Tag Archives: Hannibal

June 10, 2018

The Magic Castle, Hollywood, CA

I looked all over for some small sign of my friend. He was nowhere to be found. The places were still there, but there was no trace of him. Not his laughter. Not his spirit. Not his magic.
I sat on the bench where we talked about performance and art. I spent time at the table where we shared favorite books.
He’s just gone. I, selfishly, would have liked more time with him.
I visited Irma to get some perspective: maybe add some music to lift my heart. At the request of another guest, she played “Suicide is Painless”.

I fled.

Later a stranger, who earlier in the evening had watched my show, gave me food. “I ordered this to go on impulse. I think I’m supposed to give it to you.” Chicken and veggies, quite delightful.

As I went to pay my parking, I was called back inside. A friend requested that I do a small show for his sister, who was celebrating her birthday. We found a private table and … it was good. I told my stories and did my magic for the two of them. I made a boot for her … and she cried, just a little.

It took everything I had. It was worth it. I gave them a bit of me. That’s art, right?
For you, Leeman. For your smile. For your spirit. I found a bit of it, and I gave it to someone. As it should be.

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Instinct

May 17, 2018

Last set of the night at the W.C. Fields bar. I intended to close with the Elf boot story. There was a woman celebrating her birthday, seated in the perfect position on one side … and what all my training told me was the wrong person on the other. This one was brassy and brash, drunkish and slightly confrontational. Not the sort for a more intimate piece like this. But … she was in the perfect spot, and while I might have chosen someone else, my instinct popped up and told me to trust in my ability to control the moment, and in her as an audience member. I’ve learned to let it flow when that instinct nudges me. So i went for it.

When the routine was over, the ‘problem’ spectator was in happy tears. Hugging me and thanking me for making her evening special. “We got a babysitter for our babies and took a night for ourselves. I’ve had a great time, even though I miss them. You just made everything perfect. i’m going to put this boot on a shelf and tell that story over and over …”

Art from the heart. Believe in the power of the love in your gift. Give the best of yourself, even if you doubt the receiver worthy. Give for the sake of giving. Make art for the sake of making it.

Art and love have the power to enrich and change lives.

h
www.nekkidelfboots.com

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Overheard

Olive Garden. Client/ friend took me for food and chat.

Seated nearby was a gentleman of roughly my age, and a young lady. He was business casual, she a bit more casual in jeans and heels. In conversation it came out that she was 26, but I first took her for 14-15. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but they were quite animated and louder than is customary in establishments such as the OG.

The first thing that drew my focus was him inquiring as to her line of work. “Sugar baby.” Came her reply. There was an extended pause. He spoke, “So is this an actual date, or are you fielding a new client?”

“A little of both” she honestly replied, “I haven’t really made up my mind about you, yet.”

I was intrigued, but focused on my own conversation as best I could. They seemed to be enjoying dinner and, apart from the occasional exclamation, (“his wife thought my dress was a gift for her, and I saw her wearing it in a couple of FB pictures. Never found my underwear, either. I wonder if she’s wearing those, too.”) they kept to themselves.

Later, as they got up to leave (she really wasn’t used to those heels), she turned to him and said, “Before this goes further, I need to let you know. I have a slight heroin addiction. It’s no big deal, really, and I only smoke it; I haven’t shot up since I got out of prison. I’m gonna get a cigarette and check on my daughter while you get the car.”

I’m living in LA, folks. Much love from the OG. More breadsticks?

 

Help support this magic artist: www.NekkidElfBoots.com

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Pieter

He came into the Cellar theater in the Castle with a group of 3 others, two couples. He was a movie stereotype: the Russian gangster. In his sixties, Shiny grey sharkskin suit, grizzled face, angry expression. Turned out he was, in fact, Russian. His wife wore a stylish bleach blonde wig.

It was just the five of us and I offered them a show. Pieter was super aggressive from the beginning: grabbing cards, insisting on the terms of the show. “Put the cards in my hand and let me pick. Now I get to put it back and shuffle. LOOK AWAY – YOU DON’T GET TO WATCH!” His wife chided him and he sneered at her, all ugly attitude. He slammed the cards down in front of me and demanded I tell him which card he chose. What would you do?

I looked at him intently. (The thousand yard stare I talk abut in my lecture) He laughed to his wife about “All magic is fake and these hustlers are just trying to make me look foolish, but this idiot just got beaten!” (Insert thick Russian accent)

“Five of Hearts”

His face fell and he looked stricken, then angry again. “YOU CHEAT! How do you know this?”

