The Magic Castle – No Crutch

Joan DuKoreThe Magic Castle should not be a crutch.

These famous words were uttered by Winston Churchill but they were about an actual crutch and his lack of need for them after a car crash whilst touring America.  But it still fits.

We love the Magic Castle and we love reporting on the latest acts that appear in the various rooms but we also fear that we may bore audiences of Inside Magic by reporting only on magic seen there.

Our solution is to talk about the food we had and then work our way into the magic on stage.

We went with a delicious Beef Wellington (speaking of Churchill) and our beloved had the manicotti.  Both meals were expertly cooked and good enough to eat – as we proved.

We performed downstairs in the amateur rooms as permitted by the Man, Matt Vizio.  He runs the joint and if he says you can perform, you’re good to go.  He let us do two shows and we are in his debt for the honor of performing for such wonderful audiences.

The beauty of performing at the Magic Castle is that people are coming to see magic.  They are not hoping for a tribute to Queen or a demonstration of weaving from indigenous folk.  Although, ironically, we do wear a Freddy Mercury leotard woven by indigenous weavers from Scotland.  We chafe and we sweat but we feel we do both sources justice.  We no longer sing because of requests from virtually everyone we have ever met. The New York Times said of our act, “It makes you long for Freddy Mercury in his prime or at any age and true indigenous weavers.” Notably, the review got our name wrong; calling us Tom Quinine, so the review has not hurt our career.

Dana Daniels and Richard Allen brought their world-famous “The No Show” to the Palace of Mystery.  We laughed so hard that we feared we would pass-out.  Seriously.  We could not stop laughing as Mr. Daniels did his escape routine that the air was not getting to our lungs, brain or heart.  We tried to think of unfunny things but it would not work.  We tried to breathe deeply, but our lungs were laughing too hard.  It was a funny situation for our body and we didn’t mind.

Audiences had a chance to see the new Luigi.  His predecessor worked with Mr. Daniels for almost three decades before passing on.  The new Luigi is just as beautiful parrot with a penchant for cheating at mentalism.

The No Show should not be missed.  Let’s assume you have something else to do for some reason, you should not do it.  You should go see The No Show instead.  Water skiing, mountain climbing, any form of fungal removal?  None are sufficient reasons to miss The No Show.  Although if the fungal removal has been delayed for, say, years, it might be a good time to see a specialist and avoid crowds.  Nay, not a single reason can justify missing this show.

Well, except for one reason.

In the Close-Up Gallery, the lovely Ms. Joan DuKore is performing the early shows (7:00 • 7:45 • 8:30 • 9:15) and puts on a great show.  If we had talent, grace and could perform, we would be Ms. DuKore.  She hails from Las Vegas and relates much of her performance to Sin City.  Her card handling is great, she works with bunnies and she performs effects that you have likely never seen before in your sheltered, protected life – but in a good way, not like you were in prison.

The bottom line: Eat the Beef Wellington, Watch The No Show and enjoy Joan DuKore.  Don’t worry about passing out due to hypoxia, it’s a myth.

Magician / Clothier Ted Baker gives you a chance to touch magic.

We love magic and people who love magic.  Therefore we love Ted Baker the famous clothier.Shingles from the Magic Castle on the Ted Baker Storefront

So, we’re walking through the new Century City Mall, in the ritzy section of Los Angeles, next to Beverly Hills; where people drive Mercedes and Rolls Royce manufactured vehicles not even to show off but because their more expensive, nicer car is in the shop – or so they’ve been told by their household staff.  And we walk by Ted Baker’s clothing store.

We are not clothing  horses.  We’re not even people who know where our clothes came from.  We don’t know if we bought them first hand, were lent them and forgot to return them, or found them in the laundromat  (Suds-n-Suds on Wilshire where you can have a beer (hence suds) whilst your clothes clean (hence the other suds)).

But we stopped in front of the window of Ted Baker’s storefront and fell in love.  He had rabbits coming out of old opera hats – the kind that really collapse and open with a snap – much like our pants.  He had different exotic decks of cards shown and even had a portrait of a magician that had a 3-D image emerging from it.

But there was something about the shingles.  First of all we are talking about the shingles he used to cover the front of his boutique and not the type we contracted and have never had such pain without relief since our days in that special club we joined by accident when first arriving in Hollywood – “Crunch and Pain” sounds like an exercise club and so we excuse ourselves and never associate with the members of what was decidedly not an exercise club – evident by the lack of movement by the members.

The shingles, we learned, were from The Magic Castle.  After the fire, Mr. Ted Baker purchased the remnants of the saved pieces removed from the burnt structure.  His store has the shingles from the roof on the outside and inside of his store and the front counter has wooden cabinets from the Castle.  It is wonderful.

