Coach and Horses is one of last old Hollywood industry bars left untouched by faux postmodern redevelopment. The place is cavernous, dark and cool. The brisk air conditioning helps you leave all your woes outside in the hot sun. Well martinis were going for 4 bucks a pop.
The red, naugahyde booths remind me of my parent's age and all the clubs my father worked in. I had the well martini. The young bartender put more vermouth into this drink than in all the martinis I've had in a year. The icy glass felt good in my hand. Despite the vermouth, the vodka found all the right spots. I had one of these Budweiser signs (below) when I was a teenager. My father's nightclub had closed down and I got this lovely item from their private pool room. I took it with me to the dorms at christian college.
I finished the well martini and decided not to face that simple fate once again. With nothing on tap, I ordered a harmless Budweiser. It was about that time that I met the magician.
He sat down next to me a stool or so over. His friend sat on the corner stool, perpendicular to us. They ordered Budweisers. They were smokers, chain smokers, and took frequent breaks to go outside and obey the law. I noticed the guy next to me had a deck of cards. After a little bullshit, the magician showed me some magic.
In between sips of his Budweiser, the magician started slowly, performing a few standard card tricks, which were both deft and amusing. I praised him earnestly. I told him I performed Houdini's METAMORPHOSIS trunk escape trick in high school. Before I left, I demanded one final trick.
As before, he spread the cards and I picked one, then replaced it in the pile. After the shuffle, he handed me a card along with the question, "Is this your card?" IT WASN'T! As he apologized, I looked up from the card he'd handed me to see him appear to be choking. "Wait a minute," he said, and tried to cough up the obstruction in his throat. Successful, he reached into his mouth and pulled out a folded up playing card. It was my card, the 6 of clubs.
The magician's name is Bobby Borgia. He's quite talented and an amusing guy as well. He could be a big success if the right person handles him. Now, how does one market a magician today without tigers, special effects, or ritual suffocation?