After running my solo show at Zombie Joe’s in North Hollywood, I’m so thrilled to be bringing the “Deemer & Jones: Cousins Forever” show back to the Magic Castle, hoping Felix Jones and I continue to drive standing ovations! It’s a very fun show — reach out if you’d like tickets! Nov 3-6, 2022, in the Peller Theatre.
I may have told you this already, but I give away a free full magic show — virtual or real-life — to a worthwhile charity, or charitable organization, every month. No strings attached, and no hidden costs. Email Diane for details.
Charities can do anything they want with it:
– Raffle off a free award-winning 45-minute show, as seen on Penn & Teller
– Include mind-blowing magic & mind-reading at their fundraiser
– Host a unique event for office staff
– Join me at the Magic Castle
“The show you put on was incredible.
It made the soiree so special and fun!”
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Why? Sure, it’s a little bit marketing, and there’s some (minimal) tax benefits, but mostly, like all donations, it just feels right.
Who’s eligible? I’m not a stickler for 501c3 designation. From small local cancer support groups to kindergarten aid funds to international organizations, I’ve been happy to donate a free show to any worthwhile cause.
As of this moment, I only have a couple months of free charity shows booked — so if you know of a worthwhile charity, or are on the board of one, let them know!! (Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org can send you my electronic press kit, with more information about the show.)
As a Product Manager at Apple, Beats, CBS, and About.com, I’ve worked on building some INSANELY COOL products with Agile Methodologies and Scrum, including Beats Music (now Apple Music) and GameSpot.com (still GameSpot.com).
It might surprise you, but I use those same tools when crafting magic & mentalism.
In fact, using a Product Manager’s toolbox, in the last three years, I’ve….
- Won “Close-Up Magician of the Year” from the world’s largest magician’s association. It was a huge honor.
- Appeared on the legendary TV show “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” — several times, if you count repeats.
- Headlined at the world-famous Magic Castle for a dazzling 43 shows, performing alongside some of the world’s best magicians.
- Drawn rave reviews for hundreds of virtual magic shows at tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Salesforce.
All of it, using Agile Methodology & Scrum.
Here’s how I did it:
1. I Work With Stakeholders to Maintain a Product Roadmap
On tech products, I’m typically working with multiple roadmaps that I’ve developed with myriad stakeholders, including the CEO, the CMO, sales, and external partners.
In magic, I also have stakeholders.
- Clients, like managers at Google, want their groups to see a mind-blowing magic show, experience a renewed team spirit, and tell everyone how amazing their manager is for booking the event.
- Producers from America’s Got Talent and Penn & Teller: Fool Us want to see memorable new personalities, and surprising new tricks.
- As the primary stakeholder, I want to become more skilled, perform more shows, win more awards.
So I track stakeholder needs, balance out estimated costs (time or money) and potential benefits (financial, skill-building, or brand-awareness), and develop a fluid, living product roadmap, prioritizing a limited number of features and enhancements.
This month, the roadmap is simple: “1. Create an all-new 45-minute virtual show” and “2. Create a new 18-minute show for the Magic Castle.” Everything that doesn’t fit into one of these epics goes right onto the backlog. Wait – did I mention the backlog?
2. I Meticulously Manage a Jira Backlog
Recently I performed at Atlassian’s Australia offices, blowing their (virtual) minds, and mentioned, “I use Jira for my magic.” It was met with painful, awkward, dead silence. My stomach tensed as I realized: they thought I was feigning some unlikely familiarity with their software. And yet, it wasn’t a lie… their software is essential.
Like any tech product lead, I’ve got hundreds of things I’d love to do. Some of it is practically identical to “Implement new flow to increase customer retention” or “Add this new feature” – it’s “modify ending of trick to increase shock” (I’m endlessly using the SDLC on my magic) or “learn some insane new sleight.”
Tickets are tied to epics like “Marketing”, “Virtual Show”, and “Amazing Memory Test.” (By the way, ask me to do an amazing memory demonstration sometime. It’s mind-blowing. I also train teams to enhance their memories to mind-boggling extents!!)
My magic backlog isn’t just for what’s critical – it’s amazing for everything that’s less than timely. You know, like that one high-cost, low-reward feature that Doug – and only Doug – has been asking for? My magic backlog has those too. (One example, at the very bottom of the list: “Learn to throw playing cards, to pierce a watermelon.”)
3. I Work in Week-Long Sprints, with Sprint Planning
Every Friday night, I decide what magic I’m going to focus on in the next week. I estimate how much time I’ll have that week to work on the hobby, and use the roadmap, the backlog, and the time estimates, and literally plan a sprint.
As a magician, I get daily emails about new tricks or courses or books. There are endless things to buy or learn. Amazing new trick? I add it to the backlog for a future sprint.
In tech, sprints allow devs to stay sane, and projects to be fluid and agile. It’s the same for a magician.
I’ve always love performing at the Magic Castle, whether it’s in one of the impromptu showrooms, or on the schedule with the award-winning Close-Up Magic “comedy Conspiracy theorist” show. But this week set a new record for fun at the Magic Castle: Felix Jones & my two-man show in the Castle’s world-famous Peller Theatre, where they pair together award-winning magicians for extraordinary shows.
This one was an absolute BLAST! We had a blast, and so did the audiences. By the end of the run, people were driving four hours just to see the show, and strangers were queueing for an hour to get in! It was fantastic!!!
We’re definitely looking forward to performing the show again, and while nothing’s been signed, you should expect to see it coming back to the Magic Castle this fall or winter!!
Working closely with one of my favorite West Coast magicians, I’ve co-written a fantastic new magic & mentalism show that’s debuting at the Magic Castle’s Peller Theater, headlining from June 30th 2022 to July 3rd 2022, with three shows a night. It’s oddball, fun, and — according to preview audiences — pretty darn amazing.
Starring Swinging ’60s Mentalist Felix Jones and myself, this run will definitely sell out — so book those tickets in advance! Let me know if you’re looking for an invitation via the contact form in the site menu!!!
I’m still in shock, but…
The International Brotherhood of Magicians — the world’s largest association for professional and amateur magicians, with 15,000 members in 88 countries — held their annual awards. I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I was voted Close-Up Magician of the Year!!
This is beyond exciting… It’s like winning an Owl-Level Oscar, a Wizarding Webby, a Peabody of Prestidigitation! I’m now an internationally-award-winning magician.
It’s been an amazing year for virtual magic shows, including headlining at the Magic Castle, performing at Monday Night Magic in New York, and top secret news. But on Friday afternoon I learned something even more astounding.
The International Brotherhood of Magicians — the world’s largest organization of professional and amateur magicians, with 15,000 members in 88 countries — announced the finalists for 2021’s “Close-Up Magician of the Year.” This is an award Shin Lim won in both 2015 and 2011. There are only three names on the list. And one of them, taking my breath away, is mine.
The winner will be announced on July 9th, so keep those fingers crossed!!
I was so thrilled to discover I’d beaten out legendary actress Rita Moreno for the cover feature in the Santa Fe New Mexican’s weekly Pasatiempo arts section. It included a long preview of my spotlight performances at the Currents New Media festival.
“Entertaining, astounding, and all too timely!”
Santa Fe New Mexican
Was exciting to perform in Santa Fe — and to see so many old friends and new strangers in the audience. I can’t wait to be back!