Sunday, November 19, 2006

Friday • Lunch at the Magic Castle

This was the second week in a row that I went to the Magic Castle for lunch on Friday. It amazes me how close I live. In good traffic, as it was on Friday, it took me 10 minutes door to door. Although it was a lighter crowd than the previous week, I was not disappointed with who I saw. I saw Aye Jaye as I parked and we walked up together. He sang a little ditty and showed me the fresh blue chicken eggs that he had brought for Gay Blackstone. We entered the club and he continued singing for the hostess. I find Aye Jaye's attitude and personality refreshing and I think he's a lot of fun to be around.

While Mr. Jaye was schmoozing the staff, a fellow in the gift shop caught my eye as he looked very familiar. We both recognized each other about the same time. It was Alphonso! I have only seen him a couple times over the last 20 years, but when I lived here in the 80's, we were both fixtures at the Castle. He walked me outside and pointed to where he lived back in those days. A nice apartment, only a few blocks away from the Castle. For the last 17 years, he has, and still does, live in North Hollywood, less than a mile from where I live. I think we'll be seeing much more of each other. We talked about the old days hanging out in the corner with Vernon and Jennings. . . those were the days. Cigar smoke and cocktails, card tricks and the history of our lives being formed and molded at the feet of the masters. It really was a very exciting time.

We went upstairs and ran into Billy Goodwin, card man extrodinare, and librarian for the Castle's extensive research library. I had no idea that he commutes 5 days a week from Oxnard to Hollywood to do this.

After lunch he gave me the full tour of the library and told me about the current renovations going on. It's obvious that he takes this job seriously. Mr. Goodwin, in my opinion, could be one of the most underrated card me around. He is gifted in his ability to construct high power diabolical routines that are both entertaining and real foolers. I look forward to hanging out with him more as well!

Lunch was good. At the table were: Pete Biro, Ron Wilson, Joe Someone or other, Aye Jaye, Whit Haydn and myself. It was nice to finally meet Mr. Haydn after all these years of mutual friends. I am pleased that I am starting to plug into the magic community here in my new home of Los Angeles. It's odd, I asked both Alphonso and Billy if they get together with anyone and session regularly, they both said no. Why do I feel like this is about to change and things are about to get more fun? I know. . .

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