In Other Worlds

by

Robbie Willmarth

 The biography you are about to read was written for the International Magic magazine, 'The Linking Ring' by my dear close friend, Robbie Roberts Willmarth.

Edited by Phil Willmarth, Executive Editor of 'The Linking Ring'

I.B.M. - International Brotherhood of Magicians

 

In Other Worlds 

Many full-time or semi-professional magicians have other avocations or even vocations. It occured to this writer's wife, best friend, and occasional reporter for this journal that the why's and wherefore's of these juxtapositions could make for interesting reading and perhaps provide some insights into how magic can best fit into our own lives. At the very least, such stories will serve to introduce us to yet another practitioner and lover of magic.

A recent issue of the Chicago Tribune ran a feature story on "Natural Healing" in which I.B.M. member, Herb Barnett, a/k/a Herbert Jann (his performing name) was quoted.  Herb's contribution to this article was his skill involving the Chinese martial art form of Tai Chi.  He presently teaches over 100 students in Chicagoland as well as professionally performing magic regularly.

 Herbert Jann * Magician a.k.a. Herb Barnett * Martial Artist

 

I have been taking Tai Chi from Herb for ten months, and wanted to know more about his thoughts on the beneficial link, if any, between his two professions - Tai Chi and Magic.  With this goal, we shared an hour talking about his history and involvement in these areas.  I also learned that in addition to these two fields, drumming and music are an integral part of his life.

His involvement in magic started when he was 15, went to Magic Inc., and bought a book on close-up magic tricks.  During that same summer he had the opportunity to attend a Bobby Wonder magic show at a nearby resort...and was able to spend a great deal of time with him.  Bobby shared story lines, techniques, and new magic tricks with Herb and instilled an unquenchable love for magic.  The kindness Bobby Wonder shared is still evident in the voice of Herb as he reflects on the summer 24 years ago.  When he came home he pestered his folks to help him buy the Hippity Hop Rabbits.  They did.  He was hooked.  He knew then that he wanted a career that he could enjoy as much as Bobby Wonder enjoyed his career in magic.  

During the same period, he was in the Niles North High School Marching Band (Skokie, IL), taking percussion lessons and dabbling in the Martial Arts.  He had a summer job at the Burger King earning $1.75 an hour.  When he discovered that performing magic for children's parties paid more, he quit the BK job and started earning $15 an hour doing magic for children.

Following High School, he enrolled in the music curriculum at Roosevelt University and completed his degree in percussion performance.  During those years he was also teaching drumming as well as performing gigs with various groups in the Chicago area.  He somehow found time to publish a book on percussion techniques.

 

                         Home Page                                       Herbert Jann Drumming                              Testimonial - Photos   


It wasn't long before he decided that smoke-filled rooms and the late night gigs were not only damaging to his health, but not as lucrative as magic performances.  In keeping with his philosophy of caring for the body/mind/spirit, he chose to make the martial arts and magic his primary focus.  This was a good decision.  He has that degree in music and those years provided a basis for the performer he is today.  The basic rhythm and dexterity required in drumming have become second nature to him and thus a part of his performance in magic or the martial arts.

For several years he owned a Tai Chi Academy in Skokie, Illinois.  This kept him involved with various teachers from around the world as well as his students.  When asked specifically about the benefits of Tai Chi to magic, he couldn't say enough.  He knows that Tai Chi has helped his health and endurance.  He adds that it also helps him to relax during a performance.  When he speaks of the mind/body connection...he draws analogies of the performer who is weak in this area and cannot remain calm and focused during a performance.  He is convinced that the Tai Chi helps him to relax and to present himself well.  He knows that the flexibility and focusing skills learned from Tai Chi are transferred to his magic.   

 

 Herbert Jann Ready To Perform

Magic And Mentalism

 Herb Barnett Ready To Teach You

The Martial Art Of Tai-Chi Chuan 

 

This gives him time to structure his life in a way that provides time for creativity as well as practice on existing routines.

Herb looks back at the struggles he's been through to get to where he is today...and says "It's been worth it...I enjoy my life so much."  He recommends that anyone interested in magic read as much as they can in magic books as well as on exercise and diet.  He further suggests that you: "Add exercise to your lifestyle.  Find an instructor to help with the exercise program.  This will aid in centering oneself emotionally, intellectually and physically...and help you enjoy each moment of your magic and your art."

I was invited to participate in the filming of a magic show that Herb is doing for Cable TV.  He did a brief stand-up act using coins, silks, a wand, and a paper that was torn and restored.  This was followed with a 20 minute close-up routine in which he had eight guests to share in the magic of the moment.  He was as relaxed and as at ease as he is in his Tai Chi classes.  This was a delightful afternoon in September during which time I was happily fooled by Herb's card routines.

He performs magic for private parties, restaurants, colleges, weddings, banquets, benefits and corporations.  His work primarily consists of mentalism, and close-up.  Most of his mental act consists of cold reading, predictions, psychometry, card work, and using basic intuition about people.  He has two agents who book him for engagements and has been kept quite busy.  This summer he taught a class in magic at Harper College with professional clowns, magicians and sales people in attendance.  In addition he taught four classes to teenagers at Harper. 

The balance between these three fields of magic, music and martial arts has worked exceedingly well for Herb.  It's evident that the years of discipline required in a percussion music major, the relaxation and flexibility required in the martial arts, as well as the love of magic have all come together to help Herb achieve a well deserved success.  Continued good luck Herb!

The above biography only 'in-part' for this website titled 'In Other Worlds' was written for the International Brotherhood of Magicians in The Linking Ring Magazine.                       Dated: March, 1994 - Volume 74/Number 3 - If you are interested in reading the complete 'In Other Worlds' Linking Ring article, written by Robbie Wilmarth, you can contact the I.B.M. (International Brotherhood of Magicians) Magic Club.    

 Professional Entertainment To Suit Any Occasion

 

View a sample Magic Performance of Herbert Jann on YouTube.

(Click above for YouTube Magic Show)

 Exciting Fun For The Whole Family Or Any Corporate Event

                            Entertaining Kids With Balloon Art                                                  Performing Mentalism & Magic For Adults

 

With a dramatic and captivating appearance, Herbert Jann entertains his audience.  Having many years of experience with entertaining children and/or adults, Herbert displays a remarkable ability to lure his spectators into the performance, with confidence and sophistication.

By applying the mystery of Magic and Psychic entertainment, Mr. Jann specializes in creating the right atmosphere to suit any occasion from small in-home parties to large stage productions.

 

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