Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

My warmest wishes to all my clients, friends, family, and acquaintances for a joyous, peaceful, and warm Holy-Day tomorrow.

A magical merry Christmas to all!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Encouragement Interview

I just found out I was featured in an interview on the #1 encouragement blog, by encouragement speaker, Derrick Hayes.  You can see it HERE.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

TV Spot for Peoria Public Library

Here's the interview I did recently (airing December 5 on Comcast in Peoria) with Trisha Noack for the Peoria Public Library.  Talking about magic, my new book, and my appearance at the Homegrown Holiday Authors' Fair on December 9.

More Schedule Updates

Just a quick note that I won't be at Cherry Street in Galesburg for the next two Saturdays, (December 1 and 8) as I'm working private holiday events those nights.  I will be returning on December 15 for my regular schedule, 7:00 to 9:30 PM.

I will be at Tyroni's in Bartonville this coming Wednesday, December 5, from 5:00 to 7:30 PM, however, so stop by if you can.  (It's a great break from Christmas shopping!)

Also a reminder that I'll be taking part in the authors' fair at the North Branch Peoria Public Library on Sunday, December 9 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.  I'm scheduled to speak there at 3:00 PM, so please tell all your friends, and stop by if you can.  A portion of all book sales go to benefit Friends of the Library.

And if you're one of the lucky people who are hiring me to perform at a holiday event, Ill see you soon! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Upcoming Events and Appearances

A few announcements on my upcoming events.  I just taped a Cable TV interview for the Peoria Public Library which will air locally on Comcast on December 5, and if you're not in Peoria (or you just can't wait), it will also be posted on the Library's YouTube Channel a few days before that.  I talked about my new book, A Call to Magic, and several of my other activities.

One of the events we discussed on the interview is the Peoria Public Library author's fair, which I'll be presenting at, and taking part in a book signing, on December 9 at the North Branch Peoria Public Library.  A portion of the sale of each book sold goes to support the Friends of the Library.

On January 19, I'll be appearing in the 2nd annual presentation of my ART of Magic, one-man theatre show at Cherry Street Restaurant and Bar in Galesburg.  Last year's show was pretty much sold out, so don't wait to get tickets if you're planning to attend.  Give the gift of magic this Holiday Season:  show tickets make a great, unique Christmas present!

Finally, I'll also be conducting a book signing at I Know You Like a Book in Peoria Heights from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on Saturday, January 26.

I'll be talking about each of these events and providing more details as they get closer.  If you have questions, feel free to get in touch!

Parlin Library Magic

Here are a few photos of me having fun performing magic last week at Family Night at Parlin Ingersoll Library here in Canton:

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we approach Thanksgiving tomorrow, I'm reminded of the many blessings in my life.  My loving and devoted wife, Kathi; my many friends; my family; and my clients and customers who enable me to continue pursuing the life that I love, doing what I enjoy most.

Thanks to all of you who bring the real magic into my life in so many, many ways.  I'm simply overwhelmed with gratitude and humility by your contributions to my life.

Have a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Hey, if you're out and about, or just looking for some good food and something to do this evening, be sure to stop by Tyroni's Italian Cafe in Bartonville.  It's my monthly appearance there. Great Italian food, relaxed atmosphere, and my outstanding close up magic! A good time guaranteed!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tricks AND Treats!

Yes, that's right, since I'm not working tonight, the little munchkins that come to our house for trick-or-treating, will get not one, but both!  If you live in Canton and have kids, stop by! Magic and chocolate! Who could top that?

Happy National Magic Day!

Yes, today, Halloween, October 31, is also National Magic Day. I just got back from my appearance this morning on the morning news program on WEEK-TV 25, a little before 6:00 AM this morning.  (I don't know how those news folks get up so incredibly early every day.)

On the show, in addition to my interview, (and plugging my new book, A Call to Magic) they also featured my photo/slide for ArtsPartners' All About the Arts campaign for National Arts and Humanities Month.  I was involved with putting the campaign together, and part of it involved these artistic photographic slides, each one featuring a different artist or arts supporter as an "ArtsPartner".  They've been running a different slide each day this month, both on the news programs on WEEK-TV, as well as on WTVP-TV 47.

So keep your eyes peeled the rest of the day on those stations for my slide, since it should be featured throughout the day today.  And if you'd like to see the rest of the slides (most of which are absolutely fabulous!) go to:  And if you haven't done so yet, be sure to "Like" ArtsPartners on Facebook. (And as long as you're there, make sure you've "Liked" my Fan Page as well!)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In the News...

