my name as well.






Next week I'm headed to the wonderful lands of New New Jersey. I will be there all week, which includes me missing an opportunity to open for the lead singer from Man Man on Sunday (as I fly out) at the Local 506 and Hayes Carl is performing at the Cat's Cradle next week. Have fun with the awesomeness in town, Triangle...I'll be thinking fondly of you from my cold tomb of Princeton.






In other news, I'm cooking up something interesting. Magic Merch! Well shirts. I've had them designed by Monkey Chow (they look amazing by the way) and they are being printed by Adam Peele of Raleigh. This combination is not one to be missed. For more details and an early sign up for the pre-order, keep an eye out next week for the newsletter sign-up. I promise I won't bombard your mailbox with tons of drivel. Hell, I barely manage to write multiple blogs in a year, but, it's more for me to reach out to you when I'm in your area, or trying to drum up support for a show, or a cause.






Mainly, I do this because I like all of you. Wait. Scratch that. I love all of you. I think the biggest difference between me, and say some other person (magi) you may meet is that we, you and me, we connect. I give 100% of my attention to you when I do magic, and it's all about you. It always will be. Without you, I am absolutely nothing. So, you complete me, readers. All 4 of you.






Until next time,






Michael (aka Magic Mike the not clown, aka Magic Mike the not stripper)

Friday, September 30, 2011

September Thoughts


"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night"


Some dead man writing feverishly while he was alive about the madness that was going on about him. That's why I painted this. Someone so compulsed and compelled to create that nothing else has come to matter. The floating letters are the key strokes to the opening line of 'Howl', in case you were wondering.

As a magician I often times wonder what people wonder about. Sometimes I know, and sometimes I don't. People can be such complicated things sometimes, and yet, maintain a level of predictability that no one forsees. Because, somewhere along the lines of a yearning to be unique and the road to get to that place we often times they don't quite line up like the perfect stencils of our youthful art kits. Sometimes there is no substance to draw upon. Then what happens?

What I wonder about is pretty simple. Where is all of this going? By 'all of this' I don't mean this blog, or this thought. I mean life as we know it. Being a very studious and curious person by nature I'm fascinated by people. I'm inspired by my friends and the people around me. I love their stories. I love the history of where they come from, where they have been, and where they are going. I love everything around me and it feeds into me, and I give it back to you. I'm organic and I am in the moment at all times. I think that my magic is reflective of those things. If you've seen my magic, or maybe you haven't, and you want to know what I'm carrying on about I'm sure you can find at least a link or two to get you into those windows.

So with magic, as with art, you are channelling yourself, and all those pieces that make you up through a narrow little slit of your chosen form of expression. You couldn't possibly get it all through there. You'd sooner shove a killer whale up a flight of stairs than communicate everything you have to say in a lifetime's volume of work. So what you chose to say, and what you choose to do, is of the upmost importance. You only have a narrow little slit to put it into so make it good. Atop that narrow slit of expression, you only have a narrow slit of time. You have a 30 minute set. You have a one month showing. You have a one minute 'elevator pitch'. The proper timing of all of these things, when it all goes 'right', well, that's what real magic looks like.

So, Mr. Ginsberg, inspired by his friends, his current state of mind, and his current surroundings spawned an epic poem that has since spanned decades and generations...and he flowed, and continues to flow from the eyes of youth to the minds of their older selves in a way that we all 'hope' to do some day. Be it to our children, to our art, to our craft, or simply a kind gesture to a person in a time of need, or a family member, or simply being there for a friend when all seems lost or in shambles, allow yourself to flow and be in the moment.

So, when you ask me,

"I hate to (or I'm sorry to) ask, but, could you show my friends some magic?"

Don't be that way, because you are allowing me to flow.

See you around,

Michael

Friday, August 19, 2011

You're a blog. What's that all about?


Say 'hello' to your mother for me.

Sometimes I get so caught up in everything around me that I don't sit down and acknowledge all the things that are happening. Maybe in a round about sort of way, I should stop and say this...or that...or what have you.

Spent some time in Little Rock. I love Little Rock and all of it's inhabitants. It's like a family and even if I don't make it there for a year...or 6 months...doesn't matter. We never miss a beat.

Went to Chicago twice. Once I performed on a Casino boat. Once I performed at the Florshiem Mansion. I even got to eat at Graham Elliot and hang out with lots of people I work with, that I don't normally see. All in all...it was grand.

