Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for July, 2005
This week I had the distinct privilege of getting to travel to California and speak/perform at the Magic Castle in Hollywood as a guest speaker for the Southern California chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians.
For those who are not familiar with the Magic Castle, as stated on it’s website,
The Magic Castle is the private clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, a very special organization devoted to the advancement of the ancient art of magic. The purpose of The Academy is to encourage and promote public interest in the art of magic, with particular emphasis on preserving its history as an art form, entertainment medium, and hobby. Beginning with a charter membership of 150, the Academy has grown into a world-renowned fraternal organization with a membership of nearly 5,000.
The Magic Castle is known to magicians all over the world as the premier magic venue and the virtual center of the magician’s universe. It is an authentic Victorian mansion, built in 1908 in the hills above Hollywood, and has been the “Magic Castle” for over thirty years. While I have been to the Castle many times as a guest of members, it was an extra special treat to be invited by FCM to perform and speak. (You must be a member or have an invitation from a member to get in. I have been invited to be a member but it is super expensive annually to join (!), and I only get out to California a few times a year, so I skip on the membership and get one of my member friends to get me in!)
This is Barney Kinard, the Kidhelper, who is the leader of this local chapter of FCM and who invited me to come speak. He has been doing Gospel magic for forty some years and was one of the magicians who inspired me as a kid when he did some Gospel magic tricks as part of the VBS program he did at my church when I was ten years old.
While I am mostly known for my children’s programs and stage illusions (levitating, guilotine, sub trunk, etc.) my personal favorite is and always has been close up magic. My workshop was titled: Pocket Prestidigitation that Packs a Powerful Punch! (nice alliteration, huh?)
Like many college students, when I was in Bible college (at MBI), I found myself in need of money to pay my school bill! One day I saw a magician performing on Rush Street (at Clark) and saw he had a hat full of money. (!!!) Hmmmmm, I could do that! So I got myself the black fedora that I still wear when I perform, and headed down to Michigan Avenue.
The Neiman Marcus building on Michigan Avenue (at Chicago Ave, just South of Water Tower) became my stage. I would head down there around 9 p.m. and by midnight I had several hundred dollars in my hat! In fact, I had to open a bank account at the First Chicago Bank right across the street so I could deposit the money asap and not get mugged on the walk back to Moody. (That branch is now gone, but I am still at the same bank, changed from First Chicago to Bank One and now to Chase) Eventually, I was ‘discovered’ on Michigan Ave. and got an agent who began to book me for walk around magic at corporate parties and I became the ‘house magician’ at several downtown restaurants included the Rock n/ Roll McDonald’s, D.B. Kaplin’s (then in Water Tower), and Boogies Diner in the Bloomingdale’s Building among others. Doing celebrity events, such as Chicago ball team parties and celebrity birthday parties were fun too. I actually miss the close up magic gigs, and eventually (when I am old) plan to return to being a house magician somewhere – that was my favorite type of magic going table to table, quickly accessing the type of people, humor, (and sometimes sobriety!) and then entertaining.
Back to the Castle, the place is like a magic museum, filled with displays, posters, props, and lots of fun stuff. It is not an entirely ‘Christian’ environment, but it is fascinating!
In a lower ‘dungeon’ passage way there was a magic mirror – so I took my picture in it. There is a lot of cool stuff, but I reallly don’t want to put pictures of it all up – it would spoil it – you have to go there yourself and experience it.
This is Irma – the friendly ghost of the mansion. (You can’t see her, but she is sitting at the piano) If you don’t believe in ghosts, just ask her to play ANYTHING and it will myseriously start to play. Think it is just a player piano? She will even interact with you, playing funny notes to answer questions. And if you try to leave the room, she will stop. I was stepping in and out of the room and she was stopping and starting to play as soon as I entered or left – it was pretty funny.
One treat was that my good friend Pastor Ryan Frank from Indiana happened to be in California on vacation so I brought him as my guest. Bummer. Now he knows all my secrets!
The main point of my workshop was on how to use ‘pocket magic’ to get to know kids and entertain them. Magic interests everyone and is a great tool for meeting people and beyond the entertainment value is the relational value. These are two kids that I met on the plane on my way to California. I rarely get to sit by kids, so this was a treat for me as well as them – and they got a bigger on flight magic show than most kids, since I was loaded for this workshop. They even got to see me levitate a dollar right there on the plane! (You should have seen the looks on the faces of the people walking down the aisle!)
But, of course, the highlight of the trip wasn’t speaking or performing at the Magic Castle – it was getting to see my awesome neice and nephew and hang with them for a few days. :)
BOY I can’t wait until my little brother is in town! (Yes, Jordan, that is a challenge!)
I just might have a new hobby! This is the coolest thing! WOW! WOW! WOW!
After Sports Camp finished up (final post on that coming soon!) a bunch of us all went out for some Chicago Pizza and it was there that I learned about an awesome sport – a sport that you must be 18 to play and have a driver’s license – and yet, ironically, it was introduced to me by a friend who is 15 and doesn’t have a driver’s license! (he knows the guy who owns the place…. cool!)
So the next thing I know I am blowing off work… er, um… I mean, going on a pastoral visit to encourage our guest missionaries by treating them to an outing to thank them for all their hard work all week…. (yeah, that’s better) and it was off to Chicago Indoor Racing!
The VCB Racing Team!
