Thursday, May 02, 2013

Of rabbits and conventions and such

First off, Rabbit, Rabbit!! Good luck in May, everyone! Here's a picture of a book I haven't read yet, but it's now on my radar.

This year's convention, held very close to Washington, D.C., was pleasantly accessible to us, and as usual, there are always some memorable moments.

The Big Outing this year was a trip to the Library of Congress, where there was to be a special exhibit of rare magic books. We and a small crowd of seniors waited around quite a bit for our arranged bus, but that's okay, we had a nice, scenic ride, and on the way there, I was surprised to see that The Washington Monument was completely shrouded in scaffolding. I'd totally forgotten that there was an earthquake. It looked like an incredibly long tooth with braces.

Anyway, when the bus let us off at a spot not too far from the library, I began to realize just how old some of our convention companions were. Truly, my hat is off to these elderly men, keeping up with their hobby when their bodies no longer want to travel. I didn't even know that one could hail a golf cart for the quarter mile trip around the capitol building to the library. It is getting more important every year to simply see these men again. I must resolve to be more friendly and chatty. The library's security was strict, though a young person would barely notice. Ekim and I deposited belts and such in plastic bowls and sailed through, while these gentlemen still had hearing aid batteries, pacemakers, hip replacements, and whatnot. Security was cutting them no slack. Now, I do realize that even a person who can't walk up a flight of stairs could have a bomb planted on him, but at the time, all this attention did seem bizarre. Perhaps this is fallout from the Boston tragedy.

The exhibit was not at all what we'd expected, which means there weren't many books involved, but there were some lovely antique posters and prints, along with some rare and fascinating newspaper clippings, mostly about Harry (Houdini). The print that caught our eyes the most was titled

The Maid of the Moon

Source: via sharyl on Pinterest

The one we saw in "person" was in black and white, though there is a colored version out there.

And...there was also an auction, where Ekim got a great deal on a bibliography (he collects meta books), and we got to see another rare Harry Houdini artifact, which was not overpriced at $10,000. Actually, someone has already blogged about this. Back in 1903, Houdini toured Russia, and this was the contract, in Russian, which the famous magician signed with both his stage and real names, "Harry Houdini" and "Ehrich Weiss." Anything with Houdini's signature will bring a nice price, but this double signature is fascinating. The person who is rumored to now own this, who the above blog refers to as owning a big ass warehouse in Las Vegas, is David Copperfield. (Ekim and I were lucky enough to tour it several years ago.)  Auctions are always interesting...Special K, who outbid everyone on the Houdini contract, was staring at his cell phone the whole time, barely raising his hand for each thousand he was bidding.  I took this to be either a nervous or affected habit, since we expected him to get the prize anyway, but it turns out that he probably was in constant contact with...someone else.

Oh, and there is always a magic show the last night, and this year's was very enjoyable. Well, except for a certain guy I find way too creepy, but he came on at the end, and so I just ducked out. Seriously, I cannot deal.  There was also Eric Henning, a great local magician who performed for the Obamas and was effusive about the experience, and the great close up magician and card manipulator, Darwin Ortiz.

And, I ate too much. There are so many restaurants in the Bethesda, MD area, and you can choose any--and I mean ANY--ethnicity you want. We found a Gordon Biersch brewery in the immediate vicinity, an Indian restaurant, and...

This is The Black Market Bistro. I so want to live in this tony neighborhood, where you can stroll down the street, dine or cocktail at a fabulous place, run/walk a trail, or catch the train/metro. Perfect....

And now we're home, jiggety jig, and I will try to be more moderate.

And this is a blog post about one of the nice guys were met this year! Cool beans.

Happy May, everyone! What's going on?


beach lad said...

that security sounds pretty full on for a library - thankfully that sort of thing is ususally only seen at airports here.

TLP said...

Great post and great picture! Glad the convention was so close this year.

TLP said...

Lovely dress sweetie.

Maria said...

I feel the same way whenever we visit my partner's home town: New Orleans. I walk down certain neighborhoods and just fall madly in love with the corner restaurants and grocers.

Bing (partner) has reminded me more than once that the whole idea of retiring to a Southern town is to find a place that isn't TWO or even three stories since we plan to age there. But, I can't help it...those gorgeous Victorian homes...Yum.

I collect first editions of books and have found the majority of mine at garage or estate sales. Most younger people who are going through their parent's libraries have no idea of their worth. Lucky for me. I have a first edition of "Leaves of Grass", "Self Reliance", "Emerson's Essays" and my favorite...a signed first edition of "The Idylls Of The King"!

actonbell said...

Maria, I've never been to New Orleans, but it sounds so fascinating. You've had good luck with your book collection! What a neat hobby.