Saturday, November 12, 2011


The Rockin' Eco Hero Magically Levitates on the cover of Magic
Magazine's Special Green Issue

As American's celebrate recycling on Tuesday, November 15th, America Recycles Day, it becomes ever more apparent that sustainability and being “green” have become a mainstream part of our culture; from Sustainability departments at Top 100 corporations, all the way down to the tiny niche world of magic tricks and magicians. Thanks to the nationally recognized annual America Recycles Day, the granddaddy of eco-magicians, Steve Trash is featured on Magic Magazine's special green issue, magically levitating in the woods outside his home in Frog Pond, Alabama. The Rockin’ Eco Hero has been at the “green magic game” since 1984. “We’ve come a long way in all that time." Trash said. "Now people really are seeing that we must use the planet's resources in smart sustainable ways. America Recycles Day, which is sponsored by Keep America Beautiful is a great way to keep people excited and focused on being green.” Thousands of events are planned nationwide in celebration of America Recycles Day, all designed to educate, motivate and inspire individuals to recycle more. It's the one day to make recycling bigger and better 365 days a year. In celebration of America Recycles Day, Trash will be performing his Big Green Show in Huntsville, Alabama for 1800 grade school kids, sponsored by Operation Green Team and the City of Huntsville. The shows are a “thank you” gift to the kids of Huntsville for doing a great job of recycling all year long. According to Trash, “We have many miles to go before we have a sustainable economy, but at least we are moving in the right direction. We get to celebrate our success on America Recycles Day. I’m excited!”
For more information on Steve Trash, please visit

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tips For Making Your MAGIC SHOW - GREENER

I put together these green tips and tricks for a special "green" issue of MAGIC MAGAZINE (November 2011).  I wrote them with amateur and professional magicians in mind, but they can really apply to anyone that does any type of show or likes to "make" stuff.  Enjoy.

Making Your Magic SHOW Greener (some tricks and tips to lesson your impact on the planet)

1. Use Rechargeable Batteries – (AA or 9V)  Here’s a big one for touring entertainers.  You’re gonna use 100-500 disposable batteries (or single use batteries) for each (1) rechargeable battery that you use.  That’s right!  If you choose NOT to use a rechargeable battery (for your Sidekick or Wireless Microphone, or Rising Card or whatever), you’ll end up buying between 100 and 500 disposable batteries.  Even if you don’t “give a whit” about the environment or green or eco-hippyness, there can be a huge COST SAVINGS (that's cold hard stinking cash) for you to purchase rechargeable batteries and a battery charger.  Rechargeables make ecologic AND economic sense.  Being green can get you more… green.  ☺

2. Reuse Cardboard Cereal Boxes – I started using cereal boxes to organize my onstage magic show many, many years ago.  I vaguely recall glancing behind Tom Mullica’s Tom-Foolery bar in Atlanta and seeing lots and lots of cardboard boxes taped together.  This could be a faulty memory.  It could have been some other great magician, but my mind gives him credit for this idea.  Whomever it was, it’s a brilliant idea.  Cardboard boxes are cheap, light, easy to cut, easy to rearrange, easily taped/hot glued together, to organize your onstage show props.  Change your show?  No problem, change the cardboard boxes.  It doesn’t matter that the boxes look cheesy inside your show case, the audience won’t ever see it.  The most important aspect of this cardboard organization system is it that you’ll be able to find a specific prop instantly during your show.  This will make you look and feel much more professional.  Reusing all those cardboard boxes is actually a greener choice than even recycling them.  Less energy is needed to reuse a resource than to recycle it.

3. Reuse Show Confetti – Speaking of reuse, I love to use confetti (I used lime green of course) in my green magic stage show.  I’ve found that if you collect it after your show, you can actually reuse it many times.  I have a bag (mine is a mesh bag that practice golf balls are sold in).  After each show I sweep my confetti into this mesh bag.  I end up sweeping dust and dirt from the stage too, but I give the mesh bag several shakes over the trash can and the dirt and trash fall out and the reusable confetti remains.  This allows me to reuse the same confetti over and over.  An added benefit of reusing confetti is that the venue will love you for cleaning up your own mess.  Reusing confetti is not only good for the environment, but it’s good for your pocketbook as well, you don’t have to buy as much.

