When you grow up in a magic family, straight jackets in the living room are the norm. It wasn't mine, but it was for Julie! She has grown up with magic all her life and had the pleasure of working with many top performers through her work with Magicana. You can also check out her website for more info.
Julie Eng is best described as a charming and enchanting performer who is passionate about her craft.
Both her peers and her clients consider this award-winning magicienne one of the up-and-coming performers of her generation. Her interest in magic began early; raised in a family of magicians, she has been a stage performer since she was a child. As she earned her Commerce degree, Julie’s true love for the unique art of magic blossomed into a career. And now, for over three decades, Julie has brought her magical expertise to thousands of private functions, festivals, conventions and special events around the globe.
Julie is also the executive director of Magicana – an arts organization and registered charity dedicated to the study, exploration and advancement of magic as a performing art. Inside of her work with Magicana, Julie is one of the founding organizers for two unique community outreach programs, My Magic Hands and Senior Sorcery. Julie was also a part of another one of Magicana’s productions, a theatrical show, Piff Paff Poof which was designed specifically to introduce the experience of the theatre to young families.
Kray Mitchell: All right. Welcome back to the Illusionary podcast everyone. My next guest has been mixing elegance, surprise and humor into amazing magic for more than three decades. She has been featured in Magic magazine, Genii, The Linking Ring and she is the Executive Director of Magicana, Dedicated to the exploration and advancement of magic as a performing arts.
Please welcome Julie Eng. Julie thanks so much for joining me today.
Julie Eng: Thank you, this is exciting.
Kray: Yes it is, yes it is. So when you got started in magic you got started really early didn't you? You're, you're part of a magic family? How was it growing up that magic family?
Julie: Well, it's you know it's idyllic, I started off when... My father's a magician and he he evolves you. My parents had us when we're very young. I have a sister and we're very close in age. And the two of us were involved in part of the show right from the get go. My father was. We were in Victoria, British Columbia, that's a small community. So he did a ton of shows and it was obviously a novelty just having this kind of magic show, but then with a family and magic you know we became quite troupe. So it was great, I was involved in the show right from the very beginning, in fact there's a picture that I love because my mom must've caught it with my dad pulling me out of the hat. So I'm about three months old or four months old. So it's pretty small and I'm. Yeah. Exactly. So it was kind of interesting that to grow up in that. But for me it was normal.
I mean only really when I started looking back that I realized it wasn't so normal it wasn't so day to day, you know this is a very crazy time, to, your dad's got straight jackets in the living room, you know that, we always had some kind of illusion they were working out so there was always a trunk of some kind at our house a basket a trunk a box a temple something with swords, usually chains. It's a little, that was the normal living room setup. Yeah, yeah, like that was like, that was our norm. I I was laughing because you know I can get into small spaces I really don't even think about it. We were out of, I don't know, picking up something in a small space I bent down and grabbed it and someone had commented on like, this is nothing, like as a kid, that's where I hung out. You know we were always crawling around little thing so, no, I don't have claustrophobia either.
Kray: That's a good thing not to have for sure. So what did your friends kind of think like growing up when you meet new friends and stuff and you take them home for the first time and there's just magic everywhere.
Julie: They knew me. I didn't have to tell them what my dad did for a living. So that we were pretty popular on the street. Everyone knew that, we had a long driveway. And so my dad would obviously you know drive, he had a big van, so he'd drive the van up and weird stuff would be coming in and out of this van. So I mean they all knew, like they would watch me, especially my neighbors when I was going to elementary school we'd congregate in these various homes and they always wanted to come to our house, not to play with me but to get my dad to perform for them. He would constantly perform for them.
So it was, you know, they knew me, I didn't have to to sort of, no one was surprised. Maybe my Grade 7 teacher was surprised because she didn't know the setup she she was new in town and she was quite surprised when she found out my father was a magician. She did. I don't think she really believed me at the beginning and she said do you. Do you think you, do you think your dad you come and show us, you know what a straight jacket looks like and I'm like yeah sure. And she wasn't ready for that. And finally we arrange it, my dad's gonna do this little demonstration we're talking about Houdini or something at school and dad you know you got to help me out here I don't think Mrs. Classum thinks that this is a for real thing. He goes, OK. So he brings down the strait jacket and I had a particularly big classmate you know we're twelve ,thirteen years old in grade seven. So I had a really big classmate, my dad was about five seven fives eight. Not not more than that, and this kid was just as big but he was huge, it was like he's like a linebacker you know just matured so early so we popped him in the straight jacket and he started to really feel the constrictions and you couldn't even get the arms around him and he started to really feel the fear.
