One of the main things that keeps the Magic Castle going is that it is not – by a long shot – just a place for magicians. On any given night, the majority of the people in the building are laymen; members of the general public who are enjoying a great night out at an amazing and unusual venue.
Even though entry is restricted to members and their guests, the castle still manages to get several hundred people a night through its doors each night. This represents an astonishing balancing act; being exclusive enough to retain an impressive reputation in entertainment-saturated Los Angeles, yet accessible enough to pull regular crowds.
Regular, that is, when not nearly destroyed by a fire.
Despite the continued low numbers of people though, the atmosphere last night was great. We had an extra influx of people from the Magic History Conference that starts tomorrow in Studio City, plus a heap of members for the traditional Wednesday members’ night.
Since the dining rooms are closed for repairs, the team in the kitchens are rising to the occasion and producing a buffet in the Inner Circle Ballroom between 6pm and 10pm. People are sitting at tables all around the room, eating as people walk between them to get to their shows.
These two facts (more members, plus buffet seating) combined to form a situation that reminded me a lot of a university cafeteria, albeit a much classier and better dressed one. It was a strange feeling to grab food, and then look around the room wondering which table to join. Sit with your friends, or meet some new people?
Thanks to the camaraderie of the narrowly-escaped-a-disaster atmosphere, the communal dining experience has been really fun. Some members have even been suggesting that we start doing it on a semi-regular basis.
Just so long as we don’t need to incinerate the building again to make it happen.