“Because it’s under the Pringle’s can.” (It was)

Then I fooled him again. And again. AND I made friends with him. Jokes at my own expense. Magic that happened in his hand. Stories that riveted his attention. Building his self-esteem until he stopped being a challenger, and became part of the story. I showed him love. I gifted him joy. He roared with amazement when the signed card appeared … and I guessed his wife’s secret word, which happened to be her pet name for him. (медведь гризли)

On a whim, I made him a boot and I told him the story of the nekkid elves. He smiled and nodded and said something to his group. I let them go.

Pieter stood up and hugged me. Then he looked at me with tears on his face and said: “My mama told me this story. I will put this boot by her picture at home.

You are the only magic I believe.”

Now tell me again why I should be doing anything else.

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Musings born of a bad dream

In the leaner years, pre-magician days, I drove a truck and delivered furniture. The days were long and exhausting, and the work … largely unfulfilling, though it had its moments. I looked at my co-workers and I used to wonder where they would rather be, what their dreams were. Sadly, I learned to not ask, because it made some of them angry.

Some days I rode a bike to work, so that she could have the car. Only about 8 miles, and most of it through the green shaded back neighborhoods. I dreamed of big, ivy-covered houses. Later in the day, I might even see the inside of some of these, as I delivered their bookcases and beds.

Returning to our little house, with the attic fan and the big metal grate in the floor that served as a heating system, there would be love and laughter waiting. Stories to tell and stories to keep. Books to be read and re-read aloud.

If the magic thing went away? I’d like to drive a bus, cross country, long distances … deliver people to new adventures.

… or bring them home.

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For Wesley

“There’s one more kid that will never go to school, never get to fall in love, never get to be cool.” ~ Neil Young

This isn’t going to be well written. I’m filled with grief and I’m mourning a life that was way too short.

I do work and donate time and money to the MDA. I’m just telling you, I’m not bragging. I donate when i don’t think I can afford to. I give time and performance when i could honestly use the money. It’s the one kid’s show that I do, ever. Once a year: the MDA summer camp. Believe me when i tell you that it is hard work, and an absolute joy, a true honor.

I love those kids. I love the counselors. I love the organization and the back breaking work they do for these awesome young humans.

and this love, as most things do, comes with a price. Time and money, sure. Sacrifice, yes … but the kind of sacrifice that is a pleasure to make. The steepest price is death. These children have different forms of Muscular Dystrophy. They waste away. They fight, and they struggle and they live the best possible life they can. And the fight gets lost, and the cost is life.

I lost one today. I got the news via Facebook and a friend. This boy had spark, he was energetic and joyful and funny. He was Into all the activities and quick witted and … I cried in the pain of losing him.

“His pain is over. His suffering is at an end.”

Yeah. Okay. Soon another will follow him. and another, and another. Because there’s not a cure right now. In this enlightened, advanced day and age, why are we still fighting so bitterly over imaginary lines, ideology, dogma, when we could direct that energy into love and healing? I know … I sound naive and childish. Perhaps.

Right now all I see is a boy that should be feeling those awkward growing pains, instead of suffering from literally withering away. I boy that should be alive and vital, and instead … is dead.

I lost a bit of my heart and softness today, and it feels like I’ve already scraped myself thin. I wept hard and quietly and briefly (my beloved roomie said that I had BETTER cry more than that when she goes. Made me laugh.) And now I feel a little more hollow. I’ve had several surprise breakdowns.

I’m going to continue to fight for them, the remaining. I’m going to donate and advocate for love and healing and cures .. and kids in camps.

Goodnight, Wesley. This one is for you, champ.

Support the MDA: http://www2.mda.org/goto/memorymakers

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Redemption

“What’s broken can be mended. What’s hurt can be healed. No matter how dark it gets, the sun’s going to rise again.” ~ Dr. Meredith Grey

The plot line or trope or whatever you would call it that I enjoy most in stories is the redemption narrative. I first encountered it in ‘Watership Down’ via Bigwig. A mild arc, but it spoke to me nonetheless.

Then Vader, and later still Shawshank, and countless others; the most powerful being ‘The Wrestler’. The title character seeks redemption and forgiveness from his daughter, and does not get it. So he pulls it from inside himself.

Redemption: Coming from the dark and finding the light, the love … the redemption of a new and better life.

This speaks to me in my life because a redemption narrative says: no matter how broken or wrong or bad or stupid or ridiculous or harmful or sad or terrible you are … you can atone.

There is still a road back. It might be rocky and steep, complicated and messy. Walking it may take your entire life. You may lose your foothold, slip and fall back into the abyss, but the wall is still there. The ascent is still there. Hard is not the same as impossible.

You are never too far gone. You are never beyond saving.

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