Recently had a great show at Reggie's 42nd Street Tavern in Wilmington. Met lots of great folks. Maybe some people believe. Maybe they don't. I think most everyone had fun. Drove back that night and flew to Maine.

Maine is where it's at for summer, people. I didn't expect much and I was completely blown away. Like really. Words fail the description of it. Then again, my trip, and it's utter amazingness it due to the personal company involved, lakes, boats, and spring water.

There were shows in Virigina. Shows in Raleigh. Shows, shows, shows. I love doing them, eventhough it gets quite exhausting over time. I hope y'all realize that when I do them, I try to make them new and exciting everytime...so I I can keep you coming back for more!

All that traveling truly made me realize...I love the Triangle. Love Durham. Love Raleigh. Love Chapel Hill. Coming to the conclusion that it's not the place but the people you are with and the people here...really make these places awesome.

Life is magical to be, because of you.

Love you all.

MM

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Richmond


Things I've learned about Richmond.

People there are super awesome.

Weddings with people from Virginia tend to be super epic and laced with the appropriate amount of southern charm that makes one believe that people are good at the core.

Richmond has more potholes than police, yet, both tend to be supremely prevalent.

Plastic bags and packing cushions are all over the damned place. If you are reading your google map app to try to find your venue...and you step on one. It sounds like a gunshot. This will easily make the stepper me, and the two gentlemen with the Pitbull instantly scared but simultaneously relieved and laughing in the span of 2 seconds.

I've got some old friends and some new friends in Richmond. These people are rad.

Cabins are cold, but friendships are warm.


Magic Mike

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Texts I'm Thankful For




Since the end of August, I've switched to the iPhone. One of the best decisions I've ever made and honestly, don't know how I lived without it. In the embracing any new technology, the old one has to be let go to pasture...with a cell phone this means you will never ever need it again. Not only do I have tendencies like my West Virginian Memaw (except I collect stray musicians v. stray animals) I hoard all this old technology. A simple trip to my attic and tumble over 3 to 5 old video game systems will tell you this.







I had sent all the photos to my email. I had moved all of the contacts to the new phone. It wasn't until after moving the last contact that I realized...I loved some of the text messages I received. So I figure, as an homage to the phone that was my phone for the last few years, I would honor those texts here. Some will have names, and some won't. Doesn't really matter either way, it's basically a final resting place that I can read and remember anyway, because, in two more years we will communicating telepathically and texts will have gone the way of the reel to reel at that point.







So, on to the texts:







Ryan Johnson (Guitar, American Aquarium) *Jan 9, 2009 1:45 am


"hey some guy is doing some lame ass tricks in columbia. i miss you. hahah"


Jason Kutchma (Red Collar) *Mar 20, 2009 8:21pm


"Cory sez hey" *attached picture of Cory Branan in SXSW*


David Slade (American Princes) *Jul 11, 2009 5:27pm


"Shucks...those dudes* rule. I'm def around on the 20th. If they need a place to stay, it's on."


*in reference to Red Collar's show at the White Water Tavern


David Slade (American Princes) *Sep 2, 2009 4:55pm


"Did you know that Mastadon means 'Nipple Tooth'?"


Luke Hunsicker (American Princes) *Sep 4, 2009 4:23pm


"Man I just wanted to send you some love. Really sorry I didn't get to hang with you with the rest of the guys. They said they had a good time and I'm sure it was awesome. Love you."


Matt Quinn (American Princes) *Sep 4, 7:31pm


"Even without that deck of cards, you'd still be the most magical guy i know"


Chris Malarky (The Pourhouse) *Dec 24, 2009 4:01pm


*Picture of Chris in a Rebel Pilot Mark Ekco hoodie...completely zipped up.


Todd Beene (Glossary) Apr 16, 2010 1:38am

Circus Circus in Las Vegas. Wish you were here!
*Contains picture of Mary in front of Criss Angel's store

Todd Beene (Same) May 19, 2010 7:15pm

"You are on the guest lista!"

Angela Casey (Awesome Wives Club) May 21, 2010 8:44am

"Yum Yum!" *Contains picture of a birthday cake

Cory Branan (Singer/Songwriter) May 28, 2010 11:12am

"Mornin sugar!"

Cory Branan (Same) May 30, 2010 12:57am

"Dude- everyone was talkin about you so much today. U r now an adjective (actual sentence after good song) "wow that song was mike!"

