InsideMagic Favorite The Houdini Museum in Scranton launches its newest venture with a big social media boom. Dick Brookz and the lovely Dorothy Dietrich not only run the Nation’s finest Houdini Museum, but have now announced brought to life their vision for a board game called Houdini Opoly. Mr. Brookz says he and museum co-operator Dorothy Dietrich came up with the idea about two years ago based on the museum’s popular tours. “We go through Houdini’s life in a circle from beginning to end. Well guess what, that’s how a board game works.”
Like the other “opoloy” sounding boardgame based on ancient New Jersey shore, the Houdini Opoly features game board property is a place significant to Houdini’s life ranging from his birthplace in Budapest, Hungary to his burial place in New York City. There are even two northeastern Pennsylvania in the game: One is Welsh Brothers Circus where he found his most steady work in the 19th century. The other, the Houdini museum in Scranton. Yay!
Where can one get ‘Houdini Opoly’ you ask? Well, Mr. Brookz and Ms. Dietrich launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the board game. While the goal for game players is to accumulate as many Houdini properties as possible using game pieces, dice and deeds, Mr. Brookz says he and Ms. Dietrich are striving for something much more. “The goal of the game is to get Houdini in people’s houses around the world. The goal of the game is to create a collectible.”
The magic couple think Houdini would have loved the game. “I think he’d be all for it because he loved publicity,” said Mr. Brookz who added that the Kickstarter goal is to reach at least $8,000 to produce upwards of 1,000 editions of ‘Houdini Opoly’. Click here to learn more about the campaign.
Click here to Inside Magic’s Favorite Houdini Museum in the world! www.houdini.org
According to the magazine’s website, the second location will be called the Magic Castle Cabaret and overlook a lake and nature preserve in Montecito. The location was the former home of the Casa del Sol restaurant and events center.
“The structure is about a fifth the size of the Hollywood castle and will feature a 50-seat theater and a lounge. Milt Larsen co-founded the original private membership club for magicians in 1963 and spent decades shaping the building into a labyrinth of dining rooms, theaters, and exhibition spaces, incorporating architectural castoffs from historic L.A. mansions. He now splits his time between Hollywood and Santa Barbara and wanted a club for his friends up north.”
Mr. Larsen told the LA Magazine reporter, “I’m gonna make it look like a castle with a lot of stained glass and woodwork,” Larsen said. “It will strictly be devoted to close-up magic and variety arts. We might have an evening with Richard Sherman or a comedian. It’s a gorgeous little place with a lakefront view.”
Mr. Larsen purchased site in June 2016. At the time of the sale, the location at 30 Los Patos Way was listed for $2,350,000. It consists of just under 4,000 square-feet of restaurant space and sits on an almost 12,000 square-foot parcel of land adjacent to the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. The new location is within walking distance from Santa Barbara’s East Beach and Montecito’s Coast Village Road.
There is no word on the membership policies for the new club. We will keep you up-to-date as we learn more.
This just in from the Magic Castle – Academy of Magical Arts. A wonderful holiday present for members and lovers of magic. The twelve-year lease for the Magic Castle as the official clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts gives a welcome relief from the perpetual concern that this wonderful landmark and mecca was living on borrowed time.
The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the Academy of Magical Arts has entered into a long-term lease with our landlord, Magic Castle Park, LLC, for our tenancy at the Magic Castle and exclusive use of the adjacent parking lot.
The lease is for a term of twelve years and includes a great majority of the terms in our prior lease, which was on a month-to-month basis. The modifications to the existing lease lengthen the term to twelve years; include new rent amounts and annual adjustments; and permit the AMA to deduct from the rent certain amounts for capital improvements to the building.
The Board believes that this long-term lease, the first of its kind in the AMA’s history, provides us with unprecedented security in our right to continue occupying the Magic Castle; a predictable and affordable rent schedule; and the opportunity to invest in the building by way of upgrades and capital improvements. During the lease period, the AMA will continue to build a capital fund that can be used at a future date toward a longer term real estate solution.
