Monthly Archives: December 2015

Christmas

On the idea of Jesus:

Love your enemies, because love is the most powerful force in the universe. Yes, it’s okay to have enemies, because: you are going to have enemies if you truly live your life. Just love them.

Love your neighbor and OMG, Love Yourself. You are beautiful.

Water is good, there should be plenty on hand at all times. Wine is better. Bring me some water, I want to show you something….

Sacrifice for those you love. Do it without keeping a record.

Love with everything you have.

Forgive with every ion of love you can muster.

If the things you consider holy are being prostituted by pimps, politicians or preachers in the name of money or power – flip some tables and whip the guilty. With whips.

Walk. Talk. Feed. Love.

Make friends with fishermen and Magdalenes. The stories, man … the STORIES.

Heal, don’t wound.

Am I making myself clear? You don’t have to believe in Jesus to understand that the concept is a pretty clear. If you find yourself carrying a sign or a bullhorn to declare that ANY human being should be hurt or unloved: you’re wrong.

Be kind. Be Love. Be Jesus because … he’s not here right now and someone you know needs him desperately. So Be the Jesus your neighbor needs.

h

 

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Aware

If I think it, my hands do it. Often my hands do their work without me having to consciously command them. Naturally, this is from thousands of hours of rehearsal and performance. I can deliver violence, tenderness, inspiration, blunt love and delicate touches on the fragile leaves of the deck. Such is my gift.

I try to be a good steward of the gift. The gift in my hands and the gift in my mind and my mouth. I consider it a responsibility.

Tonight I’m aware of the work of my hands. They hurt … the joints are sore. My throat is raw and swollen. Along with most of my body …

This morning early (early for your humble author, anyway) I went to the local airport to entertain troops returning home for the holidays. Nearly four thousand came through and I performed for dozens of them. I watched faces come alive. I watch somber become beaming. I experienced … gratitude. They were grateful for the humor, the stories, the magic. I got to do good things for brave people.

I got the chance to help friends with an unexpected vehicular inconvenience. As a bonus, I got to listen … to (hopefully) offer verbal support and encouragement.

I helped a friend find healing and comfort. This allowed her to make art for loved ones … a path to smiles and joy.

I performed card tricks for a company that, within the past few days, has been sold. Everyone was a little nervous and unsure … should they be celebrating? My hands and my humor put the worries away. The nervousness turned into exuberance. We laughed. We did the dance. In the end, it was glorious. It was magic.

I’m tired. The ‘did a good, hard days work’ tired. I’m pleased to be exhausted from building my dreams. (Man … have my dreams changed  over the years.)

All this to say: I have gifts and I spent my day using them in benefit of the souls I met. Believe me when I say: the feeling of doing so is indescribably fulfilling.
You have gifts … and there are people who need you to share them. People who are having trouble finding their joy. Be aware of who you are … and be aware of those in need.

I am gifted, and I am a gift.

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Self Check

My art is my art, and some of it … well, all of it is intensely personal. Effects come and go in my core act, but some are anchored there. The basic structure of what I present is a celebration of the gift I’ve been given.

There’s an effect I’ve been performing for seventeen years. It was born and forged in comedy clubs in the late nineties. It was inspired by an effect of the late Johnny Paul.

In the past it has been subject to debate, scorn, and ridicule. It has been stolen (word for word) by lesser magicians trying to make a name for themselves.

It is at the core of one of my funniest true stories from the road. I’d removed it from the act on several occasions, but lay audiences keep requesting it and are sometimes disappointed when I don’t do it in a show.

This is Roadhouse.

What I want to know from you is: IN YOUR OPINION is this presentation offensive or misogynistic? I want honest answers and full disclosure, please, especially if you have seen it live more than once. I’d really like a calm, rational discussion if there is some debate.

Tell me your thoughts. Let’s discuss.