Luke Hunsicker (American Princes) Jul 30, 10:17pm

"Sydney just wet herself yes! A million times yes!"

Luke Hunsicker (American Princes) Jul 30, 10:19pm

"I love you man"

David Slade (American Princes) Aug 11, 2010 10:04pm

"Hey man, I just wanted you to know that Luke decided on Hospice today."

Todd Beene (Glossary) Aug 12, 2010 2:26am

"Mary says get here right now. White Water. Nowish."

Angela Casey (Awesome Wives Club) Aug 12, 2010 1:22pm

*picture of a bottle of Redbreast Irish Whisky

David Slade (American Princes) Aug 16, 2010 7:44pm

"Hey, I meant to say this earlier: your email to Luke was beautiful. Thank you so much. You're an incredible friend."

Aug 23, 2010

"Hey my friend. Luke passed away this morning. I'm in class right now but I'll call in a few hours."

You know...I started this post last week. I had no idea it would end like this, but, in a way it seems fitting. We don't have letters to keep anymore. Things that were once tangible are now digital, and so I'm sure we will always forget what is encompassed in these electronic vessels. After unpacking this for texts I had kept, I was chilled at the swiftness that cancer took my friend's life. That makes me remember the time I did get to spend in Little Rock with Red Collar, and the southern family at White Water that have adopted me.

I'm constantly reminded that I've surrounded myself with some pretty spectacular people. They are the best people I know, and I hope that everyone has something like this...because even months after reading that last message it hits me like a knife to the chest and you need a reminder that even in the darkest hour you can reach out with something as simple as a text message or phone call to grab a hold of the light.

Michael




Friday, February 12, 2010

Top 10 Songs About Magic (Part 2 *THE TOP 5*: With Video)


So for the exciting conclusion, and the (in my opinion) TOP 5 songs about magic are as follows:


*Please take note of the very scientific way one orders such things as 'Top 5' lists in the picture*


#5 Olivia Newton John - "Magic"




To say that I have always had a crush on ole ONJ would be a huge understatement. I grew up watching her in Grease and Xanadu as a kid. She can sing, she was Austrailian, and she was/is REALLY pretty. A woman of her time, for certain.


#4 The Cars - "Magic"




Now, you are starting to see the recurrent theme developing. Most of these songs are about magic! But more importantly, they have MAGIC right in the title. Fear not, one actually does not, and it is yet to come! But this one, was one of the first times I had ever seen magic as a kid. Rick Ocasick (sp?) walking on water at some retirement home/mardi gras party is pretty amazing, ESPECIALLY, given the nature of the times. Still love this video very very much! He even did this before Criss Angel to the delight of what appears to be one of the Fat Boys and Uncle Sam (who subsequently has a chin-stache?).


#3 Cory Branan - "Lilly"




I'd be lying if I said I didn't love this song. First time I heard it I was glamoured to say the least. Now I think with Cory having a magician friend, he can't help but relate it to yours truly (note at the time frame at 1 minute and 15 seconds into the video). I've shot the video for this in my head, and how it would play out. Hell, I've even designed the cover for this cd using this song as inspiration. We will have to see how that works out in the long run. Magic as a metaphor for a relationship is just genius, to be honest. I do love it. I hope you do too!


#2 Jason Isbell - "The Magician"




Probably the reason that this one is this high, but, not quite number one is for several reasons. Firstly I think it's the best song about a magician I've ever heard, and instead of using magic like a metaphor (like all the ones here) it actually is about a magician. It's a great description of some thoughts, and the life of, one of my kind, I guess. He really and truly nails it with this song. I always mean to record this song when I see Jason, but, sometimes I just want to kick back and truly enjoy the song. I guess I know how all those truckers feel about songs that sing about truck driving, in that 'Tell-it-brother" kind of fashion.


#1 Heart - "Magic Man"




I heart Heart. Just the way it is. This is the best and coolest song about 'magic' around. It would be hard to disagree I think with this. It was my ringback tone for a while, and after getting calls, I would pick up the phone to utter laughter because of this song. I need to turn it back on. If you corner me about it, sometime I might give you a mini-lecture about the lyric 'Com'on home, girl' and how if it was 'Com'on, Homegirl' it would make a great rap song-thingy.


So, that's it! The Top #10 Songs About Magic. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed putting it together! Let me know if you found something new, agree, or even disagree with my choices!


Until I see you at Elon...or I see you at The Local 506, I hope your day is magical.


All the best,


Michael