A Magical Afternoon – Viewing the Houdini Exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center

Now, I wouldn’t call myself a magic fan. It’s interesting, but I could take it or leave it. But I do think Houdini was a pretty cool dude. Magician, escape artist, movie star, and an activist against false spiritualists and mediums? What couldn’t he do? So, I was pretty excited when I found that the Skirball Cultural Center would be holding an exhibition called Houdini: Art and Magic. Then I found out that admission is free on Thursdays. They didn’t need to tell me twice!

So, one recent Thursday I took myself on over to the ole Skirball and had me a looksee. Apparently everyone and their mother had the same idea as it was pretty crowded. Luckily, I ended up going later in the day so the crowds were starting to thin out.

Upon entering the museum I found they had a complementary exhibit called Masters of Illusion – Jewish Magicians of the Golden Age. I checked it out first and wowza, was it interesting. They had several perfectly preserved artifacts that were quite old (some well over 100 years). Posters, magic kits, costumes, tricks of the trade…so many things in such great condition. It really showed the artisanship that went into these acts. It wasn’t all illusion. Unfortunately, I was unable to take picutres, I’ll guess you’ll have to go see it for yourself.

The Houdini exhibit then followed. It contained artifacts pertaining to the legend himself as well as work by contemporary artists with him as the subject matter.Ā  The artifacts were awesome, the artwork not so much. But that’s just my preference. I would have preferred to see more Houdini memorabilia and less video installations of people in straightjackets, but that’s just me. Speaking of straightjackets…

Yup, that belonged to the man himself circa 1915. Pretty cool, huh? (That’s probably the only time I’ll describe a straightjacket as cool). Pieces like this are what really made the exhibit.

So head on over to the Skirball and check out the Houdini exhibit before it disappears before your very eyes!

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Tues-Fri 12-5, Sat-Sun 10-5, closed Monday
free admission every Thursday