Rob, Tiffany, Steve, Tye and Me
(Tiff and Tye were our Uncharted Waters Coaches all week)
Here we are in our Ninja Pose since you have to wear a ‘head sock’ under your helmet unless, like Steve, you have your own racing flack jacket and helmet! We had to go through intense orientation and training and then sign away our lives and promise not to sue if we died out there racing.
Here’s me in my Formula LM Race Car.
(LM = lawn mower)
It was a TON of fun… you race about twenty laps per race and everything is recorded by computer – lap times, best lap time, average, etc. At the end you get a print out that details your standing and graphs every lap of the race between all the drivers. All your info is saved so that you can work to beat your scores in future races. My first race placed me in 4th place on the team, and in the bottom 36% of all racers… but, hey, it was my first race! In my second race I was somehow able to beat my first race times while finishing last. Oh, well. Jesus said the last shall be first! So, yes, I got beat by two girls…. but I’ll take them on in a unicycle race anyday!
See those blurs? Could you handle such velocities? Have you a NEED FOR SPEED? I’m thinking I need to plan an adult birthday party racing tournament in September…. Any challengers out there?
UP-DATE (not in e-mail notification): 4MB VIDEO OF TRACK
TODAY was the first day of the VCBkids Basketball/Cheerleading camp! Put on by Uncharted Waters, (and a ton of awesome VCB volunteers!) this five day community outreach is off to a great start!
DOWNLOAD AN EXCITING 8MB QUICKTIME VIDEO:
DAY ONE FUN!
(it is truly amazing what a Mac can crank out in no time!)
[Seems QuickTime 7 is Required, you might need to upgrade]Here are some highlights of the day:
Showin’ em how its done!
Best of all, these kids are leaning about God and how to BREAK FREE from the problems of this world! Check back each day for more pics, and be sure to watch the HIGHLIGHT VIDEO of DAY ONE!
Today, cleverly disguised as P4-K4 (An Empirial Bounty Droid), my twin brother arrived on the scene of a rebel birthday party of a princess named Olivia.
Forget the protocol and ettiquette – this droid ain’t one to mess with! Trained in the ways of the Force, this mild mannered droid packs a powerful (and wet) punch!
After pledging his allegiance to Darth Vader (who, as you can see by the t-shirt, still loves his mom), to infiltrate and destroy this rebel outpost, he went on to Saber training.
Jedi Master Nakooki trained all those in attendance in the finer arts of light saber battling. So far his plan to infiltrate these rebel scum was going along fine…
They practiced their new skills sparring with each other…
Each Jedi-wanna-be honing his (or her) skills so that they would be prepared to fight the enemy… little did they know, the enemy was already in their midst!
Then it happened! One of the padawan learners, sensing a disturbance in the Force, struck out at the infiltrater while he was trying to refresh himself with a glass of water…
His response gave him away and so he lept down from the patio and it was all out war – showing himself to be a traitor of the Republic and loyal to the Empire, he took on the whole lot of them!
It was a fierce battle that took them all over the backyard! Though greatly outnumbered, P4-K4 found these short warriors to be a piece of (birthday) cake to defeat!
One by one they charged and retreated… no match for the wit and skill of this fierce droid…
He could feeeeeel their laughter… but would not give in… it would be a fight to the END!
It was almost getting embarassing… then forgetting one of the tips that Jedi Nakooki had given them all – to not leave your backside defenseless, a very short padawan struck p4-K4 down from behind and his older brother finished him off!
P4-K4 was defeated and was tossed in the recycle bin for next Thursday morning. Peace was restored to the galaxy (well, at least to the birthday party) when suddenly…
Darth Vader appeared and attacked with powerful Jets of Water!
But that was when I arrived, and with my proton super soaker, I finished him off!
What to do with Death Star Donut Holes? (besides eat them, of course?)Stick them in your eyeballs!
DELETED SCENE FROM A NEW HOPE:
“Use the Force, Luke. Try it again. Only this time, with these donut holes in your eyes.”
The Galactic Birthday Family!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLIVIA! For a TON of more pictures from the party, click here.
Next entries »
As some of you are unfortunate enough to have experienced (and the rest of you blessed!) I picked up a new hobby while on sabbatical…
Yes, I bought myself a Penny Whistle (or Irish Whistle as they are often called) while on sabbatical, in Seattle if you really must know.
Audiences everywhere have been mesmerized by the beautiful music I can now produce. So far I can play the theme from Titanic and Lord of the Rings (Hobbit’s Song) as well as several hymns such as “Hallelujah, What a Savior”, “O For a Thousand Tongues”, “This is my Father’s World”, “Amazing Grace” and “Jesus Loves Me.” It is tricky to find songs that can be played within a range of only 8 notes, but it is a lot of fun. I have since ordered four more on ebay so that I can have different keys and tone quality. My goal is for Pastor Tim to let me play during the worship service during the offertory.
I have also discovered that a wonderful way to relax and de-stress is to play the Penny Whistle while riding on a 5 foot unicycle. It really calms your nerves… though it does tend to make your wife more nervous. I highly recommend unicycling and whistling… it could change your life! I have seen a great reduction in my migraines since I began Penny Whistling… and I think it just might be the whistle-therapy! If you would like to see your stress reduced and peace and tranquility enter your life and those around you, search ebay today for a Penny Whistle, and let the beautiful music begin.