Archive for January, 2010

Three Magic Books Presented to Magic Castle Library

Three of Norm’s Books are now in the Magic Castle Library in Hollywood, CA

Comic magician invited to place his books in Magic Castle Library Collectiion

In January, Magic Castle  Library curator Bill Goodwin invited me to place my comedy and magic books into their library. The World Famous Magic Castle has a huge Library with almost every magic book in print.   I was honored to be included with the thousands of books in this incredible library.  This is one of  the premier collections of magic books in the world.

I spent several hours at the Magic Castle Library with my friends, pouring over just a few of the thousands of books on the art of magic. It was interesting to look at a book by Edwin of Supreme Magic alongside British magician John Kimmons. John worked at Supreme Magic in England several year ago and actually took some of the photos in that book. John  is also a delightful ventriloquist who is very popular in England and across Europe and the U.S. John and I were both lecturers at a small magician’s Convention in Hollywood in January.  He is very funny and has a great mind for making the magic and comedy work.

For more information on my comedy and magic, or if you want to hire a magician

Schools, libraries or individuals can purchase my books at Capstone Press, or click at this site: MagicNormBooks

The Excellent Ventriloquist and Magician -John Kimmons of England.

St Paul Winter Carnival Parade – Veteran’s Flag Honor Guard

The St Paul Winter Carnival is in full swing and the big Parade is this weekend.  Veteran from all over Minnesota lead the parade with their Flag Honor Guard.  We salute our veterans and their contribution to making America free. After the parade they will meet for refreshments and a VFW in St. Paul and I have the pleasure of entertaining for this distinguished group. I have presented Comedy and Magic for many Veteran’s groups throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin and they are always a receptive and fun audience.

Over the years I have also presented my comedy magic show several times for our Veterans who live at the Minnesota Veteran’s Home.  I enjoy the interaction as the people volunteer to help with the comedy card tricks or the other magic tricks.  The staff are very kind and they they serve the Vets with care and concern.

Over the years I’ve entertained at Landmark Center nine years for the St Paul Winter Carnival.  Also I’ve appeared at the family tent with my kid’s magic show at Harriet Island for the Winter Carnival.

The Kinetic Entertainer Freddie Prez

Comedian and Entertainer Freddie Prez with Comic Magician Norm Barnhart backstage before the show at a convention in South Dakota

I recently had the opportunity to appear and do magic and comedy in a show that was M.C.ed by Freddie Prez.  This dynamic comedy entertainer is from California and is very popular across the nation. He often tours in the Midwest during the summers, but he came to the chilly North were we both worked at a  convention in Rapid City, South Dakota in Late 2009.  Just last week we both worked at another convention in Minneapolis. He is a great guy and I look forward to seeing him again. As we say in show business, “see you down the road.”

Fran Cosmo and Band are a Blast!

Awesome singer and guitarist Fran Cosmo. Fran Toured and performed with the Rock band Boston

I had a very fun evening acting as the M.C. last week at the Annual convention for the Wisconsin Fairs and Festivals in the Wisconsin Dells. I had the pleasure of introducing many great acts including Fran Cosmo – formerly with the very popular Band – Boston. These guys had it down tight. They captured the sound of this highly complicated music. Fran Cosmo and his band were great musicians and they enjoyed interacting with the audience.  I was thrilled to be just a few feet away from the side of the stage. It was also fun to hang out with some of the guys after the show. For fairs in the Wisconsin area they are handled by Miles Entertainment of Milwaukee.

I always loved the music of Tom Scholz and his original band – Boston. Back in college the first album came out and I wore out a copy of that first album.  It was amazing how Tom created so many awesome guitar riffs and organ combinations in his home studio.  My college friends and I always admired this creative mechanical engineer who could craft such excellent and uplifting music.  The music of Tom Schols is very innovative, complex and multilayered. He is like a modern Mozart. Many nights I’ve listened to my Boston CD’s in the van while driving between midnight and 3:00AM shows for High School lock ins.  It is a great mix of great rhythms, excellent lyrics and complicated guitar and keyboard work that really helps to pump me up on those long nights with middle of the night shows.  Tom and his band Boston are in the studio now and many of us are looking forward to the new music they are creating.

Hearing Fran and his group cover some of those great songs was a real joy. Catch them if you can when they appear near you.  Fran and his band performed before 30,000 fans at the Taste of Minnesota Event in 2009.

