The Mystery Lounge.
Last Tuesday I had the great pleasure of appearing at the Mystery Lounge in Boston. This was only the second time in the 19 years the Lounge has been around that I got to participate in the fun. I wish all the gigs I do were as big a blast as this one! It was fun with a capitol F.
First you make your way to the Hong Kong café located at 1238 Mass Avenue in Harvard Square. After walking up three flights of stairs you arrive in The Mystery Lounge, if it is a Tuesday night. The rest of the week you would be in The Comedy Studio— a very popular local comedy venue. That is when things kick into gear.
The showroom is a cozy performance space with a small stage situated across one of the corners of the room. There is friendly bar service from the cocktail waitresses, who will also bring you menus and deliver your choice of delicious (and very reasonable) Chinese food. The venue offers low-key, but effective tech for its performers, which is run by the charming Andrea Hogan-McAlpin. Much to my surprise after my performance she handed me a DVD of my show that had been taped from the booth. This was a very nice touch and is a real benefit to magicians performing who wish to try out new material.
It was Halloween week when I was featured in the Lounge and we had a special surprise on the bill in the personage of Dr. Magogo. It was a delight to watch the droll performance by the good Dr. who performed some classic effects with quirky props that looked like antiques! In fact, nicely layered with sight gags, the Dr. performed a couple of effects that I had only previously seen in magic catalogues. Dr. Magogo is a regular Halloween guest at the Lounge and his performance was obviously highly anticipated by the audience, he performed two segments in the show and received a great ovation from the audience. I enjoyed both sets enormously.
I know very little about Dr. Magogo but with his whitened face, razor thin mustache and bright red fez it reminded me of the bills I shared in the ‘70s with my old friend Johnny Platt. I believe the Dr. must be a good friend of the mega talented Mike Bent as they arrived together. Sadly I didn’t see anything more of Mike during the remainder of the evening; which is a shame as he is one of my very favorite comedy magicians.
The next performer to hit the boards was another local favorite Joe Howard. Joe, wearing his trademark bowler hat, performed a fast and funny act that was perfectly honed and presented. The laughs came thick and fast but never at the expense of the great magic he wowed the crowd with. Joe’s versions of Chase The Ace and Cups and Balls are definitive in their ability to remain visual in a showroom setting. Joe is expert at bringing the energy of street magic into a formal environment. The crowd roared their approval!
A comedian from the Comedy Studio mixed up things on the bill with a short set of pure stand-up comedy. Sadly I didn’t get to catch his set, as I was busy in the dressing room setting up my props for my performance. The addition of this blast of non-magic comedy is something that adds significantly to the appeal of the Mystery Lounge.
I then got to perform a 45-minute set of my favorite pieces of comedy and magic to the delightfully appreciative audience. With so many friends and colleagues out front, including fellow performers Robert Fellows and David Oliver, it was a truly joyous experience to bring my magic to Harvard Square again. I am counting the minutes till my next visit. If you have a chance to visit the Mystery Lounge—do so!