Remember the hired magicians who once delighted you with their card tricks at birthday parties?
You might think you’re too old for magic tricks, but Hollywood Magic Bar, the newest party in Hollywood, is determined to enthrall you with magic again — with a grown-up twist.
If there’s ever a way to make magic tricks cool again, it’s to stage them in a happening Hollywood nightclub. Popping up at Level 3 nightclub in the Hollywood & Highland Center, Hollywood Magic Bar made its grand opening Sunday with plenty of pizzazz.
Hollywood Magic Bar has all the basic elements of a posh nightclub: tons of room-shaking music courtesy of DJ Prophet, a decent dance floor, a sensuous light system and a full bar.
The main attraction is the magic, which dazzles you the moment you walk in.
At Hollywood Magic Bar, the entire nightclub is a stage. The mixology team is from Magixology, a bona fide group of bartenders who happens to have a few tricks up their sleeves. They won’t poof cocktails out of nowhere, but they will pour your drink with a bit more grace than ordinary bartenders. You can stick to your favorite drink, but expect them to somehow convince you to try their special potion of the night. On the debut night, it was a purplish-auburn concoction of vodka, black-cherry liqueur and pineapple juice on the rocks — sparkly-sweet and intoxicatingly exotic.
A shimmering lounge decked with white couches and ivory satin cushions doubles as paranormal stomping grounds for fortune-teller Shannon Leischner, who, for a tip, will read your mind and your fortune. Mirrors, mystically reflecting the violet-peach glow emanating from above, surround the room.
Even if you don’t go for the psychic, there will be no room for you to hide from the theatrics. While you lounge around and sip your cocktail, several magicians prowl, chatting you up while showing off signature skills up-close.
These performers are relentless and confident; they will charm you with their jokes and lure your interest with their mystery. No two performances are the same, but all are spectacular.
Introducing himself as a mentalist, Robert E.C. Valdemar, for example, weaves psychology and magic. He reads thoughts and explains your thought process as he guesses the card or picture you have in your mind.
Phil Van Tee, on the other hand, is as gregarious as Valdemar — soft-spoken and intense. Trained by the Ringling Brothers Circus, Phil is a stand-up comedian whose magic is creative and witty.
These magicians aren’t your 8-year-old’s birthday party entertainers who pull quarters out of your ear and flap out a few card tricks. Most of the performers on the main stage Sunday night were world-class, award-winning magicians whose phantasmagoric acts left the audience whooping and rubbing their eyes in wonder.
You can also watch Sisuephan Philia, the host and lead magician, levitate objects (and even herself) and strut out one slinky outfit after another with a zap and a poof.
Spectators will laugh out loud at Tony Clark’s raunchy, sarcastic jokes just before he pulls out storms of illusions using ropes, wands and cards.
Andrew Goldenhersh is another comedic magician, in this case one with hilarious Jewish-themed punch lines. His magic, though, is serious and elegant: A butterfly tattoo on his forearm unfolds into a real butterfly, and a Tai-chi dance-escape out of a straitjacket finishes with two giant, fluttering birds.
World-traveling magician Steve Owens, meanwhile, prefers to let his graceful, sinewy hands tell the tale as they trick a wand to twirl around the air, shimmy out a parade of cards and glitter or snap forth spontaneous, flickering flames.
Though the atmosphere is fun and wondrous, Hollywood Magic Bar lacks the most important magic of all: the “it” factor. Perhaps because it was the opening event and a Sunday night, the trickles of attendees were small and lethargic. The nightclub was entertaining and relaxing — not crazy and merry. It’s not a place to crash, get inebriated and dance away to techno music; it’s more like a wonderland into which you ride mesmerized, although instead of a mad tea party, you get razzle-dazzle performers and hard liquor.
It’s an entirely different world at Hollywood Magic Bar. The hosts claim no responsibilities for missing body parts or death by a magical tiger. They will, however, take charge of making sure you have the most magical time of your life.