Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An evening at The Magic Castle

Friends in town and little sleep.

I'm not sure where the last few days went, but I can tell you who I spent them with. Shawn Greer showed a couple of days ago. He drove in from Phoenix to have some fun at the Castle, hang a bit at the house and see a concert at the bowl. We picked up Chris Karney the next evening at LAX and went straight to the Magic Castle.

Chris flew down from San Francisco on a whim to interrogate Denny Haney (who was performing on the bill) about cigarette droppers. Denny was polite but Chris leaned into him a bit anyway.

We had a few cocktails and ran into Todd Karr who, among his many other pursiuts, is the Entertainment Director for the Castle. I met Todd in Seattle right before he moved here. To say I'm a fan of his work would be understatement. His work at the Miracle Factory is ambitious and will certainly secure him a top slot in the history of magic literature.

Denny & Chris

We watched the show in the Palace of Mystery which was followed by Mr. Karney's ranting about the state of magical entertainment. He is adamant that most professional magicians have settled on their material, given up on their acts and that their predictable joke structure is so safe that it insults his sensibility as an audience member. Wow. . . now there's a mouthful!

I thought that show was fine and that the audience had a good time. Chris argued that it was forced nervous laughter. What I do like about Chris and his strong point of view is that he challenges my mission at every turn. Who am I, what am I doing. . . the way that I will connect with my audience's will be through them getting to know me. It will be more than my bad jokes that will engage someone to give me the opportunity to earn their respect, their time and their enthusiasm

Chris, Shawn & Bob

Chris had some dinner, while Shawn and I nursed our drinks and shuffled cards. It had been over a decade since I was last at the Magic Castle and felt good to be back. It seemed so different without The Professor and the cigar smoke. It's a changing world; keep up, get out of the way or do something.

We left after midnight in search of the next thing. A drive down Santa Monica Blvd. took us to some nondescript bar with a neon sign that said cocktails. The place looked closed on a Sunday night but turned out that it was supposed to look closed and that we were definitely at the right place. The bartender proved it by buying a shot for Chris.

More drinks, more fun, more tricks and more critical evaluations of the art.

I'm not sure what happened next, but almost at once everyone sitting at the bar lit up. Shit, if they're gonna smoke. . . so will we. We lit up inside a bar,just like in the good ol days before the clean air act.

Chris, Me & Shawn

After we closed the bar, we headed back home where the session spiraled out of control. Oy!

More smoking and drinking and laughing. Talking and having the best of times with good friends.

Magic Session
6AM Session aftermath

1 comment:

KenJon said...

Tom $ Shawn at the Castle. Cups & Balls and Card tricks in the dungon. Smoking Drinking sessions till 6AM. Sounds Like Tom is Back in LA. Wish I were there. Tom Good Luck Hope LA treats you well. Chapel Hill NC