I know that this place is difficult to get into, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not IMPOSSIBLE!
Built in 1909, The Magic Castle is advertised as an exclusive and private club solely for magicians and magic enthusiasts who usually have the money and the connections to land a membership approved by the Board of Directors. It was the place to indulge in your magical affairs. Sort of like an after hours elite strip club, but instead of watching women undress, they watched men pull rabbits out of top hats, or something a bit more advanced. Today, the castle still holds on to its exclusivity… or does it? Although it’s hard to get into, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t loopholes for us Muggles.
It’s exclusive in the fact that you DO need someone to get your foot in the door. Whether it’s a family member, friend, friend of a friend or 16th cousin, you need an in. That doesn’t mean you need to be a distant relative of Houdini. It also doesn’t mean that you need a wealthy doctor or lawyer in your circle, then again doctors and lawyers don’t really make much anymore, so let me rephrase that. That doesn’t mean you need to know someone working in real estate or the entertainment industry to land an entrance into the Magic Castle. All you need is someone who has taken a picture and bought said picture during dinner. Here’s how it works…
Guideline #1: You can use your Guest Invitation only on Sunday through Thursday Evenings & Saturday Morning Brunch!
When someone invites you to go to the Magic Castle, you may be given a couple of guidelines. Now, this person may have either been a member, or a guest of a member who, during dinner, purchased a picture taken by the castle photographer. With that picture they received a free Guest Invitation where you can come back to visit the castle on a Sunday through Thursday evening. The Castle won’t be open to you on Friday and Saturday nights. You also have the option to go for brunch on a Saturday morning.
Guideline #2: The Guest Invitation will allow you and up to 5 guests access to a night at The Magic Castle.
Unless your friend was a member, or taken in by a member, the same rules probably applied to them as well. Another rule to the Guest Invitation is that you can bring a maximum of five guests with you.
Guideline #3: You need to pay a $25 entrance fee per person.
When you arrive you must pay a $25 per person entrance fee. After showing your ID’s you say the magic words, literally, and the wall that’s covered in book shelves opens into the multilayered 20’s speakeasy.
The Magic Castle is a formal venue with a very strict dress code, so don’t try to be a rebel and wear frat star shorts and a bro tank. Your douchery won’t be allowed in. Just try your best to be elegant for a night and not the cliché child from our classless generation. Have fun dressing up and pair your outfit with a thick wallet, because it’s not going to be a cheap night.
Guideline #4: Purchase a minimum of one entrée during dinner.
If your friend is using a Guest Invitation, he or she has definitely made a reservation for dinner before hand, because you must all purchase an entrée during dinner and for that to happen, you need to make reservations. From what I was told, it books up pretty quickly so don’t decide on Monday morning to call for reservations for the following Tuesday night. Not even magic would make that happen!
During dinner, you’re given a ticket to one main magic show, which had my jaw drop to the floor quite a few times, but to my surprise, I ended up laughing more than anything else. At one point I had to look around me to make sure I hadn’t stumbled into the Laugh Factory on my way through the castle. It IS a place of magic, so anything would have been possible. After that, you’re free to browse and pop in on small magic shows going on in the hidden rooms of the castle. I think the last show ends around 1:00 AM.
During your dinner, you will most likely be approached by a woman or man carrying a fancy looking camera. THEY ARE YOUR PLUG.
THEY ARE THE HOLLY GRAIL!
THEY ARE THE TRUE MAGICIANS!
When they ask you if you want a picture with your party or guest, you say YES. Ask to take the picture in the Houdini room. It’s beautiful, full of magical antiques and they actually host seances in there. After the photographer takes your picture,he or she will ask you if you want to buy it. Say YES. The photographer will then say that the picture is $25. Now, you may want to pause here, and ask her to repeat the price. Especially when you find out that it’s not a printed picture, but instead, it’s a jpeg. Yes, a jpeg. They email you a picture, just like you text a picture to your friends, and it costs you $25. I URGE you to fight the feeling to hesitate and say no, instead channel your inner Yes Man and once again say YES, because with that jpeg comes a Guest Invitation. You’ll no longer need the crutch of another person. You are now your OWN plug and, wait for it, the superior being when it comes to attending the Magic Castle, where you must once again follow guidelines 1-4.
The pass is good for one year! After that, you just keep purchasing pictures during dinners and you’ve practically got yourself a Magic Castle membership. Just remember that if you forget to buy a picture because you’re either too drunk to care or you’re late for your show and have to Road Runner out of there, you’re pretty much f***ed. You wont be coming back till you mooch off someone else’s pass, so stay alert!
My experience was awesome! A friend of a friend took me and I am emotionally and physically indebted to her. I do have one suggestion though, don’t drink too much. If you’re anything like me, you get SUPER observant and catch things you don’t want to catch, then get SUPER vocal about it. Granted I was expressing my opinions in Armenian, so I wasn’t escorted out of the castle for being a killjoy because they couldn’t understand what I was saying. Trust me if they did, I wouldn’t be allowed back, but my friends weren’t happy with me either. Also, if you’re too drunk to comprehend what’s going on, you tend to check out mid magic trick then check back in somewhere down the line, confused, and unsure what’s going on and how they got from point A to point H, so drink because alcohol is magic, but don’t drink like a 18-year-old who is discovering vodka for the first time.
What alcohol DOES help you with is being a daredevil when you are as chicken shit as they come. Initially you’re not supposed to take pictures inside the castle, which I respect. It keeps the illusion and mystery alive, also you don’t want to accidentally catch a magician being unmagical. I did break that rule, putting my big girl pants on and drunkenly taking a picture of a friend after they got called up to be the magicians guinea pig, but I didn’t catch anything that I shouldn’t have caught, and the picture I posted was the ONLY unblurry picture I had, so I guess at the end, I wasn’t any good at being a daredevil. If you want to take pictures of the inside of the castle be discrete, or refrain from doing so completely. I know we need to Snap every step we take or bite we eat, I know I do, but this is a night of enchantment, so let yourself live in the moment.
In conclusion, if you haven’t been to the Magic Castle and you can find yourself a hookup, make sure to check it out. If you can’t find a way in, curl up in a corner and cry because it truly is a magical place.
Special thanks to Sisian Ghahramanians (The Plug-She introduced me to that phrase) and Christine Mardikian.