I had the opportunity to introduce other great acts that evening including an awesome acapela group called InPulse!  These four guys sound like a full band and play with no back up musicians. They cover music styles form classic rock, country, pop and R & B. These guys are booked exclusively by G. L. Berg Entertainment from St. Cloud, MN. Check the G.L.Berg website for more details on this excellent group.  I enjoyed talking with the guys before the show. One is from Australia and the another is from MN but born in Korea.  They were very cool guys who were dynamic on stage.

It was fun to introduce these great musicians and the challenge with doing M.C. for a long show with 7 acts. I needed to have many short bits and comedy routines to fill the time as the groups are plugging in.  I enjoy the improvisation and being flexible, adapting to the changing situations of a show like this.  I also was able to perform an eighteen minute set to help my agent get some bookings. Check out Brian Carlson Entertainment Or look at for more on my comedy for corporate banquets.

Comedy Magicians from Around the World Meet in Hollywood

In Hollywood I had the pleasure of jogging each morning with Yoseph Bozo, a very popular  entertainer from Croatia.  He entertains at schools, parties and

Comic Magicians meet in Hollywood from the right; Minnesota magician Norm Barnhart, Yoseph Bozo from Croatia, David Kaye from NYC and Mago from Mexico - We had an afternoon at the Hollywood Costume and Theatrical shop. Next door to the old Hollywood Magic Shop.

festivals in his home city as well as travels to perform at the resorts in the warmer, Mediterranean areas of Southern Croatia. Yoseph Bozo stays quite busy working in the schools to motivate kids to do their best in school as well as he teaches messages about safety along with his skillful magic.

Yoseph and I had many enjoyable discussions about comedy, magic and business during our meandering jogging  through the beautifully landscaped Hollywood backstreets. The city is so beautiful. The green grass, flowers, unusual shrubs and trees were a wonderful sight for this chilled Minnesotan. I feel very fortunate to have had several days to hang out with Joseph and the others at this magic gathering in Hollywood.

There is nothing more fun than wandering through a magic, costume and prop shop with several creative and funny minds. One gentleman on this trip was Marvin, a comedy writer for the Jay Leno show. More on Marvin and his creative enterprises later.

I presented my lecture on comedy and magic with many of my original magic tricks and inventions. It was well received and the magic blogger from gave it a very nice review.

It is fun to learn from and share ideas with some of the top magicians from around the world.

When you need comedy magic in Minnesota or across the mid west please check me out at

Hollywood’s Famous Magic Castle

My recent trip to Hollywood to hang out with some of the best magicians from around the world was a very fun and educational experience. Our gathering was held right next to the renowned Magic Castle at the Magic Castle Hotel. The Magic Castle is a wonderful place where magicians from around the world gather to entertain each other as well as guests who include Hollywood’s  famous and not so. The castle is filled with trap doors, secret hallways and a 5 bars and many areas to eat.

The walls are filled with beautiful and historic posters and memorabilia from magic’s stars. Edgar Bergan’s “Charlie McCarthy” was on display from the movie they made about the circus. You can also see the pool table that was used for many years in the live act as well as in one of the silent W.C.Fields Movies. One day we ate a noon meal in a small room with a table for 13. This is the room that features a cool Houdini seance two nights  a week. The walls of the room were covered with photographs and portraits of Houdini in beautiful frames.  One wall had a straitjacket that Houdini escaped from while hanging upside down from a tall building. In the corner was a large milk can that was filled with water and Houdini plunged in a heavy lid put in place, and then locked with many padlocks. The Great Houdini was able to escape from this dangerous situation. I was thankful for the opportunity to sit next to that historic artifact from show business. The food at the Magic Castle was excellent.

Our meetings included a luncheon with Max Maven the world traveling mentalist. He has worked the top comedy clubs and corporate events across the nation. His stories and insights were amazing.

Mind Reader - Mentalist Max Maven & Comic Magician Norm Barnhart in Hollywood

Max Maven has been the booking director of the Magic Castle for many years.  Many magicians from our team made appearances on the Magic Castle stages over the weekend.

The Magic Castle is a wonderful museum of magical memorabilia.  If you would like to visit this historic, amazing and exclusive place, it is possible to get in by being a guest of a member.

Magic and comedy will make your next event memorable. For a professional comedy magician in Minneapolis, check I do clean comedy and fun corporate magic show for holiday parties and banquets.

Haiti Needs Help

You know all about the huge disaster in Haiti, so I won’t go into details on the tremendous need.  If you are looking for a great place to help. The Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse are efficient and excellent in their work.