4. Buy Eco-Edition Playing CardsThis deck of cards is specifically made to be environmentally friendly.  Crafted by U.S. Playing Card Company from sustainably harvested forest paper, starch-based laminating glue, and vegetable-based printing inks. The deck has no gaffs or gimmicks, but its back design and red faces have been replaced with a olive/forest green.

5. Make sure that wood for your illusion is FSCForest Stewardship Council certifies that the wood you use has been harvested from a forest that is “well managed” for sustainability.  Don’t worry, Home Depot works very hard to carry wood that has FSC certification.  So check for the label and know that you’re doing your part!

6. Use post consumer waste recycled paper in your promo.  Printing your press kit and promo on recycled paper is good, but printing on post consumer (paper that’s been used and then recycled into new paper) is great!  Most clients will appreciate the fact that you bothered to use recycled stock.  It WILL cost  a little more (maybe 10% more), but it’s worth it simply for bragging rights.  The quality of recycled paper today is very good compared to even 10 years ago. I’ve been buying post consumer recycled paper for 25 years, believe me, it’s gotten better.  Be sure to include the recycle symbol on your promo to let people know you’re doing your part to be green.

7. Don’t print any promo.  One of the great things about the digital age is that it’s given us the ability to book shows without any printed material at all.  The VAST MAJORITY of my shows these days (Performing Arts Centers, Fairs, & Schools) are booked without ever having to print anything.  I can get almost everything the client needs on my web site ( and on my YouTube site (stevetrashnetwork).  Less printing means less resources used, and that’s a much greener choice.

8. Biodegradable Glue – Max 1 Glue is the most amazing glue you’ll ever use.  It’s also biodegradable… which makes it amazingly green.  Not something you can usually say about most modern chemical bonding agents.  Max 1 is capable of bonding porous and non porous surfaces together (glass to wood or metal to glass).  Just as important, it really is completely biodegradable.  Originally used by military doctors to quickly seal wounds, it will instantly bond flesh.  So do not get it on your fingers and touch them together, or you’ll instantly have a new definition for the Linking Finger Ring trick.  ☺

9. Improve you MPG.  We’ve got to get to gigs.  Most of us have neither the luxury nor desire to ride our off road trail bike to our shows.  Can you imagine yourself with a sub trunk balanced precariously on your shoulders as you tool down the highway on your bike?  Me neither.  So most of us end up driving to our gigs.  One way to green your show is to improve your mpg (miles per gallon).  The less fuel we use the less fuel ultimately must be searched for, drilled for, transported, refined, transported, stored, and then sold to us.  Fuel and energy are good things but the less non renewable fuel (gasoline refined from oil is non renewable) we can use in our day to day lives, the easier it is on the planet.  I recently switched from a big van to a smaller van.  I downsized from a 350 Ford Van to a Ford Transit Connect.  This did take a good bit of reorganizing and repacking of my show, but it’s been wonderful to go from getting only 14 mpg to 25 mpg.  With the larger van, I had been focused on getting the show into the venue quickly and out of the venue quickly.  This new show (with the new smaller van and much less storage space) must be packed a lot smaller, so I’ve had to break the show down for transport into a MUCH smaller space.  I can’t load in and load out as quickly, but I’m getting MUCH better mileage and that makes me and the planet happy.  There’s also a financial benefit, I get a lot better mileage which means that I get to keep more of the money I make. I’m not adding to the burden on the non-renewable energy supply and I’m keeping mo’ money.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Here's an essay that I wrote for MAGIC MAGAZINE several months ago.  It was edited into an article that featured many of my green magic friends in the November 2011 issue.  Here's the whole essay written by me and edited by Gabe Fajuri.  Enjoy. 