So he then puts my dad and, we didn't go any further, he puts my dad and then my dad and I've done this together like the big showdown and countdown and I'm rolling my eyes like can we get on with this, you know the big act of escaping. So he's doing it. And at the time my new grade seven teacher, she's pregnant and she's like about seven and a half months pregnant she's getting ready to go on mat leave and she's pacing back and forth and back and forth ready to give birth because she goes Oh my God I just put the stirring into this particular who's going to have a heart attack it's going to die in front of all this dude it's like how am I going to explain that. She was like, Are you kidding me. So that's like that's a great story. You know that's that's how my friends knew my dad.
Kray: That is awesome. I can't even come close to a story like that, at all. That's just amazing.
Julie: One of many, one of many.
Kray: So when was it that you kind of started breaking out on your own or starting getting involved in magic as an individual and decided, you know what, this is something that I want to do for myself and I want to perform myself?
Julie: I got into it, more or less at that time. You know I'm about 12, 13. I started doing birthday party shows, again I'm too young to drive, so my my father was great. You know he'd set it all up for me it was OK. Here's how you book a gig, You know here's how you speak to a client on the phone. You should find out this kind of information, so he was teaching you how to be like a booking agent for myself and for him, like we would get a lot of calls and you know, I was I was really, at 12 I looked like I was nine you know I was always, I looked younger than when I was a kid. And so people were always very surprised to see me because I look like here's a 7 year old looking a gig. It's just very weird and I got into it and then I found that you know obviously I got a lot of shows, my father's passing birthday parties shows down to me, again it's a small community everybody, once one kid finds out you're coming to their birthday everyone want to. You know, we had know rabbits and birds and things that we have interesting productions at the end it's fine. You know you do the livestock and the kids are very happy. But I'm performing for kids not much older than me. So I learned very quickly how to get into it and I liked the idea of presenting you know to kids and to families whom the family started watching.
Then you start getting into the bigger ones and again my father just constantly coached me to do this and my sister would come and help me with all of my shows, so it would be sometimes just my dad and me he would, he would set me up and drive me there, he'd be the roadie and and he paid me, I had to pay him five bucks for the luxury of having an assist.
Kray: Makes Sense
Julie: You know he taught me you know you gotta you gotta also work with people and you know I look back now it was a great learning experience because I got to know people and families. Civility is, a lack of a better word, really at an early age. And it was it was a really joyful thing I did something with my dad. You know it's a Saturday afternoons, you're running around the city. It was great. So I got into that and then I just it just stuck with me and of course the more I learned the more my father would teach me. And we have a small club in Victoria ,the Victoria Magic Circle, and again you know I was a young member but they embraced me there. I believe at the time I think I was the only active female magician that was a lot of spouses that we would do a lot of social things together. So we know the annual parties and things like that but it was much more of a social aspect for, for women in that realm. So there's a few women in magic. So I was one of the more active participants and then my friends there were quite a bit older than me but they were always super, super supportive very encouraging, helped me with everything and encouraged me to do more. So I very much had like these giant circles of brothers and cousins and uncles, like grandfather figures, all of these male figures were very prominent but incredibly supportive and then some encouraging me to perform more and more. So I just kept going with it.
Kray: That's so awesome.
Julie: It put me through school. Yeah, put me through university, I just kept going. I just kept presenting, kept going to school and I, I found that magic was really good for a university. I did a lot of presentations and I have no problem getting in front of people or doing what my one of my professors would call a stump speech.
He'd say OK. He'd give us a topic and we'd have to almost bloviate about it. How do you sell this? No Problem! This isn't [unable to hear] and yeah and that's the time when my dad also had a magic shop too so I was working after school at the shop I was demonstrating magic, I was selling magic, I was selling my shows, selling my father's shows, selling bigger, like I was constantly working all angles of you know what magic can be in a in a small community like that. So it was a great, I had a really strong and early exposure to all of that sort of experiences inside of not just performing but all the aspects that go with being a magician.
