Tag Archives: artist

Jokers and Vets

This definitely falls into the ‘I have amazing friends who do magical things’ category.

My friend Donna loves to skydive. She’s a disabled vet who gets her kicks from flying … and teaching others how to fly.  More about this in a second.

When she dives, she carries a playing card with her; a joker with a sticker on the back with instructions on how to contact her. This is the sticker: 19894365_10154714318117113_1161213817_n.png

She releases it during the drop and waits to see if and where they are found. Her team mate drops Aces of Spades. The one time he didn’t he had a malfunction and had to go to his reserve, so now he doesn’t forget.

Donna loves and lives her passion, but there’s more: she reaches out to other disabled vets and teaches them skydiving, too. This naturally poses challenges to some. Double and triple amputees have trained with Donna in order to learn flying. The balance, the alterations to the equipment, everything has to be taken into serious consideration. Worth it? Donna says, “Flying like that is like driving down the road with a trailer that has busted up wheels and you can’t control it. But his face when he first flew stable…

Yeah, absolutely worth it. Donna brings her passion and infuses her students with the joy she gets from diving. Just chatting with her about this gave me chills. What a gift to share with someone. Literally lifting hearts and overcoming adversity.

To be honest, I have written and re-written this blog several times now, and i cannot adequately express how this story makes me feel. With all the separation, pain, and diversity infecting the world right now, here’s a woman who gives great gifts, both seen and unseen, someone who sacrifices time in order to help bridge the gap for veterans. I’m humbled. The best i can offer is to direct your attention to this amazing woman and her team.

And she drops Jokers. I’ve saved up a bunch to send to her, since full decks of jokers can be expensive, and I’d like to call on my fellow magicians and cardmonkeys to do likewise. Save up your jokers and send them directly to: BD Factory Team, 15211 Preston Pass Dr, San Antonio TX 78247

Let’s overwhelm her with gratitude and Jokers.

In her own words, which are far better than mine, here is her more complete story:
Donna Bachler.

Amazing friends, heroes. Doing their part to better the outlook of Veterans, and making the world better daily.

What can you do? Show me …

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Summer Camp

I do one 'kids show' a year, and I wish I could do many more, as long as they were as gratifying, as heartwarming, as the Charlotte MDA Summer Camp. Every summer for the past 11 years, I've been invited to entertain the campers and the counselors one evening, and every time I leave, I'm struck by how lucky I am to have been there.

The children and youth that attend have various forms of muscular dystrophy, but their enthusiasm is unmatched in any audience I've had the privilege to work for. Yes, it's your typical summer camp. There are multiple activities and campfires and sing alongs and home sickness and stomach bugs and everything that makes camp a silver memory that many of us treasure for our lifetime. It's so much more than that, though. As you might imagine, working with the individual challenges of each camper is a daunting endeavor, yet it's done with humor, energy, and style. So much grace …

And there's love. Man, the love in that place is so thick you could spread it on toast. The staff and the counselors bring their best for the campers and everyone looks out for everyone else. Maybe I'm gushing a little, but I'm sincere.

The past three years I arrived wrapped up in my own troubles, and they vanish within the first few minutes. I leave invigorated, happy, and hopeful. And moved. Lifted so high, emotionally.

I'm not …. writing about this to brag, or promote my image. I want to impress on you the value of giving of your ability. Taking your talent, your time, your vitality and using it to enrich the lives of those who need it and see so little in their world. It could be anything, any cause, listen to your heart. Believe this: it's been worth any 'sacrifice' I've had to make in order to be there.

The love you need is where you plant it.

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Why Patreon?

Hannibal is Creating Stories from the Road

Hello, friends and loyal readers!

Here’s what’s going on in the Hannibal world: a more intense focus on work and art, eschewing a social life for awhile, so that I can get my business and creativity back up to acceptable levels. My heart is for the performance and in helping other artists get their road underway. I cannot accomplish the second until the first is taken care of. (Secure your own mask before assisting others with theirs)

The past two years have taken a toll on me emotionally and financially, but, thanks to love and time, I am recovering and getting myself and my art back together. To these ends, I have launched a Patreon account. Rather than just crowd-sourcing or funding, Patreon allows artists and fans to connect on a more personal level. Supporters become investors in the very personal work of the artist in affordable amounts. There are two main reasons i launched:

  1. Divorce. Lawyer fees, alimony, and a thousand other little things that added up to a money pit. I am doing fine in my business (and improving all the time) but the added expenses have crippled me. Put plainly, I need help in recovering from this disaster.
  2.  Expanding the art. I am working on writing projects, podcasts, and videos to both entertain my audience and to encourage other artists. There will be programs on finding success in the entertainment industry, stories from nearly three decades of life in showbiz, and learning to love yourself enough to truly love others. Finding small joys to enrich your life. I’m not going to the Tony Robbins level of rah-rah, but I do have some experience that will be valuable.