A quick update of my media appearances:  this Thursday evening (October 25) at 7:00 PM, I'll be the featured guest on the Uvisualize blogtalk radio program to promote my new book, A Call to Magic.  And Next Wednesday the 31st (it's both Halloween and National Magic Day), I'll be a guest on the morning news program on WEEK-TV 25, probably sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 AM.  That same day, both WEEK and WTVP-TV 47 will be featuring my photo slide for ArtsPartners' All About the Arts campaign, as their featured ArtsPartner of the Day, rounding out the campaign for National Arts and Humanities month.  Here's my arts slide.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Event Trends

Here's an interesting article I just found on the latest trends in business events: 4 Event Trends You Need to Know About. I found the part about content versus experience interesting, especially in light of making entertainment a key part of events.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Looking For a Few Voracious Readers...

...or at least some book lovers.  If you love to read, if you enjoy learning about self improvement, personal development, and expanding your potential and your horizons with a more inspired approach to life, I could use your help.  And I think you'll truly enjoy it.

I need at least 5 or 6 more reviews on Amazon for my new book, A Call to Magic, before the official launch two weeks from now.  The Kindle version is on a special $0.99 download (and no, you don't need a Kindle to read it) from now until right before the launch.  The paperback version is about 246 pages, just to give you an idea of the length.

If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, please feel free to download the book, have a look, and give a review on Amazon.  (To review, just go to my product page and scroll down to "Customer Reviews".)  I'd love to hear any feedback that you have.  Thanks for your support!  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Arts Alive in Central Illinois

Doug and Eileen LeunigLast night I attended the annual meeting of ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, and I'm thrilled to announce that my good friends, Doug and Eileen Leunig were named 2012 ArtsPartners of the Year.  Most recently I've been working on an arts marketing committee with the Leunigs, along with Tracey Frugoli, Craig Stocks, Kathy Chitwood, and Suzette Boulais of ArtsPartners, helping to promote events in the Peoria area during National Arts and Humanities month in October.

One of the main projects of the campaign has been a series of images of local artists and arts enthusiasts which are airing daily this month on both WEEK-TV and WTVP-TV and which you can see HERE.

My slide, from a photo by Craig Stocks, was also featured at the meeting last night, and another picture of me appeared in the ArtsPartners annual report booklet, for my Marketing and PR for Creative Professionals seminar that I conducted at the Peoria Art Guild earlier this year.

I'm really inspired and grateful to be a part of the thriving arts community in central Illinois.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's Live on Amazon

Both the paperback version and the Kindle version of my new book, A Call to Magic, are now live on Amazon and ready for purchase.  The Kindle version is temporarily priced at a special $0.99 until my official launch a couple weeks from now.  I'm hoping to get a few reviews on Amazon before the launch.

Thanks so much to everyone for your encouragement.  I can hardly believe it's finally coming together.

Kindle Book

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Yes, the paperback is now available on Amazon:

The Kindle version will also be ready soon, and I'll be planning a special free promotion for anyone who'd like to download, read it, and give me a review on Amazon.

Friday, September 28, 2012

For the Beer Drinkers Among You

If you've been following me here for long, you know I try to share any resources I find that are useful for anyone planning special events. Well here's a fun one I just came across for anyone who's planning a party for a beer drinking crowd. It's a handy online application that calculates how much beer you should purchase for a party based on the number of people and how much each of the people are likely to drink.Just in time for your holiday party planning!!!  Just click on the link below.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Holiday Entertainment Article

I just discovered that my article on How To Use Entertainment to Make Your Holiday Party a Smashing Success is currently ranking number 3 on Google for the search term "Holiday Party Entertainment".  Not bad, eh?  Of course I have been helping companies and other groups make holiday parties unforgettably fun and entertaining for over 25 years.  (OK, it's actually considerably more than that, but I'm starting to give away my age here!)  If you haven't read the article yet, it has some great tips for planning entertainment for your party.

Anyway, the holidays will be upon us all too soon, and it looks like yet another of those "hot dates" in December is about to fill up.  If you need entertainment, don't wait too long.