Kray: And all the business side too.
Julie: Yeah. The business side. But also there is a somewhat artistic side you have to think about the line up, the entertainment value, the movement. You know my sister and I both took dance classes. We did, my sister got more into rhythmic gymnastics but I dabbled at that too and you had this idea of thinking about how does your body move and when you're holding props and what does that look like and how do people see that and where's your angle, like you know I just learn basic presentation points just from like sitting in a ballet class. So it's all of these things that were layered in childhood that kind of gave me all the tools and skills I needed to maybe really forward this as a profession as a career.
Kray: That's really awesome, especially in such a young age and just keep building on it like that. That's just I honestly wish I had that type of experience with really anything, I did learn a lot as a kid, but definitely not your proper business skills and presentation stuff.
Julie: Yeah. There's a huge range known and that I think really ultimately my parents were this really interesting entrepreneurial couple. So while my father was a professional magician in this city and my mother would assist him and all of the aspects that go with it my dad also had like, he was also a bartender so he did magic as bartending so huge. I was really young when I got into this and you know it's a small working family.
So my dad would pick me up, I would be at the Army Navy you know, the back storage room waiting for my mom to come and get me and I'm hanging out with these guys. It's like it's ridiculous. I think I was a baby.
I remember a Grade one report coming in so I must have been 7 or 8, 6 or 7. You know I'm hanging out at the Army Navy! So it's like you learn at an early age, all of these neat things and it becomes like my dad then got into bartending a bartending school. I was selling those programs when I was twelve or thirteen years old and I'm registering students, marking papers with my sister. You know we we had all the stuff down like we knew this stuff by rote by the time, you know we're all 14 years old. You know it was it was hilarious. It was so you know you learn as you go inside of the small family and that's that maneuverability that my father had as an entrepreneurial spirit that really taught me that I need more than one skill if I'm going to survive in this kind of business. And that was obviously the best lesson.
Kray: Absolutely. And obviously since you started a lot a lot has changed in magic too like, especially since you're a kid up to now. So what are some of the biggest things that you've noticed that have changed in magic or some things that you've really seen happen that maybe other people on the outside didn't really notice?
Julie: Well I think it's it's always under some kind of change and I have been in it a long time so I hate saying well you know when, suddenly there's an old person saying that. It's funny but you know it's, I guess it's also how every generation would then look back. Look Alexander by me right. I mean that was when a show was a show. I mean this was Golden Age stuff and it was grand and theatrical and I mean really rich with several people on stage and maneuvering a choreography, beautiful props, you know train cars moving, but we can't do that now. You know that's definitely changed.
And it's funny because now, where once you saw these really beautiful Grand Magic shows it is so expensive to move a show like that. It's expensive to set up a show, stage a show, produce a show like that, you can't even get in the door before you realize you're broke because there's no way you could break even based on the number of people coming in, like you just do the math and you're like... It just the costs of producing has really shot up and it's interesting because a lot of people now using technology to then perhaps do a slightly smaller show but still being able to reach a bigger audience. So the Internet is one but Imag is another. I'm astounded at my friends who do these shows in China. You know, two thousand five hundred people no problem, like as an afternoon matinee for you know, a close up show!
Julie: Well how do you do a close up show like that. High end screens, you know. Yeah it's incredible and I'm like I'm fascinated by that. You know it's, they're still hauling gear and everything but it's a different kind of dynamic and setup and I guess those changes for me are interesting. I think there's more of a shift in performance style and performance variety. There's for example a big push not so much in what was a big thing for me when I was kind of getting into it and my formative years grand illusions were big and, and manipulation was fantastic and dove acts were amazing, you know like that's so tired and an almost trite and some of this language I hear from younger generation and younger generation today.
And it's interesting, you know what was, you know because that was rare stuff and now it's like oh I could look it up on the Internet. You know it's like that accessibility and the consumption of of information and how it's tossed away is kind of disappointed me in some ways, but it also challenges us as performers to then Well how are you going to engage these people? What speaks to them? What makes it interesting? How do you reach them then if they're so sophisticated? You know like well then you need to use you as a performer need to raise your game become more sophisticated, more interesting not necessarily more innovative and creative in the sense that you've to invent. But I think you have to listen to your audience and move with them in a way that speaks to them and I'm I'm fascinated by that. You know just interacting with people. So my favorite as you can tell is doing like closeup and cocktail parties, get to know people. I enjoy that very much.