We were told by the very friendly and helpful staff that Mr. Ted Baker has different stores around the world and chooses different themes for each.  We were lucky that he chose magic as the theme for this store.  We have it on great authority – an employee at the Castle – that Mr. Ted Baker is actually a magician and a member of the Castle.

We’ve never bought clothes for ourselves – not even at Crunch and Pain – but if we were to do so, we would do so at Mr. Ted Baker’s store.  If you are in the Century City / Beverly Hills area of California, please do stop by his shop and see all of the wonderful things he has saved from our art’s history.  By all means feel the shingles both inside and outside the store.  They are loose but they withstand even the most amorous caress.

Magicians Jade and Levit Take the Peller

Inside Magic Image of JadeMagicians Jade and Jonathan Levit take over Pellar Theatre at the Magic Castle this weekend.  They have been friends and colleagues for 30 years – so that means, Mr. Levit first became aware of Jade while she was in utero – and that’s fine by us.

It is no secret that Jade is not only an Inside Magic Favorite but also one of our personal favorite performers.  We have watched her perform in venues across the United States and have always hoped that one day we would be selected to assist in one of her fantastic routines.  Our hope was not rewarded this evening but again, that is fine by us.

In fact there is virtually nothing Jade could do that would not be fine by us.  We consider her three ring routine one of the best we have seen – and we have seen a bunch.  It is truly magic to watch.  Her grace and poise match the beauty of this historical effect.  We also saw a side of Jade we haven’t seen before.  She was working with Mr. Levit to perform “Simultaneous Mentalism™.”  We just made up that term and may seek trademark protection so do not go throwing it around too loosely.

We do not want to spoil the effect and may have already done so by saying the words “simultaneous” and “mentalism” so forget we said those words.  Our point is, Jade and Mr. Levit performed at the same time and did an effect that was truly startling and exciting.

Mr. Levit has a wonderful on-stage personality.  We assume his off-stage is just as wonderful but we did not have a chance to talk to him post-performance.  He is likeable and talented and nimble in thought, words, and deeds.  His twist – see what we did there? – on the now very popular Rubik’s Cube effect was truly original and so well done.  He told a wonderful story to surround what in the hands of other performers is merely a stunt and a short stunt at that.  A stunted stunt.

Jade and Mr. Levit work together so well on stage that it appears they have been doing just that for years.  And yet, we learned this was their first time working together.

The Peller Theatre is always a wonderful venue for great magic just due to the sightlines and proximity to the performers but when the performers are as wonderful as Jade and Mr. Levit, it is truly a magic venue.  If you have a chance to visit the Magic Castle this weekend, be sure to check out the Peller.

But it is late now and time for us to start our night job.  We’ll tell you more about that in later entries.  It’s like Uber or Lyft but with a bicycle.

Inside Magic Review – Five out of Five – Our Highest!

Magic Castle Gets 12 Year Lease – Breaking

The Magic CastleThis 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.

Pop Haydn is a Guilty Pleasure

Pop Haydn - Photo by Billy BaqueWatching Pop Haydn is a guilty pleasure for us.

Unlike eating an entire pint of ice cream whilst binge watching previously unseen How It’s Made episodes, we are not left feeling too guilty or dotted with chocolate stains when we watch the master perform.

Recently we attended a private party at The Magic Castle and saw the incredible Pop Haydn own the crowds gathered in the Peller Theatre for four performances.  We legitimately attended the first show of the evening and then snuck in again for a later show.  It was wonderful.

Pop f/k/a Whit Haydn works a room better than anyone we have ever seen.  He interacts with the audience effortlessly and handles volunteers so well that each outing was like a lesson in advanced magic techniques.

He performed his iconic The Six Card Trick, Color Changing Silk, Mongolian Pop Knot and finished with his world-famous Four Ring Routine.

Magicians know that Pop has been performing these effects for many years but he brought each alive for his enthusiastic lay crowds last night as if it was the first time.  He has a tremendous ability to take what the audience gives him and work it to the further betterment of his routine.  He never drops his character or varies from the spirit of his persona.

We checked with our friends who attended the shows last night and to a one, each thought Pop was absolutely incredible, the highlight of the evening.  That is saying a lot considering they had the entire Magic Castle filled with performers with whom to compare.

If we could have, we would have watched all four of his performances.  Some would say that is obsessive and they would usually be correct but not in this case.  Unlike fattening ice cream, excessive watching of Pop Haydn cannot clog one’s arteries, stain clothing or rot teeth.  It can lead to bewilderment and disorientation but we are willing to take those risks for the benefits received.

Inside Magic Review: Five Out of Five – Our Highest!

Photo Credit: Billy Baque