On the publishing front, my book, A Call to Magic: the Artful Science of Transforming Self and World, is in the final formatting for the paperback and Kindle versions, and I should have news of a release date sometime soon.  Stay tuned!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Family-Friendly Meetings

Here's something that will be of interest to my corporate and meeting planning clients.  It's an article I just found that notes a rise in popularity of "family-friendly" corporate meetings.  According to the article, many companies are seeing the benefits of holding meetings that include activities and events for employees' families.  They can be a strong factor in employee job satisfaction,company loyalty, and productivity.  Here's the article:  The Rise of the Family-Friendly Meeting.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Magical Book Update: A Call to Magic

This week I received the Foreword for my book from my friend and colleague, Dr. George Catlin.  George is a psychologist with a Ph.D. and author of (among other books) The Way to Happiness.  I'm also really excited that after reading my book George came up with a much better title for it, which I'm going to use.  The new title is:  A Call to Magic: the Artful Science of Transforming Self and World.

With the Foreword from George in place, the final formatting is getting wrapped up right now, and I'm doing the final photo shoot for the cover this weekend.

The book should be ready for purchase sometime in September!!!  Yay!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Omigosh! Look at the Time!

I know, you wouldn't think anyone would be thinking ahead to the Holidays yet.  But some of my "hot weekend dates" in December have booked up already.  So if you're planning to hold events during the holiday season and need help with great entertainment, it's definitely not too soon to be getting in touch.

I have some great resources on my website too, that are geared to help you make planning your event much easier.  And even if you're not looking for entertainment right now, I'm also available for free event consulting to help with ideas and advice on making your event go smoothly.  Feel free to get in touch!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book Update and Working with Artists

A quick update on my book:  we're just wrapping up the editing, and in the process of doing photo shoots for the cover design.  I'm really excited to be working with artist and photographer Tracey Frugoli.  With a background as an award winning artist and painter, Tracey has a terrific eye for color, composition, and balance, and I'm really enjoying the creative process of working with her on my photos.  You can see some of her paintings HERE, and her photography HERE.

On a related topic, I'm also really excited to be working with Tracey Frugoli, photographer Craig Stocks (see my blog post from May 21), and a handful of other highly talented artists and arts enthusiasts creating a special marketing campaign for local arts events during National Arts and Humanities Month in October.  Tracey and Craig have been spearheading a truly amazing project featuring a series of artistic photos of local artists and supporters of the arts that will appear on television and other media during October.  Stay tuned for more details as it gets closer.

With Tracey's help, the cover photography and design on my book should be pretty cool.  I won't give it away just yet, but in the meantime, here's a little teaser:  at the end of our first photo session, Tracey wanted to take a few simple headshots of me just for fun.  Here's her favorite:

Mitch Headshot

Friday, August 3, 2012

World Class Experience

I'm always inspired watching the Olympic athletes exhibit the incredible degree of peak performance they've worked so hard to achieve.  As many of you know, I teach Judo, and when I was younger, was fortunate enough to train with many of our nation's top Judo players at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  Ever since my teen years, peak performance of all kinds has held a deep fascination for me.  It's much akin to magic, in that those who go far beyond the norm achieve seemingly impossible results.

How is this possible?  As I discuss in my book, peak performance, as well as self actualization, both come quite often from surprising sources.  Yes, hard work and determination most definitely play a huge part.  But paradoxically, true achievement often comes in those moments where we simply allow ourselves to become completely immersed in the moment.

Rather than trying harder to be more, to do more, a certain surrender also comes into play.  Surrender to the experience of the moment:  body and mind merge into a single, highly focused field of experience, a one-pointed, yet relaxed level of heightened awareness.  This, the 'Magical Moment' experience, is often where we transcend our limitations and go beyond mere 'trying'.

The 'in the zone' experience that many athletes describe is one form of what Abraham Maslow described as a "peak experience", and they are common to those who are peak performers in all fields of human endeavor.  In the words of that great philosopher Jedi, "Do.  Or do not.  There is no 'try'."

And that's the real magic of achievement.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Magic of Perceptions and Beliefs

Another topic I address in my upcoming book is the fact that our perceptions of the world are always inaccurate.  As a performing magician, I experience this regularly, and it is in fact the reason that I can accomplish what I do as a 'weaver of wonders'.  Unfortunately we tend to forget that our perceptions are faulty, we then base our beliefs about the world and how it works on those perceptions, and then we more often than not staunchly defend those beliefs as though they were the ultimate truth about the world, even though nothing could be further from the 'truth'.

