Attention Magic Castle Members

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mark
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby mark » February 2nd, 2004, 6:15 pm

Fierce,
I just wanted to give you an alternative viewpoint to the 'grand old lady' that is the current Magic Castle. While not a member, I have very much enjoyed my visits - to a point. I know what I am about to present does not represent a majority view or situation, but it is one that would be addressed in a new location. I am a disabled veteran. No not one with a dirty sign on a street corner, but one whose spine has been worked over waaay too many times by Uncle Sam's finest surgeons. I am a chronic pain patient, and I use a cane when my chair is impractical. My visits to the Castle have been marked by a painful trek up the hill from the M.C. hotel. Once inside, I recuperate a bit at the bar until my dinner reservations are called. Then, a painful trek up the stairs. As for the various shows and rooms. I am not able to stand in lines, and I don't really care for the embarrasment of asking for special treatment - I will leave that treatment to the various celebrities that I have seen who are MUCH too important to stand in any lines. With this in mind, I take the next painful walk, this time downstairs where I have been able to enjoy a good show or two. You see, the Magic Castle is a really charming place, and one that I love to visit, but for me the visit comes at a price. I am medicated 24/7, but a visit to the Castle pretty much has me horizontal the day after. Is it worth it? You bet it is, I would do it any time I had the chance (I live in N. CA) A new building would be a much kinder place on this banged up aviator, and I know that there are quite a few older magicians who share my view - who knows, you may too, one day.

Mark

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 2nd, 2004, 10:12 pm

Mark, I understand your situation and there are many places like the Castle that don't require elevators, it's not the best place if you want to relax and enjoy something when the joint pain kicks in, I have the same problem and I'm a young guy. That is the first *good* point I've heard all week.

However, Kym Diamond and those that want to fallow my post...

Let me get this clear, you've all said the AMA has had around 5,000 some odd members and it has'nt changed much over the last decade, as posted by several people. Are you telling me that for the last 40 years and with few changes in membership that you've suddenly outgrown it?

You must be confused with some other club since it has been doing just fine for these past 40 years or am I wrong about it's long standing record. Maybe it's not that the AMA has outgrown the club but rather many of the memebrs who think they need something big and flashy have outgrown the location. Forgive me but I'll keep my old records they sound just fine!

It's people like you Kym Diamond that tear down historical buildings to build parking lots to control what they think is overcrouding.

There was such a building in Seatle's downtown and some bonehead pulled down this beautiful triagular hotel to build a parking lot because he felt that the city had outgrown the street parking. It's the most hidious false looking thing in an otherwise perfect old town. The city complained about how it never fit it so the idiot put arch shaped rails to match the design of the other structures. The location was never the same.

Yes the AMA is separate from the Castle, that's true, but, it's the Castle that I've come to know and love, even with all of it's poor lighting, spacing, sound and levels. In fact it's the many floors of the building that make it a wonderful place to explore and you can see that in the eyes of every new guest.

All that you're trying to do Diamond grease the situation to sound like it would be better if the place closed down. You're setting people up for what *may* be the enevitable change of location. I think you'd be suprised to see how many people want the AMA to remain right were it is. SO I guess yes, I'll be joining the Castle partners if it means the building still remains. In fact I'd help them build it back up if the cardboard facades are taken away and I'd work for free. I just can't forget that (from my guess) 7 out of 10 peoople that go to the Castle each night are non-memebers. For being a clubhouse for magicians, I would have expected a **standing room** of magicians being as packed and "overgrown" as you claim. Sorry, I've never seen it.


-D

Randy DiMarco
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Randy DiMarco » February 3rd, 2004, 5:26 am

Fierce said
I just can't forget that (from my guess) 7 out of 10 people that go to the Castle each night are non-members.
The pressure to increase revenue flow by increasing the number of non-members who visit the castle is what is causing the over-crowding problem.

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Todd Robbins
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Todd Robbins » February 3rd, 2004, 7:29 am

I'm telling you right now, if Milt and AMA had just kept the Festalboard, none of this would have happened!

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 3rd, 2004, 8:05 am

Mark Jens,
Thank you for reminding us,what an unappreciative and whiney bunch of complainers, too many of us, who attend The Castle, really are. A much needed perspective, that there are many who would love to go to The Castle, that so many are able to,(unlike you with real challenges) and enjoy the luxury to complain about it.

I have wondered about the access problems that are there. If you use a wheelchair, would they let you go around the entrance, to one of the side doors? Or go around to the back stage entrance, and be on the same floor as the Palace or Parlour? Might be a hassle to open it up for you, but nothing compared to having to manage those stairs.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 3rd, 2004, 8:07 am

Fierce, before I can get into this - I fear this is heading towards a flame war situation on your end, I don't want that. Up to this point we have been discussing an issue with two views. It is my hope to keep matters calm and polite on things while we wander through these factors of reality surrounding the space and other related needs of the current manor on Glover Hill. As for your post:

FIERCE:
Let me get this clear, you've all said the AMA has had around 5,000 some odd members and it has'nt changed much over the last decade, as posted by several people. Are you telling me that for the last 40 years and with few changes in membership that you've suddenly outgrown it?

KD:
Actually, the posts have shown that we are growing, and, the guests who visit are growing with it. In fact, you will find (as a rule) more guests than members at the clubhouse facilities on the busiest of nights, which also adds to the over crowding situations.

And, the art of magic and presentations have changed. The stages we use need to reflect that as well. We need more space, space not available at the current site. It isn't that we've "suddenly outgrown" the Clubhouse, this has been coming for some time now...and the factors that are arising this year have brought the matter to a focal point and needed issue.

FIERCE:
You must be confused with some other club since it has been doing just fine for these past 40 years or am I wrong about it's long standing record. Maybe it's not that the AMA has outgrown the club but rather many of the memebrs who think they need something big and flashy have outgrown the location. Forgive me but I'll keep my old records they sound just fine!

KD: No, I don't. And, the last 40 years have had their shares of ups and downs, just as any organization can and will. Believe me, it isn't "big and flashy" that is being looked for. It is something with "space and room" and a "historical setting" that will allow the Academy to proceed into the 21st century with the rich heritage of those last 40 years to build upon in a place that is structurally sounder and better to support the organizations activities and entertainment needs.

FIERCE:
It's people like you Kym Diamond that tear down historical buildings to build parking lots to control what they think is overcrouding.

KD:
On this, you are wrong. I am not saying "Tear the place down", or any place down. I have spent many hours in restoration of historic buildings and/or other such endeavors in my life. Please, don't judge me on that level based upon my statement that the Academy needs to move on from a building that is no longer equipped to handle the numbers or needs of the organization.

FIERCE:
Yes the AMA is separate from the Castle, that's true, but, it's the Castle that I've come to know and love, even with all of it's poor lighting, spacing, sound and levels. In fact it's the many floors of the building that make it a wonderful place to explore and you can see that in the eyes of every new guest.

