Our big night is Monday evening at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California. The former home of The Magician, Tony Blake and real, non-fictional magicians is where we are heading this evening to audition with the hope of becoming a Magician Member of The Academy of Magical Arts. We are anxious, nervous, excited and hopefully prepared.
As part of the evaluation, candidates are asked to demonstrate their magical abilities. We fretted over what to perform and ruled out anything involving animals, huge props, lovely assistants, fire or the classic Pea Can. We are honored that Pop Haydn has sponsored us for consideration and do not want to let him down or embarrass him.
After much consideration and thought, we decided to go in with a deck of cards and do our best to wow the judges with the few sleights we can do. Like a great Olympic figure skater, we will start out strong and do the hard stuff right off the bat. If we screw up our second deal and false shuffles, it will set a bad tone for the rest of the eight minute routine. But, if we land the tough tricks first, the rest of the routine should go fine. For those keeping score, the sleights will be: false shuffle, Charlier pass, false shuffle, second deal, buckle, flustration count and second deal. Plus we’ll be talking and stuff at the same time.
We have kept our hands moist using the most expensive emollients available to the common man. We have practiced our patter whilst walking in our neighborhood in West Hollywood and have been largely ignored by passers-by. We will get our shoes shined and fully intend to brush our teeth and eat a medium-sized meal before heading to the Castle.
It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and as an ebook. We ordered the paperback late last night and are downloading the digital rendition as we type this very line.
To say that we worship Mr. Haydn is to grossly misstate our true feelings. He is not just an incredible magician with enviable skills and perfect timing; he is a great person as well. Mr. Haydn has supported Inside Magic since its very earliest days. In fact, his was the very first Inside Magic Celebrity Interview and still one of the most read.
We will give a full review of the new book as soon as the download is complete and our uploading (reading) is finished.
Looking back over the last year, we have much for which to be thankful. But we are never sure when we are supposed to be thankful. We may have been thankful at the wrong time, at Thanksgiving and so technically our thankfulness will either be redundant or just for the blessings received since the day before Black Friday.
But there have been many things since the official start to the shopping season that we consider thank-worthy. For instance, our eyebrows are growing back following what could have been a horrific flash paper ignition accident when we looked down the business end of our flash wand to see if the glow plug was working. It was but we couldn’t see it because of the over-stuffing of the muzzle with what we thought was too old flash paper.
We are thankful that our neighbor here on Santa Monica Boulevard was evicted and we do not need to lie awake worrying whether he was abusing cats or learning to play a stringed instrument. The new tenant seems nice. She operates a “call service” – we’re guessing that means she acts as a human alarm clock and calls customers at appointed times to make sure they get a fresh start on the day. Apparently some of her customers do not have phones – or maybe they don’t have good phone chargers – because she frequently has to leave her small office to call on them personally. She works around the clock but is very quiet and frequently brings us gifts of personal-sized shampoo and conditioner from some really nice hotels.
We are thankful that our audition at The Magic Castle is coming up. We will be performing before the membership committee in February and we were sponsored by the incomparable Pop Haydn. The extra time before our ten to fifteen minute presentation has given us plenty of time to completely re-work our act at least twelve times. We know the committee wants to see our skill set and so store-bought magic is eschewed. So, we dropped our rather lengthy Hippity Hop Rabbits routine. That could run – with the right crowd – fifteen minutes by itself.
We are thankful for finding Paper Cream to keep our very dry hands more moist and thereby allowing us to perform sleights like dealing seconds and bottoms. We were getting complaints about our constant licking of our fingers before dealing cards or performing card maneuvers. It got so bad we were asked to leave a party for licking one of our volunteers’ fingertips before she dealt the cards in a spelling card trick. It is tough to say if it was the licking or the fact that we did a spelling card trick with someone named Ida. Maybe the hostess didn’t appreciate us using a name that was so short. Maybe she was jealous of our ability to triple lift. Maybe we should have worn pants. Maybe we should have shown up on time and not the next day, at 3:00 am. Life is full of questions, just like the police.
We are very thankful for the invention of The Stripper Deck. We use ours constantly and wonder how magicians survived without it. We read that Dai Vernon once made his own using a shard of glass he found in a bathroom. He was very industrious and wise. We hope he washed his hands after making the deck, though. We do wish they had a different name for the deck. If you go to any of the stores here in West Hollywood and ask for a Stripper Deck, they treat you like you are crazy or they try to sell you something that is not a proper magic trick. Because we take seriously our oath to not reveal magic secrets, we never correct the sales people or explain what we mean by the term “Stripper Deck.” If you ever come to our editorial offices / kitchen / bedroom / guest room / den, you will see piles of odd decks and personal-sized sample bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body cream. If we are ever raided by the authorities, it will be difficult to explain that little corner of our little space.
We are most thankful for the friends we have in Magic. Those who we left behind in Michigan and those we have met since coming to Hollywood. Magicians share a common personality type that transcends the influences of environment and access to sunshine. The magicians here have accepted us despite our pasty complexion and regional differences. We would like to think they have been so ready to include us in their magic circles due to our exceptional skills and winning personality but fear it is really just because magicians are friendly and accepting.
Magic is a wonderful art daily brought to life and changed in exciting ways by people who are in it for all of the right reasons; and for that we are thankful.