Julie: So are there any tricks that used to just love performing when you were young that you've still got in your actor you've adapted for newer audiences?
Julie: I do. I have this nice and unusual situation when my father taught me a lot of magic. So I ended up of course learning a lot of his routines and it's now that he's he's been gone 10 years now and it's amazing I still do his routines, certain ones. And it's it's fun for me because it's you know, for me that's that's reliving that part of my life and how I came to learn it and all that. I often think of the fun he would have in performing. He was more like a prankster jokester and a fun personality of a different bent, that's you know it's just different for me. And it's it's interesting because I can still use that routine and magic but I have learned to adapt it for my personality but I still get that great enjoyment.
That said I love learning new things. I might as I've aged I've become much more mercenary over what I choose you know before I could spend three thousand hours learning this but now I don't have to 2000 hours to learn that, I mean I have other stuff I got to do and so it's you know you do become much more selective and I think as we mature you choose things that are more appropriate as well and I I'm very lucky I've got great friends who often toss ideas my way or if I want to look for something to work on, we can collaborate. And for me it's that's a gold mine. You know that's that's not only a gold mine, it's a gift it's a gift to have that level of friendship, collaboration, trust in the community. And so I'm I'm desperately Lucky and and I am grateful I'm grateful that I still have that. This is a business where we can continue to learn how to run a business but we can also have an art where you can continue to grow and grow and grow you can never stop learning here and a friend just dropped me, gave me a book. I had this in my library. You know I'm just sort of moving it around you. Have you read it. This is really good stuff. It's like you get me. You can never stop discovering things and you know that's, for me, that's the journey.
Kray: One of my personal slogans is Sometimes a Teacher, Always a Student because I'm under the same thing. Many years ago I learned that I can't stop learning because otherwise you get left behind fairly quickly the way things change. So what I was happy to learn that is that at an early age because it really changed how I thought about things that I was working on things that I was doing just in life, so.
Julie: That's that pulse, you know that keeping connected with your community. And so in our case for magic, our audiences you know, you, we've talked about how much things have changed when you go from something from Golden Age to this current age. You look at what's on stage now, it's night and day. I mean I can't even begin to talk about the differences but it's still an audience and still a performer. So there are some common elements that we, we can really adhere to and that's the thing. Like that constant keeping that pulse of What is community, what are you interested in and what's how's that working for you. You know social media is a great example.
Kray: So what kind of things do you do to keep your finger on that pulse, other than talking to people in the industry, like do you do anything spur specific outside of that?
Julie: I'm very lucky. My as my I'm going to steal my friends line when it's my avocation it's also my you know what I love to do and what I do, do for a living it's my vocation as well. So it's, I'm constantly for my work, I'm constantly exposed to magic conventions, conversations inside of magic. I sell magic for a living for example with the Johnny Thompson book that we just completed for MagiCana I spent a number of well a good number of, hate to say years working on this. They took Johnny and Jamie Ian Smith about ten years to compile this to really refine this and then MagiCana had it for a couple of years to really mold it and to bring it into this fruition. So for me I was deeply involved in this and I'm immersed in this world. And it's you know that's like that's the goal. Another gold mine for me you know I love doing this. I love Johnny as a person and I learned so much working with him when we're sitting side by side. I have this great picture a friend of mine snapped when we were doing the, doing the photos I shot all the photos I did the layout and so I'm working with Johnny side by side.
But you know I have a memory of watching him. I was seven years old you know watching him on stage and you know he's got this amazing energy that you just want to be around and talk about learning! Goodness! You know for two years we've soaked up Johnny. It was incredible and, you know like how can I say that I don't keep my finger to the pulse I mean that's the guy that is the pulse.
