If you are not a member of the Magic Castle, you may not have any interest in this message (although you actually might). If you are a member, I hope you'll read on.
Dear Magic Castle Member:
After a lot of serious thought, I have made the decision to run for the Board of Directors of the Academy of Magical Arts in the upcoming election.
I am running for a very simple reason: I love the Magic Castle.
My magic credentials are pretty well known (if you want to know more, you can read the bio on my website, www.maxmaven.com).
As to my relationship with the Castle, in 1977 I made my first visit to Los Angeles in order to perform and lecture here, at the invitation of Bill Larsen. The following year, I moved from Boston to Hollywood, and became a member (#4333; my application was signed by Bill Larsen and Dai Vernon).
Over the years, I have been an active participant in the Castle community. I am the only person who has worked every formal performance location at the Castle (including being the "medium" for the Houdini Seance). I have been a consultant to several Board members, advised the bookers about talent, ghostwritten award plaques and other texts, and stepped in to help arbitrate disputes between performing members.
Frankly, I'd love to stick to this behind-the-scenes involvement. But I have concerns about the Castle's current direction, and there are things that need to be done.
Some years ago, the Magic Castle found itself in a financial situation so precarious that there was a real risk that it might have had to close down. Fortunately, several people with good business skills were able and willing to step in and help turn things around. As a result, the Castle is in great economic shape.
But what's not in good shape is the "soul" of the Magic Castle. Many members feel that they're being treated poorly -- that their experience is somehow less important than that of non-members who've bought dinner. Despite good intentions, the lines of communication between the members and the Board seem to have fallen apart. Many members feel that their interests and needs are being ignored. Things are out of balance, and I fear the Magic Castle is headed toward becoming a restaurant with magic as the decoration. The sense of the Castle as a community is being lost.
Please understand: I'm not opposed to televised football games, themed food specials, networking nights or golf tournaments. These are all valid attractions and worthwhile perks for interested members. But we've got to get our priorities in order, and it's as simple as this: Magic first.
We can make things better, but I need your help.
First, I ask for your support. If you agree that change is both necessary and possible, please give me your support. If you'd be willing to sign a form endorsing my candidacy, let me know how best to get it to you (via mail, e-mail, fax or in person).
I believe every vote does count, and I need yours.
Second, spread the word. Let other Castle members know that I'm running, and why.
Third, let me hear from you. My contact information is below. Please, tell me what you think about the future of the Magic Castle, and feel free to ask me any questions you may have regarding these goals.
7095 Hollywood Blvd. #382
Hollywood, CA 90028-8903
tel: (323) 876-2896
fax: (323) 876-9547 MaxMaven@aol.com null