Last week I got back from Hollywood, where I was performing at the world famous Magic Castle – much like the baseball league, the use of ‘world’ often means ‘in America’ but it’s still a big deal.
The Magic Castle is a private club for magicians that was founded in the early 60s by the Larsen brothers. For many years it was the home of Genii magazine, and perhaps more importantly, the home of Dai Vernon – the father of modern close up magic. It’s the magic epicentre of the world, and to be booked to perform there is a goal for most professional magicians. Only the best get to go, and the standards are high.
So, what was an Edinburgh magician doing in LA? I was there as part of Scottish Week, where the cream of Scotland’s magic elite, and John Archer, took over the Castle for seven days to make one heck of an impression on the locals. I was on for the Late Close Up slot, which is the more rowdy crowd – luckily they can’t really hold a torch to an average Edinburgh magic audience, so I had nothing to worry about.
I got to meet many people with whom I had only communicated through email, which was good and even more about whom I had only read. I spent an afternoon with Tony Giorgio, who is a bit of a legend amongst magicians over there – he was a card and dice hustler in the 40s and 50s and wrote about his experiences in Genii for many years. He’s getting on now, but still had that spark in his eye when he spoke, and did not hold back with his critiques – some moves I did got an approving nod and others got a sly smile, a shake of the head and a raspy ‘that wouldn’t get the money’. Happily I got more of the former.
Now I’m back home in Edinburgh it’s time to settle back into the life of the Scottish magician – wedding season is kicking off soon and more and more couples are looking for a wedding magician to perform walkaround magic at their reception. Wedding magic may be the bread and butter work for Scottish magicians, but I still enjoy meeting new people – which is just as well, really.
This month I seem to be all over Scotland performing magic, from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, and then I get my annual ‘run away’ weekend at the Blackpool magic convention – two days of too many magicians in one room. I see it as a shopping and social exercise, and I rarely get to any of the lectures.
Lunchtime awaits – hopefully it won’t be five months before my next post…