The investors in my Patreon account (or Patrons) will give me the opportunity to fill the debt, have time to write and record, and take my show to more public venues. In return, my investors will get early access to media and projects, and exclusive rewards for your support. I’ve set goals on the account itself (when I reach 50 Patrons, everyone gets an e-book sample of my upcoming book “Across the Table”) and these will continue as we move forward.

Your investment? You can pledge as little as one US dollar a month, and that will let me know that you are there rooting for me. I’m asking for a minimum of five dollars per month, as this will help me with the goal of whittling down the debt, producing a podcast and public shows, and getting published by the end of 2017. There are substantial rewards for deeper investment, and those are all explained on the account.

The account may be located at patreon.com/MagicArtist

Thank you for reading this far, and thank you for your consistent support and love.

best,

h

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June 25, 2017

Tampa, Florida

Masters of Magic show at the Magic Emporium

Afterward, as I’m chatting with people and packing up, a lady approached. She took my hand and shook it, then pulled me close for a hug. As she did so, she said nothing, but she held my gaze and the expression in her eyes was so meaningful that I felt tears welling up in my own. You could feel it through the room, and all around us, for a moment, everyone was quiet.

My words have reached deep inside some people, and sometimes they just want to let me know. Some people can say more with their eyes than their mouths. And I can listen with my eyes –often better than with my ears.

I hope she felt my mutual gratitude.

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Joy in the Moment

There are days I wake up and feel like Sisyphus.

Do you know who I mean?

Sisyphus was an ancient mythological figure punished for all eternity to roll a boulder up a steep mountain, only to have it roll back down to the bottom when he reaches the top. Albert Camus called him an absurd hero; he struggled perpetually and without any hope of success.

That describes me on some days. Broken promises, lack of perceived ‘progress’, low bank accounts and good old self doubt are my boulder. I struggle daily to push it forward and upward, only to watch it roll back at day’s end. In the reality of my profession, the boulder is mine. I am aided and supported by an amazing set of friends and family, but the responsibility is on my shoulders. Sometimes this burden is crushing.

When times like this occur, I stop and breathe. I count my blessings and I look at my situation from a different attitude. Picture Sisyphus smiling.

The idea is so simple: here is Sisyphus, the wretch, interminably pushing his boulder up the hill, watching it roll down and repeating.  In my mind he was always completely defeated, hopeless.  And then, as I read Camus’ book on the ‘Myth of Sisyphus’, everything about the picture changed.  Imagining Sisyphus smiling, embracing his situation as his reality, not wanting a different past or a different future, but accepting the present, the scene totally rearranged itself.  He was no longer hopeless, but happy in his acceptance of the situation.

He must, in order to accept the absurdity of the situation, adjust his attitude and fulfill what has been put before him.

On the road to your dreams, there are certain absurd truths you must acknowledge. You must work as hard and as tirelessly as you can. There is no guarantee of success, but the burden and the struggle contain a successful measure of their own. To simply be doing what you love, and to master it, may be enough. Our ultimate fate is all the same, so why be miserable? Live your passion in the task at hand, and find satisfaction in your minor successes and your crushing failures.

Like Sisyphus, some see no other option than the mountain and the rock. Burdened with obligations, lack of control, hopelessness, low expectations and no alternatives, they continue to toil in dead-end jobs and uninspiring environments.

You, however, can see opportunity in obligation, freedom in failure and hope in hopelessness. You are unique, as are your burdens. Keep shouldering on, and be thankful for the journey.

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My Boss …

The following was posted on Facebook by Randy Baker, who is my boss/ client/ friend/ leader along with Kelli Willoughby for the USO of North Carolina. I have been super11899758_10103428198369907_2915072052119474779_n privileged to be a part of the Warrior Reset program for the past couple of years. Kelli and Randy have several extraordinary programs they created for the USO.

