It’s interesting to realize that the art of illusion and magic can trace its roots as far back as the Pharaohs in Egypt. And that the revered title of Magician was always reserved for the men, while women were often dubbed sorceress or simply a witch. That doesn’t seem fair.
Now to give the ladies their due, producer Dale Hindman has gathered many of the finest female magicians to perform for a special “Women in Magic Week,” May 7 to 13, at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. Included among those who have made their mark in the mostly male dominated industry of illusion are Luna Shimada, who is the daughter of longtime magic legend Shimada; and Suzzane, the first female recipient of the Close Up Magician of the Year award. Nine other “Ladies of Illusion” from around the world will appear for the occasion.
In addition, the Magic Castle, private clubhouse for world-class magicians, will be honoring one of its own pioneers of illusion, the late Gerrie Larsen. Actually, without Gerrie the Magic Castle would never exist, since she is the beloved mother of the Castle founders Milt Larsen and the late Bill Larsen.
Gerrie was a regular on local television in Los Angeles, known as “the Magic Lady” on KTLA. And she starred in her own ABC children’s magic show for many years. Clips featuring her performances will be included in the Castle’s Palace Theatre during the week, with commentary provided by her son Milt Larsen. An added treat to mark the pre-Mother’s Day tribute will be an appearance by Liberty Larsen, the great granddaughter of Gerrie, who will emcee the palace shows and perform one of her great grandmother’s signature tricks.
With its 13 stages and performance areas, the Magic Castle has been the location for numerous film and television productions. It boasts a history of star studded membership, from Cary Grant who was the first Academy of Magical Arts President, to Neil Patrick Harris, the current President.
As one of the most recognized Hollywood landmarks, the Magic Castle is approaching the eve of its 50th anniversary as a popular tourist destination, since 1963. The Magic Castle has already celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Victorian-style mansion structure — known as Lane Manor — a year ago. And now the Academy of Magical Arts will, for the first time in its history, host a “Women in Magic Week” offering non-members the chance to get tickets for the special occasion.