KD:
And, I fully believe that anything we move on and into will offer the same quality of experience for the guests. That house was an empty shell when the Academy moved in and built it to what it now is. When (and if) the Academy leaves, the house will return to an empty shell for CASTLE LLC to re-invent as they need. The wonders you associate with the AMA's tenure of residence inside that house will be in our new location.

In your statement you say, "It's the Castle I've come to know and love..." well, that is only a house with decorations. You may be emotionally attached to the skeleton, the framework that holds the organization up...but, you aren't seeing the organization itself...the group that built what you love as the shell and interior of a place...and the group that can take all of those wonderful artistic elements and re-instate them, and more, in a better setting for future days.

FIERCE:
All that you're trying to do Diamond grease the situation to sound like it would be better if the place closed down. You're setting people up for what *may* be the enevitable change of location. I think you'd be suprised to see how many people want the AMA to remain right were it is.

KD:
No. I love the set up at the current location of the clubhouse. And, I love old victorian houses. The two go together rather nicely. The extension that runs off the house proper (where the Palace and Parlour reside in what was once a parking garage) are amazing extensions created by Milt and his team. But, there isn't enough space for safe and sane operations when the current facility is at full tilt. And, there are needs in the performance venues that cannot be met unless specific things are changed. Read some of these posts over, read some of Whit's posts over...get a feel for this thing.

Yes, I think it is best for the AMA to find a new residence for our organization. I think there is such potential for expansion and growth that even folk such as yourself would be happy and impressed with the new site of the club's residence. Growth and change can be frightening things...and some folk prefer to hold onto what they perceive as a comfortable moment in time rather than face those frightening factors of change. Whether the move is now, in five years, two years, whatever...it stands to happen. I am ready and waiting for that chance to see our organization grow into something even more than it is now...to see our clubhouse reflect that growth and development...to see our clubhouse being able to offer the space and ammenities needed for the next several generations of performers and guests who walk those hallways, too.

FIERCE:
SO I guess yes, I'll be joining the Castle partners if it means the building still remains. In fact I'd help them build it back up if the cardboard facades are taken away and I'd work for free.

KD:
That's sad. It isn't the building people and members come to see. It is the magic that springs from within...and that is due to the hosts of the Academy of Magical Arts. And that which makes the current manor on the hill magic will be wherever the Academy places its new home. If it is the magical family you are wishing to join on this professional level, the AMA is the organization I would recommend for that. If it is to be able to sit back, enjoy, and just be in an old victorian building, well, there are several historical societys that are there for that. In fact, memberships there are usually low, and, they are always looking for members to help in restoration projects. Make sure you are certain about where you want your energies to go. Are you there for the magic, or, for the house? Important question. The setting easily can change. The spirit and soul that guides a setting will remain. That which you perceive as "The Castle" will always be there, no matter where the Academy goes. What you perceive is what the Academy is, not the old house it uses.

FIERCE:
I just can't forget that (from my guess) 7 out of 10 peoople that go to the Castle each night are non-memebers. For being a clubhouse for magicians, I would have expected a **standing room** of magicians being as packed and "overgrown" as you claim. Sorry, I've never seen it.

KD:
Uh, John Carney had a post a bit earlier about that. (And, sad to tell, we lost John.) The club members have been elbowed out of their clubhouse so greatly that they have retreated to other venues. Having the space to allow club members and guests equal access to the shows and events offers to change that.

For everything you haven't seen, Fierce, I have. And more.

There are many factors happening right now. And, a lot of them aren't just the relocation. There is a lot of serious growth that the Academy is starting to go through this year. Several things will change. And, I am not just referring to a physical location here.

I am standing by the Academy. That is what means something to me. This is going to be a serious year for my organization. I intend to be there for that as I am needed. Even if it is only writing letters such as this, and, supporting whatever form of change that is positive for the growth of this group of amazing individuals I am honored to call myself a part of.

Hope this helps -

Kd
:cool:


-D

Charles Spector

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Charles Spector » February 3rd, 2004, 8:16 am

Mark and Diego,

Guests with disabilities should let the hosts know. There is a way to avoid stairs by using the back way by the beautiful dumpster.
I have heard that one of the "modernizations" by Castle Partners is to put an elevator in The Magic Castle.

Charles Spector

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 3rd, 2004, 8:29 am

I have completed interviews with Tom Glover, Dale Hindman, and Milt Larsen. All interesting, and the situation is not likely to be cleared up even when I eventually post them here.
One thing I can say is that the business about the membership numbers has been causing a lot of confusion. Total membership is now around 5,000. (There is some question as to whether it was larger at one time, but it's just not clear at this point.)
Part of the discrepency is because of the difference between the number of PAYING members and the number of LIFE members. Paying members NOW total around 3600. Life members NOW total around 1400. This gives you the number 5000. However, years ago when the Castle had 5000 members, there were a fewer life members and more paying members.
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 3rd, 2004, 8:56 am

KD

I agree that a larger easier to access space is all well and good. I do want to join a macical family. I also think that the REAL issues that are causing this Castle problem are being overlooked and your explantions seem to be setting people up to explain why they won't be at the Castle.

you say "When (and if) the Academy leaves"


so "if" it remains then what you'd be sitting in is a place that you're not happy with.

To be honest, I won't be joining either side until I go find out more solid facts on all of these # claims. It seems everytime someone posts an excuse, there are others that say it's just not true.

I'm looking for facst and so far, all I have seen is the one that was mentioned about access to people who have trouble walking.

I don't want a flame war, but I'm guessing you can see me as an outsider my frustration on the issue.

-D

The jury is out.

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Pete Biro
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Pete Biro » February 3rd, 2004, 9:10 am

Regarding Membership numbers.

I happen to be a life member. Some say "you don't support us now because you no longer pay dues."

Sure, it was a bargain now.

But, some years ago the Castle was about to go bust... shut down... vanish... poof.

Bill Larsen called me (and other friends) and said "If we don't raise x-number of dollars right now, the club is gone."

So, at that time, I could afford it and I (and others) came to the rescue and the Magic Castle was able to survive.

What we did was "back up the Acadamy" and that is what we need to do now.

I think it would be interesting to create a NEW membership level.

Life-Plus

No new Life Memberships, but offer the current Life Members to "Plus" their memberships by paying some dues and in exchange gaining added privileges.

Thoughts?
Stay tooned.

Bob L
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Bob L » February 3rd, 2004, 9:15 am

Fierce, a self-professed "outsider," has stated his case and IMHO should now allow insiders to discuss the issue in a less inflammatory manner. A once thoughtful discussion is being edged into much less thoughtful territory.

