Friday, April 20, 2007

Castle Capers

It's been quite the week, to say the least! Last Friday, Betty and I left for Hollywood, California to attend the Magic Castle Swap Meet. Friday, we arrived around 11:30 AM and met up with Chuck and Gerald Kirchner from Magic City and gathered for lunch at Musso & Frank's along with Robert Baxt, Pete Biro, Joe Porper, Doug Malloy, Glen Farrington, Steven Steele, Lou Hirshorn, and Carl Ballantine. Carl was in rare form, as always, keeping the table in stitches while we TRIED to eat, and he asked me to bring Scott Alexander's Slashed Rope routine for him, and he was delighted and intrigued by this prop and looked forward to checking it out. Joe Porper and Pete Biro showed me two brand new items, which you will see appearing very soon on our web site. One is a prop that most mentalists will be extremely interested in purchasing, and the other is a very unique new paddle involving a wine bottle. I really liked this effect as it is completely different from any other paddle on the market today.

Carl is happy with his gift

We always have a great time with Lou Hirshorn

Robert Baxt orders his "usual"

The gang at Musso & Franks, our semi-annual tradition

After lunch, we made our way back to the hotel, sat around the pool relaxing until it was time to get ready to go to the Magic Castle for dinner. Carl Ballantine joined us for dinner and told stories of his days in Vaudeville and reminisced about the many different magicians and acts he'd witnessed. Spending time with Carl is a true gift, and just being near the man, you know he is someone special.

John Cassidy

Our good friend, Robert Baxt, was the MC at the Palace of Mystery and, as always, he did an outstanding job balancing all the acts and keeping the crowd entertained as only Robert can. The first act was Magic Christian from Europe who performed a silent manipulation act (his manipulation of cards while wearing black gloves was outstanding). Closing the Palace show was John Cassidy. The only way to describe this man's act is: scripted insanity with balloons and magic. He had the entire room laughing and was a fantastic way to close the show. I really don't know who could have followed him. If you are attending a magic convention or event, I can't recommend seeing John's act enough!

Afterwards, we made our way backstage to talk with Robert, and the following photo was taken:

Betty, Gerald Kirchner, Carl Ballantine, Me, and Chuck Kirchner

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early to be first in line for the Swap Meet and man, was I glad to be there! I bought so many items, you couldn't see out of the rear mirror of my Jeep while driving home. While there, I saw a lot of old friends, and as I was getting ready to leave, who shows up but one of my favorite comedians, Rip Taylor! This man is just as funny as he was 30 years ago! And what a nice guy! We talked for a while, and he told me about an upcoming one-man show he's working on. A great way to end the day, that's for sure!

Clowning around with Rip Taylor

Rip Taylor, always in rare form!

Heading back to Fresno, my good friend, Chuck Kirchner, came back with Betty and I to see the new location and to witness the Mark Mason lecture, held last Monday evening. Mark and his wife, Trish, are two of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. We all had dinner Monday night before Mark's lecture and then back to the shop for the 7:00 PM lecture. It was easily one of the best lectures we have had, and I urge your club or organization to book Mark whenever you can! Afterwards, we all went back to my house and sat up and talked until well after 1:00 in the morning. Great people, great time.

Me, Mark Mason, Trish Mason, and Chuck Kirchner

Mark Mason visits Hocus Pocus

Mark Mason puts on one terrific lecture!

I promised an update on the aviary my son, Max, and I built. Check out the photos below and tell me what you think:

The famous aviary

Max with Mugsy

So there you have it: lots of excitement, and I can't wait to see what's in store for next week.

Until next time,


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