Well, lots going on at Living While Gray while visiting the west coast. Last night, it was visiting the Magic Castle in Hollywood where you definitely shouldn’t act like an adult. I went with this zany group that included my daughter, son-in-law, his sister, and her boyfriend. We were invited, and in Hollywood, even the places that charge an admission fee require an invitation, by an amazing magician friend.
The place is definitely a dress-up kinda place, which was very fun. You see a little of everything and one of our group was dressed very fun. I wish I had her picture because she got a lot of compliments.
My daughter insisted I get my makeup done by a professional as she said I was too old to do the normal 5-minute makeup routine that served me well for years. What do you think? I’m not so sure. I do think it makes my neck look even worse than normal but nothing a little tuck here and there won’t fix.
So, let me tell you a little about our adventure.
First, don’t think about taking a picture inside. It’s strictly no pictures. That’s why we took this one outside. I know that’s a little hard for you folks who like to do a selfie every 5 minutes, but them’s the rules. After you go in and pay for valet parking and the entrance fee, you’re already out about a hundred bucks but it’s well worth the experience. Trust me.
The place is an old castle with all kinds of interesting stuff around every corner. Before you even enter, there’s a wall of books that opens only by saying the magic words (hint: it’s open sesame). Then, there’s a little room behind the bar where a player piano takes requests if you put a bill in the bird cage next to it like a combination of magic and spooky. Of course, it’s Hollywood, so everything is done to the max.
The place is made up of a bunch of small rooms and we didn’t even see half of what’s there. Each room features shows by one of the magicians and there’s also a larger room featuring the main magician. I will say that the magic is AMAZING. But, some are a little creepy, like the main magician who ate a goldfish and then delivered it to the fishbowl unharmed. He also pulled a guinea pig out of his trousers. Both tricks got more groans than applause. I think he needs to update his act (he’s been performing in Vegas for a long time).
After dinner (and be sure to budget $100 per person for food that’s pretty mediocre), we got a private magic show from our host and another magician. The magic was amazing and very inventive. You definitely won’t get bored. I could have sat there for a long time watching whatever magic they chose to perform. The cast from the Broadway touring company of Les Mis was also the guest for this private show, which was really nice since we were seeing the play the next night. The actor playing Jean Valjean, Nick Cartell, and his wife sat next to me. He gave us a backstage tour after the show the next night, which was amazing. The stage of the Pantages is covered with a stage they bring with them in one of the 11 trucks that go from town to town for the show. It has groves that allow the big pieces like the barricade to move on and off while other pieces are suspended overhead and lowered when needed. That’s Nick at the end of our group pic. My daughter did my makeup for this one and I like it much better than the professional one.
The woman in the colorful dress is my son-in-law’s sister and she’s a hoot. She has her own style that folks love. I would look like a character in her getup but it works for her. The lovely woman in the red jacket is my daughter, the actor. Note that the three of us wore red and black and, if you’ve never seen the play, you won’t get it and you’re missing something really special. I’ve seen this live about 6 times with different casts in different cities, including on Broadway plus I own 2 video versions of the play, including the one with Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. I’d put this performance up against any that I’ve seen. The cast is just amazing.
But, the week wasn’t all fun and games as there was still a LOT to due to get ready for everything in my career to come to a screeching halt. So, sometimes you have to act like an adult even if you don’t want to.
I had to finalize money from my retirement account, which is always so confusing. My parents are both gone and I blame them for being so private about anything having to do with money because I don’t understand anything about how to take distributions and I’d have loved some guidance as I approached retirement. At least, I saved enough (I think), so it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get the money and pay taxes, since every penny you saved is now taxable when you take it out.
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