 

 

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Sensitive Material

“How do you overcome the judgement that comes with performing/being in the public eye? I often find it crippling. To the point I don’t audition for shows without friends there. As a performer you see the problem there.” ~ B.B., from “Ask Hannibal Anything Monday” on Facebook. 12/7/15

“Art is the act of taking your heart out and shining lights on it.” ~ Cannelle Ciel

I was reminded yesterday of a phrase I hadn’t heard in years: “The Call”. Most often used lately to refer to being ‘called’ into ministry. I believe it goes deeper than that. As humans, I believe we have something in our very makeup – both physically and passionately – that we are meant to do. I have a passion for music, and I can play one or two instruments with an excess of mediocrity. That is to say: I can play the notes, but I cannot make them into music. That’s okay, I am not ‘built’ to be a musician. My road goes in a different direction. Depending on your environment and personal drive, it may be easy or extremely difficult to recognize and then act on your own road.

As an artist, you are compelled (whether you believe it to be internal or divine) to share your heart. You train and you practice and you rehearse for thousands of hours in order to present your soul and vision … even if the presentation is but a few minutes. In that few minutes you will unleash the power that you decide to let go of. That’s right: you don’t have to give it all away: sometimes that’s just far to much to ask. You and you alone decide just how much of your heart to show.

Understand that the throngs you put out into the world may not only painful to share, but painful to hear. You are wielding one of the most powerful weapons ever. You can choose to use it as a sword or a plowshare. In a very real way it is quite like ‘coming out’ to people you love: some will have no problem, some will need some time to accept, some will (sadly) react negatively. You may even lose them. But understand this very clearly: That is not your problem, it is theirs. Your art is as real and vital to you as your lungs, your brain … your heart.

This is not a lark. This is life. You have this gift, this vital drive for a reason. There is something or someone that needs to see your heart in order to survive. (This is my faith.)

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking me how to overcome your own fear of showing who you are to strangers, critics and family who are going to judge your talent and your sincerity. You have friends and family that see your art as something you do in your free time, instead of the very blood in your spirit.
My answer is this: First, do what you do to the best of your ability. You owe it to the gift and to the audience to give your very utmost.
Second: work as much as you possibly can. The more serious you are about your craft, the more you show the world how vital it actually is. The more you show your heart, the easier it will be and you’ll begin to be able to share even more. Be prepared to stretch your comfort level a little more each time. Be true.

In summary: it’s in  your heart and hands to do because it is important. Not only to you, but to art itself and to the souls you will touch. You have been called into your craft. Believe in its importance, have faith that you are the temporary caretaker of the art and you have responsibility for it. Grasp this for yourself and you will find it easier to communicate to others. As a bonus, when you firmly believe in the foundation of your art, the words of the critics won’t damage you nearly as much.

I await your feedback …

h

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Remember Who I Am.

I’m in therapy. Twice a week. I worked hard to find the right person and honestly? It was difficult. It was hell, at times. The Dr. tells me that it’s healthy progress to occasionally declare one’s positive mental assets. To brag, as it were.

I feel the need to do so. Click elsewhere if listening to bragging isn’t your bag, or if lightly colored language upsets you. I promise to the rest of you: I have good intentions and this will end with a gift for you.

My name is Hannibal. I am not my pain, I am not my depression. I’m not the voice in my brain that tells me I’m worthless. (Let’s label him “Randy”. Get it?) I’m the best I am…. I am the BEST I am at what I do. What do I do? I use my unique personality, skills, and experiences to save people. I’m the only me there is.

I’m Hannibal, or Mr. h if it pleases you. I’m Huckleberry to my best friend. #cardmonkey, magicartist, #gypsyboots …

Lately, I’ve forgotten the man that I am. Part of that was illness and subsequent medication, some of it was the ending of my marriage and my emptying nest …. and a big part was just me panicing. I forgot how important my heart is to me and subsequently to the outside world. I forgot … I forgot the face of my father.

I’m a great friend, when I remember to get over myself. To my dear friends that I’ve let down lately: I see the problem and I’m working on me. The process is slow, but both myself and my therapist are seeing progress. I’m going to stumble. I’m going to flat out fail occasionally. Please … it won’t last long and I will keep getting up.

Here I am.

Magician. I am strong and strong willed. I champion and defend love. I’m human, but I’m experienced, practiced and aware. I will overcome the darkness. I will roar and I will crow. I remember my damn name, now.

You can, too. You can breathe and live and you can save lives and change the world. Decide. Put your feet down and stand the hell up. Do what needs to be done. Breathe.

I love You, and I pray there’s Love where you are.

h

 

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