Opportunity. As I prepare for my magic show Monday night at Riverfront Green (part of the Parks and Recreation Department's summer family entertainment series), I'm once again struck by how welcoming Peekskill has been to me.
My previous community in Northern New Jersey, where I lived for over 20 years, was very convenient to NYC and to the hundreds of school and party shows I did all over the area. I did a lot of shows for municipalities; I was even on this Riverfront Green family series in Peekskill back in around 1996.
But would my own town book me? Never. Not once in all those years.
It wasn't for lack of trying. I introduced myself to people in the local recreation department and to local arts organizations. At least I did to the few who bothered to call me back. I did meet a few of them at events, receiving a cool reception. I periodically sent brochures as reminders, letting them know that they had a local magician right in their midst who'd performed in Europe, Japan, Australia and South America and on the Discovery Channel. I sent them copies when the local paper ran a story on me about a special show I was part of in NYC.
Nada. No response - ever. Other entertainers appeared at their events. Never me.
Peekskill is the polar opposite. All I did was introduce myself around and do a little magic for people, and within a few weeks of arriving in 2010 I was booked at the BeanRunner and for the Italian festival. In 2011 I performed on the Riverfront Green series and for Peekskill Celebration. I'm doing both of those again this summer, as well as a show for summer camps at the Paramount. While I also do a lot of volunteer/donated shows for local organizations, these Peekskill summer shows are professional paid gigs. If they hadn't hired me, they would've hired someone else, so I'm extremely appreciative. All those years of being ignored in my own home town makes falling into Peekskill's open arms just that much sweeter.
So please - bring your favorite kid, or just your own inner child, and come down to the Riverfront tomorrow night. It's supposed to be a clear, cool beautiful - and magical - night.
Magical Margo (magician Margaret Steele) performs at Peekskill's Riverfront Green, Monday July 9th at 7pm.