The night of my audition at The Magic Castle, I had my checkbook in my right inside jacket pocket and my deck of cards in my inside left pocket, as I do now as I write this. I walked into the Magic Castle and went downstairs to the "Hat and Hare" bar with all of the other potential members waiting for their chance to audition.
I suspect that I had a different state of mind than the rest of them. I had been performing magic full-time, 5-7 days a week for the last few years, making my living performing magic. The audition committee was just going to be another audience for me, but there was still the feeling that this is important.
When my name was called to enter the audition room, there were five members on the committee seated around a table covered with green felt and it had gold tasseled fringe around the edge. I took a seat behind the table, across from the committee and one of them said, "So tell us why you want to become a member of The Magic Castle". I said , "So I can stop lying to people about being a member of The Magic Castle".
Immediately they wanted to know what I was doing that was causing The Magic Castle to come up in conversation. I told them that I make my living as a professional magician and that people routinely ask me if I'm a member of The Magic Castle. "Wait a minute... you make your living as a professional magician? Why aren't you a member yet?" I told them that I travelled from Cleveland to California in 2012 and my first order of business was to promote myself on the West Coast. I explained to them that I had friends that would invite me into the Castle, but my focus was on expanding my clientele. Rather than hanging out at the Castle, I was out every night performing for people, giving them my card.
They wanted to know if I came to California with work already lined up and I told them I came to California with nothing lined up, that it all happened as a result of my efforts after arriving. They asked if performing magic is how I make a living. I said, "The tuxedo I'm wearing, the shoes on my feet, the car I drove here, my apartment... all were paid for by my performing as a magician." I hadn't done any magic, but when a sale has been made, sometimes it is so clear you just know.
One of them said, as if it were simply a formality, alright, let's see some magic. So I showed them something with a silver dollar, where it was there in my hand and with a quick breath of air, a gentle blowing on my hand, it vanished without a trace. They nodded with approval and one of them said, "Alright, we've seen enough."
So I went up to the bar and waited with the others who had just auditioned. I ordered a glass of cabernet and the bartender told me it'll be $14. So I handed him a $20 and when he gave me the $6 in change I told him, "if this is worth $14 you've gotta be worth at least $6". He was happy and told me my next one was on him. A great start with the barman.
Then someone came out to the bar area and handed me a sealed envelope, I don't remember the details of what it said inside, but I think the word "Congratulations" was on there somewhere. I took out my checkbook and paid my dues. The least of the dues that were paid to become a member of The World Famous Magic Castle.
(Note: The general public typically only knows about The Magic Castle. The Academy of Magical Arts, the club housed within The Magic Castle, is what I am a member of. Technically, no one is a member of The Magic Castle, but that is how it is often said, and it is easier to write and speak about it as simply, The Magic Castle.)