Last week I performed almost 20 shows in seven days at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California. This was my fourth time performing at the Magic Castle but my first time performing my show on the “big stage” for a week in the Palace of Mystery. This was a special week for me as I knew four of the other performers. Sharing the Palace stage with me was my longtime friend Adam London, a comedy magician from Las Vegas and Christopher Hart, whom I have worked with the last couple of years at the Magic Castle performing the weekend brunch shows. Also, my friend Simon Coronel from Australia was performing in the Close Up room. So it was already bound to be a fun week!
I arrived on Monday afternoon and immediately went to get my haircut with Richie the Barber, who I had been told was the best barber in LA. One of his perks is giving free beer and/or shots of whiskey while you get your haircut. (Being that I was performing that night I limited my intake to one shot.) Richie is a very funny, chatty guy who truly loves cutting hair. He has been doing it a long time and I would agree that he does give a great haircut. Upon leaving I realized that my meter was about to expire so I bolted down the street to where I parked only to find that two minutes after the time ran out I had already been given a parking ticket for $58 for an expired meter. 58 dollars?! I couldn’t believe it. I had been in LA not more than two hours and already received a ticket. Ugh….
It was now time to drop off my things at my hotel room and then head on over to the Castle to set up my show and tech everything for the first night. The first night of shows went well enough I suppose. The major pitfall for me was having my lamp (the finale) stop working during the first show of the night. I had tested the wiring/lighting out during rehearsal that afternoon and everything worked fine. Now jump to the first show and the end of my act I go to turn the lamp on and it doesn’t turn on. Not a huge problem – I can still finish the routine but one of the great elements was now missing. Immediately after my set I take it apart to find that the wires had completely snapped off from the switch. I would now need to solder the wires back onto the switch. Just one problem, no soldering iron…
It’s a nice thing to know so many magicians and artists in the area. I was able to ask around and by the end of the night find someone who would loan me their soldering iron. The next day I came in early to fix the wires back to the switch. Having never done this before, I was a bit hesitant to do it by myself. Luckily, Bizzaro was in town at the Magic Castle for this night only. He knew how to solder! With the help of Bizzaro, we got the wires soldered back and the light was once again working!
The rest of the week went pretty smoothly – no major mishaps for sure. One of the best things about performing at the Magic Castle is being able to invite your friends to come out. Since it is a private club, getting in is an exclusive thing. (You have to be a member or know a member to get in.) The experience for your guests is almost otherworldly. I always enjoy inviting people who have never been and watching them meander through the halls, find the secret rooms, and be awed by all the magic.
People often wonder how we can do so many shows in one week without feeling “drained”. One of the joys for me is that each night, each show will be a little bit different. Certain elements of my show are dependent on my energy or the audience’s energy being a certain way. The way the audience reacts to something can steer the show up or down. Though everything in my show is rehearsed and each piece looks the same each night, there is one piece of my show that is VERY dependent on the audience – the Courting. In this piece I select a woman from the audience to come up on stage. Sometimes they are very relaxed and open to giving in to the moment and other times they are very timid and self-conscious about being on stage in front of a room full of people. The latter, of course, don’t get as “into it” and the routine ends up looking just ok. Other times, with the “right” woman the routine can be magnificent because she feels safe and plays along so well. The audience loves this too because not only are they reacting to me but also to her, and to us together. Then it really is not just about the trick we are doing but about our interaction.
By Sunday night everyone was exhausted from the demanding schedule of shows. But there is also that great feeling of success, of having been introduced to and seen by so many new people that will hopefully be left with a positive memory of their night at the Magic Castle. Overall, the week was a success and it was so much more enjoyable sharing it with good friends, creating good memories for ourselves in the process.