So I am very fortunate my work throws me into this opportunity, and we match can also puts together a lot of conferences and conventions ,some on history some on, excuse me, some on just conversations inside of mentorship. So we have 31 Faces North where we bring together a small group of people. It's by invitation that's by design to create and foster relationships and sharing and information on you know you have Magic Live which is you know what eight hundred people Sixteen hundred people. And that's amazing you can do all kinds of neat things but sometimes you you can go to a conference or you don't even see a person for days and days or at all. And here you know in the smaller convention you can spend intimate time together really I guess letting the hair down a little bit because there's a smaller group it's more intimate. There's a sharing aspect.
Very deep. You know it's that mentorship idea. You know it's again Johnny would come to something like this for example and he'd just tell us stories but it's like wow you get a sense of life, you get a sense of the breadth of situations one can be placed and you can think about well I wonder what that would have been like. I mean it just it can only give you and layer on for people who haven't gone through it. You know it's you can't get me script that you could certainly feel it and there isn't a person a living story telling you this. There is no greater experience than that. So for for me I think that that's where I've been incredibly lucky because I organize all of this but I'm a part of all of this. So it's a lot of work...
Kray: And anything worth doing is always gonna be a lot of work. So...
Julie: Yeah. And That's that's I really feel, where I am blessed, I am in a unique position. I know a lot of magicians who have to work full time and then try and carve out time to listen to podcasts, read books, try to get to conventions that means they have to balance their family life, their vacation time. How do you pay for that? That means you're giving up shows if you're doing a part time pro. I mean like there's a lot going on. And I do that too. But I have the real joy of also being able to spend some time, as I said working on something like the book which I'm very proud of and it was just such an unbelievable experience. It has shifted who I am and it's shifted many relationships thanks to that in very positive and and meaningful way to me. So you get to know people and you know that's for me, that's my community. So having met that mechanism in place you know it's it's a gold, it's a real gold mine.
Kray: Absolutely. I do have to say I'm a little bit jealous with some of the stuff you get to do in your day to day especially with some of that historic stuff. I saw you guys got a moving truck full of boxes of old magic videos and stuff like .... there goes a week right there.
Julie: Oh it's I mean it's it's really interesting. I, I've seen a lot now and I've seen a lot of live stuff. I've seen a lot of historic stuff. I've heard a lot of stuff. Same way. You know it's like, there is so much and this is where I'm very excited for MagiCana because as we have grown it's been, this is my 12th, I'm going to my 13th year I believe with MagiCanada. Is it that long? My goodness!
So it's amazing to me how much we've been able to amass and now share we've had these wonderful, supportive donors that allow us to create mechanisms so that we can put things online, for example the videos in the screening room and share that with the world. So a great Canadian story is the Magic Palace that was played in the 70s. It's. More like the mid 80s mid to late 80s and Dale Harney in Calgary and Edmonton you would he would hop around and we did this little story about it and it's on our site. But he had this great idea. We do a variety show Johnny Thompson was the entertainment director for a little while. So he brought in all this way. So there's Charlie Miller, Johnny Thompson. You've got Pat Page endless number of people on there performing both Canadian and American.
Johnny would funnel them up from California if they're playing The Castle or if they're in that area. So we had this amazing collection of fantastic material and that would have been lost because those were the days when it was recorded on video but it was so expensive they would recycle the video. So there was no archive of them other than what people at home and consumer products would record. And we all recorded it. But there are varying degrees of of general viewings. Yeah. Like you know like our house we'd watch that over and over it like it was run like, those crazy lines and I see...
Kray: I can't tell you how many VHS tapes I did that to.
Julie: I it's it's ridiculous. Like when you think about it now, I mean VHS my nephew who's four will never know what VHS stands for, you know it's it's hysterical to me. But the there are archivists who keep these things in pristine condition or collectors who keep them. They now let us re-digitize them so we took from VHS. We did that. We have really good copies of some of the stuff. So Johnny tells us one of the first times and I believe up until very, very recently like two years ago it's the only time that he recorded the camera valid which is very very famous for.
So you know here it is he is performing this you know like 30, 35 almost 40 years ago. I mean that's a different kind of presentation and we have it! We have it and it's for the world to see. You know it's all up there. So we have this great house of it's almost like a museum of digital archives, now you know we've got my colleague has collected many many images but now we have many many moving pictures as you saw from the blog post that I put up. But there's also tons of audio.
