Published in L.A. Weekly
I ran out the exit door and down an alley behind the Magic Castle, clutching a wooden box. Two magicians had picked me as a volunteer during their show at the private magic club, with instructions to hide the box somewhere on Castle grounds. I panicked — the trick seemed to depend on my hiding place. Finally, I stuck it in a concrete ditch, behind a pipe, then ran back to bang on the exit door and rejoin the audience.
The rest of the box trick will not be revealed here. There will be no description of what happens and no explanation of how it works (even if I were somehow able to find out). It's better just to see it. If music writing is said to be dancing about architecture, magic writing is figure skating about castles in the sky.
Suffice it to say: "The piece with the box was just awesome," says Bill Goodwin, the Castle's librarian, who saw the show. "They don't do like other magicians, where [they say], 'We're going to do this or that.' They just do it and they respect the audience to get it themselves. So you get to the point as an audience member where you're thinking, 'No way, this can't be possible!' " But then it happens.
The magicians in question are Helder Guimarães and Derek DelGaudio, who performed together at the Magic Castle's Peller Theater during a weekend in January. The show proved so popular that they brought it back in June, and then again in August and September. Celebrities like Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes could be found milling around the bar outside, clamoring for a spot in the 50-seat theater.
Goodwin has been a Castle member since 1978. Other than a couple instances, like performances by celebs such as Steve Martin or Jason Alexander, "I cannot remember people waiting two hours in line show after show after show," he says. "Sometimes you hear, 'Oh, you got to see this show!' and you do and you see it and it's great. But there is something different about this one."
Mike Pisciotta, a manager at the Castle and a friend of DelGaudio's, says, "I've been in magic for over 20 years and it's the best magic show I've ever seen."