I, too, am an outsider and will now observe in interested silence while other, better informed participants have their say.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 3rd, 2004, 9:34 am

Fierce - some good statements here. The most important one in your statement, "I don't want a flame war, but I'm guessing you can see me as an outsider my frustration on the issue. "

Yes, and, thank you for that. I see you as a person who loves this realm of magic performance...and who is concerned for situations within one of the great organizations that embodies the best (and, sometimes the worst) of that. And, believe me, I am just as frustrated as you are over matters. There is not a full picture of what is going on. Even as Richard said above, he now has interviews with Dale and Milt...hopefully those will be out quickly for reading here...the more information that can be placed for public access, the better the lines can be read between and more informed opinions can be drawn. It is only fair that all views be presented and that a logical opinion by the individual reading them be drawn. No one person is right, no one person is wrong.

There are factors that - the more I read of things on this and other related forums - reveal deeper issues and problems within the structure of the governing faculty of the AMA and the embodiment of the members at large, deeper problems with the location we are presently at...and, deeper problems with the performers and guests than we are aware of in what has been given us to decipher over. This is why I stated in my last post that things are just beginning a serious road for the AMA to travel. What we are going through now is only the wake up call.

FIERCE:
I agree that a larger easier to access space is all well and good. I do want to join a macical family. I also think that the REAL issues that are causing this Castle problem are being overlooked and your explantions seem to be setting people up to explain why they won't be at the Castle.

KD: No. There are many levels of factors, I agree. But, this issue of space allocation and needs has been one that has been rising for several years. At least, from what I have gleaned by reading posts and talking with other members, as well as personal observations over the last six years of my own membership. My "explanations" are to help pursue the understanding that we need to move and relocate to better facilities, and, that nothing stands to be lost (Save an old house), and everything stands to be gained. This also admits to a painful transition...the same that happens when a family who has lived in one city for thirty years suddenly has to move for whatever given reason to another location that is new. There are emotional ties involved in any form of relocation move. But, the expectations to grow in new ways that relocation offers far outweigh remaining anchored in the same pool.

FIERCE:
you say "When (and if) the Academy leaves"
so "if" it remains then what you'd be sitting in is a place that you're not happy with.

KD:
If the AMA remains in the current house situation, I will still be pounding the pavement and working with those who feel that we need to expand and move. This is not saying I am happy or unhappy in any location. All it is saying is that I believe our organization has outgrown our current facility and needs to move. I am happy to be a part of the AMA - and sad about that, too...the internal struggles and problems that are coming to the forefront now are matters within our embodiment that must be attended to before the rest of the future can be grown into. Whether the move comes before or after those trials of healing, there does need to be a move. (and, yes, that is my personal opinion, of course. ;) )

FIERCE:
I'm looking for facst and so far, all I have seen is the one that was mentioned about access to people who have trouble walking.

KD:
There have been other matters listed as well in previous posts here. And, as I have said, you are not the only person looking for more information on matters...matters that don't even contend with the physical relocation being advocated in this discussion with you.

Focusing on space limitations, then, it is best to move. Read some of the posts here by Whit and others. There is a lot of information out there on why a relocation is the best thing we can do.

The physical limitations of access - one person mentioned that CASTLE LLC is considering an elevator - have been achieved, in unromantic ways, admittedly - without further loss of functional space in the current setting. Placing an elevator into the current allocated space of the manor will take that much more space out of the manor for members and guests to use. Yes, being able to offer all of our guests the ease of travel around the mansion is an important issue. And, a new location gives us the chance to seriously improve that. With space being a premium in our current setting, such an addition as an elevator would take at least one major area of the current setting into history...whether it be Water Closet or functioning show arena or relaxed sitting venue. (The latter stands in an arena in which there are far too few relaxed sitting venues.)

The other issues of struggle within the AMA I will not discuss here or attend to...those are inclusive to the organization and remain there. Those are our scars to heal, and do not need attention here. It is sad enough to know that those matters are already under scrutinization here and elsewheres by people who do not have full scope of the factors in use. And, that last statement even applies to members of the Academy such as I who now are trying to read everything and figure out where the line really stands.

I am not prone to stating anything about the situation of the take over by CASTLE LLC. The focus I have been sound upon is the needed relocation move; seperation of clubhouse and organization for those who have us confused.

That being said...in direct consideration for the LLC matter at hand...as far as I can make out of this, the LLC wishes to come in and operate food, entertainment, and bar venues...aspects of the AMA clubhouse. In effect, they are taking away the outward functioning arm of the AMA in desiring this move. The first and foremost factor in this is to keep the Academy intact. Any form of loss of Academy control on the operation of our clubhouse is the first major schizm that will eventually splinter the AMA into more than just half. If it comes to the factor that we must move and retain our control on the daily operation of our clubhouse, then, let it come to that. It is better to leave a game with the body whole than having to carry severed limbs from the field.

But, a move in such that situation (to avoid loss of control by the embodiment of the Academy of the Clubhouse we built and dwell in) is only a partial moment. A move such as I am talking on here (as well as Whit and many more qualified others than I) is one in which gives the Academy the space it needs to expand and grow for this new century. In either case, a move is outlined as a functional probability to help resolve issues.

Once matters are safe and resolved from the current state of affairs betwixt CASTLE LLC and the AMA, then, we (the AMA) shall have to turn inwards to our own problems and resolve them. And, the only way to resolve those issues is by having a membership ready to work on those issues. Whether that membership is made up of folk who have been there "since time began" or the latest initiate to pass the interviews and walk through the bookshelf as a member...it doesn't matter. The spirit of wanting to keep the Academy fresh, operating, and vital is what is important.

Now, I will probably raise some eyebrows and take some flack for that last statement. Still - no one should discount the new people just in the door. Sometimes it is the newest person in the door who has the spirit and energy to effect the best change in a system...without having the clouded slate of all issues to waddle through and resolve.

There are ways to become informed, in that situation, without being involved in the siding teams of the issue...okay - that may get confused, too. ;) Hopefully not. I sure wouldn't want it to.

Anyway, that is my current take on this issue. Hope it helps better explain matters to you.

Kd
:cool:

Mark W. Nelson
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Mark W. Nelson » February 3rd, 2004, 10:22 am

Dear All:

It has been my understanding that the idea of an elevator in The Magic Castle was broached to the Glover family by Milt some time ago. After many discussions and the drafting of several different plans, the idea was abandoned.

Milt also tried to interest the Glover family in an expansion which would incorporate a 250-seat full stage-facility theatre to occupy an area which currently holds a portion of the Magic Hotel. It may be that the construction of the Kodak Theatre caused the Glovers to find that plan not financially feasible.

I bring these points up to illustrate that Milt has constantly attempted to revise, expand and renovate The Magic Castle and to attempt to "bring it into today" on many different levels. Unless and until negotiations with Castle Partners, LLC and the Academy are completed, and unless they involve Milt, the Academy will lose the vital creative innovations of one of its founders.

