For years we have dreamed of going on holiday to America. “The dollar is too expensive”; “You possibly can’t afford to do this.” Well let me just put it out there for all: We did it, on our own, no help, our own initiative, and we saved every penny we took with us. Boy I am so proud of our trip. We had such an incredible time. Now, I’m not going to spend this post going through what we did from Day 1 to Day 14, but I will touch on a few experiences that have some magical touches.
Ever since getting into magic, I have heard about the Magic Castle, In Los Angeles and how it is a prestigious club where magicians perform. I’m fortunate enough to have quite an extensive digital library of Magic and a lot of the magicians seem to bring up the Castle and how it is an honour to perform there. So naturally I have wanted to check the place out, and I swore to myself that when I finally do get to the States I will go and visit the Castle. It’s like a tourist coming to Cape Town and not going up Table Mountain – unheard of. Little did I know tickets to L.A are so expensive, but that didn’t stop me and we made a whole trip out of it. We went to Disney, Universal Studios, Venice Beach, Santa Monica…. I digress. The Castle. Yes. So you need to be invited in order to go. I have a friend who performed there in December and he put me in touch with Tom Ogden who “hooked a brother up” and Lee-Ann; our host Rocky Solomon, and I went on the Sunday night to experience the Castle. That is exactly what it is, an experience. No two experiences will be the same. That is what is so awesome about it.
And Tom, who is a long-time member of the Castle and has performed there was an incredible host. You see, the website doesn’t really do justice to the Castle. The Castle is full of history. History that one can’t put on a website or in a blog post. It takes passion and love to take time to learn that the Castle is more than just a place for people to watch magic and Tom shared that side of the Castle to us. It really enhanced our evening. Thank you Tom.
You walk into the atrium where already the atmosphere is set for you: magic and mystery. The first bit of magic happened when I said the magic words to a wall full of books “Open sesame” wooooop, the door slides open. It felt eerie, yet welcoming. Everyone is dressed up so eloquently – suits, ties, dresses, and make-up. This pre-requisite for the Castle really puts forward how it takes the magic that is performed there: unique, high standards, special, and well-respected. We never ate at the restaurant due to the kosher food being incredibly expensive ($60+ per person per meal), so that meant we had to wait in longer lines in order to see the shows. Tom waited with us which made the wait so much quicker because that was when we really got to shmooze. We laughed and chatted about the Castle and Cape Town. Again, he is a character who I could see loves magic and loves what the Castle stands for.
The shows that we saw were just marvelous. I was fortunate enough to see 2 close-up shows, a ventriloquist, and 2 parlour shows. It is clear that the performers at the Castle are of a high caliber. Probably one of the best parts for me was seeing Irma in action… she is the ghost that plays the piano. Tom introduced us to her as his South African guests and she began to play our anthem. The people before us requested a song by 50 Cent, she played it, and she played it good. When you give her a tip “there’s a little something for you” she plays a happy tune. It was so awesome to watch. I wouldn’t mind a haunted piano in all honesty… as long as it doesn’t start freaking me out with theme songs from “Jaws”, “Psycho” and the like!
It was quite interesting to learn that pictures are not allowed to be taken in the Castle. Tom informed us that years ago it was permitted for photography, however because the lighting is so dim, the photos don’t turn out so well. The Castle is also a popular place for celebrities who just want some relaxed time with their loved ones and well you can imagine how relaxing it is for them if there are people crowding around and wanting pictures. All that being said, here are some pictures of the Castle taken by Star Foreman off the LA Weekly Slideshows. I hope you enjoy them, but please note that the pictures you see do not do it justice, and I highly suggest that you make sure when you’re next in L.A to go and check it out. It is a magical experience that you and whoever is privileged to go with you will not forget!
Stay tuned for more on our USA trip – Monday Night Magic in NYC is next!
Magic Castle, until we meet again…