And therein lies the source of all our unhappiness.

In my book I quote a bumper sticker I once saw:  "If you can't change your mind, are you sure you still have one?"  What if instead of thinking we "know" what is true, we instead went through life in a state of open-minded curiosity?  This attitude is the foundation of all true creativity.  And it's the secret to living our lives as the magical, creative beings we were always meant to be.

When life is a continual dance of discovery, it's tough to get bogged down in thinking there's something "wrong" with the way things are, and therefore in resisting them and making ourselves miserable.  And ironically, it's our open-mindedness that also allows us to respond more capably to challenges when they do arise and to resolve them more effortlessly.

So the next time you're tempted to think you know better than someone else, stop to remind yourself that it's really nothing more than a belief based on your necessarily limited perceptions of the situation, and see how that shift in perspective serves you to live more peacefully and joyfully.  You might just surprise yourself with some real magic!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Richard Wayne Clark: 1944—2012

My wife, Kathi, and I unexpectedly lost a good friend this past week—our neighbor and creative co-conspirator, Wayne Clark.  Wayne lived cattycorner across the street from us, and we met several years ago when I called him about a plumbing problem we were having.  Wayne ran his own plumbing and heating business, but to call him just a plumber would be a serious misrepresentation.  Wayne was a creative artist at all that he did, and a true intellectual in his own right.  He brought ingenuity and artistry to even the most mundane of activities.  After completing that first plumbing job for us, when he discovered that I was a magician, he refused to take payment for the job, insisting instead that I barter with him to do a show for a small private party at his house.

We quickly became good friends, and Kathi and I were enriched time and again by his generosity.  Allowing me unhampered access to his woodshop, Wayne taught me the art of cabinet making, and assisted and advised me through numerous projects, including new cabinets for our kitchen, a variety of "crafty" Christmas presents for our family, and a large hall tree/seat, to name just a few.  In turn, Kathi and I helped Wayne with decorating his house, creating curtains and window treatments, and with a wide variety of creative projects for both our houses.

Whether it was helping me to build magic props for my act, offering advice on home repair, or just thinking through some building project, Wayne was an absolute wealth of information, expertise, and creativity.  His artistic solutions to a variety of problems never ceased to amaze me.  And he shared it all freely, never holding back.

Late night talks at Wayne's house also become a regular occurrence, with topics ranging from creativity and art, to philosophy and religion, to science and technology, to politics, to cooking, to just about anything and everything in between.  Wayne loved to argue and debate and would often take a contrary position on something just to get a rise out of someone.  He took great delight in getting under your skin and seemed to find tremendous joy in the intellectual banter.

But he was also one of the most caring and generous people I've ever known.  While he'd be embarrassed to have anyone acknowledge it openly, he nonetheless cared genuinely about other people and consistently tried to offer help whenever and wherever possible.  Even at his most cantankerous, he was never mean spirited, would never dream of doing anything intentionally hurtful, and in fact had a huge and compassionate heart that served as his moral compass.  I would have trusted him with my life.

I can't help but think that in his need to be contrary he's finally gotten the last laugh:  he left us long before we were ready to be done sharing our lives with him.  I just can't believe I'll never again be able to walk across the street to get his advice on something, and I suddenly feel this big hole in my life where Wayne used to be.

Thanks for sharing with us, Wayne, we'll miss you more than you could have imagined.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Magic in Our Day

As previously announced, my new self-improvement book (tentatively titled, A Life of Magic) is set to be released later this year.  As I write this, we're about half way through the editing process and beginning work on cover design.  Over the coming weeks, I hope to share a few previews and "sneak peaks" into the subject matter in the book.  One of the things I talk about is the powerful transformative quality of "magical moments", or moments of awe, wonder, and what psychologist, Abraham Maslow, referred to as "peak experiences".

Allowing ourselves to "lose ourselves" in a moment in which we appreciate the beauty of a sunset, in which we are immersed in meaningful work, or where we simply rest in a moment of stillness can be incredibly empowering and transformative.  So this is just a little reminder to stay alert to the extraordinary that's all around us all the time as we go through our day.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Professional Entertainment or Not Professional Entertainment?