Another little known group that is right now on the ground in Haiti and have been there for years working is, Faith in Action International

I met Tom Braak the founder of this small group about 10 years ago while I was in Haiti. He has lived there for many years and his main focus is helping residents with agricultural issues.  He assists them is starting their own greenhouses for starting fruit trees as well as regular trees.  They also get crops started this way.  Years ago the hills were de-foreseted by leaders who were – well, lets say not aware of the consequences.  The result was that when the next huge seasonal rains fell, the topsoil washed away.  Wells went dry and a few years ago Tom and the team figured out that by planting trees just uphill from the place where wells used to be the roots of the trees would help break up the ground in some way and the result was that in a couple years the wells came back.

You can learn more at the website. They say that “Our present focus is on helping families living in the mountains surrounding Haiti’s Artibonite Valley. By working with local farmers, Faith in Action International helps the people organize themselves to identify, prioritize, and solve local problems. We also provide solutions others have successfully used elsewhere, encouraging the people to test the ideas to see if they might be adapted to work locally.”

In all cases, it is the intent of Faith in Action to ensure that solutions to the problems are sustainable.

They do amazing work. So if you can spare a bit to help, please consider Tom and the people living in Haiti.

I spent 10 days there and saw Tom at work. He was incredible in his kindness and very creative in problem solving. His goal was to not do it for the people but to encourage them to work as teams and discover solutions for themselves. They would test the ideas and then go with the best solutions.  Once he left a village the people were able to solve future problems using their own skills and the gifts of the people in the community.

The old saying is don’t give a man a fish, teach him how to fish. Tom’s work goes beyond “giving someone a fish” and is also beyond teaching someone how to fish, it is giving them the skills to teach themselves how to fish or solve future problems and challenges as a team.

My other memories of Haiti include doing magic shows at the children’s hospital and at the Mother Teresa Orphanage.  My wife spent time with the kids there too. The Sisters are so busy that they don’t have much time to just hold the little babies.  Several babies were struggling with AIDS and they enjoyed the volunteers who came in and held them for a while in the rocking chairs.  My wife spent most of here time in the rocking chair, but she also helped the very busy sisters with diaper changing and other duties.  I found a place to be of service in a small way by playing ball with the older kids in the yard.   We also did quite a few magic shows for the children and families at other places.

Haiti has the highest rate of poverty in the western hemisphere. The people are very sweet and kind. It is a land with much potential and yet it struggles greatly. This is a very difficult time for people who are surrounded by difficulty. Please help in any way. If you can take some time, look into the great work in Haiti that Tom and the communities are doing.

What Charlie Chaplin can Teach Business

One morning in Hollywood last week I strolled down a few blocks beyond Hollywood Boulevard with a few of my friends and we ended up at the

At the front door of the old Charlie Chaplin Studio in Hollywood old studios ran by Charlie Chaplin. The complex is currently owned by the Jim Henson Studios. They still shoot several Muppet programs there but these are mainly guest appearances and promotional shorts as the Muppet TV show is no longer in production.

On the front door of the studio is a simple and loving tribute to Charlie Chaplin. It is a life size painting of him on the door. Below in the still sturdy concrete are the imprints of the footsteps of Charlie and his autograph signed into the top step.  Chaplin has had a big impact on my life.  I enjoyed studying his hilarious comic style and his incredible gift of storytelling.  For many years Chaplin was the toast of Hollywood and he was loved across the world for his little tramp character.

The Chaplin character, on screen, faced many challenges and yet he stayed optimistic through the struggles. He inspired a nation and world that was faced with poverty and depression. Perhaps people who watched his movies found a spark of hope for a better life as they watched his feisty spirit race across the screen. His ingenious comic solutions to problems and adversity can motivate and inspire us too.

What can those who run a business learn from this legend of Hollywood?

1)  Perseverance. Chaplin on the screen never gave up. In a film about the 1849 Rush to Alaska titled, The Gold Rush, Little Charlie fought some big Goliaths, including a band of villains, a fierce bear, and a huge and very hungry man who at one point wanted to eat Charlie! This is the funny movie where Charlie  suggests that they eat their shoes, rather than each other, and the hilarious moment as the two are seen munching, like spaghetti, on shoelaces and attempt to chew a shoe sole that is as tougher than a $5.00 steak.  In other films he would inspire us as he helped a street orphan or rescue a distressed maiden. He even saved a country in his film about WWII entitled, The Great Dictator. In the end somehow Charlie persevered, found solutions and saved the day. That is inspirational.