Remember there was a big audio phase, so people would record cassette tapes reel to reel where we're digitizing a huge amount of that material as well from various collections. So MagiCana is starting to get known to be house of these things and we're archiving,, digitizing and now making available. And one of the things I'm very happy to report is that we also have great friends in this community but we also have a great you know great colleagues and and people who are connected with magic and can help curate some of this stuff. So our artistic director for example, David Ben is well versed in a lot of of of this history so he can help put context into things and create, well sure it's one thing to listen to something about Charlie Miller but did you know this this and this. So you know to have those wonderful I didn't know. Right. Now you have stories now you have new insights. Now we have the video that can maybe help illustrate something like that. I mean now you've got almost like, I guess a bit of a talking history in many ways. You know that makes it for me. Again I you know I just feel so excited and and pleased and I just want to share this more and more with people so I was really glad for this opportunity to tell you about it.
Kray: Well I. I can't lie I've got knocked down a few rabbit things on the MagiCana site already. Oh yeah I'll take a look at this for a few minutes and then two hours later oh crap I got other stuff I need to be doing. So.
Julie: You know did you see that stuff like from. Because of the Magic Palace stuff which was broadcast thanks to the person, Larry Thornton in Calgary. He's all this is nothing Julie is you should see my personal collection so we digitize. That's what we got that Skinner stuff and you see Daryl on there. This is vintage era because Larry had the wherewithal the smarts the artistic outlook. And he also had the I guess the tenacity to also preserve this with some, you know because of the films you can run through it to be really careful with this stuff you can you can damage it and that's it. But his stuff is in such pristine condition that he took the time to love it and care for it. So it's all organized, its indexed. So now we've digitized that and that's the stuff that you know again that's that movie magic exhibition on our site.
That's never before seen stuff you know and that's that's what's cool about how we can marry some of the broadcast stuff with now, that thanks to those relationships so.
Kray: I just love, I used to hate history, like, growing up I never wanted to learn about it all that kind of stuff. But the older you get, the cooler it gets and we lose so much to history. I can only imagine all the old magic pamphlets, that you know two or three pages that have.. their in dumps, like nobody will ever see these things and then somebody will move and pull a box set of the corner in the attic and all of a sudden you learn all these things that nobody knew or nobody talked about since like the 30s or 40s. So thank you for being a part of that.
Julie: It's so fun to discover this stuff. It is for me, that's like Oh that's, you talk about rabbit hole that's why you dig down because you just never know what could be in there and that's the thing with the [???] stuff you know that we acquired, it is, there's some incredible stuff in there, now there's a lot of stuff in there and that's that's part of our difficulty is like how do you wade through all of that but we will slowly you know do that and as we do, I love you know, there's little gems, things that are not so good and you know the damaged film or it's not what you think it is or whichever. And then the stuff that you think has run of the mill stuff, it was labeled wrong or whatever. So you know it's like, Wow it's incredible to me and I'm glad that it's, I think there is a new interest I see online. There are tons of sites with magic videos, magic archives. So in other words images or photos or history and I'm fascinated by all of this because it's wonderful that people are really seeing the cool side of it. And you talk about our history it's kind of not so popular now. It's a source of inspiration. It's a source of learning and of course a sense of identity. So I think it's a really it's a it's a neat time right now for all of us.
Kray: It really is. So if you could give one piece of advice to somebody who is just starting out, not only for their career but to help preserve what they're learning and stuff for future generations, what would you suggest?
Julie: I Think I would I would probably suggest taking the very, very difficult but I think rewarding road of carrying water and that is to go find somebody who inspires you and and bug the heck out of them and just hang out, ask questions, carry their gear, drive them to the gig, setup their stuff, shovel, you gotta shovel and you've got to go through the ranks. You know I talked about how it was sitting around listening to stories you can layer on experience that's only one very slight minuscule, thin layer of experience, you have to go through that and I really believe that you will be rewarded in those steps of climbing the career ladder carefully, slowly with intention. I often see a lot of, you know because we were at the shop I saw a lot of people would buy things and just to try and you know jump to performance and some people can can do that that's great. But I really think that they're robbing themselves as much as their audiences of the time it takes to go through the learning because you discover something about the trick about yourself about how what it means to you, how you can then relate. You will skip all of that necessarily if you don't go through each of those aspects of exploring and experiencing it.