Why Green Magic?  by Steve Trash® - Rockin’ Eco Hero

Revolutions happen all the time. In fact, a green one is happening right now.

In the 19th century, Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin revolutionized magic by dressing it up, taking it off the streets, making it respectable society entertainment, and adopting an acting persona of “being” a real magician. His approach was unique for the time — even revolutionary — and the public loved it.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, Houdini revolutionized the field again, this time by becoming a symbol of the everyman’s desire for freedom. When he performed, escapology was as much a symbol as it was a trick. Totalitarian governments across Europe were clamping down on their citizens and Houdini became an icon for the ability to escape persecution and be free. The public loved it.

MarkWilson revolutionized magic once again, starting in the 1950s with his TV magic. The small screen became a cultural touchstone and a shared experience for all, no matter where they lived, worked or “experienced” the shows. “Did you see that on TV?” became a pervasive and national catchphrase. It’s estimated that more people saw Mark Wilson’s TV magic specials than saw Houdini perform in his entire lifetime.

As time passes, the public craves change. When the 1970s arrived, out went the top hat and tail-wearing image of a magician. A charismatic young Canadian, Doug Henning, came along with his hippie wizard look and wonder-filled magic. The public ate it up. His contemporary take on magic set a new tone for the craft, and put magic back in the collective public consciousness. Doug’s bellbottoms and long hair connected him with current and fashionable thoughts about “peace,” “free love,” “consciousness expansion,” and most of all “wonder.” The public rewarded him with sell-out runs on Broadway and exceedingly popular TV specials. Throughout the 1970s and early 80s, Henning was magic’s guiding, driving force.

At about the same time, two new forces in magic burst onto the scene: David Copperfield and Penn and Teller. Copperfield took his successful appearance in The Magic Man, his romantic storytelling, MTV style illusions, Emmy-winning TV specials, (all things that were popular with the public at that moment in history) and created stratospherically high quality and very successful global touring illusion shows.  

 “The Bad Boys of Magic,” Penn and Teller, developed a reputation as hilarious and thoughtful advocates for skepticism wrapped in a ball of cynicism, illustrated with magic tricks. Together with Copperfield, they were game changers. And the public loved them for it.

The revolutions continue today. As we crept into the twenty first century, the time was right for two new revolutionaries: David Blaine and Criss Angel. They didn’t wear suits or costumes. They dressed as themselves: young, urban, and street savvy. With a heavy dose of help yet again from TV and YouTube, they reshaped and conquered the magic world. Angel and Blaine’s heavily edited street-style broadcasts addressed something the public wanted (even if it didn’t know it wanted it).

So far, I haven’t told you anything you don’t already know. We all know the basics of these “revolutionary” tales by heart. So what’s the point?

This collection of magicians is connected by at least one thread: public interest. Each magician, in his own way and own time, addressed something the public had an appetite for. Whether by design or by accident, each entertainer fulfilled the public’s wishes to be entertained in a new, different way.

As working magicians we sometimes forget that tricks and illusions don’t happen in a vacuum. Magic always takes place against a backdrop of current events and contemporary thought, even if it’s not performed onstage. What is happening in the world? How are each generation’s beliefs and ideas shaping their view of how the world works?

Which brings me to green. Green is happening. Popular magic has always responded to what’s flowing through the hearts and minds of the public, and the “green” concept is very much a part of the public’s collective hearts and minds right now.

Don’t’ believe me? Read on, oh ye of little faith:

• Wal-Mart, the largest retailer on the planet, has sold hundreds of thousands of energy efficient CFL compact florescent light bulbs (which save 80 percent of the energy consumed versus standard incandescent bulbs), and according to their director of Strategy and Sustainability, Candace Taylor, the firm has also set a company wide goal of creating zero waste at all of its retail outlets. Currently, Wal-Mart recycles or reuses most of the waste generated on site and is working toward a goal of no waste at all. None.