Remember, Milt functioned as the AMA's landlord, and the Glover family was Milt's landlord. Subject to current negotiations, CP LLC will be the AMA's landlord, and the Glover family is CP LLC's landlord. The AMA previously paid rent as a portion of food and beverage income. Again, subject tot he current negotiations, with the AMA no longer controlling food and beverage, Academy dues will be the only way to pay our rent to CP LLC.

Kym's posts have been right on point with respect to this matter. The Castle was never originally set up to be a "profit center" for its owners. The restaurant and bar operations (apart from their obvious purposes in feeding and lubricating magaician members) was to pay the rent for the Academy clubhouse without a regular cash outlay which the members of the Academy could not, at the time, provide. The Glovers, in turn, got a steady flow of income from a property that they did not have to operate or maintain (as Milt and the AMA paid for improvements in the building). For 41 years the partnership between the AMA, Milt and the Glover family functioned perfectly in this capacity.

The Glover family has now decided that the property can generate more income for them, and that it is worth the risk to turn operations, staff and maintenance over to a new tenant. Therefore they have not renewed their lease with Milt. Keeping personal feelings of loyalty aside, the AMA simply now must decide, as an organization, whether or not the arrangement with CP LLC is as valuable to the organization as the arrangement with Milt was. And Milt must decide whether or not maintaining his relationship with the CP LLC and the Glovers is as valuable to him as his relationship with the AMA and the Glovers has proven.

Only they can make these decisions. I support Milt and feel that he deserves the support of the AMA. I also belong to the AMA, and that's an organization of friends and professionals I respect, not a merely a location.

The best that has come from the discussions here and on other forums is that the members of the AMA are suddenly no longer taking their club for granted. That, more than anything else, will push the organization into a stronger period of growth and creativity than we have seen in many a year.

Best always,

Mark W. Nelson
Best,

Mark

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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby thumbslinger » February 3rd, 2004, 1:49 pm

Hi Pete-
Interesting idea of creating another level of membership.

However, what would the added priviledges consist of that wouldn't somehow in the end...'rob peter to pay paul?" Dinners/drinks/reserved seats at all Palace shows on "X" day?..etc

Just wondering....I'm new and just didn't want your thoughts to get buried over long debates!

:)
Hey....hey.. it's just for fun, next lifetime you won't even remember who you were.

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Pete Biro
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Pete Biro » February 3rd, 2004, 3:16 pm

Well, if we move to larger quarters, Life-Plus members would be able to get good seating and avoid lines perhaps.

It would be up to the Board of Directors.

Maybe special nights, special shows? Discounts on Food/Beverages on certain nights?

Whatever the board feels is worth it.
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 3rd, 2004, 4:03 pm

Here's a scenario that sounds good:
The AMA moves to a new, larger location. The glover's open "The Magic Mansion" in the same location that the Castle is at now.
Result:
We now have one more place to perform and get paid. I could get used to that!
-DS

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 3rd, 2004, 10:27 pm

As a person who goes to the Castle often, and who has not yet commented (as have many, I think), I finally feel moved to post a few things.

First, I have no relationship to any party.

Second, there is an active negotiation taking place between CP, and Milt & Dale. When anyone posts about not accepting any offer, they are undermining Milt and Dale. Kindly be quiet. Making various threats against the Glovers and CP is both pointless (coming from members of an organization that wrings it's hands about breaking even, against an organization that accounts to the closest million), is coming from people who are not involved in the negotiations, and could generate ill will, for an entity that may be the Castle landlord for another 40 years.

Third, there is no doubt that Milt and family has been the life behind the Castle. However, if one looks at who the greatest supporter of the Castle has been otherwise....it has been the Glover family. When one takes an honest look at the value of the property, and that there has been no (meaningful) raise of rent in 40 years, you can quickly calculate their support in the millions.
If they wanted the property, it's theirs.
If they wanted to develop the site, the bulldozers would be working tonite.
If they wanted a disco, the music would be heard.

Set aside the rhetoric and the fear. Observe what is happening with your own eyes. Has an eviction notice been served? Have articles appeared in the paper? Has any of the AMA or management not been allowed on the property?
No.
None of this particularly makes sense, if the motive is simply money. After all, if money were so easy, why has the AMA been sweating all these months? Occasionally talking about dues assessments? Dipping into the reserves? Pushing for new members? Making arrangements for cut-rate deals for teachers? Sliding people into the club without a members' card, if they pony up?

On the other hand, it is clear that there is great disunity in the AMA. Fairly astonishing allegations of pilfering,"ghost" employees who never work but collect checks, hidden deals and kickbacks....unreal! Additional personal slights that I would not repeat. Amazing. All rumor.

Gradual deterioration of the entertainment focus....acts that are repetetive because no one pays attention to what they are doing. Slights to world class performers, souring them to the place.

I would advocate that in a week that will be featuring Shoot, Tom Ogden, Jeff Ezell, and Fernando Cheops (don't know the other magician), having the place nearly empty on M-Tu-W borders on a criminal act.

I would advocate that when the public *I* talk to continually tells me that they LOVE close-up, time and again, and not using the wildly successful Close-Up Olympics to pack them in, is just foolish.

I would advocate that having a location that millions of people want to go to, but can't, because it's private, and then have the place be in financial trouble, as it sits empty all day long 6 days a week, a block away from one of the great tourist attractions of American, and half the nites of the week, is a clear demonstration of managerial incompetence. Probably well-meaning, but incompetence.

One speaks of the loyal employees. Are you referring to the ones that get no holiday bonuses from their employer, no matter how well that employer does, and foists it off on the patrons? Are you referring to the Nite Managers, who are the heart and soul of the average patrons' experience (I still have people mention Patrick was a highlight of their visit), being summarily demoted to "Hosts"? Are these the employees of many years that get no substantial benefits?

It seems like a change has been what has been discussed for a long time in the Castle forums. It is clear that the AMA has had two year to "straighten out it's act", and has been unable, or unwilling to do so. I don't know how much warning you guys expect. Most of the Board members won't even stoop to discuss issues with AMA members. It's pretty easy to understand they won't listen to the Glovers.

The posturing doesn't help. It doesn't even matter what the Board has wrought. This institution is at risk. There is a fairly easy solution, if ego does not get in the way. However, I'm not optomistic.

Alan Bursky
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Alan Bursky » February 4th, 2004, 3:40 am

Private clubs give the employees Xmas bonus from the members, not the employer. Many members who claim they support the employess do not send in Xmas contirbutions.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 4th, 2004, 11:33 am

acetwo:

You don't say if you are a member or not. I think that we have every right as members to let our opinions be heard by the people who are negotiating on our behalf.

The current board of directors have always been very approachable, and I have often discussed Castle issues with many of them. Every one of them have always listened carefully, and been willing to discuss these issues intelligently.

I am not surprised by your obvious leaning toward the Castle Partners. You seem to share their feeling that a "successful" Magic Castle is one that is full and "making money" every night of the week. I am not sure that that is the measure of success that most of the members would use.

If members are not able to get into the shows on Mon, Tues, Wed as well as Thur, Fri, and Sat that is not necessarily an improvement.