And I sound like such an old person to say that but you know it's, it's, it's true. You know I'm talking to you and I'm thinking wow you know we had a lot, I had a lot of fun growing up and all of this and I saw and learned, like I listened, I watched I, I hauled those bags, I set up that stuff and I still continue to do that because I believe there's something to find and discover and learn as a performer. You can always find something to learn and if you keep your ears open, your eyes wide, I think you'll be very richly rewarded.
Kray: I couldn't agree more with that. I, I've always, well not always, again younger me wasn't as bright. But like watching what other people are doing around you and that are involved with you and asking them questions are learning more about what they do, can only benefit everybody. Because it going to benfit you more, it's going to benefit them more, work better together, build stuff up better and that's...
Julie: I think it's building personal relationships too that are incredibly important. That's you know if I was to reflect on what we talked about, I and I always say this, I'm I am I have been so gifted by those relationships. So the more you build along the way and you you can't you can't just phone somebody up and say Hey I hear you do this great move do you think you can, you know it doesn't work like that, it simply doesn't work like that and the entitlement that I I have I have witnessed is it's shocking to me because I'm not raised that way and I don't understand the world this way but the world's changed and size and I don't know if that is necessarily something that's practiced anymore and that would be if it was if I got to subtitle My advice I would be you know and do it with the common sense of being a civil and polite person, you know you've got to climb the rungs meaningfully and with intention but with respect as well.
Kray: I love that advice. Because I agree, the world is changing and not necessarily in a better way when it comes to that kind of stuff. Definitely, people need to be a little more courteous to everybody. And that's one of the things that I love about magic is being able to put smiles on people's faces and change their daily perception because they could have been having just the worst day ever, and you just do something something very small for them that just completely flips their day.
Julie: And what did it take? It just took being present to another person, putting your phone down, not trying to video you know the torso over you doing some crazy shuffle on the table ,I mean it just for me, that's it. It's a great learning technique for some things but it learns technique. Now we need to extend and get back into you know face to face experiences with people I think you'll find exactly as you said you don't know what someone's going through, you really don't. You can make a lot of assumptions but can you truly say what they're thinking and feeling? No.
So if you take the time to engage them for the one fun moment you know you see it a lot and it doesn't take much ,you know just, yeah to just take that time and you will learn a lot about yourself and the world around you and I think that makes you a stronger, more observant, much more progressive performer.
Kray: Absolutely. I do know that one thing that a lot of people struggle with these days is anxiety. I suffer from social anxiety myself, being a big groups is terrifying but I can still do public speaking in front of 200 people without an issue as long as it's something that I'm passionate about and so if I'm speaking or performing in front of people it's, once I'm actually doing it, I'm okay it's getting to that point of actually doing it. What would you suggest to people that are kind of having that struggle right now of doing just the torso shots to try and get them out of that and move more into into the real world.
Julie: Well I think you know you've you've hit two things. The anxiety you're speaking of is is off so AKA is stage fright. You know a lot of, if you do like to perform, now there's real social anxiety that I'm sensitive to and I understand a lot of people do feel that, I think the pressure of today's world is different. And I think that that is something that I really deeply respect like sometimes that that is just too much for people and getting in front of a screen with just a torso shot is how they are breaking past some of that.
But there comes a point where we hit comfort levels inside of a parameter. And. If you, if you want to stay there will then that's exactly where you will stay. Known for this part of you but there's this bigger part of you and I think that there's a whole person that you can share. And it's a matter of trust. And it's a matter of I think also a great deal of preparation. I often teach young people at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Center here in Toronto. And the kids are going through real rehabilitation program through their occupational therapy program.
But magic is used as this tool but I don't tell the kids that it's, I don't believe it's occupational therapy for me, your recreational but you're learning how to be a magician. So a magician doesn't perform like this, a magician doesn't perform you know for your tabletop and just since you are a performer so you have to sit up or stand up if you're able, you and I teach them all the stuff about opening shoulders ,speaking from their tummies and looking into the eyes like they have to learn how to do this. And we, and it's terrifying. I tell them this on the first day surprise they come back, I promise them, I promise them because between now and your performance we have these mini sessions we're going to work on every single aspect so that you feel prepared at the end.