Her words moved me, so I’m sharing them (with her permission) with You.

“This will probably be the longest post I ever make but I have had something heavy weighing on my heart for the past few days and I felt compelled to share.

On Sunday morning I was having breakfast at the Waffle House off Western Blvd. in Jacksonville. As I sat there with my friends, recovering after a night out, I started to sit quietly and observe the very young Marines interacting all around us without a care in the world, almost like boys pretending to be men. Even with vulgar sense of humors, they still had innocence about them.

I started to feel really emotional as I compared them to my Marines and couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized that it was because I had never seen my Marines so care free and it actually broke my heart. Of course I have seen them be silly and they are some of the funniest people I know but I have known them all through war, which stole their innocence and that thought caused me physical pain. These are men and women who I love dearly and they don’t get to have that innocence back. They are warriors and they are scarred. Then seeing these young Marines who have no idea that the places they go will change them and I wanted to protect them.

I remembered the infantry Soldiers I met when they first arrived at KAF before they went to their FOB in Afghanistan. So excited and full of life and motivation and so innocent and how their eyes and souls changed when they came back to our base on their way home from R&R. I wish I could give that innocence back to them.

I was then comforted by a song from one of my lost Marines and immediately felt a call to action. No doubt from Jimmy who made me promise to never forget his friends and to always of his Marines.

This week, I have spent my days with 40 service members, some career soldiers but most of them young Marines.Through these thoughts that side swiped me on Sunday morning and through my involvement in our Warrior Reset program, I find an even more renewed passion for caring for our troops. I want to continue honoring the amazing Warriors who have turned into family for me and the sacrifices they’ve made on my behalf and to give new skills to our military’s future leaders so that they can cope with the inevitable challenges they will face. Maybe just maybe, I can help them preserve a little bit of their innocence just a little bit longer than they would have.

Thank you for everyone’s support of my love and passion for caring for our military and for the military itself. I consider myself so blessed to be a part of this amazing family and even more fortunate to be able to support my peers through my work with USO of North Carolina. This is my life. This is why I was put on this planet.”

Courage, Heart, Determination, Action.
She speaks and  on it so beautifully.

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In the Details

Ya know what grinds my gears? Hearing a magician (I could expand this to other craftspeople, but it’s magicians that really get up under my skin with this) say about their mediocre routine or act: “Well, it plays.” … and they genuinely believe that “It plays” is good enough to put it in front of an audience. Never mind if the audience pays or not, to settle for mediocrity in your craft is (to me) unacceptable.

Excellence and the road toward it are worth the effort. Worth the pain, worth the struggle, worth the sweat equity put into it. Please … my brothers and sisters in the craft of magic: stop settling for mediocrity. Raise the bar for the sake of your own craft, your own heart.

My act “LIAR!” is a beautiful, moving piece of my heart that I crafted over many years. I’m very proud of it and I continue to hone it. I want to perform it in semi-permanent venues. Two weeks in one city, a month in another …
It’s not the best it can be. It’s quite a ways away, and I’ve been pushing back on the improving of it by telling myself: “It plays.” I could do it for the rest of my life as is and my audience would be enthralled and moved and i could legitimately call it art, but in my heart, I’m unsatisfied. It says all the things I want it to say. It has drama and comedy and nostalgia in just the right amounts (almost, still tweaking). It could say it more clearly, if I’m honest with myself.

There’s a routine that needs to be cut. It simply and honestly does not fit with the rest of the texture and path of the rest. It’s one of the oldest routines, I love performing it, it gets requested often, and it’s a sure thing. I could close with it and get a standing ovation every night.

It has to go.

I’ve created something I like better, and it isn’t jarring and off filter like the other routine. I’m sorry to those of you who love it: “Roadhouse” (“My Favorite Trick”, “That Thing with the Boobs”) is gone. And so I continue to strive toward excellence and pull away from the mediocre.

I need a director. I need to put my script into the hands of someone with great directing talent and see what they interpret. Someone who will get what I’m trying to do, and direct me, improving the experience for those who watch.

I need either original music or someone to ‘score’ the act. Add to the impact, add depth to the feeling.

I need a lighting designer. I have and idea for a window … but there needs to be subtle light changes as the show evolves.

And so on. The road stretches out and I will continue to polish and display my heart to the best of my ability. Meantime, I am loving the process and the souls I meet.

Happiness is the Road.

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