Castle dues going up again

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4175
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Castle dues going up again

Postby erdnasephile » September 20th, 2019, 9:38 am

If you are an AMA member, be sure to check your email.

I appreciate the transparency, thoughtfulness, and thoroughness the board does in a thankless task. The rationale for the dues increase is explained well and seems appropriate. I'll pay it.

However, it is concerning that dues have gone up 14% in the last two years despite a pretty healthy economy.

I realize that's the price of doing business in California (a factor cited by the board), but it does make me wonder about the future of the AMA when the economy inevitably slows down. Fingers crossed.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25112
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 20th, 2019, 10:33 am

The state-mandated increase to $15 per hour for minimum wage is a big factor.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5202
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Bill Mullins » September 20th, 2019, 10:35 am

What are the current full/associate/non-resident membership rates? It doesn't look like they are posted on the AMA's web site.

Brad Henderson
Posts: 4099
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: austin, tx

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Brad Henderson » September 20th, 2019, 11:45 am

No one likes a dues increase, but I thought Jim did a great job of presenting the case for it.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25112
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 20th, 2019, 11:52 am

And there is NEED for it.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4175
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby erdnasephile » September 20th, 2019, 12:04 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:No one likes a dues increase, but I thought Jim did a great job of presenting the case for it.


Agreed.

To answer Bill's questions: For non-resident magicians: dues last year were $368. With the increase, it'll be $434.

I don't know the rates for resident magicians or associates. There is also a senior category, but I don't know the qualification age/price for that.

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4175
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby erdnasephile » September 20th, 2019, 12:16 pm

Mr. Steinmeyer also does an excellent job explaining the specific rational of "making hay while the sun shines" in the General Meeting video on the members' website.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6889
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Dustin Stinett » September 20th, 2019, 2:56 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:The state-mandated increase to $15 per hour for minimum wage is a big factor.

It's a City of Los Angeles mandate, not the state ... yet.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5202
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Bill Mullins » September 20th, 2019, 4:57 pm

I would love to join both the AMA and the Magic Circle, as non-resident. But when I compare the benefits to the costs, it is difficult to justify.

For the AMA, almost all of the benefits they mention on the "membership" page (from my perspective) would be associated with access to the building, and since I live 2000 miles away, I won't be able to take advantage of them. I already have a Genii subscription, so that's a wash. Is there a newsletter? On line forum? Aren't lectures at the Castle hosted online sometimes? Essentially, the $434 would be, for me, just the prestige of being a member (which isn't nothing, but isn't $400 either). (Is there a list of clubs that AMA has reciprocity with? Any of them in Alabama or Tennessee?)

I wish there was a sliding scale for non-resident membership, based on distance. $434 makes much more sense for someone 60 miles away, since you can drive there several times a year.

The Magic Circle is more reasonable -- ~$140 a year, plus $125 for initiation. And with it, I'd get a subscription to a magazine I don't already get (The Circular). (do they have reciprocity agreements with any clubs in the US?)

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4175
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby erdnasephile » September 20th, 2019, 8:50 pm

Hi, Bill: I'll try to address some of your questions.

There is an outstanding AMA Newsletter edited (and written a lot) by our own Dustin Stinnett. When he took over a few years ago, the quality of the newsletter went up (and has stayed up) a ton. It's in full color, distributed as a pdf and is a great read. Plus, he often scoops the other magic sites with interesting, timely news. For example, the recent sale of Magicopolis, which was news to me.

There is no official on-line forum that I am aware of. There used to be, but it is defunct (It wasn't very good experience for me--lots of complaining and one weird thread of members bragging about they got guest passes removed from ebay).

I have only seen a few events that were streamed live to the out of towners. Mrs. Larsen's memorial ceremony was one of them, which was very worth watching. They do post videos of some major events: Founders Day Celebration, the annual meeting. I have never seen the magician lectures streamed or posted. (I could be wrong, though and I would love to be corrected).

