.:235/365: The Tavern:.
Known really as one of the hotbeds for the finest minds in magic, The Tavern refers to the place where many great Filipino magicians have come together to share ideas and generally just have a good time on a given night, often on a weekend.
Many magicians have emerged from the hallowed halls of the Tavern, suddenly replete with amazing ideas and insights into their craft, thereby taking their career to heights they have never before reached. To say that the Tavern, which, if you look very closely is a makeshift magic room in a music room, is a place where magic happens, is so cliché it’s true. Magic does happen here, and this is where people come in, empty their cups, and have it filled by some of the most brilliant minds in Philippine magic.
I speak about the Tavern with much fondness simply because I had the honor of going there last Saturday night, and finally having a chance to sit down and pick the brain of The Boss, Rannie Raymundo, in person. That night, many other amazing people were there, including JB dela Cruz and Jeffrey Tam, and a few other people whose names I recall but am afraid of misspelling. I went there, not knowing what to expect, and left with a heightened sense of appreciation for magicians in general, allowing me to once and for all cast off some level of wariness that I have been, well, trained to put up around people in general, and not just contemporaries.
The Boss was very cordial and welcoming as I walked into the Tavern, and when you step in, you just simply feel the magic in the air. This was a place where people really put their heads together to come up with things so brilliant, so impressive, or at times, so downright insane, that they just had to get back together the following week and do it all over again.
The casual atmosphere I was treated to when I entered the Tavern was nothing like I imagined. I visualized, before setting foot there, that the Tavern was literally a Tavern, and I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I was sorely mistaken. It didn’t take too long for me to feel at ease, particularly because everyone in the room was welcoming of me, considering I felt like a deer in headlights right there, not knowing what to expect, and knowing that I was not a magician’s magician, which is one of the most daunting realizations you will ever have as a magician once you are surrounded by a lot of your contemporaries.
In any case, this room has indeed had its memories and moments, and for last Saturday, I managed to be a part of it. I can’t thank everyone last Saturday night for their kind hospitality, but more importantly, I can’t thank them enough for the hilarious road stories (Imagine acknowledging the presence of Mommy Dionisia, only to find out that the person you acknowledged was not Mommy Dionisia.), and even pointing me in the right direction to learn new effects that fit my persona, or even allow me to rediscover some classics I foolishly ignored for some reason or some other in the past.
For any magician out there who happens to be reading this, consider it nothing short of a great honor for The Boss to actually invite you in the Tavern. As a performer who has nothing but the utmost esteem for fellow performers, it doesn’t matter if I were doing this thing for four years or forty: an honest and genuine invitation from a contemporary just because he wishes to enjoy your company is one of the greatest shots in the arm that could be levied upon you. And for that, I am certainly deeply honoured.
I went home at around four in the morning that night already, and I must say, it was well worth being sleepless on a Saturday night to meet these amazing people, to be able to hear their stories, listen to their ideas, watch their performances, and even just share laughs over anything and everything. Of course, the part where I got lost en route to the Tavern was a tad of an inconvenience, but it wasn’t the end of the world…