Off screen Charlie Chaplin struggled with giants such as studio heads and others who would attempt to stifle his creativity.  After many disputes about creative outcomes of his films pressured by the studio heads on Chaplin’s artistic ability he finally created his own independent film company. He was instrumental in getting his friends Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford to join him in the creation of a new kind of film company – United Artists.  Its purpose was to put the artists and creators first in the creative business of film making.

2)  Vision. Chaplin was true to himself and his vision.  He had a clear vision for what he wanted to achieve and he did not vary from his mission.  If a film succeeded or failed artistically, he was where the buck stopped. He took the responsibility and along with that came great rewards.  In business we need to have a clear vision and take reasonable risks to achieve the goal. The outcome can result in the rewards that come with success.

3)  Optimism. Charlie Chaplin projected optimism in his films and this was encouraging to his audiences. Audiences were encouraged by this optimistic attitude. Everyone likes to be around those who are optimistic.  This attitude in us and our business will make us more appealing to our coworkers and customers.

4)  Excellence. Chaplin’s excellence in film making came from years of experience doing the sometimes difficult work of comedy in the comedy clubs of his day, the music halls. These variety shows were in theaters in the rough and tumble small and mid-sized villages as well as inner city factory areas across England.  This school of hard knocks taught him the skills needed to make an audience laugh. He instinctively knew what was funny.

Excellence comes from striving to do our best at all times.  We also need to continue to train and study to improve ourselves and our businesses.

I suggest that you might want to go and rent or purchase a Chaplin movie, laugh, and lift your spirits.  You may also consider ways to implement these ideas into your work.

New Year’s Eve Appearance at Dellwood Hills Golf Club

Dellwood Hills Golf Club knows how to put on a wonderful New Year’s Event.  They are known for their excellent food this evening was no exception as they offered superbly prepared, fine food from oysters to the prime rib.  Salads, fruit and sauces were also fantastic. Dellwood Hills club also has a very friendly and attentive staff and wonderful décor in their lovely banquet rooms.

This New Year’s Eve party had a live band providing jazz and pop music.  Cool music is great entertainment.

During the social hour they had a comedy strolling magician interacting with the guests – hey that’s me!  The guests were very receptive to the playful comedy entertainment that magic offers. It is fun for me as an artist to see the faces light up as they react to the amazing tricks such as pens vanishing and pennies disappearing and then growing in size.  It is fun to see them laugh and have their jaws drop by my magic dust routine or the borrowed dollar that becomes a $20.

I really enjoy bringing smiles and laughter to groups and this is my 3rd appearance at Dellwood Hills over the past few years, twice for New Year’s Eve events and once for another member’s event.  I was also invited to entertain the Dellwood Staff with my stage comedy and magic show at their annual staff party held at North Oaks Country Club.  Come to think of it, North Oaks has also used my entertainment many times for their member’s family and adult parties.

I love to bring laughs and that extra Pizzazz to special events.  How can I be of service to you and your group?  I enjoy tailoring my skills to make your event fun and memorable.

A Full Year Ahead of Making Laughs and Teaching on Humor and Business

I look forward to 2010 and the many opportunities coming together for me to spread humor and teach on comedy techniques, humor in the workplace and my business ideas. There are conventions of entertainers that have invited me to perform and teach across the country including; Hollywood, California, Las Vegas, Nevada, and cities in Kentucky and Georgia.  We are also talking with groups in New York, Michigan and Jacksonville, FL.

I’m also very excited at the possibility of speaking at a convention in Australia.  The organizers have also invited me to speak to magicians and entertainers in 4 other cities after the convention so this would be a fantastic way to see the beautiful land of Australia. I like to spend extra time in the cities I visit so I am excited to see the wonderful opportunities that this art of Magic, Humor and Teaching has given me.

The furthest travel this year will take me to the fascinating and beautiful  land of Singapore to speak and teach. This will be a very fun trip as I will get to enjoy the company of several other speakers who I really admire. I am also excited to meet the trainers from Singapore and other countries who will be there. I am sure I will learn so much from the other trainers. It is fun to teach my methods, techniques and inventions, but what is really neat is to be able to absorb all the great ideas of the workshop teachers who are there.

New ideas keep us fresh and inspire the mind to generate innovations and solutions.