If we are required to have dinner when we come, or at least a certain number of times a month or year, that is not necessarily an improvement.

The problems we are facing come from unavoidable rising costs, such as worker's comp, other increasing costs, and a higher "minimum" rent.

We have met the demands of the Glovers to increase our income to meet their "minimum."

We have not always listened to the Glovers suggestions on how to run our club, for example, we did not take the Glover's suggestion to fire all the bartenders and wait staff and hire younger ones. However, we did meet the demands that they made regarding a new "minimum" rent. This was not enough. They still did not give us a new lease.

I don't think we should give up any control of our club to our landlord or to outsiders, no matter how much they share our "love" of the Castle. What they love and what we love may not be the same things.

I have always appreciated and valued what the Glovers have done for us, and do not begrudge them making money on their own property.

I just do not want them, or anyone, running my club. They are the landlords. If they want to run the business, they should run for the board of directors.

There are several other larger, more suitable venues for our club in the Hollywood area who would love to have our 5000 member customer base in residence.

I have felt that we needed a new clubhouse for several years, for the many reasons that I have already stated. I think that the time to move is now.

Pete McCabe
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Pete McCabe » February 4th, 2004, 12:13 pm

One very fundamental issue here is that the Magic Castle serves two functions: It is a clubhouse and a night club. These have very different goals.

A night club's first priority is to make money. This requires, usually, an expensive location and high volume.

A clubhouse's first priority is to allow the members to meet comfortably and conveniently, at minimum expense. This requires usually an economical location and moderate volume.

It seems as though the CP are more interested in the castle being a successful night club than a club house. The AMA is more interested in a successful club house than night club. Neither side is "right" or "wrong." But they are distinctly different.

They are not mutually exclusive, though. The night club benefits from having lots of magician members as regular customers. The club house benefits from having a variety of paid performers that we can watch. So perhaps there is a middle ground.

Still, there can only be one top priority in any business.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 4th, 2004, 12:59 pm

Whit, I know you well enough to know that you are coming from the right place....wanting the best for the members of the AMA, and I would not question that. I'd point out that the best way to communicate with your Board, is to communicate *with your Board*, not by posting messages on a public Board. You state:
"I have felt that we needed a new clubhouse for several years, for the many reasons that I have already stated. I think that the time to move is now." This is complete contradiction to what your Board is attempting to do, get a new lease in the current location. They may be considering other options. I hope that they are. But you surely don't advocate that when you would be in the middle of a lease negotiation, yourself, that you would be telling the person you are negotiating with that you don't really want the lease, that you are looking at other properties, etc? Neither should we.

You state "I am not surprised by your obvious leaning toward the Castle Partners. You seem to share their feeling that a "successful" Magic Castle is one that is full and "making money" every night of the week. I am not sure that that is the measure of success that most of the members would use." I'd agree that is not the measure that I'd use, either. On the other hand, I don't think that having the Castle empty and losing money is, either, eh? So, a new approach is reasonable.

You seem to accept that accepting the charity of the Glovers is an entitlement. That the business model that includes that is the norm...it is NOT.
I have trouble with the righteous attitude that
we somehow have the right to a huge subsidy, with basically nothing in return. This is not fundamentally right.

You say: "If members are not able to get into the shows on Mon, Tues, Wed as well as Thur, Fri, and Sat that is not necessarily an improvement." I'd agree. But I often find, that on MTW, I cannot net into a show, because there IS no show, as there are not enough people for one.

You state: "If we are required to have dinner when we come, or at least a certain number of times a month or year, that is not necessarily an improvement." I agree, but this is disingenuous, as I've seen no one suggest that this is under consideration. You might as well say "if we are required to bring 50 guests when we come."

You state: "The problems we are facing come from unavoidable rising costs, such as worker's comp, other increasing costs, and a higher "minimum" rent." Note that we have no idea what the relative contributions from these are. We may have been meeting the minimum, for all we know.

You said: "I have always appreciated and valued what the Glovers have done for us, and do not begrudge them making money on their own property."
This was the point that I think no one had previously expressed. And that is the crux, eh?
If it reasonable for them to make the profit that the property deserves (due to location), and they are making vastly less, what is reasonable for them to get, in return? As a recently married man, you understand that long-term relationships are based upon equitable sharing, not one-sided deals, even if contractually enforcible.

So that may be what it really comes down to: the property has appreciated beyond what the AMA can afford. We may be able to negotiate a favorable monitary situation, but it is NOT reasonable that there will not be some other price to pay, such as some control of operations. You may think that there is other property nearby that would devote itself to us, but I find that hard to believe...without a huge cost attached.

You state: "I just do not want them, or anyone, running my club. They are the landlords. If they want to run the business, they should run for the board of directors." Once again, a disingenuous argument. You suggest a pathway, that you know will fail. Not being the stupid people that you seem to paint them, they have chosen a different path to running the business. Which path seems more likely to achieve the goal of running the business. A number of people have suggested owning the property. I suppose that is an equally reasonable option: Buy the Glover's entire business operation, then we will be able to assure the business in the area. I wonder why we aren't discussing this option?

I'll finish by saying this: We would consider it rude, arrogant, and offensive, if Iraq was carrying on a campaign to inform us citizens of what our government was doing in negotiations. We criticize CP for "going behind the back of the Board". And yet, while they and the AMA Board are in negotiations, we berate them for not explaining things to AMA members. That is NOT their job, and we should NOT be asking them to go behind the backs of the Board again!
It is the job of the Board to inform the members, educate us as to the facts, discuss with us the options, and seek our guidance (which they have not done!)

Pete, that was one of the best thought-out statements I've seen.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 4th, 2004, 3:25 pm

Regarding the previous few postings,

I think everyone feels the Glovers have a right to do what they want with the property. It has been great that they chose in the past not to extract maximum value, but if they choose differently now, I don't believe any reasonable person would think less of them. They own the property and need to make their own decisions about what they want to do.

Pete has really hit the nail on the head regarding the confusion being shown in this thread concerning whether the "Magic Castle" is a quasi-public institution, a private club, or a for-profit entertainment venue. It seems to me that the people who argue that the Castle Partners &/or the Glovers should get to do what they want because current management is supposedly not able to run it successfully, are under the mistaken impression that either it is quasi-public or a pure for-profit entertainment operation, and therefore the old management/members are not entitled to any squatter's rights that might reduce the entertainment value/opportunity for the larger public, or indeed the opportunity for someone else to make more money from the concept.

It seems like some people find it hard to accept that it really is a club/private activity, and it is the AMA & Milt who must decide what meets their respective needs, which are not the same as having a successful public entertainment venue. Whether or not the AMA has internal problems is really irrelevant. If they do, they should deal with them. But it doesn't mean the AMA has forfeited any rights of ownership. Similarly, if they & Milt are poor managers, it is still theirs to manage as they can, for the benefit of the members.