So a lot of the time for you know I I again I don't want trivialized people who have real social anxiety but sometimes it's also practice. It's sometimes it's practice and there will come a point where you have to just do it. And I've seen it for many many years I've run this program 15 years and I've seen it in many many different forms. But by and large I'd have to say ninety nine point nine percent of time of all the shows I've seen and led where I've seen a lot of terror, tears and panic right before people perform, the reward that comes with say I got up there and I did it and I I felt good about what it is I was doing because I, I was ready I was prepared. I prepared my script. I knew I where was going to put my cards. I knew how this was going to come. I thought about the options if this doesn't work how to how to move my way around it. We talk about outs, you know when you are prepared, you feel like you said when you're public speaking you feel good because you're passionate because you're ready to share.
And that's such a trite and easy thing to say, well you just have to prepare but a lot of the time it's about thinking about your audience. How does it land on them and how do you want them to respond. Can you be that kind of person to them? Lead that you know and wave that experience back for both you and for them. And it's it's very old and simple technique that you not only practice but you have to rehearse. These are very distinctive qualities and practice belongs to the technique side. But rehearsing becomes about you being comfortable on stage and not knocking over the table. By and large knock over the table because you never realized that it was there because you didn't practice and rehearsed with the table there. The kids will come with capes I'm always I'm like we didn't practice with the cape. We didn't rehearse with the cape, that cape is going a swoosh down and things are going to go flying and you're not going be ready with know like, we got to talk about, so we have a dress rehearsal you know things like that.
So it's it's you know I use that as an example but we have to do this every day. You know this is how we know you. I don't think you walk into a public speaking gig and speak to 200 people unprepared, you know I believe you probably have a lot of great notes we have a lot of great anecdotes you've planned out when you probably know what second you're at when you're speaking. That's what public speakers do, right you know. That's why you don't feel anxiety.
So it's yeah it's it's. Now on the improvisational side is something like a cocktail party where you do a little close up and strolling. Well you have to rehearse a little differently for that you've to practice a little differently for that. But I still argue here that there are lots of mechanisms in place to do that. And I think once people start to do a little more people engagement and experiences and creating opportunities to perform, I wonder if that screen might change a little bit in terms of the focus and it might broaden that individual's experience and what they want to share in the world. So I would hope anyway.
Kray: I think you're right. I think it very much would. Awesome answer, thank you. And I have one final question. You've gotten to work with some amazing people as as we've discussed. Is there anybody if you could spend the day with one person living or dead now, who would it be?
Julie: Oh living or dead now that's a tough one. I. I would dive deeply into the past because I, I look at all of these amazing women in magic, in history that astonished me at how they not only had to do all of all of the magic side, the performance side, they rehearsal side, the technique, but then they had to deal with this really crazy perception of how women just were viewed in the past and the tenacity the, the, the sense of self, the supporting characters that are around them, I'd have thousands and thousands of questions. You know I'm thinking of Adelaide Herman at the moment but you know there are so many women in this recent past. You know we did this great conversation, sorry convention for the magic collectors we can, and Celeste Evans was speaking in and so you know she's working in the 60s and and even the 50s I think, and what it was like to be a woman in magic then, like so you know having that conversation with her and her family.
But now can you imagine shifting that back in time even more you know and looking at some of the women who who dealt with it there. I, I'm very interested in all of that but you know it's, it's I wouldn't know where to begin I'd be tongue tied. I wouldn't have very many articulate questions. Well boring but that's where I would go and I would dig all up from their wonderful posters.
Kray: Yes. Well Julie thank you so very much for coming on this show today. If people want to find you where's the best place for them to go.
Kray: Well I've got to say you can visit everyone and learn about MagiCana. You just simply go to www.magicana.com M A G I C A N A dot com. And I dare say if you're interested in seeing a little bit more about what I do when I'm passionate about you can see me at magicienne.com, M A G I C I E N N E dot com.
Kray: Excellent. And we'll put some links to that in the description as well so people can find easy as well. Thank you again so much for coming on the show it's been amazing speaking with you.
Julie: It's an honor.
Kray: And for everybody listening at home. Tune in next time and we'll have some more great guests for you. Thanks for listening in.