• BMW, the German auto manufacturer, designs its cars with disassembly in mind. This way, the parts can be replaced, reused or recycled easily. It’s a smart business choice and a smart green choice.

• Each year, Popular Science Magazine publishes a list of the 50 “Greenest Cities” in America.

• Las Vegas, a town not known as a sustainability-driven hippie haven, is investing almost $50 million in renewable “green” energy, with substantial investments in solar energy generation.

• There are currently over 8650 curbside recycling programs in cities across the US and many more around the globe.

• Best Buy (the huge electronics retailer) has implemented a program called “E-Cycle.” The company will take back all broken electronics regardless of where they were purchased or who manufactured the device.

• Ask any school age child what “the three R’s” are they will immediately respond with, “Reduce, reuse, recycle.”

• Coca-Cola Recycling has implemented a “take it back” program that has recovered over 200 million pounds of recyclable plastic coke bottles to date. After returned, the bottles are recycled into new plastic Coke bottles.

• Most of the major automobile manufacturers (including GM, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Ford) offer electric cars for sale alongside their internal combustion engine vehicles. Electric cars and hybrids are “greener” than other vehicles because they can potentially rely on a renewable fuel source, the sun, for their energy.

• The majority of Fortune 500 companies have established “sustainability” divisions dedicated to energy efficiency and reducing their impact on the planet. In effect, they are greening their companies.

The list goes on, but most importantly, none of this activity has happened in a vacuum. It’s happening right now, and because green is what is on the public’s mind right now, we, as entertainers, need to be a part of that consciousness, too.

If current issues and ideas — green chief among them — are not at least a small part of our magic, we risk being irrelevant and we become yesterday’s news. In a culture that moves at light speed or faster, yesterday’s news is no longer news at all.

So consider using this “green” issue of MAGIC Magazine as a jumpstarter for a green theme in your show or routine or act.

Think of it this way: good magicians are always looking for a story or idea that will connect them with a crowd. There is plenty of evidence that green will connect you with today’s audiences. So go ahead. Give it a try. I am.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recycled FASHION SHOW ideas

Fashion is constantly being recycled.  I really loved big "bell bottom" jeans back in the 1970's.  Guess what?  They're back!   And they look just as cool now as they did then.  If you think about it though, recycled fashion doesn't have to be about STYLE only,  it can also be about the MATERIALS used too.  This is where the idea of recycled fashion starts to get really interesting for me.  I recently participated in a RECYCLED FASHION SHOW in Largo, Florida.  Largo Recycles - Recycling Coordinator - Marissa Segundo does a stunningly good job of inspiring young people to create really BEAUTIFUL dresses from trash/recycled/reclaimed materials and to enter the local fashion show contest.  These are not tacky dresses with garbage chaotically duct-taped to them, they are really beautiful and fashionable creations.  The young women (who mostly make their own dresses) make "one of a kind" dresses for the fashion run-way that are recycled AND beautiful.  Examples of their creativity in materials included an awesome black sparkly dress made of recycled VHS VIDEO TAPE (great idea right?), a really wonderful dress made of several VICTORIAS SECRET shopping bags, and an incredible dress made entirely of plastic forks and spoons.  Yep, you read that right... plastic forks and spoons.  Each contestant had worked really really hard on their dress and they were all truly amazing.  Here is a link to the LargoRecycles page, you can see many of the  dresses in a photo gallery there.  If you decide to do this yourself to encourage recycling and creativity in your community, here are a few things to remember.  NUMBER 1.  Make sure everyone understands that this is a REAL FASHION SHOW.  The dresses are NOT a joke.  They are beautiful creations from beautiful and creative minds using recycled materials.  You're there to showcase that!  Consider enlisting local fashion designers to "pitch in" or give "helpful tips" to get the contestants started.   NUMBER 2.  Make sure you design your runway to look just like a "REAL" fashion runway.  Do it in a theater.  Do it AS theater.  Use REAL theatrical lighting.  Use a follow spot.  Make the whole experience "pop".  And when possible, use professional MC's (a great choice would be local TV personalities who can ALSO get you some great local publicity too).  All this will make the show better!  The clothing and women should all look beautiful and feel special. NUMBER 3.  Have fun.  Maybe you have the next "sustainable/green Bouchra-Jarrar" in your town and don't even know it.  We'll never know unless you give it a try.  Good luck and stay green!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to Make a "Recycled" Envelope