The Board would like to thank the management, staff and membership for 54 years of support for the club. As a result of the lease, all club members can now look forward to enjoying many more years at the Magic Castle. President Randy Sinnott will discuss this further at the Founders’ Day celebration on January 2, 2017.
Curators have assembled restraints, love letters, scripts, press kits and handwritten descriptions of magic tricks for the very special exhibit.
Eric Colleary, Cline curator of Theater and Performing Arts, said Houdini stood out because of how he identified himself.
“Houdini was different than many others during his time for a number of reasons,” Colleary said. “He considered himself an illusionist, rather than a magician.”
The exhibit will include pieces related to Houdini’s debunking of spiritualism with a special presentation by Austin-based theater company The Hidden Room titled, Houdini Speaks to the Living. Based on correspondence, essays, diaries and photographs from the Ransom Center, the performance will pit Houdini against Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the issue of spiritualism.
And there is even more. The center will screen The Grim Game and a hold a cooking class based on the great performer’s favorite foods.
Magicians and chefs will learn to make chicken paprikash with fennel potatoes; Hungarian goulash with spatzel; and custard bread pudding with cherry sauce. We knew we liked Houdini but now we realize we would have loved to eat dinner with him. In fact, when we were younger, we were part of two person telepathy team known as Goulash and Spatzel. We were trying to break into the niche market of Hungarian food lovers who enjoyed poorly rehearsed mentalism routines. Surprisingly, it was not a success, but we ate well; so that was good.
From our perspective, it is heart-warming (in a good way, not like an organ transplant way) that Houdini continues to inspire and intrigue the general public.
“I’m very interested in illusionists’ performances and their ability to captivate and confuse audiences with acts that seem beyond the realm of possibility,” communication studies junior Alyssa Hollander said. “I even subscribed to a magic subreddit because I wanted to learn how to do card tricks.”
“Programs like these are not only fun and engaging, but they also help us to understand different facets of Houdini’s life and career that we may not have realized before,” Colleary said.
Check out the Ransom Center’s website for all of the details.
We are not being metaphorical or figurative. The images of the physical tearing of this petite powerhouse is startling and not appropriate for those with a faint constitution. How intense are the images? A UFC website cautions its readers “WARNING: It gets a little graphic, but hey, it’s all fake, right?” This from a site that must assume its readers are used to a full-color display of gore and body fluid. We watched the tease video because we felt obliged to protect the sensitive eye(s) our loyal reader – we’re working on rebuilding our audience numbers. We should not have been eating baked ziti at the time, though. Perhaps it was the warm, flat red Kool-Aid or the bumpy ride over city streets, but our sensitive stomach did not react well to the imagery; neither did the Uber driver to what she saw in the back seat and the back of the seats of her otherwise spotless and odorless Prius.
Ms. VanZant has apparently done well in the UFC (like “KFC” but with people instead of poultry, we think) and is said to have a devastating kick attack. Nonetheless, she weighs just 115 pounds and stands just under five foot four inches tall. We can tell you from the video that she has a very flat stomach, straight spine and some sort of anemia in her abdomen. She is brave and tough and has proven her ability by fighting competitors in the UFC as well as the perhaps more formidable Dancing with the Stars.
Criss Angel’s Trick’d Up will appear on A&E at 9:00 pm on Wednesday, October 12th. We are told he will perform 30 illusions and will be joined by celebrity guests (in addition to Ms. VanZant) including: Gary Oldman, Paris Jackson, comedian Andrew Dice Clay, “Blackish” star Miles Brown, Latino pop superstar Belinda, DJ Steve Aoki, and UFC stars Frank Mir, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture.
You can check out the teaser video showing the vivisection of Ms. VanZant here. It is very graphic and not suited for young people (under 30), older people (35 and up) or folks eating baked ziti in the back of a Prius.