Thursday, September 7, 2017

"A Much Appreciated Safety Valve"

Watch where this goes.  What appears to be a “Magic Show” story turns out to be the story of my life.

Pretty cool, huh?  So here we go.

Dr. M loves magic. 

We have often attended magic shows on her birthday.  On one particularly special birthday celebration, a magician was hired to perform at a backyard party.  (There is a place here called The Magic Castle; if you are in search of a magician you can call there and readily procure one.  Note to L.A. readers needing a magician.)

Once, when visiting Paris, we attended a magic show conducted entirely in French.  We understood absolutely nothing of what was going on, but hey, we were attending a magic show in Paris!  (Note:  I took French for five years in high school; unfortunately, “Raymond et Suzette” never did card tricks.)  (Note To Americans:  “Raymond and Suzette” were the “Dick and Jane” of French grammar books.  I don’t remember the dog’s name.  Anyone know the French equivalent for “Spot”?)

Returning back to the present…

I had seen an ad in the paper for a three-day, five-performance extravaganza billed as Magic Mania, playing at the Colony Theater in Burbank.  I was reluctant to mention this to Dr. M, not because I do not particularly enjoy magic – I actually do – but because Burbank is seventeen miles from our house.  Further, when there’s bad traffic.  Not really, but it feels further.  (Not that I’m complaining.)  That makes it thirty-four miles, round trip.  (Not complaining again, but come on!  That’s Jackson’s Point for a magic show.)  (Reference for readers in Toronto, only slightly exaggerated.)

Sublimating my “traveling-in-traffic” disinclinations, I mention Magic Mania to Dr. M and – say whatever magic words you can think of – we had tickets!

For us.  For Anna and Colby.  And for Colby’s parents, visiting from Ohio (which they most generously paid for.)

The assembled audience mirrored a Bernie Sanders rally – exclusively youngsters and “Seniors.”  “Spry”, in that context, meant no “walker.”

It turned that Magic Mania’s fifth and final performance included four acts, two of which were a mime and a juggler.  I ask you, how exactly is that “Magic Mania”?

Anyway…

The production itself was demonstrably cheesy.

"How cheesy was it?"

Thank you.  You know how in those shows they invite someone from the audience to come up onstage to assist them?  Well this production was so cheesy the same person went up onstage three times.  By her third appearance, when the performer, who was clearly not watching the show, asked, “What’s you name, darlin’?” what seemed like the entire audience yelled, “Sophia!”

So there’s a mime and there’s a juggler dressed like some colorblind ten year-old, and they’re both okay, considering they are “surprise” interlopers in a magic show.  The two actual magicians, they were acceptably competent – I mean, you could not detect where the live chicken came from – but the tricks themselves were familiar “magic show” fare – producing coins of escalating sizes from unexpected areas of Sophia’s person, escaping a straight-jacket, and you put a (handcuffed) guy in a bag and the guy in the bag into a then-locked trunk, you raise and quickly lower a curtain, and who then emerges from the bag in the trunk is not the guy who went in there but instead (in this case) a guy (or girl) in a bunny suit, the original locked-in-the-trunk guy racing in from the back of the auditorium. 

(When she was little, Anna and I had seen the same trick done flashier in Las Vegas.
Dr. M was not along for the trip.  Although she adores magic, her feelings are the diametrical opposite concerning Las Vegas.

In that show, magician David Copperfield “buttoned” the illusion, rumbling in on a motorcycle.  I thought about that today, realizing for the first time that the motorcycle itself had nothing to do with the trick – that was simply enhancing “showmanship.”  Copperfield could have come in riding an elephant, and after the transitory excitement died down, there would be no wondering, “Where did that elephant come from?”  The elephant was in the lobby, waiting for David Copperfield to emerge from the trap door under the locked trunk and ride it into the auditorium.  But for the moment… it’s like, “A surprise elephant!  What a trick!

Despite Magic Mania’s observable limitations, Dr. M still had a wonderful time.  Over the years, I have assiduously learned my lesson in this regard.  So when she exclaimed, “Wasn’t that great!” I obligatorily replied, “Yeah!”

The world I live in: 

Even when justifiably grumpy I have to pretend that I’m not.

The truth was eating me up inside. 

Fortunately, I have some place available to unload.

And don’t think I’m not grateful.

Without it, the top of my head might have blown off.


It is thanks to you that it didn’t.

2 comments:

Fred from Scarborough said...

Instead of Jackson's Point you could have said Scarborough. The easternmost part of course.

JED said...

When I was into performing magic tricks as a child, I think the part I most enjoyed, when buying a new pre-packaged trick (I wasn't very inventive), was the little story that came along with the trick. "These dice were owned by a poor beggar who was hauled before the king and was told he would win the king's daughter if he could foretell the results of the coming battle." That sort of thing. Each trick had a different story about the person who had, "owned these valuable items before we obtained them to present to you." These tricks (available in my local drug store) came from "all over the world" and had stories to match. I was not a very good showman and my aunts and uncles all saw through the tricks but my love of the stories got me to read more than just comic books.