The videos that are on the site are over 40 "From the Library" videos where the great Bill Goodwin conducts interviews with some of the pros in the library which also include performances and tips on overlooked stuff in the library. My favorites were watching Ray Kosby do Raise Rise (YES, it can be done) and R Paul Wilson talking about a couple of his favorite overlooked books---two in particular (Thanks, Paul!). Mr. Goodwin has also shared some hidden treasures of his own--one buried in a really early Lorayne book. Very cool.

The rest of the on-line resources include a tour of the Castle, and some "magic heritage videos", which I've never partaken of.

I did peruse a list of the reciprocal clubs, but I didn't find anything I'd be interested in going to. I did not see any magic themed outside clubs in the list I saw, but that was a couple of years ago.

BTW, keep in mind that there is an additional $1,000 initiation fee for new magician members. (For Associates, it's 5K).

I will stay a member, but every year, it's a conscious decision--I've only been able to visit the Castle 3 times in the 25 years I've been a member. I've only used the fact I'm a Castle member once during a public performance. So, for me, membership isn't particularly cost effective, but I've always felt that the Castle is something special and as long as I feel like the people running it are thoughtful, competent and put magic first, I'll stay (unless I end up the poor house). I do think opening up (by video) some more Castle events to the non-residents (like the lectures, Castle Perks, etc.) along with a video archive would greatly increase the value of a non-resident member.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25112
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 20th, 2019, 9:44 pm

Bill, the Magic Circle DOES stream its Monday Night lectures on Facebook for members. That's GREAT. If you need a sponsor, let me know.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4175
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby erdnasephile » September 20th, 2019, 10:27 pm

RK: How hard is it to join the Magic Circle? Is the interview and audition more arduous than the AMA's?

Diego
Posts: 359
Joined: June 16th, 2008, 11:29 am

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Diego » September 21st, 2019, 4:05 am

But regardless of increased patronage, increased revenue, from the sale of food and beverage, in a much busier Castle with glowing reports of how well attendance and income is greater than ever, dues keeps going up.

A move in the right direction, of offering a limited number of reduced cost memberships to older members, has been made, but with the unnecessary and insulting qualification that despite a person's tenure/history with the the AMA, they can't vote in elections. Also the limited,(30) reduced memberships are offered to those who write, pleading their case as to why they are deserving/needy of a senior/reduced membership, as if they were contestants on, "Queen for a Day", (dating myself) in sympathy contest.

In perspective, there may be a good number of those who could benefit from this, that if more did, would reduce revenue.

But in listening to others at The Castle, many still see/perceive revenue increased strongly, but not to their benefit.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25112
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 21st, 2019, 10:38 am

Diego, here is what is to their (and our) benefit: that The Magic Castle remains open in it's current location.

Yes, dues keep going up. The end of the lease is in the view of everyone on the BOD and many other people, who understand what is coming in the future. That means stockpiling capital to be prepared for that day. So it either gets more expensive to be a member, and lots of guests come in to have dinner (because many members won't spend the money to eat in the dining room), or the Magic Castle ceases to exist.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Diego
Posts: 359
Joined: June 16th, 2008, 11:29 am

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Diego » September 21st, 2019, 9:02 pm

I was talking with a long time AMA member, (who was there and involved from near the beginning) and noted some can remember when it was a magicians clubhouse, and now it's become a multi-million dollar corporation/operation.
They knowingly replied, "And if it hadn't, the Club would have been closed some time ago." This person would know and I can't dispute it.
But still I know there are those who for whom $816, will be $816, while they are looking at The Castle seeing 6/7 figure increases in additional revenue from other sources.
Richard, what you have said is correct, but I'm thinking of those, for whom increased dues will be a challenge and might stay away rather than ask for help.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25112
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 21st, 2019, 9:35 pm

I understand that.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

John Signa
Posts: 299
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby John Signa » September 22nd, 2019, 4:30 pm

Minor clarification...

The $66 increase is for Resident Magician dues. The increase for Non-Resident Magicians is is half that, $33.

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 4175
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Castle dues going up again

Postby erdnasephile » September 22nd, 2019, 5:24 pm

John Signa wrote:Minor clarification...

The $66 increase is for Resident Magician dues. The increase for Non-Resident Magicians is is half that, $33.


Copy that. Thank you.


Return to “Buzz”