2009 13/11

The Magic Man

I’m always looking for fun (and cheap) things to do with the girls.  And especially things we can do as a family!  So, imagine my delight when I saw that a magic show was going to be at our rapidly-becoming-vacant mall!  Magic show?  Great!  Live baby lions and tigers? SUPER!  Free?  We are so there!!!

The magic show would be in town for a few days but, being that we wanted daddy to join in our family fun, we decided to go last night (when daddy could come with us).  Our fun was going to be even more escalated when I learned that The Folletts would be there, too!  Yay, let’s see some magic!

I was actually pretty excited because this was Abbi’s first magic show.  I couldn’t wait to see the awe on her face when rabbits were pulled from seemingly-empty hats!

When we got to the mall we checked out the baby animals first.  In a side hallway in the mall were five medium size cages.  In the first cage was a 6 month old white tiger.  Beautiful creature but you weren’t putting your kid in there to play with him!  Next was a tiny black panther cub and next to him were two little tiger cubs.  For the low, low price of just $25 you and a friend could go inside the cage with the baby tigers to play with them and take pictures.  For eight whole minutes.  What a deal! *cough* We decided to pass. At the end were two very cute and playful monkeys!

Let’s move on to the magic show!

The magic show “stage” was set-up in the main hallway of the mall.  Chairs were set-up in front of the stage with just enough room for people to walk along the sides to move on through the mall.  It’s a pretty small space.  The magic show began with three men dressed in cloaks, wearing white masks and black hats, pounding staffs on the ground to music.  Umm. Okay.  Kind of creepy.  Then a few other people rolled a casket into the stage area.  A casket.  Definitely creepy.  What did I get us in to?

Thankfully the lady running the sound and pyrotechnics warned us ahead of time that there would be a few loud bang-type explosions at the beginning of the show.  Sure enough, there were.  And they were loud.  Of course they made everyone jump, especially the kids but it was actually the really, really, really loud music that bothered Zoe.

After the creepy masked men were done, the magician, I think his name was Joe, came out and did a few tricks with doves.  Phew! Now we’re getting to the fun magic tricks I knew my kids would love!  Then he jumped up on the casket and began to tell a story.  And we’re heading back to creepy again! Mind you, the audience is full of 4-8 year olds and their parents.  Anyhow, he goes into this story (told to music) of a man who loved animals (especially tigers) but tragically he was killed by a drunk driver (I’m paraphrasing).  This is basically why Magician Joe now does this show, in memory of his brother (ok, that’s actually really sweet).  Then he tells the audience (4-8 year olds) that he wants them to promise not to drive drunk and to stay alive.  And then he jumps down off the casket and continues on with making a rabbit disappear, puts swords through a box containing a person, and so on.

Zoe and I actually headed down to the play area with the Folletts about half way through the show because the music was so unbelievably loud.  She was shaking.  Tim and Abbi stuck it out and watched the whole show.

So, here is my gripe about the whole thing.  When someone advertises “baby lions and tigers”, “magic show”, “free”, they are going to get an audience of young kids.  I don’t know many teenagers who would be lining up for a free magic show by some no-name magician in a mall hallway.  And, while I appreciate his efforts to stop drunk driving, that message is probably more suitable for the older teens.  You know, the ones who are driving.  That message would have been perfect if he were performing at a high school assembly.

The white masked men pounding sticks and the casket?  A bit much for a mall show and young kids.  Now, I understand the need for the pyrotechnics and booms, it helped create the dramatic effect they were going for, but there was no reason for the music to be deafening loud!  I feel like my grandma saying that but it’s true.  You’re in a small, confined space with young kids sitting mere feet from the speakers.  You’re not in a big arena.  I won’t even go into his choice of music.  You know, when he transitioned from “Thriller” to a love ballad.  Or the sound lady who was standing at the sound board mouthing the every word Magician Joe was saying.  I’m guessing she’s heard the script a few hundred times.

Needless to say, I was not a fan.  I left the mall disappointed that Abbi’s first magic show wasn’t something spectacular.  And then she performed a little magic of her own!

The entire ride home she couldn’t stop talking about the Magic Man.  She wanted to know everything! Did Magic Men get to eat breakfast and lunch?  What about snacks?  Where does he sleep?  Where does he live?  Does he get to take the white rabbit home?  Could she be a Magic Man for Halloween (which she thinks is coming up again soon)?  Where could we get a Magic Man outfit?  And then, the kicker…”Oh Mom, I don’t want to wear the cape though.  It will be too big and will get dirty.  I’ll just wear the hat!”

She loved it.  She couldn’t believe he could make the rabbit disappear by spinning a box!  “And then he made the rabbit come back mom!” She was so amazed by the Magic Man.  And I was amazed by her.  I guess her first magic show wasn’t a complete failure after all.  At least not in her three-year-old eyes!

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