In other circles it would be considered stalking but at the Magic Castle, it is just watching; albeit obsessively.
We can literally watch Doc Eason perform for hours on end without rest – or blinking. He is currently performing at the WC Fields Bar at the Magic Castle and so we have been lurking / admiring and enjoying his shows this week.
Doc works a room better than any politician or performer we have ever seen and we have seen great ones in each category. He gets the crowd laughing, chanting and then fools the heck out of them. Either he is the world’s greatest actor or he really enjoys interacting with people. He takes the audiences as he finds them and within minutes they are all together, trusting him and following his instruction and misdirection without exception.
His patter is effortless and truly funny. The jokes fit the moments and add to the distraction and misdirection. He is not cruel or mean and perhaps that is why he so quickly gains the trust of the audience. There is no reason for them to be on the defensive.
All of his patter and personality would be insufficient if he did not have the sleight-of-hand skills to perform incredible acts of magic under test conditions. He tells the audience what is going to happen, tells them where it will happen and then it happens and they are blown away.
If you are not able to make it to the Magic Castle this weekend, check out Doc Eason’s videos on YouTube or some of his instructional DVDs available at your local magic store or through his website.
The move from sleepy Mystic Hollow, Michigan to Hollywood, California has been an adventure. The final two land-sea containers arrived early this morning and the crew worked through the night to get most of our props and sets delivered to a warehouse just a block from our new digs. It looks like most of the equipment made it without damage although some of the animals were a bit bedraggled and those family members (and crew) that elected to travel the sea route in the containers probably now regret their decision. They had hope of seeing the majestic Mississippi River and the Panama Canal from their makeshift bunks in the nicer of the two 53-foot containers. We learned too late into the trip that the containers have no windows and are locked from the outside.
Hollywood reminds us of Mystic Hollow in so many ways. People are very friendly, there is an appreciation for magic and it is hilly.
Unlike Mystic Hollow, Hollywood is always sunny and bright and people are out-of-doors walking and running and smiling in the sun (with appropriate levels of sunblock we hope). We have taken to eating sushi often and while it was initially expensive, we found a cheaper method of getting our fresh fish fix. We found a store called, “Hollywood Fish and Tackle.” Great deals can be found and while the chefs are not out front and it is more of a take-out place, it offers great deals on great food.
Everyone here in Hollywood drinks water. It is a strange thing to see how much water people drink. They carry water with them at all times. We have become paranoid about our lack of water drinking and while Diet Coke provides water – it is the first ingredient according to our close inspection of the can – it apparently is déclassé in this milieu. We are rebels and will fight the cause of Diet Coke until they pry our shaking, jaundiced and likely dehydrated paws from our last can.
Coming to Hollywood means coming to the mecca of our art, The Magic Castle. We are in the process of applying to be a magician member of the august body and whilst we wait, Pop Haydn has been very kind to extend us invitations to visit.
Pop Haydn should be given the Nobel Prize for Magic. We had a chance to see his show at two of his completely packed shows in the W.C. Fields Bar downstairs in the Castle. He does things that cannot be explained or effectively stolen. We should know, we tried to do both. His persona is so engaging and his skills make him the Michael Jordan of Magic – except he has more hair and is nicer to his fans. He performed palming moves that we would not even consider trying on stage in a darkened theater without an audience. Yet, he gracefully handled the deck and did the impossible within 18 inches of a very observant crowd.
Plus, he works the room so well.
So, he is like a Nobel Prize Laureate mixed with an incredible basketball player who has the skills of a brilliant (but sincere) politician.
Speaking of the W.C. Fields Bar, we got to see Doc Eason again. Doc has been a fine supporter of Inside Magic over the last forty years and has continued to make magic seem magic even to magicians. As many loyal readers (and even the few disloyal ones) know, Doc Eason is the Top Magic Bartender on this side of the equator. It could be that he owns that title south of the globe’s midsection but we haven’t gone to any magic bars there yet. His magic is impossible and seems spontaneous. He gives the impression that every crowd is getting a special show – designed just to meet them where they sit. We watched him three times in one evening (in Mystic Hollow we call that stalking) and he consistently worked the same wonderful routine, playing with everything the audience gave and ended strong and humble. A true master. He was kind enough to act as if he remembered us from our prior meetings back in Michigan; that shows he is a good guy.
Speaking of cute and endearing; we eat up cute. If we were in Japan, we would cute overload and likely pop with a satisfied Hello Kitty sigh. But we almost never see cute at The Magic Castle. There is beautiful and amazing and grand, but very little cute. But we saw cute of the best possible kind there the other night when Lindsay Benner took the stage at the Palace of Mystery. While Ms. Benner does not perform magic per se, she is magical in her handling of the audience during her silent juggling routine.
Ms. Benner has combined great juggling skills with an adorable persona and tremendous stage presence to make one of the most enchanting shows we have seen in a while. She introduced her act with an oversized text called “The Book of Love.” She invited a very fortunate male volunteer to join her on stage and performed incredible juggling around and near that man. She worked the room without a word and received a standing ovation from the sometimes jaded magic crowd. If we ever wanted to have someone juggle sharp things by our head, she would be the one to do it. You can read a nice article about her in the New York Times here.
Hollywood is Inside Magic’s new home. Our temporary office – adjacent to a store that sells only specialized food for dogs – is still packed with crates and boxes that need to be handled. While we do that, we will keep you apprised of all the goings-on.
The article traces incredible story and his involvement in Aspen’s increasingly important role in the world of magic.
In what he described as a life-changing event, Mr. Eason tells how he came to see “California buddies who had just convinced John Denver — flush with the success of “Rocky Mountain High” — to invest in a bar and restaurant, the Tower, that featured performances of magic. He headed straight to the Tower, saw Bob Sheets, the Tower’s first magician-in-residence, perform his act, and decided to try his hand at sleight of hand.”
He felt at home with Bob Sheets. His performances from behind the bar “created an atmosphere of congeniality that translated into a sound that was magic to Eason’s ears.”
Mr. Eason worked the Tower Bar for more than 27 years (about 14,000 shows). His venue may have changed after the bar closed in 2004 – he now performs trade shows, corporate functions, and lectures.
Read the full article over at The Aspen Times’ web site to learn the best advice Bob Sheets ever gave Doc Eason. It is excellent advice for all of us.