This past weekend I had the chance to perform in the small communities near Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming. I had three performances in two days in an area with less than 2,000 inhabitants. Upon reflecting on this little adventure, a couple big ideas emerged.

1) Small Communities need good entertainment as much, or more, than bigger cities do. When you go to a major metropolitan area, it is easy to find some form of a show any night of the week. You can see live theater, comedians, music, variety shows or even just head to the movies.

In a small rural community you may find a weekly karaoke night, or a local band that plays on Fridays, but beyond that I’d venture that there’s not much going on.  

During the few days that we were in town, my family and I experienced a small amount of celebrityhood. The people of the town knew who I was and why I was there. I wish that I had had more time to mingle with them and share more magic.  

2) Many adults have never experienced magic that was geared towards them. One of my performances this weekend was an 18+ show for adults of the community. At the top of the show, I asked them, “When was the last time you saw a magic show?”

Many of them shook their heads saying, “Not since I was kid.”

Then I asked, “When was the last time you saw a magic show that was designed for adults?”

“Never.” was the response.

At the end of the performance, I was shaking hands with many of the attendees. Finally, a gentleman who had been sitting on the edge of the group approached me. Throughout the show, he had been stone-faced and mostly not very responsive. He struck me as the strong, silent type of cowboy. He extended his hand to me say, “That was fun. Thank you.”

This was more than a simple courteous handshake; he genuinely enjoyed his time with me. Although there were very few words involved, there was an honesty to them. They spoke volumes.

3) Magic can communicate powerful messages and teach on difficult ideas. The first performance of the weekend was an assembly for one of the high schools in the area. While I was warmly welcomed by the students and some of the teachers, there were a few that had reservations about hosting me. My show (Beyond Reason) ran well, and the students seemed to enjoy it. At the end of the presentation, one of the teachers stopped me to say, “I wasn’t in favor of having you perform during our academic time (normal school hours), but I take that back now. This was great. Thanks for coming in today.”