Whether the loss of control the AMA would have to give up to CP to stay there is worth it, is something the club needs to decide. I'm an outsider, so I can't vote. But as Whit says, the AMA is about a lot more than entertaining the public and making money, and it would be a shame for it to disappear as a real organization by giving up control over its space and activities. However, it may be that subcontraacting delivery of some services to CP could be a good thing.

Regarding AMA members discussing things in this forum - I don't know the AMA rules for this, but it does seem to me that no one is "leaking" inside information. They are just politely expressing personal opinions. Its hard to see the harm in that.

Finally, in regard to the statement in an earlier post that if an AMA member expresses the view that the AMA should move, he is harming the negotiations with CP/Glovers - this just flatly contradicts everything I have read about negotiating and experienced myself in negotiating. If the opposite party feels you have no other options but to strike a deal with them, then they hold all the cards and bargain very hard. They will feel they do not have to make any concessions. If they believe that you have other options, and have half a mind to go with them, then they are much more motivated to accomodate your needs in order to make a deal. I would think the more the AMA validates that moving is a realistic option, then the better the negotiations will go, if the CP have any desire to negotiate at all, as opposed to a take or leave it attitude.

My 2 cents.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 4th, 2004, 4:38 pm

Canuck:

I agree with you, especially on your last statement. I think it is important for our board and the Castle Partners to know that there are plenty of members who are willing, and some even anxious to move to a new venue.

Further, the BoD and Milt are reading everything on this board and on the Magic Castle Forum. They have solicited these sorts of comments from the membership, and have asked those participating in these online discussions to continue. They want to hear our ideas, and to get a sense of where the membership is leaning.

To act as if we are negotiating a labor dispute is ridiculous. There shouldn't be any secret plans or negotiating postures at all.

Basically, the BoD and Milt are being offered a new lease, based on whatever requirements and benefits the new owner/management team wants to grant us.

If the Castle Partners want to influence the board to accept their terms, they would be smart to court the favor and support of the members. Instead, we have heard almost nothing of the offer, or of the plans that the Castle Partners have for the Magic Castle.

It is understandable that the membership is nervous and unsure of the direction we should take. It would help a lot if more information was provided, and I don't see how it could hurt the negotiations one way or the other.

Either the Castle Partners have a great new plan for running the Castle, that the members would all easily get behind, and would find so beneficial that they would be willing to give up their control and influence over food, beverage, and entertainment, or they don't.

I don't think that it is very helpful to just say "We are successful, wealthy, and business savvy. Trust us to take over the club and make it wonderful."

Whatever the BoD decides, it won't mean anything at all unless the membership wants to go along with it.

Therefore, it is extremely important to reach the minds and hearts of the membership--both for the board and the Castle Partners.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 4th, 2004, 6:07 pm

First, I am not now a member of the Academy of Magical Arts. However, I was a member
for more than fifteen years starting about a year before the Magic Castle opened. The
night that the Castle opened we had 67 members -- scarcely enough to provide any kind of
income to the Glovers even if we drank ourselves silly every night. That was in January
1963. The dining room didnt open until September. Obviously a percentage of the
receipts from dinner sales was not going to provide much income. I was there every night
that the club was open for the first three months. There were no scheduled shows. Jay
Ose performed when there was a likely looking group. Fred Shields and I and who ever
else happened to be in would perform several times each night for such as would sit still for
us.

Later Milt enclosed the nice circular porch creating the Blsckstone Room, enlarging the
bar, giving Irma a different venue. And we started having regular scheduled shows.

Then Milt dug a basement -- essentially using teaspoons and, lo, we had a Haunted Wine
Cellar. About 1967 We got a great chef -- Chef Howard -- and the reputation of the
Magic Castle was on a roll. Had some problems for a bit seating people in the dining
rooms but Eddie became maitre dhte and solved that. All of these innovations and
improvements were the work of Milt Larsen.

So, fellows, if you want to see the AMA and the Magic Castle prosper, look to Milt Larsen
and follow his lead.

If I were still in California and still a member I should rally behind his banner -- anytime,
anywhere.
tonga
02/04/04 1815

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Richard Kaufman » February 4th, 2004, 6:17 pm

I have replaced the original message which was here with the following note:
I had originally posted an interview with Diana Zimmerman here. However, upon announcing that I've decided not to post online the other three interviews I've conducted, but to print them in Genii instead, simple minds have jumped to foolish conclusions.
So, I have deleted the Zimmerman interview so that it will now appear only in the March issue of Genii.
My goal is doing good journalism AND selling magazines, and that must take precedence.
(This same note appears earlier in this thread where the Zimmerman interview appeared.)
All four interviews will appear in the March issue of Genii, which will go in the mail on February 12.
The half dozen posts which reacted to the original post which appeared in this spot have been deleted since they dealt directly with it. As my post has been deleted, it made no sense to leave them. Those who posted may wish to rephrase their posts based upon the information which currently exists in the thread.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 4th, 2004, 9:03 pm

Richard - because something disagrees with what you have done, you have deleted it. That is sad. You can delete this also, if you so wish. I do not feel anyone here has a "simple mind" or is attempting "foolish conclusions". I strongly disagree with your only publishing one of the interviews that only states one side of the coin before your magazine goes to publication. You then stated you have the other interviews. And, then, you stated that you were going to publish them on the forums and then decided to wait for your magazine to be published. This reflects a bias in your willingness to share, via electronic forums, the same forums in which you published the views of the CPLLC...in an attempt to show that their efforts were "honorable and of good intention" to the worried members of the AMA as well as magicians who wanted some idea of what was happening. During the time period of which that publication will be released, meetings will transpire betwixt the parties...and issues could be moot by the time your publication goes to the readers.

My point was, and is, for honest dissemenation of the facts, all views should be brought forward here in these forums...if only for the fact that you had brought forward the first interview in what became a set. All sides need to be read and heard equally. Perhaps you feel your publication date will do this. I feel it is buying more time for the CPLLC and their view - which still remains accessible in this forum. However, you have deleted all of those posts in question...so, in effect, that is an attempt to apparently do the right thing.

The other response was a matter of trying to illustrate that the members who are most outspoken here and long written are trying to ensure that all members of the AMA and otherwise are aware of how great an impact this situation is going to have on our community...and that it is time to be aware of this wake up call.

You may delete this, you may keep it. I guess that is part of the power of owning this forum. I personally prefer a place where people are free to disagree without wondering whether or not someone will take away their words. There should be no fear over what is said to anyone at any point here...whether it agrees with you or not.

Your action appeared to be slanted towards the CPLLC. That was my issue. It really doesn't matter, in the long run.

As I have said, and continue to state, what matters is the Academy of Magical Arts. And, we need to stay strong and united behind Milt and our current designated leadership on this issue.
The CPLLC has shown several questionable actions and methods of how they are approaching their desire to "improve the operations of the AMA clubhouse by taking over the business end of things."

