I got a call from Vaclav last week. He had moved down here from Seattle around the time I did, but we haven't seen that much of each other. We made plans to go participate in one of the famed Dean Dill Wednesday afternoon Barber Shop Magic Sessions. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. It turned out to be a freaking who's who of the magic world. A bunch of the guys working the Castle were there. There was a young fellow named Rick Merrill, I had never heard of him, but it seems that he's been causing quite a stir since winning the FISM Grand Prix, last year. I'm always the last one to find these things out.
Bob Sheets, Gene Anderson and Steven Bargatze were all in attendance and also working the Magic Castle this week. After finding this out Vaclav and I made plans to see the guys perform that evening. Great group of guys and and things gelling into a pretty decent session. Some guys from San Diego showed up as a bunch of us went around the corner to get a bite to eat. When we got back Dean performed a newly unveiled item of his. A very cool version of coins through table. I like Dean's thinking and his work.
Next in was another interesting character. This young whipper snapper finger fling'en card man happens to be the center for the Philadelphia Eagles. Performing for us with two broken fingers, he did a nice job and scored bonus points for grace under pressure.
Bob Sheets has a special place in my heart. I'm not sure why, but we've known each other for at least a couple of decades. Can't say that I really know him, but when we see each other; it feels like no time has past. The last time I saw him was his Seattle Lecture in 2005. Here he is performing his version of Patrick Pages 3 Card Monte Routine. He just cracks me up. Not only is he a funny guy, but a wonderful magician and great entertainer. Bob Sheets brings a lot to the table when he performs. A unique, funny and well developed character, great chops and an overall understanding of what he's doing. He's got his own thing going on.
More magicians arrived including Jon Lovick, Pete Biro and a cast of thousands. Steven Bargatze entertained with a card routine but it wasn't till seeing his performance in the Palace of Mystery later that night that I realized what a freak this guy is. Fun stuff and a well balanced show with Gene Anderson as a co-headliner. Lots of different styles, lots of different approaches. We had been at the Barber Shop for three hours but if felt like we just got there,
Dean performed his famous "Dean's Box". I remember learning this trick and thinking how happy I was to add it to my repertoire. At my shop in Cincinnati I sold 9 of these boxes. I love the trick, simple, easy to do, and a real fooler. Dean should be commended for his excellent work in community building here in LA. Scene's like this are disappearing. The magic session is an endangered species and Dean deserves the respect and appreciation of the community that he fosters in his establishment.
What other barber shop in the world has a cup collection like this? The welcoming atmosphere, ever changing cast of bizarre characters and good magic is enough to keep me coming back! It's a good life. Although things can get strange and the whirlwind of weirdness that is my life can be overwhelming, It always seems to come down to magic and making people happy.
When hanging out with other magicians, There is a sense of family. Were all in this together. We're all trying to do the same thing in our own way. Make the world a better place, one smile at a time. It was a great afternoon of friendship and magic. Of seeing old friends and making new ones. Thanks to Dean Dill for being the great guy that he is. Vaclav and I both agreed that we might just have to make this a regular Wednesday afternoon thing.