Amazing Jeffo FAQ
Q: How long have you been performing magic?
J: Since six, or was it 6:15? I forget. It has been basically 13 or 14- years professionally. I've been interested in it since 5th or 6th grade after watching a movie about Houdini, the old Tony Curtis version. And reading adds in my brother's Boy's Life, Boy Scout magazine, or novelty companies such as Flosso-Hornman, an old New York magic shop. . . They had a free catalog, which I ordered and it started with purchasing the "rising wand trick."
Q: Could you see then?
Q: How did you lose your sight?
J: Well, one day I was on the bus, and had my eye on a seat and someone sat on it. But it was okay; because even though I was blinded in one eye I had double vision in the other eye to make up for it.
Do people ask you a lot about how you went blind?
J: Oh yeah, all the time. They ask me so often I answer their question before they barely get the first word out, "how.?" In case you’re wondering how, Rheumatoid arthritis. That type of Arthritis can affect the tissues of the body and not just around the joints.
Q: How many shows do you do a year?
J: About 150.
Q: What kind of shows do you do most often?
J: I’d say about 40% are school and after-school related. Maybe 30-40% are churches or church related events. And then about maybe 10% are for adult audiences. The last 10% would be a variety of clubs, luncheon groups, cub scouts, girl scouts, libraries, birthday parties. I do different themes. For example in church shows, I talk about living by faith, not by sight and keeping our eyes on the things we cannot see that are eternal. I also work on concepts like God’s strength being made perfect through our weakness. Using those -- mixed with a lot of humor and light-heartedness.
For secular audiences I do a show to promote achieving and rising above challenges. I talk about how we all have a desire for independence that leads to a sense of accomplishment. I try to convey an awareness that we all have a place in the world and that our talents, abilities, and unique perspectives can be offered to other people. I try to get across the idea that we are all unique and valuable.
I feel the biggest disability is our attitude which is the very thing that we can do the most about.
Q. What is the style of your performance?
J. I have fun using self-effacing irreverent humor about my situation to let people know that not only is my situation not a tragedy but can be a source of humor. I find this makes people a lot more comfortable with someone like my self who may have never crossed their path before.
Q: What kind of things have you had to overcome?
J: Well, magic is a visual medium so I’ve had to adapt tricks so that I could perform them. For example, I need to use special tactile markings to identify things such as playing cards and colors of scarves. Transportation is always challenging, though I’ve never missed a show because I couldn’t get a ride.
I have systemic rheumatoid arthritis which makes performing some tricks uncomfortable since magic requires slight of hand. I used to have a severe stuttering problem. Since magic requires public speaking this also has been an obstacle I’ve had to overcome in order to get my message across.
I really have a strong sense that I’m suppose to be doing what I’m doing because in spite of all this, it’s working successfully.
Q: How are you viewed by other magicians?
J. There is a lot of encouragement for what I’m doing.
I hope I’m an encouragement to them as well to take on whatever might challenge them. The magic community has given me a lot of support, advice, mentoring, and help with some of the technical skills needed in magic.
Because what I do as a blind person is so novel I think other magicians are pleased with it in that it adds richness to the magic community.
Q: How does your faith affect your magic and your career?
J. Trying to seek God’s will in my life and trying to be open to what might be next for me. I really didn’t think a lot about this until more recently. God, knowing my sensitive disposition, has been so gentle with me over the years. He has placed me in a position that really uses a lot of His spiritual gifts. I have the gifts of teaching and evangelism. Also, even humor has helped me in teaching because it disarms my audiences and makes them feel more comfortable around people with differences. I think my having a sense of humor about myself shows them that having a disability is not a tragedy. Also faith affects my magic because it allows me a great platform to think of different ways to relate biblical truths to those that might not ever pick up the Bible. I want them to be receptive to the truth. It may just mean planting a seed or perhaps taking off an edge of hostility toward their image of God. People often have a passive hostility toward God so when they see me show a lot of joy and fun with my biblical illustrations it helps explode their stereo type image, the erroneous idea that God hates sinners rather than hates sin.
Q. Tell me about your magic classes -- what sort of things do you cover in them?
J. My classes typically range from one to six sessions. I have spoken about the history of magic but mostly discuss and teach principles of illusions.
I weave into the teaching, the type or classification of trick it is and the psychology involved with the presentation. There are several approaches to consider such as not arousing suspicion by the spectator. Also the use of special words, or as we magicians refer to it, "patter" can work as a misdirection and add wonderment to the effect.
I cover a lot of the fundamentals of magic such as the importance of practice and not revealing the secrets. I let my students know that how even after having performed a trick a thousand times, I have discovered new and improved ways of doing the trick. Without lots of practice I would have never stumbled into improving the trick.
I let my students also know the role of a magician to amaze and entertain his audience and not just fool them. Also I emphasize how they should never reveal the secret because it ends up disappointing their audience when they find out it’s not really magic, even though logically, they already know that.
Q. Anything else you would like to share?
J. I’d like to close with a piece of advice. Never close with a piece of advice.
Seriously, I have been so blessed most recently because of my wife, Devon, coming into my life as a beautiful helpmate. She’s reminded me, as I have heard often from others, I have been blessed with an amazing amount of good friends.
You know what they say, if you can count your good friends on your three fingers you are really blessed. Of course, if you only have three fingers, it’s good that you have a lot of friends to begin with.
Q. Where are some of your next shows coming up?
J. I have a library show coming up and a class where I teach magic through community education. 10% of my engagements are magic and harmonica classes. I’m also doing a show and class at a Lutheran retreat camp. I have some pre-schools and libraries coming up, as well as some school-aged childcare programs.
Q: How long does your magic act last?
J. My stage show lasts approximately 45 minutes. The show length can vary according to your needs. Strolling magic is available in one-hour increments. There is a great deal of audience participation, interaction, humor, and ad-libbing, so if we’re really having a great time it can go a bit longer.
Q: What’s the quickest way to contact you?
J. The most efficient method of contacting me is by telephone at (651) 457-7300. If you prefer contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: For whom do you perform?
J. I perform a variety of themes to a variety of audiences including: schools, churches, corporate events, cub/girl scouts, birthdays, luncheon groups, service organizations, private parties, child care centers, pre-schools and libraries.
Q: What is the cost of your show?
J. Since the length of show and type and size of audience can vary considerably from show-to-show, the cost varies as well. Additional factors that determine the fee of a program include:
- Travel time and distance
- Hours of waiting required after set up and before performance AND/OR waiting time between multiple shows
- Specialized motivational message or communicated theme
- Custom-designed illusions or tricks
- Type of magic: strolling, stage or parlour
- Type of venue: church, corporate, private party
- Date of event: (holidays)
- Multiple shows in one day and referral or booking at nearby location on the same day
Call me at (651) 457-7300 and we can discuss the individual elements you desire for your event. Only then can I give you the most accurate price quote for your particular needs.