Magic Castle

I’ve always wanted to visit the Magic Castle. The problem is in getting the invite. (Well, you can stay at the nearby hotel to gain entrance.)

The Magic Castle Hotel is right next door.

Otherwise, people can only attend if they get a special guest pass from a member of the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc. The Academy is a non-profit organization that devotes itself to the advancement of magic.

They decorated the Magic Castle for the month of October.

The Magic Castle is basically a private clubhouse for magicians and the magically-inclined. It first opened its doors in 1963 and has been going strong ever since. The Castle has a strict elegant dress code–although the attire is a bit more relaxed for brunch versus dinner. Not only do you need a special guest pass but there is also an admission fee and a meal cost. I attended a weekend brunch (which is the only time that those under twenty-one are allowed on the premises, so I saw lots of families).

The secrets of performing magicians are tightly kept, so there wasn’t any photography allowed beyond the main entrance and front room. In the lobby, you enter the mystical indoors only by uttering a password (which frequently changes) to sneak through a secret bookcase.

The Castle has three theaters (during brunch), where magic is performed: the Parlour of Prestidigitation, the Close-up Gallery, and the Palace of Mystery.

At brunch, the Parlour of Prestidigitation offers friendly-family entertainment. We had an endearing magician who really got a lot of audience participation, and it was fun watching the kids help with the magic. I even got a wonderful treat to sit down at a table outside of the Parlour and participate in a card trick. Special thanks to David for letting me enjoy some extra magic during my visit!

When I went, the Close-up Gallery featured an amazing Junior Magician (those between thirteen and twenty who show exceptional talent and are inducted in the club by auditioning before a committee). I loved how quick he was and the way he integrated new ways of doing magic, including a cell phone trick.

The Palace of Mystery is the main stage area where larger feats of magic are introduced. It was a very entertaining show done by Eric Buss–he even used a looper (a musical device that records and repeats sounds and phrases) in his act.

For some reason, the phrase “Castle Ready” tickled my fancy.

Overall, I really loved my visit to the Magic Castle. And I still have no idea how any of the tricks were done, but I enjoyed just getting transported and being in awe of everything around me.

P.S. Some extra areas of fun were the invisible piano player, Irma, who’s located on the main floor. You can request a song, and the piano will play from its wide repertoire. I also got crammed into a telephone booth near the Parlour; the phone rings and when picked up, there’s a darkened display to the side that lights up with a skeleton embedded in it!

Fun word of the day: Prestidigitation– magic tricks performed as entertainment.

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  1. Mona AlvaradoFrazier says

    Secret bookcases, how cool! I love all the photos.

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