This is a major issue in our world of magic. In truth, we all stand to lose. And, due to the pain and situations that have escalated to this point, no matter the outcome, we have already lost too much amongst ourselves in these personal issues.

To you, Mr. Kaufman, I extend a personal apology. It has not been my effect to offend you in any way or manner. To the members of the magical community at large, my apologies, also. If there have been further tears in the rift developing due to my asking for what seemed to me to be fair presentation of materials for all to read and understand, in whatever situation...then, for those tears...I apologize.


Respectfully -

Kym Diamond

hscheie
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby hscheie » February 5th, 2004, 10:16 am

In a lease that is based on a percentage the nature of inflation automatically takes care of rent increases, the Castle pays a minimum base rent against a % of the gross. As the prices go up so does the rental payment.

If as you suggest there would have been meaningful rent increases" over the last forty years the Castle would now be paying more than 100% of the gross as rent.

As to charging a rental based on the value of the property thats just pure bologna.

If you have a fairly large home in a nice neighborhood and have owned it for many years it's not unrealistic in today's market for it to be worth a million+ dollars. Do you realistically think you could rent it for $10,000 a month?

The base rent is normally set to reflect a fair minimum and both the landlord and tenant are betting on the success of the business to pay the percentage rent and inflation to take care of the increases.

Hal


[QUOTE]Originally posted by acetwo:
that there has been no (meaningful) raise of rent in 40 years, you can quickly calculate their support in the millions.
Hal Scheie

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 5th, 2004, 11:58 am

HalS:

The logic you are using is applicable if the product sold is constant. If the Castle is selling less dinners/drinks the rent can be decreasing even if prices are rising.

The biggest indicator of the number of dinners declining has to be Saturday nights.

One wonders why the Castle started (quietly)letting guests dine on Saturday nights a few years ago. For years this was sacred, reserved for members only. And if things have improved so much, why are guests still allowed to use guest passes on Saturday nights?

Also, there are many indicators that people generally do not drink as much during a night on the town as they did 20 or even 10 years ago.

Unless you have additional information, none of us actually know if the rent kept pace with inflation, outpaced it, or dropped.

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Pete Biro
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Pete Biro » February 5th, 2004, 12:09 pm

So why did the developers of the Hollywood Highland complex sell out for 25 cents on the dollar of what it cost to build?

If you believe anything Michael Jackson (or his lovely twin sister) says you still believe in the tooth fairy.
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 5th, 2004, 12:55 pm

HalS, I'm not sure you understood my point regarding value of a property. Although I'd disagree with your point that there is no relationship to the value and the rent (compare rent for a house in Brentwood and Watts, for example), a much simpler way of looking at my point is to look at "comps" for commercial rental property in the area. I think you will find that the price/sq ft of such property in the area INDEED would exceed the entire gross of the Castle. (not actually knowing either, but taking an educated guess).

Someone wrote about negotiating strategies. The common thinking about this is the "head-butting" approach often taken by amateurs. The modern approach to negotiations is quite different, and has the advantage of not creating ill-will amongst the participants. Do you really want to create ill-will, if we move out? For example, people state that we can take things out down to the 2x4's, and that may be true. BUT, if the Glovers file suit to prevent that from happening, it will be heard in court in about 2 years......during which time, we will NOT likely have the contents. How long do you think the Castle can be kept alive, not being open? I'd suspect the associate members will blow away in the wind. Maybe I'm wrong, but it is a serious gamble. If we must part ways with the Glovers, it best be done on gracious terms. Who knows, maybe things won't work out for either side, and we'll want to get back together.....
An excellent book on the newer negotiating process is "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" available at Amazon (you might look at the reviews).

There is a LOT that we do not know. We don't know if the Glovers approached a group of people, stating that they had decided to go another way, with another management group, and would they like to have input into the new group, or should they just use a commercial management group with no ties to the Castle at all. We don't know.

This discussion of CP putting together a campaign to convince AMA members of why we should embrace their concept....no.

The AMA and Milt are in negotiations with CP. They represent us. They will hammer out a deal, or they won't. They will come to us with a recommendation, and undoubtedly will be hearty debate. If Milt comes to us with a deal that he recommends, who in the AMA, based upon CP info, is going to go against his recommendation. I certainly won't. We've heard all kinds of spectulation about what they are going to do. I've heard no recommendation from our Board, or from Milt.
I think that we all have made known our position that we will stand behind our leaders, in their best efforts for our institution. I think we have to trust them to do their best.

I have no doubt, don't you, that the Castle, operating in the same location, run a bit better and more efficiently, will endure for a long time.
Moving, especially under duress, will inject a great uncertainty into the equation. The fact that moving was NEVER considered until CP entered the equation, tells me that Milt and the Board didn't consider moving a reasonable consideration, either. I think that is why they are giving their energy to negotiating, and that is totally to their credit.
The Castle, where it is, is an institution. Milt and the Board, are it's stewards. CP, and the Glovers seem to be taking the approach that they understand that it is an institution, also. I support everyone's honest attempt to protect that institution.
Dialing down the rhetoric here, and on the Castle forums, would probably be in the best interests of everyone, and the process.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 5th, 2004, 2:18 pm

acetwo said:

The fact that moving was NEVER considered until CP entered the equation, tells me that Milt and the Board didn't consider moving a reasonable consideration, either. I think that is why they are giving their energy to negotiating, and that is totally to their credit.
Well, that is not entirely true. I have talked about moving for some time before this happened. Milt has been doing some research for more than a year, and has three or four possible new venues under consideration. Milt saw this coming, and is well prepared for it. If we are not able to come to a reasonable agreement with the CP, I am pretty well convinced that Milt has other options ready to go.

I think it is a good time for a move, and personally, I hope we do move into newer and bigger quarters this year.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 5th, 2004, 2:26 pm

regarding this idiocy on copyright:

http://www.benedict.com/info/law/fairUse/fairUse.aspx
This web site discusses the specific law
----------------------

http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html
this site discusses e-mail in particular, and why, although technically falling under copyright protection, it has no meaningful ramifications when e-mail is copied.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 5th, 2004, 7:54 pm

Acetwo,

Regarding commercial rents, and their relation to the value of the property, there are standard ways of assigning rental values to properties based on the type of lease (does the tennant take care of maintenence, etc. or not, and so on), and typical rents in the area for similar classes of property. Note that these rents have nothing to do with the value of a property in terms of what it can be sold for, or what it could rent for if it were "improved". The Magic Castle is fairly unique, so getting comparables for rents in its current incarnation might be difficult. But I assume the Glovers, being experienced real estate owners and developers, do know all the figures for rents, value, etc. This comment is just to point out that a property's value is what it could be sold for, and that does not necessarily have any relationship to what it can rent for. For example, if you had a single family, 700 square foot house on a 1/2 acre lot on the right location in Park Avenue, in NY City, while you might get a pretty good rent for such a small house, it would never come close to reflecting the high multimillion dollar sale value of the property. Of course the buyer would demolish the house and build something else to get more of a return, most likely. However, there are many reasons why someone might not want to fully develop a property, other than charity to the Magic Castle.

