By: Kenneth Joyce
Magicopolis, located at 1418 Fourth Street in Santa Monica – near the famous Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade and the Pacific Ocean – is the place to experience mystery, grand-scale illusions and awe-inspiring magic. With your own eyes you see that people can dissolve in one place and reappear somewhere else. Someone can read your thoughts. Objects can move and change guided purely by the power of the mind. With a strange feeling of delight you realize that, like beauty, reality is in the eye of the beholder.
The adventure truly begins in the lobby of Magicopolis where visitors encounter the hand and footprints of magicians Penn & Teller, who helped inaugurate this theater of illusion back in 1998. Magicopolis is the home of the now legendary stained glass windows created 30 years ago for Merlin McFly’s bar. The huge windows are spectacular works of art based on vintage posters of classic magicians like Houdini, Thurston, Kellar, Alexander, Blackstone, and others.
A 20 foot high sculpture in the lobby consists of a chair balanced on two legs, balanced on the back of the chair is a television, on top of the TV is a bowling ball, balanced on the ball is a sword, on the point of the sword a beautiful woman is balanced. The evidence before you is overwhelming. There is no denying it – at least in the world of Magicopolis – nothing is impossible.
The next stop before (or after) the curtain goes up is the magic shop where guests can purchase a bit of magic to take home. This is where magicians demonstrate a variety of magic tricks and unbelievably, and out of character for any magician, the secrets are for sale. This is where non-magicians of all ages learn easy to master tricks that can make you the life of the party, popular on the playground, overcome shyness, or help you throw a new little spin into that work-a-day job.
Bring along your camera to capture the moment when you touch the door handle from Houdini’s former Hollywood Hills home…it’s known to bring luck to all. Once you’ve entered the Abracadabra Theater you are seated in the original 1920 seats from the Orpheum Theater in San Diego, which still have the original wire hat racks underneath each seat. The 150 antique theater seats are steeply raked and arranged in just five rows, so even those sitting in the back row can easily see the spots on a playing card-perfect for witnessing a magical extravaganza.
From the moment the long running hit show, Escape Reality, begins, you see the world through the eyes of master magicians Steve Spill and Bozena Wrobel. It is illusion. It is color. It is humor, poetry, music and philosophy. They make you laugh, baffle you and stun you. Humans float in mid-air and octopuses appear from nowhere. An attempt is made to escape from locks, chains and handcuffs in time to avoid the free fall of 39 sharpened steel spikes. Again and again you are witness to impossible happenings. Sometimes you even become part of one. Enjoy Magicopolis on your next visit to Santa Monica.