Friday, May 17, 2013

LA Trip Day 3 - Hollywood and the Magic Castle

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I'll make it through these posts eventually! =)
Previously on the LA Trip...
Day 1 - The Getty Center
Day 2 - Joshua Tree

Day 3 of our trip did not begin well. During the night, Michael had developed a fever and chills, with a cough. I really wanted to take him to a minute clinic but he did not want to miss the walking tour we had already booked in Hollywood. So we said goodbye to Palm Springs (we hardly knew you!) and drove back into LA. After finding a Walgreens and loading Michael up with drugs, we headed off to find lunch.
Just across the street from where our tour was meeting, we found a grilled cheese sandwich and soup restaurant! It was awesome, and fortunately the special was a "Thanksgiving melt" that included turkey and cranberry sauce.
YUM. The corn chowder it came with was great, too.

Thus fortified, we went to meet up with our tour. Our guide greeted us by saying, "Who's super-smart and booked a tour on a Monday, so that they're getting a private tour??" (That would be us.)

And here's where I really fell down on the photos, folks. The thing is, ground zero of Hollywood (where the barn was located where the first studio started, or where ABC, NBC and CBS radio studios were simultaneously within a block of each other) just isn't that interesting architecturally. However, it is INCREDIBLY interesting historically. The tour was awesome! We wandered around a little bit after the tour, and then drove around for a bit snapping pictures out the window...
The gates of Paramount! So many fabulous movies came out of this studio!

Soon, we arrived at our hotel for the might...The Magic Castle Hotel.
  Sadly, it was too cold to try out the pool. =(
I wish we'd been able to stay here more than one night! This was a great hotel, and the staff were all super-friendly. PLUS, they had an extensive list of free snacks. Want a Coke? Free. Famous Amos cookies? Free. M&Ms? Free! You just had to ask at the front desk. At night they had hot cider and butter cookies out in the lobby, and in the morning there was a nice Continental breakfast.
Our room was ginormous! They had upgraded us (once again, the benefits of travelling "off season"), so we had a giant suite.
These two pictures just show the living room and kitchen! There was a separate bedroom and bathroom.

I thought this was a really nice touch; even though my birthday was Wednesday and this was Monday, they had asked Michael if we were celebrating anything and he told them we were celebrating my birthday.
They even matched our bedroom decor to my Kindle Fire. =P
Can you name the artist?

The main reason to stay at this hotel for us, though, was that it gave us the opportunity to go to The Magic Castle. Yes, I am a huge geek and adore magic shows. Yes, I had lots of magic tricks when I was a kid. Are you surprised? Have you met me?? Since it is technically a private club, you can only get in if you're a member, have an invitation from a member, or stay at the hotel. Since we didn't think NPH would take our calls...

...we were more than happy to stay at the hotel. Unfortunately, no pictures are allowed inside the club. We got a quick mirror shot before we left.
Note that there's a dress code. =) Here's what the castle looks like from the outside:
The performances we saw were INCREDIBLE. First, though, let me describe what the interior looks like...picture a Victorian Gothic mansion crammed with all kinds of magic and mystical-looking paraphernalia. The colors are all rich woods, browns and burgundies. When you enter, there is a reception desk and little gift shop off to one side (very, very "little"...there is really only room for one or two people in there at a time). To the left is a door, on which you must knock while saying "Open Sesame". =) When you enter, straight ahead there is a bar, to the left is a sign telling you where to queue for the closeup magic parlor, and to the right is a staircase that leads up to the higher floors (and down to the "dungeon"). The "dungeon" contains another bar (closed while we were was a Monday night), a room with small tables where visiting magicians can do impromptu performances for each other, and a display that shows how one of the members helped create the ghostly effects in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Upstairs is the dining room and more performance spaces.

The whole recap would be boring without pictures, but the highlights were seeing Houdini's handcuffs, the closeup magic show where I got to sit about four feet from the magician and he did the most amazing coin routine ever (I only saw one get palmed, and these were 2" coins) and he made a business card fly around the room, and getting picked from the audience to help with the quirkiest, creepiest magician I've ever seen! We stayed well past midnight and were a little disappointed that the final show was cancelled ("not enough people"), but we were pretty thrilled by the whole experience. And honestly, with the way Michael felt, we didn't need to stay up any later! We got to see two closeup magicians, a humorous stage magician, and the main stage show with a couple humorous magicians and a fantastic female illusionist. On the way out, I got to tell the last magician we saw (the one I sat four feet away from) how much we enjoyed his performance. "That was amazing...I couldn't see how you did anything, and I was watching really closely!"

"That's funny," he replied without missing a beat, "so was I!"

Movie magic and "real" magic in LA...coming up, more movie magic and Disney magic!


cucki said...

Wow so much fun..and sweet photos..
Love for you x

Ziggyeor said...

OH lucky you. That would be awesome. Steve and I watched the Shark Tank episode where they built a Houdini Tank for them. They had to get special permission to not wear suits to put the tank up :p

Anne said...

Love the photos Heather! Looks like the two of you are having a blast minus the sick part. I hope he's feeling better!

woolwoman said...

You and Michael have the best adventures! Love the photo of you guys in the mirror - lovely! A belated Happy Birthday to you! I loved seeing 29Palms - one of my favorite Robert Plant songs ever! enjoyed your post so much - mel

Melanie said...

Holy crap, I want to go there now. Sounds like so much FUN.

Karin said...

Wow - sounds like a great vacation!

Anonymous said...

I need to take some time to read this post, lots of stuff. but any guess takes over the working part of my brain, I'm afraid, so is it Van Gogh?

Old Geek-outs