In any event, the Glovers know all these values, are experienced, and able to make their own decisions as to what use they want to make of the property right now. I had an old uncle, who died very rich, who started off buying property, tearing down the buildings and turning them into parking lots, which were easy to run, then waiting twenty years until some big company needed the land for a hotel or office complex. Whatever he got from the parking lots wasn't meant to extract the full value of the property at the time - he wanted to wait a long time, and not have to bother much with the property in the meantime. The Glovers are experienced, and whatever their reasons for not fully developing the Magic Castle site, I don't think anybody is taking advantage of them. Its been great that they have supported the Magic Castle all these years, but if they choose to develop the site more, no one would begrudge them doing this with their own property. And if they can find a way for the Magic Castle to stay and prosper, then I think everyone would feel they have done something they certainly didn't have to do, but which is continuing a tradition of contributing to the magic community, and I would feel they deserve a lot of praise for that.

Regarding your comments about "modern negotiation", I have read this book and many others on negotiation. You make a very good point - negotiations end best when they are "win-win" and both sides seek to be honest, fair, and look on it as setting the basis for an on-going business relationship. I wasn't advocating a hard-ball negotiation technique. Merely pointing out that it is bad tactics to give all the cards to the other side by telling them you have no other alternatives to making a deal. The other side has few reasons to compromise in that case - why should they, if you can't walk away?

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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Pete Biro » February 5th, 2004, 8:32 pm

One way to develope the property would be to erect a hotel over the Castle Parking Lot (with underground parking enough for the hotel AND the Castle). This would produce income without any increase in Castle rent being necessary.

From what I hear, however, it is really someone in the extended Glover family that just wants to run the joint.
Stay tooned.

Pete McCabe
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Pete McCabe » February 5th, 2004, 10:33 pm

Re: Negotiating Techniques.

It seems fairly clear to me that the Glovers and Castle Partners are not negotiating in a hardball fashion. This is based on the assumption that if they were, the first thing they would do is time their announcement to early December, so no one in the AMA would renew their membership. This would put maximum pressure on Milt.

Thus I conclude from the timing that the Glovers are negotiating from a strong but cooperative position.

I also conclude that the Glovers do not want to make the Magic Castle a public magic-themed nightlub. If they wanted to do that, all they'd be negotiating now is an offer on the physical improvements.

The more I think about the club house/night club axis, the more I realize how valuable the AMA's membership roster is. What night club in the world has 5,000 dues-paying regular customers?

Jeff Eline
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Jeff Eline » February 6th, 2004, 5:39 am

Of the 5000 members, how many are active? For example, attend once or twice a week, patronizing the bar and/or buying dinners.

I'm sure there is a portion of the membership that lives too far away to attend and contribute regularly.

Anyone have an idea of that breakdown?

Chris Aguilar
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Chris Aguilar » February 6th, 2004, 8:22 am

Jeff,

I asked nearly the same exact question earlier in this thread (assuming that it wasn't one of the messages deleted by RK). The answer given (by the gentlemen who has previously worked on the marketing committee) was that those sort of statistics were either never properly kept, or difficult to obtain from the BOD. When the Giorgio case was going on, there was a website with a lot of transcripts with sworn testimony involving the finances/practices of the BOD and the Castle in general. Irrespective of the merits of the Giorgio case, I found the testimony to be very interesting and a bit troubling. The Giorgio website isn't widely available anymore, but the technically inclined can still access the information if they wish.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 6th, 2004, 10:03 am

As a member and weekly visitor to the Castle I have seen the management by the BOD go from bad to terrible in the last few years. For people who are not members and/or do not frequent the Castle, it must be restated that it is the terrible financial management and lack of respect displayed to the performing magicians by the BOD that started and continues the Castle's decline. Most of the regular magicians who frequent the Castle fear that if they speak out against the board they will be punished either by not being selected to perform at the Castle and/or not receiving referral jobs when people call the Castle to request magicians for outside jobs. Do we want to keep losing valuable performers like John Carney?
We need to elect a new, responsible, moral BOD. We need to monitor the elections to the board to make sure they are not rigged. (How could Max Maven not have been voted in? EVERYONE voted for him). It doesn't matter if the Castle stays or moves, if the BOD is not changed the problems will continue.

Guest

Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Guest » February 6th, 2004, 10:56 am

smmagic:

That is totally ridiculous. Do you really talk to "most" of the regular magician members? Do you really know who "everyone" of our 5000 members voted for?

What decline? What horrible financial management are you talking about?

We just had the most successful year in our 40 year history!

I often have taken issue with members of the board over various things, and Ron Wilson and I have argued about the hiring and management of the WC Fields Bar since its inception. Ron knows that I have always felt that the dual positions of talent booker and Board member was a bad idea, and that he should quit one or the other, and Billy McComb is probably tired of listening to all my suggestions. Bruce Cervon and I have disagreed on some things as well, and I have to admit, he can put out a very convincing argument--especially when he gets hot under the collar.

I have found that you can get in very heated and acrimonious discussions with Bruce, or Ron, or any of the board, and they never take it personally. They are all big boys, and capable of handling a few shots at themselves. I have known most of the Board members for many years. They are decent men who care about the Castle, and are not the despots and thin-skinned incompetents that I keep hearing about here.

And these differences and disagreements have nothing to do with the bookings at the Castle.

The members of the BoD are not the petty, venal tyrants that I keep hearing about. There may be many things that can be improved--that would be true of any organization--but I get tired of hearing all these overblown criticisms of the board, accusing them of everything but the Kennedy assasination.

If you have a specific complaint about something the board has done, then state it. But please don't join in this endless and repetitive sniping that is so generalized it means nothing.

These vacuous lies--when repeated over and over by disgruntled people with some axe to grind--begin to be accepted as the truth. Put some specifics down that can be discussed instead of these whiney, generalized attacks on the board's character and motivations.

I have been a member of the Castle since 1975, and I work there about four weeks a year--usually one week in each room--and have for many years.

I find that I get frustrated when I can't get guests in to my show because of the crowding, and I have had a few other complaints, but for the most part, I have always been treated extremely well by the staff and managers, and have never been shown less than respect and consideration.

I have noticed that a number of the writers who come on this thread supporting the Castle Partner's position or who are attacking the current board are new to this forum, and are also keeping their names hidden.

It seems to me that if you want to call people vindictive, dishonest or immoral, you should at least have the courage to do it to their faces, and not under the cover of some pseudonym.

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Pete Biro
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Re: Attention Magic Castle Members

Postby Pete Biro » February 6th, 2004, 11:18 am

Right on Whit... see ya at lunch.
Stay tooned.


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