Monday, May 28, 2012

Magic Castle

I got invited to go to The Magic Castle this past week!  Yes!   I called up my friend Johnnie and we went last night. Oh, fortunate am I to have crossed paths with a magician years ago.  Thank my lucky stars that I am friendly.  

That's a good story in itself, actually.  I was out at the Cat & Fiddle with my friends and I started talking to this guy who then started doing magic tricks at our table, like, really seriously good ones.  He levitated my glass of beer, for one.  We couldn't quite get over that.  

Then, he said he was going to try and levitate the actual pitcher and a small crowd was assembled.  I was his assistant, holding the pitcher, and he told me to let go when I didn't feel any weight, but, though it got lighter, I didn't think it was time to let go, and all of a sudden the pitcher exploded!  And to this day, I don't know if that was intentional or not.  But I always felt like our focus and energy was just too mighty for that pitcher and we made it explode together.  That's my story, and he always humored it, so, well, we'll never really know.

And from that night on, I have had a magician friend in the world, David Minkin.  Every so often, he'll perform at The Magic Castle for a week, and that's when I get to go.  I've been twice before, and was truly dazzled both times, so I was absolutely on board to go again.

I love the grandeur of going there.  The dress code is strict, so everyone is dressed to the nines and you walk in (by saying "open sesame" to a book shelf that turns to let you in!) and feel instantly transported back to some stately Victorian palace party.  Chandeliers and paintings and books and dark wood and rooms full of elegance and, some, even history.    

Johnnie had never been there before, so that added an element of fun for me.  We seemed to have really good timing with everything, too.  Right when we got there, we got a glass of wine and started exploring.  And there is so much to explore.  

Although from the outset the building doesn't look that big, once inside, it's just a maze of stairways and caverns and rooms.  And right away, Johnnie and I happened upon a small crowd gathered around a table in a stone room deep within the cellar of the castle.  We pulled up a couple of chairs and joined in.  

A magician with long gray hair slicked back in a ponytail performed card trick upon card trick, the likes of which I have never seen before.  Each more unbelievable than the last, because it seemed more like mind reading than card trickery.  These were truly baffling tricks, and we were right in front of him!  I don't even get it.  Simply put, we were astounded from the start.

Then, we wandered some more and decided to get in line early for David's show.  It turned out, however, that we were in line for a different show, so we just rolled with it and got to be amazed a second time by another magician.  And we just jumped back in line after that show to watch David, who was up next.  

His shows are the most beautiful to me.  Part of it is his personality itself.  His mannerisms are gentle and humble.  So his magic is performed on this delicate and graceful level that really captivates me.  It seems to make it all the more mysterious and real at the same time.  Like he's showing us the magnificent possibilities of the world, that for some reason he has harnessed and wants to share.  Which, on a certain level, is actually the truth. 

My favorite part is when he brings the whole crowd together to make rain.  We tap our feet and snap our fingers, and  it creates the most soft and soothing rain sound and he starts squeezing water out of the air.  Yes, you'd have to see it to understand, but I can tell you that it is one of the most mesmerizing experiences I've ever known.  

I was so happy to be there, at the magical Magic Castle, spell bound and entranced all night.  Possibly happier than anyone else there, or, at least, certainly the most vocal about it.  I admit that the concert whistle even came out a few times, which may or may not have been appropriate in such an intimate and fancy setting, but, honestly, I couldn't help myself.  I just have to express how impressed and entertained and happy I am sometimes, and the concert whistle is my go-to response for that level of enthusiasm and appreciation.  Curmudgeons will just have to deal with that one, I guess.

I don't know, but that place is like some sort of dream.  Where I find myself in a mystical place and time. Sometimes I think these people aren't just magicians doing magic tricks, but true magical beings.  Every time I'm there, it just feels like the place is filled with wizards and leprechauns and, for some glorious reason, they have welcomed me into their domain for the evening.  I like to think that anyway, because that's sure what it seems like, and it delights the child in my heart, who wouldn't see it any other way. 

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