Pepe came by last night at 7:30 and we headed off to the Monday night meeting of the CIVAC. CIVAC is an abbreviation for Círculo de Ilusionitas de Valencia, Alicante y Castellón. It is the local chapter of the national organization, the SEI, which, in turn, is an abbreviation for the Sociedad Española de Ilusionismo. This group meets every Monday in a space that they lease on a year to year basis. Last night’s meeting was held at their new location. Some of the participants in the 2007 Westridge Summer Intensive Program in Spain are familiar with the previous location. As an honorary member of the CIVAC, I was entitled to be there.
The meeting was rather brief. After the meeting was called to order, two applicants for membership did their audition. Both of them presented brief programs involving a series of card effects. They acquitted themselves well and were rewarded with membership in the organization. After a series of announcements the meeting was adjourned. Next week’s meeting will be significantly longer since it involved a lecture by Henry Evans, one of Argentina’s top magicians.
After the meeting, I had the opportunity to catch up with a number of my Valencian magic friends. We spent a good hour chatting with each other and performing some of our newer or favorite effects. A bit later, seven of us headed out to a nearby restaurant called Amadeus where we had a very lovely dinner. After dinner we put on a mini-presentation for the staff and they turned out to be an exceptional audience. Each of us did one effect and I was pleased with my performance, although I know that as I spend more time here I will be able to polish my Spanish presentation of this effect. We left the restaurant a little after midnight and one of my friends, Alfredo Blasco, was kind enough to drop me off a minute or two from the apartment. All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening with some of my Spanish magic buddies.
I have known Pepe for almost fourteen years. We met each other via the Internet. A friend of mine who does custom work for magicians was working on a special order for Pepe and, at some point, told Pepe that he had a friend who was both a Spanish teacher and a magician. Our e-mail correspondence began soon thereafter. In the summer of 1995 I made it a point to include Valencia as one of my stops and Pepe and I finally met face to face.
Pepe, at that point in time, was the founder and chief officer of La Cuchara Mágica (The Magic Spoon), which was essentially a group of friends who invited visiting magicians to spend a weekend in Pedreguer, a small town situated in the northeast of the province of Alicante. The intent of the weekend was to spend the time eating good food, drinking fine wine and doing lots and lots of magic. It was an unforgettable weekend and I was given a ceramic plaque to commemorate the event. I know that some of you have seen it hanging on the wall opposite my bedroom. In addition to the camaraderie of the group, the other benefit of my stay was the chance to get to know Pepe better.
Pepe earns his living as a media specialist for the government of La Comunidad Valenciana. His magic specialty is mentalism and he is both entertaining and creative. A number of his effects have been published in the journal of The Psychic Entertainers Association and a number of his effects have been performed by other mentalists on Spanish television. Pepe and I published a trick in Genii magazine some twelve years ago.
Pepe has spent a lot of time organizing magical events for the CIVAC as their past president. He was instrumental in setting up the first Internet magic lecture ever. The guest lecturer was Alfonso, a professional magician who frequently performs at The Magic Castle. He and I were in Glendale, California and the participants in an event called Las 24 Horas Mágicas were gathered in the CIVAC meeting space. It was kick for me to be involved in that event. Pepe’s latest triumph was his hosting of the 2008 Spanish National Magic Convention. In an article that I published in The Linking Ring last March I remarked that it was by far the best magic convention I have ever attended. If you are interested in reading that article, you will find it in my other blog http://martinkaplan.wordpress.com
Pepe has made it possible for us to be here in Valencia. Not only did he find an outstanding place for us to stay, he provided us with good advice to insure that our stay would be a pleasant one. He has also been very generous in making sure that we know about various activities that are currently going on and, on multiple occasions, has served as our guide in Spain’s third largest city. You will find some photos of Pepe at the end of this entry.