Getting the most out of the Magic Castle
May 16, 2016 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Hola Mefi, Growing up, my Dad was a party clown and stage magician. He wasn't half-bad, either! I have a lot of fond memories of learning little sleights of hand and spoiling the trick at other kid's birthday parties (Sorry.). And while Pops doesn't really do magic anymore, he still loves the theater of it and binges on YouTube shows etc. So, I snagged us an invite to the Magic Castle next time he's in town. Since I've never been: What's it like? Best/worst things to do? Stuff to avoid?

Looking for the tips and tricks from folks who have been. And if the answer is, "Don't sweat it, enjoy the ride", all the better.
posted by GilloD to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Get there early for the Close Up Gallery. Small room, very popular. But it blew my fucking mind to be that completely bugshit fooled and be only a few feet away from it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:37 AM on May 16, 2016 [6 favorites]

Get there early enough to see all the shows.

Irma the ghost doesn't know QUITE every song; she'll bang the keys if she doesn't know one.

Take a peek at the displays downstairs.
posted by brujita at 10:45 AM on May 16, 2016

Have not been but that sounds totally exciting. Note that magicians performing for magicians are some of the best shows, they skip a lot of the gratuitous patter and have gags that will leave you doubting reality. Have fun and please do a report!!!
posted by sammyo at 10:51 AM on May 16, 2016

Yes, see as many shows as you can. Also, go down to the library if you get a moment. There are some neat artifacts there.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:55 AM on May 16, 2016

This was 20 years ago, but one of my favorite parts was the downstairs room where the magician members practice on the public. It's all one-on-one closeup magic, and the skill was unbelieveable. The Closeup room is great, too.
posted by wnissen at 10:59 AM on May 16, 2016

It's all good, nothing to avoid. If you haven't looked at the website, do so. The dress code's pretty strict.

One thing... they do call people up on stage, and they will embarrass you. Ask me how I know... :-(
posted by Huck500 at 11:01 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Strong second on checking the dress code. I spent an otherwise magical evening at the Magic Castle once wearing painful (and questionably hygienic) loaner shoes because my flats were considered too casual at the door.
posted by telegraph at 11:36 AM on May 16, 2016

Yeah, everyone else mostly covered it --- don't get there late, because there are a lot of shows and a lot of things to see. Everything there is pretty great!
posted by thefoxgod at 12:28 PM on May 16, 2016

Everything is amazing. Nthing that the close up show is incredible.
posted by ananci at 12:44 PM on May 16, 2016

Don't be shy to ask regulars for recommendations as the night goes on--especially if you find yourself running out of time.
Be prepared to go up and down a number of stair cases.

Be sure you understand any price or ticket specials--the photographer offered a deal on return tickets to a friend of mine and my friend was surprised that they still had to pay the cover charge.

Overall, it is great fun and a wonderful experience! Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!
posted by calgirl at 1:12 PM on May 16, 2016

The show you get reserved seats for as part of the dinner package tends to be the cheesiest. The best shows are in the close-up gallery or down in the basement pub area, where members can do impromptu green table shows.

Get there as early as you can. Even if you don't see a close-up gallery show listed before a 6pm dinner seating, there are often 5:30pm shows (but line up at 5:05pm to get a seat.)

Anyone wearing a gold pin is a member, and usually are great fun to talk to.

Check out the backdrop at the bar on the landing beside the restaurant entrance. It's the old "tonight show" backdrop, and it has a tiny moving Goodyear blimp inside it.
posted by egeanin at 4:41 PM on May 16, 2016

When I went one of the theaters had a show that was the classics - cups and balls, linking rings. This was a waste of time for anyone who had seen a magic show, much less performed. Close up theater is great, as is the wandering around! Mainstage show quality will just depend on who is playing it. I bet your dad will love the evening.
posted by mzurer at 8:01 AM on May 17, 2016

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