Magic (La) cage castles legally zoom and cirque

At the end of last week’s edition, Nazy and I were at Newark Airport dealing with the debris-filled aftermath of the Continental/United Airline merger. Our taxi dropped us off at the wrong door. Accompanied by baggage sufficient to supply an army marching from Berlin to Moscow, we struggled past the ‘special needs’, ‘international flights’ and ‘domestic economy’ counters to the ‘domestic first class’ facility. We entered the queue and Nazy spoke up.

“Shouldn’t we go back to the economy counter? It was less crowded.”

“Great idea, Nazy.” I replied. “But I discharged the pack animals. We’d have to..”

“Pack animals?”

“The mule train that was pulling
your luggage, my dear.”

‘Our’ counter included 30 self-service kiosks. Because United had allotted only one person to affix baggage tags, the check-in process was time-consuming. (To show how slow it was, our trip through the security process was comparatively quick and painless.)

Fortunately, we were flying Domestic First Class so we would be able to partake of the amenities of the business class lounge - or so we thought.

“You cannot enter,” the septuagenerian clerk announced.

“We are
both flying first class,” I replied reasonably - aware that my exalted frequent flyer status had been insufficient to get Nazy into the United lounge in Chicago.

“Domestic first class passengers are not welcome here.”

“It was so much nicer before United crushed Continental’s ambiance,” I muttered.

“Domestic first class passengers have
never been admitted to this lounge,” the clerk, who was, it appeared, beginning to fossilize, retorted.

“You have the pleasant demeanor of Hades gate guardian,” I said.

“If that was my job, you’d be admitted for sure.”

“Touche,” I replied - impressed with the knowledge of the wrinkled wombat manning the desk.

When we landed in Los Angeles (two hours late), I got a text message from United Airlines. “Your flight,” it said, “will be 20 minutes late.”.

Mitra, Darius and Melika had arranged a series of celebratory anniversary events to coincide with our visit in Los Angeles. It began with a dinner and show at
The Magic Castle.

Mitra in cape

We joined Mitra, Stefan and Darius for a magical dinner and a series of great shows. [Melika and Tom had planned to join, but an IPO, a demented colleague and an insane work schedule prevented their attendance.] For Nazy and me, Mitra had arranged magical capes and her friend Andrei, a professional photographer, captured the event for posterity. My 8 year old Canon IXUS had begun to decay; my 4 year old Canon Powershot is dead. So I recorded the event with my iPhone. You can see the Andrei’s photos here.

It was a enchanted evening. We watched playing cards materialize,
change, mutate, vanish, fly and flutter. We saw doves appear and disappear. We watched Mitra, randomly selected from the audience, hammer a 3 inch nail up the nose of a magician whose

parents, like their parents, were first cousins,” I thought.

The next day we (almost) went to the Arboretum in Pasadena. I was driving and Darius was ‘navigating’. Darius, who purportedly knew the way, couldn’t drive because his driver’s license had expired. The replacement had been mailed to Melika in Santa Barbara because (for some silly reason) authorities issuing a California driving license wanted a California street address. Unfortunately for Darius, the California authorities also wanted a photo.

Finally,” I thought. “A chance for Darius to replace that dismal photo on the last license.”

Then we saw the new photo. “
Alas,” I thought. “I wish he could keep the old one.”

After a nice family dinner (Melika arrived in time for dessert.) We went to the World Famous
Oxygen Tango Milonga.

The Martin Family (July 2012)
Darius, Melika, Nazy, Dan, Mitra

The family July 21 2012

We joined an excited crowd watching guest artist Joaquin Amenabar and a 10 piece band provide live music for enthusiastic and devoted tango-ers. Joaquin is the best bandoneón player in the world. Mitra and Stefan have created a community of people who care about each other and about connecting with others. It is a remarkable and wonderful achievement that is thrilling to watch unfold. They radiate passion and devotion. Nazy and I are extremely proud.

Author aside: Yes, Mitra, your Mom and I do promise to work on our pronunciation of bandoneón.

On Sunday, we moved to the Redbury Hotel at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Melika had arranged a stay at this wonderful hotel in a prime location. She had also booked tickets for an afternoon matinee showing of the Cirque du Soleil show called Iris and an evening performance of the musical La Cage Aux Folles with George Hamilton (still tanned). Both shows, as well as dinner were great.

Redbury 2

Melika and her fiance Tom joined us at the La Cage performance. I couldn’t help noticing that Mel, engaged in a LegalZoom IPO, was busily emailing and texting during the performance. I mentioned this to Darius the next day..

“I know, Dad. The law firms make young lawyers do that. Not because it’s necessary, but just because they want to make a point. When Melika is ‘on’, she is always at work. She is going to drive back to Santa Barbara and go straight to the office.”

“She’ll get there at 1:00 AM.”

“I know. Mitra and Melika work all the time. It’s Mitra’s passion and Melika’s job.”

“Job? It sounds like a curse.”

“Maybe she likes filing briefs.”

“She’s not filing briefs, Darius. She’s writing codicils and footnoting appendices. She’s opining on ..”

“She’s working too hard, Dad. The life of a college professor is much more relaxing. No one can make me do anything.”

“Certainly not anything on time,” I replied.

“Precisely, Dad. Why worry about time? It’s all relative anyway.”

Reader Request: Please let us know which of Darius’ driver license photos you like best (The Old one is first.)

dar license 2

Darius new license

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