In my March client newsletter, I wrote an article about a customer who was struggling with whether to have entertainment at their event.  I was just reading it again and realized it had some good information that was worth repeating here, so here it is:

I had an interesting phone conversation with a client yesterday. She's on a committee interested in re-hiring me for a graduation lock-in event for a class of high school seniors at a school where I worked the same event last year.  The event last year went really well, and the students were absolutely raving about my performance.  The planning committee is made up of different people this year, though, and the client told me that they were asking her some tough questions about why they should hire me for the event.

She said the committee members were asking her questions such as:

  • "In some years in the past, we didn't have any entertainment--why should we pay to have it now?"
  • "Why are Mitch's programs so expensive, and why should we pay that much for entertainment?"
  • "What's the point of having entertainment at all, when we already have plenty of activities for the students?"
These are all valid and even valuable questions to ask when planning for an event.  If you don't know why entertainment is important for your event, and how it will enhance your event, you should be cautious before committing significant portions of your budget to it.  And when choosing an entertainer, it's also important to know what you're getting and what the value will be for your event.  Not all events need entertainment, and not all entertainers are appropriate or desirable for all types of events, including me.

Part of my job in advising clients is to first determine whether they need entertainment at all, and if they do, whether I'm the right fit for what they need.  Here are my answers to some of these questions:
  • If you want your event to be more than just a series of activities, but also a truly memorable and fun experience that your guests will remember with fondness and enthusiasm, good entertainment can fill that purpose.
  • However, if you have an extremely low budget, you may want to pass on the entertainment in favor of better food or other services and instead use some creativity to come up with fun activities.  If your budget allows, though, hiring a skilled, professional entertainer is tough to beat.
  • Food and interactive activities are great, and for some events, they're all you need, but the right entertainment can make an event an exciting, uplifting, and unforgettable experience!
  • My entertainment programs are unique in that I lived in Los Angeles for ten years, one of the most competitive entertainment markets in the world, as well as traveling throughout the United States and several other countries.  In order to work the markets that I have, I had to develop entertainment programs that could compete favorably with other world class entertainers.  I'm not just another local entertainer, and my programs show it.  I can literally guarantee that your guests will have an absolutely astounding and unforgettable experience that they'll be talking about for months or even years to come.
  • While my programs are more expensive than other local entertainers, the prices of my programs are actually lower than other national entertainers of my caliber.  I feel strongly that the value of my programs far outweighs the price of the investment in them, and I consistently exceed my customers' expectations.  All of my programs come with a money back guarantee.  I virtually guarantee results for your events, something most local entertainers would never even consider offering.
As for the high school senior lock-in, the question would be, "Do you just want to have a safe environment with a few fun activities to keep the kids occupied for a few hours?"  For some, this may in fact be enough... "Or do you want to make the event a truly unique and special, emotionally uplifting experience, and have the kids walking away going 'Wow!  That was AWESOME!!!"  That's the difference I can provide.

I'll be the first to admit that my programs are definitely not appropriate for everyone's events, and I pride myself on helping clients to determine whether we're a good fit, and if not, I do my best to advise them on other options.  But for those whose events can benefit from what I offer, my programs are excellent (even if I do say so myself), and I thrive on offering the best programs and customer service I possibly can at a competitive price.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Event Planning Gets Sophisticated, and Simpler

Here's something my event planning clients may find useful.  It's a short article on new trends in planning special events.  The article is actually written for law firms in Canada, but it has some practical ideas that can be applied to any business events.  Enjoy! Event Planning Article.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Playing in Peoria

I had a blast last week doing a photo shoot with photographer extraordinaire Craig Stocks.  He's doing a series of art photos of local artists and performers, and I'm his most recent subject.  You can see a large image of the shot he did of me, along with a profile on me and my work, on his Playing Peoria website.  And if you'd like to see how he was able to catch me floating in mid-air, Craig also has a "behind the scenes, 'making of'" description and short video on his blog:
Pretty cool, eh?

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Arts Astound Me

I attended a meeting in Peoria yesterday for planning local activities during National Arts and Humanities month in October, and to focus around the opening of the new Riverfront Museum, also in October. Some exciting things are going to be happening, including an inspiring marketing campaign over the coming months, which I'll be helping to coordinate.

 ArtsPartners of Central Illinois is spearheading the various planning, and one of the things we're trying to do is build a massive following on the ArtsPartners Facebook page.  So if you're on Facebook, and haven't done so yet, please "like" ArtsPartners on Facebook.

Here's a photo of me (showing the back of my head, don't you know), chatting with Kathy Chitwood, Doug Leunig, and a few other arts advocates at the meeting.