“Magick is most vivid (strongest) when practiced on the edge, on the boundry of reason and paradox, in those places where the known leads into the unknown and unknowable.”
— from The Principles of High Magick
by Forrest Glen Landry
See the magic through our eyes, and let me tell you of our most recent adventures….
This last trip to Europe was pretty spectacular. I
slept most of the way from Las Vegas to Newark, NJ, which is no surprise, given that we had to be at the airport by 8 am, and you know “magician” and “morning person” are antonyms. My secret? Earplugs and a scarf over my eyes– dark and quiet, sweet dreams, no matter where. In terms of travel, I’ve gotten to the point where I can catnap just about anywhere. Once we got to Newark, we realized we had a twelve, (count ’em, twelve), hour layover. In the airport. In New Jersey. So, we had a little lunch, and found a quiet lounge where we could check email, drink tea, and snooze… and then we were on our way to Nice, France. They pronounce it “Neese,” which was news to me. I have to admit, my French is really not very good at all, even though I studied it for a year in high school. My guesses about vocabulary pronunciation in French, in my attempts to read signs or menus out loud, were pretty amusing to the locals. For instance, I often share a bit of magic where I ask my participant to make a wish, which, in French is “fait une veux.”
If, however, you say “fait une vaux” you are asking them to make a cow….
We were met at the airport by Mssrs. Jerome Trouslard and Eric Roumestan, and driven through rolling, green, mountainous countryside, through a couple of tunnels into Monte Carlo. We had arrived in the province of Monaco, on the Southeast tip of France. It’s politically separate from the rest of France, being a Principality, and is ruled by Prince Albert, who, as it turns out, happens to love magic. He also likes car racing, which explains the annual automobile race “The Grand Prix.” That race runs through the extremely winding, narrow streets, up and down the face of the mountain, all the way down to the beach of the Ligurian Sea. Mostly millionaires live there, because, (unless one is a citizen of France or of the US), one doesn’t have to pay taxes there. Most of the cars we saw driven around the area were either BMWs, Bentley’s or Benzes….
Each day, on our way to the Princess Grace Theater, Jeff and I would stop and look at all the yachts in the harbor. The biggest one there used to belong to Mr. Onassis. Last year, his claim to “biggest boat in the bay,” was usurped by a Sheik from Saudi Arabia. Well, that’s what Rodger Moore told us on the balcony of the Prime Minister’s place, during that champagne reception. Who would have known that James Bond’s real life dad was an amateur magician known as “The Hazy Wizard,” and that 007 had a few tricks of his own to share….
When the Grand Prix of Magic was started, it was a competition, with special prizes awarded by the previous prince, Rainier. It was a very high-end contest, like the Olympics of Magic. As the years went on, instead of a competition, the Grand Prix became more of a celebration with a full week of shows, sponsored, in large part, by the Royal Family.
Yes, we all stand up when the Prince or Princess enters the room, and we don’t sit until they do. If we’re all at dinner together, no one eats until the Royal one begins. Yes, if you speak to them, you really say “Your Majesty.” Royal etiquette, you know.
For one week, marking the 20th anniversary, many of the winners from past years competitions were invited to return. We
were happy to be in the show, along with Mirko from Argentina, Norbert Ferre from France, Vic and Fabrini, from Brazil, who do a wonderful act involving a mechanical man and magic. Also on the bill was Tommy Wonder, from Holland, performing his classical magic with cups, balls and class. Rein Weindong, from China offered his clock act. Otto Wesley and Christa, from Austria were hysterically funny and a little out of control, both onstage and off, and delightfully entertaining to be around. Voronin brought his brilliant “Count” to do several different segments in the show. Topas, from Germany, presented his toy act, and illusions were performed by Dani Lary and also by Paul and Ajna Philippart. The Tarmac Co. did a great job as the MCs of the show with their combination of comedy and magic.
After the last reception was over, and the last show completed, we took a short nap, and were on our way to Belgium.
We flew from Nice, up to Brussels, Belgium, where Rafael picked us up. (http://www.magic-Rafael.com) The flight was only about an hour and a half, Brussels is just east of the northern tip of France. We arrived in Leuven a short while later and checked into the Ibis hotel, right in the center of town.