Paper is really amazing. Many beautiful paper products (calendars, maps, blueprints, wallpaper) end up being used only one time.  Here's a cool idea.  Why not "repurpose" them into super high quality beautiful envelopes? Here's how you can do just that.

SUPPLIES - Pencil, Ballpoint Pen, Sharpie - ultra-fine, Scissors, Glue Stick - Scotch brand is best, 12" thin metal ruler.

ENVELOPE MAKING MATERIALS - Calendars, Road Maps, Blueprints, Wallpaper, Heavy Gift Wrap, Topographic Maps

SUGGESTED SOURCES FOR ENVELOPE MAKING MATERIALS - Home, Workplace, USGS, Architectural Firms, Friends (old calendars, posters, etc.), Merchants (free calendars), Recycle Center, Home decorating stores.

PATTERNS - Gently pull apart envelopes from bills, greeting cards, note cards stationery, etc. Use as many different sizes as possible. Carefully trace around envelope onto a medium-weight card stock such as an old file folder, calendar cover, or atlas cover. Cut out pattern.

ENVELOPES - Trace around pattern on REVERSE SIDE of envelope material. Generally you'll want to use the largest pattern that will fit the envelope area. Use a dark marker so you can easily see, but make sure it's compatible with the envelope material (i.e., a Sharpie on this map paper will bleed through.) Carefully cut out the envelope. Using ruler or straight-edge as a guide, fold side flaps in, then bottom flap, then top flap. Make sharp creases. Glue side edges of bottom flap to side flaps. 

SPECIAL NOTES - Careful cutting and sharp creasing make a more professional-looking envelope. Make sure your pattern is right side up on the picture! Find scissors that are sharp but easy to use for close cutting (less tiring on the hand.) Generally you don't need to worry about trying to position the pattern on a picture; in most cases the envelope comes out beautifully! Watch out for holes in the tops of calendar pictures. Yes, you CAN send your envelopes these through the US mail. Use address labels and self stick stamps. Special Thanks to VCRS - Valley Community for Recycling Solutions in Palmer Alaska for this excellent idea!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Litter Champs Trophy

Kids love trophies! And the bigger the trophy... the better. So it occurred to me, why not create a really really BIG trophy for the best LITTER PREVENTION SCHOOL in our community? I pitched this idea to my local KAB affiliate KEEP THE SHOALS BEAUTIFUL last year (of which I'm a founding board member) and they (being really smart people) pounced on it.
The campaign was basically a contest for primary schools in our three county area to keep their schools the "most litter-free". Our board members would drop in (unannounced) over the course of the year and evaluate how well each school was doing. At the end of the year we tallied the votes and awarded the trophy to the LITTER CHAMP school for that year! It was very very well received. The kids liked working on something important and most important they WANTED THAT BIG TROPHY! The winning school got to be a part of a big press conference and they received a plaque and a cash prize. The trophy, plaque, and cash prize were all donated by local businesses who wanted to help us build a "cleaner and greener" ethic in our community. And here's the smart part. The trophy is a "traveling" trophy. So the winner must win it again each year or they lose this big, huge, symbol of how awesome they are! I'm really pleased at how well this LITTER CHAMP idea has taken off for KTSB. I hope you can use this idea in your community too. It's high impact and low cost. And it will make a difference in your community. Greenfully Yours, Steve :)